Showing posts from 2011

Happy Holidays!

New Year's is my favorite holiday ever. One of the best things about this holiday (besides exchanging presents) is decorating the New Year's tree. Or, as it is known in our household, the New Year's / Christmas tree. Our New Year's / Christmas tree. Our tree is definitely a girl this year. I even topped her off with a bow just in case it wasn't obvious. The bow on top of our girly tree. Last year, I took advantage of post-Christmas sales and scored some awesome ornaments... that I completely forgot about until I pulled out our tree decorations box from under the bed. It felt like I was sneaking in some early presents! These matching stocking ornaments are supposed to represent D and me. When D stumbled upon this ornament while shopping for Christmas presents, he knew he had to get it for me as an early Christmas present because there is nothing more Russian than a Matryoshka doll . Matryoshka ornament. We are off to celebrate the holidays wit

Career Research

This is how I do research: Also, I'm running out of bookmarks. What a strange problem to have in the era of Kindles and iPads.

The Venue Search

One of the first things we had to do for our wedding was find a venue. Originally, we considered a venue that is owned by D's family, but it turned out to be a bit too small for our envisioned guest list size. So we thought about where we'd want to get married, and here is what we came up with: We preferred an urban location over the suburbs We were looking for something connected with the arts "Typical" wedding venues like hotel ballrooms or country clubs did not excite us Following these guidelines, we researched potential locations nearby. The first venue we visited was a dance studio. It was extremely convenient to get to from our house. There were beautiful hardwood floors and lots of open space. It was also very modern looking and a bit out of our price range. The modern dance studio. Our verdict: too orange . The next venue was on the opposite spectrum from the dance studio. It was an arts center that was decidedly un-modern in its architecture. It

The Jitters

Between the APW Internship and another secret thing I am applying for, I submitted five writing samples in the past three days. I was going to write a blog post yesterday (something about our venue search), but at that point I had consumed so much coffee that my brain was refusing to cooperate. I got the caffeine-induced jitters and proceeded to run around the house, flailing my arms around like a mad woman. The following conversation happened: D: "What are you doing? Can you please act like an adult?" A: "OK."   <arm flailing continues> A: "You didn't say which species. I am an adult orangutan." Good thing D was already sitting down because he almost fell over laughing. Clearly, blog posting wasn't going to happen last night.

New York, New York

I have been visiting New York a lot lately, and even though I grew up there, the city never fails to amaze me. Even while walking down Broadway, navigating the annoyingly quintessential swarms of tourists, I recall fond memories of years past. My high school was located in downtown Manhattan, and before the high-rises took over the coveted real estate, we were spoiled with the view of the Hudson river. The school was minutes away from the Twin Towers, and we spent many afternoons in the Borders store there, taking over the floor space and browsing the book shelves for hours. I still can't believe the towers are gone. I went to college in Manhattan as well, and I got to live on campus all four years. We changed dorms every year, "upgrading" our room options with seniority. One year, my windows faced a psychiatric hospital. Another year, I lived across from a fire station. In my four years on campus, I became immune to sirens. I completely tuned them out - there was no ot

So about those Mason jars...

Remember how I said I was letting go of the Mason jar? Yeah, that didn't exactly happen. But I did let go of the idea of a vintage Mason jar, or even a pretend-vintage version. I still liked the shape of the jar, and my inner bargain hunter was not prepared to declare defeat. So I drove over to Kmart and bought myself a pack of these : Twelve 16 ounce Mason jars for under ten dollars. That's less than a dollar each! I don't think I could find a better deal even if I shopped at Good Will. Thanks to Kmart, and a little bit of compromising, I'm on my way to staying well below the venue decor budget. Score!

Bargain Hunting: Statement-Making Mirror

Did you know that bargain hunting is one of my superpowers? When it comes to decorating our place, I relentlessly search for the best deal until the cows come home. That is exactly what I did when I got it into my head that we really need a round, statement-making mirror in our living room. You see, a long time ago, I fell in love with West Elm rolling cubic shelving . I thought that the 3x2 version in dark brown would look great in our living room, while providing us with valuable storage. But I couldn't bring myself to shell out four hundred bucks for it. I scoured Craigslist like it was my job, and my efforts eventually paid off. We found the exact shelving we wanted for only seventy dollars. The cubic shelving provided great space for displaying little knick-knacks and pretty books. But our living room was beginning to look very angular. Most of the furniture in the room has right angles, and I thought that putting something round above the shelving would be a great way to so

How to be a woman - dying my hair

My favorite sane wedding blog, A Practical Wedding , recently held another one of its world-wide book club meetups, and the book we read and discussed was aptly titled " How To Be a Woman " by Caitlin Moran. The book is a humorous (but serious in its message) take on feminism and what it means to be a woman, on a practical level. For example, there is an entire chapter devoted to hair and the constant battle that women have with it. During our local APW book club meetup, we talked about how some of us (or most of us) feel that in some aspects, we fail at being women. I personally don't think it is even possible to fail at being a woman if that is what you are. It seems to me that to say that we are failing at being women, we have to define the criteria that make one a "successful" woman. Based on our discussion, it appears that inability to put together a fashionable outfit or ineptitude at applying makeup could result in being a failure of a woman. If so, I

Organized Bedroom Closet

So I got my ass into gear uncharacteristically fast and took some photos of my bedroom closet. As promised , I am sharing these photos with you, along with some bits of "wisdom" about how to keep a closet organized. Our bedroom is so tiny that to get this photo of the closet, I had to stand on the bed at the opposite wall of the room. As you can see, it is a standard issue small bedroom closet. The closet has sliding doors, which I am not particularly a fan of, but I've learned to live with them. Regular doors that swing open would not work in this tiny space. And yes, I could theoretically replace the doors with pretty curtains, but we live in a rental apartment, and I would have to keep those doors somewhere until we move out, and we have no extra storage. So, I live with the doors. When you slide the right door open, you get a peak into my obsessive-compulsive personality closet. As you can see, I tried to use the vertical space in the most efficient manner

