Inspired by Style Statement, by Carrie McCarthy & Danielle LaPorte

Friday, July 31, 2009

Haroun and the Sea of Stories

From the first page: "It stood by a mournful sea full of glumfish, which were so miserable to eat that they made people belch with melancholy even though the skies were blue."

I am reading this book with my student because I am tutoring him in the subject of creative writing. Haroun and the Sea of Stories is wildly playful yet tender with the medium of storytelling.

I am also reading this book with my student because he is beginning to learn the concepts of "metaphor" and "simile," and there are about three examples of each on every page.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is traditionally used by dancers, actors, and athletes--people whose professions depend on being able to move in a graceful, well-controlled way.

I started learning the Alexander Technique because I'd like to learn how to move in a more graceful, well-controlled way.

The Alexander Technique is basically about moving in a way that avoids unnecessary muscle tension--for example, many of us tense our necks while we are getting up from a chair, which serves no function besides making your neck feel sore at the end of the day.

Alexander Technique can be learned by reading books, taking classes, or both. I borrowed Teach Yourself Alexander Technique by Richard Craze from the library, and I'd recommend it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kinetic Man

Besides my own house, Jordan Valley Park is my favorite place in Springfield, MO. Prime water fountains for playing, excellent hills for rolling, AND A GIANT ROBOT.

Kinetic Man is the work of Missourian artist Russ RuBert (all photos are from his online portfolio). Whenever out-of-towners come to visit me in Springfield, I always take them to visit Kinetic Man. He's simply lovable!

To see Kinetic Man in action, you have to turn a wheel that looks like it could steer a pirate ship. As the wheel turns, Kinetic man's arms and legs move as if he's walking. Also, his square head rotates a full 360 degrees.

If Kinetic Man could talk, I feel like he would be a wise man. He would be a great listener and a great storyteller.

Long Live Kinetic Man!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Free Summer Playlist

Nylon Magazine and iTunes have put out a rockin' free summer playlist, and anyone can tune in. Like Nylon Magazine itself, this playlist sounds like windowshopping in Brooklyn with your hip, Williamsburg-dwelling friends, who are cooler than you but (usually) don't rub it in your face. Your friends are dressed fabulously, of course--a bit cheaply, as they're in college, but always classy and fun.

Actually, this playlist pretty much sounds like my own hip Williamsburg-dwelling friend, Ari Botsford (the link goes to her delightful tumblr).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Auto Tune The News

Auto Tune The News is the most ridiculously silly thing I have ever seen. Want to know what the evening news would sound like with mad beats? Yes, yes you do.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Coffee Ethic: Trash Art Contest

The Coffee Ethic in Springfield, MO just kicked off a Trash Art (Recycled Art) Contest. Entries are due Sep. 1, and the top 15 entries will be on display for the October Artwalk and put on silent auction.

No element in your piece of art can be purchased, and nothing can be painted.

Friday, July 24, 2009

High School Musical 2 at the Vandivort Theatre

(Photo credit: Mark Shiefelbein for The News-Leader)

Ever since I started being more honest with my Netflix ratings about what movies truly entertain me, I've been a lot happier. My Netfix movie suggestions have gone from wads of pretentious movies that I would watch in theory but not in practice, to "Hey! Want to watch High School Musical 2 again?"

Why, yes! Yes I do.

Lucky for me, High School Musical 2 is playing at the Vandivort Theatre in Springfield, MO through Aug. 2. Gretchen Teague directs a wonderful cast, and together they bring out all the campy fun (and more!) of the original movie.

Sally Trtan and Micah Scoggins play Gabriella and Troy, and in addition to having wonderful voices, the actors are great at capturing all the giddiness of teen romance.

Paige Deragowski plays the rich bitch Sharpay better than Ashley Tisdale ever did. Deragowski's Sharpay is a complex character--dominant and demanding but clearly fragile and insecure. Tisdale's Sharpay is pretty much just annoying.

I thought that the flamboyant character of Ryan would be the most difficult for an teenage actor to play, but Christian Cook does a fabulous job, with sweet dance moves to boot.

The chorus is delightful, and includes cheerleaders, poolboys, and Sharpettes (girls who follow Sharpay around). The antics of the chorus make for extra humor in the Vandivort production that was missing in the movie.

Special props go out to Malia Hu, who plays a Sharpette named Blossom. Despite not being the official understudy, Hu played the role of lead Gabriella at a moment's notice when Trtan fell ill during last Saturday's performance.

For more information on how to get tickets, check out the Vandivort's website, or RSVP to the Facebook event.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Slow and Steady Wins the Race is a label that is part fashion design, part witty repartee.

Every two months, the designers at Slow and Steady Wins the Race release several pieces based on one standard wardrobe staple, pushing the envelope all the while. If the topic is "the sweatshirt," they'll make a sweatshirt blazer. If the topic is "the white button-down shirt," they'll make a white shirt with a zipper down the middle.

One of the label's favorite approaches is to strip a wardrobe staple down to it's most basic recognizable characteristics. An oxford shoe is reduced to its standard shape and large, loopy shoelaces--no embellishments. A high heeled-shoe is covered in unbleached canvas. The signature quilted Chanel bag becomes a quilted cotton bag attached to a gold-colored chain.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race loves blending the line between lo-fi and hi-fi fashion. While a Chanel bag gets totally stripped, a grocery bag is made out of alligator skin and sells for $1,000.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia is a funny man.

