Cardamom Cake, Strawberry Jam Filling, and Cream Cheese Vanilla Frosting

I made this cake last weekend in two different sessions. The cake was baked early Saturday morning and the frosting made and applied Sunday mid afternoon. It became breakfast and was all but one piece eaten by Sunday evening. This cake was absolutely phenomenal, the cake itself was moist, fluffy, and yet perfectly spiced with the cardamom. I was worried this would overpower the cake and would be ill received, whereas to my great surprise everyone loved it.

 

I found the recipe browsing Pinterest one evening. Eternally grateful for the scrumptious recipe from Molly Yeh. Check out her website for the complete recipe!

 

Information Architecture – A presentation of folksonomies

Good afternoon all!

I’m currently enrolled in the Master of Science Technical Communications graduate program at Northeastern University. This past quarter, January 1st to April 1st, I have been taking the Information Architecture (IA) course. The most recent of assignments was a presentation on a concept within the field of IA, which I chose ‘folksonomies’. Folksonomies was coined by Thomas Vander Wal in 2004. It is a portmanteau of the words folk and taxonomy, which has come to represent the information classification system of tagging. This concept is often utilized in places such as WordPress, so I thought it would be interesting to share here. Attached is my presentation. If you are interested, all of my resources are located on the final slide. Many of these scholarly articles are free downloads on the web. I hope you enjoy and learn something new!

 

Free Speech – at a price? [[ Repost::]]

All Along the Watchtower

free-speech-voltaire

This week’s Catholic Herald has an interesting piece by Jordan Peterson on his attempts to battle with his own university’s (to him and many) peculiar definition of ‘free speech’. Jordan’s description cannot be bettered, so I shall quote it:

Political correctness has become a force of sufficient strength to pose a threat to the structure of our society. It is primarily a product of university-educated leftist radicals, who demand the adjustment of our institutions, speech and thoughts to their radical-egalitarian and censorious agenda. Anyone who speaks out against their principles and aims becomes a target of mob action, accused of racism and worse.

In the most recent edition of the house journal of my own profession, The Times Higher there are interesting pieces about how universities might cope with a populist political climate which is antithetical to what one author called ‘campus values’; only 11% of UK academics admitted to…

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“i love to you” a Philosophy on Feminism

Three weeks have past since I finished Luce Irigaray’s book, i love to you: Sketch of a Possible Felicity in History. I started reading this book as a Sophomore in college, a graduate professor had suggested it for a paper I was writing on language and gender issues. Ashamedly, I took bits and pieces from the book then, without taking the time to read it. The book is entirely philosophical and definitely written that way. The words tire your eyes and patience is a necessity. During that time I did not have this patience. Since then, I have picked up and put down this book at least five times. On this last occasion, however, I devoured it in one sitting. It was just as awe inspiring and remarkable as the individual lines I had read a few years ago. Irigaray’s views on feminism profoundly impacted me. The words on the page spoke to me in a way that much of the feminist philosophy today cannot do.

One of the more alarming aspects of this philosophy is that I do not believe it considered “acceptable” today. This philosophy is grounded in the reality of two sexes; man and woman, women and men. The current convictions, this new wave of third or fourth feminism, involves the varying different genders that have surmounted beyond the realm of science. This is the primary reason for which I think her ideas would be snuffed today. Perhaps this is exactly why it spoke to me. Before delving into her poignant philosophy, I will provide some background of her life.

luceirigarayLuce Irigaray is a philosopher, feminist, psychoanalyst, and linguist among other disciplinary interests. She was born in Belgium in 1930 and during her lifetime has written numerous books regarding feminism and language. As a woman, as well as a lover of languages, I was able to genuinely connect with Irigaray. She spoke of the importance of finding yourself within your sex, of valuing who you were as an engendered person, refuting the ever popular calls for equality. (See quote below.) Her beliefs are supported by research and conducted interviews with people of all ages and sexes. She conducted numerous studies in regards to linguistics, carrying out various forms of tests and interviews to better understand the ways in which we use language and how our use of language is profoundly impacted by our sex. For example, what she found is men often use sentences and language for stating the objective reality, one of her experiments entailed the use of the word “with”, in which men and women were asked to write sentences using this word. I took my book with me to class. I am having drinks with friends after work. I love spending time with my boyfriend. Irigaray discovered that men were more likely to describe his daily activities whereas women were more likely to create a sentence that involved her relationship to another or simply relations to another subject. I tried this experiment out on my own boyfriend, unfortunately after I sent him the video (linked below) but he still provided me the sentence that first came to mind: “I’m going to get drinks with my buddies after work.” Which really is quite interesting, because it is more uncommon to see men create sentences that involve a relationship to others. Of course, mine was “I love spending time with Philip.”

Irigaray’s book was an emphatic vocalization of woman’s need to define for herself a culture of her sex as well as the need to create a syntax for what it means to be woman. There are so many of her ideas that I wish I could write wholly of, alas, I would be here until after the new year if I attempted. Here are some of the passages that spoke so loudly to me as I read, my favorite, happens to be the last:

“…[women] lack a positive definition of their gender and the objective qualities which give it an individual and collective content…” (Irigaray 2)

“For such a development to come about.. it is, rather, a question of awakening her to an identity and to rights and responsibilities corresponding to her gender.” (Irigaray 4)

“To return to ourselves as living beings who are engendered and fabricated is a vital and ethical need of paramount importance.” (Irigaray 14)

“… claiming to be equal to a man is a serious ethical mistake because by so doing woman contributes to the erasure of natural and spiritual reality in an abstract universal that serves only one master: death. Aside from her own suicide, she thus deprives man of the possibility of defining himself as man, that is as a naturally and spiritually sexed person.” (Irigaray 27)

Perhaps I have peaked your interest, perhaps you think I am on my way to being impressively non-PC, however, her words are specific and her sentences beautiful. If even to read for its style, Irigaray touches on some great aspects of feminism that would not even be acknowledged today in mainstream society.

A video below represents an interview held with Irigaray in early 2013.

 

Reflections on Bad Feminist

The other morning, I wrote what felt like a scathing review of Roxane Gay’s essay “Reaching for Catharsis: Getting Fat Right (or Wrong) and Diana Spechler’s Skinny“. Scathing because I have an incredible amount of disdain for heavy and negative criticisms. I feel ambivalent towards this book. At times, I laughed joyously at Gay’s account of her Scrabble experiences, at others I was infuriated by her harsh judgments, her criticisms, and her incessant verbal attacks on individuals she perceived as not having the “right experience” to understand her plights.

Although, when I completed the final two chapters last evening, I had the very typical warm and fuzzy reading you get once a book arrives at its culmination. I had the opportunity to listen to Roxane Gay speak about this book prior to its release, in the fall of 2013. It was at our Alma Mater, Michigan Technological University. I had forgotten until last night, that she had read an excerpt fmturom this book. I had forgotten how her words made me feel that night. When I began reading the final chapter, I was slammed into ground – at the location, of the very night I heard her speak and all the memories came crashing down at me. I remember exactly what the weather was like, I remember how I was mad at my significant other before I arrived to her speaking, I remember my text messages, and I can remember the very vivid details of what occurred afterward.

I re-read these chapters with alacrity.

I admire Roxane Gay for many reasons. Her writing is absolutely beautiful, as noted in my previous entry, the words she writes form the image of a ribbon baton in my mind. I aspire to write with as much passion bookand determination as she does. Mostly, I believe Roxane and this book made such a warm and touching impression on me because by the last two chapters she finally opened up to us, the readers, and provided us with a modicum of insight as to who she is. You can readily understand her opinions and official stances on major issues throughout her essays, but these final two were just different. Her guard was down, her words were soft, and her defenses lifted.

