Looking up to Fictional Characters


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Now that it’s summer, I’ve found my comfortable spot on the corner of the couch and planted myself here indefinitely with reruns of Friends and Pushing Daisies to keep me occupied for the times when I’m home over the next few months. Watching Greek today, I got to thinking…if I could be any combination of TV characters, what combination would I be?

I would have…

The leadership ability and drive of Leslie Knope (Parks and Rec.)
alikeknopeThe mothering and caring skills of Lynette Scavo (Desperate Housewives).

alikelynetteThe kindness and organization of Casey Cartwright (Greek)–we’ve already got the same car!


The eternal optimism of Chuck (Pushing Daisies).

alikaannafrieland the grace, poise, and intelligence of Michelle Obama (who I realize is neither fictional nor a TV character).




Thanksgiving for Italians: The Vinciguerra Olympics


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Sitting there stuffed with delicious food and wine, reclined in our chairs, feeling sleepy we were all pretty thankful for Thanksgiving this year. From our comfortable, relaxed positions we suddenly found ourselves out in the backyard–a little too full to be standing up, and prepping ourselves for the Vinciguerra Olympics.

I’d like to take a moment here to inform you of the meaning of “Vinciguerra:” winner of the war. So, it only makes sense that we would top off our Italian Thanksgiving with a makeshift Hunger Games.

“May the odds be ever in your favor.”

What does the Vinciguerra Olympics entail you ask?

Bocci, tournament style, of course. That’s a given. It’s our bread and butter.

Badminton for the spritely.

And croquet to wrap it all up.

After selecting our countries (Norway, USA, Uganda, China, Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland, Burma, and Jamaica), we spent the rest of our evening parading around the yard–iPhones held high–playing our national anthems.

In the end, Burma took croquet, Norway badminton and Portugal bocci. And here’s the breakdown.

Distracted by too much pie, we never did have our closing ceremonies. And, that right there, is how the Vinciguerras do Thanksgiving.

On Living in a Swing State during an Election Year


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Ohio: flat, full of corn, full of cows, full of colleges.

That’s what I thought. I mean, I’ve been going to school in this state going on 3 years now and not too much has happened besides the occasional tornado drill. But this year is different. It’s election season in a swing state. It does not get much better than this for a history fanatic and politics lover.

Within one week I got to hear the President speak from a VIP location, I got to see Mitt Romney walk into a restaurant a couple blocks from where I go to class everyday, and I got to see the First Lady speak in our field house on the same day she submitted her absentee ballot. It does not get better.

Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned from the week:

1. Get on the bus. When someone unexpectedly shouts with a megaphone, “We’re giving you all VIP tickets to hear the President speak tonight at OSU!” you do not question your obligations. Your priorities are in order if you get on that bus.

2. You may not remember that Wednesday Botany class that one week of Junior year, but I promise you will remember seeing a presidential candidate roll into town on his big-ass bus and walk into a restaurant you’ve actually been in.

3. If given the opportunity to hear Michelle Obama speak, you skip that Botany class again. I will never ever forget feeling: inspired and excited about all of the things Obama has done for America and all of the things he has in store. Although you may not support Obama, I promise this speech would have made you feel patriotic.

In conclusion, Ohio you are wonderful. I love living in such a bipartisan state and feeling election fever everywhere I go.

Day One, Junior Year

A brief summary of Day One, Junior Year…

  • Woke up too early for any sane person
  • Sorted book reviews for 3 hours the first day back at work
  • Ate lunch with my sisters, after waiting for the Freshman-induced lines to clear
  • Planted garlic bulbs
  • Saw a scanning electron microscope
  • Made a new student feel more comfortable in a class of upper-classmen
  • Waited to talk to a professor for 1.5 hours, luckily there is a door near his offices covered with quotes that kept me occupied
  • Had our first rehearsal for “8”
  • Had our first meeting as a house!
  • Ate breakfast for all three meals (cereal, bagel, and omelette)
  • Finished decorating the room

How Mark Zuckerberg ended up in our Bathroom…Twice.


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It all starts with the most recent issue of TIME magazine. We have a small magazine holder in our bathroom, as I’m sure many of you do as well, and the December issue of TIME happened to be sitting on top. Why we’re still on the December issue is a mystery to me.

Anyway, our dear friend, Mark Zuckerberg was on the cover of said magazine, being lauded for his achievement as “Person of the Year.”

Over the next few days we would be sitting in the living room and hear someone shout from the bathroom, “Mark Zuckerberg is looking at me!” Or making dinner in the kitchen a hear a muffled, “This is so creepy, Zuckerberg…”

When the magazine was finally read and moved out of the bathroom, we actually found that we missed seeing his face every time that we went to relieve ourselves. Well, my sister and I at least…

So we came up with the brilliant, half-baked plan to restore him to his place.


Late one Thursday night, after everyone else had gone to bed, we snuck upstairs to the computer and printed out a new photo of Mark Zuckerberg. Trying to contain our excitement, for what was sure to be a hilarious reveal, we tip-toed down the stairs and into the bathroom.

Our bathroom has a slight lighthouse theme, and when I say slight, I mean there are pictures of every lighthouse we’ve ever seen hung on the walls. So all we had to do, was replace one of those pictures with Mark Zuckerberg’s smiling face.

One of these things is not like the other.