There's a casual style to Birbiglia's comedy--his sketches are almost like listening to a story told by your funniest friend. Of course, every one of Birbiglia's gestures is well-planned in advance, but he makes his audience feel like they're his old friends.

If you want to listen to Birbiglia tell a story, he has a segment in this episode of This American Life, starting about 8 minutes into the broadcast.

If you want to see Birbiglia on a glowing rectangle, he's on youtube.

If you want to see Birbiglia on stage, he's going on a nationwide tour, I'm in The Future Also. Tickets for some cities are already on sale. Tickets for his performance in New York City (Nov. 5) go on sale in August.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Swap Tree

Maybe I've been in college too long, but I've grown to love used books. It's gotten to the point where a brand new book just makes me plain uncomfortable. Same goes for CDs.

I also enjoy donating or selling off things that I no longer want anymore. It's nice to feel that my unwanted possessions are now being enjoyed by someone else, and that I've chosen to surround myself only with things I truly treasure.

In general, I'm of the view that posessions, much like natural resources and money, need to flow in order to do the most good in the world.

Swap Tree is a website that facilitates the flow of posessions--you post a list of books, CDs, DVDs and games that you don't want anymore, as well as a list of things you'd like to acquire. Everyone else does the same. The website helps arrange favorable trades among users (one item for one item), and the users involved can decide whether or not the trade is acceptable. If the trade is accepted by all parties involved, the users ship their items to one another. The only fee is the cost to ship your item to another user.

Users on Swap Tree are held accountable by a system in which users can rate the reliability of other users. Shipping deadines are strict--once a trade is accepted by all parties, each individual is required to ship their items the following day.

I've mostly been bartering the 90's pop music I no longer like for the 90's pop music I am no longer ashamed to admit that I do like.


Similar websites: SwapaCD , PaperbackSwap


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hidden Treasure

According to makeup artist Bobbi Brown, the secret to good makeup is not more expensive makeup. The secret is natural-looking application with a set of good makeup brushes.

I'm a lot more comfortable with wearing makeup ever since getting a set of brushes--my makeup looks less chalky, and colors blend more naturally.

Plus, I feel like an artist!

Sonia Kashuk's Hidden Treasure Brush Set contains all the basics--brushes for eyeshadow, blush, eyeliner, and concealer. There are a total of three brushes described as "eyeshadow brushes," but the smallest one also works well as a brush for lip-color.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Simple Diary

Your day was (only choose one)
( ) irresistible. ( ) reclusive. ( ) listening.

Explain why: _______________________________

So begins one of the page-long entries in Simple Diary: Vol. 1 by Philipp Keel. While writing in a Simple Diary, you'll never be asked to describe your day as "good," "bad," or "tiring"--you'll be asked to choose more playful words.

In book form, Simple Diary is avaliable in six colors. Online, Simple Diary is on twitter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mind Maps

FreeMind excites me because it illustrates the flow of my thinking. FreeMind is open-source mind-mapping software, and the download is free.

It's going to change how I do everything--plan projects, outline papers, and study for my Game Theory class next semester.

You can open up a mind map to editing by by a team, and there are handy icons to help you prioritize items in your map.

There's even a smiley face icon to show when you're happy and you know it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Le Petit Prince

I studied French just so I could read Le Petit Prince in its original language. It was worth it.

I love the sound of the French language--I find myself reading this book out loud to myself when I want to relax. The Little Prince, being a child, is a master of Flow, completely unashamed of expressing love, confusion, and delight.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mini Stapler

Getting a mini-stapler has added so much joy and happiness to my life.

A mini is small enough to fit in my purse, so I always have a stapler when I need one (which is often, as I'm a college student). The Swingline Tot Mini Stapler cost me less than $2, and now I'm going to wax poetic about its ingenious design. First, it uses normal-sized staples instead of those silly mini-staples that other mini-staplers use. Also, it's ergonomically-designed, with grooves on top and bottom for a thumb and forefinger to grip and staple. There's even a small staple-remover built into the bottom.

It's the simple things that make me happy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


F.lux is free software that changes the "temperature" of your computer screen according to the time of day. This means that at night, your computer can emit a warm glow instead of headache-inducing blue light.

F.lux makes for less eye-strain and better sleep. At night, it makes your computer screen look like a sunset.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just Breathe

Christopher Brosius is an independent perfumer in Brooklyn who mixes up brilliant, unique scents. His perfumes are bottled experiences.

Just like every New Yorker needs to make a getaway to The Cloisters every once and a while, every New Yorker needs a bottle of Just Breathe sitting on her dresser. Just Breathe is a blend of calming, mind-clearing scents, including Bamboo Leaves, Japanese Green Tea, and Forest. Three varieties of Cedarwood and a hint of Incense add depth and mystery to the scent.

Just a dab of this scent reminds me to Flow. After a few moments, the airy top notes subside, and the Cedarwood base resonates, a forest full of Sound.


My photo
A happy student of Economics at Columbia University in New York City.