Monday, April 30, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

A huge thank you to Zelde from Indigo Birds for the One Lovely Blog Award. Zelde is also a soon to be university grad and runs the sweetest blog documenting her delicious looking recipes, crafts, and beautiful adventures! I'm so honored that she enjoys reading My Life as a Teacup and glad that it brings many smiles. As a blogger, I couldn't ask for more!


The rules are fairly simple:
1. List seven things about yourself.
2. Give the award to as many other bloggers that you think deserve it.

So, here are those seven things...

1. I love doing anything that lets the wind run through my hair and lap at my face. Swinging, biking, riding in the car with the windows down...
2. I'm not a fan of summer. Weather-wise, it's typically too hot or too humid, but I just don't like having that much time on my hands. Being off of school gets me off of my routine, and while I like having some time to myself, too much spare time starts to make me lazy and feels wasted.
3. I eagerly await the mailman each day and love getting surprise snail mail, though usually, it's just a holiday card with stickers on it from my grandma :D 
4. Sometimes my mouth can't keep up with my thoughts. And then what comes out of my mouth is two or three words or sounds, repeated like a broken record, thoughts that don't go together at all, and generally a big ol' train wreck. I get overly excited sometimes and this happens much too often.
5. I do not like raw tomatoes. Cooked. Awesome. Stewed. Great. Soup. Best. But just cut up tomatoes in a salad are too...slimy for me. I choked down a couple for breakfast when my host mom served them, but the consistency just weirds me out. 
6. I dream of taking a hot air balloon ride one day!
7. As much as I love cupcakes, I don't care for icing. Or rather, there needs to be a proper ratio of cake to icing. Same goes with Oreos, pancakes and syrup, and mayo on sandwiches. And pretty much everything else. Balance, ladies & gentlemen, balance.

Awesome bloggers who deserve it (I fall in love with and read so many blogs daily, that if I don't put a limit on myself, I'll still be listing bloggers come December! So here are three of my favorite reads)

1. Ariel of A Dreamer's Daze is currently studying in Canterbury and I can't express how magical her photos are! Her adventures and time there look so lovely and like such a blast!
2. Hannah of A Cup of Subtle Tea is such a sweet person, and I love how she seems to capture every little aspect of a given day. She's got snazzy style and easily doable DIYs that are slowly accumulating on my to-do list. Not to mention we share a love of the color teal :)
3. Steven Andrew's posts are such a blessing to read. They're candid and heartfelt and always get me thinking and I love that about his writing. Not to mention he makes a mean paper crane!

There are so many lovely blogs out there that picking just a couple is such a difficult task. Like trying to answer "Who are your top 3 favorite bands?" where you just keep going on and on, well past 3. But anyway, these blogs are definitely worth a look and they're just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to favorite reads!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Toodles, April!

Daisies

...and what a month it's been! I've been cranking out papers and projects nonstop, and ended up being away from blogging more than I would have liked to, but I've got all sorts of exciting things planned thanks to having my first summer off in four years! Hooray!

There's been plenty to do this month though, despite having my head buried in an Arden Shakespeare copy of Macbeth for most of the month. I did some chatting with my fellow study abroad pal Erica her partner in crime with an interview from The Bazinga Girls. Fellow blogger Kam of Campfire Chic inspired me to order some supplies for my own Project Life scrapbook, which I'm eager to start on! I got a dose of ballet when I went with my aunt to see Coppelia, and even shared my own ballet-inspired workout! And I mourned the close of 30 Days of Lists with a list of my own (and a nod to my growing Peter Pan Syndrome!) - Things That Make Me Feel Like an Adult. I even got daring with another outfit post and saw the world from an extra 5" above in my new ShoeMint Lambert wedges.

But most exciting of all - I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh this month! I official have my B.A. in English Literature (which just makes me want to sing Avenue Q...) and a B.A. in Japanese. The past four years have been lots of hard work and focus, but most of all change. I'm so proud of working through all of the tough times in this monumental ordeal, but I'm so glad to be done and on to the next thing in life! It doesn't quite feel like I'm done, since I'm going back for my Masters in just a few months, but that still doesn't take away the feeling of accomplishment :)

What exciting things have you accomplished this month?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Graduation!

