Monday, April 29, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.49

Parisian nightlife
source )

picaresque adj. [pē-kə-ˈresk]: of or relating to rogues, adventurers (via

The picaresque spaghetti western, A Fistful of Dollars is based on a Kurosawa film.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Review: What My Mother Gave Me (+ a giveaway!)

For every major event in my life I've received, from my mother, a book. Upon graduating high school - a book. Graduating college - a book. Turning 21 - you guessed it, a book. Now, this book isn't the latest installment of Game of Thrones or a first edition printing of The Great Gatsby; no, this is a sentimental book full of wisdom and advice from mothers to daughters in all walks of life, complete with ribbon bookmark. I don't mean to sound sarcastic; I really do enjoy the books she gives me and look forward to them at each holiday or milestone. Which was why, when I heard about Elizabeth Benedict's compilation of mother-daughter essays, I knew I had to snag a copy for my mum. But the more I thought about what my own mother has given me, the more I realized that those books, however thoughtful they may be in their wisdom-bestowing glory, my mother has given me a different gift that I prefer far more.

On the most random occasions, that is, on no occasion at all, my mother will slip an article she's clipped from the latest Reader's Digest under my door. She'll tear out a tip or a touching memoir from Real Simple magazine. I'll suddenly get a barrage of email in my inbox - all from her - sharing links to "Refining Your Resume", or the latest iPhone news as reported from Mashable, or a list of reasons why "You're Enough Just the Way You Are". Every little article is her way of saying "just thinking of you". Sometimes they're funny, sometimes they're relevant to my life and interests, and sometimes they're just plain motherly advice, but they're always spot on. To know that she's always looking out for me, always thinking of me, and that she knows quite well who I am as a person are all things that never go missed with each snippet slipped under my door. Sure, the touching books I receive on monumental occasions are just that - touching - but the little articles and snippets that Mum gives me on random days, on Tuesdays, and Labor Days, and off-days, are far more precious.

The book itself is a quick read, a compilation of about two dozen or so women sharing short essays and thoughts on their mothers, be it through tangible items they've had handed down, or gifts of character and countenance their mothers have taught them. My honest first impression before even opening the book was that I would find it to be a selection of stories that were heartwarming and sentimental; not new, not radical, but always a warm and welcoming read. Yet I was pleasantly surprised - the stories aren't all nostalgic reminiscing about wonderful mothers; there are tales of alcoholism, reconciliation, of being lost, and of nail polish all mixed together with the typical uplifting memoir I had expected. Not every woman has an untarnished picture of their mother, but each woman manages to make the best of what their mother "gave" them, even if what they had to give was not so wonderful.

What My Mother Gave Me was such a charming read, and I'm so glad it shattered what I had expected from a book like this. With Mother's Day around the corner, I couldn't think of a sweeter gift to give your mom (and maybe even write your own mini-essay about what you're mother has given you and fold it into the book's pages as part of your gift?). You hear that Mum? Guess what you're getting for part of your Mother's Day present? I can't really keep that a secret, seeing as you read my blog and all :)

And guess what? I've got a copy for one of you too! Just use the widget below to enter before May 1st, 2013 at midnight EST (that way I can get the book to you in time to wrap, and maybe read it yourself before you give it to mom :D)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Algonquin was kind enough to provide me with a copy of this book to review, but all opinions are my own - promise!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

( source )

If I can just take a break from sneezing long enough to write something - sheesh! I don't remember my allergies ever being this bad. But me and my Clairtin have been inseparable the past few days.

I've had the week off of work, and have a tiny window of no class, which has led to the strange feeling of having free time on my hands. For the girl who never cared for summer vacation because I liked the structure of an everyday routine, I'm getting by. I've actually accomplished quite a lot! I've cleaned, I've powered through books, I've got stuff in line for the summer semester. I've even been getting the urge to draw, so that's probably going to happen later today :)

And I finally ordered Bioshock Infinite as a "hooray, you made it through a killer term!" present to myself. Amazon's wicked fast, so I'm anticipating that today and then not resurfacing until it's been beaten :D

♥ Earlier this week, and on a separate occasion from when I went in for one thing and came out with everything except said this, I rounded the corner in the grocery store, dodged a women walking her cart down the wrong side of the aisle, and clipped the temporary cardboard display with my gigantic purse. Down came hundreds of rubber canning supplies, cardboard display and all. Okay, I exaggerate; not a hundred, more like twelve. But it seemed like one hundred a the time. My cheeks burned how and the fluster set in, and a woman came up and just helped me right the stand and pick up some of the fallen items. Just for someone to take a minute, to bend down and help out instead of walk right by meant the world. There was no judgement, just a "I know how purses get", and we smiled and went our separate ways. I learned to let go of some of my self-consciousness that day, too.

