I just got my Fjallraven Kanken Classic backpack and I’m really excited about it! It’s pretty cute and the perfect size. Smaller than the navy Jansport backpack collecting dust in my closet from high school, but big enough for the essentials (MacBook Air included). I think it’ll be nice for day trips, the beach, hiking, or just for bringing my stuff to work. I just love how Scandinavian it is!
“As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly, we should take our children in our hand, and fix our station a few years farther into life; that eminence will present a prospect which a few present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight.”—Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776
This tuner app impressed me right away: it’s simple to use, multi-functional, and very accurate. It works with a variety to instruments and it’s easy to use for alternate tuning. Absolutely worth $0.99.
My taste in interior design is clean, comfortable, warm, and modern. I threw together some pieces for my ideal space for hanging out.
I think the most important thing is a great couch you could spend a whole day lounging on. Since the couch is somewhere you could study, sleep, watch TV, or relax with friends, you end up spending a lot of time there. Invest in an awesome couch. Next, furnish that couch with some warm blankets and pillows. I love this wool one from IKEA, I have it in my bedroom and it is super warm. Because I’m a nerd, I’m obsessed with this ‘Ctrl, Alt, Del’ pillows. They also have a Command, Option, Control version, but I like the look of these better.
Coffee tables are a critical. I love having a place to put things like beverages, magazines, various TV remotes or controllers, etc. I also really like this nice tray which I would put fancy puzzle toys on, just for fun. Also critical? Lamps. Improper lighting can be very frustrating.
This step ladder book case is pretty great, too. I would furnish it in a way that personalizes the room, like with large comic book anthologies stacked horizontally on the bottom shelves, an iPod dock somewhere in the middle, and framed photos toward the top. Simple but functional.
Now, my favorite. The beautiful bar cabinet. Nothing says awesome like a stocked bar cabinet. Not to mention this one is a transformer, it unfolds to maximize functionality and space. The top becomes like a counter so you could even serve from it.
Also needed for this room but not pictured: a great TV cabinet with lots of places to hold gaming systems, media players, video games, DVDs, etc.
When decorating I like mixing high and low in a way that looks really seamless. Like I said before, it’s important to spend money on important things like the couch or other items where functionality is critical. When it comes to picture frames, pillows, and other accessories that’s where I try and save money. The bar cabinet is a splurge, butc’mon, it’s pretty sweet.
The other day or so I decided to bake a recipe once sent to me by the Zoe Report, RZ’s “famous” brownie, or as they are apparently officially called in true Cali Girl slang, Beyond Brownies.
2 eggs 3/4 cup sugar 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup butter 3/4 cup sweet cocoa powder 2/3 cup flour 1/4 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 2 cups semi sweet OR milk chocolate chips OR chunks 1/2 – 1 cup walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, use a spoon to stir eggs with sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add softened butter. Sift ground chocolate with flour, baking powder and salt. Stir dry mixture into egg mixture until blended and smooth. Add chips and nuts. (DO NOT OVER STIR!) Pour and spread evenly into a greased 8″ or 9″ square pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes—less time for chewy and more time for cake-like brownies. Makes 16-20 brownies. Cut into squares when cooled. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving with vanilla ice cream
I did make a few adjustments. Instead of using two cups of chocolate chips or any other options (we all know Rachel loves her options), I used one cup of chocolate chips and one cup of broken up Hershey bars, which turned out to be awesome. Even the next day, the Hershey chunks were still soft. Amazing. I’d also add, don’t over cook them because they can quickly become two dry. I did not add powdered sugar because I find it to be messy and hate when you accidentally inhale some off the top mid bite and nearly choke to death.
I’ve always loved paper arts like creating stationary and publishing but have never taken it very far. Yesterday I decided to try my hand at bookbinding and came out with a solid finished product. I’m interested in continuing to experiment with bookbinding and even small-scale publishing.
Here’s how I did it:
* Cutting mat
* Acrylic ruler
* Box cutter or exacto-knife
* A needle & thread
* Glue stick
* Rubber cement
* Bone Folder
* 25 sheets of vintage letter paper
* A piece of scrapbook paper
* A cereal box
Some of the materials
Using the acrylic ruler to measure, I cut each sheet in half
Next, each sheet needs to be folding in half individually (yes, this is a pain in the ass but it’s worth it because it is easier to guarantee each sheet is folded perfectly)
Using a bone folder helps make a perfect crease, it will also come in handy later.