Graduate

It's been non-stop festivities this weekend, in the most relaxing and enjoyable way! The family and I are off to Ohiopyle tomorrow to enjoy the weather and celebrate a bit more. There are a thousand and one thoughts running through my head like a blur. I'm not even sure how to dissect them nor where to start, but it feels so good to know that it's official - I'm a graduate!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Look Back: Dorms, Travels, and University Life

As the "official" graduation date nears, I thought it'd be neat to take a little look back at my time at Pitt. As hectic as it may have been, and despite moving off of campus and back home in my sophomore year, there were a lot of really great memories to be had and friends I've met along the way.

 
My dorm room, freshman year. Shared this slice of a teeny-tiny cement pie with Alison, my very lovely and awesome roommate from Singapore. I still don't know how I, the packing abomination, managed to relocate my life for a year.
 
The Japanese department is pretty tight knit due to our size and how many people frankly just drop out after first year. We stick primarily to our class levels, though some people shift around due to summer intensive or study abroad, but a good number of my classmates in this picture were in my capstone class!

 
We won the cup! And I skipped Japanese Intensive that day to go to the parade. Yamamoto-sensei totally understood though because we're incessantly chatting about the Penguins games in Japanese.


Since coming back from Japan, I just buckled down to finish my degrees and graduate on time. Switching to an English major in my junior year maybe wasn't the most time-conscious decision ever made, but it was where my heart was at and paid off with being little difficulty to get finished in a time crunch. I've learned so much, both in my academic departments and disciplines, and just living life, that I couldn't be more excited to move on and learn more!

One thing this has made me realize is how terrible I am at documenting things ><; New resolve for graduate school!
What are some of your favorite school-day memories?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Lemon & Lavender

♥ On Wednesday I completed my last undergraduate assignment ever and it's simultaneously awesome and strange feeling. I've never not been working on some project or paper, and I haven't had a summer off in 4 years, maybe more. To be constantly taking classes, reading journals, writing papers, going, going, going, and then having it all just suddenly stop is such a bizarre feeling, but I can't help being excited for all of the awesome projects I have lined up in my head for this summer!

♥ Popping into the #30Lists chat on Friday was such a blast! I thought I had completely missed it, but even stopping by for the last few minutes was full of giggles and information about the inner workings of the 30 Days of Lists process. Thanks Kam and Amy for hosting such an awesome follow-up!

♥ Starting my first Project Life layout! Amazon's pretty fast with shipping, but waiting for those photo pockets to come in seemed to take eons. So I got my album ready in the meantime, and started plotting out ideas! It's going to be hard to limit myself, as I tend to want to cram every awesome thing into one layout, but I have a whole year to try new techniques and approaches and might as well start simple. I'll be blogging my progress once I get going here :D Are any of you participating in Project Life too?




  little loves
♥ chevron print camera straps ♥ cocoa puffs ♥ my awesome tattoo artist, Erin, who makes laying on a chair for 2 hours exciting with chatting about dogs, odd things from Japan, and corn tattoos ♥ making Pinterest snacks (like these mozzarella bites!) on a whim ♥ comfy t-shirts ♥ more Game of Thrones - does it ever get old? No, no it doesn't. And book 3 is awesome so far ♥ trips to Dozen Bake Shop, especially for my favorite, the "Elvis", which is heaven in a paper wrapper ♥ navy striped skirts that make me want to take to the sea

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ShoeMint Lambert Wedges

Mint Chocolate Chip 
I'll be the first girl to admit that I'm not a shoe lover, despite having quite a closet full. I've got my comfortable flats and slip-ons, even a number of boots, but I live for springtime when I can live in my cheap flip flops from Old Navy and run around barefoot. I've even come home from a school dance without any shoes -- they were too cumbersome and sitting in the corner within ten minutes.

So when I say that these Lambert wedges from ShoeMint are awesome, I mean it

I went out of my comfort zone ordering these (don't even ask how I ended up registered on the site with my level of care for footwear, but let me just say, I'm glad that I did); I think I just feel immediately dressed up when I have heels on, plus it usually makes me feel silly but these are such a treat!

