Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Mini Update and So Long Google Reader!

The Blogcademy
What a week (make that two)! I just got in from a family vacation/exploration of Washington D.C., and while it was only a short excursion I am whooped! Between being in New York last week for The Blogcademy, then trying to collect myself for a week of work and class sandwiched in between another trip, I've realize it's a lot more chaotic than I thought. It feels good to be back and sleeping in my own bed, not to mention I'm a routine freak. Give me familiarity and a schedule or give me death!
Speaking of routines (blog routines, that is!), don't forget to add My Life as a Teacup to your Feedly or Bloglovin' (or other RSS feed of choice - My Life as a Teacup is even on Facebook!) before Google Reader goes kaput tomorrow. Part of me is still hoping this is all a joke or a bad dream, but with just a few hours left to go I'm not terribly optimistic.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Blogcademy NYC (a review!)

The Blogcademy

I'm still lost a magical, glittery daze from my time at The Blogcademy in New York City last weekend! Gala, Kat, and Shauna are such babes, and being in the city was just as amazing as the workshop itself. I met loads of inspiring fellow Blogcadettes and my mind is racing with new ideas and thoughts about blogging.

The Blogcademy

The space itself was one of the most dreamiest places I've ever been! From the collection of vintage couches pulled together as seating for the workshop, to typewriters, old school rotary phones, and roller skates littering the various shelves and tables, Rent Patina was heavenly (I think I was most enamored by a mantlepiece decked with books, a golden skull, and topiaries in trophies).

And the lighting? Gah! You think you know what photographers mean by shooting with the right kind of lighting, but when you get in Rent Patina's loft space you REALLY see it in action. I feel like I could've pointed my camera at my elbow and still gotten an exquisite shot.

The Blogcademy

Okay, okay, enough about the studio. We were really there to learn how to be super-awesome blogging queens (and take #bloggerface pictures).

Our lovely headmistresses did an amazing job catering to new and veteran bloggers alike, which was one of the best things about the workshop. Blogcadettes ranged from fresh-faced bloggers just starting out, to those with a few years under the belt, and not once did the content feel too far spread in one direction, and it wasn't regarding the same ol' basics that you hear about in every "new" article you find on the web. Sure, the basics are the building blocks and served as a great launching pad, but the headmistresses really stepped it up in order for us to take our blogs to the next level.

While I might have pages and pages of copious notes, what wows me still is the way The Blogcademy changed the way I think about blogging. I never really gave much thought to my blog beyond a personal hobby before last weekend. It started as a travel journal for friends and family while I was in Japan, and just kind of hung around afterwards as something I enjoyed. Now I realize how much more blogging can be with some planning and direction.

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

A magic disco ball appeared #theblogcademyAnd day 1 of @theblogcademy is a wrap! Learned so much - and there's still more tomorrow! #theblogcademyYay! indeed #theblogcademy
Bloggers taking pictures of bloggers taking pictures of bloggers at @theblogcademy It's blogception! #theblogcademyOff to @theblogcademy Day 2!@madelinadenasmith being a badass #theblogcademy babe!
Practicing my #bloggerface!It's @theblogcademy time! #theblogcademy #blogcademyUp next: branding #theblogcademy

I couldn't get enough of the little details! Teal rotary phones, sparkly ears (thanks, Crown and Glory!), disco balls, ecstatic greenery, platinum balloons, bedazzled necklaces (courtesy of Sparkle Beast Design) paintings of dogs, popsicles, adorable heart pouches from Alphabet Bags, Frederico the flamingo, bubbles galore, design savvy business cards, and sequins abound!

(And can we talk about the solid parfum from Milk & Honey Naturals in our goodie bags? My Tres Naturel scent is part of the Star-Crossed Lovers series and inspired by Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights. Plus, there are some other literary-inspired scents in the line - what an awesome idea!)

The Blogcademy

The Blogcademy

I couldn't be more grateful to have received a scholarship to The Blogcademy. I seem to have avoided the blogging rut that's swept a lot of bloggers as of late, but just felt like something was missing, some spark. Now I have a whole notebook full (literally!) of tips, notes, and ideas that I need to comb through, organize, and most importantly - get into ACTION! It finally feels like I have that spark, the direction, to give myself a vision to strive for.

Have you ever been to a blogging conference or workshop? 
Do you set blogging goals and plans for the future?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: NYC edition

The Blogcademy

This past week was sheer insanity - of the glittery and cartwheel-y variety of course! I'm still on a NYC high from my time spent at the Blogcademy last weekend (in fact, I started jotting down ideas for this bad boy at 2am on a bus somewhere in eastern PA!) and figured why not make this week's Things I Love Thursday New York themed? I was so glad to finally have a chance to explore the city, and even though it still feels like a vast strange ocean to me (or sometimes a sea monster), a part of me fell in love with the city and almost didn't want to leave!

