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Playlist #25: May Music Recommendations

| On
May 30, 2014
(Cover Art by Laura D'Alessandro, who is phenom)

Lately all of the music I've been listening to has been one and the same. 60s/70s folk rock all over. I've been working quite a bit lately and this sort of music is my soundtrack--thankfully my employees haven't complained about the old music too much! 

Since I haven't mentioned it in awhile, I'll recap: in the summers I live in something that can best be described as an "intentional community", sort of like a commune but it's for Christians, not hippies. We don't have communal gardens or anything (though I'd be totally game if anyone wanted to start one). But we've all grown up spending summers together, going to church together, going to the beach together, having barbecue in the park, going on canoe trips, and participating in other programs. So the town is small, we only have a church, small post office and an ice cream shop--my baby. We're only open late at night so after closing, when we clean, we listen to music and mop the night away. 

May Music Recommendations from allielynn24 on 8tracks Radio.

What are you listening to these days?

Weekly Goals #33

| On
May 26, 2014
Happy Monday, dollface! It has been so long since I've made weekly goals because of my blog break towards the middle of the month. On the subject of that blog break, can I just say that it was exactly what I needed? I felt a little guilty taking a break + I think those of you who are bloggers understand the feeling of not wanting to let your readers down. But at the heart, blogging for me right now is a hobby, and I would be crazy to let a hobby take up valuable time that I didn't have during exam week. So thank you for allowing me to feel okay leaving the blog for a bit + thank you for welcoming me back!

Last Week's Goals:

(Otherwise known as, the goals I made more than a month ago and haven't followed up on.)

  1. Finish my review book + exam prep. Done and done! Well, my exams are over so I sort of have to be! But I do feel like I ended up spending enough time reviewing...even for that devil of a class, European History! I feel pretty confident that I did well on all my exams, but I won't get my scores until July 7, which sucks a ton. Hey, at least by that point I won't care if I don't ace 'em.
  2. Finish reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. You know what? I didn't do this, and I'm totally okay with that. This book sounded super interesting: old bookstore, mystery, crime. But you know what the first hundred pages were about? This random guy's computer programming. Whaaaa?! I just wasn't interested. I'm a big believer that if I'm 75 pages in and still not interested, it's not a good book for me. 

This Week's Goals:

  1. Make a to-do list every morning + actually get things done. As of last week, I'm officially on vacation! This week (until my graduation on Saturday--yay!), I have almost nothing planned. I plan on spending this week exercising, cleaning, organizing, practicing calligraphy and generally doing productive things. But I'm totally one of those people that spends their first week of vacation lounging around eating Cheetos. Except I'm too broke to spend money on Cheetos. So I'm hoping that this goal will help me actually do stuff--even if it's fun stuff!
  2. Read at least 15 minutes a day. During the school year, I really just don't have much time to read. So when summer rolls around, I have the time, but I'm not in the habit. When I was at the beach with my boyfriend H last weekend, I started a book that I've wanted to read for ages called When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds. 
What are your goals for the week?!

DIY Design: Make an Ikat Pattern in Photoshop

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May 23, 2014
I am so. ready. for chevron to be done. Everything is chevron these days (and um, should totally be passe since it's been around for like four years now) and I'm so not into it. I've taken to unfollowing anyone on Pinterest who repins anything chevron because you know what, I just can't handle that kind of a mess in my life. 

You know what I do like? Ikat. I sure don't know how to pronounce it (eye-cat? ee-cot?) but I know I like it. Let's make it dudes. 

1. Open up a new canvas, whatever size you want the repeatable square of your pattern to be. I went with 200x200. If you want a smaller pattern, go with 100 or 150 square. And if you want a bigger pattern...yeah you get it.

2. In a new layer, use the rectangle tool (but pick the straight line setting) to draw lines between all of the centers of your square's sides, like so, to create a diamond shape.

3. In your toolbar, find a brush that's kind of uneven looking. Pick a color. Draw straight lines up and down inside your diamond, but keep them loose. No need to stay inside the lines.