As much as I adore, yes adore, the final two chapters… many of her essays were not for me. I anticipate and know what her criticisms of the line “not for me” would entail. Probably some repudiation because I am a white woman. In spite of this, I enjoyed reading this book, and would definitely recommend it to others. It did spark within me, a return to the personal questions I have with feminism. ughHow I can accurately describe myself as a feminist without reluctance? Do I want to be a feminist? Am I a feminist? Am I passionate enough to be a feminist? Am I a feminist if I want my boyfriend to take care of me? If I want to be a stay at home mother (even for just a little bit)? Am I a true feminist if my boyfriend is conservative and comes from a country with a conservative culture? I guess, now that I’m a older, I like to think of feminism as supporting women. If I think of it  with such excessive banality, the whole concept becomes clear to me. Support people. Support and care for each individual. Ultimately, be kind and have empathy, treat people fairly. I suppose this is my current take on feminism. I am sure this will change in the years to come, perhaps even months, but like she says, “I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”

badfeminist

 

Review: Roxane Gay’s “Reaching for Catharsis: Getting Fat Right (or Wrong)” and Diana Spechler’s “Skinny”

This week I am reading Roxane Gay’s compilation of essays, Bad Feminist. A beautiful writer. I will attempt to explain to you how her words feel inside my soul as I read them… imagine the ribbon baton. This is the kind of baton I would have used dancing around in a glittery tutu when I was young (or even now for that matter). Her words are the glitter and her sentences are the movement of the baton. Her witty commentary is the sharp whip the ribbon makes when waved vigorously. Although Roxane’s prose energized and lulled me simultaneously, there were a few instances that I was deeply offended by her brash assumptions and criticisms. I often shy away from the use of offended; I often try to understand the intentions of the other person before I recoil into myself and open myself to pain. I wasn’t just offended, I quickly realized too, that I was angry. Livid even.

In this particular essay, Roxane discusses Diana Spechler’s novel Skinny. A story of a woman escaping the pain of her father’s death and becoming a camp counselor at a fat camp. spechlerThe main character, who has recently gained approximately 30 pounds, begins to console her anguish and loneliness with weight loss. She begins to exercise and eat fewer and fewer calories; soon, she is barely consuming any calories, her body atrophying with the excessive physical training.

Roxane Gay begins to describe her criticisms of the novel and its overall effectiveness in communicating the story of a young woman who finds herself in a situation in which the only consolation she can find is within the self-absorption she has with her own body. A weakness, Gay begins to explain, is “the implausibility of all this drama over a mere thirty pounds of excess weight…”.

Earlier in Gay’s book, we learn that she is overweight. She finds comfort in food and security in being bigger. Taking all of this into account, I understand that I have never been the weight of Gay. I have, however, been almost 200 pounds as an eighth grader, with a body that was perhaps only capable of carrying the weight of a 130 pound girl.

Not only was I overweight, but it consumed my thoughts for 95% of my childhood. In high school, after the summer of my sophomore year, it became 100%. 100% for the next seven years. That is a long time to spend worrying and thinking about your weight, the perception you have of yourself and others have of you, and of your own happiness. In fact, as someone who viscerally experiences almost every moment of her life and the events of others in their own life, fighting a seven year battle with your own mind can become quite lethal.

When I read this line, when I read the implausibility of all this drama. I was stabbed in the stomach. How dare you invalidate the pain and experience others have had because you have a different version of the pain described. Because your version is different, absolutely does not mean that that pain and anguish does not exist or is implausible.

I have not read Spechler’s book, I have not been to fat camp, but I have suffered from eating disorders. Eating disorders “not otherwise specified”. Eating disorders that resulted from only being 30 pounds overweight. Eating disorders that caused me to destroy my body internally and externally. I was so starved I began to eat my mind and regurgitate it in the form of liquid and chunks of granola bars. I lost myself, in attempt to find consoling; I chopped my hair, I punched my stomach, just to feel out of the skin I was in. I did these things. Mostly, I hugged myself and I cried because the experience was altogether too painful and I could not escape my body, mind or the poignant feelings of disgust and shame, anger, and fear of what others were going to force me to do.

When I read or listen to people speak in the way Roxane Gay does in this particular essay, I am deeply wounded. The lack of empathy for people other than themselves is all too distinct.

I will fight this behavior for as long as I live because every voice with a story of eating disorders, deserves to be heard, regardless of the particulars of that person’s experience. The invalidation of pain one has not experienced is inexcusable, and frankly is counterintuitive to most of the movements Gay proclaims to stand strongly for.

I hear you, Roxane, when you explain why you wrote what you did, but I cannot help but believe that you are immensely mistaken in your criticisms and overt judgement of who is eligible to have and experience the pain of an eating disorder.

HR4EU Fabulous New Online Interactive Croatian Language Learning For Free

This is so amazing! I am so excited to incorporate this into my lessons from a book I own. How fabbity fab. I’ve already created my account! Catch up Duolingo!!!

Croatia, the War, and the Future

From left: Jurica Polancec, Matea Filko, Dasa Farkas and Diana Hriberski The HR4EU Team Photo: HINA/ Ivan SaravanjaFrom left: Jurica Polancec,
Matea Filko, Dasa Farkas and Diana Hriberski
The HR4EU Team
Photo: HINA/ Ivan Saravanja

HR4EU is a new free portal for online interactive Croatian language learning developed by a group of young linguists from the University of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb with the help of EU social projects funding, reports Croatian news agency HINA.  This project, besides developing and presenting interactive Croatian language lessons, also involves the development of new and the build-up of existing computer-based resources for the Croatian language.

Free and entertaining courses already exist for many languages but not for the Croatian one. We thought it would be most useful to create something like that because, today, languages are most visible exactly via the internet,” said Matea Filko, PhD in Linguistics who works on this project.

Homepage HR4EU Photo: ScreenshotHomepage HR4EU
Photo: Screenshot

The interactive HR4EU Croatian language learning course is…

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Well hello sunshines!

Oooo oooo ooooo it has been quite the long time since I have last visited WordPress… let alone taken the time to write (other than technical documents). I have been feeling quite joyous this past week and have decided that while my mind is in such a beautiful bright place, I shall be creating a goals list for myself. I always love having something to look forward to, yet these items should be activities that I can do everyday to enjoy every minute of everyday. I wish to no longer seek for the weekend, the next month, the next event, the next holiday, the next anything. So here I dipp-dippity go!

  1. Learn Croatian – with the goal of (by Christmas) be able to speak with my boyfriend’s family.
  2. Read 5 Books – (between now and let’s say…Thanksgiving… the week of is totally included).
  3. Save Money – with the greater goals of; 1) saving for graduate school and 2) saving for my trip to Croatia next August
  4. Exercise a couple times a week – for a happy and healthier mind.
  5. Continue to show adoration and feel the love – between my family, my boyfriend, and my two amazing kittens
  6. Relish in the art of cooking – (and eating)  I have been whipping up some nooooiiiiice recipes lately. I would love to keep this progress going!
  7. Send everyone I know cards – for their birthdays’ and happy events! ❤
  8. Take care of myself better – and take time to breath

I hope some of this has perhaps helped inspire you to focus more on what brings joy, happiness, and health to your life. For now, ta-ta and happy Friday!

