Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back

When all is said and done, 2012 was a great year. I love looking back on the past year that I have had because it makes me appreciate so many things in my life. It also makes me realize how much time I take for granted--in retrospect, this year flew by. I know I talk about the progression of time a lot on this blog, but it really is something I feel all the time, especially as I complete more of my time at Georgia Tech and especially as David and I continue our journey of being a couple in a long distance relationship.

One of the things that I have loved the most about this past year has been the cultivation of my blog. When I started blogging more than two years ago, I think I loved the idea of a blog but honestly had no idea what to write. My blogging was sporadic at best, and at times I felt like I was blogging because it was something I admired about other people. Enter a very large blogging hiatus.

But 2012 was different. I started off the year with a blog post about 12 things I wanted to do in the new year, and it really kick-started some things for me. All in all I'd say it was a success. The only true thing I never got around to was writing a song. People always assume that because I play guitar I should naturally just be a font of new music.  The truth is that every time I have sat down to write my own song has been a dud.  It's so much harder than it looks, and it gave me a new appreciation for artists who write their own stuff.

Many of my other endeavors this year have been much more successful however.  Probably the thing I am most proud of is my perseverance in learning how to knit. David loves to spoil my hobbies.  Probably because he knows he's going to reap the benefits of it :)

I can't wait to find out what 2013 has in store for me.  If anything, I want to be able to say I lived everyday to its potential and that above all, I was happy :)

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bottlecap Coasters

Quite some time ago, David told me that he needed coasters for his apartment.  Because there's nothing like a little knitting to make a place feel like home, I knew that the coasters should be knitted (also per David's request), but I wanted to do something more than that.  A couple days later, the perfect idea dawned on me.  Bottlecap coasters.  But then the problem of collecting bottle caps ensued.  I don't drink bottled drinks very often, so my process of collecting the caps was essentially reduced to just nab them from other people after they opened their beverages.  Problem number two resulted when I realized that the people I was getting bottle caps from have their own personal favorite drinks, and because I wanted each coaster to have nine bottle caps from nine different drinks, it took a long time for me to acquire some variety.  I didn't want to give a coaster comprised entirely of Blue Moon caps after all.

Of course, the end result is that even though I've knitted quite a few bases for the coasters, I only had enough bottle cap variety to complete one.  Oh well.  Now that David has his one coaster and knows that I'm collecting bottle caps, maybe the process of collecting them will go faster :)

Getting ready to hot glue the bottle caps to the knitted base!


All done!


And it serves its purpose perfectly :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Game Day Infinity Scarf

Back at the very end of August, when David left for Chicago, I tracked his flight online and started knitting a scarf for myself.  Then school got crazy and I started knitting things for other people and my scarf got put on the back burner.  But alas, now that I'm between semesters and now that Christmas is over (aka I'm not knitting for other people), I decided that I was finally going to finish it.  Knitted up in size nine needles and sewn together into a cowl, I'm glad to finally have it done and to finally be able to use it!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Seed Stitch Cowl

As a knitter, I confess that the purl stitch used to scare me. Heck, I attempted knitting lace before I even thought about learning how to purl. But once I learned how to do it properly, I was so relieved since it opened a whole new world of knitting patterns.

One such pattern is the seed stitch. I used this particular stitch to make a scarf for my sister. I used size ten needles, and it was a great post-exam / pre-Christmas project.

I wish that I could keep it for myself instead of giving it up!

A work in progress!

All done!

I of course had to model it first ;)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Scalloped-Edge Beanie

One of my goals this Christmas was to do something I'd never done before: to give only homemade Christmas presents. Okay, well, maybe not 100% homemade but I wanted to get as close as possible.

The first thing I endeavored to make was a hat whose pattern I got out of a knitting book that had been given to me from David's mom for my birthday. Possibly the best advice I have received since starting to knit is to add a new technique with every new project.  This time around, I decided to try my hand at knitting lace.  This hat ended up being a great first lace project.  It was difficult enough for me to still have to rip it out twice before successfully conquering the pattern but easy enough that I wasn't discouraged.

And I loved the end result!  I want to make another one for myself :)


Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Decorations

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is decorating the house.  I love all the lights and all the colors, and it just turns the house into a magical place.


  
             



And because everyone should wear a tacky Christmas sweatshirt at least once a year:


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blog Changes

Frequently dissatisfied with the appearance of my blog, I've updated it again.  Now that the changes are made, I have realized that the colors are rather Christmas-y in nature, but I like it.  I changed the background and some fonts and I even updated my profile picture.  Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Tea

I have been a tea drinking fiend ever since I got home (that is, more than usual).  The reason: it is just warm enough outside to where it's freezing in the house, but turning on the heat seems a little overboard.  It's basically my parents' favorite time of the year because they would rather save the money than adjust the thermostat.  I don't think I've heard the air conditioning running once since I got home.  I can't really blame them though--it's from them that I got my stinginess.  I hate spending money.  I suppose it's better than the alternative: living in a cold house because we can't afford to pay the bill, but I've definitely been resorting to cups of tea and fuzzy socks to make my way across the cold tile kitchen floor.

Christmas break has been wonderful so far.  This is actually going to be the longest break from school that I've had since last Christmas.  I know that the three weeks are going to fly by though, and I'll be back at it before too much longer.  I'm just trying to make the most of it while I can.

By the way, read this article.  I cried at several points.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

First Days of Break

I have officially been on Christmas break for the past four days.  My dad picked me up from my apartment Thursday night, and aside from sleeping, here's what I've done since break started:

- knitting (and lots of it.  Can anyone say Christmas presents?)
- I started reading a book called The Friday Night Knitting Club.
- My family celebrated my sister Colleen's birthday.  We had brunch which of course means mimosas which of course means a good time :)
- I babysat my sweet niece Natalie while my sister and brother-in-law went to dinner.
- Two words: The Hobbit.
- I wrapped Christmas presents for my parents.  It makes me feel like an elf, especially when I put some jingles on :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Finals Week

As it goes every year, the "most wonderful time of the year" just so happens to coincide with one of the worst times of the year--finals.  So far, I am two finals down with two to go, and this time tomorrow, I will be done.  Good grades would be a fabulous Christmas present in my opinion.