♥ Perfect days have been abundant - it's finally been spring and not skipped right into summer. We've had grey skies and light rain, blustery and breezy days, thunderstorms here and there and it's been warm enough and cool enough to need a cardigan and yet no shoes. Dreamy.

♥ A friend of mine recently said something that really struck a chord: "I'm doing the best I can." and I've adopted it as a kind of calming and focusing mantra. It's okay to not know. It's okay not to have it all figured out. It's okay to look someone in the eye and say, "I'm doing that best that I can."

little loves
warm spring rain ♥ wearing sandals in said rain ♥ loving friends ♥ honey roasted cashews ♥ the magic of perfect blush in two seconds when a sales associate at Sephora puts it on for you ♥ Clairtin's abilities to make me not want to rub my eyes out, at least for a few hours Smashbox's Be Legendary lipstick in Primrose Thor: The Dark World trailer - aaahhh! Only...7 months to go. Then more waiting for equally exciting Marvel movies ♥ all of the exciting movies coming out in the next few weeks! ♥ the last ten or so minutes from this past week's Game of Thrones ♥ Game of Thrones, in general ♥ compliments from strangers ♥ an impromptu Portal replay

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sponsor Love: April

One of the big changes that came in with My Life as a Teacup's redesign was my decision to start accepting sponsors. Now, I can't imagine blogging ever being a full-time job for me as it is for some, but I wanted to give fellow bloggers and friends the opportunity to connect with like-minded readers and participate in a sponsorship program that gave them a little something in return! I'm still feeling my way around things here, but I do know that I've always loved hosts who get involved and share a little bit about who they partner with and what they're into. Much more personal than just slapping up an ad.

On that note, I'd like to thank these two lovely ladies for being my guinea pigs for sponsor posts! Holly and Amanda both run fantastic blogs, the former a lifestyle blog focusing on style and encouragement (which I think is fantastic! Who couldn't use some encouraging words every now and then?) and Amanda touches on books, projects, and her own personal style, not to mention, some killer screen-printed designs!

And what better way to get to know someone better than over coffee and books? Two staples here in this house :) Holly and Amanda were both kind enough to share some of their favorite reads and sips this month. And let me just say, I'm normally a chai latte person, like Amanda, but I did branch out this past week and tried a hazelnut latte as a nice, cool, change of pace - I'm hooked!

blog | twitter | pinterest | facebook
drink: I feel like such a cliché saying this, but I am addicted to coffee. I blame my addiction on the hours upon hours I spent in my college newsroom back in my editor days. As the days get a little warmer, I'll be cooling down with iced hazelnut lattes and salted caramel mocha frappuccinos. 
read: As a journalist, intern and student, I always have my nose in a book. Right now, I'm reading "Why Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" by Mindy Kaling from The Office and The Mindy Project! 

What Holly has to say: Written by one of the most feminine feminists you'll ever meet, "Oh Golly, Holly!" is a blog where creativity, encouragement, style and inspiration mix and mingle. This is a blog where indecision and taking your time is encouraged and any dreamer is welcome. I showcase real women who are living their dreams, flaunt unique style rather than high fashion, and embrace the little things in life like a fun craft or a good read as I navigate my own personal "in-between."

drink: Chai tea lattes, always and forever read:  I just picked up Beautiful Creatures from the library, and am excited to read that (and then see the movie, of course).

What Amanda has to say: My name is Amanda, and I'm the chica behind Dragonflight Dreams (both blog and shop). I freelance full-time as a graphic designer here in Austin TX, and pursue screenprinting and blogging in my off-time, if there is such a thing. :) My interests span a pretty wide range, but include design, photography, screenprinting, cooking, reading, playing piano, movies, game nights with friends, hanging out with my boyfriend and puppy, daydreaming about dragons and flying, learning to sew, fashion (as I see it/like it), and more. Come by and say hi!

