September Favorites | Illustration by Wondershins

Teacups, Noods & Chatty Dudes

September is drawing to a close, and tomorrow will bring … Inktober! If you’re new to Inktober, it is basically an illustration challenge where, for the month of October, you create an ink drawing every single day for 31 days. It was started by Jake Parker, who wanted to improve his skills with inking, and now Inktober has become this worldwide challenge that a bunch of artists partake in.

Me included. I first found out about Inktober last year, and so I embarked on the challenge come October 1st. The result? I got five drawings in out of the 31. Ha!

However, I am determined to make it through the entire month this year, which is why I am keeping this month’s list of favorites rather short and sweet, so I can start focusing on Inktober. You can follow along with my Inktober challenge on my Instagram. I’m really excited to get started and play with inks, but first – let’s take a look at some happy-makers from September!

September Favorites | Illustration by Wondershins

1. Russian Chocolates

Once in awhile, my boyfriend’s mom would go to Kazakhstan, and she’ll send us Russian chocolates. I love these little confections and their darling wrappers! I have the wrappers pressed in sketchbooks, and I am always sneaking a chocolate here and there throughout the day. I can’t even tell you what they are made of, since there are no ingredient listings, nor can I read Russian. But they are all coated with chocolate, and that’s all that matters. My favorites are the ones that have wafers in them. They’re like Russian kit-kats but better.

2. Copic Sketch Markers

My first-ever Copic markers came to me in a SketchBox box. I had purchased a special edition “Basics Box,” and nestled inside were three Copic Sketch markers. When I first tested it out, I swooned at the smoothness of the marker on paper and the richness of the color.

The markers come with two tips – a medium broad tip and a brush nib. The brush tip is my favorite, as it is flexible, goes on smoothly, and acts like a paintbrush. After using them once, I went to Blick’s to buy several more colors, and that’s what I am aiming to use for Inktober!

3. Tea Cup with Strainer

When we were moving in late August, my boyfriend and I stopped by the Asian market to pick up some staples (soy sauce and tea leaves). As we were about to check out, we noticed these teacups that we just had to get. They are ceramic with nice “Asian-y” designs (whatever that means), they have a strainer so you can put in tea leaves, and a lid to keep the tea warm.

The one I got is bright red, and I love the design because it reminds me of a Chinese red teapot from my childhood. This red color is a lot brighter, but it brings back fond memories all the same. The narrow size makes the cup more interesting than a standard mug, and having this cup has helped me to stop relying on coffee. Whenever I need a cup of comfort, I can brew a quick cup of tea with tea leaves (so much better than tea bags!). I overturn the lid to be used as a plate for holding the strainer when the tea is done steeping, which I find so convenient and awesome!

4. Creativebug

I got introduced to Creativebug recently, and I decided to give the free trial a shot. Creativebug is basically a treasure trove of online arts and crafts classes, and the site and video production is also beautiful, which is always a plus. After my free trial, I tried a one-month trial for $1. Now I’m subscribed for under $10 a month, and I’m still seeing how much I use it.

As of right now, I love the opportunity to learn and get inspired daily. There are so many classes to choose from, and a lot of the lessons are around 15 minutes long. That means if I ever need a quick break but don’t want to mindlessly scroll on Instagram, I can watch one of the lessons and get fueled with inspiration and creativity instead. I like to watch a couple lessons during breakfast or whenever I can snag a lunch break.

Classes I’ve taken are 30 Ways to Live a More Creative Life in 30 Days and a class on how to find your signature style. Currently, I am taking an art journaling class (and getting so inspired!), a drawing bootcamp class, and I will start an Inktober class tomorrow, which of course, is all about inking! I’m going to go back to the classes and actually do the projects, but for now, watching a lesson here and there has already given me a lot to work with on my current projects.

5. Dough Zone Dumpling House

You probably know very well by now that I love dumplings and noodles a whole lot. So when my sister suggested we try Dough Zone during our trip to Seattle last weekend, I did not even hesitate to say yes. This place was by far the best eatery of the trip, and I would love to go back the next time I am in town. They had quite a few vegetarian options, which is always nice; I like it when I don’t have to watch other people eat dumplings as my plate sits bare.

We tried the Vegetable Steamed Dumplings, which are now in competition with Shandong’s! The wrapper is not too thick, not too thin, and the filling is light and flavorful. We also tried the Noodles with Onion Soy Sauce and the Yi Bin Noodles, both of which were fantastic, although the Yi Bin Noodles were on the spicy side. The noodles come in small portions so that you can try a variety. But next time, I’ll take TWO of the green onion noodles just for myself, please!

6. The Joe Rogan Experience Episode #1169

I don’t really pay much attention to Elon Musk and what he’s up to, but I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed his interview on the Joe Rogan Experience. Well, first off, it’s Joe Rogan, so there are funny moments. But the conversation itself was simply stimulating. Elon talks about artificial intelligence, social media and privacy, simulation … and so many things that just got my brain whirring. I was fascinated by how Elon thinks, and I found myself liking him after several minutes into the show. It is such a great interview, one that is definitely worth watching, if you have two and a half hours. (I had to watch it in two sittings!)


What is something that made you happy this month, or something you really enjoyed? Bonus points if this thing is a book! I haven’t been reading much lately (been drawing instead), so any sort of motivation to get me to read is much appreciated!

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