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Reintroduction

9 Jan

Well, hello again! You might have noticed it’s been a while since I was here. That’s because grad school has completely consumed my life, what with homework and internship and class. Not to mention meeting all my classmates and getting adjusted to all the wonderful things DC has to offer. Then there’s my addiction to Pinterest and Observando…you get the idea. My focus hasn’t been here in quite some time. I’m attempting to get back on track now. Wouldn’t you know that I save this goal for the last week of my break, rather than trying to get back into the blogging habit during my three weeks of vacation. C’est la vie, I guess. Anyway, I’m slowly going back and trying to recreate posts for the last few months. This might seem like a ridiculous goal, but I am nothing if not OCD. You’ll see posts appear that were supposed to go up many weeks and months ago, but for whatever reason were neglected. So, my life is retrospectively being posted here.

As I said, I have one week left before I go back for my second semester. I’m hoping to get out of the house a bit and do some more exploring and touristy things in the city, such as museums and galleries, but the weather isn’t exactly cooperating. It snowed here today – can you believe it? – after such a lovely, warm weekend. I don’t think that most of it stuck, though, but there is a bit of accumulation. I think I’m trained to stay inside and not go anywhere when it snows, thanks to my dad’s belief that I’m incapable of driving or being away from the house in the snow. I don’t really have anywhere to be, anyway, so it’s a good day to sit around and catch up on blogging.

In the meantime, I’m excited for the LSU game tonight! I’m a bit conflicted because part of it will overlap the premier of Castle tonight, too. I can’t pick which I’d rather watch, because I love them both (although Castle will be online later…) Anyway, I’m having a toasty day in the house preparing for some major TV-watching tonight!

This is What my Heart Looks Like:

25 Nov

Something I’m thankful for this year: the opportunity to create art again. It’s something I love, but have dreadfully neglected over the past two years. It makes a world of difference when you don’t have the studio space so close!

Stuff I Want Wednesday

7 Sep

I don’t remember how much I’ve talked about Full Moon on here before, but here’s a basic summary: My senior year of college, I was a member of a secret society at school that pulled pranks and made mischief on the campus. There were no boys or booze allowed, so what else were we going to do? Some people thought it was a terrible thing, but they completely missed the point of the tradition: to have fun and cause a little excitement on campus.

Anyway, that being said, I really, really need this pillow now. It even glows in the dark! If I had the money, I would buy one for myself and everyone who was in FM my year. I really need this, like yesterday.

Find it here.

Stuff I Want Wednesday

17 Aug

Seriously. SERIOUSLY. How have I lived my entire life without pie chart sticky notes?????? Oh my gosh, I need these IMMEDIATELY.

Find them here.

Lifelong Learning

11 Aug

Because education shoudn’t just be found in a classroom. Eighteen ways to educate yourself every day. See the original post here.

1. Watch a TED talk every day.

“Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” These are the kind of bright ideas that I would like to fill my head with.

2. Read a random article of interest from www.howstuffworks.com every day.

They are quick, easy, informative, and give you a glimpse of a subject that you may decide to do more research on later!

A lovely reader recommended the podcasts “Stuff you should know” and “Stuff mom never told you” which can be found on the website.

3. Read for half an hour every day before bed.

This is such a monumental suggestion. The habit of reading for 30 minutes every day can really kick start your goal of “getting back into reading” and of course educating yourself as well. 30 minutes is not too hard to set aside at the end of the day. Just get yourself into bed 30 minutes earlier if you have to. If you read for 30 minutes every night you should be able to get through at least one book every two weeks. That’s 26 books a year (approximately). With this kind of reading rapport you are bound to make a sizable dent into your reading list.

4. Learn more about your job.

Focus more at work. Take the time to really understand why you do the things you do at work, instead of simply going through the motions. Even if this is a job you have been at for years, there is more to discover. Do some research on the company you work for, where did they come from? And what do they really do? There are great opportunities for growth and learning even in our sometimes boring 9-5 desk jobs. Although it may seem that you are just on the other end of a desk, your clients see you as an expert in your field. So make sure you are one!

5. Make learning something you do for “fun”.

Well, it should already be fun that you are taking the time to invest in yourself and learning more about your world – but you know how you could make it more fun? By getting other people involved (yay for them ;) ). You could watch documentaries with your partner or work on puzzles with your children, play trivial pursuit with your family, or discuss new and fresh topics with your friends.