Amanda is also offering My Life as a Teacup readers 10% off screen-printed goods in her shop through May 15th! Just use TEACUP10 when you checkout :) I own one of her darling elephant prints, and it's truly gorgeous!

It's been a pleasure to get to know these two fantastic women over the past month, and I do hope you'll pop by and say hello! One of my favorite things about blogging is the community and friendships that form. I can't think of a better way to get to know one another than getting a little peek into the lives of other bloggers, even if that is in the form of coffee and a book!

What could we catch you reading/sipping as spring rolls in? If you'd like to sponsor My Life as a Teacup, be sure to click on the 'sponsor' tab above! I'd love to have you :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.48

Coffee Beans
source )

redolent adj. [red-l-uh nt]: fragrant, aromatic; suggestive, reminiscent (via

The Hunger Games' notion of children fighting to the death is redolent of the Japanese Battle Royale.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tribulations of a Twenty-something: Do Something

Stanley Cup Parade
I've been in a not-so-great place the past few months, where all of my thoughts are one giant ball of anxiety, confusion, and pressure. A mid-mid-life crisis, if you will. A combination of talking aloud - either to myself or someone else - and writing things down usually helps sort out my head and heart, and calm me down. So I've decided to take a moment here to reflect on my thoughts and try to work out the thoughts and worries that are floating around in my brain.

For the past six years, the holidays have been a sense of anxiety and dread (Easter: You weren't so bad...this time). As have family dinners, reunions, catching up with friends, meeting new people, and now you can add chatting casually with the barista at my local coffee shop to the list. There isn't an occasion I can think of that doesn't require me to answer some variation of the question "What are you up to?". From junior year of high school onward, it's been an endless barrage of:
  • What do you want to do when you grow up?
  • What's your major?
  • What do you want to do after you graduate?
  • Where do you work?
  • What do you think you're going to do with a Japanese degree?
  • What in the world do you think you're going to do with an English degree?
  • What are you possibly going to do with a Master's degree?
  • What do you want to do with your life?
I don't have an answer. I don't know what I want to do. And I don't need to hear the reassuring canned response that sums up how no one really knows what they want to do, not until later in life at least, once they've explored and changed majors and jobs and even then no one really has it figured out. Here I am, fresh out of college with the whole world at my fingertips and I haven't the foggiest idea of which direction to go. I can't just be an English major forever. 

It sucks, it sucks oh so very much, to not be able to answer that basic, introductory question that gets passed around all the time. In the most casual of conversations, the question, "What do you do?", is a time-bomb. 

I don't have an answer.

Or rather, the answer that I do have is either a lie for the sake of simplification, or a lengthy three-hour tale about my tribulations and self-doubts. And I highly doubt that's what Blake the barista had in mind when he asked what I do. 

I'm floating in this weird, liminal goop. I'm not entirely invested in anything - mind, body, or soul. Somehow, everything is inextricably wound up in everything else - my job, my relationships with friends and family, my goals, my future. I'm so scared to touch the delicate web I've not even noticed I've spun for fear that it will crumble. I've spent the past few months marinating in all of this, trying to detangle the strands and figure out where I am. I'm still not entirely sure - there's a pretty big knot that's tangled up worse than 15,000 beaded necklaces in your childhood dress-up box - but I've at least acknowledged it.

What I do know is that I cannot just sit here, stagnant, dreaming of what I want to accomplish or running through every viable scenario in my head. I'll do nothing if I don't do something, and at this point I just need to put myself out there, take the risk, and screw up. I want to write, I want to be creatively challenged, I want to create things that I'm proud of. I'm not completely lost, but there's so much pressure to have it all figured out. But as much as I tell myself that I don't need to have The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything tomorrow, I'm terrified not to. How, then, will I ever be an adult? It's a silly question, says my logical side; it's completely unfounded. But I can't help feeling like I'll never be able to fill in the gaps that will get me from college grad to real person.

