jcrew fall2014 - emi ito illustration

Drawing from a Photo from J. Crew September 2014 Style Guide 

Don’t hate me when I say this, but I’ve always been kind of annoyed by the American female obsession with French women.  There are hundreds of articles, books, and other guides on “how to be like a French woman,” “how to dress like a French woman,” and “how to think like a French woman.”  (Seriously — Google it.  It’s hilarious how many results there are.)  I have nothing against France or the French, but it’s just really odd to me how French women, and Paris, have been singled out as perfect and have become so idolized in American womens’ eyes.  Yes, Paris is beautiful, and yes, many French women are elegant, chic, and have that “je ne sais quoi,” but so are many other places and women all over the world.  In any case, I do understand why women want to have that special spark and effortless but captivating look.  I just haven’t ever felt comfortable with the whole “wanting to look and be like a French girl” thing, when it is really more of a general aura and look that women want.  So, I was very excited (and dare I say, relieved?) the other day when I came across this Japanese version of the same concept, but with a meaning that I felt was more worth aspiring toward: “iki.”

“Iki . . . [has] the meaning of ‘elegant, distinguished but not arrogant or flamboyant.’  . . .  We could say a person or thing is iki if he, she, or it is original, calm, refined, and sophisticated without being perfect or complicated.”  — Hector Garcia

Original, calm, refined, and sophisticated without being perfect or complicated.  Now that’s a non-country-specific look and vibe worth aiming for!

Relatedly, I found this article interesting, albeit a bit harsh/extreme.


plane seats - emi ito illustration

Happy Friday!  I’ve been traveling so much recently that it’s so nice to have a weekend to take it easy and catch up on errands and things I’ve wanted to do at home.  This is a quick drawing I did a couple weeks ago when flying back from California.  I thought drawing would help me with my patience, but instead my impatience still got the best of me and this drawing was done a bit hastily…oops!

Have a great weekend!


Whimsical Veggies

zucchini - emi ito illustration

I can’t get enough of the beautiful and whimsical drawings of The Ellaphant in the RoomGrace Lee, and Jeannie Phan these days, especially their illustrations of food!  So, inspired by their illustrations, here’s a drawing of some zucchini I found from another old Everyday Food issue (yes, I’m still decluttering!  It’s a long process…for me at least).  I also learned some useful tips:

What are they?

Zucchini have a mild, almost sweet flavor and a tender flesh. Unlike winter squash, zucchini have a soft, edible skin and can even be eaten uncooked (try them in a salad).

How to buy

Look for zucchini that are firm and heavy for their size; the skin should be bright green and blemish-free. Because they are harvested earlier, smaller squash are more tender than larger ones and have thinner skins; choose squash that are less than eight inches long.

How to store

Refrigerate zucchini in a plastic bag for up to four days; do not wash until ready to use.

How to prepare

Depending on the cooking method that is used, zucchini may be sliced, cut into small pieces, or even shredded. To coarsely grate, use the large holes of a box grater.

Here are some fun zucchini recipes I came across when searching for the old Everyday Food issue on Martha Stewart.  The zucchini fritters and bacon and zucchini quiche look especially good to me.

Here’s an old-standby zucchini recipe I came up with when I was in college that I still make today.  It’s extremely simple but very tasty and great as a side dish!

Emi’s Simple Sautéed Zucchini


1-2 zucchinis
spray oil
garlic powder


Cut up 1-2 zucchinis into ~1/4 inch “coins”

Spray frying pan with Pam or other spray oil

Heat up frying pan on medium-high to high heat

Put zucchini coins into pan, making sure none overlap (you may have to do this a few times to cook all of the slices)

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Once bottom side is browned, carefully flip over coins to brown the other side

Sprinkle with more salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Once the other side is browned, remove from frying pan and place into serving dish.

Voila!  You’re done!

Pineapple Pops

pineapple pops - emi ito illustrationDuring my decluttering efforts as part of the Throw Out 100 Things Challenge, I came across some old Martha Stewart Everyday Food issues with delicious looking recipes.  These pineapple pops seem perfect for a hot August day.  Enjoy!

Also, I’m apparently way behind the times because I just realized that Everyday Food is no longer sold in print (since 2013…yikes!) and is now in video.

Pineapple Pops (from Martha Stewart Everyday Food Sept. 2005)

Prep: 15 mins
Total Time: 4 hours 15 mins
Servings: 8


- 3 cups fresh pineapple chunks, (or one 14.5-ounce can chunks packed in juice, drained)
– 1/3 cup milk
– 1/4 cup sugar


1) In a food processor, combine pineapple chunks, milk, and sugar; pulse until almost smooth, with some chunks of pineapple remaining.

2) Pour half the mixture into a medium bowl (or a glass measuring cup for easy pouring). Pulse remaining mixture until completely smooth; add to mixture in bowl.

3) Divide evenly among eight 3-ounce molds or paper cups, and insert wooden sticks. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 2 weeks (cover with plastic wrap).

Note: To make chunks, peel, quarter, and core a small pineapple (about 1 pound). Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut into 1/4-inch pieces.

Throw Out 100 Things Challenge

throw out 100 things challenge numbered - emi ito illustration

I’m a big fan of Jess Lively, and recently was really inspired by her “Throw Out 100 Things Challenge.”  I love that she called it “exfoliation” — it is a surprisingly accurate word to use, and makes the task sound much more tolerable.  I have a tendency to want to save things and to not waste anything (ingrained by my parents), but I’m often overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I have, and love the idea of having less clutter and a more minimalist lifestyle.  Here’s a drawing of my first cut!  It seemed like so much, I can’t believe it is only 19 items (not including duplicates)!  Like Jess, I did not literally throw out the majority of these items — most were donated, recycled, or passed on to someone new.  Thanks for the great idea, Jess!