‘Proper Adult’

Upon my return to the United States I was introduced to the HBO Show ‘Girls’  by my older sister. I watched the pilot episode without high expectations based on my sister’s brief review, but it hit so close to home that I power-watched the entire first season in one night. Since that night I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the message of the show and how it relates to my life.

Having effectively moved out of my parents’ houses and, for the most part, budgets at the age of 18, I naively considered myself an adult. At one point I had a boyfriend of 3 years that I thought I would eventually marry and I was on track to finish my Bachelors degree. There was a mini plan of a career and babies forming in my head.

THE break up happened, I graduated with a BFA, and moved across country to spend a year and a half living with (amazing) relatives.  At the age of 24, I was again on track to enter the adult world of salary and health insurance in lieu of parental insurance and multiple part-time jobs to pay the bills. Had that train kept going, I think my life would be a little more miserable than it is right now. I purposely, if unknowingly, derailed that particular train by going back to school for my Masters degree half a world away from all friends and family.

Having finished that over a year ago now, I realized that those early twenties were anything but adulthood. Growing up in 2013 was a rough transition. I got my first exempt salaried position with my very own health insurance, which is alarmingly expensive. I have life insurance and a retirement account which are both very foreign concepts that I don’t fully understand yet. I bought a brand new car and car insurance for the first time and I’m still not entirely sure if I got a good deal or was taken advantage of. I found an adult relationship with someone that is reaching the six month mark as of publishing and I understand now that all the relationships I had before weren’t healthy or even close to being ‘adult’.

Now I am contemplating changing fields (as I do not work in the field I spent all that time being educated to work in) and have no clue where to start. Where was the class on how to change careers in all of my high school college prep, BFA and MA programs? How did I miss the day they taught all of these essential life skills? Truth is, the educational systems we have in place in the Western World are not teaching us how to live in society. They are teaching us how to fill a role in society: teacher, doctor, lawyer. These cookie cutter jobs do not list ‘must know how to buy a car’ or ‘must understand health insurance’ as necessary so those essential life skills get skipped over in the education system.

In high school I had to class called ‘Planning Your Future’ that I assume was suppose to teach me about these things. Yes, we ‘learned’ how to do our taxes by hand and what a 1040EZ looks like and that it would probably be the form we would need for the foreseeable future after high school. At no time did I, a pretty decent student (#25 in my graduating class) learn that getting a ton of money back as a tax return was a bad thing. Someone from a young professionals group I belong to now told me that getting a $4500 refund means that the government took more money from your paycheck than they really needed to and didn’t tell you for a whole year, essentially borrowing your $4500 interest free for a whole year and then they turn around and are like, “Oh yeah, here you go, you can have your own money back.” While they charge me an arm and a leg in interest on the loans they gave me for this education that apparently taught me a whole lot of nothing. This was a life changing revelation for me! I had been complaining that my return was only $250 for three weeks as I was counting on a larger return to pay down some credit cards no one taught me how to use properly. That three minute conversation altered my perspective on the whole educational system and is the reason for this pensive post. We didn’t learn how Worker’s Unions operated from watching the Stallone film ‘Fist.’ We didn’t learn how to budget when we ‘married’ one of our classmates and drew salaries and numbers of children out of a hat. My ‘husband’ and I got the two highest paying jobs in the hat and blew off the assignment because we could afford everything we could have ever wanted or needed. Who is responsible for teaching us these things? Should I blame my parents for not teaching me some of these things? Is the fault of the education system? Is it my own fault for not seeking the knowledge before I needed to use it? If you’ve made it this far with me I would like to know what you think about all this in the comments below. If you don’t feel like commenting, I hope I’ve at least made you think.


Creative Energy

Screen shot 2013-08-21 at 12.38.45 AM Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 10.10.26 PMJust a few quickie screen shots of a new project I’m working on. I’ve been seriously considering changing my eating habits and while researching different lifestyle diets (clean eating, low carb, Vegans, etc.) on the Interwebs, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to make this type of drastic change without some sort of help. It inspired me to design a meal planning journal. I also need to start budgeting my money more effectively. I spent an entire night combing though my bank statements adding up the amount I’ve been spending on food. I thought adding a budgeting/pricing piece would help me as well. Above are a couple rough ideas for pages. Input is welcome, though I am pretty in love with the font (a free Font on Abduzeedo called Benchnine).

