The last few months have been absolutely… actually we are lost for words. It was hectic, busy, lots of fun, lots of meetings, lots of testing, new people joining the squad, long days of working, etc. But we are so proud to give you a very big update of everything that has been going on behind the scenes!
First things first
The CutieSquad is growing in multiple ways. You all know Gladys by now, if not… well she is the genius who created the CutieSquad. Jacky, Jess, Mo and Ray formed a squad thanks to her imagination. Even though the squad already made a good team, there was a lot of work to do. Actually, it was a bit much.
So two years ago Denise joined the squad! She works behind the scenes with social media, always brings sparks to words (everything sounds better thanks to her!) and she is always there for Gladys to brainstorm.
The squad became even bigger last April when Katja (Hi, that’s me! The person who is writing this blog.) joined the team. Originally I was asked to do PR, but I ended up also doing various marketing jobs behind the scenes and I honestly love it.
So that’s that, let’s talk about some amazing projects we have been working on!
Subscription box stickers
There might be a possibility that I, Katja, screamed during the Zoom meeting with my colleagues when Gladys revealed she wants to launch a subscription box for stickers. Yes, you read that right! A box filled with stickers that will be sent every season to your house. I’m not gonna lie that I was very glad that I was on speaker and no one was wearing headphones so I hopefully didn’t damage their eardrums too much. (I’m so sorry guys!) Anyhow, we are very happy to tell you that we start with spooky season. Yes, the first sticker box will be Halloween themed. More information will follow later this September. So follow us on Instagram or Facebook for the latest updates.
It’s September, that means we launched the printable shop! Come craft, draw and color with us. Besides coloring pages you can also find calendars, to do pages and of course our very loved wallpapers. Oh, and don’t forget the A4 sized prints, perfect to cute up your life! Everything in the printable shop is a digital file. Your printable files will be available to download immediately after checkout. You can print this file at home, a professional printing shop, or online. Fun should be for everyone. That’s why we decided that a part of our collection will be free of charge. We can’t wait to see how you cute up your life! (Pssst, share your creations on Instagram by using the hashtag #cutiesquadclub.)
A lot of exciting news and we are so happy that we get to share this with you. We’ll keep you updated on the latest in blogs and on our socials. But for now we wish you an amazing day and don’t forget to keep spreading cuteness in the world!
It’s Book Lovers Day! We couldn’t be more excited to spend all day reading. With a big cup of tea, iced coffee or bubble tea. But what to read? No worries, we got you covered! Get it? Because books have covers? Okay, let’s move on to the books. From Japanese mythology to contemporary and also some lovely travel reads.
Shadow of the Fox – Julie Kagawa
Ready for a Fantasy meets mythology meets Japan? Then this book is something for you!
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
Tokyo Ever After – Emiko Jean
Princess Diaries meets Japan is the crossover we never knew we needed, but we obviously do.
Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. This means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.
In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras.
Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?
XOXO – Axie Oh
From stories mostly taking place in Japan we move over to South Korea for this book, because this story sounds so much fun! K-pop fans, this book is probably your cup of (bubble) tea.
Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.
Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.
When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.
How to Live Japanese – Yutaka Yazawa
Want to know more about Japan? This is the ultimate insider’s guide to the country of Japan, full of inspiration and insight to help you experience the very best of Japanese design, cookery, philosophy, and culture.
From Miyazaki to mountains, sake to sparking joy, find your Zen and make time to learn about how to live Japanese. Whether it’s the cutting edge of film-making, revolutionizing the whisky market or competing with parents on lunchboxes, you’ll all learn about it with ‘How to Live Japanese’.
Japan is not only the mother of all metropolises but with two-thirds of the country covered in forest, there is still much respect and celebration of the natural world, with people perfectly placed to make the most of the green space around them. From the art of making tea, to going for a hike, or celebrating imperfections, there are ceremonies the Japanese have been honing for centuries that thrive alongside modern traditions and practices of well-being.
Cool Japan Guide – Abby Denson
Travelling to Japan has never been so much fun! Visit the land of anime, manga, cosplay, hot springs and sushi!
This full-color graphic novel Japan guidebook is the first of its kind to explore Japanese culture from a cartoonist’s perspective. ‘Cool Japan Guide’ takes you on a fun tour from the high-energy urban streets of Tokyo to the peaceful Zen gardens and Shinto shrines of Kyoto and introduces you to:
the exciting world of Japanese food – from bento to sushi and everything in between.
the otaku (geek) culture of Japan, including a manga market in Tokyo where artists display and sell their original artwork.
the complete Japanese shopping experience, from combini (not your run-of-the-mill convenience stores!) to depato (department stores with everything).
the world’s biggest manga, anime and cosplay festivals.
lots of other exciting places to go and things to do – like zen gardens, traditional Japanese arts, and a ride on a Japanese bullet train.
Whether you’re ready to hop a plane and travel to Japan tomorrow, or interested in Japanese pop culture, this fun and colorful travelogue by noted comic book artist and food blogger Abby Denson, husband Matt, friend Yuuko, and sidekick, Kitty Sweet Tooth, will present Japan in a unique and fascinating way.
As a kid, you can’t wait for the day to be an adult, but as soon as you turn an adult you wish to still be a kid. Do you recognize yourself in this? Adulthood feels draining with days filled with working, paying bills, taking care of our families and so on. Yes, it can be fun, but it can also be stressful and a little boring at times. Maybe the dream of being a kid again starts to creep up on you.
