June flew right by and I can’t believe the #randomloveletter challenge has already come to a close! It was a lot of fun to be a part of this again for the second year in a row and thank you Sarah and Olivia for allowing me to co-host with you! A very special thank you to @HandletteredABCs for co-hosting the first full week of RLL with us.
I have loved scrolling through the feed to see what everyone was posting–here are some of my favorites from Instagram:
Top row, left to right: @sarahdshotts, @sharewithmy, @lo_in_sojo, @thefive15, @nguyening.at.life Bottom row, left to right: @lauralovesletters, @letteringbynicola, @m2bstudio, @3x3nonsense, @jensweeney4
Top row, left to right: @fleuronic, @soochieink, @calumfung whose note was found by @oliviabynature, @thetinymc, @amyamybobamy Bottom row, left to right: @anintran, @sarahdshotts, @3x3nonsense, @michelechoban, @kellyleungtadesigns
Top row, left to right: @wordfindersclub, @wonkiefinger, @th_purpl_lady, @itsjustyellow, @randomolive Bottom row, left to right: @snoopypoopyy, @oakleysuzyt, @tseitskat_
The Friday Favorite series features makers, projects, films, books, and other sources of inspiration I have fallen in love with. I hope by sharing them I will be able to bring something new and inspiring into your life!
Favorite Instagram Project & Storyteller / Dear Daughter by Christina Tran
Photo courtesy of @dear_daughter_
I first came across @dear_daughter_ while browsing through the #write_on hashtag back in April. The post I saw had a vintage looking photograph of a young woman and a hand written note below the photo: “Dear Daughter, I want to tell you about your grandmother. I want you to know her stories.” I instantly connected and fell in love with this post– it felt very intimate and reminded me of my own mother and grandmother.
Every post by @dear_daughter has touched me in one way or another–some have made me smile, others have made my eyes well up with tears, and they have all made me think. They have reminded me of my family–my own parents and their struggles, stories, and wisdom. There is something so beautiful and thoughtful about Dear Daughter and how each piece in the series manages to evoke such strong emotions with just a single photo and a handful of words.
Photo courtesy of @dear_daughter_
Christina Tran is the talented storyteller behind Dear Daughter. As a big fan of this project and her work, it’s a wonderful privilege to be able to learn more about both!
Dear Daughter is such a beautiful and impactful series of photographs and letters. Where did you get the idea to start Dear Daughter? What was your inspiration?
I started playing with the idea of writing letters to my future daughter as part of a larger comics project about our culture’s toxic beauty industries and how those messages affect our societal conceptions of self-worth, which influence our perceptions of ourselves. I had this idea that I was going to write these letters “on the world” (as graffiti, in magazines, on our skin, in the sky…) so I started the Instagram account to be able to document experiments in form.
On a last-minute whim this past April, I decided to participate in the Write On campaign during National Letterwriting Month. I really like creative challenges that get me doing small acts of art making at a steady pace for a set amount of time, so I loved the idea of 30 letters in 30 days. I had this old photo album of my mom, so I just started writing tiny letters to my future daughter alongside old photos I had of her.
I love the photos and the nostalgia that comes with them–they look so much like photos my parents have of themselves when they were young. Are these photos from your personal collection / can you tell us more about the people in them?
My parents passed awaywhen I was an undergrad in college, and most of our family photos are back at my brother’s home in Texas. I move around a fair amount myself, so I’m picky about what I bring with me. I have one box of photos, which are a mix of childhood photos, high school pictures, and this one album of my mom from when she was a young lady in Vietnam. I’ve always been intrigued by these photos both because they feel really familiar to me (my high school friends and I would sometimes run around and do photoshoots ourselves) and also because they’re a complete mystery (I don’t know who the other people are, I don’t know where the photos were taken, I never knew this youthful fashion-savvy version of my mom).
I didn’t know I had an analogous album of my dad in his youth until I was rummaging around in my boxes looking for paintbrushes a few weeks ago. I found the dad photos only a few days before the anniversary of his death and right before Father’s Day, so it felt like a sign. I felt I sort of had to do another series of “30 letters in 30 days” using his photos this time.
Photo courtesy of @dear_daughter_
Every letter I have read has made me emotional–many bring tears to my eyes. I can relate to what is being said / hear my own parents saying these things to me / or they are words I wish have been said. Are these letters words that have been said to you or are they messages you are creating from scratch for your future daughter?
There’s a funny thing that happens in art and in life — if you juxtapose any two things, people will ascribe meaning whether and beyond whatever was initially intended by the creator of the thing. The most fulfilling projects are the ones in which the end results surprise even me. I didn’t anticipate the emotional and healing journey that the series has taken me on, but I am so grateful for it. I started the series as if I were writing to my future daughter, but through the alchemy of art…who can say whether I am sending messages into the future for my children, or whether they are messages sent backwards in time to a younger version of my mom when she was a daughter herself, or whether these are channeled through my maternal ancestors so that they can send me the messages which I yearn for in my present day to day…
If there’s one thing you’d like your audience to take away from Dear Daughter, what would it be?