What would you like to see in a journal like this?

This is going to be a collaborative project with my friend across the Pond Luke Taylor. We are brainstorming ideas currently; these are just mine. I can’t wait to see what he has cooking! Bubbling on the back burner are ideas for an icon set and a companion app!

Look for updates eventually!



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Today I got a tad nostalgic while going through my HD that’s been hanging out at my sister’s house while I’ve been abroad. I was doing a bit of graphic design work for a friend and it got me thinking about my empty Dribbble account (which is kinda like LinkedIn for Graphic Designers). So I wanted to post some of my old projects as well as newer ones. While going through my old class files from Kendall it brought back many memories. *Le sigh*

I even found some stuff from a workshop that the Kendall Photo Association organized with Tom Allen a few years ago. At which I produced the image below. I’m pretty proud of it.

After the trip down memory lane – I caught the graphic design bug again. I don’t have anything specific to do this week in MI while the rest of the world has actual jobs so I think that’s what I’m going to focus on. I have all these new goals for my creative future. I think after finally finishing this Master’s degree, I’m ready to be creative on a regular basis again. The trip down memory lane and a visit last week to Kendall while I was in Grand Rapids catching up with old friends really made me miss the creative environment. Academia is alright, but creative people are so much more fun to be around!
This doesn’t change my desire to work in a museum or gallery because those environments seem like a good balance between creativity and academia, but I think I’ve reached a point where I wouldn’t mind doing freelance photography or graphic design on the side just for kicks.

So there’s that. A little more serious than originally intended, but I’m OK with it; the situation seems to call for it. It feels like a new stage in my life is about to begin and for once I don’t mind the change so much.

Normally this is me:


Missing the UK

Top 10 things I miss about the UK

Picture via The Telegraph – Go read their article!

1. Rugby – seriously the best sport ever to watch and to play. I need to figure out how to find matches to watch on the interwebs.

2. The Accents – the general populace over here in the States, just doesn’t sound as intelligent… being surrounded by such wonderful accents every day for a year and then going directly back to people sounding stupid even when they are discussing astrophysics is pretty jarring. I realize this is a strange controdiction because I still have an American accent.

3. Being a Novelty – Speaking of which – for some reason the Brits love American accents and Americans in general… I shall miss this being a conversation starter when out in public.

4. Public Transportation – The public transpo here in the States blows! Things are too spread out for it to be anywhere near convenient.

5. Brands/Shops/Designers – Cath Kidston has to be my favorite designer and now I can only find her stuff online or in super-mega big cities (maybe?). Also my new obsession with the shop White Stuff has be bummed because they don’t exist (to my knowledge) over here either.
6. Cider – Not apple cider, there isn’t a lot of that  in the UK but tons in MI, but the real (alcoholic) kind. The beer industry has a monopoly on the drinking in the States and cider is hard to come by. Good cider is especially hard to find. Cider on tap is more rare than Pandas in China.

7. £1/£2 Coins – Dollar bills and the rare $2 bill are really boring. I liked that the smallest bill was a fiver in the UK. Coins might be heavier, but they don’t seem to go walkies nearly as much as $1 bills.

8. BBC/ITV iPlayers – I shall miss catching up easily on my favorite BBC/ITV programmes.

9. Easy/Cheap Travel to Different Countries – Everything is so close together and smaller over there. You can go to 6 different countries in a weekend if you really wanted to – for less than $500 for traveling expenses.

10. Gregg’s Sausage Rolls – I don’t know why I become so obsessed with this specific type of sausage roll, but I will really miss them.



Hey UK Peoples -

You want stuff? I have stuff you can either have or buy from me. It’d be cool if you left a comment letting me know if you want something – prices listed next to items. There is more than this, but I didn’t feel like photographing all of it. Complete list at the end.

