Tuesday, January 31, 2012

second vlog & february comment love challenge!

Hey, everybody! I am feeling so on top of things because yesterday I had an amazing day! I had my review with my thesis committee first thing in the morning and it went really, really well. I got some helpful feedback and positive encouragement, which is all I could have asked for. Oh, and I passed! Later in the day, a few other good things happened as well...I made a vlog in order to tell you a little about them:

If you want to know how Nick Offerman was, stay tuned for a more detailed post later this week! Now, to talk about the blog challenge I mentioned, which officially starts tomorrow, February 1st...

I have teamed up with three of my favorite blogs, Desirous of Everything, Edison Rex, and Tamara Like Camera, to bring you the Comment Love Challenge! The four of us have talked about how awesome it feels as a blogger to receive comments on posts.
We want to feel like our posts are read and appreciated, of course, and the best affirmation of that is receiving comments.

So what exactly is the Comment Love Challenge? The challenge lasts from February 1st to February 14th. Anyone can sign up, and the goal is for each participant to comment on at least 3 blogs a day for 14 days straight! The blogs you comment on do not have to be other participating blogs from the challenge, but exploring the blogs of other participants is encouraged. We especially encourage you to check out and even follow the four of us, since we're hosting the challenge!

Besides receiving new followers and lots of comments, you'll be entered in a giveaway to win Elsie Larson's Blog Love E-Course! simply by completing the challenge and making 42 comments! Thanks so much to A Beautiful Mess for sponsoring our challenge. We will also feature the participant who makes the most comments throughout the challenge.

Imagine how many new readers you'll get through completing the challenge! And how many new blogs you'll discover! Sounds great, right? Are you interested? First, add your blog to the link-up! Then, post this Comment Love Challenge in your side bar. That's it, then you're in! Keep track of your comments with plain old pen and paper. We're trusting the honor system here.

Comment Love Challenge

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

progress report!!

Millie "helping" me write my thesis.

I just sent the first draft of my thesis to my advisor!!!!!

It felt SO good to press send!

It is not as long as my goal, BUT it's longer than the minimum requirement, and I still have several things to add for draft 2! So I think when all is said and done everyone will be perfectly okay with my page count.

Now to get all my new images ready for my review on Monday! It's going to be a long weekend but I feel relieved to have this big step out of the way!

48 questions

Keeping the 48-questions trend going! Thanks, Sarah!

1. What time did you get up this morning?
6:45...I set my alarm for 6:00 but I just couldn't get up!

2. How do you like your steak? I am a vegetarian and the last time I had steak was probably sometime around 8+ years ago!

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Last week I went to a night of short films involving contemporary dance, as homework for my ballet class. It was really good! My favorite one isn't online or I'd link you to it.

4. What is your favorite TV show? That's a loaded question because it makes me think of every tv show I have ever loved. My favorite ever is Gilmore Girls. My favorite that's on the air right now I think would be...dun dun dun...Parks and Recreation! A year ago I would have said The Office but without Michael it's just not the same. Of course, I still watch though. I only started Parks and Rec last month but I'm sort of obsessed now. I'm actually going to watch Nick Offerman do stand up on Monday at my school! It will be my post-committee-review gift to myself.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Italy, hands down!

6. What did you have for breakfast? Coffee, more coffee, and peanut butter toast.

7. What is your favorite food? I have a lot. Let me list a few for you: clementines, avocados, olives, cashews, chickpeas, salad, tomatoes, eggplant, peaches...the list keeps going.

8. Foods you dislike? Meats, of course. Bleu cheese...just learned this last week. I rarely, rarely, rarely eat cheese. Like, less than once a week. So when I do I want it to be an awesome cheese I love. But I treated myself to some fancy gourmet salad last week and mistakenly though that bleu cheese was similar to feta cheese, my favorite cheese ever...lesson learned, it is NOT similar!

9. Favorite place to eat? My favorite in Columbus are Hal and Al's vegan bar and Whole World vegetarian restaurant...nothing beats being able to eat anything on the menu! I also like sampling various restaurants' falafel sandwiches, and comparing them.

10. Favorite dressing? Anything mustard-y and also, lately, poppyseed. I also make a mean balsamic vinaigrette!

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? I feel weird talking about this in my blog, especially since parts were stolen from my car a few weeks ago! I think I'm just gonna pass?