 

And welcome world! To my beloved Medo and Luna

 

 

Easter Sunday and New Baking Creations

Easter Sunday, I went home to visit my family and took my boyfriend with me. My mum has been cooking and baking ubiquitous amounts of food since my grandmother arrived in the fall; she decided that the dessert for this holiday weekend was to be a project of my own. I didn’t mind, as I haven’t had the opportunity to prepare any dishes for my faPoundCakemily since Philip and I began to cook more advanced meals. I scrounged the internet a couple days before. I came across an absolutely gorgeous pound cake from Food and Wine’s online magazine. The fresh fruits and colors absolutely inspired me and I became so excited to bake this Clementine and Yogurt Chia Seed Pound Cake.
Although, I love poppy seeds far more than chia, so I decided to do a little bit of improvisation in the recipe, replacing the amount of chia seeds with poppy seeds.

One of the best aspects of this recipe was how easy it was to make. Truly it wasn’t difficult at all, I was quite amazed. Even if you have never baked before, this recipe is more than capable of being your next food creation in your baking career. Please be forewarned, however, that this pound cake recipe is incredibly sweet. Not the ingredients within the cake itself but the candied clementines and the clementine syrup, in addition to the powdered sugar lemon icing it becomes incredibly rich. Personally, I have an insatiable sweet tooth (seriously, I ate a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Heath Bar ice cream last night… lawwwwwwdd soooooo delish), but if you follow this recipe (almost) exactly you are likely to want a steaming cup of dark black coffee to accompany a rather small size bite of the cake. Do not fret, the cake lasts for at least a week in the fridge and it still tastes absolutely delicious on day 6 and 7 as it did on day 1. I hope you try out this recipe and even alter it to make it a bit of your own, as I absolutely adored it. Happy baking, happy eating, and happy joyous living.

Confessions of a New Technical Writer

Four months ago, I started a new technical writing position in the greater Detroit area. I have had ubiquitous time since then to reflect on aspects of my previous and current position as well as who am as a technical writer. There are a few that have come to mind and have resonated with me since.

If you feel awkward about your writing, it’s because it is.

Keep it simple, if your writing sounds awkward it’s because you are attempting to incorporate too much language or you are not taking the quickest and easiest route to explain the actual purpose of your sentence. For this, write a concise statement incorporating all that your paragraph or entry should be about. Ask yourself what is absolutely necessary and what is not, if it’s not – just delete it. Even if you love the words oh so dearly that you want to include.

As much as you want to master everything right away, it is okay to say “I don’t understand”.

In technical writing, you are dealing with technical material, sometimes so technical you have to go “wait what?” when a subject matter expert is explaining the to you the information. This is far more beneficial in the long run; rather than pretending to understand and direly trying to digest the information but instead failing miserably and feeling miserable in the process… yeah. If that was ever you, it was totally once me. And I was called out on it too. Taking the time for a deeper explanation from the SME sooner will result in you understanding the material LONGER and being able to create better documentation that much more likely.

Ask so many questions.

There really is no limit to the amount of questions that can be asked when gathering information for a document. Question everything the SME tells you (politely of course) with the who, what, when, where, whys and hows. You can never be too thorough or precise. It is far better to be the curious cat in the beginning than have co-workers coming back to you without understanding your exact meanings in sections of a document.

Sometimes, you truly are just going to have to suck it up. No matter how much you hate the tools.

Oh the woes of CSS/HTML. One of my more recent projects has been to manipulate a stylesheet that is applied to an HTML sheet to be converted into a PDF. There is a caveat, however, and it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. The content management system we use, essentially providing this HTML is based on the Textile markup language. Textile markup language is a truly great tool for the purposes it is used for in the CMS, however, in terms of design, it does not lend itself conducive to easy decorations other than decorations of the text itself (especially when you are told to only manipulate the CSS and do not touch the HTML). For this, I cannot say I have enjoyed the process. There are perhaps better ways, but mine has gone something like this: rule out everything you feel cannot be done, then speak with your supervisor to see if they have input. Work with other employees to see if they have the knowledge of CSS or

Some days will truly be harder than others.

Truth is, I have written this blog post over the past few months. Not the past few hours. Starting a new job is tough; feeling inadequate sporadically is also incredibly difficult. Especially when you are working with extremely talented engineers who claim to be terrible writers; but in reality their self-produced documents are not that bad at all. Another important lesson I have dealt with (and still do) is that you cannot take anything personally. If you are doing your job, continually looking for ways to improve the quality of your work and your work ethic, then it is all going to be okay. Your worth is not compromised because of a bad day at work. Some days are just harder than others. In the end, however, there is nowhere to go but to grow.

Lipstick Frenzie – My Saga: Day Two

Good evening my fellow lipstick lovers!

Today was day two of my lipstick saga and I went for a much more relaxed look, as I returned to my hometown to visit my parents, I didn’t want anything over powering. As my LSM (lipstick soulmate) refers to the color of this lipstick, the NYX Tea and Cookies matte liquid suede is a “your lips but better” certified color. This light pink is perfect as it smoothes out the natural lip tone and finishes with a light rosy pink matte coat.

I purchased this lovely lip color for a cool reasons. 1) I adore the natural and romantic look that this color emanates 2) I needed something much more natural for my new job.

Regardless of your reasons, if you like the color try it out! It’s not very expensive and yet you go all day still looking classy.

Xoxo

The Five Hardest Aspects of Giving Up Facebook

Good morning all!

Happy weekend 🙂 I have decided to write about the five hardest aspects of giving up Facebook. At the end of November I decided that I had had enough. I am a rather emotional person and tend to be easily affected by emotions. Facebook, fortunately and unfortunately reminds you of your past, subconsciously gives rise to comparisons, and consumes a large portion of our time throughout day. My reasons were a mixture of all of these reasons as well as for the simple fact of the lack of privacy in my everyday life. You want to stay in touch with numerous people, however, simultaneously are they all individuals that you want keeping tabs on almost all of your every moves (if you post anything at all…or are tagged for that matter). I even ended up sporadically reactivating my account just because you need it to have access to so many other different sites! So here is my list of top five reasons it was difficult to close this account (and then having to reopen it for random occasions).

  1. Pictures!!! You have the capability to export all the data ever associated with your Facebook account, i.e. pictures, conversations, etc. I decided to subscribe to Jib Jab to make holiday cards as well as some really awesome birthday e-cards. I re-activated my account for a brief twenty minutes to quickly obtain some bad ass pictures for these dancing cards.
  2. Messaging. My boyfriend is Canadian; although we live closer together than we do to our parents, we are still in different countries. It is much easier to communicate a lot of information via typing on the computer rather than texting. Even when we call each other, we much rather prefer to do so via some sort of online application rather than the telephone. (Although I am 100% positive our plans allow us to text/call for free as long as we are in our own respective countries). I chose to switch my avenue of communication to Google Hangouts instead, this has worked, however, the quality of the phone conversations are weak and inconsistent. The volume particularly is a laborious aspect as half the conversation was spent saying “What? Could you repeat that?” Additionally, I use all Mac products, the propinquity of using this product between Mac and other products is pretty much non-existent when using this application and the updates are not prone to Mac.
  3. Events. At least in Detroit, SOOOOO much jazz is going on every weekend. Many of these businesses/ organizations use Facebook to keep people informed of the happenings, to invite them to events, and advertise. When you aren’t connected to Facebook you don’t receive these updates, as e-mail campaigns are not always utilized by these organizations. It is much easier to reach the masses via social media; and well, if you aren’t connected YOU DON’T KNOW.
  4. Business Websites. I live in Detroit, a place where so many up and coming restaurants are starting their businesses. An issue that I ran into on numerous occasions was that many restaurants or businesses would not have an operating website, however, utilized Facebook as their means for communicating with current and potential clients. With a de-activated Facebook, you cannot view these pages. I found myself re-activating my account for about ten minutes when this occurred. Bleh, irritating.
  5. Life Announcements. I was part of a sorority in college. I don’t keep in touch with every person every day, however, Facebook served as an avenue for us all to communicate. (Even other friends that I don’t keep in touch with on a daily basis). Within the past month, four of my friends have gotten engaged and announced said engagements on Facebook. I missed them all! In fact, in these moments I lived vicariously through my roommate/ best friend for all the details. We are so used to portraying these moments on social media that currently there are no more special phone calls to announce the big news.