So I have a cup of tea in hand, and my textbooks all strewn in front of me, and I wish I could stay and chat.  But hey, at least I have a Mickey mug and Mickey pants to keep me company during this last day of extreme stress.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Giveaway Madness

Remember when I said I won a clock from a shop on Etsy called Field Treasure Designs? Well, it finally came in today, and although I have no idea what to do with it, I am so thrilled with it. It's so different from anything I've ever owned. Ever since I started knitting and doing crafty things of my own, I've become really big on buying homemade items as opposed to store bought, so I love the idea of supporting fellow artists. Now I just need to decide where to hang it!

Brown paper packages tied up with string... :)



But the clock isn't the only giveaway I've won recently. Two days after I found out I won the clock, I also won a set of twelve cards of my choice from the Red Letter Paper Company, another small business where all the cards are designed and created by this one extremely talented woman.

I couldn't believe my luck! After ages of blog reading and giveaway entering, I had the good fortune to win two at once :)



Go here to check out more of the cards!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Dead Week

Dead Week is officially here, and in exactly one week, I will be done with two of my exams.  I'm not really sure which exam I am dreading the most, but if I had to choose one, I would probably say my Abstract Vector Spaces final is going to be the worst.  It's also the one that I'm really feeling the pressure for to do well because my grade for this class is completely up in the air at this point.  Fingers crossed that I can stay focused and power through the next eight days.

I just wish Christmas break would get here already because I'm dying to knit to my hearts content.  I have some really awesome gifts planned out, but for now they're just ideas until I get the time to knit them into reality.

Happy Tuesday Tea :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rawr Means I Love You In Dinosaur

Today marks the one year anniversary of David's and my relationship, and I could not be more thrilled.  Because we can't be together today, I flew up to Chicago this past weekend to be with him, and it was such a great couple of days, albeit incredibly short.  I arrived Friday evening fairly late, so after finally getting to David's apartment, we didn't do much more than just eat some food and watch some TV since we were both so tired.

On Saturday, the first thing was go to the grocery store to buy some things to make breakfast.  We made lots of potatoes and lots of eggs and LOTS of bacon.  And we also had mimosas which really made it special.  We had some leftovers of the eggs that we ate the next morning, but needless to say, all the bacon was gone.  The entire pound of it...

Later, we set out to see  more of the city!  Our first stop was Millennium Park where I got to see the famous Bean for the first time!  (Don't ask me what it's actually called, I have no idea.)  We wandered around the rest of the park and got to see some other cool things, but the Bean was really the highlight because I'd been wanting to see it for so long.





After Millennium Park, we took the bus over to the Lincoln Park Zoo which was having a light display.  The cool thing was that we weren't just there to look at Christmas lights; the rest of the zoo was open for exhibit as well.  The best part for me was seeing the giraffes :)





After the zoo, we went back to the apartment to make dinner.  On the menu: chicken satay with a spicy peanut sauce.  And it was soooo yummy!  It was even better than I was expecting it being.  We also made chocolate chip cookies and ended the night by watching some of The Producers before falling asleep.

Sunday morning, after waking up and eating our leftover breakfast from the day before, we went to church.  It was the first Sunday of Advent, which definitely put us in the Christmas spirit since we promptly walked to Ace Hardware after church to buy a Christmas tree.  When we got home with it, we put on some carols and decorated it.




It was the last thing we did before I had to catch my flight back to Atlanta, and it was the perfect ending to the weekend.

The real highlight of the trip though was when David and I unknowingly coordinated gifts for each other.  Besides the State of Love cross-stitch that I made him, I also made another cross-stitch:




It could not have been more perfect considering that this is one of the things David got me:




This is true love.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

State of Love

Okay, so I wrote this post a LONG time ago, but I am only just now posting it because it's all about an anniversary gift I made for David that I only just gave to him. So naturally I couldn't talk about it on the blog early since he's one of the only people that actually reads this (wooo!).

So without further delay, I present what I have dubbed the State of Love cross-stitch. When I found this pattern online, I just knew that I had to make it for David and what better time than for our one year anniversary? It was an easy stitch though, and I couldn't be more thrilled than with the way it turned out.

Getting started!


The finished product!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Today

Today...

at 12:26 a.m., I turned in my CS homework.

at 12:27 a.m., I started studying for my psychology quiz.

at 12:50 a.m., I stopped studying psychology to start my probability and statistics take home test.

at 12:50.01 a.m., I checked my email and found out my take home test is now due Monday.

at 12:50.02 a.m., I declared it bedtime.

at 9:15 a.m., my alarm went off for the second time, and I got out of bed, got ready for the day, and went to class.

at 11:55 a.m., I got out of CS class and had lunch with my sister.

at 3:17 p.m., I got back to my room from class.

at 4:00 p.m., I started packing.

at 5:22 p.m., I left for the airport.

at 8:00 p.m., I boarded my flight.

at 9:06 p.m., I landed in Chicago!

at 9:39 p.m., David whisked me away, and my weekend officially began :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Hell Week

Well, the end of the semester is upon us, and I am feeling the stress more than ever.  This could mean one of two things: 1) I will not be blogging very much because I don't have a lot of time to devote to non-school related things, or 2) I will be blogging all the time as a means of procrastination.  The end result: to be determined.

I have to-do lists on post-its all over  my desk, and I am so ready for this week to be done.  This is probably my first semester at Tech where I feel like I truly have a Hell Week.  I have tests and quizzes in every single one of my classes, and I'm about to explode.