6. Work on a puzzle every day.

This could be jigsaw puzzles, riddles, math puzzles etc. Anything that requires you to practice your mental acrobatics. You can buy simple “Train your brain” books from your local bookstore, that have a puzzle a day to make things really easy for you!

7. Read classics.

Something I try to force myself to do is to read books that are actually a little bit challenging – for the purpose of not only being “well read” but also having an opportunity to expand my vocabulary. Classics epitomize english language at it’s finest. I’m not saying they are always a joy to read, but boy do I feel proud of myself when I finish one.

8. Play www.freerice.com for a few minutes every day.

Work on your vocabulary whilst simultaneously feeding the hungry! You may pass GO. You may collect $200. The great thing about playing this every day is that they tend to repeat words, so you really start getting used to remembering new words that you were not initially used to.

9. Learn a new word every day.

Most of the online dictionaries have a “Word a day” feature that you can subscribe to by e-mail, or simply check online. Learn a new word every day, and make it your intention to use that word 3 times in your day.

10. Watch Documentaries.

Watching documentaries has never been easier! You can watch them on TV, and even on youtube. Sometimes I just type in a subject I am interested in and then “part 1″ and see what I can find. It’s also fun to watch documentaries on things you have no prior knowledge or real interest in.

One of my commenters has recommended BBC documentaries (I agree), in particular Planet Earth, and Wild China. National geographic has some pretty spectacular documentaries too.

I recommend Zeitgeist (you can also watch it on youtube). My boyfriend showed me this documentary and I seriously watched the whole thing with my eyes wide and my mouth open. It was truly life enhancing.

11. Follow some interesting blogs.

Find some bloggers that inspire you and fill your mind with bright ideas and thoughts, and follow them. Another option is to subscribe to a magazine that really fascinates you.

12. Take a class.

What better way to affirm to yourself that you are educating yourself – than to take an actual class? Find a topic that you wouldn’t mind learning more about, and register!

13. Learn a new language.

Are there any languages that you have been interested in learning? Well, why not start now! Take a class, get private lessons, watch videos online – whatever it is, find time in your life to immerse yourself in this new pursuit!

14. Take up a new hobby / put more effort into your current hobby.

I think everybody should have a hobby. Something that you can really throw yourself into. That you do just for fun, that makes you happy, that improves some aspect of yourself, and something you can commit to. If you can’t think of one – create one. There are plenty of hobbies out there. Pick one. Picking them is easy. Staying committed is hard. And even though hobbies are “Fun”, a degree of commitment is required if you ever plan to see some kind of result. Create a schedule in your week to really commit to your new hobby – a certain number of times a week, a  couple of hours a day – it really is up to you. Learn all about your new hobby, both the theory and the application.

15. Try new recipes.

You could buy a new cook book, subscribe to a cookery magazine, or even browse the miracle that is the internet. To make this fun, you could have themes and goals each week, like “eating healthy”, raw food, desserts, smoothies, appetizers, main courses, salads, fruits etc.

16. Practice memory games.

It’s one thing to stuff your head with all this information, its something completely different to access this information again when you really want it. No genius is considered a genius if he can’t remember what it is that he knows. By working with your memory, you can work on your ability to keep your new knowledge available for you to retrieve it.

17. Read the headlines.

My parents read the headlines every day. My mom says that I shouldn’t leave the house without having some clue of what’s going on in the world. I haven’t really implemented this much in my life yet – sometimes I just feel like the news is just so overwhelming – I don’t even know where to start (Does anyone else feel like this?!). I guess that’s why she suggested to “READ THE HEADLINES”.

I don’t think there can be anything wrong with knowing a little bit about what’s going on in the world.

18. Whenever you are making a trip somewhere, or doing something new – take the time to learn a little bit about it.

If you are ever stuck for new things to learn, this is a great way to give you some ideas. Use your life as an inspiration. If you are planning on going to a new city for the long weekend – learn about it. If you meet a new friend who is a wine merchant, learn all about being a wine merchant.

At first, I sometimes felt like I was stuck for new things to learn – which to me now feels totally ridiculous because is there really anything I couldn’t learn more about? But over time, after implementing many of these techniques, I find that my brain automatically gives me new topics to learn about. It is just INTERESTING!

And one day you are going to be able to talk about these things in discussions, and in your own mind you are going to be thinking “Wow.”

I remember a couple of years ago I had read a LOT of information about blue-whale attacks, their anatomy, their physiology, and how they ingest and digest their prey. A few months later, lo and behold – a girl in my class randomly said “Hmm I wonder what happens if you got eaten by a blue whale…”

Ah, yes. My time had come.

