Archive | December, 2010

Slowed Down Sunday – 12.12.10

12 Dec

Hey everyone! Here’s what has been making me smile this week – in short order. Hit it!

Dressing up – When you’re in college, sometimes opportunities to dress up (beyond party wear, at least) are few and far between. Having the opportunity to burn off some steam and put on a cute dress? Fantastic.

My cold is (mostly) gone! – I’m no longer spending my nights hacking up a lung! Yes!

Reverb10 – It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to reflect on the year that has passed. Join in! If you plan on doing it, link me!

Being done with duty for the rest of the semester! – Okay, so it is the last week of the semester, but I’m glad nonetheless. Actually, I’m on duty tonight, but I’ll be done soon!

Secret Santa exchanges! – Because who doesn’t like a surprise gift from a friend?

-Winter Break – Enough said right? But although mine is criminally short (two weeks?! really??) I absolutely need time to rest and recharge before I pull my hair out. Seriously. I am going to designate a day to sit and take stock of my life, what I want to do, and what is simply unnecessary. Being overwhelmed and unfocused is simply not an option.

Miscellaneous: Finally getting Thunderbird to work; planning a finals respite at Phipps Conservatory; successfully budgeting the last of my meal plan; orange shipments; PG Wodehouse; vent sessions with friends; nightly stretching; egg nog frozen yogurt; successful weekend duty; finishing season 1 of Twin Peaks; finally having a lady date with a good friend; breaking in a new sketchbook; making a new start

This week has been ultra hectic – classes are winding down, finals are coming up (I’ve already had two!) and of course, there’s the fact that the holidays are around the corner. For that reason, I am abstaining from posting for the next two weeks so I can catch my breath and focus on my school work. See you soon!

xoxo, Tara


Weekend Links – 12.10.10

10 Dec

I want to dress like this in the winter!

Hey everybody! I hope your week was amazing! I hope people who are in university are doing well on their finals! Here are some links for you!

◊ Ha! What if Web Browsers were people?

◊ I love seeing art made out of unconventional things. Transparent sea specimen art? Fascinating.

◊ Consider this – a lottery where there’s no risk, no loss.

The “no-lose lottery” we’re talking about is a Prize-Linked Savings (PLS) plan, a financial instrument that has flourished in many countries around the world for many years. A PLS is typically a bank savings account (though sometimes a government bond program) that pools some of the interest from all depositors and pays out big cash lottery prizes on a regular basis. It combines the thrill of the lottery with the safety of a savings account. The idea is to encourage people to save money rather than blow it on the lottery, where the expected payouts are typically very poor — but which, admittedly, is a lot more fun than simply putting money in a savings account.

◊ What’s the problem? Well, for some people, there are many.

◊ One of my favorite blogs, the Sassy Minx started her new initiative, Viva La Sass – Your Life Starts Here. Check it out!

◊ Again with unconventional art: a bicycle that doubles as a drawing machine! Not sure if I’d hang it on my wall, but it’s a cool idea.

◊ I want this book! Inspirations and Fascinations from the Kate Spade New York team.

◊ Sarah Von is a traveler extraordinaire. Here, she shares her cardinal rules of Safe, Solo Lady Traveling.

◊ Just when Bea Arthur couldn’t get any cooler: She was enlisted in the marines?

As part of the enlistment process, Arthur underwent interviews that resulted in the production of “personality appraisal” sheets. One such analysis described her conversation as “Argumentative” and her attitude and manner as “Over aggressive.” In a handwritten note, the Marine interviewer remarked, “Officious–but probably a good worker–if she has her own way!”

◊ I love the Color Me Pretty features on A Creative Mint – especially when they feature purple!

◊ A beautiful photoshoot of African gentlewomen on Black Nerds Network.

◊ I love The Oatmeal. But anyway, here’s a cute comic: Cat vs Internet.

Jam of the Week – Na Na Na Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na) by My Chemical Romance – Did I spell that right?