So as you can see there are numerous draw backs to not having Facebook activated or in use, although I have to say, after I got in the habit of not posting every small detail of my life (as I may or may not have done when I was younger) it was also an easy task as well. I can’t say immediately that I used my time better because we all have our ways of wasting away the random five or ten minutes throughout the day, however, it was nice to feel off the grid even for those three weeks. I have plans to de-activate again; now that I am in the practice of not using Facebook, it is the last application I check on my phone (if I do) and I spend significantly less time using it. I have to say though, it is a bit concerning that everyone has such a hard time staying away from Facebook. As I write this, my sister who has not had an activated account for at least four months has sent me a friend request. Damn does this digital age have strings attached on us.

Lipstick Frenzie – My Saga: Day One

I have decided to write a series regarding my obsession with lipstick- no it is not (never will be) a necessary purchase, however, the colors just get me so excited. As a person who wears primarily black everything this is the one area of my wardrobe that I do quite enjoy going big.

When I first began purchasing lipsticks, I was rather obsessed with Mac especially the matte versions as the pigmentation is so vibrant. I went through a phase where I bought four or five different colors, one of which is Violetta. This color, however, is not matted, and finishes with a creamy feel that leaves your lips feeling so moisturized. Additionally, it ilipsticks not a flat purple color. It has a shimmer (not sparkly!) of golds and silvers that makes it look extra different. The shade on the Mac Cosmetics website does not do it justice – so here’s a go from me (ignore my tired eyes):

Best of luck in your lipstick endeavors!

xoxo

Photo Shoot

So I am not one for much attention from people I don’t know. Yesterday, however, I walked the streets of Detroit with a team member as she incessanold mantly shot different photos of me throughout the city. Which I found much more entertaining than I first anticipated (I was quite nervous prior to beginning, actually) even though random men from trucks decided to watch… and a homeless man decided he wanted part of the pic takin’ action (goodness was I so uncomfortable when those things happened).

Now though, I have some great professional and personal pictures to use for LinkedIn, my website, and perhaps gifting. 🙂 Such a great melissaphotographer and friend , you can check out her blog here. I have to say, so much energy; she kept pushing me to laugh and relax, which I did of course by acting ridiculously silly and then by actually laughing.

Praise your own beauty, and stop the comparisons. Personal motto for the day.

 

New Adventures

Here is to an end of a wonderful era of my life, working for a company that is not only so proud of its team members, but also its hometown (Detroit) and absolute indefatigable positive impact in the community. Working here has been an absolute joy, however, as I envision my career moving in a certain path, this path is not in congruence (currently anyway) to my goals and aspirations. Although, along the way I have met some of the most talented and amazing individuals ever. Gratefully, I have their blessing and have chosen to maintain these friendships we have fostered over the past year.

Although, I had to ask myself some hard questions in order to be sure that this transition was right for me, at this point in my life:

  • Do I feel fulfilled?
  • Am I thriving intellectually and growing as a person?
  • Do I have enough work?
  • Do I like the culture?

To some of these questions, the answer was a wholehearted YES! And to others, it was a very solidified no. Turns out this was one of the most difficult decisions in my life to actually take the steps towards change. Once I had made the move and found a place that shouted yes to all, only then was it that I knew it was time to move on.

I am infinitely grateful for the experiences I have had over the past few years, however, extremely excited for what the future holds ahead.

Monday will bring a new experience, copious new information, and probably a smack of challenging technological language… which I will retreat from at five p.m. ardently attempting to decipher. Scary, but oh so truly exciting.

Here is to making tough decisions and sticking with them.
Here is to not only having the power to shape your life in the path of your own choosing, but also executing on that choice.
Here is to hot tea, pastries, and makeup because for me, those constitute the small joys in life.

Pinks, flowers, love, and life

As of late, I have been thinking a lot about who I am as a person, how I want to portray myself, and the image that comes to mind when others think of me. As a person, kindness has been essential, the amount of change you can make in others’ lives through the kindness that we portray is enormous; not only this, but through kindness and positivity we can change our own perspective of ourselves.

I have always been in love with the Parisian light pinks, blacks, whites, and soft grays. The softness reminds me to be kind to myself, to relax, and be aware of where I am in life. My model is Audrey Hepburn- her chic lightness illuminated lives and fits quite well with the colors described above. I myself want to emanate these kinds of aesthetics; I am in love with life, love, and soulful living, so I have decided to change the title of my blog to Une Vie en Rose.

Over the years I have berated myself for never being able to define my style, who I am as a person, and how others view me. This last part was ultimately the problem, I have always been concerned with the ways others perceive me and the life I live, which over the years I realize is silly. There is no better way to describe that. So now, at only 23 I am re-embracing the pinks I ever so loved as a child, the dresses I always chose in favor of pants, and the incredibly feminine lifestyle I have always wanted to live. Honestly, I have never been happier.

Speaking your mind, especially when you disagree.

A couple days ago while perusing Facebook, I was fascinated by the title of a TED Talk that was advertised in my news feed, “Dare to Disagree” by Margaret Heffernan.

TED Talks become a means for different eyes to the world. I value all of the TED Talks I have ever listened to, primarily because the messages I received from the talks became guides for very pivotal moments in my life. Without them, undoubtedly I would be a different person today.

I began listening to Margaret Heffernan. During her speech, Heffernan spoke of Alice Stewart, a physician and epidemiologist (epidemiology – the study of pattern in disease), regarding her research done in the mid 1950s involving childhood cancer in Oxford, England. Alice Stewart is unique and inspiring for many reasons: as the youngest to be elected into the royal college of physicians, continued to work after marriage, pregnancy, divorce, and life as a single mother.

StewartStewart discovered that the children experiencing cancer were birthed to mothers who had undergone x-rays done during their pregnancy. This was a two to one discovery that created underlying uncertainties in current doctoral practices, particularly the idea that doctors don’t harm the patients, they help them. Stewart hoped to immediately publish her studies and when she did there was talk of the Nobel Peace Prize, however, and quit unfortunately it was another twenty-five years before the British and American medical systems discontinued the practice of x-rays on the mother during a pregnancy.

Heffernan discusses how openness alone can only shed light to change, it does not invite change, and it certainly cannot in and of itself create change.

Openness alone can only shed light to change, it does not invite change, and it certainly cannot in and of itself create change.

Alice Stewart worked aside George Neal, a Statistician completely opposite to herself. Now what George Neal did was actively seek disconfirmation, creating conflict around all of Stewart’s theories. What this did was create a collaboration system so effective that it gave Stewart the confidence she needed to know that she was right.

