Hi.

September 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Posted in Me | 1 Comment

I still exist.

Since the end of July, I have been consumed by a new job (helping some great 11th grade teachers teach history more effectively), another new job (instructing 40 undergraduates in discussion sections for a U.S. history survey course), coursework, extracurricular activities, a cross-town move, and more. And so, as happens in times like these, my little blog has suffered.

I am not exactly sure when my life will calm down sufficiently to allow me to consume the requisite pop culture required to continue the same kinds of posts I typically put up here, but I hope it will be soon!

Sign me,
Graduate School Killed My Blog

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One Word:

July 19, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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PINTEREST!

Have you joined Pinterest yet? After hearing about the site from virtually all of my favorite style bloggers, I finally made an account last week, and I am hooked!

Pinterest is a free site with a very simple concept: when you see an image you like anywhere on the internet, you click a bookmarklet labeled “Pin It” (I keep mine on my bookmark bar, but you can also simply bookmark it), add an optional caption or tag, and import the photo onto a “board” (basically a folder) on your Pinterest page. Right now I have a board for DIY ideas, recipes, style ideas, and wedding inspiration (since J. and I are getting married next year!). There’s a social media aspect to the site too, so you can “follow” other peoples’ boards, and friends can follow your boards, too. Finally, the photos are all sourced, which is great for attribution and for finding your way back to the original content later!

Aesthetically, I really like the way the images are laid out on each page; the screenshot above gives a sense of the boards’ layout, with each photo stacked up in columns with others on that board. (This screenshot is actually of the homepage, but the boards share the same layout.) My only gripe with Pinterest is actually quite minimal: since the site currently requires members to make accounts through their Facebook or Twitter account, I was automatically forced to “follow” the boards of every Facebook friend I have who has a Pinterest account, which is totally awkward! I wish the system was opt-in instead of opt-out.

I would definitely recommend Pinterest to anyone who spends a lot of time on blogs, since so far I find Pinterest to be better than bookmarks and screenshots for keeping my ideas together. Since I am in the very early stages of wedding planning, I especially like how it is helping me keep track of wedding inspiration — for example, I love being able to see all the invitation designs I like side-by-side! Plus, unlike screenshots (which I had been using before), I never have to worry about forgetting which website sells an invitation I like, since Pinterest images always link back to the original content.

Right now, Pinterest requires folks to request an invite, which you can do here. But before you join, be forewarned: if you start wading into the site’s most popular boards, Pinterest can be a total time suck. But the most awesome, stylist, and inspirational time suck you’ve ever been in!

[ screenshot from Pinterest. This is probably obvious, since my little corner of the internet is probably read by all of six people, but I do not work for Pinterest, and they did not compensate me in any way for this post. I’m just spreading the good word about a site I love! ]

It’s Back! And I’m Terrified

June 30, 2011 at 11:17 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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When this image appeared in my inbox the other day, I got a little bit frightened.

The Really Big Chicken Sandwich Combo (RBCSC) — its $3.99 price tag too irresistible on a night a few months ago when I was eating alone and did not feel like cooking — was the fast food meal that made me realize I wasn’t a kid anymore, and thus couldn’t eat in the same way without paying an immediate physical price. In this case, the price was chest pains and difficulty breathing within twenty minutes of finishing the meal.

It’s not like I’m someone who hadn’t eaten any fast food for five years, and then decided to gorge myself on an absurdly large meal. Although I do eat real food most of the time, I occasionally jones for chicken nuggets, or curly fries, or a Dr. Pepper, and Jack in the Box is usually my destination when these cravings strike. {This is probably because (a) there is a location about 8 minutes away from my apartment, and (b) it was the fast food indulgence of my youth, so there’s a nostalgia factor there, too.} So while my fast food consumption is not a common occurrence, it’s not exactly rare, either, though I usually try to limit myself to one of the three combo items (sandwich OR fries OR soda) at a time so my stomach doesn’t feel like I consumed a rock afterwards.

But on the fatal RBCSC day, I threw caution (and good sense, and experience) to the wind, and ate fries AND a soda AND two chicken patties at the same time. And I paid for it dearly, by feeling as though I were about to have a heart attack.

