Meet The Maker / 01: Melanie Abrantes

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Meet Melanie Abrantes. A designer and maker by trade, the bubbly Texas-native is one of Los Angeles’ rising talents – a real hidden gem! Trust me – she’s one to watch for! Charming, perpetually happy, and just a complete pleasure to be around – Melanie has an energy about her that translates into both her work and craftsmanship. The idea of quality and taking time to hand make something worthy of passing down through generations, is the premise behind her thoughtful creations. A true labor of love.

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Over the past year at the studio, I’ve watched Mel hone her skills in woodworking with the first cake stand that she made for a secret santa gift exchange, and now explorations into cork-based pieces – a material that has roots in her Portuguese heritage. After debuting her California Tree Series in Crafting Community’s One King’s Lane Artisanal Sale last year, Melanie is now selling her one-of-a-kind bowls, vases, planters and stands alongside local LA makers Hedley & Bennett and Dominik Woods on the much-coveted marketplace now through Jan 31st.

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1. As a product designer, what drew you to work with wood and cork as materials? I loved the look and feel of both materials. You get such rich colors in the grains of wood and such a simplicity in the cork. I am such a tangible person, and being drawn to the feel of an object is always something that entices me. I am also the first one to get kicked out of a museum because I always have the urge to touch the sculpture, I KNOW it’s wrong….but I cant help it!

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Caturday 12 / Truman’s Nap Spot

Processed with VSCOcam Did you know that cats typically sleep from between 12-16 hours per day in order to conserve energy? Maybe we should take a hint and take more catnaps throughout the day – wouldn’t that be the life!

Ever since we rearranged our living room a few weeks ago, a pile of falsa blankets are now stacked up next to our couch. This area is Truman’s new napping spot, with a perfectly perched view of the entire house. Happy Caturday, everyone!

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The Day I Met Cutie and The Boxer

As a total documentary geek, I’m obsessed with finding new ones to watch on Netflix. On a late night several weeks ago, it was Christopher’s turn to find a flick, which resulted in us watching Cutie and The Boxer. Lo and behold, literally a week later as I arrived home from running errands, Christopher texts me from work on Abbot Kinney with a photo of some people walking and the words “cutie and the boxer!!!” 

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Wait, what? It took me a few seconds to enlarge and inspect the photo on my iPhone. OH MY GOD. I saw the ponytails. The asymmetrical/color-blocked stripe cardigan. Holy moly – Ushio and Noriko are on Abbot Kinney? Like… down the street? What do I do? A case of FOMO completely took over and I hustled down the street.

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After a stop in HURRA! I continued down the street until I spotted the artist couple sitting on a bench at Intelligentsia. After pacing back and forth for about 5 minutes, with patrons looking at me strangely – finally got up the courage to interrupt their conversation and say “hello” – but just for a second. The two were incredibly sweet and adorable. Ushio began explaining that they had a screening for their film at Cinefamily the night before and they were about to leave and return home to NYC. Man, how did I not know about it? After I gushed about how much I loved them for a hot second, they kindly agreed to getting their photo taken. I have to say, it was quite magical.

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Everything aside, this is a must-watch documentary about the life and struggles of a Japanese artist couple – I promise it will capture your heart. Take a look at the trailer below and see for yourself!

New Year’s Eve Made Easy + Kombucha Cocktails

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Can you believe 2014 is right around the bend? I can hardly believe it, but another year in sunny Southern California has been written in the books and we’re about to embark on a new adventure. If you’re a busy bee like me, you barely have time to comprehend that 2013 is ending, let alone plan a New Year’s Eve celebration. Right? Right. Well, Luckily there are a couple of easy things you can do to make even the smallest and unplanned of get togethers feel extra special.

DRINKS // Let’s start with what matters most. I have to admit – I’ve had my fair share of cocktails this holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving. It’s hard not to get sucked into indulging during this time of year, especially with all the parties and get-togethers going on (woohoo!). Luckily I recently discovered the wonder that is the kombucha cocktail (first time was at Sage in Culver City) which makes having an extra drink or two, a bit more guilt-free!

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For those of you who aren’t so familiar with komucha, it’s an ancient probiotic tea that is fermented tea drink, naturally rich in friendly probiotics and high in antioxidants + nutrients. My favorite of all time is the Pink Lady Apple from local LA company, Healthade! Anyway, kombucha has been used in countless cultures to help improve health, in particular to boost immunity and energy, balance metabolism, and aid in digestion to boot. So naturally, pairing it with a spirit makes drinking healthy, right?

My friend Melanie and I decided to take our favorite Healthade Kombucha flavors and turn them into the perfect sipables for bringing in the New Year. We start off with a light and refreshing number called “The Petticoat” that I discovered over on Bliss Tree. We changed it up a little bit by using honey syrup and raw honeycomb to garnish (along with a sprig of rosemary) which proved to be quite tasty!

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The Petticoat

1.5 oz St. Germain
2 oz Healthade Kombucha, Original Flavor
1 teaspoon honey syrup
Raw honeycomb to garnish
Toothpick + sprig of rosemary

1. Add a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker. Add in 1.5 oz of St. Germain, then 2 oz of Original Flavor Healthade Kombucha. Pour out a teaspoon of honey syrup and drizzle into shaker. Place top on and shake for 15 seconds.

2. Place a few ice cubes into a small mason jar, then pour. Garnish with a slice of raw honeycomb through a toothpick and rosemary.

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#takingtheleap in 2014

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There’s been some news I’ve been meaning to share for a while now… it’s three little words I’ve been a bit afraid to fully accept, but now it’s time!

So… here it is… I’m going freelance! I am finally #takingtheleap and joining the growing movement of millennial freelancers once the new year comes around. 2014 is going to be life-changing, or at least I am determined to make it so. I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever to say those three little words, and it feels so, so right. I haven’t felt so sure of something since I was in my late teens, going to a show to interview a band for the very first time at Clutch Cargo in Pontiac, without a care in the world what anyone thought.

While it’s super exciting, it’s oh so scary at the same time. If you can believe it… I’m about to turn 30 in just a couple of months and it’s starting to really make me think about what I need to be doing with my life. I don’t regret anything I’ve done or experienced along my journey thus far, but for sure have learned a thing or two along the way. I’ve met so many who have inspired me over the past couple of years to go down this unstable route. But I’m ready to be uncomfortable. To hustle for myself, and a lifestyle I feel good about. I know it’s the only way I can grow.

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Freelancing was never a concept I was familiar with growing up, but have made so many friends who have taken this path in life – and you know what? It completely changed them + their perspectives on life – for the better! I’m ready to face any challenge that may present itself because I know it will only help me progress and figure out what my true passion is. I am ready, and can say it without an ounce of hesitation.

Since I graduated from college, I’ve followed to whole “9-5” routine. Granted, I’ve worked with some pretty amazing companies and individuals – like, life-changing – but at the end of the day, I feel strangely unfulfilled… even after all these years – culminating to nearly 8 now, which is totally crazy to even think about. It’s hard for me to pinpoint the soure and I know astrologically I’m forever bound to finding my ultimate calling – but I really feel that this is the first step.

A few who are close to me have learned about my new venture over the past several weeks, and the support has been truly overwhelming! I am so lucky to have all these amazing humans in my life, and I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you… (you know who you are!) More details to come soon as they are solidified… but for now, I’m just excited to have all this off my chest, out in the open, and in The Universe. Phew! Anyway, cheers to new adventures and #takingtheleap!

 

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