So here's to chances, to change, to choosing to be happy and positive in this liminal-goop-dwelling time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

A Korean BBQ joint in the suburbs of Tokyo...

It's been everywhere, from news to blogs, but my thoughts are with all of those affected by the Boston Marathon attacks earlier this week. The thought that a race, a celebratory day of accomplishment and fun for so many could turn into what it did is horrifying. There's not much I can say that hasn't already been said, but I've found the events of the past few days weighing on my mind. I've been to Boston, I love Boston, I have friends in Boston. And no matter where it is, to see such horror is heartbreaking. But to see a whole city, a whole people unite and offer up their homes in kindness, people running to the scene, keeping track of loved ones, puts a real different spin on what happened.

♥ For as much as I've lost faith in humanity, the kindness of strangers is what keeps my optimism alive. It's more than just a boost to my optimism, though; it's incredibly moving to see the goodness of whole communities emerge. One tweet that came through my feed on Tuesday was along the lines of, "I never thought a spreadsheet could be so touching". Within hours, a massive list of ordinary folks offering their homes, clothes, food, a listening ear, has assembled for those in Boston. I'm still tearing up thinking about it.

♥ On a lighter note, this week marked the last week of classes! I've got one more project and one more test to finish up, and then I have a brief reprieve until early May. It's not a long break, but I'll take it; the past few months have been incredibly mentally taxing.

♥ You know what's great? Being able to sell back your books and make more than $3 for doing so, especially when said books originally cost upwards of $100. Thank you, Universe. (psst - I wrote about  selling back college textbooks a while ago, and still swear by it!)

little loves
finally getting around to beating Borderlands ♥ the trees starting to bloom just slightly, which makes the treetops look like they've been dotted with watercolors ♥ basil ♥ housewarming parties ♥ sugar peas ♥ cool, rainy afternoons ♥ juxtaposition in design ♥ vintage travel posters ♥ I'm very much enjoying participating in #fmsphotoaday this month!

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

3 Things I Learned from ModCloth's Susan Gregg Koger


A few weeks ago an email landed in my inbox, and I nearly fell out of my chair. Susan Gregg Koger - that is, one of the founders and the creative director of ModCloth - was coming to speak at Chatham University. Seeing as ModCloth is a Pittsburgh-based company, this shouldn't have come as any surprise to me, but - gasp! ModCloth! In Pittsburgh! At my college! It was too good to be true. So I clicked "sign up" on that registration email faster than a giddy teenage girl could text "lol" and started praying for time to pass faster.

Last Friday was Susan's talk as part of Chatham's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship breakfast series and within just an hour's time, about fifty women of all walks of life - myself included - learned loads about marketing your passion and how to rock it in the business world. We chuckled, we reminisced, we ate quiche - and it was fabulous.

Susan technically focused on entrepreneurial skills and integrating the social experience into commerce, but I found her presentation full of helpful advice no matter what field you're in. I'm no 9 to 5 businesswoman, but much of what Susan had to say easily transfers into my own role, as a blogger, as a consumer, and as a regular ol' human being. My top three favorite pieces of advice?

1. Be top of mind. Whether you sell sundresses or notebooks, your brand should be the first thing a customer thinks of when they begin their hunt for that perfect item. There are a handful of companies that come to mind when I'm looking for something in particular, and those companies come to mind for a good reason. But being top of mind means more than just having a quality product. Even if I was thinking about vintage clothing all the time, my wallet would not be in agreement, and ModCloth knows this. They engage in any number of networks and mediums that still connect with their customers without being overbearing; ModCloth runs a blog focusing on topics relevant to its community members, and uses items in specific event-focused style boards as fashion advice - helpful! This doesn't mean throwing yourself at a customer, however; I can smell a smothering sale attempt a mile away and you know what? It smells like desperation. Ingenuous desperation. So expand your presence, but do it in a genuine way. Your customers are savvy.

2. The customer is multi-faceted. Why yes, yes I am. Thank you, ModCloth. Some people looked puzzled when Susan revealed that ModCloth has an active Goodreads presence (which, if you're not aware of, is one of my favorite book-minded communities, hands down), but to me it made perfect sense: acknowledge that your customer isn't thinking about your product 24/7, and be a presence in the rest of her world. She likes other things, has other interests.

