Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Term Down...

...one to go! Well, one more left to register for, that is.

I'm registered for classes for my final fall term as an undergrad here at Pitt! Which is a final something, so I'll take it!

That I only have one more year left is finally sinking in. I haven't had the greatest time as a college student (though it's been primarily the institution of college itself rather than the people and things that I've been involved with on campus) and I can't wait to move on to -- yep, more school! There's something encouraging about graduation, even if I'll just be turning around a week later and coming back to (hopefully) start grad school. Regardless of how things work out, if they go as planned, if not, if I'm still in school for one more year, if not, it feels good to put something in the complete pile.

I'll be taking two classes in the summer (Educational Psychology and Women in Literature) followed by a fall of:
Emergence of Modern America: Literature from 1860-1914

Social Foundations of Education


Science Fiction Literature

Junior Seminar (Utopian/Dystopian Literature)

Fun fact: Taking four intense literature courses involves staying up at all hours and falling asleep in the pages of four simultaneous novels per week. Clearly I've learned and have taken this number down to three -.-

But honestly, I'm looking forward to these new classes, as I always do. Though I'm sure after 10 weeks of these classes I'll get tired of them too, but a change of pace is always invigorating. Except for the math. Math is never invigorating.

And interestingly enough, rather than senioritis, I've got a case of "gotta-get-this-done-all-NOW!-so-maybe-I-can-just-graduate-today" fever. Realistic, no, but it's gotten me out of procrastinating for the remainder of this semester (though I will say that I can't wait for summer to start so I can watch Supernatural and play Fallout 3 uninterrupted :D).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

The Blogcademy
Planning a trip to NYC with Mum. Gram's never been on a plane and after years of trying to talk her into it we've done it! The last time I was there it was only briefly and I feel like all of our time was spent waiting in line for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. So I'm counting this as my real first time :) Any suggestions of must-do/see things?

Thunderstorms! I feel like its been so long since we've had one, and the smell and look and feel of things are all very refreshing and spring. Not so much a fan of the hail that I got stuck in and man jeans getting soaked through and plastered to my thighs, but I'm trying to stay positive here.

♥ I love my Kindle dearly - it made my 24 hours on a plane last summer fly by without shoving an entire library in my carry-on - but nothing beats real, live, books. Believe it or not, after being a college student for 3 years, I first set foot into the campus library yesterday. Honestly, I usually end up across the street at the Carnegie which is more novel-esque books, but when term papers came calling, I had a "duh" moment and finally ended up in Hillman. Regardless of which library it is, nothing compares to holding a bound book in your hands, stretching up on your toes to reach the top shelf, and having a due date for a little extra motivation.

little loves
emails from lovely readers ♥ friends who cook amazing food and send it your way ♥ b&b confirmation for Gettysburg! ♥ old hardcover books ♥ being ahead of schedule ♥ mint tea ♥ breaking out the flip flops (nevermind that I had just put away my snowboots the day before and lo' and behold, here I am two days later with the boots out again...) ♥ steak! ♥ the soundtrack to Lost ♥ William Blake

What have you been loving this week?

Monday, March 21, 2011

30 Days of Lists: Words That Are Hard to Spell

Whew! I've been away all week with some family business come up, and some subsequent school work to catch up on but the hectic-ness of it all is finally dying down and I'll be back to blogging on a regular basis in no time! First things first, though - here's my favorite list from last week:

day 17: words that are hard to spell

Fun fact: I was runner up in the Pittsburgh Diocese Spelling Bee in elementary school.

Also fun fact: They totally got me on the word "jodhpurs". I've never forgotten how to spell it since.

But it's still a terrible word to spell! Other words I have to think about/hate spelling?

♥ jodhpurs
♥ Duquesne (More like difficult to say, but it's super fun to trick out-of-towners with!)
♥ weird
♥ judgement/judgment
♥ onomatopeia
♥ with -- This sounds ridiculous but sometimes my hand just puts an 'e' on the end. I can't explain.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

This week has been a rough one, but where would TiLT be without reflecting on the little things that did make the week worth it?