Mint Chocolate Chip

Aside from putting me at an eye-level I'm not used to seeing (these bump me up to 5'5"!) and making me have to recalculate how far it is from my foot to the floor, they're the most comfortable and stylish shoes I own. Part of that I'm sure is that they're a wedge, making them super easy to walk in and easy on your feet. Plus they can be dressed up or down! I've been rocking them with this skirt lately, and it helps me not feel too overdressed :D

(I'm still not used to doing outfit posts! Gaaah ><;)


How much of your closet is made up of shoes? I'd love to hear about your favorite pair!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Finals Week!

This is my tired, pretending to be interested in class, face. As you can tell, it didn't really turn out so well.

But the last week of class is over at Pitt, and frankly, the senioritis has set in. Though I do get a whiff of nostalgia and longing when I walk past the Cathedral, thinking how I will never have a class in Hogwarts again. Or my last venture into Hillman Library to try to pull a paper out of thin air. But the nostalgia is soon replaced by how excited and proud I am to being this much closer to graduating. 

Now it's time to crank out one last paper, a few more sleepless nights and one last exam, and I'm free of this place and on to the next!

Friday, April 20, 2012

An Interview with Erica & Cora of The Bazinga Girls

I've known Erica since my days in Japan and can't explain how ecstatic I became once I heard she and her childhood friend Cora had a blog! While I've met a lot of lovely bloggers from blogging myself, Erica is one of the few bloggers that I've actually met and know in real life. At The Bazinga Girls, the duo blogs about their lives abroad, fashion, and fantastic makeup tips as well! It doesn't hurt that the name of their blog harkens to a show that I'm quite fond of either...

Aren't they the sweetest friends? 

Tell us a bit about yourselves! 

Erica: I’m Erica, the shorter one of The Bazinga Girls (believe it or not there is a whole-head-difference in our height haha). We love doing things together: shopping, doing masks, exploring new restaurants, giggling, imagining life stories of strangers etc.


Cora: I graduated in England two years ago with an accounting degree, now I'm back in Hong Kong working as an accountant. I love Hong Kong, but I do love England more: I think it was those years in England that inspired my passion about makeups and fashion (also got that from my sister), popping into Boots and Topshop (and looking at pretty girls in London) makes my day!! I love music, movies, yummy food; it takes so much pressure off doing something enjoyable after a hectic day at work.

What inspired you ladies to start blogging? 

Erica: We started writing in our “exchange diaries” since we were kids – maybe when we were around 13/14? We just can’t get enough of each other despite the fact that we used to see each other every single day at school. We wrote about our celebrity crush, kept records of the gossips from school, drew weird pictures of everything, and many more fun stuff happening in our lives. Then I left HK and went to the States for college so we switched to a digital diary instead (a private blog only read by the two of us). So we have been kinda blogging for a long time, but it was really just a random conversation on whatsapp about a month ago that fueled this sudden decision to start The Bazinga Girls.

Cora: Sometimes I have this passion to share things going on with me: wonderful places I have been to, gorgeous makeups I have tried on, lovely music I get addicted to.... but I used to just share that with some close friends. So one of my friends suggests: "Why don't you try on writing a blog? some people might be interested in reading that." So I started a blog of my own last year, about makeups and stuff, but I always got so tied up with work and I stopped. I'm so glad Erica invited me to do this with her, we share ideas and take turns to write - it's more fun and easier this way rather than on my own.

You girls are such great friends, so I have to ask – how did you meet? 

Erica: We met at primary school when we were tiny kiddos! When we were around 11 I guess. We got closer and closer and became best buddies all through high school and college. (A fun fact about us: we used to be the same height in grade 7, then after the summer and we got back to school the first day, Cora was sent to the back of the line because she grew like 30cm in two months!)

Cora: Wow.. that dated back more than a decade ago! We were actually elementary schoolmates but we never really talked to each other back then. It was only until middle school we became classmates, and we kind of hangout in the same gang. Then we got so much closer few years later when we started sharing books, music, random jokes and writing exchange diaries. And we became best best friends these years, especially we both left Hong Kong for studies. I love talking to Erica because we are like-minded and we share similar value and interests.

