Saturday, March 31, 2012

So long, March!

March is at an end, and that means it's time to buckle down and finish final papers because I graduate next month! It both excitement and panic all at the same time, which is such a bizarre feeling, both motivating and not, all at the same time. I just presented one of my papers at a conference, yesterday, in fact. I've been putting off writing one of my final papers, despite it requiring me to watch a bunch of Miyazaki films, due to feeling absolutely uninspired and in a slump, but it really is time to get it done. Just these two more papers, one presentation, a final, and a report and I'm done and on to the next thing!

This month also meant the end to my panicking because I got into Chatham! I've been dying to hear back from them to get into the MAT program of my dreams. Starting in August, I'll be moving my studies down the street to start my teacher preparation in one of the most exciting programs I've seen, as well as be walking around one beautiful campus. There are so many opportunities I'm looking forward to taking advantage of there, and I'll be sure to update you all on its awesomeness!

March has also meant another round of 30 Days of Lists, which I'm bummed is coming to a close. I'm sure there will be plenty more rounds to come, but I love seeing everyone's thoughtful lists and creative scrapbooking/documenting projects! I tried something new myself this time and documented my lists on sticky notes, all on a different patterned or textured background. You can catch all of my weekly recaps here -- which background is your favorite?

What's great about 30 Days of Lists is that the prompts aren't date specific, so you can do them any time! This is my third time participating and first year as an affiliate, and I've loved it each time. If you want to join in, hop on over and sign up! It's a simple (and affordable!) project to take on and we have a great community!


Some other highlights from the month?

Have you had a good March? What does April have in store for you?

Friday, March 30, 2012

30 Days of Lists: Week 5

I can't believe this is the last week of 30 Days of Lists! Can't we make everyday a list day? (Of course, silly me!)

This has been a great exercise for me personally, in just getting me to be creative in a low-key kind of way. I've been lamenting not painting much since high school, and I'm starting to really miss my creative endeavors. Not having the time has been my main excuse, and while I do legitimately have a lot on my plate with graduation and school projects, there's no excuse to not jot down a little list each day and do something exciting with it! 

30 Days of Lists
List 24: I am famous for...

- eating dessert for breakfast
- reading a ton of books at super speeds
- being a Japanguru and knowing multiple languages
- having pens in my hair
- being "artsy"
- making delicious dinners!
- never wearing shoes

30 Days of Lists
List 25: Title Options for my Autobiography

- What do you do with a B.A. in English?
- How do you say ___ In Japanese?
- Subtitling Papers Got me Through College
- Cupcake-eater extraordinaire
- Pocket-sized
- What was that? Sorry, I was reading…
- My Life as a Teacup

30 Days of Lists
List 26: My Morning Routine

- hit snooze, but still wake up early
- wash my face (w/Lush's "Angels on Bare Skin")
- read a chapter of my latest for-fun book
- 15 minutes of yoga -- most days!
- go through planner and make a to-do list
- eat a breakfast of greek yogurt & catch up on my favorite blogs
- text the Boy
- start getting things done!

30 Days of Lists
List 27: If I Could Do It Over Again...

- I would have stayed an English major from the start and taken advantage of the opportunities and internships my department offered
- I would have stopped worrying about high school sooner
- I would've saved more money for traveling and long term things
- I would've taken more risks

30 Days of Lists
List 28: My Last Meal Would Include...

- mac & cheese
- peaches
- strawberries
- enchiladas!
- cheesecake
- scallops with peach bourbon glaze and bacon :D 

30 Days of Lists
List 29: Songs That Make Me Want to Dance 

- Missy Elliot "Lose Control"
- Timbaland "Oh Timbaland"
- Lady Gaga anything!
- Ceel-lo Green "F*uck You"
- Motion City Soundtrack "Everything is Alright"
- Epik High "혼"
- Thriller!
- T.O.P. "Turn it Up"

30 Days of Lists
List 30: To My Future Self

take chances
be you

Hope you all have had as much fun with these prompts as I have! And if you haven't started yet, it's not too late to join in!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

( hui+ )

♥ The Boy and my have our flights and hotel booked for Universal Orlando this July! I haven't had a vacation in I can't say how long. After four years of hitting the books, and one intense intellectual semester, a vacation is much needed, and deserved! We're mainly going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Y'know, cause to celebrate my big-girl graduation from college, going to eat Bertie Bott's and buy a wand screams "I'm an adult" :D And I don't care! Going to be so much fun! Any recommendations while we're there?