The Blogcademy. More cupcake ingestion than I can count. Alice in Wonderland themed cafes. Peach tea. The subway (Pittsburgh, take note!). Being able to walk places. The most comfortable hotel bed ever. Snazzy, modern hotels with lighting like a jazz club. Bands playing on the street corner. Dancing in the subway car. Meeting blog friends (Sara is such a sweetheart and I'm convinced we'd be best friends if only we lived closer!). Sparkly ears from Crown and Glory. Breezy dresses. Gem-laden, blinged out necklaces. Quiet morning streets. Teal! More photo ops than I know what to do with. Bars with swings. Sneaking in a trip to the LUSH store. Grand Central Station. Getting asked if we were in the Mermaid Parade. Grilled bananas. Finding a Little Free Library. Bubbles. Delicious brunch. B balloons. Vintage shops. Catching up with Mike over noodles at Totto Ramen (and getting a surprise free bowl of Mega Ramen to try!). Glowing sunsets and lights. Meeting a bunch of amazing women. Instagram video. Arepas and empanadas with some blogcadettes. Kinship in epic workout music. 

Enjoying life #fmsphotoaday Up next: branding #theblogcademy
And I got to meet up with @mhernandez13 for #ramen! Last (day in #nyc) #fmsphotoaday
I'll have a review of The Blogcademy up here shortly, as well!

What are you loving this week?

Monday, June 24, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.57

snake and acorns
squishyray )

sibilant adj. [ˈsi-bə-lənt]: characterized by the hissing sound of "s" or "sh" (via

His sibilant laugh trailed throughout the room.

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!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

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As of tomorrow morning, I will be on a bus on my way to New York City for The Blogcademy! Which means that today is for getting my bag packed, making sure all necessary adorable writing utensils are accounted for, and forgetting to pack my toothpaste (which, embarrassingly, is something I do quite often).

♥ The beauty of collaboration and workshopping. I have a major project due in one of my classes at the end of the term, and while it's daunting on paper, taking it one step at a time, together as a group, has been insanely beneficial. It's lightened the load, it's made the project less terrifying, and I've been able to get feedback from others about what works, what doesn't, what's not clear, and what's downright silly.

♥ The boy and I celebrated our anniversary this week with dinner and our customary walk at Twin Lakes, which is always a nice treat :) Somewhere along the line we decided to go see This Is The End, which was one of the funniest things I've seen lately in a "it's not good, but it's good" kind of way.

♥ I met with my host teacher earlier this week to discuss the upcoming school year, what to expect when teaching in the middle school, and to talk teaching in general. It was great to get a heads up on what's to come, and I'm so glad I have such an amazing person as a mentor for the next few months!

I am wearing pure awesomeness today, thanks to @redbubble #bioshock #infinite #geekytee #lutece Family: brunch #fmsphotoaday #family

little loves
 brunch ♥ I finally got around to seeing Pitch Perfect, and it was kind of fabulous ♥ being a boss at typing and spreadsheet organization ♥ teal-painted toes ♥ the concept for Marionettes & Monsters of Myth series sounds really cool! ♥ more strawberries! ♥ reliving Bioshock Infinite by making the Boy play it ♥ the Lutece twins are beyond awesome ♥ casually dropping fanfiction references in videos for my education class xD ♥ a wonderfully supportive family who always make me feel loved and awesome :) ♥ online classes that I don't have to drive to ♥ all you can eat soup buffets ♥ nautical looking stripes

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review: Cloud Atlas


goodreads
Cloud Atlas is a series of intertwining, overlapping narratives that ranges from a Pacific voyage in the 1850's to the interview of a fabricated diner server in Neo Seoul and beyond. Each story could very well exist on its own, yet is woven together with those before and after it. 
It's hard for me to put together my thoughts about this "story". I say story because I actually saw the movie before even knowing that it was based off of a book. Normally I don't follow the watch-then-read order of things, so I've had trouble separating my feelings about the movie from those regarding the book. I'm going to try to stick to a pure review of the book here. but I can't leave out some of my feelings about the movie, since it did shape how I approached the book to an extent.
The prose itself is quite phenomenal; Mitchell manages to adopt a different voice in each mini-story that corresponds with the style of the narrative. Adam Ewing's travel diary mimics the speech of the late 1800's just as well as Zachry's story plays with the colloquial language of his people. I have to applaud the skill of Mitchell in being able to mix styles so easily.

Naturally, I have favorite story lines within the larger work, but it was interesting to see each narrative come together and connect with another. I had hoped for more of a common thread, feeling as if I read or saw it again more things might begin to click into place. The connection between each story, no matter how inconsequential seeming or "small" a tale makes for quite a grand story overall, one that speaks to to very idea of humanity itself, but I think the connectedness that is there is what you get. I keep trying to read even more into it, which I think is throwing me off.
Now, the movie connection. The Wachowskis - check. Sci-fi movie about connectedness - check. I went into the theater expecting a deeply philosophical story (because with such a subject you expect a certain amount of depth and intricacies to ponder), and came out with just that, though I was hoping for a bit less heavy-handedness. I expected more subtlety, more layers, and felt that the "hidden", entwining story lines were too in your face for such a beautifully themed narrative (especially for the Wachowskis). Were I to watch the movie again - and I think I will - my feelings might change. The film did layer the Cloud Atlas Sextet beautifully throughout, and that's one aspect that a book can't really do. And some of the individual stories of the movie were wonderful fun in translation to the screen (Jim Broadbent had me howling, and Ben Wishaw, well, I won't ruin that touching storyline).
I still prefer the book, though.
Have you read or seen Cloud Atlas? What did you think?