Now as the discussion of Alice Stewart herself began to fade, the topic began to centralize and become much more focused on the collaboration styles that we use today – which in fact, is absolutely nothing like this. A lot of us are so scared, intimated or worried to speak our minds in the case of disagreeing that we become locked into our thoughts and accept like sheep whatever the current situation, implementation, or upcoming change may be.

What I learned from this talk, however, was that it is not just in the workplace that we must begin to speak up when we disagree. It is a vital aspects to relationships in general, as it allows us to do our very best thinking, and prevents us from being “echo chambers” as Heffernan so described those who do not think on their own. Rather than simply agreeing the act of not doing so evokes conversation. 

But when we dare to break that silence, or when we dare to see, when we create conflict we enable ourselves and the people around us to do our very best thinking.

I loved this, so much so that I decided to write about it here, today, and now. As I am writing I see how this is also applicable to the theories we have in our minds about ourselves. I know that I often experience very negative thoughts about myself, my body, my tendencies and whatever else I may be experiencing.  And in most situations these thoughts are more harmful than helpful. The concept of disagreeing is applicable in as many ways as we can imagine, using the this idea of speaking against my current thought processes to evoke a better kind of change in my own mind. Becoming happier, more confident, and validated through doing so.

Speak your mind, especially when you disagree.

Sunday Mornings, otherwise known as the “Get Your Shit Together Day”

Today, I am going to focus on a total mind shift day. I am the type of person that enjoys having my life organized, and if it takes an entire day to do so that is what I will do, as the rest of my week will be completamente positiv. This morning as I was getting ready to make my coffee, I was mentally preparing a list of things that I had to do in order to feel set for the week. What I realized was that I was creating a list of “have to’s.” I have to do this, I have to do that, and honestly it started to become incredibly daunting. All of the sudden I had this fabulous idea. Rather than saying have to do, or creating a list of tasks, I decided I would start thinking of my list of things “to do” as instead “get to do” because truly by the time all of the checks are marked I will be feeling on top of the world, empowered, and ready to welcome the week with a positive mindset. So not only will I be feeling wonderful, I have a better chance of helping others feel awesome jazzing as well.

So on my get to do list this morning:

  • Watch Liz Benny Modules
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Vacuum the carpet
  • Finish reading Lolita
  • Create The Media Goddess Facebook posts for the week
  • Create the posts for my mom’s business on Facebook for the week
  • Cook food for the week
  • Not get dressed and dance around in my pjs allllll day long
  • Practice on the yoga mat 🙂

So you are probably wondering, Katherine, why on earth do I care about your “get to do” list for the day? Well, because I decided to think of it as getting to do, rather than have to do, I started putting items on the list that I truly enjoy such as reading and yoga. By doing so I am making my passions a priority as well as the random household chores that will also make my life feel more stable upon completion.

This morning, I am feeling like a goddess. I hope your Sunday “Get Your Shit Together Day” allows you to feel like your own goddess too. ❤

This idea of believing in yourself.

After participating in Liz Benny’s webinar, “How to become a six figure social media consultant,”she offered her services to participants for a price that was rather high for my budget. Within seconds, however, I eagerly signed up for the package and support her business Social Jinga could offer a newcomer to entrepreneurship. Because I purchased the package so quickly I was able to have an online Skype meeting with her for almost an hour. During this time I was blessed with her bubbly presence as she asked me numerous questions about how I wanted to proceed with my business, what I would be offering clients, as well as my geographical location as to better ascertain the ways in which she could assist me.

As we were speaking she was able to quickly gauge my personality and confidence levels, the latter of which are not always incredibly high. Liz said something that initially I didn’t think too much about, she said, “You must believe and allow yourself to be successful.” All I had thought at that time was sure, of course, I know for sure I can do this. That will be the least of my concerns moving forward with this new endeavor. Over the next few weeks the word allow began to make more of an appearance in my thoughts and began to agitate me. I realized that the lack of self-confidence that occasionally plagues me was inhibiting the idea of allowing myself to succeed.

How many of us are eluded of chances and opportunities because we simply do not allow ourselves to be successful? I have taken this concept to heart because as I only have this one life to live, I wish to do so in a way that I have control. My own business allows me to create a timeline conducive to the activities I wish to partake in, however, I must first allow myself the blessing of courage to be able to create the life in which I most incredibly wish to live. As we all must.

Liz Benny’s work has been such an inspiration in my life, so take this day to allow yourself to be happy, to allow yourself to have fun, and most importantly allow yourself to blossom into the person you always wished you could be.

Empowering your goddess: Waking when you don’t wish to, and still moving mountains.

When I’m not in Canada with my boyfriend, I wake up everyday at five A.M. (And yes, truly, this is out of choice, technically I mustn’t be in to work until 9 A.M. and I live a hot two minute walk away from my building). A lot of my friends and family think I am rather unhinged to do so but over time I have realized that this is something that I must do for myself, to care for myself, and provide the two hours of solitude before the craziness of the day attempts to disrupt the peace and cause imbalance in my life. Rather than allow the bumps of the day defeat me, I utilize that time to beatify myself by simply partaking in the time of day that works best for my biological-syncrasies.

This kind of time devoted to yourself is absolutely vital to your well-being. The chaotic lifestyles and their ever competitive nature ensure that we forget to incorporate these daily rituals into our lives. That is why we must make the conscientious effort to allow ourselves to be happy, to allow ourselves to succeed, and allow ourselves to grow.

I constantly remind myself of this every night when I step on my yoga mat, incorporating the reminder that taking care of myself is no longer an option (as it used to be in the past). It is a must.

What do you do to take care of yourself? When was the last time you evaluated your musts?

What can The Media Goddess do for you and your business?

Holistically, The Media Goddess is a communications consultancy business, with an overall mission of helping you reach your intended audience by communicating effectively across numerous disciplines.

Empowering you by empowering your business

The eye blue

The Media Goddess offers clients three different avenues of support throughout the empowerment process.

One: Social media and web management. We will help you create your own dazzling, classic, traditional, joyous [insert applicable adjective] website that you need to grow your business; develop your social media presence by utilizing multiple social media platforms; manage your websites and media platforms so that you can focus on your actual business.

Two: Marketing and trend analysis. By understanding the business trends, The Media Goddess can help ensure that your business is constantly safeguarded against the ever changing technological trends; using search engine optimization; and throttling your competitive advantage.

Three: Technical documentation. When you are starting your business, although not the most exciting, the technical works that keep your business afloat and within policy guidelines are critical. The Media Goddess has trained professionals that can assist your business with documentation, user guides, policy and procedure documents, and editing. All to prepare you for the day when having such documents is urgent and necessary.

The Media Goddess helps to empower you by allowing yourself to devote valuable time to the actual embodiment of your business.

This is what the third eye can do for you.

Earls in Downtown Toronto!

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to spend four days (a mini vacation!!!) with my boyfriend’s family in Mississauga. On Friday we drove to celebrate his brother’s girlfriend’s birthday in Toronto. The first stop was a restaurant located in what I believe to be the heart of downtown Toronto (King’s Street), Earls. The outside was dazzling, with a covered patio, twinkling lights, and greenery to complete the setting. Earls 1Our reservation was for nine P.M., however, the table was not quite ready when we arrived. For the postponement the hostess provided us all complementary glasses of champagne, which lasted an entirety five minutes, as everyone basically chugged their glass. Even the ladies. After about three cigarettes a piece we were finally seated on a very long table, from where I sat I could view the bar, which included the woman bartender dancing to the songs that were playing overhead. My boyfriend, his cousin visiting from Croatia, and I sat on our own end of the table and decided to split a bottle of wine. photo 3
They had steak and I enjoyed a pair of corn tacos with a side of French fries, (because clearly I can never get enough fries and ketchup in my life, although you know a place is fancy if they don’t even provide you the entire bottle for consumption). photo 4The tacos themselves were rather dry for a dish, at least in terms of how they generally taste, but it did not ruin the flavor at all. It was even quite refreshing to not have the juice of the dish dribbling down my face and on to my dress. If you’re ever in Toronto, I highly suggest the restaurant. You won’t be disappointed in your gastro choices.

