Monday, December 20, 2010

la la latte


probably the most adorable coffee I’ve ever had.

2010-12-20 14.06.56

I was all around downtown today finishing up my Christmas shopping before I pack up to go home to be with family. Some rough news hit my family on Sunday so it was nice to enjoy the good weather and just focus on the holidays!

At one of my favorite coffee shops I encountered a bit of an unpleasant surprise – not just a lunch rush, but a lunch rush staffed by EXTREMELY grumpy employees. Now, I’ve worked every kind of customer service there is – food industry, retail, retail during the holidays, telemarketing, and summer camps (if you don’t think summer camps are a customer service industry, just think about the parent aspect for a bit! ;)..). I understand bad days, bad customers, and working through those difficulties. But being in that coffee shop made me feel so unwanted and so physically uncomfortable that it took all of my willpower to stay in that line and wait for my coffee instead of running back to my car!

It really turned me off of the whole experience for awhile. As a social scientist, it’s my job (and passion!) observing situations and picking out and analyzing social cues. So I tend to receive them about 10x stronger than most people, and often have to hold back my responses accordingly. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, I won’t respond at all because I’m so involved in watching in thinking. Sometimes I forget how to be normal. I think that happens when you go to a tech school though!

Anyway. Even though being in the shop was a very unpleasant experience I couldn’t help but grin as soon as I was handed my drink. How freaking adorable is that?! I couldn’t stay mad after that. And then I hit up my other favorite coffee place and had a much better customer service experience, and all was right in the world :). The end!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

another info design project!

How to Throw a Frisbee Properly: Poster. Fall 2010.

Project Requirements: Illustrate a how-to using human subjects.

  • Include at least 10-15 photos that have been rendered from their original forms. 
  • 3 PMS Colors + Black
  • A timeline showing the history of the subject you choose
  • A brief paragraph explaining the subject of the poster
  • Steps written to explain the how-to
  • Sources and team members listed on poster

Marguerite was one of my team members on this project! Go to her Flickr page to see other projects she’s worked on!

how to frisbee with timeline

(click to enlarge)

find this project on flickr | behance

Monday, December 13, 2010

how to reverse several weeks' worth of damage to your body in 2 days or less: part 1

Or, how i am definitely trying to do right by my body, but sometimes I slip up because I am a college student so please don’t judge me! (part 1)

So, there's this person I know. A person who I have seen a bit in the past week but not too much in the last few days where all the abuse I have been handing my body hard and fast in the name of Getting Shit Done has started to show itself. This person is going to be in Not-Troy for the next few days which will give me what I hope is 2 days of sweet, sweet recovery time for my tired, splotchy looking face and less-than-stellar mental capacities after the hard academic activities of the end of this semester. In other words: I am embarrassed by how horrible I look from overworking myself the last few weeks (but mainly the last week or so). And I want to fix it!

We all have experienced that unfortunate, inevitable moment in Academia where we look at our syllabi and realize: there is NO WAY these things can get done while keeping a normal sleep schedule. Sometimes it just works out that way. Sometimes it's due to laziness, sloppiness, or just bad planning. For me, it's almost always a little bit of all of those things.

This is my 2-part guide to Getting Shit Done, and then Cleaning Yourself Up After. Yes, it’s better to avoid the situation altogether. Yes, this is not always possible. After many years of learning, I’ve learned to be realistic about when assignments are and aren’t salvageable during daylight hours. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.

My first rule: PLAN for whatever you need to do to get it done.

My biggest point is that planning for these situations can help a LOT. Look at your course schedules and see when the big crunch times will happen - that way, if it happens to all fall into several consecutive nights' worth of work (whether by chance or of your own doing) it's not a huge surprise or drag. And as a friend once said, you’re already going to be putting enough stress on your body – why put it in more stress by loading it up with junk food and ignoring the rest? Stocking up on fruits, veggies, snacks like fresh popcorn or sushi (maybe that's just me?) and TONS of water helps. It doesn’t need to be fancy. A few pieces of fruit from the dining hall and air popped popcorn kernels work for me. Exercising regularly  before the week or night of hell helps. Planning out naptimes - even if it's 20 minutes at a time - gives your body some times to rest. Take the next day off from work several days in advance.

Obviously, it bears repeating: if the whole situation can be avoided, that's ideal.

Example: Last week, I had major projects due on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Small victory for me: I made it to the gym the first 3 days of the week! I also was fighting off a hefty cold and knew I needed to at least sleep a few hours a night to avoid that awful situation. I kept myself alive and working through a series of coffee/5 hour maximum energy/20-30 minute nap binges for days at a time, followed by a crash and burn of sleeping all day and then pumping myself full of vitamin C/Airborne when I was awake on the off days. Then I repeated it all for Wednesday-Friday. It totally sucked.

But in the end it would have sucked even more if I hadn't thought it through and just expected work to magically get done during that week. And it was the last week of classes and everyone was experiencing a crunch. I hung out with friends on study dates instead of lingering over meals, and chatted online about project requirements instead of the latest class gossip. Important points here!

Second rule: DO whatever you need to do to get it done. Yeah, it might be easier to treat yourself better throughout the whole process. But in the end, it almost always breaks down because of overcommitment. So first do what you can to keep up, and add in the extras after. Manage what is manageable before overloading yourself. If things don't work out as planned, they didn't work out. Pick up the pieces and keep trucking. Eat when you have to eat. Ignore your inbox (I can't even tell you what a wreck mine is right now), stop taking calls, don't answer text messages. Keep asking yourself: "is the work I'm doing now better than being asleep?" If it's not, go to bed and worry about picking up the pieces in the morning.


