nalo.coul If only I could step into these photographs and live in them myself! *Kazu source T.S. The Other Martin Tenbonesbawkbawk tsugutsugu
Whew! It’s official — all of my graduate school applications (all whopping two of them) are submitted, just waiting on a few supplemental materials to make their way through the mail 😀 Now, (the worst part to someone who’s impatient) to wait…Wish me luck!
( Shanice-Kimberly Niebank )For me, the word ‘resolution’ is full of failure. It is full of holiday excuses, month-only gym joining, and perpetually enslaved to the month of January. But the simple little act of rechristening my ‘resolutions’ to ‘goals’ creates something that I want to strive year for weeks, months, even years. Goals seem more attainable, more realistic, more mutable. Goals can change with who you are as a person, align with your values in March only to be reshaped again in September. And better yet when your goals, when possible, turn into good habits. I wasn’t originally going to follow suit and come up for any overarching goals or mantras for the new year. I figured my 101 in 1001 project was enough to keep me busy; yet the first few days of 2012 felt empty for some reason. Perhaps it’s best to have sat on my goals and made them more personal, more real, without the temptation of setting superficial resolutions on the first of the month. There are some personal goals that cannot be summed up in a neat little list of to-do projects and, list-lover that I am, just thinking of the things I would like this year to become has made me giddy with excitement. Creativity: I was named “most artistic” in my high school yearbook. I spent 3/4 of my senior year working on art projects in the art wing or taking painting classes for fun during study hall. I painted our prom photo backdrop and murals around the school. And now it’s been four years since I’ve even looked at a paintbrush, much less picked one up (though I did paint a small picture for Mum for Christmas, which is perhaps what really threw me over the edge at getting out of my slump). I’m one of those people who looks back on old sketchbooks and doesn’t see growth, but really bad art that isn’t perfect and must be burned. I need to get over my perfectionism, just keep something daily to feel inspired again, and really hone my style. My high school evidently was not aware of the ability to resize pictures…and I was evidently channelling the grunge scene that day… Plan meals/Buy less cheese: This may sound silly, but I’ve discovered the root of my unhealthy eating. Between running through the drive-thru window after a late night at work or class and currently having no less than ten different cheeses in my refrigerator, it’s safe to say I have a bit of a problem. Offense number one lies in my rather unreliable schedule. Working retail, there are nights I work until six, and nights I don’t get home until ten. And with classes scattered throughout, most nights I’m not in the mood to cook anything and stop at the Wendy’s conveniently located on my route home. I’ve gotten better at packing my lunch, but still find myself in a place where I have no idea what to eat. And that’s where Wendy’s happens. On top of the spontaneous fast food (that doesn’t even really agree with me), the meals I do plan are still somewhat helter skelter and I end up with random ingredients that either go bad before I can use them in another meal, or specialty items that I’ll never use again. I like making interesting dishes, but have trouble coordinating them, or reusing leftover ingredients without feeing like I’m making the same meal two nights in a row. Not only can it get ludicrously expensive, but I really should not be eating cheese with every meal. I blame this on being raised by macaroni & cheese until the age of eleven. Now, I don’t hate fruits and veggies, but until recently I’ve been more or less a picky eater. I grew up on broccoli, applesauce, macaroni, and chicken nuggets. Now that I’ve branched out, I can’t seem to kick the habit and have trouble finding delicious sounding recipes outside of the realm of pasta with some kind of cheese. I don’t want to give up cheese forever, but it’s time I expand my horizons, put a stopper in my cheese budget, and find some good, healthy, quick alternatives. But the string cheese can totally stay. Exercise: Most cliche goal of all time. But really, I feel better when I get some physical activity in, don’t start heaving after 4 flights of stairs, and plus, I have a snazzy new yoga mat. Aside from yoga and walking the park trails (which is somewhat hindered when it’s -3 degrees out), I haven’t found much that I enjoy doing or can do within the confines of a part-time retail job/senior year school schedule. Don’t be a hermit: I’m not the “typical” college student; I don’t really do parties or going out in Oakland. Honestly, I prefer to stay home and have dinosaur documentary marathons or play video games with friends. Or by myself. Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy my friends and time spent with them, but with my schedule, I’m either exhausted by the time I get home, on a completely different schedule as everyone else, and without weekends to spare. I really need to make an effort to spend time with the friends I really cherish, even if that means planning a day to do it. I feel like once my schedule becomes a little more regulated this won’t be as hard, and though I’ve gotten better with fairly frequent girls’ nights with April, there’s more to be done. Surely, Stevie B! and I can squeeze in more than a 20-minute coffee break once a week… Internship: I never really entertained the idea of an internship while in school, either because of not really knowing what I wanted to do with my degree, or because, once essentially a pre-education major, how do you have a relevant intern experience as a teacher before being legally certified to work with students? So I brushed the idea off. I’d love to have the experience, but truth is, to finish my degrees I’ve never really had the time to work one into my school schedule, and it always seemed like there was nothing an English Lit/Japanese major was qualified for without the added help of a Journalism minor or business certificate (more things I didn’t have time to add on – I would stay in school forever if you’d let me). And so I always felt that there was nothing for me. But I’ve resolved to at least try applying for some, since I may have this summer off, and publishing and editorial work has really sparked my interest. It never hurts to try! To me, a resolution has an expiration date of January 31st, if I can hold out that long, but a ‘goal’ is a vehicle for change. A great, hulking, ocean liner of change. What’s your mantra for 2012?