♥ I've been trying really hard not to talk about the Hunger Games movie, just because I know plenty of people who either haven't yet seen it and I like to keep things spoiler free :D But it's no secret that I lovelovelove the series and was quite pleased with the movie adaption. There were a few glaring changes that I would have liked to see, but I'm quite glad they didn't include them for fear of looking just silly or simply working better for the film the way they actually did carry them out. Hopefully going to see it again shortly!

little loves
taking pictures with my instax camera! ♥ neon rose shorts ♥ blueberry donuts ♥ making progress on this paper, even though it doesn't feel like much (it really is, when I stop and take a look!) ♥ impromptu grocery shopping with Kallie ♥ Columbian blend coffee ♥ Sarris goalie-shaped milk chocolate ♥ being able to wear flip flops ♥ leopard print loafers - I have the most amazing pair! They make me feel dressed up, while still feeling comfortable

What are you loving?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Game of Thrones

I tried so hard to hold off until finals were over to start a new book, let a lone a new series. I tried so hard to read one of the many unread books that currently sit on my shelf. But I couldn't and I caved and now I'm not looking back. For the past few weeks I've been reading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, and I can't put it down. I'm already on A Clash of Kings and, while my goal has been to read at least one chapter of something for pleasure daily, I'm well surpassing that (and maybe even skimping on work that needs done >.>).

Now, I do love my fantasy and sci-fi genre stories, but high fantasy has never really been my thing. I love Tolkien, but it's one of those genres that I feel you need one or two good staples of and can pretty much live without the thousands of others. Game of Thrones is just so refreshing and well-crafted that I love it, making it my new bookshelf resident (well, Kindle resident, because I couldn't wait the one extra day to go to the store; I needed it NOW!). There are so many rich characters and picturesque locales (I have some unexplainable love of wintry worlds, so Winterfell could not be more perfect!) that I love reading about, strong characters, ambiguous characters, and witty characters all the same. Daenerys, Arya, Jon Snow, and Tyrion are some of my current favorites, and with what I'm sure are loads more characters on the horizon, I'm sure I'll be rooting for even more. I won't give anything away, but as of the end of the first book, I'm for House Targaryen. And Arya, cause she's fantastic.

This was one series where I felt that I had to read the books first, despite that usually being the case, so after finishing book one I Netflix-ed the first season and am making my way through that in preparation for the second (even though I don't get HBO ><;). Oh well, I'll have time to catch up on the books by the time the next season is on  Netflix :)

I'm always so bad at book reviews when they're current, and especially when they've been turned into something like a television show for fear of revealing any spoilers, but I definitely have my favorite moments!

Are you reading/watching Game of Thrones? Who's side are you on?

Monday, March 26, 2012

30 Days of Lists: #26, My Morning Routine

30 Days of Lists
List 26: My Morning Routine
- hit snooze, but still wake up early
- wash my face (w/Lush's "Angels on Bare Skin")
- read a chapter of my latest for-fun book
- 15 minutes of yoga -- most days!
- go through planner and make a to-do list
- eat a breakfast of greek yogurt & catch up on my favorite blogs
- text the Boy
- start getting things done!

Morning, listers and non-listers alike!

I'm so grateful to be hosting today's 30 Days of List prompt about my morning routine! It's no secret that I thrive between 6:00am-12pm and I'm very much a creature of habit. I try to stick to some semblance of a routine - it helps me stay on track and get the most done, but I occasionally fall short ^^; Most of these are habits I've gotten into and I enjoy doing them every morning!