(this badly Photoshopped brushwork is a tribute to how pathetic this line up around my bed is)
Powerade, Nyquil (for the cold), green tea chai, clementines, and face lotion: how I prepare

I don't need anyone to tell me this cycle is unhealthy. I sure as heck know. After Thursday's all-out experience (in which I had a Flash project due at 8am Friday, directly after my project due at 4pm Thursday), I am very aware that my body needed to recover. I much more enjoyed Wednesday's sleep-until-11:30,-work-all-day-on-my-Information-Design-project pace. I had that project done during the light of day. It was fantastic! But that schedule is not always realistic and only worked because I thought to take the day off from work (and used up a remaining absence in a course that was meeting that afternoon).

After last week, I treated my body and mind to lots of sleep, vitamins, and healthy food this past weekend. But here I am again, 7 hours away from a 30-page thesis paper due, and the cycle is continuing. The only difference is I know this is going to be one of the last ones of my academic career!

But I digress.

My point is in finding recovery from this awful slough of mistreatment and stress. I am currently working those parts out and trying them in the next two days. I'll be reporting back on them tomorrow, where I'll continue with part 2 of this series.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

change of style


Zoro shoe from irregular choice

Sometimes, I wish I were a hipster so I could wear shoes like this. They look so cozy…


T-minus 11.5 hours until my undergrad thesis is due…

Thursday, December 9, 2010

information design

Just turned in my final Info Design project, where we were assigned to design a booklet on the history of 6 designers (4 from an assigned list, 2 of our own choices) under severe constraints (we were given an assigned length, size, typeface, 2 pre-determined colors only, a specific grid, and set margins). I’m super proud of this!




slightly better quality available at Design History & Innovation on the Behance Network

PDF version will be up someday, I hope.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

17 days!

My friend Zac sent this to me today. Love it!

Only 17 days!…

Monday, December 6, 2010



flickr photo by [Stuck in Customs]

For late night homework/studying:

  • eye drops
  • white noise:
  • big bottle of water
  • snacks (coughsmartfoodcough) (but fruit is good too)
  • trident extra white gum (I like the crunch)
  • earbuds
  • glasses/contact case
  • xacto
  • cutting mat

…those last two might be specific to me and my major!..

Sunday, December 5, 2010

on the classification of holiday snow…

It’s the holiday season!

I am excited.

I have been waiting for this moment for quite some time.

Today I saw it snow, just the tiniest bit, but it snowed!

2010-11-08 15.27.41

Even though we had quite the snowstorm on a Monday a few weeks ago, it was November. It was pre-Thanksgiving. Didn’t count towards the holidays at all, in my opinion. Also – it was the huge, rainy, blizzard-y snow that melts after it falls. Kinda leaned more towards depressing and too early rather than HOLIDAY SEASON.

It’s going to be a good season – I can feel it!

Now…back to my obnoxious amounts of reading and designing for tomorrow!

2010-11-08 15.27.55

Saturday, December 4, 2010

big break

So even though I’m nowhere near finished with everything that’s due at the end of this coming week (the end of the semester!!!), I’ve already begun to compile lists of things to do during the break. I have to stay here until the 21st since I’m a Learning Assistant, so after this week I’ll have 2 weeks of glorious free time all day every day. I’m psyched!

This is my big list of tv shows to start/power through during break! I haven’t had a chance to watch tv much at all this semester, so I can’t wait to zone out and just enjoy some good tv – hope that doesn’t sound TOO awful! :P

  • Weeds seasons 4-6
  • the Dresden Files
  • Ballykissangel (British)
  • Californication
  • Coupling (British)
  • Degrassi
  • Freaks and Geeks
  • True Blood
  • Mad Men
  • Oz (British)
  • The Wire
  • Breaking Bad
  • Veronica Mars
  • Extras (British)
  • Skins (British)

Friday, December 3, 2010

little victories


This semester has been hard. Really, really hard. The (kind of) comforting thing has been that most of my friends here are in the same boat – none of us can believe how difficult and serious this semester has been, but we’re all getting through it together. I’ve never had the luck to share my classes with friends or get to know the people in my classes really well until this semester, and I love every second of it. As one of my friends said to me last night, I feel comfortable talking to any one of the students in my classes – kind of like high school, but without the crappy drama!


my friend Marguerite and I on the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Cruise earlier in the semester.

Even though this semester has been really intense, not always in a good way, I’ve been really lucky to have my friends by my side. It makes such a difference to have a support group there and to be able to compare notes with friends about what we’re going through in our lives – especially being seniors this year. This week has been horribly unproductive, work-wise, for me, but I’ve had a lot of fun with my social life and it’s starting to be time to buckle down and get my crap together.

I was only mildly productive today but I did want to share one last thing. Today I figured out how to make the Windows Media Player controls appear in my taskbar, even though it’s not technically supported in Windows Media Player 12 running on Windows 7. But I made it work!! It was a small victory, but it made me feel awesome! I conquered that. So, that was the most productive part of my morning. Ha. I’ve also started using Pidgin and now feel like I’m getting a nice fresh start with that program. Sometimes, change is nice!