Has your view on blogging changed since you’ve started? 

Erica: Blogging everyday turned out to be much harder than I thought! There is always something coming up last minute that needs to be done, or I am simply too lazy to get out of my bed sometimes haha. So it was the right decision to blog with Cora – to spread the workload :P But blogging has also turned out to be even more exciting and fun than I imagined. There is a great blogging society out there and I’m thrilled to be one of them now!

Cora: Yes! When I first started, I had ideas of writing things about myself, myself and myself. But then I realized blogging shouldn't be just about the blogger, the readers are usually interested in things they could relate to. That is how I feel when I read blogs of other people, and how I decide if the blogs go to my bookmark page. I think it would get easier when more people are reading and leaving comments, that will help us understand what people are interested in knowing about us!

Erica, you’re living in Oxford right now and Cora in Hong Kong; what has brought you to your respective cities? 

Erica: I first came here for my masters, which I completed a couple months ago. Now I am working here, and will probably be here for awhile cause I love it so much!


Cora: Well I was born in Hong Kong, I spent almost my whole life here except the few wonderful years I went to university in England. And most of my family and friends are here in Hong Kong, which is the biggest reason I stay.

Your favorite thing about Oxford/Hong Kong? 

Erica: My favorite thing about Oxford is my little home here, and the history embedded in the city, and that it’s more laid back than a big city. But nonetheless I’m a city girl. I love HK for its vibrancy and food and shopping and all the lights and night view. But mostly it’s the people, my family and friends that I grew up with.

Cora: What I love about Hong Kong... I think food probably? Haha.. secondly might be the internationality. You can meet all kinds of people here, of different nationality and background. And it's also because of that, we have everything here... easily accessible, without taxes. And oh yes, the habour - amazing night view, that's the most beautiful thing in Hong Kong which is simply irreplaceable.

Any tips for nurturing a long-distance friendship? 

Erica: Hmmmm that’s a hard question. I guess just try to talk to each other as often as you can. Like we usually talk to each other every day, on skype or whatsapp. If we miss each other because of the time difference, then we usually send each other messages on facebook about random things, like new discoveries on make-up tools, or a pretty coat. But the one thing about being BFF is that even if you don’t talk for awhile and then you meet again, the spark is still there! It’s that feeling that warms your heart a little when everything still feels the same <3

Cora: With the technology these days, it's just so easy to contact and update each other: facebook, skype, whatsapp. But even we get busy sometimes and are elusive for a while, we both know that we'll always be there for each other and we have someone to count on. I remember back then we always try to find ways to spend time together, e.g. we pick a fun movie and watch simultaneously on our own screen (with the help of skype!), so we could still comment and laugh together about how crappy the movie was, lol. 

What’s one beauty item you can’t live without? 

Erica: Hair treatment! After multiple times of dyeing my hair (one time from black to blonde), my hair is very fragile now and is constantly splitting ☹ I usually give my hair a treatment (VO5 hot oil treatment) two or three times ago and although it’s not in its best condition, at least it still looks decent and straight.

Cora: Definitely the eyeliner!! For me, eye-makeup is always the key. When I look at people the first thing I see is their eyes, so eyeliner does make a huge difference. I do wear a thin stroke of eyeliner when I go job interviews because it gives a better impression.

What’s your go-to karaoke song? 

Erica: Arashi’s One Love! Yes I am a total sucker for Japanese dramas and movies and Hana yori dango is one of my all time favorite. And any Lady Gaga songs that let me yell and scream at the top of my lung.

Cora: Haha... I know my own strengths and singing is definitely not one of them. But if I have to pick one, maybe Bad Romance? Since I can totally mess it up in a fun way!! Hahahaha

If you had to read only one book over and over for the rest of your life, which would you choose? 

Erica: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Although it is not a ‘happy’ story, it’s bittersweet in the way that you can relate to it. And because it is so well written, and I simply love the title! (The Roald Dahl Treasury is also top on my list. I know I am greedy… :P)

Cora: I admit I am not really a book person. I do read, but mainly novels about silly love stories. So if I am to choose only one, it might be a book more informative than just a story, say, a book I own about makeup. There are just so many informations and techniques that I have yet to get my hands on and master the skills. So this could probably be a book that I will read over and over again.