Hop on over to 30 Days of List or the Flickr pool to share your own list!

Whether you're participating in 30 Days of Lists or not, on list #26 or list #12, how do you usually start your mornings?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Ganbatte, ne!"


This is the phrase I love to hate the most out of the entirety of the Japanese language. What kills me is that, despite sometimes being incredibly and ironically discouraging, more often than not it expresses the exact sentiment that is needed - "do your best!"

With the anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami earlier this month, this phrase just came to mind. It blows my mind that the same sentiment is so versatile to cover such an enourmous catastrophe as well as just the day to day. I tell my host sister "ganbatte" in regards to her schoolwork; our class is acknowledged for our hard work in learning the language with "ganbarimashita"; and now, especially of all times, it feels most relevant in my life. Just a few more weeks, a few more months to hang in there and give it my all so I can lean back one day and say 「あぁ疲れた。がんばりましたね。」and feel completely content from giving it my all.

And to Japan

Friday, March 23, 2012

30 Days of Lists: Week 4

I'm such a zombie today from seeing the Hunger Games last night. I just can't do midnight shows anymore, or at least ones so far away. But it was good! And I'm awake! And I'll leave it at that :D Don't want to spoil anything!

Here are the lists from week four of 30 Days of Lists. I can't believe we're already four weeks in!
30 Days of Lists
List 17: Favorite Days of the Year
- Christmas Eve day
- the first day warm enough to leave the windows open
- the first few days of school
- the first day of autumn
- our anniversary!
- days spent picnicking at the park
- lazy days

30 Days of Lists
List 18: Family Traditions
- pierogies @ holiday dinners
- collecting magnets from vacation spots
- opening one gift on Xmas Eve
- Sarris chocolate factory visits!
- collecting Christmas ornaments
- stopping for breakfast sandwiches on the way to the airport
- Xmas Eve party @ Aunt Patti's
- brunch on the porch!

30 Days of Lists
List 19: Dear Pitt, you can make me happy in the following ways:

I'm sure most of you are no stranger to my tribulations with Pitt. Despite loving my classes, professors, and actual education, the administrative end has been hellish. There's only a few weeks left, but here are some things Pitt could do to make the stresses up to me!

- let me graduate early. As in now. Without having to turn in these last 2 papers…
- refunding me for your study abroad scholarship blunder
- give me free tuition (reimburse meeee!)
- let me finish out my classes from home
- And/or free parking!
- free donuts :)

30 Days of Lists
List 20: Favorite Memories
- first date with the Boy @ Kennywood
- landing in Japan; riding the ropeway up the mountain in Hakodate
- visiting Boston
- winning the 2009 Stanley Cup
- walking around Gettysburg with the Boy on our first vacation!
- eating cheesesteaks with Dad @ the little shop he remembered from being in Philly years earlier

30 Days of Lists
List 21: If I Had an Extra Hour in the Day, I would...
- get through all the unread books on my bookshelf
- start some sewing projects
- bake!
- run @ Duff Park (where it's actuall pretty) and not inside/around the neighborhood
- cook great meals!
- watch more movies/tv show marathons

30 Days of Lists
List 22: My Care Package
I remember picking up the care package Mum sent me while I was in Japan, and being so relieved that I had not only more hand sanitizer (I underestimated the lack of sinks in public restrooms) and other daily items as well as the things I missed from home. Making full blown mac & cheese wasn't doable, but Easy Mac totally was xD This list is a combination of my favorite parts of that package, plus the pre-Japan plane package that the boy made for me to open in the air, as well as just awesome things to have to remind you of home!

- a mix CD
- handwritten notes
- Kraft Mac & Cheese
- homemade sweets
- a stuffed animal
- a new book (& journal!)
- a comfy shirt!
- hand sanitizer

30 Days of Lists
List 23: Confessions
- I still don't know what I want to do with my life and I graduate in a month
- I get stressed easily and don't always handle it well
- I really could care less about shoes; I go barefoot most of the time!
- I hate looking at my art about 10 seconds after it's completed
- I've lost count of the number of times I've had dessert before breakfast
I love seeing the lists all together; the flow from background to background is just as exciting for me as the individual backgrounds themselves! 