So if you were having Tuesday Tea with me right now, I would outline all the things I have to do before Friday:

- My CS final homework project is due Friday (I'm coding Minesweeper, bleck).
- I have an Abstract Vector Spaces test on Thursday.
- I have a Probability & Statistics test on Friday.
- I have a psychology quiz on Friday.
- I'm singing with chorale in the holiday concert Thursday night.
- I leave for Chicago Friday night! (The one good thing to look forward to!)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Five Things that Made This Long Weekend Wonderful

This Thanksgiving was one for the books, and I had so much to be thankful for. Here are five of the things that made it so great:

5. Seeing Mannheim Steamroller in concert.  I have been listening to their music for years and years and getting to see the group in person was spectacular.  It was the perfect way to get me in the Christmas mood, and it was at the Fox Theater which is always a bonus.

4. I won a clock!  Seriously.  Field Treasure Designs was holding giveaway on their Facebook page, and I was one of the winners.  I won this clock.  And I get to pick which color I want!  So awesome and unexpected.

3. I spent awesome time with my family.  It'd been a long time since I'd slept in my own bed, and it was so nice.  I loved getting to see almost all of my sisters and spend some quality time at home with my parents.  The weekend was relaxing and fun, which was just what the doctor ordered.

2. I went to Athens for the first time.  And while I was there, I had an outrageously good time.  Also, it turns out Canadians are awesome and have the greatest sense of humor.

1. David was here for five whole days.  Even though I didn't get to spend everyday with him while he was here, this was definitely the longest period of time he's been in Atlanta since August.  I know I shouldn't wish away college, but I definitely wish the rest of this semester and the next three would go by quickly so I don't always have to be missing my guy!  Long distance is hard, but if it means being with David, then I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving :) I don't want to spend more time blogging today than time with my family, but I just wanted to make a list of all the things I am thankful for. I loved all the people who wrote something they were thankful for every day, so because Thanksgiving is on the 22nd, I want to catch up. Here are, in no particular order, 22 things / people / places I am thankful for.

1. The amazing Atlanta weather. The past few weeks, us Atlantans have been blessed with weather that is warm enough to walk outside without freezing, but cool enough to utilize all my favorite sweaters. It's a win-win.

2. My family. This one doesn't really need much explanation because they're so awesome. I know they will always be there for me.

3. Tea. I am grateful for the power that tea has to always transform my mood for the better.

4. David. The guy I can go to when I'm happy or sad (or any emotion in between), I would not exchange our relationship for anything.

5. The opportunity to study at a school where I am constantly challenged. As often as I complain about how difficult Georgia Tech is, I'd rather be here than somewhere where I would be bored.

6. The ability to knit. I guess I should call this one the ability to be crafty in general. It is literally saving my wallet this Christmas.

7. My chorale class this semester. Although this semester is most likely my last semester in a GT choir, I am so grateful for the experience I had over the past few months. I have felt my voice mature with the repertoire we sang, and it was great to sing with a group where I felt truly valued. An added bonus: it was rehearsal that I got to spend time with the lovely and inspiring Molly.

8. The awesome blogs I read. One of the first things I do when I wake up is check to see which blogs I follow have been updated. I am continually inspired by the blogs I read. Find out what my favorites are here.

9. David's family. From the first day I met David's family, I have always felt so welcome, even included, as part of the family. I've celebrated Christmas with them, I've been on vacation with them, and I've drunk copious amounts of wine with them.

10. My five senses.  I take these for granted every. single. day.  They are such precious gifts without even realizing it. I couldn't imaging not being able to see beautiful days like today, not being able to smell the cranberry sauce cooking on the stove, not being able to feel a kiss, not being able to hear the sound of a laugh, or not being able to taste the wonderful feast coming up in just a few short hours.

11. Food.  I am grateful for the luxury of having food to eat this afternoon--also a gift taken for granted and not thought about everyday.

12. Guitar.  I can't believe I will have been playing guitar for four years this March.  Time really flies.

13. Airplanes.  Without these suckers, I wouldn't have the opportunity to see David nearly as much as I do.  Realistically, if he had to drive twelve hours just to come spend a weekend with me, this Thanksgiving would probably be the first time seeing him since he left for Chicago back in August.

14. My friends.  I am truly surrounded by some awesome people in my life.

15. Faith.  It keeps my grounded and gives me hope for the future.

16. The people who read my blog. Y'all don't know how nice it is of you.

17. Technology. Although perhaps a little overwhelming at times, technology really does make a lot of things much easier.

18. Snail mail. I love giving and receiving letters. I think letter writing is a dying art, and I'm determined to keep it alive.

19. Traditions. Nothing says home to me like holiday traditions. Whether it's silly traditions like hanging our stockings on the mantle before going to bed on Christmas Eve or more competitive traditions like my sisters and me vying to give the best Secret Santa gift, I wouldn't change a thing.

20. Patience. Sometimes I wish I had more of this, but I'm grateful for what little I do have. Sometimes it just helps to sit down and breathe.

21. Music. I'm especially excited to start listening to Christmas music :)

22. Homes. Although I've lived in the same house my whole life, there are a lot of different places I call home. Home is not just a physical place but also a state of mind, and home is where my heart is.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Thanksgiving Week!!

Finally I am getting some time off from school. Granted I only get two extra days off and still have classes I should technically go to tomorrow, but nothing is raining on my parade now.  Should I justify not working over Thanksgiving Break?  Probably not.  But I'm planning to make the most of the festivities.

So if you were here having Tuesday Tea with me (I'm drinking a cup of Tazo Calm right now by the way), I would tell you the following things:

- David is flying in from Chicago tonight!  We have tremendous plans for the long weekend, and I can't wait :)
- I've been feeling really crafty recently.  I guess it's a good thing since it's coming right in time for Christmas, but it is a little distracting from my school work sometimes.  Must create all the things!
- I had lunch with David's sister yesterday, and it was really fun.  We went to a cool place right around the corner from Tech called Carolyn's Gourmet Cafe, and it was delicious.  I got the gyro and devoured it all while enjoying some good conversation.