What are your plans for Dear Daughter going forward?
It’s funny because I haven’t thought that far ahead for this project because this was always meant to be a space to play and experiment. I’ll definitely keep writing letters; the letter writing challenges have rekindled my love for real-life letter writing this year, and I’ve been sending more random letters and postcards to people I care about. Thinking bigger picture, I already made a little postcard pack of some of the mom photos, and I’d love to someday publish the series in some kind of book format.
I really enjoyed reading your creatively written bio (sodelightful.com) and wanted to learn some more about you! Please fill in the blanks…
When I am not working on Dear Daughter, you can find me:
Reading books, making comics, or climbing things
I am passionate about:
Feminism, social justice, and creating more inclusive quiet safe spaces in the world for people to just be.
A project, TV show, podcast, IG/Twitter account, etc. I think you should check out is:
I recently watched a really inspiring documentary about the Ovarian Psychos, an all-women of color bicycle brigade in LA whose “political views are feminist ideas with indigent understanding and an urban/hood mentality.” I really love the work they’re doing in the community, and how they embody their values and ideals.
Besides @dear_daugter_, where can we find and connect with you?
If you like the Dear Daughter series, please check out my comics at sodelightful.com/comics. I tell more stories about my relationship with my family, the loss of my parents, and what it means to love and care for ourselves and for others. You can also sign up for my newsletter for updates. I love writing these letters to my subscribers about what’s going on with my work!
Photo courtesy of @dear_daughter_
Thank you Christina for your thoughtful answers and time! Please go check out @dear_daughter along with Christina’s other projects–I hope you fall in love with them as I have.
The #Randomloveletter challenge is in full swing! This year we are assigning a theme to each week to help inspire your notes. It’s for you to interpret however you’d like so be as creative as you want and have fun :) I have seen so many amazing and beautiful random love letters being left around the world (so cool!)! Thank you to everyone who has joined in so far and if you’d like to be a part of this we would love to have you! Just write a positive or encouraging note, snap a pic of it, and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #randomloveletter (NO S). Here’s the schedule for the month:
Week 1: June 5 – 11 / Encourage / We partnered up with @HandletteredABCs for the first theme week and it was amazing!
June is a few days away which means it’s almost time for the annual #RandomLoveLetter Instagram Challenge! This is one of my favorite challenges I have done and I am so excited to be co-hosting with @sarahdshotts & @randomolive this year! Are you ready for 30 days of awesome messages being left around town for people to find?
Here is how it works:
From June 1st to June 30th, write a note with a positive message each day or as often as you can. Leave your random love letter in a public place for someone to discover. Take a photo of your note and share it on Instagram & Twitter using the hastag #RandomLoveLetter. Important note: there is no “S” at the end of the hashtag!
You can leave your messages in library books, grocery store aisles, elevators, park benches–anywhere someone might come across it! The mission is to brighten up someone’s day when they find our love letters!
This year we will also be having weekly themes to help inspire you and are very excited to be teaming up with @HandletteredABCs for the first week!
We will recap the project in July and highlight some of our favorite #RandomLoveLetter photos on our IG feeds and blogs.
1. Share the above image on social media to let your friends know about the challenge. You can also repost and retweet from any of our accounts.
April is National Letter Writing Month and I am very excited to be celebrating by participating in the Write_On campaign!
Created and hosted by Egg Press & Hello!Lucky, Write_On promotes joy, creativity, and connection through snail mail. The goal is to write 30 letters in 30 days during the month of April. It’s such a lovely idea, isn’t it? We are already on day 10 of April but you can start now or write a letter a week or whatever feels comfortable for you!
I have had SO much fun joining in on this challenge and I encourage you to do it as well! It’s been awesome creating things to send and practicing lettering on envelopes but one of my favorite parts is that people don’t expect to get mail anymore (unless it’s a bill or ad) so it’s fun to surprise your friends and family with a hand written letter. In the days of texts and emails, let’s celebrate the thought and love that goes into hand-written correspondence!
Need some inspiration? Below is a list of 30 ideas to help you get started! You can also see what I have been sending over on my Instagram @atiliay / #write_on_atiliay. And be sure to check out the#write_on hashtag–I am positive you will think of all kinds of ideas to mail to your loved ones after looking through the feed!
Happy National Letter Writing Month!