Honestly we from CutieSquad get it. For most of us, our childhood fell as a safe place where everything was practically done for us and we had little to no worries. Our days existed of playing and exploring with a fearless attitude. We believe you can be a kid again to an extent. Of course, we have to pay the bills, but that doesn’t mean that the play has to stop. Children provide amazing examples of ways to get more enjoyment out of life even as an adult. Let’s have a closer look at the lessons we can learn from kids.
See life through the eyes of a kid
As an adult, it sometimes feels like we have seen it all. The flowers, the smell of delicious food being cooked, etc. And for some reason, it doesn’t bring us joy like it used to. Place yourself in your younger self… how did you react to things when you were a kid? It’s no secret that children see things differently than adults do. Everything is new and fills them with wonder and curiosity. They take the time to just sit and look at something and find joy out of little things.
Let go and have fun as a kid does
As an adult, it’s easy to feel tied down by responsibilities. That’s the point in life we take everything too seriously and forget how to let loose. The fear of being judged by others with the feeling that there is only one way to grow up is holding us back to live our own life. If we are not careful we put a “mask” on to feel more protected. Children do not have these “masks” in place yet. They feel free to enjoy life as they are and do not much care what others are thinking of them. So let us ask the question: are you more protected with a “mask” on? By living life too seriously it’s easy to forget who you are. Losing yourself in the process of pleasing others seems like a waste of time, don’t you think? People who judge you for letting loose, trust us, don’t have as much fun as you. Besides that, do you actually want someone like that to like you?
Be honest with yourself
If there is one trait that kids do that stand out is that they are brutally honest. Nobody can point out flaws like a child. We shouldn’t focus only on our flaws or that can lead to a lack of self-confidence, but we can all benefit from being brutally honest with ourselves. If we aren’t where we want to be in life, we need to take a good, hard look at what we have been doing. Be honest and see where you can improve. Don’t let life pass you by because you kept a blind eye to all that you could do or be.
Stay in touch with your inner child
Learning doesn’t stop the moment you leave school and play doesn’t need to stop when you’re an adult. We believe that if you learn to see through the eyes of a kid, let go and have fun like a kid does, and start being as honest with yourself as a kid is, then you can definitely bring more joy and excitement to your life. Stay in touch with your inner child, always.
Time flies by and before you know it you’ve been doing something you wished you changed years ago. Maybe back then it didn’t feel like the right time or maybe you thought you were already late to the party. So why start now? Why would you leave your comfort zone? We get it, it’s scary. But let me ask you a question: isn’t it more scary if you never found your true happiness in life?
Let me tell you a little story…
For as long as she can remember Gladys P.Nut was drawing. On everything and all kinds of cute things. However, as expected, she went to get her degree and found a “proper” job in an IT consultancy. But her love for kawaii never left her. In business meetings, she felt out of place. Not only, because she was the only one in a hoodie and with a fluffy, feathered pen, but she felt unattached. Like, life was happening, and she was doing everything that was expected of her, but it wasn’t her life.
Shaking things up
After Gladys experienced a burnout, she decided to shake things up.
Quitting her job was the best first step she took. Step two was closing herself off for a full month, just to think, draw and create without any plans, deadlines or outside influences. Her family was quite shocked by her choices and were surprised that she quit the stability of her job. Not everyone was supportive at first, but Gladys P.Nut decided to use that energy and turn it into something positive; this was how her CutieSquad was born. Every single family member became a kawaii character and she turned their “negative” traits into a fun part of their characters. It made Gladys P.Nut stronger, and she was able to create something light and bright in a sea of negativity.
Match your life and purpose
It was never about finding the dream job. In the first place, it was always about finding true happiness. To find happiness Gladys started discovering what her purpose in life is or as the Japanese call it: ikigai. Ikigai is “iki” (life) and “gai” (value or worth). It’s about finding joy in life through purpose. In other words, your ikigai is what gets you up every morning, keeps you going and makes you happy. Gladys P.Nut noticed that she could get out of bed again because she didn’t have to go to an office and ‘role-play a corporate exec’ but could just spend her days drawing, creating and seeking inspiration. Her love for kawaii and her creativity is the perfect match for her to live her life with real purpose.
Finding your ikigai
Finding your ikigai is not easy; it’s about thinking and reassessing what you do and what you love. It’s about discovering your passion, your personal drive and incorporating this in your everyday life. You don’t have to quit your job (you might not like) as Gladys did, you can also find a hobby that fulfils you. Ikigai is not about finding your dream job, though it can be if you want, it’s just about doing what you love and doing it as often as you can. Whether that’s running through the forest early in the morning before you start your day, to purposefully raising your family or from cooking a new recipe every week. But how do you know what you love, how do you know what truly makes you happy?
Questions you can ask yourself:
What gets you up every morning?
What keeps you going?
What makes you happy?
Do the answers of the first 3 questions align with the life you want to live?
Yes, then go you! You found what makes you happy!
If the answer is no, that’s also okay. We have some tips that can help you:
Try out new things.
Be more in the moment and aware of your place and surroundings.
Try to get rid of elements that block you in finding your ikigai.
Make sure that you create the time to seek your purpose, mentally and physically.
Again, you don’t have to quit your job and close yourself off for a month as Gladys P.Nut did. But make an effort. Try something new, change your daily routine and make more conscious choices. Only then you open yourself up to finding your own ikigai.