12. What are your favorite clothes? Skinny jeans, tights, skirts just above the knee, cardigans, pashminas, ballet flats, fun prints and pops of bright color. That encapsulates my look. Lately I am really obsessed with peter pan collars and I want some shirts with them.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? I would go back to Italy in a heartbeat. I would also visit pretty much anyplace else 'cause I love traveling and I love going anywhere, it doesn't have to be a typical touristy travel spot.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Amanda once said, when I was in her high school English class, that whether the cup is 1/2 empty or 1/2 full depends on if the cup started empty or started full. I think that is pretty accurate.

15. Where would you want to retire? When I retire I hope to live on a small farm!

16. Favorite time of day? Morning, easily.

17. Where were you born? Arkansas!

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? The only sport I watch is figure skating (and I don't very often anymore). I also make a point to watch cross country skiing during the winter Olympics. Other than that, I am not very sports-oriented and it honestly takes a lot of effort not to be annoyed with people who are! I know that's so bad.

19. What is your favorite fragrance? Warm vanilla sugar from Bath and Body Works...I'm a sucker for it. I hate all their other fragrances. I would like to find a more eco-friendly substitute, maybe something handmade off Etsy. Feel free to recommend.

20. What is your favorite face cream? I use Aquaphor face lotion during the day, with SPF 30, and at night I use almond oil! It's great for dry skin and Ohio will do that to you.

21. Favorite baby/kids products? Whaaaat does this mean? I really like apple juice. Is that a kid's product? I also like Lisa Frank stuff. And Hello Kitty.

22. People watcher? Yes, I have to apologize to people I go get coffee with for getting distracted people watching.

23. Are you a morning or night person? Morning.

24. Do you have any pets? Millie the cat!

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Mmmmmm...nope! Nothing that I can think of.

26. What did you want to be when you were little? For awhile I wanted to be a teacher (and now that's what I want to be! and am, temporarily...hopefully permanently within a few years, if that makes sense...although when I was younger I wanted to be a grade school teacher), then a writer, then a marine biologist, then a fashion designer, then a photographer. Now I want to be a photographer/photography teacher and on the side I have been learning to screen print because I have dreams of designing my own fabrics and sewing things out of them. I also still like to write and do often, just not in the same ways as before. So I am basically living a mix of all my dreams except the marine biology one. I still love the water and I'd love to have my own boat one day.

27. What is your favorite memory? I have so many. I'm very memory-oriented.

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Both! I don't have a dog though. But someday I will.

29. Are you married? No.

30. Always wear your seat belt? Of course. Always!

31. Been in a car accident? Once.

32. Any pet peeves? When my students show up late for my class and make me lose my train of thought mid-sentence! Today I had 6 late students, coming in one by one...I was so upset by the last one and told them, "You'd all better start getting to class on time!" Can you imagine me being mean? No, me either... :( But I'm not a pushover!

33. Favorite pizza toppings? Any veggies!

34. Favorite flower? Zinnias, sunflowers, carnations.

35. Favorite ice cream? Riesling Poached Pear sorbet from Jeni's ice cream in Columbus! It's so good.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Fast food's not very veggie friendly.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? None!

38. From whom did you get your last email? The art department secretary.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Hmmm...a photography store! I would like to finally get all the equipment I need and be done instead of getting it piece by piece!

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Making that video blog on Monday was spontaneous!

41. Like your job? Yes! Unfortunately it ends when I graduate so I'm looking for things to apply for now! Eep.

42. Broccoli? Love it!

43. What was your favorite vacation? Study abroad! Best trips ever....so far, anyway. I hope to travel more when I start making the big bucks (ha). Or at least just a little more than I do now.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? Corey!

45. What are you listening to right now? Big trucks outside digging up the gas lines.

46. What is your favorite color? I have a lot of favorite colors. They include, but are not limited to: mint, teal, mustard, bright red, white, gray, caramel, the color blue that the ocean is on world maps.

47. How many tattoos do you have? Zero.

48. Coffee drinker? I probably couldn't live without coffee.

Monday, January 23, 2012

my first video blog

Thanks to Sarah and her Jumpsuit Friday vlogs, I've been inspired to make a video blog! I hope it entertains you a little bit. Topics include vlogging and what it feels like to talk to the camera, grad school, and big cookies. Thanks for watching!

p.s. If you've had trouble leaving comments lately, they should be fixed now! I could not figure out what was wrong with them, but they are magically better. So, comment away and I shall write you back!