So I guess in conclusion, good luck to anyone reading this who is finishing up their semester. Don’t forget about all of the people who are there to support you when the going gets rough – and cut yourself some slack once in awhile! :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

birthday drinks

Today is my good friend’s 21st birthday! In honor of that I’m posting a holiday drink recipe today: homemade eggnog!

Homemade eggnog is delicious and so much better than the stuff you find in stores. Plus, you can add all sorts of additional ingredients – like rum, brandy, or bourbon. Definitely much better than store bought!

This recipe is reposted from simply recipes – head over there for the original.


photo from flickr (elanaspantry)

Eggnog Recipe

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp each of bourbon and rum or brandy, or to taste (can omit for kid-friendly eggnog)
  • *4 egg whites (optional)

1 In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until they become lighter in color (can whisk by hand or use a mixer for this). Slowly beat in the sugar, whisking until fluffy.

2 Combine the milk, cinnamon, and cloves in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat mixture on medium heat until it is steaming hot, but not boiling.

3 Temper the eggs by slowly adding half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly while you add the hot mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4 Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it begins to thicken slightly, and coats the back of the spoon. It helps to have a candy thermometer, but not necessary; if you have one, cook until the mixture reaches 160°F. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will curdle. (If the mixture does curdle you may be able to save it by running it through a blender.) Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the cloves. Let cool for one hour.

5 Mix in vanilla extract, nutmeg, and bourbon/rum and brandy (feel free to omit for kid-friendly eggnog). Chill.

Optional: Beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add a teaspoon of sugar and continue to beat until they reach stiff peaks. Gently fold into eggnog.

Makes 1 quart. Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

it's the most wonderful time of the year!

...supposedly, at least.

Today it rained in EVERY direction, as hard as humanly possible. So, forgive me if I'm not in the holiday spirit yet! My shoes are still drying out.

This post will be a quick one, since it's only the start of the holiday season! I unfortunately can't access any of the beautiful holiday photos I've been waiting to post, but those will be coming soon. For now, I'll just say happy December 1st and hope your weather is a little better wherever you are! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

bon anniversaire!


image by seadam on flickr

happy 2 years to this blog :) (well, as of yesterday!)

can’t believe it’s been so long!

for your viewing pleasure:

my birthday gift to this blog: 31 days of blogging in december! BRING ON the holidays!

Not much more to say – this is a completely gratuitous post and I need to get back to my homework. Happy almost Friday everyone!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

fall fall fall

fall is…

2010-10-30 10.57.11

long leafy drives…

2010-10-31 09.39.51

delicious lattes…

2010-10-31 09.40.00

(nutella and hazelnut mmm)

2010-11-06 15.11.34

high school football games in new england…

2010-11-06 15.12.16

we won 35-7!…

2010-11-06 19.44.34

bringing a kitten back home to troy!

ok so maybe the last one isn’t fall-specific but I couldn’t resist. Happy November!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


FYI – personal post ahead. Could be a big dosage of ‘I don’t care’ for this post. Up to you. But frankly…it’s my blog anyway!


Pepcid – what my doctor recommends for my hives.

Every year, since at least senior year of HS, I get hives really badly during the last week of October and into November.

I’m prone to hives anyway for little to no reason but this is just bizarre. I’ve experienced hives pretty frequently all my life, but it was mainly anxiety related (just before going onstage, etc). Freshman year of college, I started to get hives several times a week for no apparent reason. It got to the point where I wasn’t able to sleep from the itching unless I was on a double dosage of benadryl. I headed to my doctor and he explained to me that I was experiencing hives not only on the outside of my body, but lining my stomach, intestinal tract, and occasionally my throat as well.

Not good.

The problem is, I was diagnosed with chronic hives. Normally a diagnosis solves most problems – but not in this case. Chronic hives means there is no particular why I get hives.  It’s just unexplained, unknown. I was finally able to link up a few reasons for hives back in my first year of college – staying up too late (although I’ve sort of trained myself out of that); wearing tight pieces of clothing on certain joints (watches, socks with elastic); really dry air in my room. But honestly, that only explains away about 40% of the times I experience hives.

I have no idea about this month-specific weirdness. About 2 years ago, I was convinced for about a week that it was related to eating Halloween candy. It may sound crazy but when you’ve been looking for an explanation for 4+ years, anything starts to sound good.

So anyway, I guess my point is that sometimes you have to live without knowing the answers to things. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out – or maybe it’ll just stop. But for now, I just have to accept that there is no good reason and keep popping that Pepcid AC!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

this is why I miss spain.


Spain Siesta Championship

“A doctor checks as people sleep during the first Siesta Championship in Madrid Thursday. The participants of the siesta contest win points for the first person to fall asleep, the loudest snorer, best original sleeping position and best dressed sleeper. Doctors are present to check if the contestants are really asleep.”


Sunday, September 26, 2010


This is what my alphabet looks like :).


I first read about synesthesia in my 10th grade Science Research class and studied it for 3 years. I never knew there was a name for this – I thought everyone experienced it. Certain school subjects tend to emote colors for me as well – math is red, history is blueblueblue, science is green. Darker colored letters are hard for me to pin down. First letters of a word are black. Double letters in a word are black. Numbers are combos of whatever color the individual numbers are.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

recent projects: advanced typography

roadtrip comp third draft color 2

view full size on flickr

Typographic storyline of a roadtrip I went on in the summer of 2009. Photoblogged here and again here.