Then, take ten sheets and lay them one on top of the other
…And even them out
Next, make a mark in the crease every half inch
Then poke holes with a needle
There will be ten holes total
Next, sew through the holes then go back and sew them the other way. Don’t tie the end of the thread just leave a few inches at the end. It is easier to start on the inside of the crease.
Once you’ve sew it tie the ends together. Just a double knot is fine.
Then fold it back the opposite way so the knot is on the outside instead of the inside.
Crease with the bone folder
Repeat the process until you have five of these
I don’t have a picture of this part but …
the next step is to make sure these are very straight and even, clamp them together with binder clips, and slather the seams together with rubber cement. Keep it clamped while the glue dries. Then, take the clamps off, set it on the table, put a sheet of wax paper over it, then stack on some super heavy text books to press it all together.
While it is pressing under all those heavy books, cut the back off a box of cereal. Then, measure it to to be about 5.5” x 10”. 4.25” in from one end, make a line with the pencil. Then, take the pressed book and line it up with the pencil line, and make another line on the other edge. (So you know the part for the spine will be the right size). Measure 4.25” from the second line and trim the excess.
Using your exacto knife, score the two lines. Don’t cut all the way through.
Bend it so it is book-like
… make sure your book fits. Then, stick the book back under the pile of heavy books to keep it pressed.
Cut a piece of scrapbook paper (something of a heavier weight with a color or design) so it leaves about an inch all the way around your cardboard. Use a glue stick to attach it. Use your bone folder and rub it over the paper to remove any air bubbles.
Cut the corners off and score all around the edges of the cardboard with the bone folder.
fold over the edges, glue, rub with the bone folder. Then, crease the spine. Add rubber cement to the spine, generously but not to close to the top or bottom and wedge in the book. Use a glue stick to attach the first and last page to the cover.
BAM! IT IS A BOOK!
IT STANDS ON ITS OWN
Then, throw it back under the heavy book pile to press it some more so it lays flat.
Woody Allen? Adrien Brody? Paris? Need I say more? Just from the ambiguous trailer this movie looks incredible. The colors are so beautiful and the scenery in the film looks like it highlights some of the wonders of Paris. Other than Brody, the film features Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen (Weasley Snipes from 30 Rock!), Carla Bruni, and Marion Cotillard.
I almost don’t care what The Tree of Life is about because it looks so beautiful to watch. The movie goes back and forth between the present day and the 1950s, the adult life and childhood of Jack (Sean Penn!) as he examines his relationship with his stern father (Brad Pitt). The imagery-heavy film looks pretty intriguing.
Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) directs Beginners, a film focused around Oliver (Ewan McGregor) who has based his whole world view on the marriage of his parents. After his mother dies he must deal with his seventy-something year old father coming out of the closet and having terminal cancer.
Being the world’s number one journalism nerd, nothing gets me hot like The New York Times. For every j-school student or grad, NYTimes is the ultimate goal. This documentary promises a look into the most successful news room in America. Some of the country’s best journalists talk about the state of the industry today, examining issues like the death of the physical paper and profitability of online editions.
Something every suburb should have, somewhere anyone can go, a place open almost all the time— everyone needs a place like the Ashbary in their life. Where ghosts and nerds collide and bond over PBR and stand up comedy; the Ashbary’s community welcomes all.
Going to the Ashbary feels like going to a friends house, complete with a welcoming porch, comfortable couches to for hours of nintendo and Family Guy, snacks and sandwiches, cheap beer, and that kid who just won’t put down his acoustic guitar. They offer books and board games, pinball and the like.
The menu is varied beyond the typical latte, mocha, cappuccino Starbucks stuff. They offer creative creations like white-chocolate strawberry milk shakes. Desserts at The Ashbary are incredible, and they don’t skimp. The brick-sized brownies, loaded chocolate chip cookies and decadent cakes are big enough to share. Also they sell wraps and deli sandwiches, but I’m never there early enough to get one.