♥ With all of the earthquake/tsunami crisis going on, it's a blessing to know that all of my friends and family in Japan are accounted for and doing just fine. I'm not sure how the radiation threat will affect things in the coming weeks, but for now, everyone is doing fine and trying to live a normal life. Hakodate received only some minor flooding, and it's scary to think that I actually would've been in the flood zone when the flooding began, coming home from school. But luckily I wasn't there, and realizing so has really made me count my blessings. I'm so pleased to know everyone's ok.

♥ Can I just say that the people at the Apple Store are such dolls. I was in last week just to do a routine battery change on Mum's laptop and ended up back in a week later with my own phone refusing to turn on. Now, they're awesome but I really don't want to see them on a weekly basis xD But they remembered me, had me in and out and my phone working in no time. It was definitely a cherry on top of my crappily going Monday.

♥ My family, despite its extensiveness, is truly amazing. My dad is remarried, and so on top of typical Mum's-side, Dad's-side family members I've got step-aunts, uncles, cousins and the whole like. I may not be blood to some of them, but I've never for a second felt unwelcome or unloved. I've always, without question, been treated like part of the family, and this week, that really meant a lot.

little loves
knowing Hakodate is in one piece ♥ the wonderfully caring ladies that I work with ♥ this tweet ♥ mad mango smoothies at the juicebox cafe! so refreshing with this warmer weather ♥ immense support and encouragement from my boss, who is one of the most caring women I've met ♥ all of the love and support people have shown for victims of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan ♥ being daylight longer ♥ Iron Man ♥ zebra painted pickup trucks ♥ literary tattoos ♥ spring jackets and cardigans ♥ spending St. Patty's listening to Flogging Molly and the like ♥ planning vacations and trips for the coming year

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

30 Days of Lists: Places to See In Pittsburgh

I've lived in Pittsburgh all of my life, and though going to school in the thick of things actually made this city lose a little of its luster, now that I'm back at home, my love for the magnificence that is Pittsburgh has rekindled.

The city itself is so brimming with the cultural and exciting, and with it finally rebuilding itself from the steel powerhouse it was pre-70's, it's like rediscovering a whole new treasure trove of things to do and see. There's still a whole lot I've left to explore, and actually, this will probably turn into a full guide to Pittsburgh once I spend the summer exploring some more! But for now, here's a good list of things I love here.

♥ Consol Energy Center
♥ Strip District markets
♥ Carnegie Library
♥ The Mattress Factory
♥ Dozen Cupcakes
♥ The Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Dinosaurs!)
♥ Primanti Bros.
♥ Dave & Andy's
♥ Cathedral of Learning
♥ The Warhol Museum
♥ The Sphinx
♥ Kiva Han
♥ the various dinosaur statues around town
♥ Kennywood!

I absolutely love my city.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Prayer for Japan

Tokyo Tower
I woke up this morning to news of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan. To see the waves pulling mud and planes and cars into rice fields and across parking lots, to see the conbini shelves empty, to know the shinkansen and subways have all stopped, to see debris falling from ceilings and buildings, towns and houses washed away and Tokyo Tower bent, all sets in with the most distressing and heart-wrenching feeling possible.

You can see some footage of the damage here.

Asaichi Market is flooded, and I've heard Hakodate has been evacuated. It's not the largest city, so I'm not sure how quickly I'll be able to receive updates, but I'm hoping and praying to hear from my host family soon.

Though they may not be blood, I have family and friends here now. And aside from the physical connections, all of the memories, this country has come to be my second home.

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the quake and its aftermath. To friends and everyone in Hawaii and on the West Coast, please stay safe.

You can make donations via Global Giving here. Or via the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

Update: Hakodate seems to have just got some flooding in the Motomachi area; the rest of the city seems to be ok.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Clean Out Your Closet

...more like skeleton-adorned band t-shirts, but I'll take it.