So let my experience be a cautionary tale: Do not allow yourself to be fooled by the siren song of a $3.99 price tag. Approach the RBSCS with caution!

[ screenshot from Jack in the Box email ]

Pet Peeve of the Moment

June 29, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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If I never hear the phrase “I’m not a feminist, but…” again, I will be very happy.

Music for a Grey Day: A Weather-Themed Playlist

March 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment

Last Saturday I drove & rode shotgun (read: mostly rode shotgun) for a seven hour trip that took us through rain, snow, sleet, and hail. It only seemed appropriate that the music we listened to should reflect our circumstances, so I started working on a playlist to get us through the drive. The theme? Songs About Weather.

To assemble this playlist, I went through my entire iPod to find every single weather-related song I had (*). Some of these songs are, really, a stretch to fit into the theme (e.g. “Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake) while others have titles that seem perfect but subject matters entirely unrelated (“Hurricane” by Bob Dylan is the prime example). Nevertheless, I am pretty happy with how this playlist turned out. Check out what I came up with after the jump!

(*) When it played in the car it was alphabetized by song title, but for my own amusement I reordered it here to reflect a progression of weather from wind, to rain, to sunshine.

Continue Reading Music for a Grey Day: A Weather-Themed Playlist…

Best Recent Amazon Purchase: Wrist Rest

March 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness, Me | 1 Comment
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I don’t know how I made it through four years of undergrad and one year of working as a research assistant without succumbing to wrist pain caused by too much computer time, but somehow graduate school was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Less than a month into my second semester, and I was already suffering from painful wrists, particularly on my left side. I jerry-rigged a set up that involved two books laid flush with the bottom edge of my laptop to create a flatter surface for my wrists to rest upon, thereby minimizing the sharp edge that dug into my wrist. It was obvious, though, that I needed a more long-term solution, so I turned to Amazon, natch, and came up with an amazing product: the Intellegels Soft Foam Laptop Computer Wrist Rest. It creates a nice soft padded support for both wrists, and makes typing on the computer so much more comfortable. Plus, it came with a nice little carrying case, so I can stick it in my laptop case and take it to campus with me when I need to use my laptop at school. This little wrist rest has made me a happy customer!

However, there are two major caveats to singing this product’s praises: (1) If you click on that link above you’ll notice that it is currently out of stock on Amazon, and a quick visit to their website shows that Amazon is their only online retailer; otherwise, you’ll have to buy it at a store called Airport Wireless located “in Airports,” the site not-so-helpfully offers. I have no idea why Intelligels is not selling their products online at the moment; perhaps they just ran out of stock? Maybe I bought their last wrist rest? (It is their only product, after all.) Their website offers no explanation, so hopefully this is merely a temporary restocking kind of situation and not a Chapter 11 kind of situation.

And finally, (2), which is perhaps the more serious issue: it’s not actually made to work with a Mac. After many Amazon reviewers complained that their “one-size-fits-all” claim was misleading, since Macbooks have larger touch pads than many other laptop brands (such as Sony, Dell, and Toshiba) and so the rectangular cut-out in the wrist rest actually blocks about one-sixth of the touch pad, Intelligels altered the product description to remind readers that “fits” doesn’t necessarily mean “fits perfectly.” Hm. Questionable marketing at best, folks. Some Mac reviewers suggested cutting the wrist rest in half, thus allowing the two pieces to slide apart and leaving the touch pad (and mouse buttons) entirely free, but so far I’ve just lived with it. It’s a minor inconvenience at times, and has lead to a few instances of errant clicking, but I’m so happy with the support the pads provide that I wouldn’t dream of sending it back.

This is probably obvious, because all of like 3 people read these posts, but I am not being paid or compensated in any way by Intelligels for this post. I just thought I’d alert folks to the greatness that is a laptop wrist rest!

[ image from Amazon ]

Bubbles Quincy Adams

March 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Allow me to introduce our cat, Bubbles — she is four years old, wears a tortoiseshell coat pattern, and is sometimes known to her friends as Bubbles Quincy Adams.

When my brother suggested that Bubbles deserved her own Facebook page, the first decision that we needed to make was obvious: what would her last name be? Bubbles The Cat seemed too obvious and pedestrian, so my boyfriend suggested Bubbles Washington, and then the aforementioned Bubbles Quincy Adams, affectionately named after his favorite U.S. president.