Monday, June 17, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.56

Sistema di seduta (Minimal)
source )

austere adj. [aw-steer]: severe, strict, uncompromising; grave, solemn, self-disciplined; simple, without excess or ornament (via

For a college student desk was austere, only containing the necessary notebook, folder, and lamp he would need to focus on his work.

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, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

I've been staring at a blinking cursor on a blank white screen for over an hour now, not really sure where to start, what to say. And really, when it comes down to it, it's simple: I love my Dad. 
He is such an incredible human being, and I couldn't be luckier to have such a loving, encouraging person in my life, especially as a father. We've sat on the porch and watched a family of robins together. We've gone on vacations and gotten bowled over by waves. We've had graduation parties and confirmation parties and hooray for paying off our debt parties. We've had Lord of the Rings marathons together. We've watched the same taped VHS copy of A New Hope together for years and years and years together. We've Skyped from across the city, we've Skyped from different continents. We've ranted and been hopeful together. We've done science projects together, eaten cherry licorice together, and taken road trips together.
I really can't put how amazing my Dad is into words. It's one of those things where you just have to be there. For the crazy phone calls. The coined "Dad-isms". The Yogi Berra quotes. Just take my word for it :) 

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Recipe: Brie, Basil, and Tomato Pasta



I don't like summer.

I want to like summer, really, I do. But after the first week or two of sweaty palms and muggy, miserable days I'm ready for the perfectly crisp air of autumn again. Or, you know, snow. Anything to keep the sweat from dripping down my cheeks. So these past few days of breezy days due to the storm have been a godsend.

Getting through the long months of heat takes strategy, and I choose to focus on the little milestones to keep me going: the first bushel of fresh strawberries, the moment delicious peaches crop up in the stores, picnics and barbecues, and the sprouting of each and every herb in my garden. I'm willing to put up with summer if only for those deliciously simple flavors of basil and rosemary.

So the minute my basil plant starts offering leaves, I take them. I take them and I make my absolute favorite meal in the world. It's simple, light, and summery, and makes me not care about the sun, or the sweat, or the humidity. 



Brie, Basil, and Tomato Pasta
  • 8 oz shell pasta
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • a wedge of Brie cheese
  • a generous palmful of fresh basil, shredded
  • black pepper
Cook your pasta, chop your tomatoes and basil, and cut your Brie into small cubes to melt faster. Drain, and mix together, adding a little bit of reserved pasta water if needed to loosen things up. Shake in some pepper and chow down!

Easy, no?

It's really very imprecise; you can add as much or as little of any of the ingredients based on your liking. And a brief note: I'm usually all for substituting dried herbs with fresh if you're in a bind, but I wouldn't dream of making this with anything but fresh basil. 

Do you have a go to summer meal? An herb that makes everything more bearable? Basil is my savior :) 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

Filofax

I'm not going to lie: it's been mighty difficult to find the positive in this week. Some days I feel like it'd be easier and more beneficial to make a "Things That Make Me Want to Bash My Head Off My Desk" list to get out all of my frustrations. But then I remember how much ranting and being angry doesn't help my mood, and just how much I have to be thankful for.

Choosing to focus on the positive doesn't mean the bad things magically disappear. They don't. While I could rant and rave about them, dwell on them, and let them fester, it leaves me feeling drained and grumpy. My time is too previous for that, but my feelings are just as important, good or bad. And so I run, or I blast Amanda Palmer in my car on the way home and I get out all of the bad feelings in whatever way I can. I say hello to them, I think about them briefly, and then I let them go.

♥ I'd like to take a moment to pat myself on the back for my patience. It's a miracle I've made it through the past few days, and I think this is what I owe it to.

♥ Making my Filofax pretty helps me get through the week. I'm much more inclined to plan things and get them done if I write it down, and I'm much more inclined to write it down if bright colors are involved. I am on the hunt for colored pens that a) don't bleed through and b) write on washi tape. Thoughts?

♥ Having the drive and determination to stick with something, even when it's not providing the experience and expectations I was hoping for. I will never sacrifice my ability or integrity and will always do my best, no matter what the outcome. It would be so easy to get frustrated and walk away, but I would be doing myself no service and missing out on still a good learning opportunity.

♥ Being able to watch the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs without the emotional attachment and heartache. It was a good season, boys. But now I can actually watch games without getting emotionally invested, wanting to vomit, and crying.

little loves
looking forward to a morning cup of coffee ♥ impromptu yogurt trips, and how nice the owners of froyo shops always are ♥ fresh strawberries ♥ baby cows!? Someone on my way to work has cows that he puts out to graze and they scare the crap out of me every time I round the corner, but seeing some babies just pop up one day was really cool! ♥ women dance partners ♥ sharing carrots and commiseration in class ♥ working out - which I don't think I've done at all in like, a month. It felt gooood ♥ sleeping on a pile of pillows ♥ the one spoon with my initial on it

What are you choosing to reflect on this week?