I am terrible at keeping my closets organized. I'll decide to go through and get rid of what I don't wear (which is a lot) and halfway through the year forget what I'm doing and end up with just as many clothes in there as I started with. So I'm spending this week getting a head start on my Spring Cleaning and cleaning out my closet!

Egads! And this is only half of it. A mess, yeah?

Figuring out where to start can be intimidating, so I come bearing tips!

♥ I first go through and get rid of anything I know for a fact either doesn't fit, I've never worn or don't plan to, and stuff that's damaged. Though that shirt may be my favorite, if it has a giant gaping hole in it or is from freshman year of high school, chances are, I shouldn't be wearing it and neither should you.

The reject pile:

I will set aside things that just need taken in or hemmed, or even things with fixable rips or holes.

Clearly, this isn't a lot, but if it's worth saving and can physically be saved, then it's at least worth a shot, especially for really cute or sentimental pieces.

♥ Then it's time to pull everything out and sort tops from skirts from sweaters from dresses from pants. I also saw a hefty collection of t-shirts, so I made a pile specifically for them.

I divy each pile up into 3 loose categories: stuff that needs tried on, stuff that I'd like to keep, and clothes that I can't remember the last time I've worn them. The rest is kind of haphazard; with stuff I haven't worn, I think about if it really fits right, how much I like it, how versatile it is/what and when I'd wear it, and, like t-shirts for instance, how many others I have. Do I need 3 t-shirts with my high school and name printed on them, all navy blue? Do I need to hang on to the shirt that kind of fits, except after the Super Panda buffet gobbling? Probably not.


Reiley likes to sit back and oversee the whole endeavor.

The stuff I do decide to keep goes onto the next level...

The Hanger Trick. Anything that's getting kept goes in with the hanger reversed until it's been worn. That way, anything that I keep making excuses to keep, but just ends up collecting dust clearly stands out. At the end of the season, or every 3-4 months, the reversed hangers get pulled and sent off to Goodwill.

Leave space not to give yourself an excuse to buy more clothes (though, that's a good reason too!) but so you can freely scoot hangers back and forth and get to what you do have more easily.

♥ I also have a rule where, if I buy something new, something old goes. It's a really simple, quick way to keep myself from amassing more clothes. Necessities are excluded.

And voila! Now to color code...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's In My Bag: 30 Days of Lists edition

Today's prompt for 30 Days of Lists is "What's in My Bag", and I've been dying to do a post like this for who knows how long! Lucky coincidence, I suppose...


Contents, part 2

1. PINK Victoria's Secret 'fresh & clean' body spray - light enough and not too perfume-y to toss on midday to keep smelling good, but not so much that you smell like the old women in the first two rows at Church.

2. Aerie hand lotion - I got this as a free sample from Aerie a year back and discovered that it's the perfect size to keep in my purse. Handy, especially at this time of year (is that even a pun? Oh well, it clearly wasn't intended).

3. Purell - I blame this on Heather. I never used to care too much about hand sanitizing every waking moment of the day until I met Heather in Japan. Also, there are more opportunities here for hand washing, so it's not so much of a big deal so much as a "just in case" item.

4. Panda Change Purse - a gift from my freshman roommate, Alison; originally used for spare coins for laundry, now, for spare coins for parking.

5. Advil - because headaches and cramps are never fun.

6. MAC Viva Glam VI Lipglass - Pretty with a hint of sparkle, not too dramatic for daily use, but gives enough pizzaz to be special!

7. Keys - they're huge and make enough of a racket that I never lose them. Ever.

8. Mirror - a quick grab off of Etsy for checking teeth/makeup on the go

9. Smith's Rose Salve - Savior. Need I say more?

10. Trident White - I'm not a huge gum person, but you never know when you'll need it.

Contents, part 1

1. Pink Filofax Planner - the ULTIMATE planner. Customizable inserts and pages to max out what you use it for the most. Pockets and tabs too!