Created in Adobe Illustrator CS5. View full sized on flickr!

“selling out”

Well, not really. But sort of.

I’m a Learning Assistant for freshmen residents in the dorms that I live in this year. I put on 5 workshops a semester based around academics with packets of information as takeaway. I create many posters and door tags to advertise for these events, as well as other college and study tip related handout materials for rounds that I complete a few times a week.

Because of this, I spend hours at a time pouring through tons of free font sites ( I’m looking at you) looking for the best flame-themed font for my pizza and wings study skills session (hint: there isn’t one). I take the decision of neon orange or hot pink paper choice for packets very seriously – will pink be too girly? Will orange burn everyone’s eyes out? Does it matter that I used orange on my last flier and there are 3 more of that color on the bulletin board right now? What’s left in the supply closet?

These are the serious design questions I face every day.

While I think it’s (always) super important to focus on design quality in everything I do, I also understand the limitations of design and the audiences I am responsible for. I love spending time typesetting my posters and fliers and creating type hierarchy in my packets. But in the end, it comes down to a fine balance of design and content (not to mention time). My students attend my programs in order to learn the most they can about the transition from high school to college academics – and for the free food, naturally. They are largely engineering or science students. They can’t tell Times New Roman from Georgia and frankly, they probably think Comic Sans is the perfect font choice for anything other than essays.

So while I could probably spend minimal time and effort on my materials, I still choose not to. I certainly don’t spend the same amount of time on (most of) these that I would on my Information Design or Advanced Typography comps – but occasionally I’ll come close. This is where I start thinking about the notion of selling out, or whatever term is appropriate here.

As designers, how much should we play to our audience? When do we decide enough is enough, or minimal effort will slide us by? If we can spend less time on a project, should we? These questions are especially relevant for students, in my opinion.

At the moment, I am not working as a freelance designer, so of course the answer for me is not as economically driven as it may be for those who are. Freelancing artists definitely have another angle to consider – time is money and money is time. I’d like to believe (and think it’s true!) that this is also tempered with a good amount of design consideration, but sometimes a project or project leg has to just be declared done in order to move on and continue your livelihood.

As a full-time student, the answer is a little less clear at times. I am certainly not getting paid monetarily for the work I do, and frankly it’s not even necessary that I “design” my materials for activities outside of classes. But if you follow this train of thought, the fact that I’m a student is even more important than nonpayment – I am paying for an education in this field of study. Shouldn’t I take every opportunity to exercise and train myself in this field? Even if it requires more time on my end, don’t I want to be proud of what I am producing?

It definitely doesn’t hurt to be known as “the EMAC*” who designs all of her materials. In fact, it’s quite flattering. However, it’s a bit like comparing apples to oranges – the other students in my position are not design students and thus don’t face these questions. And in the end, this fact means that designing my materials doesn’t necessarily teach me more or push me about design. But it does make me more aware of the materials I’m producing in “everyday” life, in addition to my design work.

I can’t be the only one who experiences this dichotomy. I’ve often faced the same problem with presentations for classes, fliers for clubs, and report covers. I think it’s enhanced because I am a dual major in arts and not-arts at a primarily engineering school where form is rarely thought about and function rules all. Switching between the two schools of thought can be exhausting and tends to lead me into a haze of perfectionism where no final product is satisfactory to me. It can be frustrating to see the importance of design aesthetics where many don’t see or appreciate the purpose in print design, and that line that we must balance as students occasionally becomes frighteningly hard to see.

Have you ever experienced this as a design student or professional? What about as a non-design student? How do you deal with it, in either situation?

*EMAC = Electronic Media, Arts, and Communications – the graphic arts major at my school. I am concentrating in Graphic Design.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010




picture by Alex Koplin and David Meiklejohn

Great post on LifeHacker today.

Step 1: Identify one thing you do that makes you unhappy. Write it down.

Step 2: Look at what you wrote down. Replace it with something that makes you happy.

Step 3: Repeat one week from now.

This week:

When I procrastinate I am unhappy. It gets me into all sorts of messes and just gives me that sinking feeling in my stomach.

My friends make me happy. I will study with friends instead of procrastinating this week.



Sunday, August 29, 2010

classes start tomorrow



Oh Troy….why do you tempt us so???

Sunday, August 22, 2010

summer lovin’


Last weekend I sort of had my last real days of summer. I mean, yeah, it’s still summer. But life and responsibilities and SCHOOL all start very very soon and so I decided to call those days my last and start looking forward to the fall semester.

This post is a pretty personal one for me – I had a fantastic summer and learned a lot about myself and others, and I don’t want to forget that. I have a few fun fall posts coming up soon but I’d like to close out the summer with this!

..I had a truly amazing summer. I made so many new friends, was constantly surrounded by wonderful people at all of my jobs, and got in a lot of time hanging out with friends from home. It’s been long and not so long, bumpy but smooth, a fun and serious summer. Dorky, maybe. But so true. I learned how to be happy and healthy and independent this summer.

For 3 years, I was with someone who was my rock. He was my pillar, and, a bit unfairly, the person I almost solely depended on for my happiness. Things didn’t work out and it has been so difficult to realize that and deal with it – there wasn’t any one defining thing that pushed either of us away from each other, which makes it harder in my opinion.

