I really need to update more often.


The Ever-Dreaded Christmas List

I hate coming up with Christmas lists. I can never think of what to put down. My sisters put down the same stuff every year:

and then there's me...
utility/swiss army knife for hiking
sports watch
yoga mat
portion bowls
recipe organizer
Dial-a-Slice apple corer/divider
Nalgene flask
Ralph Lauren Romance Perfume (maybe there's hope?)
lots and lots of books



This overwhelming feeling of excitement definitely beats the knot-of-doom in the pit of my stomach after the 04 elections. Sigh. So happy.



“What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.”
— taken from a Tumble blog who took it from West Wing



No longer in the early 20's. So far it's been a great birthday. Went to dinner with my buddy Daff last night, tonight it's a Flight of the Conchords movie night with friends, surprise bday cake at work (not just one but TWO cakes! red velvet and german chocolate. mmm), a very happy email from a client this morning who loved her stationery, spent some cash for new goods at REI, talked to my mom this morning, the cats were particularly cuddly this morning, the weather is perfect fall weather.

Overall things are going well! :-)

Happy Day of my Birth to me!


Pay it Forward



I've started a new creative blog on Tumblr. It's really fun so far. Very easy to post just random stuff. I plan on posting some of my artwork, stuff I find on line and stuff reposted from other blogs. Read: Eye Candy Explosion.


My Heart is Full of Happy

A couple days late in coming, but no matter. It's October, and despite the overwhelming work load at work and home and a crazy-busy life, I'm happy. The weather has been in the 40s in the mornings and I've started running again. I created my own Zen alarm clock, which sounds a soothing chime/gong every so many minutes until it is every couple seconds. It gradually brings you out of sleep as opposed to the jarring, half-heart-attack-like buzzer of my regular alarm. Here is a blog post telling how to set that up. I set my iPod up to some $8 speakers and it works like a charm. I've been getting up every morning at 6:30am for running, pilates or yoga. I'm especially loving running in the mornings. Fall is here and my heart is so full of cool weather and the idea of pumpkins and cider, I can hardly contain it.

At any rate. I hope you all are enjoying the fall and getting some nice weather. I'll be on an 18 mile hike tomorrow, taking it all in and suggest you get your tush in the woods and get your fall on.

Make up My Mind

So I've moved my personal blog back here and am in the process of working up a creative blog on tumblr. And am also in the process of redesigning my website. I'm going to start focusing more on illustration because it's my first love and just more fun then regular design (and incorporating the two would be stellar). This means my site is going to be more *cute,* even though I despise the word "cute," and definitely more fun. I might maybe make a more clean/corporate page for those looking for that kind of design, but honestly, with working full time, the only design stuff i truly want to work on on the side is illustration work.

Anywho. As I tend to say far too often, I will be making changes.


Oh High School

Thank you facebook (and past friends for posting pictures) for the ultimate boost in confidence.


Work? What's that?

I think my coworkers have too much time on their hands. And for that, I'm much appreciative.



Nashville has a Gas Problem

Seriously spent 35 minutes in line for gas last Friday. Good thing I only fill up every couple weeks. I think I'll be walking to work for awhile until this nonsense dies down a bit. Craziness.



Fallify Me

diamonds and tear drops - this is a love letter from the bordello of your imagination. - Yard Dogs Road Show
In a fantastic effort to kick off the 2008 Fall season, Mother Nature has blessed us with some seriously gorgeous weather. This week has been in the 60s and 70s with crystal blue skies. It makes my heart melt and soar all at the same time. I walked to work yesterday and just soaked it up and this weekend I'll be out in Soddy Daisy, TN, doing some trail and bridge building on the Cumberland Plateau. I honestly can't wait!

And to top off all of this Autumnal Excitement, I went to see the Yard Dogs Road Show last night. If these folks caravan to your area, please please please check them out. They are a phenomenal collection of bohemian (or hobohemian as they call themselves), burlesque, vaudeville, old-timey, rockabilly, creepy band of awesomeness. Their show kicks off with the Indigo Girls Belly Dance Troupe and the show is a lovely/creepy mix of amazing music, complete with an accordian and horns section, a sword swallower, magic tricks, glitter, confetti, and dancing. The tone is Tim Burtonesque with a serious underlying funk-fun feeling. It's wonderful. And so perfect for fall and Halloween. I loved them.

I also am hoping to check out the book written by the manager/leader, Eddy Joe Cotton. He was a hobo for 10 years, hopping trains around the country. He kept 23 journals throughout the course of his travels and the book is his story. It is even endorsed with a quote on the cover by Dave Eggers, which makes me want to read it all the more. I'm thinking something along the lines of Dharma Bums, but for real, and thus more exciting. It is not available at my library, although I may borrow it from my friend Jenn if I don't cave and buy it. I think it will be an amazing read!

I hope you are enjoying the weather as much as I am. I'm feeling it in my bones and it feels fantastic. Carve a pumpkin, make some cider, go for a hike, but whatever you do, don't sit on your ass and let this season pass you by.



AKA Ticketmaster:


Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself..

Who doesn't like a little Spam on a Tuesday afternoon?
From: Marion Donahue
Subject: the next time you're
Date: September 9, 2008 11:40:45 AM CDT
To: tschena@taylorrific.com

his stunningly clever use of Command by its very nature A consequence of these complaint. However it one day a week. the Trading Spaces show. any possible this should be your and credible investigation data it would be useful format designed for the way irritating and consequently super parents, I believe this message just do their academy committees for

provided, this letter sets

Oh Marion, you are quite the eloquent one, aren't you.


The Wrath of KU Public Safety

Just when you thought you were safe...
Shelby, my younger sister, went to register her car at Public Safety today. This car happens to be the same car I used at Kutztown. Supposedly she can't register the car because I owe them $45 in unpaid parking tickets??? Huh what? First of all, I couldn't have graduated without paying my parking tickets, a diploma would not be sitting in my apartment if I had had outstanding tickets. At first I thought that maybe I had gotten a ticket after I graduated, but I would have visited friends at Kutztown in my own car, not the Mazda, so it wouldn't be on that file. According to the overly rude woman, I WAS sent a bill and I probably just "forgot" about it. I'm not the kind of person to let things like bills slide, I don't just "forget" to pay them. I tend to be overly responsible in that way. If I ever received a bill for $45, it would have been paid and if I had a $15 parking ticket, I certainly wouldn't have let it go to $45.