Philip and Me

THE MEDIA GODDESS: the new, the improved, the seriously awesome jazzing site

So if you haven’t checked out The Media Goddess website yet, you may in fact, be totally missing out. This sleek new design is wonderfully representative of what the ideal social media management system should look like. All while still being able to encompass my silly words. I’m completely in love with the high resolution photos I was able to attain via unsplash.com as well as Stocksnap.io. Check it out and give it some love! http://www.themediagoddess.com or check me out on Facebook. CK7NEPHVR5http://www.facebook.com/themediagoddess.

What can you do with your third eye?

The Media Goddess: Fears and Ponderings

Today, August 11th, 2015 is my first ‘officially’ official day of my website BETA completion as well as the ultimate beginning to my career in communication consultancy. I leave that incredibly broad and general, as I currently am promoting my business, The Media Goddess, for purely WordPress web design, social media management, and marketing analysis services. Eventually, however, with more experience in technical writing, I wish to accommodate this skill into the business as well… and ultimately have a great consultancy business that will allow me to grow throughout my career.

In all honesty I am scared as shit.

I am beyond blessed to be able to partake in this adventure while still maintaining a technical writing job for an absolutely phenomenal company in downtown Detroit, which minimizes the risk of starting my own social media business exponentially, but just because the risk is rather low does not mean that my state of ‘scared as shit’ is as well.

Because, well…

What if I can’t do it?

This is the question that I have to hone in on and really take the time to push myself to understand why I am the only one doing the following: not believing, not accepting, and not allowing myself to be successful. This, I believe, is probably exactly similar to what I am working on with my team leader, the confidence to know that I can accomplish something as well as everyone else knows I can. This is now the pursuit of the next few months; something that yoga, reflection, and constant self-support will all assist. Eventually my goal is to be able to help others with these same concerns, as we are all much better at being cheerleaders for others, and yet when it comes time to cheer for ourselves the self-doubt and evil side of vulnerability come into play. The journey is about accepting this fact in our lives, however, after acceptance being able to grow and move forward beyond it.

The Media Goddess right now focuses on media, just as I intend to grow, the company will as well, and be much more accompanying of the holistic aspects of communication that are vital to our every day lives.

The Crossroads Between Should and Must

Last week I arrived early at yoga and noticed two books set on the wooden seated risers. I identified right away that they were both philosophical books; yoga in and of itself is more of a philosophical journey rather than a physical one, however combined together create an ultimate fulfilling experience. One of the books was The Crossroads Between Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion  by Elle Luna. Book Cover

Initially I wasn’t particularly interested. I have read numerous self-helpy type books over the years in hopes to find a kind of spiritual awakening, however, with this book, I was more intrigued by the colors and illustrations as well as the comical humor I noticed within some of the passages. I decided to stand and read this prior to class beginning. The first day I began the book I didn’t think too much about what I had read and hadn’t gotten very far. All I knew was that I for sure wanted to continue reading the illustrated pages and calm reassuring voice of the author. The next day I arrived early once again and finally started getting into the more personally impactful messages within the book and really this is when another pivotal moment of my life has occurred.

I began to analyze areas of my life where I have really only ever lived in a state of should. I should lose weight, I should be prettier, I should have more friends, I should have any friends, I should hold my pen like this, I should be able to wear those kinds of clothes, I should be liked more, I should have a boyfriend. Really the list goes on, although that ‘should’ list is one from primary school. Ultimately some of my more unhappy times, which only grew into sickness before getting any better. At this point in my life I am so much happier and healthier, however, I never actually knew to take the time and really evaluate the course of my happiness and unhappiness in terms of should and must and never really viewed my unhappiness in this way.

I am very blessed that although my sickness did not inhibit me from achieving the lifestyle that I aspired to, it did prevent me from loving my selfness, finding personal happiness, and relationship happiness. What I find to help all of those stressors though, is definitely time. I mean, I am only 23, however, simultaneously, I am able to look back, reflect, and understand how my life has been shaped by all my experiences. Now I understand them to be vital to who I am now; for one, I attempt to always radiate happiness and positivity as I know how quickly and unknowingly small words and expressions can so completely change a person’s day. This for me is a must. I must be that person, I must be my own happiness, even at times when I am feeling low- because I know that I struggle in that area. I want to be a place of happiness for others and in doing so be a place of sunshine for myself.

In the book, the author, Elle, talks about how our musts must also turn into repetitive action. We must do this for ourselves in order to ensure our happiness as well as attain the life we wish to live. Because of this book, I have provided myself the time to not only write more (as I am now) but also take the time in the early morning with my favorite first cup of coffee to continue working on my social media business and web designs. This is a life I want, in order to attain it, I must contribute the work at the time I am best able to think – and so I have. I could not recommend this book more nor could I hope that you as well begin to analyze the shoulds and musts in your life.

It is quite terrifying to move away from the shoulds as they are a place of comfort and ease, however, unless you shed that skin you will never be fully happy or content in almost all aspects of your life. Take this day to analyze your shoulds and musts and create for yourself the life you actually know you want to live.

Peace, love, happiness, and cats – KB xoxo

Reflections on communication, self-confidence, and self-identification

As few of you know I am a technical writer for a mortgage company in downtown Detroit. I recently expressed my interest in the leadership training program that is offered for many team members who see themselves moving forward into their future career path and growing into a team leader. My own team leader provided me with a handout containing eight leadership traits of skilled ideal team leaders. Among the characteristics were Vision, Communication Expert, Living the Culture, Deep Thinker, and more they are just evading me at the moment. After advising me to rate myself on a scale of one being the best and eight being the trait I need most improvement on, I began the processing of judging my skills, reflecting on who I see myself as a person, comparing it to what think others feel about me, mixed in with who confident I was on if those skills really actually reflected myself.

To be completely honest, I found this a very difficult exercise. I have never been very confident in who I am as a person. Truly, ranging from judging myself based on how I hold my pencils and pens, to the way in which I dress, and talk, and communicate and make friends, and what I do and what I read… the list goes on. No wonder I was a confused child… As I was rating myself on these skills, I couldn’t determine reality of who I was as a person. The reality of my strong skills is so intertwined with who I want to be as a person, as well as the negative thoughts I myself inform my being that I am bad at. So really I was judging all the traits in a dreamy haze of emotions. Long story short, almost all of our answers were completely backwards. I judged myself most harshly on the traits my team leader believed I was best. The ones I felt I was stronger at were in fact the ones she felt could use some more loving conscientious care. Number eight on her list? Communication Expert. Honestly I was a bit flabbergasted. Communication is something that I have worked hard on for many years, because it never came naturally to me. I am much more comfortable in a world of books and muteness that actually verbally communicated my thoughts, loves, needs, etc. was much less preferred. The reason? Because I am not confident in my skills as a communicator. Not that I am unable to express myself, but solely because I lack the confidence in myself. This lack of confidence must be something I am emanating at work and in my daily life.