I also lived with two very close friends for two years in an apartment until this summer. Unfortunately, the living situation we were in did not bring out the best in any of our personalities and at the end of 2009 I decided to apply for the Learning Assistant position I have now and move back onto campus for my final year. The perks for this job are great (free housing!) but I also decided it was time for my next challenge. I really needed to get out of the negative environment we had created and start fresh. Meeting new people and trying new things is part of that.

This summer has slowly rebuilt my happiness with myself, and my respect and love for the people who surround me every day of my life. I learned that living alone does not have to be lonely – I just had to look for and make the opportunities to bring people into my life who could remedy that loneliness. Working 3 jobs this summer and living alone in a mostly-empty dorm could have been an awful, depressing experience. But instead it was warm, exciting, fun and helped me meet and get closer to some of my favorite people right now!

Self-fulfillment and actualization is a great theme to start the year on. Some links I really like on these topics:

11 things to do (and not do) when you’re burned out
You Have Not Walked In Their Shoes
Do What Makes You Happy
2 Ways You Think Yourself Unhappy (and 10 Things to Do About It)
16 First Steps to Creating The Life You Want From Some of the World's Best Bloggers
Bruce Mao's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
How To Turn A Creative Brainstorm Into A Completed Project

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

daily dose of happiness

what's been making me smile these days...

string cheese

finally being old enough to be on a first name basis with my professors

it makes me feel respected and validated as a student in my major!

♥ the first time you notice an acquaintance is now someone you call your friend :)

♥ eminem's new album...still.

♥ travel opportunities (here's to many this coming year)

♥ giving people study abroad advice

it gives me an excuse to reminisce!

♥ NEON yellow nails.

Monday, August 9, 2010



I mentioned awhile back that I was helping out at a Creative Writing camp for kids for a week earlier this summer. I’m not sure if I mentioned also though that I’ve been doing a workshop twice a week this summer for inner-city kids at the Boys and Girls Club with a few other students from RPI. I’ve worked with kids before, but just barely. It’s always been a pretty low-key interaction, or just long enough ago where I don’t remember much. In Spain I taught English to 3 girls for a few months with a friend, a gig brought to us by our Business professor. It was pretty easy and I mostly supervised homework, so I don’t really count that. Not to mention I was horribly awkward what with my lack of experience and expertise in the Spanish language!

This week is my last week with the workshop at the Boys and Girls Club. To be honest it’s been a huge struggle to find the energy for the four of us to keep going each week. The students are hostile (I mean, we’re teaching them math on computers. In the summer. Right after lunch. Right before pool/outdoors time. I really don’t blame them!). The computers rarely if ever work consistently. The building is not air conditioned and 10 computers generates a LOT of heat throughout the day. None of us have great experience working with kids – collectively, we probably have an almost complete knowledge but it’s a stretch.

So it surprises me that I’ll really miss it after this week. I’ve taken on the same job for the fall and although I’m looking forward to it, one of our group of student teachers is returning to Singapore from her study abroad at RPI and I’m really going to miss her. The other two…I’m not sure if they’ll be back. The particular facility we were at was hard to handle in the summer – I can only imagine what it’ll be like in the fall with the added load of courses and social commitments.

Over these past few weeks I’ve learned that inspiration can come from the most random sources. I learned so much from these programs I’ve been involved in and the people I’ve met as a result. During Creative Writing, the kids constantly surprised and delighted me with everything from their passion for reading and blunt observations about each other.

When you think about, it’s a rare thing for college students to interact with children, especially children who are just starting to really develop their personalities before becoming teenagers. There’s such a huge generational gap that I never considered – unless you are specifically teaching children in large groups while in college, or happen to have a much younger sibling and are extremely connected to your family still…there is a whole generation of beings that we don’t know. We don’t get their pop culture references. We don’t know what gadgets and toys they like. We don’t understand their senses of humor sometimes, or what they think is “cool” or not.

I hope that I can always keep this in mind and work on lessening that gap for myself. The kids I’ve been teaching for the past several weeks are all unique individuals. As much as it’s been a challenge, it’s been the kind of challenge that’s really stretched me to the limits and discover things about myself and these kids that I never knew. I used to think working with kids was one of the scariest things I’d ever do – what the heck do I know about it! I’m awkward in real life with adults -  how would it be better with kids?? But really? It’s been fantastic! It’s not a mystery anymore. I’ve done it and enjoyed it and will keep teaching in the fall. As cheesy as it is….I can’t wait!

The cold weather can wait though ;).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

rotw: easy blender gazpacho


Yum yum. I’ve been on a raw-food kick, about 70/30 raw food to not the last few weeks. I’m working on a post about that, actually!

Anyway, ever since I got a fantastic blender from Macy’s, I’ve been fixing smoothies every morning for breakfast. All sorts of delicious combos of raw fruit + almond milk. But until now I’ve limited the blender to only smoothie production…what a waste!

All of a sudden I craved gazpacho the other day. Perfect! No cooking involved, minimal ingredients, super easy preparation (just blend it all and go). And healthy to boot!

After much searching online and through my notes from Spain (totally disorganized, surprise surprise) I managed to find a really amazing recipe. I’ve modified it a bit to be more friendly towards what I had at the time and I must say, it’s delicious and SUPER easy. Give it a go!

The Gazpacho Variations from the LA Times

Andalusian Garden Gazpacho adapted from the LA Times

makes about 2 servings

Note: The gazpacho should be the consistency of light cream. If it is to be served for sipping, thin with additional water.