I'll know this afternoon the exact time that I received a ticket and where. Their system conveniently went down while I was on the phone. I also want to know EXACTLY when a bill was sent, because as far as I know, I never received a bill. I have a little bit of an idea that perhaps Shelby took the car to Kutztown last year and maybe got a ticket and since the car is in my name, it would be on my file.

I totally got in an argument with the lady at Public Safety. Sigh. Happy Friday Y'all!


Kermit Bale

If you like Christian Bale and Kermit the Frog, check this out:


Guilty Pleasure....

I suppose they call them that for a reason. Sigh. My latest guilty pleasure? The relatively new, über-shallow, pop-tastic, OMG-overloaded sitcom: Gossip Girl.

The worst part? There is absolutely nothing about this show that is good. Nothing. The whole premise (if you couldn't guess from the title) is drama and everyone talking about said drama. It's all a bunch of teenagers/early 20-somethings that cheat on each other, lie to each other, spend gobs of money on clothes and shoes, just a whole bunch of awful. Everything I ordinarily hate and loathe.. yet I'm hooked. And I have zero good reasons why. So sad.

Maybe I should spring for cable and start watching something educational. Or just read more. The CW should not be included in free rabbit-ears-style "cable." Totally defeats my purpose for not getting full cable.

Oy vey.

Go Commodores!

As of today I'm "technically" a Vanderbilt student. Not really, but kind of. I registered for a Figure Drawing class today that will be every Wednesday from 6-8. I'm really excited about it! Turns out Vandy has a ton of art classes open to students, profs as well as the public. And the price was pretty cheap, $160 included registration and supplies so all I have to do now is show up.

I do have to say, it was strange being on their campus. Felt like a fish out of water. Lots of students all dolled up and looking preppy, but it was still reminisce of Kutztown's campus. I guess most campuses have that feel to them.

In other news, I thought I'd make a list of my favorite things that the South has to offer to combat the recent level of homesickness. I love:

• my church and all of my many Nashville grandmothers that go there. They are all so friendly and welcoming.
• random friendliness and the ability to ask almost any random person a question and they will almost always answer it with a smile and also ask how your day is going
• cheese grits (they are surprisingly delicious and even more surprisingly easy to make)
• sweet tea
• pretty much all other southern comfort foods including: fried chicken, collard greens, fried okra, meatloaf, macaroni & cheese, just about any vegetable casserole. biscuits.
• short winter and a long spring, and even though fall won't be brisk and cold, i think i'll like being able to go out hiking longer
• barbecue
• the pace is not as crazy (which on occasion is annoying, but not usually)
• the use of y'all (it's growing on me)
• i really enjoy the accent
• did i mention how friendly everyone is down here?

I hope everyone's been enjoying the long weekend!


Breaking News

My little sister is a waitress at the APD.. Free chocolate chip pancakes and coffee for everyone!!


My Brain is Expanding!

So my good buddy at work has found me Rosetta Stone (French) on a bitTorrent site and is giving it to me. I can't WAIT to see what I pull out of my subconscious. I've got 7 years of knowledge tucked away in there.

AAAAAAND even though we have a Lynda subscription at work, he's getting me the PHP and CSS tutorials so I can work on them at home without hogging up time online since only one person can be on at once. So so so so so excited! :-D

I'm really almost kind of am on the verge of randomly driving home for labor day, but it will cost a lot in gas so I probably won't. I don't need to lament on that notion, you all know what I'm talking about.

Instead I think I will immerse myself in computer geekology and study some languages.. both verbal and code. Some people may consider this a lame way to spend a three-day weekend, but I'm actually pretty stoked!


Fall is on its way

This morning it was raining and dreary and there were dead leaves all over the patio. Granted, it won't get chilly around these parts til November (sad day), it still smelled like fall. And I want autumn. I want it so bad. I think I'll be able to handle the warmer atmosphere better this year than last, but my heart can't help but ache for a cold nose and the need for a scarf. Sigh.

For the first time ever, (and I feel blasphemous thinking this. Jenna, don't judge me) I want to skip right past fall and October and Halloween and move right on to Christmas. I love love LOVE Nashville, but I just can't shake this homesickness. This is the first time it's been this bad and the longest it's gone on for. Ugh. Morgan may visit for my bday, which I'm excited for, but knowing her, I won't get my hopes up until she's booked the ticket and is on her way. She's fickle like that. Sigh.

Anyway. Sept. 1st I sign up for a drawing class at Vandy! I'm excited for this. Meet some new folks, a new circle of people. Looking forward to it. Vary things up a little.



The smell of the Clorox Wipes (the kind with the green lid, not lemon scented) remind me of college and living in Lehigh.


Busy and Busier

In between freelance and AIGA craziness, I'm feeling pretty stagnant. I've decided to add some more excitement to my life, learn some new stuff and just improve my quality of life overall. I've recently signed up and am planning to sign up for a lot of new stuff!

• Mondays & Tuesdays: Kickboxing class
• Wednesdays: (starting in September) A Life Drawing class at Vandy's Sarratt Art Center
• Thursdays: Ongoing AIGA Activities
• Fridays: Open for concerts, shows and other social/beer-drinking/entertainment-enjoying activities
• Saturdays: Hoping to sign up for some more hikes with the Meetup group, or go on some on my own. Need to do more backpacking
• Sundays: Church and am signing up for a supper club starting in September.

Particular events I'm stoked about:
• My Morning Jacket Concert
• AIGA Think Tank
• My birthday.. will be planning something this year. Just not sure what yet.
• Paris in May. I AM saving up for this. It WILL happen

Busy busy busy. I am SO ready for fall!! And to all my PA peeps reading this, I will be home for two weeks this year for Christmas and New Years and hope to visit as many friends as possible! So not only am I ready for fall, but I'm wicked excited for Christmas already as well.