4. Pick another color and do the same thing, but in a smaller, imaginary diamond shape inside your diamond.

5. Now, go into Filter>>Other>>Offset and change the adjustments until you have your design evenly in four corners, like so.

6. OPTIONAL. Use your secondary color to draw another little diamond in the white space. Save by choosing Edit>>Define Pattern.

7. Open up a new canvas, aaaaany size you want. Press shift+F5 (fill) and select 'Use pattern'. Under the pattern options, click the mini square with your pattern and watch it fill up the space! How lovely! :)

If you liked this tutorial, I'd love if you would pin the top image or share it. 

P.S. You might also like my quick tutorial on making patterned text in Photoshop.

Cool Science: Bioluminescence

| On
May 21, 2014
Guysssss let's be nerdy! 

Today, we're gonna chat about bioluminescence, aka stuff that glows. So these organisms--fungi, marine invertebrates like jellies and insects--glow by doing fancy little chemical reactions inside their cute glowy little bodies. The organism creates luciferin, a pigment. It will also create an enzyme (something that makes chemical reactions happen faster) called luciferase. The awesome glowiness you see in the pictures above come from a chemical reaction of luciferin and oxygen, that is sped up by luciferase.

On a similarly weird note, a Kickstarter campaign called The Glowing Plant Project (creative) has raised more than $500,00 to genetically engineer (you guessed it) plants that glow. But what's really cool is their actual goal in creating glowing plants: bioluminescent trees to replace street lights. Whoa

Also: in case you missed, my new series Missing Links = lotssss more science. If you're into that. (You should be).

What I Learned About Confidence From a Middle School Spelling Bee

| On
May 19, 2014
Hi lovelies! I'm so happy to be back from my little break. Exams are over and the universe lets out a collective sigh of relief (mild hyperbole). Today, I want to share a story from junior high + where I got what I call my quote-manifesto. It's about to get a little serious, a little sappy, a little cliche around here, but this post has gotta happen. If this isn't your deal, no worries, I'll be back with the previously scheduled sass on Wednesday with a post on bioluminescence (oooh, science!). 

So to start out my story, let's just put it out there that middle school is literally the most fragile, insecure, her-snarky-comment-about-my-hair-made-me-cry-for-days sort of stage in our lives. Anything--and I mean anything--can ruin you in middle school, from whatever your mom yelled to you as you got out of the car to what kind of food you brought for lunch.

I was always reasonably well-liked in the "upper middle class" of the junior high social hierarchy. But come sixth grade, I knew my downfall was coming + I knew that it would come in the form of a spelling bee. 

I used to be freakishly good at spelling. Like really good. But more importantly, I thought that made me freakishly bad at being a cool person. I hated being smart, being good at things that other people weren't. 

But because I hate to lose, I found myself in this spelling bee at my school. And I won it. Spelling bee in the county. Won it again. The region. Champion. Then I had states. And it was then that I decided I didn't want to be in the spelling bee anymore. Because who really does spelling bees anyways?

So I tried to quit, but my parents wouldn't let me. They sat me down on our green leather sofa and made me watch a movie--Akeelah and the Bee--about an inner city girl who competes in the National Spelling Bee. In the final moments before the competition, she remembers where she's from and doubts that she belongs there. And at that moment, she reads this quote from Marianne Williamson (bolding mine):

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

That quote is the reason I finished and competed in that spelling bee, even though I lost. But more importantly, that quote has shaped the way I carry myself ever since. You know what? I'm an intelligent person. I am beautiful. I am talented. And I'm capable. 

It's not cocky and it's not silly to believe in your own power. 

Because of that one juvenile movie, I have a manifesto, one that guides so much of what I do. 

What's your quote-manifesto?

P.S. Like when I get serious? Thoughts on being a multipassionate blogger and on honesty/Jerry Springer (yep I'm for real).

5 Visually Inspiring Pins

| On
May 07, 2014
Hi loves! Here are five photos and illustrations that I've found that have been inspiring me lately. As always, feel free to follow me on Pinterest if you like my aesthetic (link in sidebar).

AM on The Present Tense: New Album Design for Cineplexx

Watercolor backdrop

Cactus Garden.

lupita nyong'o by sharif hamza for dazed & confused, february 2014.
(Source, as best I can find)

pink patterned wallpaper.