1 slice bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup cold water, plus extra to soak the bread, divided 
2-3 tomatoes or several cherry tomatoes (1/2 container or about 1.5 cups) 
1/2 clove garlic minced
Small pieces of green bell pepper 
A few squirts of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 small white onion, finely chopped

1. Break the crustless bread into chunks and soak it in water & about 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar to cover until softened.

2. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces (for cherry tomatoes, just cut in half).

3. Add all ingredients including bread to blender. Blend until smooth. If there is trouble blending (mixture is too thick/not wet) add a bit more olive oil. If the mixture looks too thin, you can leave it be or add a few more tomato pieces.

Serve and enjoy! Told you it was easy. :)

daily dose of happiness

short but sweet list. much more coming this week- stay tuned!

in the meantime…

things i loved this week/end:

my job!

i truly love it. :) i will be so sad to cut back hours once classes start!!

♥ Top Gear on Netflix instant!

♥ late night walks across campus – barefoot :)

♥ hanging out with old friends

♥ hanging out with new friends

♥ getting a paycheck!!! never gets old.

♥ the cooler weather (although it seems to be heating up again…)

♥ long, open, interesting conversations

♥ me time at the coffee shop after early days at work

♥ iced coffee at said coffee shop. YUM.

IMG_2310edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros, with old friends last week-ish

Thursday, August 5, 2010

things i’m loving: glitter nails!

Loving these nails ever since I saw the last photo on Gala’s latest fall fashion post.


Lavender 3D nails from Cut Out + Keep

3255699140_6eb1d15494_bSilver Glitter Nails from Flickr user zoebateman


Summer 2010 Nails from Jenny Sokol’s blog


And of course, glitter tipped nails from Gala’s fashion post

I’m going to be honest, long nails (fake or real) creep me the heck out. I’ve felt this way most of my life, to the point where having long nails makes me really uncomfortable and twitchy feeling. I think it comes from playing violin most of my life, starting when I was 4 and the teacher would clip my nails for me if they were too long.


That being said, I would totally consider growing out my nails a little bit just to make these glitter nails work! So adorable. I need to make this happen, and soon!

Fall fashion post coming later this weekend – in the meantime, keep looking for more things I’m loving post in the next few days!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

weekend plans…do you have them?

It is FINALLY the weekend, after one of the longest weeks I’ve experienced this summer!

Anyone else feel this way? Something about this week just stuck to me…the days were too long, I was too tired, the weather was just blah. It was such an odd feeling.

But now it’s the weekend!



Painting my nails like Color Me Katie’s :)

♥ Listening to Gala's Love & Sequins Podcast #7 & #9


♥ Smoothies and lots of writing at my favorite MochaBlend Cafe

♥ Hunting down a cheap blender at Goodwill (a must!)

♥ Making Spain connections for my Fulbright app & research project

♥ Cleaning out my closet & making some fresh outfits!


♥ Loading my FAVE new music onto my mp3 player!

♥ Imogen Heap – Speak for Yourself

♥ Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – Up From Below
(fyi for those in the Capital Region, they’ll be at Northern Lights on Tuesday!)

♥ Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion


Hope your weekend is fantastic! I’m definitely planning on mine being awesome. :D

Thursday, July 22, 2010

a fruit fly just flew into my nose

Things you might like to check out this week:

How adorable are Color Me Katie’s fingernail polishes?? It makes me so happy! Definitely painting my nails this weekend.

Gala Darling is having a half price sale on her Love & Sequins podcast until Monday! Go go go!!

Consider What Your "Top Idea" is Making You Do article from Lifehacker…so true, and so interesting! A good way to take your thoughts into perspective. I need to start remembering this!

P. S. I Made This DIY Projects…perfect for the weekend and some wardrobe updating.

♥ (If you’re local) Opening day at the Saratoga racetrack on Friday! Craziness. So fun but not looking forward to the traffic these next several weeks! Although I’ll admit it, I love being a local :)

That’s it for now…time to get to bed already! Weekly goals update coming soon…

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Goals for the Week

Well, since I don’t have a recipe of the week post ready yet, I figured I’d give myself something else to do: goals for the week. Sunday nights are generally pretty awesome/depressing for me for a number of reasons – I love the feeling of finishing up a good weekend and getting ready to face something new, but I’m never ready for a new week to begin! It always feels like I still need some time to relax and rejuvenate…and most of all, plan for the coming madness of the work week.

So with that in mind, I’m trying a new series where I work on productivity, goal-setting, organization, and all of the goodness that a Sunday should entail. I’m planning to post some awesome links and resources for myself and everyone reading this, and hoping that this and my weekly goals will give me a decent list of things to focus on and accomplish this week.

My goals are all pretty personal rather than work-related, for several reasons. My job is pretty awesome (well, jobs really) BUT it’s really based around working with day-to-day variances rather than weekly goals. I’m also going to be working a lot less during the school year with this job, with different responsibilities (summer program marketing rather than planning and execution). And most of all, I just really need to focus in on my own life and its workflow.

IMG_1391Screw productivity. 

This week the focuses will be lingering things I need to take care of, and establishing new routines.