Hope summer's winding down well for everyone!


Lazy Summer and Humid Thoughts

I'm convinced that July didn't happen. Here it is late-summer already and I feel like I've blinked and time jumped from May to August without a second thought. It's been a busy summer, but not as busy as it should have been. Travelled home, went to Bonnaroo, worked on some freelance, and have been neck-deep with work at work. And after being down for the count for a week and a half from a sinus infection, I'm slowly crawling out of the haze and sluggishness that it has brought on. As is normal for me this time of year, I've become increasingly lazy, eating poorly, whatever I can scrounge up in less than 10 minutes, not wanting to go outside or move really. I just feel, I don't know, burnt-out. Stagnant. I find this has been happening more and more often. I need to change this.

I read my cards tonight (yes. I read tarot cards. Judge if you wish), two readings. A quick reading to answer a question/situation that's heavy on my mind and while the cards were reversed and heavy, the outcome looks good. And then did an overall major reading, one main question, but the cards brought up various answers and insights to some little things that have accumulated and showed me what I need to work on. The final culmination didn't show much, but my "future influence" was the Magician, a good sign overall. Potentially good change, and change that I need to make. Lots to think about, lots to do. I'm going on an 8 mile hike this weekend which I completely forgot about. It will be good. I need to clear my mind.

Also, I want to apologize to everyone I haven't kept in touch with. Jenna, I am going to call you this week. I just got your voicemail the other day when I was cleaning out old messages and never realized you had called. I wrote down your home number and am planning on giving you a call this week sometime. I also have some stuff to send out to you.

Also Also or P.P.S. I am going to very soon, within the next month, make this blog private. I'm going to start a design blog on tumblr.com and start writing more about design and art in general. If you're interested in staying up to date on this blog, email me at tschena@taylorrific.com and I'll send you an invite.


Sunday Special

This poem was read in church today. I really enjoyed it and thought I'd share:


Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.



I've been home the last couple days, sick with an ear and sinus infection. Perfect condition for absorbing mindless, daytime television. Also makes me realize why I am still not a fan of watching TV. Today's beef: Parenting in America.

While watching the tube, I came to the realization that there is not ONE single decent parent being shown on air. None. First stop, Rachael Ray's talk show:

Scenario: Mom is upset because her two-year old son would rather be with his dad and wants nothing to do with the mother. At first I felt kind of bad, then the mother opened her mouth. Here are her complaints:
• I gave up my job to take care of my son and he [the 2 year old son] doesn't appreciate that.
• I HATE being outdoors and I will take him [again, the 2 year old] to the park ALL day because he's the boy. (There was some obvious resentment in her tone)
• I read him my favorite books and he [again the 2 year old] doesn't like them.
SERIOUSLY???? He's TWO YEARS OLD! How selfish. No wonder the kid doesn't want to be around her. And the worst part is everyone was all pity-party for her. Oy. 

After a 4 hour nap, I woke up to watch wife-swap. Oh boy. That was a good watch. The one mother, a down-home Kentucky woman who was a sweetheart and a half, lets herself get walked all over by her daughters and asshole husband. She waits on the family hand and foot and gets no respect, yet she never puts her foot down. And then the other mother (this family was the best!) is a high-power exec., running a ghost-hunting business. And her husband is a Shaman. Seriously. Needless to say, it was a great show. Both mothers sucked. And the kids were all a bunch of brats. It was literally the worst of both extremes. One mother too sweet, the other too cold. 

Right now it's Super Nanny. This show just burns me up. What's with parents these days? Why is there NO discipline?? It seems parents are more concerned being a "friend" and not a parent. It's pitiful. They let their toddlers walk all over them and give in to every tantrum. Sigh. At any rate, these shows give me hope that if I ever find myself in a relationship, ever get married, and at some point bear children, I think I'd do a pretty good job. At least compared to what I'm seeing in the media. 

Come on America. Wake up and smell the Pampers. These kids are our future! As corny as it sounds, it's true. Scary thought: these over-spoiled, under-challenged, irresponsible hellions will be controlling our nation. I'd say that's worthy of a nightmare or two!


Post about future Post

Conversation with s 70-some year old homeless Vietnam veteran with few teeth makes for an interesting and mildly disturbing day. But conversation with an old, well-read Japanese man (who makes the BEST sushi in Nashville for 5 bucks) is enlightening and very informative.

More on that later.

Word of the [not-so] wise: If you go two weeks without any (and I mean ANY) sugar or caffeine, don't partake in a cup of coffee and half a chocolate cupcake. Bad news, that is. Bad bad idea. 


Witches n' Shit

Snippet of conversation on AIM with my sister (Morgan). Looks like the late 1600's are making a comeback in Providence.

morgan 3:23
taylor, i am going to go to a psychic

taylor schena 3:23

morgan 3:23
i think maybe she can help me figure out my subconscious

taylor schena 3:24
well you live on the beach
so i'm sure you can find one on a boardwalk somehwere

morgan 3:24
and there are tons or wiches and shit around
this is new england


The Birds

Went to "Movies in the Park" at Centennial Park tonight with Nate, Mark and Hilary. I do love that movie. Such a classic. The filming is fantastic for the time and the cast is perfect. I love the slight accent and the way in which people interacted back then. So classy. Even when the characters are pissed at each other, the retorts are curt yet sophisticated. I love it.

At the end of the movie my friends and the folks around me were baffled, "I don't get it, did it have to do with the love birds?" In my head it all makes perfect sense. It's totally gender-based. I can't help picking apart the movie. Granted, while I took Gothic and Horror Lit in college 4 years ago, and slept through a good portion of the class, I still can't watch horror films without trying to pinpoint the "other."