In turn, I get to take part in a community that is likeminded; I'm betting ModCloth has a more personally enticing Goodreads recommendation shelf than that of a Huggies diaper community. For a company, engaging with your customer on other platforms means building rapport, a community, and getting to know a bit about her other interests, not to mention staying at the forefront of things (see "staying top of mind", above).

3. Never apologize for your age. This hits close to home. Getting into a school without cutoff dates means that I've always been the "baby"; I was a year younger than my best friends when it came time for drivers licenses, graduation, and celebrating my 21st. Even at my part-time job, I constantly get remarks about my age (all positive, "You seem so much older!" type of comments, but they still take a mental toll). I constantly feel like I need to apologize for...for I'm not really sure what. Whether you're younger or older than what people expect, who cares? I am 22; I am 47; I am 93; I am perfectly capable of doing whatever I choose to do, and that's that. Do what you love, and do it well, and never feel like you have to explain yourself.

What are some of your most treasured pieces of advice? Is there one tenant in particular that you live by?

Monday, April 15, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.47

I Fall Down Stairs.  A Lot. 109/365
source )

gauche adj. [ˈgōsh]: tactless, lacking grace or social experience; crude  (via

My cousin's extensive knowledge of proper place settings made me feel self-conscious of my gauche manners.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

link love

Carrie Schneider's Reading Women series - a stunning photo project!

I've been hoarding links like a crazy person lately. I used to just save text links to everything in a single Evernote, but I've since discovered Evernote's web clipper and the not-so-scary joy of having lots and lots of notebooks (in fact, I think having more has made Evernote more intuitive and productive for me). Long story short, in the process of clipping links like a fiend, I lost track of just how many links - and what exactly - I've been saving.

The Subterranean Wonder of Abandoned Subway Stations
♥ Continuing on the theme of abandoned places, here are 7 Modern Ghost Towns That Look Like Sci-Fi Movies
♥ Book plates have always intrigued me, as do these book plates belonging to famous people.
♥ Famous authors as teenagers
♥ The importance of reading critically for writers
♥ 11 words that don't mean what they sound like...
♥ Kelsey shared a super adorable wine cork letter DIY that she made with her and Jason's wedding leftovers
♥ I keep hearing about how no one would want to play a female-fronted game, from quite a few corners actually. But for most people I've met, character gender takes a back seat to story and character development, yet I keep hearing this general argument nonetheless. Becky Chambers' essay, In Which I Am Pretty Darn Sure That Most Gamers Are Fine With Female Protagonists, pretty much sums up what I thought - I'm pretty darn sure too that most gamers are totally fine with female protagonists. Thanks, Becky.
Looking back at the LBD - I'm sad the Lizzie Bennet Diaries have come to an end, but then again, it's not as if I didn't know the ultimate outcome of the storyline anyway. LBD, I will miss you!
Dear Ryan Gosling... (I snorted; this is pretty fantastic)
♥ Gala Darling shares some Beautiful & Bizarre Hotels: 5 Dream Locations for International Playgirls. Giraffes? No way!
10 Reasons You're Enough Just the Way You Are (thanks, Mum! Lord knows I needed this the other day)
♥ 22 Things Happy People Do Differently
♥ There's so much spotlight on women's issues lately - and rightfully so. But whether you're discussing rape culture or the "fake geek girl" epidemic, these Top 10 Girl Code Rules are important no matter what. Stop hating on other women, stop hating on other people. And let's all keep an eye out for one another, ok? - guy or girl.
Kayla shared the anti-preneur manifesto a while back, and I can't love it enough.

(I know I'm a bit late to the party, sharing this, but Amanda makes some brilliant, brilliant points and makes me want to hug her)

The Greyjoys killed me xD

Any good links you can get enough of?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

ice cream cone
( source )

We had perfect spring weather for like, a day. Then it was 80 degrees. Not that I'm complaining - no, anything that doesn't require a coat and lets me twirl around in a sundress is welcome after a pretty frigid winter. But I'm just saying, a season should last more than a day. Take note, Mother Nature.