  • Call my credit card company and get a new card. I’ve been needing to do this for awhile; I need to settle a dispute with a company in Spain and I’ve been avoiding this because I know it’ll be a long call. I just need to get it over with already!
  • Cash my workshop paycheck. I’m always hard-pressed in finding time to go to the bank and end up putting it off for weeks. Trying to nip that in the bud!
  • Go grocery shopping and prepare lunch for the week.
  • Go to the gym 3 times this week. I really need to get into this habit. I’m ok with going on walks after work, but I need to add in a more intense workout to my routine.
  • Practice yoga every day. I was doing this for about 2 weeks in the end of June and I felt FANTASTIC – just doing a few sun salutations in the morning makes such a difference. But then, just like every other routine I tend to try to start, I stopped.
  • Take a vitamin every day. Have tea every day. Both are good for me. I have an excess of both. Need to use them and benefit!
  • Lastly…clean out my inbox and tabs. My reading list in Chrome has grown to incomprehensible sizes…same with my inbox. I really want to work on implementing a system that works and manage everything as it comes, rather than let it build up and deal with it later. This will be just the first of many steps I need to take!


  • Smart Wallpapers for High Productivity via Lifehacker. Love the dual monitor version!
  • Daily Burn. I use this to log my workouts and weight daily – it helps me keep track of what I’m doing and not slack off! (Well, most of the time at least). Plus it’s fun to have a place to look at everything you’ve been doing.
  • Healthy. Happy. Life. Vegan food blog. This website is AMAZING – there are sooo many great recipes for smoothies, lunches, dips, anything and everything. Such a good, healthy recipe resource.
  • How to be Positive on Social Networks This link has been making its way around every site. It’s not too relevant to this week’s topic but I think it’s a really great read either way – there are a lot of interesting points and I have been trying to implement this without realizing it since May!
  • Gmail Notes helps you remember what’s important in your saved inbox messages.
  • Along those lines…the Trusted Trio of Gmail labels. And Gmail as a journal – setting up labels and filters to record notes.
  • Lastly, one of the most inspiring blog posts I have ever read about organizing your life, Gala's Getting Organized for 2010 post. This is going to be referenced again and again – it’s so all-encompassing and full of amazing ideas!

What are your goals for the week? Day? End of summer? I can’t believe it’s already the middle of July – time to make progress on summer goals!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

rotw: garlicky popcorn with nutritional yeast


New recipe + new look! I’m forcing myself not to change the layout again for the next few months at least. WHEW.

Anyway, it’s been a crazy crazy week. I’ve been helping out with the Creative Writing day camp for 9-13 year olds here, and MAN is it an experience! This was my first time working with a large group of kids and I’ve loved almost every minute of it ;). They’re so freaking adorable!

This week I have a recipe for popcorn with an ingredient I’ve been wanting to try for awhile: nutritional yeast! I finally found some at a small health food store near me.

I make popcorn a lotttttt. It makes a fantastic snack and it’s so easy to make. I always air pop or stove pop my popcorn, for several reasons:

1. It’s just as easy and fast as microwave popcorn, but with no added chemicals!

2. You can add anything you want to it – yum.

3. It’s WAY cheaper. A decent-sized bag of generic popcorn kernels is $1.99 at my local grocery store, while a box of 3 microwave popcorn bags is $2.99.

Not convinced yet? Try this recipe! YUM.

Garlicky Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast

adapted from Mac & Cheese (the blog not the food!)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
cracked black pepper

1. Add vegetable oil to 4-quart lidded pot, then add popcorn kernels. They should just cover the bottom of the pan.

2. Cook over medium-high heat, shaking pan occasionally to move kernels around and avoid burning. When popping subsides to about 3 seconds between pops, remove from heat.

3. Pour popcorn into a large bag along with the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Shake the bag to distribute the ingredients, then pour the popcorn out into a serving bowl.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

low maintenance


So, I’m starting this new feature called recipe of the week in an attempt to fix the “to food blog or not to food blog” problem I have! I’ve just moved back into the dorms for the summer/next year due to one of my jobs, so I’ll be having less time to cook (and much less convenience in cooking, unfortunately) but that won’t keep me away completely! So I give you – recipe of the week, week #1. Look for this every Sunday(ish)!

One of my absolute favorite cookbooks is Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. I love cooking – I consider myself a good cook and am always learning. But it’s really great to have a resource like this book for the simple things, like roasting chicken or making soup. Those are the things that have a million recipes online or in books – everyone has a family variation or preference. Having a starting point (like the recipes in this book) is important! So go forth and cook, my friends :).


mark bittman’s fettuccine alfredo

note: i added in frozen peas and chopped spinach since i had it laying around the apartment. this recipe does well on its own, or with any added vegetable or meat.

makes: about 4 servings
time: 30 minutes

salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound long pasta, like linguine or spaghetti, or any other pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste

Melt the butter gently. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add cook pasta until tender, but not mushy. While the pasta cooks, whisk 2 eggs with 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 cup grated Parmesan in a warmed bowl. Sprinkle with pepper. When the pasta is cooked, toss it with the cheese-egg-cream mixture, adding a little of the cooking water if necessary to keep the mixture moist. Drizzle with the butter, toss well, and serve immediately.





Wednesday, June 23, 2010

insanely crazy busy day

In the midst of all this chaos (workshop planning, working 2.5 jobs, and trying to manage 2 courses) I was replying to a friend’s post on my Facebook wall and it hit me:

I am talking to a girl who lives in England, who I met over a year ago. A girl who I was best friends with for 4 days in our adorable little hostel in Portland, OR after I took a roadtrip with an almost complete stranger across the USA. A girl who I haven’t seen in almost a year now (more than a year?), who has nothing other than the thread of our shared hostel experience (and bunk beds!) connecting us.