2. Sticky notes - as a chronicle note-maker, I keep about 2-3 pads of sticky notes on me at all times. There's even a pad in my Filofax. Good for jotting down impromptu grocery lists, to-do lists, and notes on assignments. Also handy for leaving Operation Beautiful notes around town.

3. Pen - Pilot's rolling ball V5 - the perfect consistency.

4. Frixion Highlighter - Our sensei in Japan brought up erasable pens and thus the age old debate ensued; until she pulled out erasable pens and a highlighter that actually worked! So I booked it down to the grocery store and stocked up. They sell them on Amazon here; I highly recommend them!

5. USB Drive - Just in case.

6. DS games - see below. I mainly keep a few games on me in cast I've got waiting to do somewhere/stuck on the bus. Plus, I keep them in this cute little handmade coin purse from a shop in Hakodate!

7. Nintendo DS - I mainly carry this as my go-to Japanese Dictionary. Being able to write in kanji is super helpful with 漢字そのままds楽引辞典 and half the price of those expensive handheld electronic dictionaries. Plus, I get to play Pokemon (Heart Gold at the moment!). Girl's gotta kill time somehow!

8. Wallet - The Boy bought this for me as a going away gift. While waiting for our table at The Cheesecake Factory pre-Japan adventure, we popped into Urban Outfitters to kill time and I fell in love with the watercolor, almost impressionist print. It's just roomy enough to keep all of my cards (and my lack of money) in.

9. iPod, 120 gb - Yes, I'm one of those music snobs who insists on taking all of my music with me, wherever I go :)

10. iPhone - This thing is my lifesaver. It keeps me organized, syncs up with my computer, lets me access my books on Kindle when I don't have room for the actual thing, email on the go, and basically does everything anyone could ask for.


What do you keep in your bag/backpack?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

30 Days of Lists: Days 5 and 6

I'm not going to catalog each list each day here, because I don't want to bombard everyone, but I especially loved the listing prompts for days 5 and 6.

day 5 - weekend to do's
My weekends aren't terribly thrilling - I work from Saturday morning to Sunday night, pretty much non-stop - so I figured I'd save the fun goals and to do's for the week when more stuff is going on. And so I bring you my to do list for the week of 5/8 (which just so happens to be Spring Break!)

  • Shadyside adventures (I've got Apple to visit for a computer check-up for Mum, froyo to eat and rose lip salve to buy)
  • clean off computer (new computer means organizational time!)
  • embark on a supreme Target organizational spree (Target is my savior for organizing my room, and thus my life); ever notice how you always come out of Target with stuff that you don't not need, but just didn't plan on it, though it's awesome anyway?
  • Wednesday - do absolutely nothing!
  • Have dinner with Pa
  • sushi night!
  • schedule for fall term - provided Pitt doesn't hate me this term.
day 6 - words I dislike like

I sat down to write this list and it turned into more of a "grammatical errors that people make which I hate" list. So while words like "may be/maybe", the phrase "irregardless", and my losing spelling bee word of "jodhpurs" rank very high on my list of condemnable words, I find the words I do love (and I love words a good deal) much more enjoyable.

vast - the word sounds as expansive and such things that it represents...

dirigible - I can't help but thing of steampunk trinkets

warau - "to laugh"; it just sounds so pretty and carefree!




preternatural -I remember by immense, and immensely goth, 6th grade vocabulary being greatly influence by AFI. This is such a product. My vocabulary would be half as big without Art of Drowning

pamplemousse - It just sounds so, so fun!

I love Wordnik for definitions, but not as much as the OED!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

30 Days of Lists: Days 1 and 2

I have a cute notebook now! Went to it last night with some cupcake stickers and colored pencils and - voila! - nice little place to keep my lists.

Lists 1 (a few things about me) and 2 (things I'm good at):

I'm loving the challenge so far! It's an easy five minutes out of my day to jot down my thoughts to the prompts, and it encourages me to be more creative in both the prompts and the presentation. They're not the snazziest of lists, but they work for now!