oh hey, excuse for a picture of Robert Redford… As I sit here researching graduate programs, I think about all of the books I love and can’t wait to teach and share with others. And then I realize that my content knowledge in literature and favorite books span some, uh, not so great topics for a high school English class (Dracula and half the other Victorian novels I love? Yeah, the sexual repression of the Victorian Era may not go over so well…). Not to mention that American literature and myself are mortal enemies. 11th grade tends to be the year where the focus of many literature courses is American works and when I realized this, I panicked. I never cared much for American literature, preferring and simply having more experience with British works. I feel like part of this is due to lack of exposure; I never read Twain in high school, nor Catcher in the Rye like the entirety of the University has, apparently. But overall, I just prefer things like Blake, Milton, Eliot, the Brontes, etc. What in the world am I supposed to teach? Give me Gatsby, give me Poe, Sylvia Plath, and Theodore Dreiser. But I need to expand my horizons. So I’m digging out all the books I can find, and brushing up on my resources! List of to-reads? ♥ The Sound and the Fury ♥ Catcher in the Rye ♥ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ♥ Little Women ♥ The Red Badge of Courage ♥ Fahrenheit 452 ♥ A Farewell to Arms ♥ The Grapes of Wrath I honestly don’t even know where to start — eek! Do you like American Literature? What are some of your favorite novels? Did you read anything in high school that stuck with you so?
There’s little in this world that I love more than cupcakes. There’s little in this world that the Boy loves more than Guinness. And so when I stumbled across these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes (#16) via Ming Makes Cupcakes I knew that I had to whip these out for the Boy’s birthday this past Thursday. And oh my, are these one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted! And to think that they came out of my own oven! Le gasp! Really though, they’re perfectly chocolatey without being overbearingly sweet; the cream cheese frosting helps balance out the sweetness and the Guinness makes it all malty and rich and, well, stout like. This could easily become my staple chocolate cupcake!
Melissa of The Loveliest Day hosted a giveaway a few weeks back for some merchandise from the gift/stationary shop Knock Knock and I was lucky enough to win! I’m not usually one to win things, and being my first time winning a giveaway like this online I’m pretty excited! Knock Knock is full of cute, witty stationary and organizational products — who wouldn’t love sticky notes saying ‘you rock’ or a take-out menu organizer?It feels good to be told that you rock 😀 I requested the ‘To the Market’ pad; we used to have a much less organized version of this for groceries, but after running out of paper, we’ve resorted to jotting the grocery list down on a ripped out piece of notebook paper. Having things categorized has made going to the store much less of a back-and-forth ordeal. Love it! I’ve also been meal planning like mad. I find that if I don’t, I end up with random things in my pantry that never get used or go bad before I remember they exist. This ‘What to Eat’ pad is perfect for planning things out, and with it on the fridge, scribbling things down on the grocery list is super easy. As a chronic list maker, I make lists for everything, literally, everything – blog ideas, books to borrow from the library, colors I should dye my hair – it has been my way to organize my thoughts, ideas, and problems. And so having a pre-made pro/con sticky note seemed like a good idea! Problem solved checkbox? Awesome.