Isn’t that amazing? I am so lucky to meet the people I have so far.

Now back to my reply :).


Monday, June 21, 2010

sometimes all it takes is a step back to be inspired…

Tired and hot and grumpy. Today I ate too much, exercised too little, and accomplished nothing. I spilled everything everywhere. I am cranky with a capital C!

My entire life has revolved around writing for the past 4-5 months and I have done everything I can do to avoid doing so! I found this fantastic quote via Gala Darling today, and I think it describes my entire day/year/life pretty well:

“Usually, writers will do anything to avoid writing. For instance, the previous sentence was written at one o’clock this afternoon. It is now a quarter to four. I have spent the past two hours and forty-five minutes sorting my neckties by width, looking up the word “paisley” in three dictionaries, attempting to find the town of that name on The New York Times Atlas of the World map of Scotland, sorting my reference books by width, trying to get the bookcase to stop wobbling by stuffing a matchbook cover under its corner, dialing the telephone number on the matchbook cover to see if I should take computer courses at night, looking at the computer ads in the newspaper and deciding to buy a computer because writing seems to be so difficult on my old Remington, reading an interesting article on sorghum farming in Uruguay that was in the newspaper next to the computer ads, cutting that and other interesting articles out of the newspaper, sorting—by width—all the interesting articles I’ve cut out of newspapers recently, fastening them neatly together with paper clips and making a very attractive paper clip necklace and bracelet set, which I will present to my girlfriend as soon as she comes home from the three-hour low-impact aerobic workout that I made her go to so I could have some time alone to write.” — P. J. O’Rourke

Ayup. When I was in high school, I wrote like crazy. Senior year especially – I wrote in my journal, in my blog, I wrote poems and lyrics and short stories. I was so into writing and somehow it just flowed back then. I suspect it had something to do with the fact that I had a gigantic crush on a writer at the time and wanted to impress him in our Creative Writing class. But hey ho, it worked and I wrote more and he broke up with me after 4 days but that gave me even more writing material! I wish I could draw from that pool of motivation right now.


Anywho, this is really a completely unproductive post (hey see a theme here??) but my big project for the summer can be summed up in one word: SPAIN. I am attempting to get all of my memories in one place, be it writings or notes or ticket stubs or photos. Brochures, menus, maps, phrases, receipts….everything needs to be organized. It is a mess and I am attempting a book (yes! a book! more on that later) so I would very much like things to be neat and organized or at least in a folder shoved in the same drawer.

I unfortunately did not keep a completely coherent journal in Spain so I’ve been trying to freewrite memories 10-15 minutes every day, we will see how that goes over the next few weeks. After that I’ll need to type them up and then re-work/write passages that make sense and connect everything with events and humor and notes I took in my research book over there. It will be fun and interesting and frankly a little bit depressing every time I remember something I briefly forgot. I still can’t get over this whole “once in a lifetime experience” thing and keep thinking that come fall I will be back in my room with the cold marble floors and I have a good Spanish breakfast, say hasta luego to Loli, and amble off to class with my study abroad besties, planning our next long weekend adventure. Le sigh. I will be inconsolable once the one-year mark comes around.

I am so for sure applying for the Fulbright. My topic is going to be bitchin’. Enough babbling for now though. Time for bed!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

oh dear

current projects:

  • finishing 3 back essays by thursday
  • writing an extra credit Language & Culture essay for thursday
  • 2 research papers – thursday
  • interviews for Language & Culture research paper/senior STS thesis

non-school related current projects!:

  • watching criminal minds like it’s my job!
  • researching fantastically awesome inspiring people, like matthew gray gubler, mindy kaling, bruce mau, and more
  • reading through my pile of books (awesome YA fiction I haven’t kept up with and books like Never Eat Alone, On Writing Well, and Will Write For Food)
  • listening to classics on free audiobook while i design
  • catching up on spanish – watching CSI: Miami dubbed, Pasapalabra (I MISS IT!), and reading Gabriel García Márquez in spanish
  • planning my next travel adventure! deciding on where to go for the summer…midwest roadtrip, northeast roadtrip, or west coast trip again (if i find a cheap ticket!)
  • making the perfect iced coffee


Saturday, April 24, 2010

california dreaming

Between all the damage I have been inflicting upon my poor electronics (water spillage, mysterious start up files missing, you name it), I’m lucky to be online at all right now! And after looking back at all of my photos from a recent trip, I’m feeling even more lucky.

I was in LA visiting my little sister a few weekends ago. She’s doing an internship out there – she’s so glamorous! She and I had a fantastic time! And best of all, she is such a chill person, it really got me ready to deal with all of the stress of finishing the last semester of my senior year. Insanity, controlled. (Mostly.)


IMG_1850 IMG_1765



and because I have to…


how could I not?! It’s the view from my sister’s window…so cool!


Sunday, April 18, 2010



DSC08792  Italy 083     

(reminder to self)

I was in Italy several months ago.

Spain before and after that.

L.A. last weekend.

Sun and sand and family.

Old (and new) friends and fun.

Ok…my life is now back in perspective.

It hasn’t been that long of a semester after all.