On Thursday nights The Ashbary welcomes guest to come upstairs for free improv. While not always the most epic comedy, I never turn down a free laugh. It’s at least something fun to do during the week.
The Ashbary is located in Willow Springs at 8695 S. Archer Ave and they are open 10 am to 1 am.
Recently, I’ve been contemplating my future and freaking the eff out because I realize once I leave the [false sense of] security blanket curtesy of NCC I’m pretty much diving into a black hole of poverty and uncertainty.
For the past ten years I’ve focused my life on becoming a journalist. I’m crazy about journalism. I love reporting and writing, going to events, interviewing, and getting to learn new things all the time about the world around me. I’ve been actively involved with school publications since junior high. I’ve been to multiple journalism camps.
But I don’t know anymore. Yeah, I’d love to be a journalist but let’s be real, it’s a tough market out there. So I made a list answering the very basic question, what do I wanna be when I grow up? I’m interested in many things and could potentially have a very satisfying life as a…
•Political Scientist (researching September 11th causes and impacts on our generation/ American relations with the Middle East OR American female politicians)
•Photographer for a fashion magazine
•Personal stylist (I already do this but could turn it into a career, maybe)
•Fashion journalist/ blogger
•Marketing/ advertising (something in this industry)
•”Creative director” for a small business
•Social Media strategist •White House Corespondent
•Beat Reporter in a really cool city only
•Photographer (no weddings or portraits)
•Travel writer/ photographer
•Event planner (not really but I could do it)
• Own an art gallery
•Art Director for a magazine
•Life of crime, preferably in Amsterdam.
Now, what’s a career that combines all of these from constitutional scholar to fashion photography?
Your Highness: 3/5 Stars. If we’re using that system.
Typically, as a movie go-er, I have pretty high standards for film. I critique technical aspects, character development, dialogue. I’m picky. But sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, watch a dumb movie, and laugh at stupid jokes. And Your Highness is exactly that.
No doubt about it, Your Highness is a pretty terrible movie as a whole, but it knows it. Instead of laughing at Your Highness, the audience gets to laugh with Your Highness. It’s not a dynamic film, it’s not the kind of movie to see with the parents, but it is pretty damn funny.
I won’t give anything away, just go see this joint-mockery of stoner films and ‘medieval’ movies.
For a discussion of and more in depth look at Your Highness and other movies, subscribe to The Movie Bunch podcasts, it’s an hour of fun and laughter.
Special thanks to Liz for going with me to IKEA and letting me use her car (for all the benefits of the Prius, cargo space isn’t one of them). Also, thanks to Liz AND Taylor for helping me carry everything inside. Note: I’m not good at lifting/carrying.
I’m working on re-doing my room. Changing up the colors and textures around me really helps me from feeling too stuck or bored.
All for under $140, I bought everything I needed for a faux-dresser. And I threw in a rug because it was cheap and cute, like anything at IKEA. My plan is to organize my make up, extra school supplies I have floating around, music collection, and printed photos in boxes and put them in the cubby holes. Also, add mirror above inverted bookshelf, add trays for perfume, and framed photos. Voila, dresser-ish thing.
I must say I was most impressed with the efficiency of everything about the items I bought from IKEA. Especially the packaging. Everything fit perfectly, took up as little space as it could, and nothing was wasted.
But Cindy was busy painting so I ended up just doing it on my own, and it was a very satisfying, rewarding experience. I enjoy self-suffiency. Four episodes of Dexter later, I had myself a bookshelf/dresser-ish thing.
I was an early adapter of the iPhone, and I’ve had every one. Over the past three years, since the development of the App store, my favorite Apps haven’t really changed, just grown. Here are some of the ones that make my life easier, all are free:
iDisk- My iDisk is invaluable. It allows me to sync documents between my three macs, iPad, and iPhone. One function it allows me is taking notes on my laptop and saving them to the iDisk, then viewing them on my phone. So, when finals come around I can study anywhere. I also save PDFs of instruction manuals for things like my cameras and other documents that are handy accessible all the time. The iDisk is 20 GBs so this also allows me to expand the capacity of my iOS devices, I can throw movies and TV shows up there and not take up space on my device. (Downside, you have to be connected via 3G or WiFi to access the iDisk, and requires a MobileMe subscription)
Maps- Undoubtedly one of the best features of a smartphone is having built-in maps. But whenever I’ve been lost, the ease of use of the native Maps application helped soothe my anxiety about getting home. Don’t know where you are? That’s just one tap on the screen. It’s simple to take addresses from other applications and quickly jump to the maps application then route a course. Not having to do a lot of typing is key, because typically this App while driving. It may not talk to you, but it always gets you home.
