DIY: Halloween! SF Giants! GOURDS.

In honor of today, which is both Halloween and the day my city of San Francisco shut half the streets down for the World Series parade (Go Giants!!), I finally gave into Decorative Gourd Season and decorated some mother fucking gourds!!!!NOZNOZNOZ - Halloween SF Giants Cover

Since it’s the last day of October, I avoided having more than 1 overtly “spooky / Halloweeny” gourd (the butternut squash) and went with a black/white/gold theme that will be fall-holiday (that totally portmanteaus into “falliday, btw) relevant for as long as these gourds keep – hopefully until it’s Christmas Tree time.

Total time spent: 45 minutes including driving to the grocery store (would have taken less but I screwed up the gold SF pumpkin the first time)

Total cost: about $6 for 2 little pumpkins, 1 butternut squash, and 1 wonky ass swan-gourd – I already had the nails and paint.

GOURD 1: Literally found this wonky bumpy twisty swan-neck-looking gourd in the “Decorative Gourds” basket. Pretty sure this isn’t meant to be eaten, but the bumps and porousness of the gourd skin make spray painting this one REALLY easy and efficient.

Spray painting pro tip: set the gourd down exactly as you want it on display and then spray paint from all angles without moving the gourd. This way the bottom doesn’t get painty and end up sticking to your table/mantle/wherever you display it. (More spray paint tips here)

NOZNOZNOZ - Halloween SF Giants 1

GOURD 2: Inspired by brass tack pumpkin DIYs, I went for a slightly more Edward Scissorhands/bondage-y butternut squash look. Also I decided to do this gourd DIY rather spontaneously and wanted to see what I could do just with the stuff I have at home – thusly, nails.

Pro tip: if you’re ever spray painting something that you’re going to then stab with nails/tacks/etc, spray paint the object FIRST, then add the nails, then spray paint again. NOZNOZNOZ - Halloween SF Giants 2

GOURDS 3 + 4: My beloved SF Giants pumpkins!! This year was the first year I 1. understood baseball strategy, 2. watched a decent amount of baseball, and 3. decided I like Pablo Sandoval, aka: The Panda. And so, these cutie pumpkins. The process on both of these was the same: spray paint, let dry, then use black acrylic paint to do the design. I’m especially proud of my kawaii Japanese Panda anime face.

Side note: the gold pumpkin was originally meant to be black with gold lettering. I made a stencil out of paper to spray paint a gold “SF” and realized that stenciling irregular round things doesn’t work. Also I definitely missed the bottom of the Panda pumpkin.

NOZNOZNOZ - Halloween SF Giants 3

ENJOY!!!!!!! There will definitely be more spray paint / DIY holiday posts as the winter season approaches, so let me know if you want to see anything done or if you’ve done a super sick gourd DIY this month!

ON TAKING THE PLUNGE

On Monday, I bade farewell to Houzz, the tech startup I’ve been working for since 2012.  It’s not the first time I’ve left a company – in fact, I’ve ended ties with jobs in almost every other way (contract expiry, leaving for another company, getting fired – that one was the best actually).  But this go-around, I’ll be plunging into the vastness of funemployment to do my own thing.

I don’t know if it ever occurred to me until recently that I might one day build my own business.  Thinking back to my childhood, I was always very practical. I recall more often having specific goals – buy a beautiful home, see the world, own a Gameboy Pocket – than dreaming about what I “wanted to be when I grew up”. My parents were also great at teaching me that working hard to earn a living would get me to those goals, without pushing me toward any specific career path.  So when I meanderingly discovered in high school that I was good at selling people on ideas, I set my sights on studying business in college and getting a job in marketing after graduating because that would be a smart, viable, lucrative career choice… and that’s exactly what I’ve done. Practical indeed.