I know you both love The Big Bang Theory :D – do you have a favorite episode? 

Erica: I don’t know! I refuse to choose. I love them all.

Cora: It's hard to pick one! Few favourites are: the one Sheldon got sick (penny singing "soft kitty"), the gang went on a quest to bust the guy who hacked into Sheldon's World of Warcraft account and the halloween special: the gang finally gets a chance to play pranks on Sheldon! 

(we love taking weird pictures!)

Thanks for sharing, ladies! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Untitled

♥ The Penguins pulled out an unbelievable 10-3 game last night. I hate that these boys give me heart attacks, but am so excited to be back in the game!

♥ I've never been much of a nail polish person but I can't stop painting my nails lately. I think it's a combination of quick-dry spray and fun O.P.I. names for their colors. And for some reason, they seem to be chipping less as of late. I won't question it, as they usually chip and I enter "pick off your polish" territory usually in a matter of hours.


little loves
♥ squishy new kitchen mats ♥ quick-dry nail polish spray makes painting my nails less of a chore that needs redone 8,000 times since I can't sit still long enough on my own... ♥ due to the threats on campus, my professor invited us all to her house for our last class session and a pizza party! Such a sweet thing to do, and a lovely time ♥ sleeping cats ♥ cleaning out folders and notebooks for the term

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Coppélia



I can't think of a place I love going to more than a Pittsburgh Ballet Theater performance at the Benedum. My Aunt Patti was a dancer too and we've been going to see quite a few ballets together lately. So when we heard Coppélia was coming we couldn't resist a little night out with her and my cousins (Mum is holding out to see Giselle next season, which is actually going to be a first for me!). The show was absolutely delightful - Dr. Coppelius' daughter is a life-sized automaton, which Franz falls in love with! His betrothed, Swanhilde, dresses up as the doll after being caught in Dr. Coppelius' workshop, and acts the part to save Franz. And then Act III comes around and everyone's happy and dance lovely solos and pas de deux in celebration (I find this hilarious about ballets, like the Nutcracker, where, however gorgeous, the entire second half is just a dancing celebration!)

It's strange not seeing some of my favorites on stage - some have retired, while some of the recent favorites I've come to look forward to have moved on, and quite suddenly. Flipping through the pamphlet there were still some faces I've recognized and enjoyed over the years, but some of the most exciting new dancers seemed to have, well, vanished. 

That's not to say the show wasn't enjoyable (I just like watching for my favorites on stage!). Christopher Budzynski is always delightful and completely impressive in his technique, and his wife Alexandra Kochis, as well as one of her (Swanhilde's) maids, had me howling with laughter. I'm not used to seeing classical ballets that aren't quite so tragic, and the room to have fun and be entertaining with the pantomime in Coppélia was well taken advantage of.


And I still stand firm on my love for shows with the orchestra. 

Have you been to see any ballets or shows lately?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Life According to my iPhone

It's been a chaotic few weeks, bomb threats every couple of hours, hectic holiday dinners, new cameras, beautiful days and beautiful flowers followed by the threat of snow storms. I want nothing more than to dress in flowing sundresses and steal away to the lakeside with a sketchbook, laying in the grass and doodling the ducks on the water, but instead I'm stuck in front of a screen, typing, typing, typing trying to get things together to end one chapter and move onto the next. I need those calm days, those summer days; I want to start new projects, go places, enjoy the sunlight and daylight and frozen yogurt but the scoopful. Just a few more weeks...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Reading

IT'S PLAYOFF TIME! I'm going to try really hard to contain myself. But I'm sure there will be hockey outpourings on here and, mainly, Twitter. I hate feeling not involved in the season, since most of my classes have run into game time this term. ONE DAY I will be able to watch Pens games again. Though I'm proud of those boys nonetheless. In all loving sportsmanship, let's crush the Flyers! Though, let's not talk about last night. Blowing a 3-0 lead is not something I like, any day of the week.

