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! :)