Saturday, March 30, 2013

What I've Read #4

Quiet the Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
This weekend I've been reading Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. It's definitely worth a read if you are an introverted type of person. Or even if you're not... it might help explain to you why your spouse/friend/child prefers to stay in most of the time or tends to think more than they speak.

So... the gist of the book is based on the premise that the Western world tends to value extroversion to the point that we introverts grow up feeling like there's something wrong with us. We go to schools where talking (aka: class participation) is part of our grade and we work in offices that have no walls. We're made to feel like our desire to curl up and read a book or to leave a party early means that we're strange and inhibited and need to lighten up.

Susan set out to define introversion and takes a closer look at many psychological studies on the subject, as well as anecdotal evidence from her own life. It's rather fascinating all the things she discovers.

Like for example, most introverts tend to be "highly sensitive people" (here's a quiz for you to see if you are one). Not all introverts are HSPs and not all HSPs are introverts, but the correlation is pretty high. Basically the deal is that we are highly sensitive to stimulation (light, sound, noise, opinions), which is why we feel overwhelmed quickly in social or stressful situations. When we make a point to have "alone time", what we're really doing is finding environments and situations that are less stimulating. I never even realized that's what I was doing, but somehow being alone in the dark with my cat and a sappy romance movie always relaxes me. Now I know why! ;) This also explains a lot about me: my tendency to absorb the emotions of those around me (if you're in a bad mood in the same room as me, I will catch it as quickly as I would a cold), my tendency to like a room to be completely dark and quiet to sleep in, my tendency to take the lowest dose possible of medicine. Etc. Etc.

Extroverts, she says, have a much higher threshold for stimulation. It takes more for them to react to things. So they tend to have louder music, more parties, more diving into a situation without thinking about it. Whereas we introverts are careful because we don't want to short-circuit ourselves, so to speak, extroverts dive into life headfirst in order to feel it all more fully. (Again, not all extroverts are this way, but the correlation does seem pretty strong).

I can't really do this book justice in a blog review, so I highly recommend reading it for yourself. If you want the cliffs notes version though, here's Susan's TED Talk on the same subject:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chalk Pastels - Illustration Final Project

pastel illustration books

This is my final project in my Illustration class last term. I turned it in matted in a frame, but here is what it looked like right before I matted it. I'm not continuing my Illustration class next term because I have too many other classes to concentrate on, but it's been an interesting journey while it lasted. I can't say as I feel especially gifted in this area, but it has helped my eye, which is what you need as a graphic designer. For me, the laborious nature of hand-making an image is not as interesting to me as creating it digitally. At least not for making a living at. I do find the process cathartic and relaxing, but not when it's for a grade and a deadline. If that makes any sense.

Anyway... so this project was to illustrate the phrase, "A book is a present that you can can open again and again". My teacher thought it would be a good idea to make it look like the books were creating a landscape - rolling hills below and cityscape behind. I'm not sure how well I accomplished that, but I am pretty pleased with how much they look like books! Lol. I'm working with chalk pastels here and let me tell you, that isn't easy! It's a bit like drawing only with your thumbs, while also having the colors blow away, smear, or fall off the page with any move, bump, or breath you make. My knowledge of shadows and highlights alone is what saved this drawing! Lol. As time consuming as pencil is, I think I almost prefer it to pastels because at least the graphite stays put once you put it on the page. ;P

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cable Watchcap

I've been working on getting a new style of hat to sell in my shop and think I've finally settled one! This is a cabled watch cap, with a brim long enough to roll up, keeping your ears super warm. I love how comfy and slightly slouchy it wears, and I think it would be super warm to wear in the snow!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Google is making some changes.

So apparently Google Reader is disappearing soon! Also, rumor has it that so is Google Friend Connect (which I know a lot of you use to subscribe to this blog).

Don't panic yet though! I've got a bunch of alternate subscription options for you.

You can find my blog feed feed also on HelloCottonBlogLovin', or Better Blogger Network, and I've added a plain old Subscribe link in my sidebar as well, if you already have a favorite reader that you use.

Hopefully this subscription change-up won't be too confusing for everyone (thanks, Google!), and please let me know if you need help figuring out how to subscribe in any of these spots.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

REVIEW: Lindt Chocolates

I had the opportunity this month to review some Lindt Chocolates that one of my readers sells. Elizabeth Osborne, of The Young Retiree blog, wrote to me awhile back and asked if I wanted some free chocolate in exchange for a shout-out, and how could I refuse? ;D

Lindt Chocolate seasonal variety packI received a variety of chocolates and they are all very delicious! I love how creamy they are and every flavor is just as wonderful as the last. They have varieties with and without nuts (although the facilities are not separate, so none of them can be considered nut-free).

They have many varieties of chocolate, including seasonal options. While I haven't tried each and every one, based on what I have tried, I would recommend anything they sell!

One really cool thing that they have on the Lindt website is recipes to make with your chocolate! Interesting, right? I really want to try this one for an Iced Mocha:

Lindt Chocolate recipe - iced mocha

ICED MOCHA

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups (600ml) milk
1 bar (3.5oz/100g each) Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 cup (240ml) strong coffee
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (60ml) crème de cacao or other chocolate liqueur (optional)

Method:

In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of the milk.
Add the chopped chocolate, stirring until completely melted.
Stir in the coffee and cinnamon, remove from heat.
Cool to room temperature.
Add remaining milk and crème de cacao, and chill until ready to serve.
Shake and strain into a tall glass with ice, or, for a more elegant presentation, use a martini glass.

Yield:

Makes 4–5 Servings

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy! Oh yeah, and I'm probably moving soon!

I've got one and half weeks left of classes in this term, and lucky me... allergy season started early this year. Which means I'm not feeling 100% AND I have way too much to do. Not a good combination, but I'm trying to finish well.

Also I've been discussing things with my parents, who have been planning to move to L.A. this spring/summer, and I just might (probably definitely will) go with them! I suppose an act of God could still hinder this plan, but it's pretty much set in stone at this point. It's a brand new plan though (we just started discussing it this past weekend), so it still feels unresolved and not quite real at this point, but it really actually is.

Anyway, they are moving there for my dad's business, and I had originally been planning to stay here in Oregon to finish my program, but... it turns out that the school is probably going to cancel the graphic design program after this year (nothing officially official yet, but my director says it's pretty grim at this point). So... in light of this, most of my class has actually been taking 2nd AND 3rd year classes this year (probably why I feel so busy) to try to cram in as much knowledge and experience as we can before this whole thing collapses. So really... there's no need to stay around next year and "finish" my program - I already will have taken all the design requirements and there are a couple general eds that need finishing, but that could really be done anywhere.

All this to say that... provided my dad can find a buyer for his Oregon business soon... I'll likely be in L.A. by June-ish. Crazy, right? That's like... three months away!

While it's probably not the city I would've chosen to move to had my options been limitless, it'll still be pretty cool, especially as I'll be closer to my niece and nephews!! Also the more I'm researching the area, the more excited I am about the cultural opportunities. We just don't have the concerts, museums, and plays here in rural-ish Oregon that they do there in the big city. (We'll actually be in the suburb of Santa Clarita, but even that "small" suburb is almost as large as the second largest city in the entire state of Oregon). I'm beginning to think there are no small towns in So.Cal., although my sister assures me there are. Lol.

So anyway... that's what's been keeping me busy lately. What's new with you?

Santa Clarita wildfires
Besides Magic Mountain, Santa Clarita is known for it's wildfires!
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