The "Bird War" begins when Melanie visits Bodega Bay. She goes completely against the grain of what the typical female role is expected to be at the time. She is single, successful and jumps naked into fountains in Rome. Even the locals take notice. At the diner, post-gas-station explosion, the paranoid, hysterical mother points to Melanie and states that it all started when she came to town. Goes so far as to point at Melanie and exclaim: "Why are they [the birds] doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from! I think you're evil. EVIL! "

Other female characters in the film are motherly. You have Annie Hayworth, Mitch's old flame who moved to Bodega Bay for her love for Mitch and never left, just so she could be close to him. She becomes the local school-marme which is essentially a motherly role. Lydia, Mitch's mother, is by default the standard mother both literally and figuratively. She makes it a point to bring up Melanie's reckless behavior and tells about how she still wakes up in the morning ready to prepare breakfast for her deceased husband. Her life revolves around her past husband and holding on to Mitch. As you can see, Mitch's role is the patriarch, the alpha male which every female looks to for support, Annie, Lydia, even his little sister, Cathy. All of the females except Melanie. Initially anyway.

While she does follow him to Bodega Bay, at the onset Melanie isn't swooning or drooling over Mitch. In fact, she is the one that makes the effort to "court" him in a sense. Bringing him lovebirds for his little sister, following him out to the country. She is the one doing the "hunting." Very much a role reversal. She is somewhat adamant on leaving yet Mitch persuades her to stay. As the movie progresses she comes to rely heavily on Mitch and becomes more motherly toward Bethany, which is quite the contrast of her character at the beginning. In the end, you see the issue of the Birds is "solved" as they drive away and Melanie is being held by Lydia, she is giving in and letting Lydia "mother" her and thus finally regards her as Mitch's better-half, or daughter-in-law. Melanie gives in to the ways of the "proper" woman, the daughter, the "wife" and "mother" figure to Cathy. And at this point the case is closed, story over.

Yes, the storyline of The Birds is overly creepy and chilling.. especially in the scene with the man with the gouged-out eyes. And on the playground as flocks upon flocks of birds gather on the jungle-gym. That just in itself is unnatural and unsettling, but I can't resist picking apart the underlying Gothic theme. I could be totally off and geeking out beyond all reason, but it makes sense to me. And was fun to think about.

Dang I miss Professor Herr's Honors Gothic and Horror Lit class.


AIGA Leadership

Conference. That's where it's at. I've been hanging around Omaha since Wednesday night for the AIGA Leadership Conference. I've been able to meet folks form AIGA chapters ranging from Portland, ME to Portland, OR and all the way out to Hawaii. I've met AIGA peeps from almost every state. All I have to say is AIGA is populated by some quality people. Rather than being a creativity-oriented conference like most I've been to, this one focuses on, well, leadership. It's very motivating and inspiring to see what other chapters around the country are up to, to chat with Debbie Millman about programming, or schmooze with Honolulu's president, or eat lunch with DC and Arizona chapters. And not to mention checking out everyone's collateral.. amazing!

And the best part is, everyone is down to earth. Just a super-cool, laid back fun bunch of people. All talented, all hard workers, all dedicated, all passionate, and did I say all fun? Yes. All fun.

After waiting almost an hour for a shuttle, almost getting hit by a car, a social at the local art gallery (read: free drinks.. and some Dale Chihuly sculpture), double-fisting said free drinks, watching Phillip give crap to a bouncer, foosball at a local bar.. I'm chilling out for the next 15 minutes before heading out to the next round of parties. Rooms 534/524/622 are where it's going down! Oh yeah. We may be design nerds, but we still know how to get down. You should see the looks on the locals' faces! Oh boy! 40+ design geeks in one local bar is quite the sight to see!


I heart drawing

I don't do this* near often enough... and I miss it.

*By this I mean drawing. Not to be confused with hula dancing.


Cause today can probably and just might get worse..

So things today are a smidge stressful and I'm not in a good mood. And to add to the mix, Shelby just imed me to inform me the CD House is being demolished. :-(

Thanks Shelbs. I really didn't need to know that right this minute.


I Caved

Just couldn't do it. I have to have my internet. I just can't stand not having it.. random google searches, AIM, checking emails regularly.. I just feel so lost without it. I just ordered DSL Lite from ATT. It's DSL sans voice-line which is sweet. And $19.99/mo. will keep my wallet happy. Granted, it's 768k, but I don't download anything large on a regular basis or play games online, and I'm sure it's a lot faster than the one bar of linksys I've been mooching. Anyway, looks like I'll be back online regularly sometime next week.


A Printer with a mind of its own...

Got this from Daniel. He found it here. Cracked. me. up. Even though I haven't worked in print in over a year and a half, still. Enjoy!


It's a Death Cab for Cutie kind of day..

The weather outside is gorgeous, it's Friday and for once, not-quite-so-busy (don't dare say slow). It's just a kind of chill, zone-out while listening to music, get-shit-done kind of day. If it were 20º warmer I'd suggest sitting on a porch with lemonade (or sweet tea) and that perfect silence between two good friends, the kind of friends where no conversation is necessary, the company is all that you need, with a witty comment thrown in for good measure. Or even a leisurely stroll through the woods, or meandering around flea markets on a hot morning.

I've got 5 Death Cab for Cutie albums and 1 Postal Service album on shuffle. It's perfectly relaxing. Every time a Postal Service song comes around I think of Conference Services, summer of 04. *sigh* that was a wonderful summer. Jenna and Kevin, I'm thinking of you both today. Your company would be perfect.


Wired.. is it worth it?

So it's been almost two weeks since I've had internet in my apartment. I'm debating whether or not I really want to suck it up and get internet. The absolute least expensive option I can find is DSL through ATT which would involve setting up a landline ($13/mo. being the cheapest) and then getting internet ($19.99/mo. for cheapest, $32.00/mo. for decent quality). And really, I just think that's a lot to pay when so many places give it away for free. Not to mention the hassle of yet ANOTHER bill to pay each month.