Otherwise, I've been getting so much done lately! Lots of final projects are catching up to me, but I've surprisingly found time in between to finish up 30 Days of Lists, work some new things into my routine, read more 1Q84 (I'm still not as fond of it as I had hoped, but there's still 500 pages for it to grow on me) and even get out and about on a regular basis. It feels pretty darn good to have a girls night once a week, just to take a small break from it all. And Friday morning I'm going to a talk by Modcloth founder Susan Gregg Koger - super pumped!

And I'm rewarding myself with Bioshock Infinite as soon as finals are over. Sch-uhweet!

♥ So glad I'm caught up on 30 Days of Lists - this was my first time not doing it all in the actual month it was hosted, but that didn't make it any less awesome. I forget who said it, but one of the girls mentioned that it doesn't explicitly say 30 "consecutive" days. I love having the finished product in my hand though - I kept it simple this time, but it feels so put together; looking forward to opening it in the future and seeing how my answers have changed :)

♥ Last Sunday, my Mum and I went on a lunch date to Hofbrauhaus with my Aunt Patti. We'd all been wanting to go and I managed to find a Groupon for it a while back. That was our excuse to stop rescheduling and GO. And it was delicious. We're torn between making our next visit on a busy weekend evening to see the place in full swing, or bringing my food-conservative Grandma. Who knows, maybe we'll do both xD (that'd be a sight!)

♥ I was doing so good, eating and exercise-wise in January, but February was a brutal month for me. I'm happy to say that I'm back on the horse, lately, and feel much better. I'm most excited about running a 12:30 minute mile yesterday. I'm aiming for 12 minutes to start out with but, hey - baby steps.
little loves
sundresses ♥ cat napping ♥ early Saturdays with friends and takeout ♥ the Penguins are playoff bound! ♥ the first walk of the season (and in our new neighborhood!) ♥ ice cream cones - it's never too early! ♥ cake-scented candles ♥ sleeping with the windows open ♥ getting into a running routine while listening to This American Life ♥ clementine oranges ♥ pictures from Amsterdam and Paris from Dad ♥ the Pittsburgh Aviary has a new baby owl! She's so fluffy! And disproportionate! D'aw! ♥ my new favorite joke - go English majors xD

What are you loving?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

5 Apps and Extensions to Stay Organized and Productive

I first considered titling this post "Why I Need A To-Do List To Remind Me To Take A Shower", but not only is it a bit of a mouthful, I can only begin to imagine the bizarre Google search results that would spur. If we're being totally honest, though, some days I've got so much on my plate that I would forget to take a shower if a reminder weren't glaring back at me from my illuminated phone screen.

I'm not shy about declaring my love of lists; listing itself is something that is so ingrained in my daily routine that I'm constantly creating to-do lists or checklists to keep myself on track. Sure I may have ornately doodled bulleted reminders to myself in the margins of every scrap of paper I get my hands on, but hey, if it works for you...

Today I'm sharing how I plan my day using lists, and the apps I utilize to make sure that I stay on task and productive. The one thing I've discovered in my journey to make the most of my time is that there's no single, magically great system that works for everyone. It's different for everyone! It's the same reason I get so discouraged with paper planners - the setup and organization don't necessarily fit my needs. These are just some ideas based on how I stay organized; it may not work for you, but hopefully you get some ideas that you can modify to better fit your needs!
  • Daily to-do lists
  • Short-term tasks
  • Everyday activities
Part of why I liked the now-paid TeuxDeux so much was that I could have access to an easily editable daily to-do list. stepped up to the plate and took over that role in a pretty seamless transition (though it did take me a few days of forgetting to turn off the sound when I completed task; a very cute high-pitched voice yells congratulatory things at you, which tends to freak people out when you're in public. And make me jump). I don't use the Upcoming/Someday feature much, as I prefer to give tasks some sort of time frame (I find the next app, Wunderlist, better for those sorts of things), but is my go-to for making a daily to-do list. Shower? Check. Write paper? Check. Stop for cupcakes? Super check.