Monday, January 16, 2012

streamlining research

I've been working really hard today on all of my stuff (off school for MLK Day), but I just wanted to take a short break to post this quick tip for research. Again, this may be most beneficial for other students but I think everyone could find a use for this.

Have you noticed that on Amazon you can search through many books before buying them? Duh, Kristen, of course we have noticed...that is so last decade! Okay. Well, then you know that you can view a small sampling of pages this way. I used to only use this to determine if I was interested in a book or not, and I still think that is a great use for this feature.

However! I have found an even more exciting way to use this. When you click on the "Click here to look inside!" book cover, the familiar little window pops up, and you'll see on the left side bar "Search Inside This Book." I used to think this would only search those pages available in the short preview of the book.

But! I recently realized this actually searches the entire book for your chosen keywords! Not all of the pages are available for you to click on, obviously, but the search will give you a list of page numbers with phrases that include those key words. In my scholarly writing I have found this is a great tool to use in addition to having the physical book in my hands. If I didn't make proper notes when reading, can't find the note I made, or do not intend to read the entire book, I can do a keyword search to find exactly the pages I need!

Maybe only those as nerdy as I am will be fascinated and excited by this, but honestly I think it is amazing! Go grab a book off your shelf and try it out over at amazon.com.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

throwing caution to the wind vs. being cautious of the wind

Sometimes, it is a good idea to throw caution to the wind. Leave things to chance! Don't worry! Fly by the seat of your pants! But notice I said, sometimes this is a good idea. Sometimes it is a better idea to be as cautious as possible.

Being in the middle of writing my thesis, I can tell you I have learned a few things along the way in this seemingly-never-ending academic career of mine. Today I will share two tips that I believe can benefit every person, not just students. These might seem like no-brainers when you read them, but sometimes a nice little reminder can be good.

1. When you are working electronically, back up your files. You've heard this before, right? Well, do you do it? I hear of people losing important files all the time. They knew better. But they didn't back them up. The two most common excuses? I was too busy and I didn't think it would happen to me. Well, stop being too busy to insure something of such great value to you (seriously, backing up files requires you to click, click, click, then wait for the transfer to finish...you have enough time for a click, click, click?) and stop thinking nothing bad will ever happen to your computer because something eventually happens to every computer, and that's just the way the world works (yes, even yours, you Mac users who are reading).

It is always a good rule to back up your files, but becomes especially important when you are working on a Big Project with a Specific Deadline. Normally, I back up all of my photographs and important documents once a month on two separate hard drives--as a photographer in the digital age (though I still often use film) I really cannot afford to take chances with my work! One of these hard drives never leaves my desk area at home, and the other can travel with me to places like school, the library, etc. I leave photographs that haven't been backed up yet on my camera's memory cards--I never delete photographs from my memory cards the moment I load them onto my computer.

I also try to leave back-ups at my parents' house when I visit (I forgot this last time, oops!). This can be done on a DVD (non-archival CDs and DVDs don't last forever though, be warned) or a flash drive, or another external hard drive if you have a lot of important stuff. You couldleave this spare copy at any trusted friend's home. This is important in case of fire, theft, etc. In the worst case scenario,--may it never happen--I simply would not want to lose all of my data, which includes all of my college and grad school papers, all of my image files since 2005, and more.

A third option for back-up is storing your files on the internet. You can now upload files to "the cloud" through various hosts. I haven't taken advantage of this yet but I would really like to for my most valuable files. You can also e-mail things to yourself! I do this all the time as a temporary way of backing up my files. My thesis in progress? You can bet I'm e-mailing it to myself every day when I finish writing! Why? If my computer crashes for any reason, I don't want to start over! I'm only fifteen days away from meeting with my committee and I don't want to have to pull out any excuses. Be prepared for anything.

Adorable kitty bookmark was a Christmas present from my friend Sara! From Ten Thousand Villages.

2. When you read, hear, watch, or in any other way encounter something that interests you, make a note! I have a lot of information to pull from for my thesis, and that's because in my everyday life, I take good notes. I make bookmarks when I find something online, I write in my sketchbook when a professor or colleague mentions something I should look up, and I scribble notes in the margins of books I own and on my bookmarks in library books. When you find something that is really intriguing to you, you'll have the tendency to think you will remember it much later without any physical reminders. Well, I'm here to tell you if you don't know already, that this time next week you will be thinking to yourself, What was that really important thing I read last week? Ugh, it was so interesting! At least, that's what happens to me when I forget to make a note of something! I don't use every note I make, but I am very, very grateful for the ones I do end up using. Even if you aren't in the middle of writing a thesis paper, if you write other things, consider yourself a creative type, or just want to enrich your life, I promise taking notes will benefit you.