Let Thanksgiving Break commence!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Pray in the Shower

Yep, you read that correctly. I pray in the shower. Matter of factly, I pray a lot of different places, but my shower prayers are probably the ones that have the most structure.  What do I pray about?  Besides pleas to the shampoo gods about my split ends?

Well, every night while I am getting ready for bed, I pray a novena.  A novena is a type of prayer in the Catholic Church where one repetitively prays for an act of grace over a specific period of time.  In particular, I pray the 54-day rosary novena which consists of 27 days of prayer in petition of something followed by another 27 days of Thanksgiving in anticipation of the petition being answered.  So, every night, I pray a rosary for a specific petition that I established at the start of the 54 days.

The first novena that I ever prayed was back during my freshman year of college.  I started it, appropriately, on January 1, and the beginning felt like trial by error.  I couldn't remember the last time I had formally sat down to pray the rosary, and having the added pressure of having to reflect upon the Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious Mysteries (depending on the day) only made my prayers more flustered.  I can't tell you how many times I would start a Hail Mary and then start over because I had gotten distracted, absolutely convinced that my prayers weren't going to be heard since I couldn't recite a single prayer without having my thoughts wander.  That was when I really knew I wanted my petitions to be heard and answered, when I became OCD about getting it perfect.  Did I get any better at it?  Much better.  Do I still mess up?  Absolutely.  But I learned to relax and concentrate on the words, knowing that God doesn't expect me to be perfect so long as my heart is in the right place.

The real question: Were my prayers answered?  Honestly, you're guess is as good as mine, but I think yes.  My petition at the time was really more focused on life meaning and purpose, not something specific and tangible, so I suspect the answer to that novena is still being unfolded.  I think the more immediate effect of the novena was to bring me peace of mind, and that was valuable in and of itself.

After my first novena in 2011, I didn't pray another one until this past summer.  And when I started it on July 12, I had only one petition in mind.  David.  It was already halfway through the summer, and I knew that when August hit, he would be graduating and leaving for Chicago just a few short weeks later.  So that night in July, I sat in bed and laid down my petitions to God.  I prayed that He would help us make the most of the rest of the summer together; I prayed that He would prepare David for the transition to Chicago; and I prayed that He would help us through this difficult time of being apart, to augment our love through the distance that would separate us, and to never lose sight of the other person.  I prayed that, ususally while crying, for the next 54 days until September 3 which fatefully, coincidentally, what have you, was the day before David started his new job.

When that novena was over, I started another. And when that novena was over, I started the one that I am currently praying. I've discovered that there's nothing like ending the day by lifting my heart up in petition of things that really mean a lot to me, so it's probably safe to say that this novena won't be my last either.

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers of you, I always pray with joy."
- Philippians 1:3-4

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Truth.

"One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again."

- Henry Ford

Tuesday {Evening} Tea

I'm having a bad day. And I really don't want to talk about it. But a blog is about honesty, right? So I'm going to suck up the fact that I'm embarrassed and tell the world that I didn't pass the actuarial exam. Weeks of studying for nothing. I don't know how badly I didn't pass, but that doesn't change anything.

And on a different note, I have my computer (also known as Earl (I'm sure you can guess the inspiration for that one)) back again.  No one is still really sure of the extent to which everything happened, but after two weeks of having a barely or non-functioning computer, we have been reunited and it feels so good. After having been given a new set of innards, it's now running better than ever.

I'm excited to get in the Christmas spirit.  I have a lot of homemade gifts in mind, but I'm hesitant to post them here.  I'm pretty sure none of my sisters read this blog, but just in case, you'll find out after Christmas all the things I'm planning to make.

By the way, I want one of these. It's how I feel right now.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

January Throwback

Once upon a time back at the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about 12 things I wanted to do in 2012, and the very first thing on that list is something along the lines of finding something positive in every situation.

Easier said than done, I know.

It's so easy to get caught up in the little things that won't matter in the long run and to linger unnecessarily on the things I can't change. I frequently find myself stressing about, well, everything. What am I going to do if I don't pass the actuarial exam? What am I going to if I don't get the grades I need? When am I going to get my computer up and running again? How long are David and I going to have to do long distance?

Left unchecked, thoughts like these swirl around in my head with abandon, and it's hard to reign them back in once I've let them loose.

But then, I stop, take a deep breath, and try to remember how blessed I am: I go to one of the best schools in the world, and even though it doesn't always feel like I belong here, so many things in my life have been changed for the better by my choosing to come here; I have one of the best boyfriends in the world, and even though we're having to do the long distance thing while I'm going to school in Atlanta and he's working hard in Chicago, I would not exchange our love for anything.

It doesn't mean it's not hard, but I know that one day, it will all be worth it.


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in all things, by prayers and petitions, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God that transcends understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
- Phillippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Election Day

My first presidential election!

Although it is a nice luxury being close to home, I almost wish that I had to send in an absentee ballot to vote because it means that I would have voted already. That being said, even though I really didn't have the time today to be going home and standing in un-godly lines, I was determined to perform my civic duty even though it is already essentially guaranteed which candidate is going to win the Georgia vote.

So who did I vote for?? I'll never tell! ;)

But that is all you'll ever read about my view on politics. It's just not my cup of tea.