Sure, using the internet at a coffee shop means I have to pack up my junk and cart myself to the nearest café, but when I get there, I am WAY more productive than when I'm working at my apt. I actually focus and get stuff done (and while stuff is loading I doodle with my Wacom). I don't spend as much time messing around on myspace or facebook or just random nonsense. And the fact that I'm at a computer ALL day every day is really making me re-think how much time I was spending at my computer. I probably checked email upwards of 20 times a day at home, not counting how often I check at work (that's no exaggeration). Sans-connection, I find at night I spend my time reading or watching a DVD, or going outside.. and who knows, at this rate, I might even start using my cellphone once in awhile! And spending time at the coffee shops isn't so bad. It's about the same price if not cheaper (and tastier) to buy 10 cups of coffee a month and soak up some atmosphere and community than it would be to get internet full time.

Anyway. I do miss having the ability to search random stuff whenever I want, but now that the addiction's not as fierce, it's not so bad. I kind of like it really.

For those of you who DO have internet, check this out: ffffound.com. I think Josh, you might like this especially, if you haven't already heard of it. You click on a found image and it shows related images at the bottom of the page, which you click on one and it shows more.. a visually exciting chain of events really. And you can check out the artists' work as well. It's quite inspirational!

Getting my Hike On!

Going backpacking again this weekend. Heading out to Dayton, TN to check out Laurel-Snow Pocket Wilderness. I'm WAY excited!! A weekend jam-packed with mountains, waterfalls and, well, wilderness!

I created a logo for a co-worker and he gave me a $50 REI giftcard which meant I had some burned holes in my pockets. Went out to REI last night and bought this here Kelty Coyote pack. I haven't hiked with it yet, but I could tell a huge difference between this one and the borrowed Kelty I used last month. This one is fully adjustable so I could fit it exactly to my 14.5" torso... WHAT a difference! No spaces between the shoulder straps and shoulders, the waist strap fit around my waist and not my hips. I can't wait to see how it performs this weekend. Also while I was there I splurged and bought a pair of hiking pants. That store really is dangerous. At least everything I buy there (not on sale) goes toward my cash-back dividend at the end of the year.

I've also decided to start slowly acquiring gear, one piece per month. The pack was my first priority but then there's a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, camelback, etc. etc. And at some point (not this year) I'd love to get a kayak. Sigh.

p.s. Heather, you should join the Nashville Hiking Meetup! Even though you're in Knoxville, we do a number of hikes further east (mostly along the Cumberland Plateau, but still, at least backpacking, seems a lot of the hikes are 2.5-3hrs. east of here). Also, I need to get out to the Smokies now that the weather's getting nice. Seriously.

Anywho, back to work.


Internet Addiction: Denied

So my neighbors moved out this weekend, which is sad. They were awesome neighbors. And even worse, I can no longer share their internet and will be making many a phone call this week to get myself hooked up.

I can live perfectly content without cable, but no internet? ugh. that's a toughie.


My kitten, playing with a cat toy while I make breakfast. What a ham.
My baby..


Design Coding

Yeah bitches. fo sho.


Fishing? For Flies? What?

I have recently joined my church's fishing group: The Wounded Duck Fishing Club. It should be a fun time! April 5th I'll be joining them in learning to fly fish! Very excited about that. Then afterwards there will be a cookout (or we're "going to grill-out" as they say around these parts). I'm in charge of burgers and buns. Let's hope I don't get tangled up in the fishing line!

I have to say, every time I think of fly fishing I think of the movie poster for "A River Runs Through It" that was on the wall of my 7th grade shop class by the scroll saw. Never actually watched the movie though. Watching movies with Brad Pitt in them seemed so much cooler in middle school. I think he's lost his luster.


Laundromat Hell

I washed 3 weeks worth of laundry and suffered through 2 hours of Delilah and soft rock... and I lived to tell about it. I think I'm a much stronger human being now.



My dad just called me at work. He just had his high school class ring cut off. He's had that ring on his finger since 1970. It's seen the births of all my sisters and I, his marriage, his heart attack, many funerals, adventures in Mexico.. every good time, every bad time. He called me to tell me he's having it polished up and is sending to me. As the oldest daughter he wants me to have it. He's never once taken that ring off. Not ever. As a little girl, Morgan and I would pester him and he'd always say if he took it off his finger would fall off. And now, he's giving it to me (and his finger is still in tact).

It may sound silly, but I am so touched I can't even get over it. I've been tearing up since he called me. He says maybe it will bring me luck.

My dad is a sweetheart.


Saving Daylight (and my sanity) all in a Weekend!

Don't forget to turn the clocks ahead this weekend! YEAH!

You can't even begin to measure my level of excitement for extended daylight! Morning runs, hiking Radnor after work, gorgeous weather.. walking EVERYWHERE! I'm going to be outside every chance I get!


A pack on my back and the sun in my face

Went on my first big backpacking adventure last weekend. Definitely made for an awesome weekend! I've been a member of the Nashville Hiking Meetup Group for awhile, but hadn't gone on any hikes so I signed up for a beginners backpacking hike. I usually hike solo, but backpacking on my own was something I just couldn't muster up the guts to do, at least not the first time. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to give backpacking a try and meet some potential hiking buddies. There were 3 other folks that went: Keeley, James and Peter. All new faces. The weather was perfect and hopes were high.

Originally the hike was planned to be a 20+ mile jaunt through the Soddy Daisy area of the Cumberland Trail. The thing with the Cumberland Trail though, is that it's not really finished. The Soddy Creek trail was carved out, only partially marked with paint, the rest with bands of tape, and fairly rough trail. Also, there are 2 "creek" (read: mini rivers) that have yet to be bridged. Throw on a 20 or so lb. pack and a mildly-in-shape, mostly-out-of-shape female and you've got some rough hiking!

We made it to the first "future bridge site" and thought "Oh shit!" We had to scramble over huge boulders, passing our packs up and over, then forming a chain across the river, holding on to each other as we crossed. Of course, the trail after that was a bit more on the rough side, being less travelled than the trail before the creek. We of course thought the next creek couldn't be as bad as this one. Yeah.. we were sadly mistaken.