  • Project organization
  • Breaking down large projects into smaller tasks
  • Long-term task overview
Wunderlist tends to be more project friendly, or so I've found. If I can split a goal or project into multiple parts or need to visualize all of my tasks over a given period of time, the hefty checkboxes and extreme categorization of Wunderlist does the trick. Take a new school term, for instance. Under a heading called "class" (or one separate category for each class, if I'm feeling real wild) I'll make a list of all of the projects and assignments I have for that term - from papers to lesson plans, exams, even weekly homework assignments. I plug in the due dates if I have them, mainly just to have all of the information there for easy access, but it's mainly to keep a list of what's due so I don't forget anything.

Multiple step projects also benefit from Wunderlist; "decorate the office" doesn't really have a concrete deadline to make it to my Google Calendar, but definitely isn't of high enough importance to make it to my to-do list for the next two days. Into Wunderlist you go, decorating dreams!

Google Calendar
  • Long-term planning
  • Visualizing due dates
  • Syncing schedules
  • Remembering where you need to be, and at what time
Sometimes, seeing dates and events on a calendar happens to be the most useful. Just typing in "April 22nd" on a project checklist doesn't help me squat. Cue Google Calendar. I can visually see upcoming due dates, which really puts my whole month into perspective for me. Coupled with color coding (a calendar for class-related events, including lecture times and meetings; one for my personal calendar, etc.) and Google Calendar is my best friend for planning anything and everything. I don't put vague tasks on there, like "workout" and issue a concrete time (7-8:00 am - that sounds much too inflexible, and besides, that's what my is for!), but long-term events and deadlines are there so I have a constant reminder at the beginning of the week or month.

  • Specialized lists (shopping, blog post planning, etc.)
  • Bookmarking information
  • Digital note-keeping
I would be remiss to not mention Evernote when I talk about how I organize the things I reference and use every day. Back when I had first heard about it, I didn't understand what all of the hubbub was about. Okay, so you can save notes - big deal. My mother actually started preaching the joys of Evernote to me on a fairly regular basis at about this time, so I gave Evernote another chance.

Evernote works wonders for any kind of information you want to hold on to (think Pinterest for non-pictures). I've used it to create a digital notebook for the important phone numbers and utility information in our new township; I've got a running list of blog post ideas for dry spells; our weekly meal plan is in there; and I've even got my shopping list, with pictures and links to all of the closet essentials I've been meaning to buy (categorized by type, of course). Evernote: 1 Kristin: owes Evernote an apology.

I recently read that the more stuff you put into Evernote, the more useful it is (as counterintuitive as this sounds at first, I gave it a go and think the sheer amount of stuff I keep in it helps me make the most of it; seriously, try it).

  • Bookmarking articles
  • Filtering through Feedly
I don't always have the time to read every single article that comes through Feedly, especially if they're long, so Pocket is great for keeping a running tab of things I need to get to for my own reading pleasure.

Pocket can easily become a time trap (you know, the kind where you start off with nice, focused intentions only to emerge 6 hours later with no clear recollection of what you've been doing all that time) if you don't keep it in check. For me, that means bookmarking articles that I want to read for later, but don't necessarily have to act on (ie. reply to, comment on, etc.), but it's different for everyone. This is how I go through a lot of informational articles, again, that I just want to read. If the article or link is a potential candidate for a Link Love post, or a post I want to leave a comment on, that happens elsewhere, or else my Pocket gets out of control.

Bonus: Filofax
My Filofax hasn't been neglected, never you fear. I must admit, I'm not the best at keeping it up to date, nor is it always the sticker-filled, doodled-in, Pinterest-worthy piece of art that some Filofax diehards revel in. But hey, it's color-coded. And having a physical planner looks much classier at an event than whipping out your phone. Even when said planner is hot pink. With 3D cupcake stickers on it. True story.

How do you stay organized an on-task throughout the day?

Monday, April 8, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.46

Parking Fail
source )

maladroit adj. [ma-lə-ˈdrȯit]: inept (via

His maladroit driving didn't end at the intersection; the driver pulled up next to me in the store's parking lot, narrowly missing my car.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Words of Wisdom

Reaching towards the light
( source )
I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.
— Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

Friday, April 5, 2013


I know I've been alluding to a lot of magical, mystical "stuff" that's been on my mind lately, and I do plan on lifting the mystery on it all shortly - promise. Part of me hasn't been quite ready to talk about it, and part of me needs to talk about, or write about to get it down in words. The sooner I can verbalize what I want, the sooner I can start confronting it. For me, talking about it to someone or writing it down is the way I get a scrambled mess on thoughts, dreams, and fears out of my head and into an organized, tangible thing that I can tackle.