The Weather Channel- Sorry, iPhone, this 3rd party App has you beat. While the native weather App on the iPhone is okay, The Weather Channel just blows it out of the water. I will say, the iPhone App is nice for checking the forecast in multiple locations. Frequent travelers will like the ability to just flick through different locations. However, the amount of information is seriously lacking. Where the iPhone App gives you a temperature and a cloud or sun icon, The Weather Channel gives you temperature, feels like, wind, humidity, UV Index, dew point, visibility, sunrise, and sunset. Basically, anything and everything you need to know about the weather. Videos, interactive maps, severe weather warnings— it’s got it all.
myAT&T- In my life, I have only been late on my phone bill ONE TIME and it was only by a day. I only knew my bill was late because of a notification from myAT&T, then I was able to pay right from the App. Now I’ve set up a notification for when my bill is posted so I can pay right away. This App also lets you adjust your rate plan, check how many minutes and text messages you’ve used, how many roll-over minutes you have, etc. Not earth-shattering, but pretty handy.
IMDb- The bet winner. What was the name of the girl in that movie? Who directed that one? The idea of IMDb isn’t new. The interface on the App is much better than on the Web site. It’s the only movie App you need, allowing users to check showtimes (sort by theatre or movie), trailers, track a ‘Watchlist’ and search through movies, celebrities, reviews, etc.
Starbucks Mobile Card- Forget your wallet? That’s okay, you can still get your fix. Starbucks now allows you to wave your iPhone instead of swiping a physical Starbucks gift card. This also allows you to track your balance, your stars, reload your gift cards and also combine your gift cards. (Downside: awkward in drive-thru situations).
Run Pee- Honorable mention goes to Run Pee, an App that tells you when to pee during movies. Run Pee allows you to set up push notifications for good pee times, tells you how long you have to take care of business, and gives you a summary of what you missed. Run Pee also tells you if the end credits are worth staying for.
Today, Facebook updated their iPhone app and the changes have seriously improved the mobile experience.
Maybe this one is just me, but for the longest time I couldn’t upload photos from my iPhone, and which was getting on my nerves.
Now you can unfriend from the iPhone! This is huge because sometimes I’d see an annoying post and want to delete someone, but then forget about it. My friend list will deplete faster than iPad 2s.
Now, the maps thing I’m not so sure about. The location sharing trend is not for me, where I am is just more information than I want to offer to the internet. I understand Yelp and like it for promoting businesses but generic check-ins at work or whatever seem like an invitation to be stalked. However, I understand that for someone who likes this feature that showing friends locations on a map is pretty sweet, also, convenient for meeting up with people.
By this time tomorrow, I have to decide whether or not I’ll be spending my fall studying abroad in England.
On the surface, this sounds really exciting and awesome: living on my own in a foreign country, able to travel about Europe, people with British accents, tea and Shakespeare. I’d love the opportunity to figure out who I am and what I want. I think removing myself from all things familiar and everyone I know can help me there.
But at the same time, I wonder, do I really want to go to England, or am I just running away from the mind-numbing routine and paralyzing same-ness of my life? I think I’m just running away.
Over the past few months I had been pretty unhappy with my situation, but is that any reason to just say, ‘fuck it!’ and quit? No. A better person would face their challenges instead of just hiding from them.
Looking back at my decision, I think I made it for the wrong reasons—largely due to the bad place I was coming from. I remember telling my friend Liz that while I was gone I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone back in the states. I think I just wanted to avoid responsibility and everything that had caused the perfect storm of “life’s hard” I realized was right in front of me.
But now I feel better about my situation. I don’t think this fall will be as bad as the winter was. I think I should just man up and stay to face my challenges, I should be a better person instead of running scared.
So on that note, I’m staying here. And that’s that.
“We’re only a few weeks into the 112th Congress, and Republicans are already attempting to pull the plug on public media.