Feel free to share your pinterest links and/or favorite pins below!

Monthly Goals

| On
May 05, 2014
Hello lovelies and happy May! The next two weeks are going to be absolutely insane for me as I finish my exams and get ready to finally graduate! I'm equal parts excited and sad and stressed and ecstatic these days and life is just crazy! 

To deal with all the craziness going on, I've decided to take a break from blogging between May 10th and May 18th. I've never taken a planned "blogging break" before, but I do think they're really important to keep from overstressing yourself or burning yourself out. During this time, I'll be taking my exams, starting my work for the summer (managing my second love, my ice cream shop!) and gearing up for graduation! Know that this break is so not out of any lack of interest in blogging--actually, I've had so much inspiration and passion for this blog lately that I don't think I'd be able to rein it in and study!

Anyways, back to the actual point of this goals of the month! Last month, my goal was pretty simple--enjoy April! And I did, for the most part! Though I worked hard on schoolwork, I've relaxed quite a bit by blogging, working out more than I have in the past and spending lots of time with friends and my boy. It's been so nice!

In May, I've got lots of things going on (oh wait, did I already mention that? Maybe a few times...). My goals for the first two weeks are to work and work hard. If I pass my exams, I get college credit and get to skip out on some boring classes and I'm all for that! I just need to focus. After that, I've got a week off and I'll be in Michigan and potentially Myrtle Beach for some mini-vacations. That's my time to relax. Then in the last few days of the month, I graduate! I'll be spending lots of times with friends and classmates and family so my goal is to socialize and make memories. I want to take lots of pictures so that I can remember this part of my life. 

What are your goals for May?

Long Term Goals + Dreams

| On
May 02, 2014
As I'm getting ready for a big new stage of my life (college), I've been thinking a lot about my future. These days, it feels like every choice I make is going to determine the rest of my life. Where I chose to go to school, who I choose to live with, what major I choose to study. To make these choices, I'm having to look to the future + know towards what destination I want to aim my life. It's not something I do very often, but it's been really eye-opening + I think valuable. I find that I have a lot of dreams that just aren't compatible with each other. But I still think they're worthwhile dreams to maintain, since any one of them could be in my future!

I also think there's tremendous value in sharing your dreams with others and so I thought I'd share my dreams with you. If you'd like to share your long-term dreams with me, please link up below! I'd love to read them.

+ Graduate from college first! My plan is microbiology or biotechnology with a concentration in botany. 

+ Get an advanced degree, at least a masters, maybe a Ph.D. I wanna be smarttttt. 

+ Work in a research field for a little while or pursue graduate teaching. 

+ Grow this blog until I earn a little income off it. I don't dream of making blogging a job, but I am inspired by the idea of getting financial encouragement to continue this hobby. I haven't decided whether I will offer sponsorships in the future, but it's definitely an option. 

+ Grow a family. Whether it's just a husband or a husband/child (I can't handle more than one!).

+ Do freelance design part-time. I don't want to get a degree in design but I'm motivated to use the skills that I have, particularly for new + smaller bloggers to have an option for custom designs.

+ Open a stationery shop with my own designs. This one's a big one + might just be a dream (I've never confessed it out loud/in a post!--but that's okay). I keep coming up with ideas for cute cards with confidently quirky-cute designs and want to make them so badly! I am very interested for now in getting to make some cards for myself, just for fun. If anyone has any tips on designing for print/where to print things like that (I've heard StationeryHQ), give me a holler!

+ Become a master calligrapher and do a little freelance calligrapher for friends or family. At the very least, I'd like to continue the practice and become comfortable with (pointed pen) gouache, brush and india ink calligraphy while experimenting with different papers.

+ Write a book on science for the average person that doesn't include "cliche" science facts. I want to talk about technicalities in fungi and genes and proteins. I want to teach anyone, especially people without a science background, that the biggest beauty in our world is not because of it's colors and aesthetics, but because of its complexity. 

Now link up your dreams, pretty please, so this link up isn't all lonely!

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