Mini Trash Bin £2

Mini Christmas Tree £2

Assortment of Sharpie Markers, Dry-Erase Markers and Day of the Week Dry-Erase magnets £1

2 x Fish Shape Ice Cube Tray
2x Bottle Ice Cube Tray  All 4 – £2

3 Tray Ikea Desk Organizer £3

3 Drawer Mini Organizer £2

Remington Hair Straightener £5

Tesco Hair Dryer £5

Food Scale with lid £1

Ikea Cupboard/drawer Organizers – Set of 6 (only 4 pictured) £2

Litchfield Self Inflating Camping Mat w/ carry bag and patch kit £10

Ikea Underbed Storage Bag/Box thing £2

File Box w/ hanging folders & manilla folders £2

Other Items not pictured:

1 x Medium Sauce Pan £2

1 x Small Sauce Pan £2

1 x Small Milk Pan £2

1 x Set of 2 Ikea Utensil Canisters £1

3 x Plates (1 ceramic, 2 plastic) £1

1 x Set of 4 plastic square bowls £1

1 x Baking tray – Free

1 x Roasting Pan – Free

1 x Large (Well Seasoned) Wok £1

2 x Small Square Plastic Storage boxes – Free

2 x Small Round Plastic Storage Containers – Free

Assorted Cutlery – Free

Assorted Cooking Utensils – Free

Assorted Mugs/travel mugs/drinking glasses – Free

Assorted Random Objects – Free

Leave a comment if you want to call dibs on anything. I can deliver to UoN Campus, Jubilee Campus, or Lenton/Notts City Center or you can pick up from Broadgate Park. Payment in cash please! All transactions are final (if you don’t want it after that – it is your problem :P) Preferably all items will be picked up/dropped off by the 15th, but small items can be held until the 21st.

That is all.



Mama I’m Coming Home

That’s right folks, I’m headed back to the States in a little more than a month. I still have a bunch of work to do on my dissertation but after that is all handed in – I will be leaving on a jet plane. I’m packing up myself and leaving London on 22 September for Helsinki, Finland (yep cheaper to fly to Finland than direct to the States) where I will spend the night and then at about 2pm Finland time, I’ll be on my way to Chicago, where I will arrive at about 3pm Chicago time on 23 September (That’s a Sunday).

To my friends/family in the States:

Mama, I’m Coming Home

Going to be in Mason for at least a week and then I’ll be packing my stuff and my kitty (unbelievably excited to see her!!) and heading back to South Florida. Feel free to message me on Facebook or leave me a comment to let me know who will be around and when so I can try to see as many people as possible while I’m in Michigan. I know it seems like a very short amount of time to spend with you all after being gone for so long, but I’ve got to get back to making money so I can pay my bills. I will, however, do everything in my power to come back to MI for Christmas.

To my friends in the UK:

Leaving on a Jet Plane

This has been the best year of my life thus far and I will miss you all dearly. If you are ever in South Florida please let me know so we can catch up! I’m going to come back someday, if only to visit. That’s a promise. I hope I can see most of you before I take off, though my hanging out time is limited, I will be here a whole week after dissertation hand in and leaving so that would be prime time to say goodbye. So please message me on Facebook or leave me a comment to let me know if you will be in Notts or want to meet up in London for tea/coffee/lunch (I’ll probably be there for a few hours before my 6pm flight on the 22nd).

Leaving is bitter sweet and I might cry a lot when it happens (she says while tearing up already) so be prepared for that when saying your goodbyes!

So before I completely ruin any chance of getting work done tonight due to puffy eyes…


New Life Goals

Apparently, the fates have aligned and given me a new life goal that I didn’t ask for. My new mission in life has become to break everything made of glass or ceramic I come into contact with. I’ve broken 2 wine glasses (not while drinking) and 1 ceramic bowl in the last week and a half. I am now concerned for my tea mugs, Delft tile sitting on my desk, and anything someone else owns made of glass/ceramic.

In better news the most recent event of breaking a stemless wine glass in the middle of my bedroom floor gave me a shove to actually hoover (vacuuming for my American friends) my room and then I went all cleaning crazy and deep cleaned the bathroom as well. At this point I think I would do ANYTHING (like this blog post) to avoid working on my dissertation since it is this long and arduous thing looming over me.

For kicks here is what I looked like while cleaning with this really insane ‘natural’ cleaning agent – not sure natural cleaning products are suppose to be so hazardous for your breathing health, but the first time I used this one I almost died of asphyxiation. Enjoy!



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