Closet Organization Inspiration

I've been on an organizing kick lately. A couple of weekends ago, I spent an entire day reorganizing our kitchen. It's not quite done yet, and I am still tweaking it, but it's way more organized than it has been for the past year and a half. Poor D can't find anything in our kitchen anymore because I've moved everything around. Hopefully, he will get used to it soon. I promise to share photos once the organization is a bit more complete. Meanwhile, I am contemplating tackling our closets. Some of them are already in pretty good shape, but some need major help. So, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. My search for closets came up with tons of inspirational and completely unachievable scenarios. It just so happens that I don't have an entire room dedicated to storing my shoes. Also, I own more than three pairs of pants. Is this somehow unrealistic? Because you would think, judging by most of the closet pictures I found, that people either own t

Letting Go of the Mason Jar

While considering decorations for our wedding, I gravitated toward elegant, simple, and affordable. (For some reason, I've seen "elegant and simple" as common wedding descriptions, but "affordable" isn't usually mentioned in the same sentence). Since we are DIY'ing the decorations ourselves (with some help from the family, of course), I figured that "easy to make" should also be part of the requirements. And then, I read a lot of wedding blogs with gorgeous photos. And I browsed Pinterest like it was my (full-time) job. I discovered crafty brides rebelling against the Wedding Industrial Complex with their beautifully hand-crafted crocheted napkins and burlap table runners. That was when I fell in love with the mason jar. My Pinterest wedding board is dotted with images like these: Found here Found here Those vintage blue mason jars had me at hello. What could be more elegant and simple? And they couldn't be too expensive, right?

Women's Rights Under Fire

How naive was I to think that in the twenty first century, fighting for women's rights would be a thing of the past, a done deal? Very naive. I'm sure you've heard about the sexual harassment allegations raised against Herman Cain. Well, apparently, some very special people don't think sexual harassment is ever real. Check out this article that talks about the denial that is going on about sexual harassment. Basically, women are portrayed as crazy, off-the-wall bitches that have no ground to stand on when it comes to these allegations, and all they want is easy money and fame. As the author of the article sardonically retorts: "Just think of all the famous sex-discrimination memoirs you’ve read recently ." Yeah, exactly. (I realize that it's not just women that could be a target of sexual harassment, but this particular article specifically talks about women.) Well, sexual harassment is certainly an important issue, but it gets worse. The same Herma

Labcoat Fridays: Climate Change and Public Perception

"Do you believe in global warming?" This misguided, but thought-provoking question was the basis of two articles in a recent issue of Physics Today , a publication of the American Institute of Physics . One of the issues with this question is that when it comes to climate change, it's not about belief. That global warming is happening, and that humans are its primary cause, is a conclusion rooted in facts and evidence. The majority of scientists that work in the areas of climate and climate change have come to this conclusion. And when I say majority, I mean more than 95% - the topic is not up for dispute in the scientific community. Yes, there are some outliers who have different views, but that is the case in any scientific field. Regardless, indisputable data unequivocally demonstrates that global warming is real, it's happening now, and we are mostly responsible for it. The other issue with the question, of course, is that it is precisely the kind of convers

Setting Goals: Healthy Lifestyle

At the end of September, I sat down with my journal and wrote down two goals for myself. I'm not talking about New Year's resolutions type goals - that would be setting myself up for inevitable failure. I've tried those resolution types before. They always follow the same trajectory. In January, I am all excited about my newly established goals, just itching to get started. By February, I am congratulating myself on keeping up with my goals thus far, while a small but definite thought begins to gestate in my subconscious that tells me this won't last much longer. By mid-March, I am already dragging my feet, dreading the hour of the day, the day of the week that I have to spend on pursuing this never-ending goal. By April, I pretty much quit and by May, even the guilt quietly subsides. Basically, I feel like this . (I know that link has been going around the internet forever now, but it's totally relevant and you should check it out if you haven't seen it yet and

Climate Change - Halloween Edition

Four years ago, this is what I wore on Halloween: I was able to walk around outside in this admittedly skimpy outfit because it was nice and warm. Not like 70 degrees warm, but nice enough that I didn't freeze my ass off at night. This year, it snowed in Massachusetts the weekend before Halloween. And the snow stuck. The area where we live got off easy, most of the snow melted in the next couple of days. But a lot of people in the neighboring towns lost power. A town in Western MA got 32 inches of snow fall. That's almost three feet of snow in October! In the first snow fall of the year! If anyone is still doubting that climate change is real and is happening fast, then this is just one piece of empirical data that should really help sway those doubting minds. I suspect that what is throwing some people off is the unfortunate phrase "global warming". Although it is not a misnomer, as global temperatures are indeed rising, it's hard to see a snowstorm in Oct

Flower Inspiration

Now that the wedding dress has been purchased, I am moving on to other pretty (and less stressful) things - flowers! A florist wasn't in our budget, so I decided to DIY the flowers, hopefully with some help from my family (are you reading this, Mom?). The first step, of course, is to look for some inspiration. And what better place to do that than Pinterest ? I've started pinning photos of centerpieces and bouquets that appealed to me, in the hopes of finding some pattern and figuring out what I like . Here are some examples of centerpieces: Found here . This one would work well with the colors we've picked out so far. Found here . I like the cluster, various height bottles, simple flowers. Found here . Another cluster, summery and loose. Found here . Camelias in low glasses. Simple yet beautiful. Found here . Very simple, but these orchids make quite a color statement. Found here . Simple centerpiece in a blue mason jar. Small candles balance the arra