We went to bed feeling incredibly accomplished, awaiting the moment when our parents would discover Mark.

It took an entire day for them to find him. The end result of our incredibly-well-thought-out, ingenious efforts? “What’s Mark Zuckerberg doing in the bathroom?”

“Well, it’s funny mom. Don’t you think it’s funny. You know, because he was in there before. Me and Natalie swapped out the picture in the middle of the night last night.”

It took a few minutes to process, but eventually they were both laughing. I’d call this a success. Maybe not the success as a company worth over $100 billion dollars, but I’m no Mark Zuckerberg.

The Creative World of Kilner Jars


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Today I made these cute make-shift flower pots to hang in my room at school! I’m taking a horticulture class this semester, so I’m hoping I can put some real dirt and real plants in them at some point, but for now I’ve made my own little arrangement of fake flowers.

Here’s where I got the idea: http://denicelindell.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/diy-nature-is-my-bff/!

I’m hoping I can make it feel like spring all year out in Ohio…

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”


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Another great Eleanor Roosevelt quote, and a little inspiration for my second project today, that has successfully helped me procrastinate packing a little longer.

I took some ideas I saw online for how to make dream-makers and adapted them to what I was looking to make, and look how it turned out!


Here are the steps you can take to make your own!

What you need:

  • some sort of hoop, I used a stitching hoop for a larger one and a bracelet to make a mini one
  • hemp
  • a trinket to put in the center of the dream catcher
  • ropes, ribbons, yarn, anything you want to hang on it!
  • hot glue

1. Wrap your hoop with hemp putting a dab of hot glue every so often to make sure it stays put.


2. When the hoop is completely covered with hemp start weaving the string around the edges however you’d like. I loosely glued the yarn at 6 even points around the circle and then went back around with the yarn through the center of those places to connect it to the trinket.



3. Tie your strings, pieces of fabric, yarn, etc. onto the bottom of your dream catcher!


Presto! You can also make a mini one, like I did, with a bracelet!


“I made you a kite, so you would have to look up.”


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My first attempt at a Pinterest craft. I found this kite/bow-clip hanger that you can make out of a hanger, ribbon, and some fabric. It was really easy to make, quick and functional.

If you want to make your own all you need is:

  • fabric
  • ribbon
  • hot glue

1. Pull the hanger into the shape of a kite, bending the hook part of it straight (this will be the top of the kite tail.

2. Stretch your fabric over the kite and hot glue it to the hanger on the back side of your kite.

3. Put your ribbon on the front of the kite and glue the edges to the back.

4. Put a dab of glue in the middle of the front of the kite so the two ribbons stick together.

5. Attach the tail ribbon to the bottom of the kite. Wrap it around the “hook” of the hanger and then let it dangle.

6. Clip on your bows!


Boat Bullies and the Snail Sail


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Today we went out into Boston Harbor on our little blue sailboat, The Blue Angel. Of course, we were there to see the USS Constitution, under its own power, for the second time in over one hundred years. We were celebrating the centennial of the War of 1812, where The Constitution got its nickname, “Old Iron Sides.”

We walked down the dock to our boat and boarded, preparing for our adventure. And by prepare, I of course mean I sat and read my Harper’s while my parents got the boat ready. Everything was going swimmingly until we noticed that someone had tipped all of our lines into the water. In case you don’t know, when lines are left in the salt water of Boston Harbor they develop a sort of green-gray scum on them.

Cleaning of the scum.

“Boat bullies,” I said. They had stuck again. We’ll probably never know who was behind it, and we weren’t too bothered because we were setting sail ourselves to get out to the harbor islands to beat out The Constitution.

The USS Constitution. Old Iron Sides. You can just picture her battling pirates, protecting our country from the bad guys, cutting through the waves to protect our freedom. All these thoughts ran through my mind on this, the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

In actuality, however, it was a snail sail. It must have taken 30 minutes to even hoist the main sail. I’m not even one hundred percent sure I even saw the boat move.

Here are some of the pictures I took today. Enjoy! Use your imagination and envision the USS Constitution moving much faster than what I saw.

Waxing Philosophical



Let me preface this by saying, it’s late and my mind is beginning to wander. Bare with me as a I ramble about blogging for a bit, or hit your back button…it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

A man who writes “Stories” on his typewriter, on The High Line in NYC. That’s just what we want right? A story.

Why do we blog? I found myself asking this question earlier today. I wonder why I do it, and I’m astounded to find new blogs literally every day when I go through my “WordPress Reader” to find interesting and engaging things to learn about.

Taking a look at everyone’s “about” pages there is a theme that rises to the surface. As far as I can tell, most people are blogging to keep a record. To keep a record of their lives, their thoughts and their fears and to have those recognized by someone…anyone who is out there.

Not too long ago I was nominated for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” on my other site The Penniless Traveler. While I was incredibly flattered that someone considered me to be an inspiring blogger, what really struck me about the award is that it was given from within the blogging community. This award, and others like it, are ways for us to recognize one another. To say, we know you’re out there, we care what you have to say, and you are a part of this community.

Blogging is really neat because it is a kind of community that reaches to the edges of the earth and allows us to preserve our lives and our histories in a place where we can share them. And ultimately isn’t that what we all want? Someone to be a witness to our lives, someone to understand us more authentically and a place to prove that we are here, right now, living our lives to the fullest.