Something about the idea of a three-named cat struck us (and some friends we discussed this idea with) as hilarious, and so began the listing of  possible Bubbles aliases drawn from history and pop culture. Some of the contenders:

  • Lady Bubbles Johnson
  • Bubbles Todd Lincoln
  • Bubbles Bee Anthony
  • Bubbles E. Lee
  • Bubbles S Truman
  • Bubbles Washington Carver
  • Bubbles Jessica Parker
  • Bubbles Love Hewitt
  • Bubbles Bon Jovi
  • Shia LaBubbles — my friend Kelly came up with this one, and I think it might be my favorite, simply based on how much it made me laugh!

Since John Quincy Adams was the first president to have his photograph taken, it only seemed appropriate to begin photo creation with a Bubbles Q. Adams. She looks so dignified next to that giant stack of books!

Although usually I think the blog convention of ending a post with a comment-provoking question is somewhat trite, this seems like an appropriate situation to ask: Do you have any suggestions for other celebrities Bubbles could impersonate?

[ original image from Wikipedia ]

Confessions

February 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Back in 2008 I found myself inspired by a dress worn by Suri Cruise — who was, at the time, all of two years old — and that made me a little uncomfortable.

Today, I saw a photo of Usher with his two adorable sons, and again I’m feeling a twinge of sartorial inspiration:

See the cognac leather (pleather?) jacket on the little one on the right? That is basically the exact jacket I’ve been looking for for months! And probably in the right size, too — since it’s clearly too big for him, and I am hoping for a shrunken look. (Armed with this photo of Blake Lively, my mom even tried to track down a jacket for me, but was told that cognac was so two seasons ago. “You mean, two seasons from now, right?” I responded.)

Babies: YOU BETTER WORK.

[ image from Jezebel ]

Let me just say

November 4, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness, Me | Leave a comment
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If I thought having a 9-to-5 job was a blog killer, being in grad school is like the bubonic plague of blog killers. (Or maybe by plague I mean it is victorious?) In any case, it is now November. Which means people are supposed to be wearing sweaters, which they are, which I never understand on weeks like this one, when it was over 70 degrees every single day. But that’s beside the point.

The point is that The Sartorialist—or rather, some fashion designer named Paul Smith via The Sartorialist—is telling me that a super cool idea this season is wearing your cardigan backwards. Um, Paul? Though I regret being unable to find photographic evidence to support it, Teen Vogue told me about the backwards cardigan thing, and I actually did it. Just once, but still. You know when that was, Paul? 2004.

[ image from The Sartorialist ]

Further Craftiness

August 2, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment

Now that my last day of full-time employment has passed, you can expect the frequency of (a) posts on this blog, and (b) arts ‘n’ crafts-related posts to increase dramatically! To that end, here’s what I was up to last night:

After trying out three different tutorials for making fabric rosettes without success (which isn’t to say they’re bad tutorials, but simply that they didn’t produce the specific look I had in mind), I finally found one that worked wonderfully! I made three rosettes out of some blue fabric leftover from a thrift store sewing project, then hot-glued them to a scrap of felt. Rather than gluing it straight onto the headband, I made some loops on the back of the felt so the rosettes can be slipped on or off the headband.

I wore the headband while I was out wandering through town today. I decided to check out Anthropologie—both for their sale rack and for DIY inspiration!—and was pretty pleased to find this little number on the rack:

And the price? $32! For a HEADBAND! I know Anthro’s version looks a bit more polished than mine, but for essentially $0 (fabric scraps + a hot glue gun + a headband I already owned) and 30 minutes of work, I was able to make my own.

I was so pleased with how the blue rosettes came out that I decided to make one more out of some yellow polka dot fabric left over from making curtains:

This rosette came out beautifully; it looks exactly how I envisioned it! I glued a pin to the back of it so I can attach it to sweaters, tops, or necklaces. I’m excited to figure out all the different ways I can wear it. Next up: a sash belt with ribbon rosettes along the front. Good thing school starts in three weeks, otherwise I might become a crazy rosette-covered lady…

[ Three Little Roses Headband image from Anthropologie ]

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