But I digress.

I really just want to go somewhere. Anywhere. I've been bitten by the travel bug this past week, more than usual, and quite differently than my typical tastes; usually I long for crisp, grey, skies and a more classical, urban locale. This time though, I'm craving exotic places (or at least, exotic for me) and great adventures.

I want to pack a bag and see the clouds hovering outside of my window. I want to see cliffs and mountains; stroll through plazas and down winding roads; stare up at monuments stretching towards the sky. I want to ride on trains. I want to eat dishes whose names I can't pronounce. I want to gaze into azure waters and feel the warm sun.

Morocco | cherry bharati

Iceland | Sami Heiskanen

The Crypt at Sunset
Cambodia | Stuck in Customs

Egypt-10C-040 - Temple of Hathor
Egypt | archer10

Riomaggiore At Dusk - (Cinque Terre, Italy)

Bay Of Fires
Bay of Fires, Tasmania | SoniaMPhotography

London by night

Paris | joannablu

Arch window view of Delicate Arch
Arches National Park | oldmantravels

Greece | Anskuws

Leaving, for the beaches afar
Thailand | julesactually

Where are you dreaming of going?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

( source )

I have no concept of time this week, apparently. All yesterday I mistakenly thought it was Thursday. Not to mention that last week, when the calendar still read 'March', it seemed as if I had all the time in the world to write 5 lesson plans, type up 2 reports, write a paper, and study for 3 exams. As soon as the word 'April' appeared however, different story. All of those vague "a month from now" due dates suddenly became "in eleven days". Jeepers.

♥ Did you see the season premiere of Game of Thrones!? I'm hooked on the books (still have "Dance with Dragons" to read, but getting to it!) and the series is equally addictive. I think they're doing a pretty darn good job adapting such a dense and intricate text. And now it's getting painful to wait a week between episodes! 

♥ Somehow I'm still able to read for fun this term, which is pretty incredible in itself (read: I'm probably neglecting school work to indulge in this). It's slow-going, but at least it's happening. I'm still in the proces of reading Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise and really taking the time to savor it. I'm still partial to Gatsby, which I think is overall a more polished and focused work, but for being his first novel, This Side of Paradise is exceptionally good! It's like a quirky collection of shorts involving Amory, which I'm quite fond of reading. Plus its reads as the American equivalent of an Oxford college-days novel, so thumbs up there!

little loves
dyeing easter eggs ♥ EOS lip balm ♥ Sarris chocolate goodies :) ♥ T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and its many, many lines I would like to quote here. ♥ blazers with sneakers ♥ seminars ♥ chatting with a student from Japan on campus! ♥ almost being able to not wear a jacket ♥ finally figuring out how to do a smokey eye ♥ caesar salad cravings (it's all I wanted to eat on Wednesday and it felt so good to just dig into a big bowl of it!) ♥

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recipe: Pizza Crackers

I'm not one for chips and other snacks, yet around 10am everyday my stomach makes the most awful and loud sound that could probably be heard from the space station. As much as I love popping a few grapes, I've been craving something savory lately and these pizza crackers are my favorite thing to whip up! They're like the quick, snack-time version of the pizza toast my grandmother used to make for lunch growing up. And kind of addictive.

Pizza Crackers
  • Triscuits (I like to use the roasted garlic flavor, but you could use whichever flavor you'd like!)
  • spaghetti sauce
  • mozzarella cheese
Top each Triscuit with a dollop of sauce, and sprinkled some shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Pop the plate in the microwave for about 30 seconds or so, just until the cheese is melted - that's it! 

Most of the recipe is subject to however much sauce or cheese you like. I'm not huge on sauce, so a small teaspoonful is plenty for me

Is there a snack you're addicted to? Any quick things you like to whip up in
between meals?

Monday, April 1, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.45

Moon and Venus
source )

lunette n. [lü-ˈnet]: crescent-shaped opening (architecture) (via

The amber sunlight cascaded in through the lunette above the door.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!