Soon enough the second "future bridge site" was looming in front of us.. all raging, deep, and un-crossable. Peter hiked down a ways, couldn't find a passable section. Then we hiked up the other way, there were plenty of boulders and we though for sure we could find a section with enough to cross on, or at least a shallow spot to wade through. Wrong again. Every spot that looked shallow, swallowed up rocks and boulders and no bottom was to be seen. Every boulder that looked close to another boulder, upon closer inspection, was far away from the other. Eventually, after hauling ourselves over countless boulders we found a section we thought we could get over.

The Plan: we would tie cord around James and he would cross. Then we would pass our packs along the cord then wade across, holding on for support. Sounded good to us. So we went and got our packs, hauled them over boulders, tied cord around James and in the water he went. And just as fast the current swept him off his feet so we reeled him back in and that was that. After an hour of frustration, we were only 5 miles in to the hike and we had to turn back.

Of course, going back up the side of the mountain was killer and Keeley and I had to make a number of stops (I really need to get myself to the gym more often). Finding a spot to set up camp was tricky. The whole section was on the side of a mountain, much too steep for 4 people to set up tents. Finally, James found a spot off the trail, right on a cliff, where we set up the tent and even had a boulder as a table for cooking. It was a perfect spot. Got to see the sun set and everything. Amazing.

We made chicken wraps for dinner. Peter shared his adventure stories which were awesome! He's hiked 150 miles of the AT through PA!! And is big into caving and repelling. James made hot chocolate for everyone and I just took it all in. And the stars.. OH THE STARS! I've missed starry skies, living in the middle of Nashville, I don't get to see many of those. Especially not clear skies just full of so many stars. So beautiful.

Next morning, after a freezing night in the tent, we had oatmeal, banana bread, hot cocoa and tea then packed up and shoved off. We only had about 3 miles left back to the car so we hiked back, took a shortcut on the road. We saw a particularly disgusting no-dumping site, full of dumped garbage and a stray dog, whom I fed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to.

All in all I'd say the hike was great. Hiking with a pack is much harder than I thought, but I think I did ok. I only hiked 10 miles as opposed to the planned 20, but according to my thighs, 10 miles was more than enough. I really want to get myself in better shape, I think we're going to try again in April and I want to make it the whole way.

There's just something about hiking. It puts my body through the ringer and despite the burning in my calves and thighs, the potential blisters, and sore toes.. I just love it. Doesn't matter how much I hurt, how bad I smell, or how gross I look, being in the woods puts a smile on my face. On the next morning, after my muscles were tight and sore, hiking in the morning, James looked back and said "you look SO happy.. you have this little half-smile like you're just loving it" and, well, I was! I was in the woods, in the sun.. no computer, no phone, no bills, no headaches, just sun in my face. The smell of the earth and the trees. That is my heaven.

Sigh. I love the woods. Let's just say all day Monday I was Jonesin' for some nature. Going from a weekend of mountain to a day full of computers and clients is pretty rough. But at least I had some lovely thoughts to entertain me. New friends, new experiences and a new activity to enjoy. Perfect.


Lace up the Hiking Boots...

I just RSVPed for an overnight hike this weekend. It's out near Chattanooga, 10 miles a day. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a teeny bit nervous. At the same time, I'm really excited about it. It's an overnight hike specifically for newbies to backpacking. I've done long day hikes before, but have never gone overnight. I'll probably borrow gear from my neighbors. OOOh I've got some butterflies about it. Exciting exciting!

Wish me luck and that I go up and back in one piece. We head out Friday night, get up early and hike 9-5, camp, get up, hike back the next AM and drive back. And I don't know any of the people going, which should be pretty fun! New people and new experiences! Yeah!


Girl Scout Goodness

I so just ordered 6 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I ordered 1 box of Samoas (Caramel DeLites), 2 boxes of Trefoils (Shortbread Cookies), 2 boxes of Thin Mints, and 1 box of some new lemon variety. Hope they don't come in til after Lent!

Oh Happy Day!!

AWESOME News!! My landlord called today. I had emailed her over a month ago about a new lease since my current one expires.. oh.. next week. She's going let me renew!! I was kind of worried she wouldn't, I know there had been talk with my neighbors about possibly selling and I was a little nervous about a possible rent increase, which I really couldn't afford. BUT no rent increase and I get another year in the coolest area ever for a flat $700/mo. Oh Thank You God! Seriously.

And I know my neighbors are house-hunting. My landlord said if they move out she'll look for an attractive single guy about my age to rent the place downstairs.. cha-ching! haha.

Oh I am so so SO happy!!!



Hey kids, who's going to Bonnaroo? I am! I was originally going to fly home the week before for my sister's graduation, but instead my mom is buying Nikki and her bf tickets and Shelbs is buying tickets and they're all coming down here :-) YAY! I just bought my tickets this afternoon.. quite a bit more than I paid 2 years ago! I paid $208 the first year, and this year? Try $277! Holy Crap! It'll be an awesome show though! I'm definitely stoked. If anyone else is headed down here from the North, let me know!


Furious. Fuck Continental.

SO my two best friends, Kim and Karen, were supposed to fly in tonight. Unfortunately Continental is run by a bunch of douchebags and they decided to up and cancel the flight. Wouldn't give a good reason either. The flight was full, plane was fine, weather perfect. Just felt like cancelling I guess. I guess they really hate their customers. So now Kim and Karen had to shell out over $100 more for Southwest tickets but aren't going to get in until tomorrow afternoon.

Yeah, I'M FURIOUS! BEYOND ALL REASON! Ugh. I have been looking forward to them visiting for months and while yes, they are still visiting, that's a full 13 hours I won't see them. A full 13 hours less time at a more than $100 cost. BULLSHIT. That's what that is.


Love Today!

Happy Valentine's Day! You can't listen to this song without getting a smidge bit cheerful. It's just too fun!


kittens and metal detectors

The kittens punctured holes throughout my exercise ball with their oh-so cute claws of theirs. Argh. They must have put a lot of holes in it because I can't get it to stay fully inflated for a whole workout (when I pulled it out of the closet it was a droopy mess). Kittens, you are both on my shit list.

