Quirk Magazine

There's something super exciting I'd love to share about! 

I designed and coded an online magazine! You can check it out here: http://www.quirk-magazine.com. The name of the magazine is called Quirk and it is by and for young women.

I started this magazine because I was frustrated with the selection of magazines out there that objectify women. "Get a flatter stomach!" and "Here's what you need to do to please your man!" litter the covers of magazines. On one hand, I don't believe there's anything inherently wrong with wanting a flatter stomach or wanting to please your man. However, it's an issue when it becomes a fixation that usurps other important facets of life. Women are painted as shallow, two-dimensional individuals who care single-mindedly about their appearance, men, and celebrities. Furthermore, these magazines prey on women's insecurities and, at the basis of it all, are constantly telling women that they're not good enough. "You're good enough only if you have a rocking body, if you can satisfy men sexually, if you're wearing the latest trends." All that being said, I understand that many people find these magazines entertaining to read, and that these magazines will probably be around for a long time.

However, I wished there could be a magazine for young women that didn't photoshop models' bodies. I wished there could be a magazine out there that extended beyond celebrity gossip, but also covered other topics like feminism and mental health. I wished there could be a magazine that celebrated female entrepreneurs and artists. And that's why Quirk was conceived.

Quirk isn't aiming to replace those magazines off the shelves; rather, it serves as an alternative option. My vision for Quirk Magazine is that it will cover a wide range of topics relevant to young women -- so not just fashion, but also social issues; not just outer beauty but also inner beauty. Quirk will feature entrepreneurs, artists, and women who are doing really cool stuff out there in the world! Maybe one day, I'll be able to see this online magazine in print.

Quirk is currently one day old, but I hope that as it matures and develops, it will stay true to its vision.


My First Wedding

At age 22,  I had never attended a wedding before. So when my supervisor at my college part-time job invited me, I jumped at the chance!

It was such a beautiful ceremony. I'm an avid fan of romance and I couldn't hold in all the feels. My heart was flailing on the inside, and I kept nudging my friends during the ultra romantic moments. I didn't expect to tear up, but when the groom saw his glowing bride for the first time, the waterworks turned on.

They exited the chapel in one heck of a vintage car.

We threw bits of lavender and other herbs over the couple as they made their graceful exit.

My workplace designed and made this card just for them. Congratulations Jason & Jessica!

Designation Continued!

The last few weeks have been pretty hectic! I've been learning and honing so many new skills at Designation, the design school I've been attending. Recently, I've been more focused on coding and design. Coding is one of those things I could do for hours without eating, drinking, sleeping, or even peeing! Once I get into the zone, it's hard to break away from the computer.

I was given the assignment to create the branding and design for a futuristic app when phones can identify smells. I went ahead and coded a website for the app, which you can view by clicking this link. I coded it from scratch minus the Jquery & CSS animations.

One great aspect of Designation is that you have some time to pursue your own interests. I sat down one day and figured out how to code Parallax scrolling through an online tutorial. Parallax scrolling is a special scrolling technique where background images move slower than foreground images/text, giving the site a more dimensional effect. Here is the link to the very rough exercise I put together, if you'd like to better understand what it is. Using the information I learned from that exercise, I did a fun and interactive animation experiment. You can view that experiment by clicking this link. I am always open to feedback, and appreciate all the comments people have made about my work! (My friends want the hot air balloon to explode haha - maybe I'll work on that in the future).

For the next few weeks, I'll be working on real-life (yay!) client projects from startups that are part of 1871, Chicago's entrepreneurial hub for startups. It's such a privilege to play a part in the process of helping these new companies realize their ideas. My tasks are somewhat daunting yet very exciting at the same time!

A big thank you to my friends who have been helping to sustain me over these arduous weeks. Thank you for feeding me, checking up on me, and listening to any issues I've been having!


Little 3ish year old Abi in Kazakhstan

The First Time

The first time I pedaled
on a two-wheeled bike, I was eight,
scared, and weighed down
by self-doubt and old pieces of
pink bubblegum. My foot met a
pedal, its first hello tinged with
distrust as it sunk its weight
into the mesh of plastic and
metal. Sweat poured from
pores, skin sticky like
cherry lollipops.
Three seconds to launch
and my imagination
skyrocketed, as I pictured
hitting the razor-sharp
pavement that would
cut my knees til they
blossomed red.
My father began the countdown
and I steadied myself to lose
control, face contorted with
courage. He released me,
and my thighs pumped
like train engines,
my feet faster than
speeding cars,
the wind bowing before
my every movement,
and I flew like a princess
on top of the world,
with the powers of
a superhero, my fantasies
touching the precipice
of reality.

Designation: Week 1/10

The first week of Designation has ended! Designation is the name of the design school I'll be attending for 9 more weeks. It's basically an intensive bootcamp to learn about User Interface Design (UI), User Experience Research (UX), and Front-End Development. If you don't understand what that jargon means, basically I get to design cool things like websites and apps! The school focuses on creating portfolio-ready pieces to equip us to land jobs or internships.

There are 22 people in my cohort. Many of my classmates quit their jobs and moved across the country just to do this course. It's so awesome to be surrounded by an eclectic group of people who are just so hungry to learn. One of them was a creative lead for MTV, and another worked on the Obama campaign. OHOHOHO networking opportunities right there!

The school's space is pretty cool. It's pretty reminiscent of the startup vibe, and has a bustling feel to it. The beanbags, which I have been caught napping on, are SUPER big and comfy. The hours usually run from 10am-9pm, so it is pretty intense and exhausting at times. BUT, totally worth it!

This week has been focused mainly on UX research. Our instructor is the lead interaction designer (IxD) for Grubhub, a popular food delivery app. He has a wealth of knowledge, and has been teaching us very practical real-world skills. We've been doing quite a bit of sketching and research practice.

Post-it notes can be your best friend when trying to find themes and glean insights from research. 

UX research allows businesses to understand how users interact with their products. It's a very vital process to carry out before delving into designing. 

I will be updating hopefully once per week, so my future posts will be revolving around Designation! I'm very excited to be doing exciting projects super soon. A BIG THANK YOU to all my friends who have provided me with nourishing food this week.


Taken with the iPhone. The sky looks so starry, even though they're actually fireworks!

Apologies for the eclectic nature of this post, but this week has been an odd mix of adventures.

4th of July happened! I had a BBQ with some friends - IT WAS SO DELICIOUS! We watched the fireworks afterwards, and it was just filled with magical moments. It was one of those times I wished I had a boyfriend haha.

Kevin's worn out shoes. You can see the skyline in the reflection!

On Saturday, I hung out with my awesome talented photographer friend Kevin in downtown Chicago. We wandered around and got semi-lost a couple of times, but that was all part of the fun. We talked about our dreams. Some of mine include:

  • Speaking 4 languages fluently before I die
  • Becoming a super awesome UI designer/front-end developer
  • Becoming really good at videography & photography
  • Starting my own magazine
  • Starting my own company

Yesterday, I was teaching my friend Josey a tad bit about photography. It was lovely spending time with her and getting to know her better. Isn't she such a cutie?


For prep work for my design school, I made a mock website regarding a mock book about dog butts. I used a template, the edited the code to fit my needs. I didn't take the photos though - just found them on the interwebs! The link is here. I think it would be so fun to actually make the book one day.

YAY so that was my week! Apologies for the odd mix of content, as I was super busy doing prep work for design school. I finally had my first day of school today, and will be blogging about that soon! Most of the content over the next 10 weeks will probably be more design focused, so that's something you can expect. Phew it is time to sleep now - I'm so exhausted. Goodnight world!