In Defense of Writing Letters – An Open Invitation

7 Dec

146/365 send me your love in my mail box

Letter writing is a lost art. I’m looking to change this. (Hint: You’ll see how at the end of this post.)

There are clear reasons for the decline of the written correspondence  – in the world of e-mail and cellphones, writing a message and mailing it off to be received days – or more! – later by your person of interest just seems…inefficient. So why bother writing anything at all if you can type it (or text it?). Time is money, right?

Taking the time to write a letter – or any other form of written message – can mean far more than just simply expending more energy and time to get your point across.

Plus, it sets you apart. Yeah, it sure was nice of you to shoot off a “thank you” email to that bigwig after your big job interview. And surely, your friend will appreciate the “happy birthday” you left on their facebook wall among their other dozens (perhaps hundreds?) of other notifications. But what does that lack? Effort.

And that – effort – is what it all comes down to. Getting a hastily typed note is better than nothing, sure. But taking the time to handwrite your message shows that you feel that this person is important and awesome enough to warrant your time, but also creative energy – after all, you’ll lessen the odds that they’ll be the recipient of a generic form letter.  And who doesn’t like to feel important and awesome?

Plus, it can’t be denied how great it can feel to receive a letter in the mail, period. I know it is for me. I get excited even if I know it’s coming. While I do enjoy seeing a personal e-mail embedded amongst the clutter in my inbox , picking through junk to see a personally addressed letter is far more exciting, because it’s special. Not everyone has the time or interest to mail things and I know this.

Now,” you may be saying – “what if I’m one of those people who doesn’t have time? I’d try and become a massive failure!” Well, I’d respond – start small! You won’t fail. Not everyone can be a letter-writing extraordinaire overnight – and if you are, I’m seriously impressed! Skip these steps and go on with your bad self. Otherwise, you may be a bit stuck.

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Start writing thank-you e-mails. This may seem counterproductive, but if you aren’t used to it, it’s good to get the hang of it. Plus, gratitude never hurt anybody. Throw some additional thank yous in your daily vocabulary just for the heck of it.
  • Personally mail your birthday cards. This may be weird if your friend lives down the road, but if they’re scattered nationwide (or even worldwide!) it can mean a lot more than a facebook post. Obviously it may not be feasible (or worthwhile) to do this for every friend, but it’s worth it to recognize the most important ones. Just try to prepare in advance (in other words, write down their birthdays somewhere you’d remember) so you’re prepared.
  • Holiday Cards. This is great practice and is coming up soon! Sending a burst of holiday cheer can brighten the day of many a person – and you aren’t on as strict a deadline as a birthday. I’ve had a lot of fun writing holiday cards the past couple of years and it’s a practice I hope to continue in the future. If you don’t have anyone to mail a card to, fear not!
If you want to sharpen your trusty letter writing skillz, feel free to send one to me! You can express interest in the comments if you want (we can iron out the mailing details later), or just shoot me an email (psst – xoxotaratara [at] gmail [dot] com). I’d be more than happy to dish a piping hot serving of holiday delight your way in return.
Holla at me,

Slowed Down Sunday – 12.5.10

5 Dec

Hey everybody! I hope your week was absolutely amazing. Mine was absolutely jam-packed, but hey: it’ll be worth it when I finish my final examinations.

Anyway, here is my weekly toast to the things that brightened up my week.

Snow!!! – Yes, snow deserved three exclamation marks. I have a love/hate relationship with precipitation. I absolutely love looking at it from my window. If I’m not in a hurry, I don’t exactly mind being outside in it, if I’m adequately prepared (umbrella, etc). If I’m in a hurry and I have things to do, it can be the greatest irritant ever. At times, the snow annoys me in Pittsburgh – especially when it refuses to stick to the ground, instead resigning itself to flying in your eyes and creating a hazardous walking environment – but snow is a big way to usher in the winter and for that, I can’t stay angry.