In a budget proposal made public last week, House Republicans announced plans to zero out all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the nonprofit responsible for funding public media including NPR, PBS, Pacifica and more.
If the Republicans are successful, it would be a tremendous blow to the entire public interest media sector.
We cannot allow Republicans to destroy public media.
Tell Congress: Fully fund NPR and defend public service media!
Republicans are disingenuously claiming that they need to cut funding for public media because of budgetary constraints. But what they fail to highlight is that national public broadcasting is remarkably cost effective, providing local news and information, free of charge, for millions of viewers while only receiving about .0001% of the federal budget.1
More to the point, it’s nearly impossible to put a price tag on the actual value of public broadcasting.
Public media is one of the last bulwarks against the corporate media, where the combination of consolidation and profit motive has long since shifted the focus to infotainment rather than substantive news. In many rural and less affluent communities, broadcasters rely on federal funding to provide the only available high-quality news and public affairs programming.
Without public media, corporate media monopolies would increase their already large control of what we see on television, hear on the radio or read in the newspaper.
This outcome should deeply worry all of us. The increased accumulation and consolidation of corporate power is a threat to our democracy. And nowhere is this more evident than in our media.
At a time when media consolidation is shrinking the number of perspectives we have access to over the airwaves and when newsrooms are shrinking, we need more diversity in our media not less. And we simply cannot afford to lose what public media brings to the table.
Tell Congress: Fully fund NPR and defend public service media!
Conservatives have longed for any opportunity to defund NPR, PBS and other public media. And with Speaker Boehner wielding the gavel, it looks like they may finally get their wish.
Don’t let Congress pull the plug on NPR and PBS! Tell them reject cuts to public broadcasting.”
This is the best liquid eyeliner I have ever used. Previously, I was terrified of liquid eyeliner. My unstable hand shaking, the width of the brush altering, the actual liner being too thick or too thin— I just avoided it and stuck with the pencil kind. A few years ago, Stila came out with a Barbie-themed line, this is where the liner first appeared. I didn’t buy it and regretted it. The brush tip gives the user a lot of control when applying the liner. The line is very precise and smooth, it doesn’t smudge, and it lasts so long. This eyeliner is perfect for creating the “Mad Men” look, or just a perfect line.
I can’t compliment this little guy enough. The S95 takes incredible photos at DSLR quality but also fits in the palm of my hand. Sure, I can’t zoom like I can with my Rebel, nor is the flash as powerful, but overall it’s just as good. I love that I can manually adjust my settings for shutter speed, f-stop, etc, shoot in raw, and focus manually. The HD video the S95 shoots looks brilliantly clear. But my favorite thing about this camera is the built in effects like tilt-shift, color accent, HDR, fish-eye, etc. The S95 specializes in wide shots and keeping up quality in low lighting, making it perfect for travel.
It’s big. It’s black. It’s waterproof. I’m going to Paris, and no bag could be more perfect for lugging around all my goodies. Longchamp, a French handbag company, makes the Le Pliage series in different sizes, but for me the largest tote works perfectly. The bag’s ability to resist rain sets it apart from other totes alongside it’s overall classy look.
3. Compression Bags: Embark by Target
Nothing made me happier than squeezing my favorite jacket smaller than Vogue’s September issue. At first, I didn’t think the bags would work, but they remarkably cut the volume of clothes in half.
It’s a tough call, but the iPad is my favorite Apple product. Instead of lugging around my ancient, heavy MacBook, all I’m bringing to France is my iPad. The iPad holds all my books and movies (entertainment). Normally, on a three week vacation I fly through four or five books, which means I pack four or five books. Now, with everything on my iPad I don’t worry about the seams busting on my carry-on. Not to mention, the iPad also allows me to check my email, blog, empty SD cards, catch up on the news, etc. I wouldn’t leave home without it.
The iPad hasn’t quite replaced paper products and until it does I love Moleskine brand everything. Their handy city notebooks bunch tourist musts into a compact, discrete pocketbooks. When it comes to keeping a personal journal, I’m still a pen-and-paper girl and, of course, no one makes a journal like Moleskine. Whatever your interest, Moleskine has artfully crafted a notebook for you.