Which background is your favorite?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

nightgown weather

I got into Chatham!!! I still can't believe it, and it's such a relief to have official word. Just being able to have concrete plans for after graduation feels wonderful, not to mention lets me finalize my plans for the summer, including taking a trip with the Boy to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! xD Finally, I have a summer to relax and not be in school and I'm already plotting all the wonderful things I'm going to do!

♥ Tonight I'm going to pick up my little cousin and take her to her first midnight showing for the Hunger Games! I can't believe it's already here and I'm feeling pretty good about this book-to-screen translation.

♥ It's been bugging me that despite the spring-like weather, it hasn't really looked like spring. But the trees and flowers have started to bloom! It looks like someone feathered a paintbrush and dotted the tips of the branches with pale green and pink - my favorite thing to see!

little loves
♥ I caved. I bought Clash of Kings to's awesome ♥ sleeping with the windows open ♥ floral sundresses ♥ no shoes! (I'm more of a barefoot girl than a girl with a love of shoes ^^;) ♥ chicken caesar salads ♥ fresh grapes ♥ dinner and cards with friends ♥ cold drinks ♥ celebratory dinners ♥ Tiny Tower - I'm a sucker for this game; it's not bad for being free and fairly simple xD ♥ eating those delicious and easy frozen yogurt bites that have been all over Pinterest

How was your week? Are you going to see the Hunger Games tonight? :D

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stuck in a rut, but at least it's with Miyazaki!

I've been watching loads of Hayao Miyazaki films as of late as research for my final Capstone paper and as a result have been giddy with love for Totoro, river spirits, and all kinds of supernatural things! Miyazaki's films are so magical and provoking in their own way that I can't imagine a childhood - or any age, really! - without them. Spirited Away holds my heart in a sense; it was the first of his films that I had seen, and call me crazy, but something about No Face always speaks to me. Totoro is another favorite - really, who can resist the Cat Bus?

Sure they're enjoyable entertainment on their own, but each movie is so rich and imaginative in a way that's almost too mature and unsettling. I don't know if its the Japanese aesthetic or what, but I'm always left with a sense of strangeness as I watch Ghibli films, almost a sort of emptiness in a really fulfilling way (if that makes sense).

In my attempts to throw something together for my Japanese Capstone project (I'll admit, for some reason I haven't been feeling terribly inspired lately, as well as I just wanted to watch some Totoro ^^;) I've been looking at representations of women, their roles, and the supernatural element as part of my thesis. It's not the most original thing I've done, though it does draw on what I call my "unofficial" gender studies minor (half of my classes throughout my college career have had gender studies sub-topics) as well as some literature-style criticism, but I will admit, I'm feeling lost. Or not so much lost as disorganized. There's so much to talk about, and yet all I want to do is talk about No Face, which doesn't fit in all that neatly.

This paper has sucked all of my ability to write away, not to mention I don't think I could ever describe the magic of Miyazaki's worlds in words, so forgive my mumbling. It's always a bit taxing to look at things through an academic standpoint, especially something you love (the moment you use it as a basis for an essay always seems to ruin it a bit), but Ghibli films are too rich to not pick apart at every level and still love it to death when you're done.

I guess the moral of the story is to go watch some more Miyazaki films! :D You too!

Do you have a favorite Ghibli film?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Mid-week Update

Whew! (I feel like 75% of the things that come out of my mouth start with a 'whew'!) What crazy last few days.

First things first, I got accepted into Chatham! After weeks of impatiently waiting and fretting, I got word of my admittance and put my deposit in quicker than you can read the entire Hunger Games series! I had been thinking positively all along, but I knew the minute I got too comfortable saying it that I would jinx it. It feels so good to finally say it, not to mention a huuuuuge weight off of my shoulders. I'm so much happier just thinking about Chatham than Pitt.