Speaking of tea though (my powers of sequeing today are overwhelming), if you were here right now joining me for Tuesday Tea, I would talk about the following things:

- I have been laptop-less since Friday. It wasn't working all last week, and Friday night the problem was found. I had a Trojan horse (yay!), and long story short, after Dell completely wiped my hard drive, they said they couldn't fix it until Tuesday (today) because they had to mail me the operating system via jump drive. So now I'm just playing a waiting game. Looks like my impossible CS homework is being put on the back burner again.
- In exactly one week, I will be taking the actuarial exam. Oh my. So the next time I will be writing Tuesday Tea, I will be done, for better or for worse.
- I wish Thanksgiving would get here already.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Arts & Crafts Show

Yesterday marked the annual arts and crafts fair that is held every year at my high school.  Dubbed Holiday Traditions because it always takes place the first weekend of November, over 240 vendors from all over the southeast come to sell their goodies.  Among the things sold are jewelry, pottery, paintings, knitted, and crocheted items, and other unique and obscure items like homemade American Girl Doll dresses and wind chimes made from kiln-flattened bottles.

I've always loved Holiday Traditions because it always puts me in the mood for Christmas and because every once in a while, I will find the perfect thing to buy someone.

This year though, I also got a new perspective that I've never gotten before.  While I was there, I drew inspiration from everything.  It was almost as if it refreshed the creative side of myself, and when I left, all I wanted to do was make things.  The good side of this is that I got a lot of ideas of things I'd like to make for people for Christmas, but on the other side of the coin, all I want to do now is knit and cross-stitch endlessly, but I don't have time to even start thinking about these things.  The end of this semester will be very welcome.

Some pictures from the fair:


A mug with feet!


Yarn bowl that my mom bought me :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

FanFiction

I have a confession to make. I used to write fan fiction. This shouldn't be a drastic revelation to some people, but to others, my nerd status might have just escalated through the roof.

When I was younger, I used to have this dream of writing a novel (still do have that dream actually--it's even on my bucket list), and for quite a long time, fan fiction was the perfect writing fix. I didn't even have to come up with my own characters! Because coming up with a decent plot and characters is half the trouble of writing a book anyways, let's be honest.

But don't think I'm ever going to tell you what my pen name was. It's almost more embarrassing than some of the stories I wrote.

I will tell you this though: 95% of the things I wrote were about everyone's favorite potions master.

Severus Snape has my heart.

One of the things I think I liked most about writing fan fiction though was that the feedback from other writers and readers of fan fiction was almost instantaneous. Nothing feels better than having someone write a review or even, on some awesome occasions, adding the story to their favorites. Instant gratification for the win.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rant

I've always been really particular about when I start celebrating Christmas. I'll admit that cold weather just makes me want to curl up in front of the fireplace while oogling the Christmas tree, but nobody ever gives Thanksgiving its due.

I think I'm also particularly angsty about it this year because I don't have time to start daydreaming about Christmas and the end of the semester until the damn actuarial exam is over. Gosh, I can't wait.

So what inspired this post? Starbucks introduced their Christmas cups today. They are kind of pretty though :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Spring Registration

I can't believe how fast this semester has flown by and how behind I feel in my classes. I've been drinking more tea than ever recently in an attempt to keep my head screwed on straight, and today, I am drinking Tazo Earl Grey from Starbucks. Sooo yummy.

So if you were here right now having Tuesday tea with me, I would talk about the following things:

- It got cold here fast! With the hurricane wrecking havoc on the northern east coast, Atlanta got a huge cold front. Combined with some pretty intense wind, I don't leave my apartment without a jacket and scarf.
- My laptop is on the fritz. And that's probably an understatement. Fingers crossed that things get fixed ASAP so I can do my CS homework.
- I registered for Spring classes today. Currently I'm signed up for PSYC 3040 - Sensation & Perception, MATH 4317 - Analysis I, MATH 4032 - Combinatorial Analysis, MATH 4803 - Special Topics Course "Combinatorial Game Theory." I also wanted to sign up for a creative writing course, but that requires a permit to register for. I'm still trying to make that happen, but we'll see.
- Today, I printed off more than 100 pages of practice questions for my actuarial exam. Time to enter full-fledged study mode.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Knitted Hat

My most recent knitting endeavor has been a hat. I saw a video on how to knit hats, and it didn't seem too difficult so I gave it a whirl.

The video said to cast-on the stitches in multiples of eight. Not actually knowing how many inches around David's head is, I initially cast-on 104 stitches. After about two days of knitting though, I decided the circumference looked way too big. After a lot of deliberation, I ended up ripping out my work and starting over. This time I cast on 88 stitches. I used 16" size 8 circular needles, and my yarn was KnitPicks' comfy worsted yarn in Jalapeno. The whole hat knitted up in less than one ball of yarn.

After I had cast-on my stitches, I joined the stitches in the round and started knitting and didn't stop. Once the piece was long enough to fit on my head, I added stitch markers (or paper clips if you're too stingy to buy actual ones like me) every eight stitches on the next pass around the needle. Then I started to form the top of the hat. The method: just decrease every time a stitch marker is encountered until only four stitches are left on the needles. After weaving in my ends, I had a finished hat!

The spiral top :)

Awesome paper clip stitch markers

Ta-da!

P.S. This was actually my second attempt at this particular hat.  The first one ended up being a bit too short. When in doubt make it too long and just roll the brim some more.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Words

"We separate and my Mother steps toward me. Her eyes are tearing again I used to hate her crying I don't now. She feels and she cries. It is to be admired. She puts her arms around me I put mine around her. We hug each other she holds me like I am her Baby. I am not anymore, but I still am."

- James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Today, I Became A True Crafter

A little surprise showed up in my mailbox today.


The picture really doesn't do its size justice.  You guys, this thing is seriously industrial size.  But now I can officially call myself a true crafter, and it's a good thing too because I've had a zillion projects that I've wanted to do if only I had a glue gun.  Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Revamping My Mornings

Today marked the first day of a new experiment I'm trying. In an effort to start making the most of my days, I'm trying a new thing where I wake up at 8, whether I have a class I need to get to or not. I know there's some people who are probably rolling their eyes at me thinking that they would love to sleep in to 8 o'clock, but I am ignoring all judgement about the fact that I am usually a late sleeper. But I do recognize the fact that change isn't always a bad thing, and I am hoping in this instance that it is actually a really good thing. Besides having the intention of normalizing my sleep schedule, I hope that by starting my day earlier I will get more work done throughout the day and that I will also have more energy. That last bit probably sounds counterintuitive (I know it originally did to me), but from my personal experience, although it is harder to get up earlier, once I am awake, I feel like I got more out of my sleep than if I had woken up at 11.