I hope these two tips are helpful to some of you! Now, if you haven't backed up your computer in over a year, go do it right now!! What are you waiting for?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

getting started

Dear readers, I must offer my apologies for not posting as much as I'd like to lately. As some of you know, I have only two quarters of grad school left until I graduate--hurray! That is exciting news. The less exciting part is that I am right in the middle of writing and producing my thesis this quarter! I suppose that's actually really exciting when you think about it, but it doesn't feel that way when you're in the middle of it.

What does "writing and producing" my thesis mean, exactly? I feel like I should explain it a little more, since every degree is different. Since I'm getting my masters degree in fine art, that means I'll produce a body of art work to be shown in a group exhibition in April with my colleagues. The written part of the thesis is the paper I write about that body of art. The hardest thing is working on the art and the paper at the same time! Since my program is so short (2 years) it's almost impossible to escape this overlap. The best thing is that I'll be done by spring quarter and can spend that last quarter making awesome work while not being super stressed out!

Coming up on January 30th, I have a review with my thesis committee (three of my professors). At that time, I am expected to be done with the first draft of my written thesis, and have in-progress pieces to show of the visual thesis. I was not in a huge hurry to start the written part for several reasons:

1. It's a paper and who gets in a hurry to start those? (Duh.)
2. I wanted to know exactly what my visual body of work would be before writing anything (less revising necessary this way).
3. It's not super long like you may be thinking...it varies from person to person but my committee head advised me to aim for around 25-30 pages.

Yesterday, I finally got things in gear and started writing! The first page is always the hardest, isn't it? It is for me. Luckily, I made an outline to go by a few months ago, so I didn't have to worry about that before starting the actual writing process.

To help things along, I employed the writing method of my friend Sarah of Desirous of Everything. Sarah is an awesome YA fiction writer and is currently working on a manuscript. To stay on task, she makes calendars which she fills with stickers for each day that she reaches her goal of writing 500 words (which is every day, because she is so awesome at sticking to her plan!). I made a similar calendar on the wall above my desk for myself by dividing up my thesis into 15 2-page writing days. Today was day 2, and I have over 4.5 pages written! For each page I complete, I mark my progress with a sticker. It really does help me to look at the wall and know how much I have done and how much is left, and to see that I'm making progress. As long as I stick to my schedule, I'll be done with my draft in just 13 more days! How exciting. It's going to be nice not procrastinating and writing 30 pages the night before the draft is due...I mean...uh, not that I would do that... (I kid, I wouldn't write 30 pages in one night...but I would definitely procrastinate a big chunk without these mini daily goals).

I'll try to make more posts about what I've been up to lately! I just need to remember to carry my camera with me to document things. Once the thesis madness is over, I have huge plans for this blog and my Etsy store. I wish I had more time to put in sooner, but realistically I know I just don't. I really need to focus most of my attention on school for now. I'm glad a deadline is in sight, though! Until then, I'll make updates here about school and I hope you'll find them interesting.

Monday, January 09, 2012

don't worry, i got this

Recover from cold. Check!

Have car repaired. Check!

Catch up on approximately one million things I am behind on? Ah!

I can't blame the cold and car troubles for everything, but they did start a sort-of snow ball effect that has left me feeling frazzled and a little behind on just about everything. I'm trying my best to catch up and luckily, Millie helps me write essays for my art history class so I can focus on other things (I kid). Just look at her, she's saying, "Don't worry, I got this!"

My art history class this quarter is focused on video art, and Millie just loves watching Vito Acconci videos like this one. Who knew!

Writing essays, watching video art...I might be making her sound like a little prodigy. She still does the normal cat things too, not to worry. Oh, and she's afraid of oranges for some reason. She shudders and backs away at the sight of an orange.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

car parts and sniffles

I have oh-so-many posts planned!
New features! New ideas! New directions!
And oh-so-many things have been keeping me from writing here (and taking down my Christmas decorations...eeep!).
Stolen car parts, a cold, and school starting back up make the top of the list.

For today I'll leave you with this cute snippet from Christmas of me and my brother.
As soon as my sniffles die down I assure you I'll be back in full force.