In other news, two dudes (one tall and lanky and bald and one overly hairy and fat) with a 4-ish or 5-ish year old girl were wandering around the yards of two empty lots next to my apartment. Fully clad with huge honking metal detectors. I could hear the beeping noises in my bathroom. Creeped me out, but I also found it very amusing. It's interesting to see the hunger and passion for exploring and discovery of ages past has dwindled and morphed to metal detectors in empty lots. The little girl seemed to be having a great time though! Turns out they were Civil War buffs searching for old bullets. Pretty neat, but creepy nonetheless. I'll bet deep down, they like to pretend they're pirates.


You say Tornado I say Tornah-do

This sucks. Nashville's been hit and is going to keep being hit by some really pathetic weather tonight. Severe tornado weather passed right through my area. The kittens, my macbook and myself hung out with my neighbors and their dog under the stairs in their basement for a half hour. Not my ideal evening, but things could have been worse. We had hail, green lightning, and some crazy-ass wind. It touched down around Vandy (which is like, a mile and a half from my apt.) and Bellevue which is about 15 min. west of me. They kept talking about "rotations" passing through Nashville (right through my area) and stuff about the "tail hooking" or whatever. The weather was bad, that's all I know.

Unfortunately, while things are in the clear right now, tornado-y goodness is supposed to make a second stop through town around, oh, 1AM!!! UGH. All I want to do is go to bed, but the weather dudes keep saying no. I'm debating going to sleep or taking a nap, but I know me and I know that I can sleep through the heaviest of thunderstorms. That would definitely NOT be a good thing. So instead, I'm blogging.

Anyway, tonight is Fat Tuesday. And since I will be giving up ALL sweets until Easter, I dubbed tonight the "Last Supper" and splurged on some Coldstone Creamery for dinner. The last time I enjoyed their ice cream was last Fat Tuesday. And it was funny, because when I went today the guy was like "WELCOME BACK!" and I was confused. I couldn't figure out how he remembered me after a whole year. Guess I looked familiar. Anyway, if you're looking for a good combination, I figured out a particularly delicious one: Sweet Cream Ice Cream, Oreos, chocolate chips, peanut butter and fudge. DELICIOUS! Last year I made some strawberry shortcake concoction, but this was far superior. Try it out sometime.

Also for Lent this year, I've decided to start doing devotions everyday until Easter. I haven't done them in a long time and not regularly since being in Africa. I think it will be really good for me. It's a perfect time for spiritual growth. Tomorrow I go for my ashes. I can't decide if I'm going on lunch or in the evening. Probably the evening service.

For any of you kids interested, Bonnaroo looks frigging fantastic this year. Pearl Jam, Iron and Wine, DeathCab, etc. I will be definitely buying a ticket, credit card debt be damned.

The weather man keeps talking about Bucksnort, TN. It makes me want to laugh. Bucksnort. haha.

Oy. I really wish I could just go to bed! Stinking weather.


O is for Opportunity

I may have landed myself an exciting freelance opportunity doing some print work for a research company. I've worked with them before with emma doing their email stuff and they're a really a fun bunch. So far things are looking really good. I made a pricing offer and they want me to call tomorrow to discuss ideas/direction/next steps. I don't really know how much I'll get to do for them, but I've been looking up their company and a new medical marketing research branch they've just started and am REALLY hoping for some big fun.

I forgot how much I love advertising and coming up with concepts and ideas. My sophomore, junior and part of senior years at KU I LOVED advertising design and was convinced that is what I would do post-graduation. And while I got to do a smidge at my last job, for the most part every idea was shot down and all hopes of creativity were stifled by a not-so-wonderful boss (even ideas that the client really loved, my boss would still shoot down, with me at the table, in front of the client, for an idea he would come up with that looked like crap). I digress. Just sitting at Borders tonight with a stack of design and advertising books and a whole bunch of regular magazines for research purposes, I just went nuts with ideas. Sigh. It felt really good. I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE what I'm doing now. Absolutely 110% love working with my clients and the fast-paced creative freedom my job allows, but the idea of getting back into print via freelance, and dipping my feet back into the advertising pool is really exciting.

I try not to get my hopes up too high when things like this come around, but I just can't help it. My hopes are hovering somewhere over Mars and I have no intentions of reigning them in.

Anywho, wish my loads of luck! I'm going to go work on a Valentine's Day custom campaign for work. I'm just chock-full of creativity and need to let some of it out. I feel like I've got a second wind tonight. Time to bust out the Wacom!

P.S. To all you kids in areas where Primaries are tomorrow: GO VOTE!


My job kicks ASS

Three reasons why working at Emma is AWESOME:

1. Kegerator + Kegs (plural)

2. Air Hockey Table

3. Guitar Hero/Rock Band

Yup. It's a good time.


What's the Story

I swear I had two other posts here. I must have only saved them as drafts. Ah well. This week is full of busy. I went to Exit/In on Tuesday to see Band of Horses. They are AMAZING. The Funeral is just such a gorgeous song. Their show was awesome. Their voices and the way they play, I was consumed. The crowd itself sucked, but that's generally the case at Exit/In. I was right up front too. Wicked sweet. I didn't get pictures, but the people next to me got enough to keep every photo album in Nashville stocked. Anyway, it was wonderful. Here's the music video for "The Funeral." Definitely one of my new favorites.

Also, I went to a hockey game tonight. I've decided I'm an official Preds fan. I have to say, I'm really not a fan of sports, but I really do enjoy hockey games. I don't know that I'd like to watch it on TV, but live, it's GREAT! The games are really fast-paced and get pretty intense. Perfect for short attention spans. Plus, it's not outside and they play rock music. Aside from the game, I had also inadvertently made three other plans for the night: an AIGA meeting which I missed, a henna party and a rock show. I think the hockey game was the best choice of the four.

So moving forward, I got an email today from a Marketing Research company that wants me to do some freelance print ads for them. I'm pretty stoked. I have to give them a timeline and pricing. It's been awhile since I've come up with that kind of stuff. I really like working with this client so I think it will be fun. I designed an illustrated Christmas email campaign for them which was REALLY fun. I'm excited. I hope it all pans out.