Now, six years into a rather successful marketing career, I’m realizing that I never meant it all those times that interviewers asked “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” and I answered, “as a Marketing Director.” And I wish I could blame my practical nature for why I’ve not been more honest with myself until now, but I think very simply that I’ve been afraid:

  1. My late father, born into the Great Depression and then interned during WWII, worked hard his whole life such that my sister and I were born into much better circumstances; and I’ve been afraid of squandering the opportunities for education and employment I’ve been given.
  2. I graduated in 2008, watched my friends lose their jobs as the economy fell apart, and I was just grateful to be working for a very stable packaged goods corporation.  Despite gradual improvements in the past few years especially in San Francisco, I’ve been afraid of the job economy and what would happen to me if I left my place in the workforce.
  3. I don’t know how to code, and being immersed in the SF/Silicon Valley scene, I’ve been afraid that building a business didn’t count if it wasn’t a tech startup.
  4. I’ve been afraid that if my career didn’t consistently progress in a logical upward-and-to-the-right straight line, I was somehow failing at life.

That said, in 2012 during my six weeks between jobs, I had figured out a business idea for guiding people’s discretionary spending in major lifestyle categories like apparel, restaurants, home décor, etc. I was very excited about the idea, but I didn’t think I was ready yet (whatever “ready” means), so I accepted my offer to join Houzz and tried not to look back. It was a great ride for the past year and a half, but in the last few months I’ve done a ton of reflection on what more I want out of my life, and it’s become clear that it isn’t in my dreams to work for someone else.

It isn’t in my genes either: my dad, in addition to being an actor and pro wrestler, started successful construction & realty companies; and his father, who immigrated from Japan in the early 1900s, started a popular Laundromat and opened a thriving hotel in Los Angeles before the War; and I’ve rather wanted to follow in their footsteps and become a part of the Nozawa legacy of entrepreneurs.

I’ll always be able to find a reason to hesitate and delay my plans – there’s never going to be “the right time”… So I’ve decided to just take the plunge and go after this business idea with my full attention and drive.

I promised myself that in 2014, I would stop being so afraid of my dreams. It helps tremendously that my boyfriend and my amazing friends are so supportive of my idea and believe in me.  Still though, to be honest I’m pretty scared. Maybe even terrified. But this is also the most alive and electrified I’ve felt about hard work in a very long time. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s the point. February 28th, I’m ready for you.

New Year, New Blog.

2014: the year I (finally) create this little blog and stop being hesitant or afraid. It’s funny how something as straight-forward as starting a blog has caused so much internal drama and angst for me. I’ve spent the last several MONTHS deliberating over what this blog might look like, what kinds of posts I’d write, what topics I’d cover, whether I should start all over the place with themes or start with a narrow focus, what topics might readers respond to, how would I even know they are responding – and at that positively, would this blog evolve into being primarily shopping tips and product curation so that I could convert this blog into a revenue channel one day and would that feel inauthentic, do I need to integrate my Instagram content with my blog, WHY and HOW are there so many fashion blogs filled with young pretty women and HOW can they afford so many things, and will anyone even read my blog if I don’t post pretty pictures of my outfits on rooftops and sidewalks?

Right around the time that I was getting tired of my downward spiral, some Facebook friends shared links to this old article from 2012. I read half, decided I didn’t relate to most of its message, and clicked on a link bait about Bikini Bodies or something; but then luckily one friend shared a quote from the article that hit me hard:

“It’s incredibly comforting to know that if you never create anything in your life, then no one can attack you for the thing you created.”

That, in a nutshell, explains why I first created this blog in early November and it’s now January 7, 2014. So I’ve decided to take the advice of my sage friends Bing and Kimberly and just start writing – I’ll find my voice and my future readers will inform me of the rest.

Side note, which I find funny: I set out to write my very first post this morning, and then I BROKE MY BLOG. I tried moving my sub-root directory; the support forum told me, “You will get an error message, and your blog will look like it can’t be found. Don’t worry, it’s fine.” By step 3, the blog was gone. So I had to start the whole blog over today – so for those few of you keeping track, YES I technically started this blog in 2014.

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This is Daruma – in Japanese culture, giving a Daruma doll is a gesture of well wishes and good luck. The red ones, as far as I’ve been told, specifically mean “Good luck with your new venture.” And so noznoznoz.com, and 2014, begin. Hello, world!