So how has my day been going so far? Well, my alarm went off promptly at 8 this morning, and the temptation to reset it to another time was overwhelming. I will confess that I slept for another hour, but hey, this is a work in progress. After getting dressed while listening to The Best of Cat Stevens (isn't The Wind the greatest song ever?), I packed up my bag and wandered my way over to Starbucks. After ordering a bagel and a cup of tea, I settled into my math book in anticipation of the test I have on Thursday. Before I knew it, it was already time to go to class, so I followed along in my book with what my professor was teaching, and I discovered that everything he writes on the board is copied directly from the book. The only other professor that I've had do that was my calc. 3 professor and we all know how well that class turned out (read: it ended up badly).

But, on a better note, I'm drinking tea out of this guy:



Prepping for Halloween with style :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Endless Numbered Days

45 minutes spent online today looking up potential Christmas presents because I realized today that my sisters and I will be pulling Secret Santa names next weekend.

23 days until I take the actuarial exam.  Someone kill me for deciding to take it in November and not January.

20 points that Tech won by this afternoon against Boston College.

11 times listening to this song today.  Can anyone say metaphor for my life?

6 times that I snoozed my alarm this morning before I just outright turned it off and proceeded to roll over and fall back asleep.

5 days until David will be back in Atlanta. Who's excited?

4 cups of tea brewed today.

3 classes that I did work in today.  Yay for feeling mildly productive!

0 trips taken to Walmart after realizing that Kelsi's car battery is dead.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Weekend I Ran Away to Chicago and Didn't Want to Leave

This was a Fall Break for the books, y'all (uhhh, you guys... what?).  Not only did I get to spend the past four days with David, but I did so in his new home in Chicago.  I knew I would enjoy myself if only because I was with David, but I didn't really know what to expect of Chicago because this was going to be my first trip to the Windy City (with the exception of once when I was a baby, but let's admit, that doesn't count).

I've always been a bit of a nervous flier, but once I successfully navigated the Atlanta airport solo, my nerves went down considerably and all that remained was my excitement. I was hours away from exploring a new city with the man I love, and I was on the brink of bursting.  I knitted while sitting at the gate, waiting to board the plane, and I even struck up a surprisingly pleasant conversation with the guy sitting next to me.  He seemed surprised, and even pleased, that I am such an avid knitter, especially for someone my age, and I told him that I love the satisfaction that comes with finishing a project.  Before too much longer, it was time to get on the plane, so he wished me a pleasant first trip in Chicago, and we each found our respective seats.

Before I knew it, I had landed and was scrambling to find the Chicago train, the L, where David was waiting for me.  Luckily, the Midway airport is blessedly easy to navigate, and before I knew it, David and I were finally reunited again.  My Chicago adventure had officially started!

First thing on the agenda was dropping off my things at David's apartment, and once we were there, I couldn't help but stop and admire the view for a solid five minutes before we did anything else.  The pictures I had seen of it really didn't do it justice.

Daytime view.

Nighttime view.

Afterwards, I had my first taste of some Chicago cuisine.  David and I chose a restaurant basically purely on the fact that they were BYOB, and we made the right choice!  It was a Lebanese restaurant called Kan Zaman, and we knew we had made the right choice as soon as we had walked in--some of the seating consisted of booths that were basically giant pillow pits with a table in the middle.  So after taking off our shoes, we climbed into the our pillow seating and opened up the bottle of wine we had brought.  We ordered an appetizer and an entree to share, and each were about 50% hummus, a fact that I am largely okay with since I'm pretty sure I would be okay with living off of hummus and pita bread alone.  We ended the evening with going to a bar where one of David's work buddies was hanging out with some friends.  Overall, a great first night in Chicago!

The next morning dawned the start of a rainy day, so after going to the grocery store and making breakfast/lunch, we planned out the rest of our day, trying to find some things to do that would not require a lot of time outside.  We settled on going to see an early evening show of All in the Timing, a comedy show consisting of six one-act plays, at the Apollo Theater.  Beforehand, we ate dinner at a German restaurant called Prost! which catered to all the German soul-food cravings I have ever had.  David and I again split an appetizer and an entree which consisted of potato dumplings and veal schnitzel respectively.  Then after the show, we wandered a couple blocks over to a cool tea place.  The idea was to pick out some tea leaves from their large selection on the wall, and they would brew it for us.  Unfortunately, our first choice of tea was not really up to our likings, but we also nibbled on some earl grey shortbread cookies, and we purchased some tea leaves to go.  We brewed them the next day, and we found the tea to be much more delicious!

On Sunday, we woke up and walked all the way across the street to go to church.  Afterwards, because it was raining again, we ordered in some Chicago-style deep dish pizza.  I came to the windy city with one food goal in mind, and it was to try the city's famous pizza.  And it definitely lived up to its name.  Layered high with lots of cheese and sausage, I could barely eat more than one slice.  Later in the afternoon, we went to see a production of Avenue Q.  I've known about this musical since my high school days, and when David and I decided to attend, I was so excited.  I went in not really knowing what to expect, but more than three days later, I'm still humming some of the tunes.  

Umm, yum!