♥Organization – Let me just say, whoever invented the cascading folder and command hooks: thank you for being a friend. These things have saved me – especially the command hooks/strips, because there are so many uses. And by the way, I only use 3M command brand adhesive strips, because the other ones I’ve tried haven’t worked nearly as well. And no, I’m not being paid to say this. I’ve used them to hang posters, my backpack and purses, aforementioned the cascading folder, holiday decorations, my power strip, and goodness knows what else I could use them for. I feel so much less stressed when my room is a cluttered mess (which is often…and a problem) so this is great.

♥Beginning of the End – This semester is almost over! It’ll be great to take a break and get some real sleep without worrying about my upcoming school obligations. (Thanksgiving, anyone? Who can relax knowing finals will be waiting for you the minute you hit campus?) I – well, my group mates and I – have reached a major point in a huge project we’re working on (I’ll probably be providing details as it comes closer, so stay tuned!) and it’s a relief that I couldn’t previously imagine.

♥Miscellaneous: Getting a surprise apple caramel cupcake from a friend to brighten up a long, tiring week; dramatic lipsyncs of Disney songs; watching old Mary-Kate and Ashley movies, no matter how terrible they are; going on lady-dates with some fabulous women I need to spend more time with; hatching epic plans; listening to someone’s epic plans, knowing they’re well on their way to completing them; late night Dunkin Donuts; shutting out mid-morning sunlight with a sleep-mask; Maple Blondie ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s; P.G. Wodehouse and the Jeeves stories; taking steps to cross things off a bucket list; Twin Peaks (seriously, three episodes in and I’m farther from figuring out who killed Laura Palmer than I was in the pilot – and don’t you dare spoil me!) and the Psych tribute episode

Anything that you loved in particular this week? Feel free to share!

xoxo, Tara

Weekend Links – 12.3.10

3 Dec

Can you believe it’s already December? I felt like just a week ago it was Halloween and now it’s snowing in Pittsburgh! Either way, I’m excited for the holiday season, the end of finals and my twentieth birthday! Cards and gifts aren’t frowned upon, by the way. Anyway, here’s some stuff for you to read on this blustery day!

◊ Have you ever wondered how certain people have a magnetic charisma when interacting with people one-on-one? Tim Ferriss describes how it works and how you can do it yourself.

◊ Speaking of interpersonal communication, The Naked Redhead talks negotiation skills – how to negotiate like a lady, even if you’re a man.

◊ I’m a major tea fan – so any guide designed to upgrade my tea game is greatly appreciated.

◊ Ever went on a “lady date” – a date with a seriously awesome lady, no romance required? Well…consider it.

◊ I love interesting art installations. Henk Hoftsra took it upon himself to break a few eggs.

◊ I love the cute, artsy gifts and these ones on Design*Sponge are both adorable and bargain friendly (twenty-five dollars or less!).

◊ On the other hand, here’s an argument of the other persuasion: The Case Against Buying Christmas Presents on Zen Habits.

I don’t love Christmas shopping, or the overconsumption, frenzied malls, consumer debt, environmental waste, wasted time wrapping, and over-accumulation of needless stuff that goes with it.

Bah humbug! I love Christmas, but the shopping has got to go.

◊ This is almost too strange to be true…stiletto hiking boots? Would anyone actually wear these?

◊ Best Holiday cookie recipes? Yes, please. Thank you, Real Simple magazine.

◊ This is hilarious – uncomfortable plot summaries. Funny, but oh so wrong.

Jam of the Week: Chiddy Bang – Truth

Anything you want to send my way? Holler at me in the comments.

xoxo, Tara

World AIDS Day

1 Dec

Source: Equalitopia Blog

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day, a world-wide international initiative designed to spread awareness and education, commemorate those who are living with AIDS or have passed away from AIDS and to celebrate victories in access to treatment and prevention.

Today is an opportunity for widespread involvement and attention to this important issue and each one of us can make a difference. In this information age, you can send help with something as simple as a text message. However, if you are unable to donate time or money, you can help by increasing the awareness of both yourself and others.

Here are some resources if you’d like further information or would like to get more involved:

If you have any more links or resources, feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll edit the post. Thanks!
xoxo, Tara