This month moving forward my focus is this confidence. Confidence in how I identify myself. Confidence in my interactions with others, in the words I speak. Strangely, the best way I am going to focus on this is by wearing heels to work. Most women feel empowered by wearing heels, you are taller and dressed up, etc. etc. but I am insecure! Everyone is looking and hearing your clacks as you walk from the kitchen back to your desk. Focus on this goal, will more than likely protrude benefits to all other aspects of my life and improve the happiness I have worked so diligently for.

For all of you who lack confidence like myself, take this time to revel in the amazingness that you are. In addition to that your worth, your ability to be awesome, and to ridding of the doubt telling you that you are lacking. Just go back to your real youngin’ days when you just knew how cool you were. 
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Canva… or pretty much the niftiest application ever and my thoughts on personal branding

I am currently in the process of starting my own social media consultancy business. While reading blogs I came across an application that has proven to be absolutely amazing in terms of assisting with the branding process. I often get hung up on colors and the typeface I want to use, particularly because I am incredibly indecisive and want to ensure that what I choose is something that is timeless.

After quite a lot of meandering through out their website, I created this. Which I have to say I am quite in love with. Not everyone is quite as fond of the name as I am, however, I really want this business to be something that I enjoy. I currently work in a corporate office, and granted, it is not the typical kind of corporate world, and it is in fact fun and friendly… I one day hope to be released from the mental burden of an 8-5 schedule, the guilt of working from home, and (mainly more time for yoga). And because of this, the playful, and yet purely silly me is also something I wish to incorporate in my future career path.TWEET

This header embodies myself as a woman, the purely cat jazzing goddess of awesomeness of which I personify, and the communication aspect that allows me to help others.

I specifically chose to use the word goddess, because for me it has a very empowering emotion. As a woman, I love and thrive off the support I provide my intuition, the acknowledgement I give my body and the gratitude that I now treat it with. Communication is a vital role in our lives, both externally as well as internally. The latter I didn’t realize was so intrinsically important to our happiness until very recently. The way in which we communicate with ourselves will determine how and when and how well we succeed. By using goddess, I constantly remind myself of the glory it is to be a woman and how gratifying it is to help others through communication.

Any way you look at this, I am viscerally excited for the changes that are soon to come in my life. I gratefully thank Liz Benny for such a wonderful webinar and the support in starting this business.

All my cat love

xoxo

The best most exciting news EVER!

I have been so excited about this revelation that I could not just wait to share the experience with perhaps the one or two people who read my blog by accidentally and definitely not purposefully stumbling upon my blog. My starchy, carby, comforty, and fattening cravings have increased exponentially within the past two days and so yesterday at work I decided that my lunch was going to be ketchup with a side of fries. ( I love my ketchup… don’t judge. Sometimes I think my boyfriend wonders if I love ketchup more than I love him… that is incredibly false by the way). I work in downtown Detroit, so lately there has been no shortage at all of fancy, hipster, or traditional restaurants to choose from. Really the copious amount of food options downtown is slightly mesmerizing now, and with the addition of all the food trucks that line Cadillac Square it is a foodies heaven. Anyway back to the fries and ketchup. On a whim I took the elevator to the bottom of my building and approached the counter; I soon ordered myself a very large pop (Diet Coke was featured in this machine, although I am a now die hard Pepsi fan)… and an order of fries. Now on the way down the elevator I inquired as to how these fries were supposed to taste and their level of deliciousness. I was told they would not need salt, and of course, I did not believe my team member, because really what fries could ever not use more salt? So I naturally grabbed about two salt packets and approximately 15 ketchup packets and waited in line. For a rather strip mall type of restaurant, Bellacino’s did a fantastic job on the fries. Yes I just now for the first time mentioned the name. Don’t tell anyone my secret because I will forever be commandeering their supply of fries. The bag handed to me was the size of a paper lunch bag; the fries inside amounted to somewhere between a McDonald’s small and medium, the perfect size for my hankering. The fries themselves were oven baked to absolute perfection, crispy on the outside with just enough crunch, and soft potatoey on the inside. And they were right… no salt needed, and the ketchup for these babies – completely optional. Did I mention the fries were only 69 cents? Happy eating!

Minnesotan Adventures

Hi all!

It has been absolutely forever since I have been on here; I am undergoing some major gradual changes in my life. Which sounds a little confusing, but I just realized this myself, in fact. It’s a pretty incredibly feeling actual, being able to reflect on yourself truthfully and with a complete raw and difficult honesty, to be able to see where and how you are making changes in your life. I grant a lot of this to my increased time devoted to yoga practice. Finding myself, finding peace, and breathing in life. How blessed we all truly are.

St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul, Minnesota

About a month ago, my mother, sister, and I traveled to Minnesota for a girls’ weekend. Overall it was a nice time, however, there are two parts of that trip that really left me feeling alive. One of the evenings we went to downtown St.Paul to visit the Jazz festival (one that we never really saw, however, was able to get my first taste of swing dancing) it ended up pouring rain so we walked throughout the sky walks. We came across the St.Paul hotel, as I spent almost twenty minutes analyzing the architectural drawings of the building from the early 1900s upon its conception. I was dragged away by an aunt to join the others in the small dining area tucked into the corner of the lobby, as soon as I sat down, however, I noticed the canvas on the wall across from us. Immediately, I thought… that must be a Gustav Klimt work! It looks stylistically just as similar to his work The Kiss. (This is my favorite painting, so I was incredibly excited about this revelation). Here, you can see it here. As I ran over there dragging my mother beside me almost

:: The Kiss ::  Gustav Klimt 1908-1909
:: The Kiss ::
Gustav Klimt
1908-1909

shrieking in excitement I showed her how the same vertical pattern of the painting was similar to his style and that generally the shapes are symbolically important to the story of the painting. Because I was not certain we decided to go speak with the concierge about the artwork, unfortunately they were unsure so we went back to our seats in the dining area. I decided to use the handy-dandy smart phone (although in a way in felt like cheating in this detective excursion) and come to find out it was in fact, based off the painting of Klimt, of the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. However, the face was drastically different, in fact, it was not of any importance to the painting in the lobby, almost like it was hidden away and not mean to be a focal point at all. Which is exactly opposite to that of Klimt’s work. I was astounded by how enticing Adele’s face is in the original painting. It was one of Klimt’s last pieces during the golden era, the paint was by the way composed of true gold. As you can see from the image, there are so many similarities between the two. Come to find out the painting of Adele has recently culminated into a movie featuring Ryan Reynolds. Cool, eh? Okay okay so I finally get to the food portion of this, although it’s not yet about the beautiful delicious looking crepes featured on the beginning of this blog. Too bad I don’t have a picture of the food we gorged ourselves on at the hotel restaurant, however, we had the most amazing pizza anyone has ever had in their life. Wild mushroom pizza with truffle butter and arugula. My sister and I died and went to heaven it was absolutely amazing. Seriously go check it out if you’re ever on that end of the midwest.