30 Ideas For Happy Mail:
1. Send mail to Egg Press and Hello!Lucky to thank them for this awesome campaign they have created!
2. Send mail to the last person who mailed you something.
3. Send a birthday card instead of texting / emailing / facebooking. Get ahead of the game–see who else has birthdays coming up and get cards written for them and ready to send.
4. Send Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants inspired mail. It’s a fun way to mail a birthday message / gift or care package to someone who is away and your group of friends is scattered in different places. Start it off with a card and send it to the next person to sign. Have each person save and include each envelope so the final recipient can see all the places the card has been. Along the way you can add different gifts and treats. The recipient should have an awesome package to open up by the end of this!
5. Leave a letter for a loved one to find in the pockets of their jacket, taped to the bathroom mirror, in their car, in their lunch, etc.
6. Send someone 30 reasons why they are awesome. Use mini envelopes and put a reason in each one. Seal them and have your recipient open one a day.
7. Write an encouraging or inspiring note or quote for someone to find. Place your note in an envelope and address it to, “You! (Yeah, you!)”. Leave it at a doctor’s waiting room, a grocery or drug store, inside your favorite book at the library, at a bus stop, stationery store, etc. Bonus: add an envelope and notecard and ask them to do the same.
8. Did you read a magazine or newspaper article and it reminded you of someone in your life? Cut it out and send it to them. You can even write them a letter directly onto the article you are sending them in the margins or backside.
9. Make plans via snail mail! Send an invitation to a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with. List different dates for them to choose from. You can also include an RSVP card and stamped envelope so they can mail you their response.
10. Are you a stationery hoarder? Put your pretty paper finds to good use! Match pieces of stationery with people they remind you of and pen them a note.
11. For someone who loves reading–send them a copy of one of your favorite books you think they would like! Leave notes, pressed flowers, photos, and mementos for the reader to find as they read the book. You can do this for someone who loves comics, zines, etc. Another idea is to write them a letter in several different parts and hide it throughout the book.
12. Have someone write a letter to their future self. Take the letter and mail it back to them in 5 years (or more or less)! I am doing this with my boyfriend’s niece and nephew who are 11 and 14 and am planning on mailing them their letters when they graduate high school. I created prompts for them to make it a little easier–you can download The Dear Future Self sheet in PDF form here if you’d like to use it!
13. Send a recipe to someone. (Don’t forget if they have any dietary preferences or allergies). For extra points, add a shopping list too.
14. Send mail to someone living in the same house as you.
15. Send letters to your childhood / high school / college friends with a picture of you guys from back in the day and write about a fun memory that has stayed with you all these years later.
16. Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is coming up on May 8th–put a card or package in the mail for your mom at the end of April to make sure she receives it by the 8th.
17. Write to your social media friends. This is such a fun one–not sure where to start? Create a post asking who would like to exchange mail!)
18. See if anyone else you know is participating in #write_on and send them a letter!
19. Send a thank you letter to your groomer to thank them for caring for your pets and making them so fresh and so clean!
20. Send a letter to a teacher who has influenced you.
21. Create a new generation of snail mail lovers! Send a letter to kids in your life telling them about National Letter Writing Month. Include an envelope with a stamp and encourage them to write back to you so they know how much fun both receiving and sending mail can be!
22. Write a letter to a co-worker or cubicle buddy–let them know how much you enjoy working with them.
23. Is there someone in your life who could use a little bit of motivation or inspiration? Send them post it notes with positive quotes and sayings on them so they can put stick them up in their space.
24. Find a program that sends mail to folks in the military or children in hospitals and help brighten up their day with a letter.
25. Send someone a fun activity such as a coloring page, crossword puzzle, brain teasers, etc.
26. Send a letter to a blogger, author, or podcast host to tell them how much you enjoy their work and how it has affected you.
27. Send a letter from your pet to one of their pet friends!
28. Go on Instagram and / or Pinterest to get envelope art ideas then try some of your own. Be creative and have fun–don’t worry about being perfect. Send it to your artistic friend who you know will appreciate and love it.
29. Pick up some local postcards and send them to your out-of-state and country friends or someone who is temporarily away (for school or a job).
30. If you know someone who loves nature, gardening, flowers, send them a letter on seed paper they can plant! Finish off the letter with beautiful floral stampsthat are currently available at USPS.
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! I came across this 4th of July quote and really loved it. I try to remind myself often to be grateful that I live in a place where I can truly be free. Around the world there are so many men, women, and children who are unable to say the same– they cannot be free because of war, poverty, because they are female, because they are gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, because their beliefs are different than others. Let’s do what we can to help others live in freedom as well.
All work featured on Atiliay is copyright Olivia Lin and created by me unless otherwise noted. Feel free to use any of the photos or excerpts from this blog but please give proper credit and link back accordingly. It'd also be great if you'd email me and let me know what you've shared, I'd love to meet you, say thanks, and check out your space!