After the show, we wandered over to Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile, to show me some of the architecture of the city.  After stopping for tea though, we were met with another downpour.  It wasn't long before the wind whipped our umbrella inside out, and David quickly hailed a cab to prevent us from becoming completely soaked.  When we got back to his apartment though, we started making dinner, and that made everything better.  On the menu: basil and garlic oven-roasted tomatoes and lamb curry with sweet potatoes.  Sometimes I truly under-appreciate how good of a cook David is.  I love to cook with him :)


Monday morning, David left for work, and I busied myself while he was away.  Besides doing super exciting things like emptying the dishwasher, I met up with some Atlanta friends, who were also in Chicago, for lunch at a brunch place called Yolk.  After stuffing myself with the Blue Bayou Frittata, I felt like a true Chicagoan as I successfully navigated my way to the grocery store to pick up some things for dinner.  It was my turn to cook.  I made chicken enchiladas from my oldest sister's secret recipe.

The highlight of my final evening was going over to Navy Pier with David.  We walked along the water, enjoyed the beautiful sunset, and rode the ferris wheel.  It was truly the perfect ending to a perfect trip.


:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Find My Way Back Home

Covering this song seemed appropriate since I got back from Chicago today.  But even more so than that, I've learned that "home" is more than just a physical location; it's wherever your heart is.  Needless to say, I can't wait to come home to David's arms again soon.


"'Cause you and me, so happily, make all our dreams of make believe reality."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Midterm Week

It's a blustery day today, so I was especially eager to get cozy and sit down with a nice cup of tea.  Today, I am drinking some afternoon blend that my darling roommate Kelsi bought me.  Look at how awesome the box is:


Such a good message for a crazy midterms week.  There's so many things that I have to get done this week, but the light at the end of the tunnel is that Fall Break starts this weekend!  I'll be spending it in the Windy City, and my nervousness about flying by myself for the first time is far out-weighed by my excitement!  It's hard to focus on school when I know that I'm going to be seeing David in his new hometown Friday evening, but I can't get lax in my work.

So, if you were joining me for Tuesday Tea right now, I would tell you about everything that I have to get done before I leave:

- Study for my probability and statistics test.
- Study for my psychology test.
- Study for my CS test.
- Pack for Chicago!
- Have dinner with my parents.
- Do laundry. (Already done!)
- Clean my room.

There's about a hundred other smaller things that are included in this list, but that's the general gist.

Anddddddd go!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Moccasins


Today, I initiated my moccasins back into my wardrobe.

When I was younger, I used to loathe the autumn because it meant that summer was officially over and another school year had started.  Since I got to college though, that outlook has mostly changed.  That's not to say that I look forward to school, but when you also take classes during the summer, your idea of "time off" becomes disillusioned and the summer only becomes known as the time where you pour sweat after only walking outside for five minutes on the way to class.

Needless to say, the cooler weather is a welcome change.  I'm excited to pull out some beloved cardigans and boots, and I'm currently knitting up a scarf (in gameday colors!) to wear when it really gets cold.  What can I say?  I like to be prepared.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Opa!

One of my favorite things about Fall is the annual Greek Festival. Located at the Greek Orthodox Church on Clairmont Road, my family, being good friends with one of the families that runs the festival, has attended every year for as long as I can remember. Filled with good music, delicious food, and enough baklava to satisfy anyone's sweet tooth, I always leave having gained at least a couple pounds.

Some food highlights:

Lamb Sandwich!

My gyro :)

Lamb on a spit!

Famous Greek potatoes.

Baklava!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chronicles of My Latest Obsession

Okay, so I sort of have two new obsessions, one of which is my new Kindle, but that's a whole other post.

The latest obsession to which I am referring is Downton Abbey.  I'm hooked.  My sisters have been talking about this show ever since it premiered two years ago, but I didn't really give it a second thought for the longest time because I'm not really a big TV watcher.  That's not to say that I couldn't easily lose a whole afternoon to watching mindless television, but I don't really follow a lot of shows religiously (except perhaps Games of Thrones which will always be the exception).

But regardless, I had to have something to pass the time this past week while I was bedridden with what I have been calling the cold of the century.  The end result: I perused Netflix for a time-passer and stumbled upon the first season of Downton Abbey.  Which I proceeded to finish all of in almost one sitting.  Everything from the music to the fashions has me addicted, and tonight, I started season two.  I'm sure it will take me no time at all to also finish it as well, but I'm trying to bide my time as much as possible seeing as how they are currently in the middle of season three.  Before I know it, I'll have caught up, and then I'll actually have to wait!  Quelle horreur!

Oh, and one of the housemaids, Gwen, is Ygritte from Game of Thrones.  I almost peed myself when I figured that out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Triathlon of Illness

School is hard enough as it is, but when you add sickness into the equation, the end result is a double doozie.  My current cold is already my third cold this semester, and it is hands down the worst yet.  What started on Saturday as a sore throat massively went downhill on Sunday.  Barring a lot of TMI details, the end result is that I not only have the worst cold of my life, but I also have pink eye.  After visiting the doctor today, my diet will henceforth consist mostly of Tylenol and Mucinex DM.  Tasty.

I also need to buy actual tissues because I'm pretty sure my sister is not happy about the toilet paper disappearances.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Five: Five Things That I am Sort of Super Proud Of

Five Things That I am Sort of Super Proud Of.

1. How well I am doing in my probability and statistics class. I certainly don't have perfect grades--far from it really--but if there is one thing I am proud of, it is how dedicated I have been to this math class so far this semester. Considering my two tests grades so far have been a 100 and a 98, I'd say I'm off to a good start already. Even better, this ties in directly to the actuarial exam that I will be taking this November.

2. My Will to Start Running: I was pretty good about this over the summer, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things now that the school year has mostly settled into a routine.

3. My guitar playing: Sometimes I can't believe that I've been playing guitar for three and a half years. To think about how what used to be a dream is now a reality is the coolest thought. I'm also constantly trying to push my guitar abilities, and I do so by covering a song on YouTube about once a month. While I'm certainly no Internet star, I've discovered that this is really something I do for myself just to prove to myself that I can.