Adele Bloch-Bauer, Gustav Klimt, 1907
Adele Bloch-Bauer, Gustav Klimt, 1907

So! The crepes. La Belle Crepe, is a restaurant/cafe that is probably the size of a five meter long and three meter wide space…covering the left wall (other than the large mirror) are bills of various amounts from different countries. Above there is an over-sized mixer and various other french pieces of decor, and to boot it is complete with 20 – 30 something French adults with blue and white striped shirts. the first time I went there it was November and freezing cold, so my good friend and I sat huddled in the small space of about three feet and ate the amazingness of their crepes. I recently went back because I just HAD to take my mother there, as she loves food just as much if not more than I do. To start we ordered our Cafe au Lait, because come on, if we don’t both have at least 6 cups of coffee in the morning between the two of us something is majorly wrong. The chef soon brought out the two orders (which we both decided to share) the first was the Dill & Lox which contained smoked salmon, garlic mushrooms, dill havarti, and topped with a delicious hollondaise sauce. It was an absolutely amazing combination that mumwas savory enough to fill an empty breakfast stomach, but light enough to allow room for the second crepe 🙂 we ate through it rather quickly because it was truly so good, we swiftly moved onto the second mango crepe filled with almond paste and creme fraiche. I know, with the coffeeyou’re jealous aren’t you? I mean I would be, because it’s delicious, but I’m not, because I’ve eaten there three times. So will you?

Wright & Co. : Burned rosemary, jazzy jams and aluminum ceilings

A couple Thursday’s ago I had my fourth opportunity to have a classy happy hour of beverages at Wright and Co. just off of Woodward. It’s hidden away, snuggled between John Varvatos and an alley, you have to first go up an elevator to the second floor. Once you exit you find yourself in a very short dark hallway, up above you a chandelier; you can hear sweet music in the background and smell burning herbs. The atmosphere is set – one similar to a classy 1950’s Sinatra joint. (Which if you ask me is pretty super classy). The lighting is low and the tables are so close to one another you would think you were in a European cafe- one where you are basically eating and conversing with your table neighbors. The aura of the restaurant is something that is comforting and edgy simultaneously and patrons are welcomed by a greeter with a bunch of tattoos and some slick eye make up. So basically OF COURSE I loved this place and had to come back multiple times within the same month. wrightandco

Maybe one day I’ll write a post where I don’t actually enjoy the food, service, or environment? Or maybe Detroit is just awesome.

Anyway…

My first time there I asked for the Rosemary Pine Sour. As a rosemary fanatic I could absolutely not pass up this opportunity. Seated at the bar I was able to watch my bartender make the drink before my eyes. There were small containers of herbs lining the bar. I was incredibly surprised as I watched him take a flame to the sprig of rosemary, char it, and then place it over top of my cocktail. I understood where the smell of burning herbs had come from and it was definitely potent near my face as I began to sip my beverage. The drink itself was absolutely delicious- however, for future reference, I would ask for my rosemary not to be burned.  Personally, I feel rosemary is rather strong on its own and the smokey flavor doesn’t do much to enhance the drink, it more so made me taste burnt embers and for that reason I wasn’t impressed. They also never separate the bill, so make sure you’re not in too large of a group because it causes a fiasco at the end.

A personal favorite in terms of their specialty cocktails has become the Blackberry Bramble, a great combination of liquor with a sweet blackberry tang, there is also a dry bite that tames off the sweetness. wright_co

The most recent occasion for dining I was out for a dinner with my parents. Wright and Co. is based off a small plates concept, (which really then reminded me of Europe because most of the dishes you can compare to fine tapas). We had three plates, an appetizer, and a dessert. All prepped to perfection and displayed in a way that made the food look like you didn’t quite want to ruin its display, but then you think you don’t care, totally miss the stereotypical foodie picture and dig in. We had chicken, roasted pork tenderloin, tuna tar-tar, and some AMAZING macaroni. Never underestimate the ability to perfect and gourmet-ify mac’N’cheese. This ditalini pasta was prepared with Gorgonzola cheese and Italian sausage. It was topped with a walnut crust that basically made you moan on the first bite. If you go, and if you wish to spend the money for food, I highly recommend you take a stab at this pasta dish. You won’t regret it. Needless to say, it was another very successful outing to Wright and Co. and I am eagerly anticipating my next opportunity to take someone new for their own first experience there. Stay classy Detroit. Love ya.

The Guardian + The Dime

Yesterday was again, another extremely cold day in lower Michigan. At least the sun was out so the warm rays would warm you as the rest of you was frozen in the notorious wind. We could hear the birds, however, which is such a nice reminder that the last day of February was bringing us hope for the (ideally) soon to come spring. To set the mood, the day just had the vibe that it was spring, you could even smell it and feel the happiness. (It sounds cheesy, but really that was how I felt).

The rents and I enjoyed a tour of the Guardian building. For more information, check out their Facebook page and website. They often give these tours on Fridays and Saturdays, and to top it all off they are FREE. The purchases made at the Detroit swag shop in the lobby are able to provide these tours to incoming travelers. You are not allowed access to view the upstairs of the building, but hey if you’re soon to be married and want to rent it out…that option is available to you. Future husband please note that as important. Anyway back to the point, there was a crowd much larger than I had originally anticipated. There were people from all over the country as well as the world! Which I find extremely exciting and hopeful for the city. A group of friends from Texas, a family from Puerto Rico, and a small group of Germans. In total there were probably close to 50 people.

Tiffany Clock (in the background)
Tiffany Clock (in the background)

We began the tour in the Guardian lobby just outside the Detroit shop. Built in 1929, the Guardian was filled with different cultural aspects as well as from different eras. There was definitely a 20s Great Gatsby vibe mixed with Azteca art-deco and some 1950s turquoise tile. Once a bank, the Guardian was filled with references to fidelity, trust, and security. If you are a stained glass, mosaic, culture, or state of Michigan fanatic I highly encourage you to take a road-trip to enjoy this monstrously beautiful building. Although anyone further west from Marquette (including my prided Keweenaw… we are not represented). I encourage all to take this tour, the guide did a great job despite the large unexpected group and we learned about the Ford Building, the Penobscot, and the First National Building as well.

Immediately following the tour we had a hot hour to get into the Dime and get lunch, so I eagerly pushed my mom and dad out of the Guardian and practically ran to the Chrysler House. It was my second time eating at this restaurant (located in the Chrysler building on Griswold) and once again I was not disappointed. If you are a goat cheese fanatic like myself, you surely want to get your fill of the amazing different recipes they feature in this small and very often crowded dining place filled with savory goat-cheese deliciousness. We walked into the room and were greeted by an incredibly cheerful hostess who had us seated at our table in less than two minutes. The majority of the diners were in their mid 20s and early 30s.

House Fries
House Fries

I was probably the youngest person (22) and my parents were probably the oldest (nearing their 60s). We were warmly greeted by a “hipster-esque” waitress and I started the Saturday-noon afternoon with an Atwater Dirty Blonde. (I can’t actually recall whether I have had this or not, but I believe it was more chilled at the DBC). I seemed to be the only one enjoying on tap brew, while everyone else had their Bloody Marys and black coffee. Whatever. I was going for the beer. I could have guessed exactly what my parents would like because they ordered what I had mentally chosen for them after reading the menu. My mother, decided upon the poached pear salad (by the way I can vouch for this, totally the best salad I have ever had in my life), my father, the steak and cheese sandwich (the not so adventurous eater of the family), and I myself had the smoked salmon benny.

Mutter
Mutter

Lawd oh lawd, I was taken back to my days in Spain, but almost better. The smoked salmon was salty and delicious, while the english muffin was covered with cream cheese and herbs with two perfectly poached eggs, topped with hollandaise and capers. On the side was a bitter arugula and spinach salad that complemented the salty smoked salmon beautifully. As you can tell, I have nothing but fantasticness to say about the Dime. Both of my experiences here have been delightful. But be sure to be patient with the service as they are always hopping mad with hungry Detroiters, but trust me the wait whatever the time frame may be, is totally worth what these chefs have to offer.

So go eat your heart out.

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