And for further education:

19. Discover what you may stumble upon when you StumbleUpon!

I don’t know how I could forget this little goldmine. I use it all the time and I love it!

20. Wikipedia

You can browse random articles on wikipedia, or you could use it as a great starting point for your own private nerdy research in an area of your choice! Awesome.

21. Play agoogleaday.com

I have not used this yet. It was a suggestion from a reader, but it looks fun!

Ten Things Tuesday – May 24

24 May

Ten things I need for my new apartment in DC:

1. Sofa. I need a good, comfy one that I can relax in but that also provides plenty of seating for friends and guests. I’m going to be very busy and very tired in grad school, and I will need a good comfy couch.

2. Microwave. For heating up all those inevitable Lean Cuisine dinners.

3. Dining room table and chairs. What’s the use in cooking when you don’t have anywhere proper to sit and eat? Sitting on the couch and eating in front of the TV is always an option, sure, but it’s just not the same as having an actual table. Besides, how will I be able to cook for friends without a table?

4. Desk. I have a large corner desk in my room right now, but I have a feeling I’ll need something smaller to fit into my room wherever I end up living. I’d like to have a desk area specifically set up for my computer, printer, and other related things so I can have designated space to study and work.

5. Plates, bowls, cups, etc. Not like I need a whole large set or anything, but at least something so that I can cook for myself.

6. A walk-in closet. This isn’t a deal-breaker, necessarily, but it would be wonderful to have all that storage space. Anyone who’s seen my closet knows what a pack rat I am when it comes to clothes. I need somewhere that I can organize everything where it can be seen and used. A large closet space is a must for me, especially since I won’t have the option of coming home to switch out my summer and winter clothes as often as I’m used to.

7. Small kitchen appliances. Blender, toaster, coffee pot. Nothing fancy, just the basics. I would, however, love to have a good mixer so I can bake.

8. Pots and pans. I love to cook, but I have nothing of my own to actually use. Everything I’ve been using belongs to my parents, of course. It’s time I got my own.

9. Spices. There’s nothing better to make a meal go from bland to wow than spices. I need a whole variety so I can really enjoy the food I make.

10. Bathroom storage. I have an entire bathroom to myself, and I have yet to master the art of great, compact bathroom storage. It’s a constant problem, and will become even worse if I end up sharing a bathroom with someone (which is likely).

Movin’ on Up

23 May

Amanda is moving this week to start her fieldwork for occupational therapy. She’s spending the first three months in Hilton Head, then the next three months in Nashville. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her, although it’s just going to be for a few months before I move. I’ve taken the day off work today to help her pack and get organized. I love packing – it’s kind of a pathetic thing to love, but it’s somehow relaxing. I can spend hours doing that and not get tired. It’s a great way to pass the time. It’s weird to think that Amanda’s already through two years of grad school and moving on to do her fieldwork. Where has all that time gone? I know that two years really isn’t that much time, but it’s just gone by so fast!

I’ve spent most of my day in her room, helping her pack up her life into boxes, wrapping pictures and keepsakes, and entertaining her new puppy. It’s been such a great, bittersweet day. It’s really gotten me thinking about my own move, coming up here in a few months. So far I don’t have anywhere to live, but I’m looking. I’m already starting to think about the things I’ll take with me, and the things I’ll leave behind. This move is a more permanent one, because I’m actually moving into an apartment this time, rather than a dorm. It could potentially be home for a few years. That’s kind of a weird and scary thought – that I’m growing up, ready for my own place, with my own grown-up stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so ready for that. Living at home has been nice for a while, but it’s definitely time for a change. A more permanent, more risky change.

I hope I can go down to Hilton Head sometime this summer to see Amanda. It’s going to be tough packing all my stuff, looking for apartments, and traveling to see all my friends before I go. I don’t know how I’ll manage it all. Especially since I need to be saving money, and you can guess how that goal is going…

Amanda and I are planning to see Bridesmaids sometime tomorrow, in the midst of all the packing and farewells. I’ve already seen it, and it was hysterical! Really, if you haven’t seen it by now, I highly suggest it. I knew Amanda would really like it, too. She’s finally moving on Thursday, and I’ll help her with packing again tomorrow. It’s nice to have a four-day weekend! I’m just glad that this isn’t a very busy week at work for me right now, so I can spend this extra time helping a friend!