4. I am a published writer. Although never having been on the caliber of Yeats and Eliot, I've been writing, mostly poetry, for most of my life. What started off as just silly rhyming poems gradually transformed into some work that I felt proud enough of to show to people. Over time, I was published in my award winning high school literary magazine, Rapier, and I have been published in Georgia Tech's literary magazine for the past two years.

5. I floss every night. While most people floss sporadically, if at all, I floss every night without fail. I attribute this mostly with the fact that I really hate the dentist. As a result, I take dental hygiene really seriously since I take it as a sign to not have to go to the dentist as often.

The Very Best Thursday of My Life

A lot of things happened yesterday. Some were epic, some involved very hard midterms, yet it was one for the books.

The main reason: David came back into Atlanta for the first time since he moved to Chicago.

*Insert one very happy Kerry here.*

So the day started pretty typically. I woke up, hit the snooze button a lot, and finally resigned myself to get up and do some last minute studying for my abstract vector spaces test. And it was as scary as it sounds. But when it was finally done and I had commiserated with a few of my fellow classmates, I went down to Skiles Walkway and browsed Tech's weekly farmer's market. Of course, I wanted to buy everything because it all looked so good, but I settled on buying David a watermelon orange King of Pops popsicle to eat after his plane got in. After that, I rushed back to my apartment to put the popsicle in the freezer and forced myself to sit down and do some work. I was practically exploding in anticipation, but I knew I needed to get the rest of my work done in order to validate taking the weekend off from studying while David is here.

Fast forward a few hours, and after some transportation issues, David was finally on campus. He texted me to come down and let him into the building, and walking around the corner after I got off the elevator and seeing him for the first time in a month was the greatest feeling. You guys, I literally cried. I was seriously the happiest girl in the world in the moment.

Icing on the cake: David told me a couple days ago that he had boughten me something. I honestly thought it was going to be something small (yet something I would love anyways), but it was something I was not even expecting despite the fact that he had given me several hints. Long story short, he bought me an E-Reader. Knowing my love of books and knowing that I really enjoyed borrowing his Kindle, he got me one of my very own. Just out of the blue. For no apparent reason.

Please excuse me while I go add this to the list of reasons why I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

:)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Tea: Ask Me Why I'm Mad

I am currently sitting down with a delicious cup of earl grey tea, and although I was particularly looking forward to writing this blog post because it meant I would finally be done with my abstract vector spaces test, it turns out that that's not really the case.

So if you were here having Tuesday Tea with me, I would talk about the following things:

- The proctor for my math test showed up half an hour late.  The end result, the test is now moved to Thursday, so I have another two days to sit on it.  The really bad part is that I put off all my other work in order to study for this test, so now, on top of still having to do all of that work before Thursday, I also have to study for the test again.
- But on a happier note, once I manage to survive the next two days, David will be here!  In case you're wondering, only 3,285 minutes to go :)
- I've recently become obsessed with a fairly new interview-based show called The Conversation.  And it's ahhh-mazing.
- I signed up to take the actuarial exam this November.  *Gulp!*
- Mumford & Sons came out with a new album today, so please excuse me while I go drown my math sorrows in some English folk rock.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Procrastination at Its Finest

Today, I did the following things, respectively:

- Woke up at 7:30 at my sister Erin's house because I babysat my nieces and nephew last night.
- Witnessed a 7 year old's tantrum because she "literally had nothing to wear."
- Went back to school to study.
- Proceeded to not study.
- Made oatmeal and tea to fuel my belly.
- Watched Man vs. Food, and now I really want to go to Chicago to have deep-dish pizza.
- Learned that the proper way to make deep-dish pizza is to make it backwards: cheese on the bottom, sauce on the top.
- Found out that I can have a crib sheet in my test on Tuesday which only made me procrastinate more.
- Made another cup of tea.
- Finally opened my math book.
- Did not go to the GT vs. Miami game because I told myself I had to study.
- Snuck down to the vending machine in my pajamas because this girl needed chocolate.
- Received football updates periodically throughout the end of the game from David.
- Went highlighter happy in my math book.
- Made oatmeal again, this time for dinner, because I haven't gone to the store in two weeks.
- Journaled.
- Cried over my math book. No shame.
- Had a very unsuccessful attempt at video chatting with David. Stupid laptop.

The End.  Very literally, everything I did today.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Five: Five Nicknames That I Have/Have Had/Wanted Desperately

Five Nicknames That I Have/Have Had/Wanted Desperately.

1) Boo-Boo's:  I'm not really sure how this one came about, but it was what I was dubbed early on by my parents.  Every once in a while, I'll still sign a letter or card this way just to make them remember those early childhood days of mine.

2) Ker-Bear: This is generally my nickname of choice.  I was called this sporadically throughout my life, but it really picked up in college.  It's funny how a new set of friends can adapt a new nickname for you.  This was especially the name of choice right about the time I started calling Molly "Mollz-Ballz."

3) _______'s Little Sister:  Having five older sisters, I got this one a lot, especially during my high school years.  Having a dad who also worked at my high school, I got "Mr. Cogan's daughter" a lot too.

4) Ms. Giraffe:  This is quite recent and destined to be one of my all time favorites.

5) Grandma:  For some reason, this one started my senior year of high school by one of my friends.  The funny part was that it again got picked up by someone completely unrelated my sophomore year of college.  The latter time was more explainable though since that was about the time I picked up knitting.  According to this person, I'm working on my future grandma skills.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting Cozy for Fall

To honor the changing weather, I decided to knit up a new tea cozy to use instead of the cardboard sleeves that Starbucks provides.  The perks of this cozy was that, as opposed to the cozy that I knitted back in March, this one had an actual buttonhole.  I really like the way this one turned out!  Plus it's in a great maroon color that gets me excited for Fall weather!




Getting good use out of it already!