♥ I fell victim to the sock bun. And let me tell you, it is AWESOME! You may not have heard, but I'm terrible with hair; putting it up in a simple ponytail is a feat, and usually an ugly feat at that. But I finally gave the sock bun a try and loved it! It's so easy and totally fixes all of my running late/bad hair mornings. Have you tried it too? What's your verdict?

♥ The boy and I finished watching season one of A Game of Thrones. Amazing. 'Nuff said.




little loves
Spike brought us all Sarris chocolate at work for Easter! Super sweet! ♥ how thoughtful a boyfriend I have ♥ sketching ♥ hula hoops ♥ takeout Italian food ♥ having wonderful cousins ♥ Felicia Day's FLOGs have given me quite a chuckle so far :D ♥ chocolate covered raisins ♥ printed scarves ♥ a full bomb-threat-less day on campus

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ballet Workout: Relevé & plié exercise


I'm going to see Coppelia this weekend and thought it'd be a perfect time to share a little ballet inspired workout!

Back in my ballet days, we'd always do this exercise at the barre and after about two weeks worth of classes, my calf muscles were ridiculous! It's tough to squeeze in a workout right now, but what I love about pliés and relevés are that you can do them pretty much anywhere! I've done them while ironing, cooking at the stove, and in line at Starbuck's.

(Also, I think I'm learning that it's typical of most vlogs to feature a freeze frame of you making an awesomely terribly face xD)

Disclaimer: I'm not a health expert, so, as simple as this exercise is, do it at your own risk! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Butter Yellow

When I was little, my mom, grandparents and I, would drive to Cincinnati to meet up with all of the cousins to celebrate and dye eggs. I remember cracking shells and trying to make all kinds of designs with the whole family. With all of us grown up, it's been a while since we've been able to convene at Easter, but it's something I remember fondly.

Today the Boy and I are headed up to my Dad's for dinner and just spending some time with the family. It's not that far away, but with school and everything, getting up to see everyone has been tough lately. It'll be great to see my sister and family again!

To all of you who celebrate, wishing you a Happy Easter!And to those who don't, a very happy spring Sunday all the same :)

What are your plans today?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

link love

Hunky Dory
( clareta )

This is one of those weeks where I need the Internet to distract me a little bit. Usually around this time in the semester, I default to finding outrageous things on the web, watching Korean dramas, and this time around - pinning things on Pinterest! Here are some of my favorite links to procrastinate with lately!

♥ I'm a cardigan addict myself, and Annie of Wattlebird shared a lovely tutorial on making your own cardigan clips to spice things up a bit!
♥ Kyla Roma shares a simple rainbow french-tip manicure that adds a pop of color
♥ After our discussion with Jeff over the same topic, Steve found these fantastic steampunk Star Wars illustrations by Bjorn Hurri
♥ Paperclippe talks The Hunger Games and the face of evil. This is definitely something I feel was amped up in the movies to "fit in" with how most movies go, but they pulled off the sentiment pretty nicely. 
♥ Also, in the spirit of the Hunger Games, a DIY beard of your own - Seneca Crane style!
♥ Planning summer vacations has got me thinking about packing already! And these are some travel gear gems for every destination, beaches and city-slicking alike.
♥ Sometimes I feel like I'm too busy to plan a retreat, but Gala Darling has a simple solution - have a retreat at home!
10 Healthy snack ideas on Miss Indie
♥ Danielle of Sometimes Sweet shares some neat things to do with your Instagram photos - welcome all you Android users!

Have you found any gems this week?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easy Pizza Spruce-up

IMG_8002 
This is less of a recipe than just a modification of my favorite back-up dinner of a frozen pizza, but well worth it! Not only does it make frozen pizza more exciting, it's a great way to sneak in some extra veggies at the end of a long day (and goat cheese. Did I mention extra goat cheese?)

Just steam some broccoli and sprinkle it along with some goat cheese over a frozen pizza (I like to use a three-cheese style) and bake as normal. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner after a long day of class. And it makes me feel better with a little extra green on my pizza :)

What are your favorite ways to spruce up your pizza?