The internet just magically went away at home, so I haven't been on much as of late. I do have a few posts left that I've got scheduled, but I'm taking this as a sign that the gods of paper-writing want me to buckle down and finish up this term. I get little pockets of connectivity when I'm on campus during the week, but the posting will be light until we can get that fixed (hopefully soon!).

Spring has finally come to stay, and I think it's now safe for me to put away my snow boots...

What's been going on in your life lately? I'd love to hear!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

a taste of spring


A cloud of cherry blossoms caressing the sky

tinkering teacups

Sunday Mail



We're not quite there yet, but every now and then we get a glimpse of what's to come in the next few weeks. I can't wait to stick my toes in the grass, play at the park, and sleep with the windows open, soft sheets against my skin. 

This will have to do for now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

30 Days of Lists: Week 3

When I first started this project, I was planning on just using patterned fabrics but since I've branched out into anything, so long as it has some texture or design! One of my favorite may have to be list 15 this week!

30 Days of Lists
List 10: Today Was Awesome Because...

- meeting was cancelled
- I got to read 5 chapters more in Game of Thrones!
- new shoes! (Shoe Mint Lamberts)
- such a nice day
- Totoro always makes for a good day
- leftover Chinese food :)

(This list got postponed for a little bit. I don't like to "hold out" for any sort of "good" day to do one of the list prompts, but I was literally at work for 12 hours, then I came home and slept. I guess my list that day would read 'got some sleep', but seeing as I lost an hour due to DST, I fail to find even that point worthy xD -- So I did this list on Monday.)

30 Days of Lists
List 11: Right Now I Am...

- making a scrumptious dinner
- tired from my retail job
- drinking wine out of the bottle
- weating my Darth Vader apron
- waiting for the Boy to get home
- listening to the Arctic Monkeys
- glad I saw some extra daylight today
- not looking forward to going back to class tomorrow ><;

30 Days of Lists
List 12: My Superpowers
- teleportation
- invisibility
- flight!
- accelerated healing (a la Wolverine)
- ability to control time (Time Turner!!!)

30 Days of Lists
List 13: 10 Years Ago I...
- was 11 and in the 6th grade O.O
- had just moved in to our current townhouse
- was first introduced to AFI by my still close friend who I met on the bus!
- took ballet and piano lessons
- tried to skateboard - that didn't work out
- had a crush on my friend's brother
- wanted to learn Japanese (and here I am!)

30 Days of Lists
List 14: Tools & Toys to Try

- sewing machine (I know the basics, but want to learn so much more!)
- Konica minolta (which actually needs fixed)
- Adobe Illustrator (I had a crash course from a friend, but I still use it haphazardly xD)
- Clarisonic Mia cleanser (I hear it's wonderful!)
- Xbox Kinect (We have one, but it needs to see more use. Specifically lightsaber use)
- Wacom tablet (Mine's old as dirt and I could really stand to use one properly)
- Mum's iPad :)

30 Days of Lists
List 15: Overheard Today

Originally I was excited to get to campus where I would surely hear all sorts of ridiculous things, but instead decided to stay home and work on my more pressing paper due shortly ><

- morning talk shows

- creaky stairs
- meows!
- The Hunger Games trailer
- dramatic period music and the swooning voice of Mr. Rochester
- chirping birds
- kids playing down the street
- peace & quiet!

Plus I didn't have to sit through a boring "plot summary" of a lecture.

30 Days of Lists
List 16: Pet Peeves

- incorrect use of the reply/reply all button in emails

- when people can't merge correctly ><;
- asking a non-yes/no question and getting "yes" or "no" as an answer
- books with notes in the margins (especially if those notes are wrong. Take "Satin" for "Satan" in my used PLost book…)
- only needing a small amount of something that's sold in a GIANT bag

How are your lists coming? How do you like to document yours? All at once? One by one?