And on a fun note: here is the "Regular Everyday Normal Guy Rap Song." It was passed around the design team. HILARIOUS.
Here's the first one and the second. Way funny.

and 2




My family may live 14 hours away, yet their drama STILL drags me down. Ugh. I CANNOT be a mediator from this far away. It just doesn't work.
I'm just not going to answer my phone or instant messages for awhile...


Brain = Potato Chip

Stagnant. That's how I feel today. I finally got around to cleaning my apartment. This has been on my to-do list for awhile now. I don't just mean tidying up some clutter and doing dishes, I mean the real-deal. Dusting, vacuuming, washing the floor, lint-rolling the couch, cloroxing all countertops and surfaces. The whole shebang.

I've made a discovery along the way. Laying all around my apartment were found remnants and articles of my lack of activity. I've noticed numerous books that have gone unread, a few of which are overdue at the library, twice-renewed. An untouched Michael's bag full of paintbrushes, paper and pallete. My unplugged Wacom tablet, dusty design books, crumpled up directions on how to knit a hat next to knitting needles and dusty yarn. A Wok, stir-fry book and Whole Foods bag of jarred Asian sauces in the corner. The bag of Christmas goods from home, still not put away. Posters I've had for months, unframed and still rolled up. Tools yet to be put away after assembling a rowing machine. The battery to my smoke alarm that I've been meaning to put back for ages.

What is the deal with me? I have all these big ideas and no follow-through. Even little mundane tasks, pushed to the side. A mess of intentions, creative aspirations and all thoughts pointing forward. And yet, nothing even gets started and what is put into production never gets finished. It's sad and makes me feel lazy. Which I guess that's what I've been. I have managed to complete all 3 seasons of Arrested Development, the second season of The Office, and have read 2 books, and have slept over 8 hours a night since getting back from PA. Yet creatively, I haven't accomplished a thing. I'm really beginning to disappoint myself. By brain has come to resemble a potato chip. Dried up, crunchy and mostly unhealthy.

So. This means this week I will start and finish one task. I'm not sure which of the many it will be, but I will do SOMETHING to get my brain working. My apartment may be dust-free as of this morning, but the overcrowded cob-webs of my brain need to go as well.


365 Days of Nashville (and then some)

As of last Sunday it has been a year since my move to Nashville. I have to say this was the best decision I've ever made. I am growing into a much better, healthier and happier human being than ever before. In celebration (and boredom at the moment) I am posting in celebration of the past year and in anticipation of the year to come.
A rundown of this last year's goodness as follows:

I've lost some weight, dropped a couple pant sizes, and am at a number I haven't seen since about 8th grade. You won't find a single non-whole wheat carbohydrate in my apartment and my fridge is stocked with produce about 85% of the time. I've made some amazing friends and am having the time of my life. The people I've met here are wonderful! Hilary, Jenn, Jessica, Mark, Daff, Mike, Will, Nate are wonderful additions to my friend-base. Quality friends if ever I've known some.

I've seen more live music in this last year than my whole life combined, Nashville's great for free and very cheap but really good shows. I work for emma and LOVE LOVE LOVE my job! I get to interact with clients all over the world, have creative freedom, the ability to work at my own pace, work with AWESOME people and drink beer and play Guitar Hero (and Rock Band) on Fridays. I volunteer my time and am on the board of and am a very active member of AIGA. I read more, travel more and just do more in general and my social skills have greatly improved.

Since my move, I've discovered a few new "likes" that I would not have originally expected.
For Instance:

• Hockey
• Grits (particularly Low-Country Shrimp and Grits)
• BlueGrass music
• Girly Movies / Chick-Flicks.. not the sad drama ones, but the fun up-beat types
• Mexican Restaurants
• SONIC! (How I've lived 24 years of my life without Lemon-Berry Slushies and drive-thru tator-tots is a mystery)
• life without cable
• Yankee Candles
• Spicy Food
• Makeup
• Henna Tattoos

So overall, I'm really excited and happy with the past year and am really excited for this upcoming year.
I don't have as many goals leading up to 26 as I did leading up to 25, but the goals I have are bigger than usual.

The big two are:
• Save money
• Lose the rest of the weight

and my two small goals, which I'm considering New Year's resolutions and not birthday goals are:
• Run a 5k (I'm at 2.5 miles, so I'm getting there)
• Find myself a boyfriend

That's right folks. I'm finally at a point where I think I'd like a relationship. Never thought I'd really come to this decision. I've always cherished my independence and solitude, but the more I think about it, the more I think it would be really nice. So. If any of y'all know any nice single guys (particularly well-read with a good sense of humor and mildly-attractive) let me know!

I hope 2008 is starting out well for everyone!
Bonne Année, Bon Santé!



Peacock: Symbol of love, passion, luck, protection, and prosperity.

Went to Jenn's for a henna party tonight and to watch Knocked Up. It was a good time. Jenn made me that sweet henna tattoo you see pictured above. Hopefully will give me some good luck in the start of this shiny new year. Definitely a good symbol. The tattoo's kind of light yet but should be dark by tomorrow morning. It turned out REALLY nice! Jenn's got mad skills.


Holy Beesus I'm Bored

Working on AIGA stuff. Took a break to doodle. I took out a book from the library on "force full" figure drawing. Like animation-type character drawing. I really need to draw more. I do love it so. Was thinking about working out tonight and about how much I hate running yet I make myself do it. One thought led to another and voila. Random doodle. (p.s. that is not supposed to be me, though my butt probably is that big).



Of course, we couldn't have snow while I was actually there. Boo. Fun pictures though. And I'm definitely not sad about the weather this week being in the mid-50s to low-70s. Very nice indeed.


Lone Hikers Beware

Police seek 'weathered' man seen with missing hiker

Now, I'm certainly not going to stop hiking by myself, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't genuinely freaked out a smidge. Jenna and Heather, you may find the article a bit interesting.

If I had to guess, I'd say she was probably abducted. If you were lost, you'd have your water bottle and leash with you. Creepy nonetheless.