Workspace

I'm currently on a mission to renovate my workspace! My former desk was my grandma's old mahogany sewing table, which was one-of-a-kind, nostalgic, and totally impractical for long hours of computer work. Last week, I picked out a new ensemble from IKEA: the Linnmon table top with the Alex drawers on one side and two Adils legs on the other. It was cheap and easy to assemble, and there's plenty of space to strew books, notes, and papers everywhere, in my typical fashion... don't let the blank space fool you.

For workspace inspiration, I recommend this article about writers' workspaces and this collection of famous creatives' workspaces. I've always been curious to know about other people's working habits and environments, and these photographs are revealing glimpses into how aesthetics, organization, comfort, and sentimentality matter (or don't) in places where creative magic happens. For now, my workspace necessities are a bright task lamp (the Ranarp lamp, also from IKEA), an object of curiosity (zebra cactus), and good speakers (not pictured, but these ones are excellent and affordable). I plan to make the wall space above the desk into a sort of fluctuating mood board. Also dreaming of the day when I can line a study with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves (c.f. Beauty and the Beast)... 

What are your workspace essentials?

Decisions, Decisions

Hello friends! I seem to be wearing my internet invisibility cloak as of late. It happens when the to-do list gets longer. But here I am, taking a break for a cup of genmaicha and a blog post, and mulling over the following dilemmas:

Eva's Halloween costume: a swashbuckling pirate as per our original plan, or this

Online courses: yay or nay? One of the unexpected byproducts of starting my own internet space is that I've become interested in the technical side of things. Coding, typography, digital design -- I never considered any of these things very relevant to my life until I started a blog. Now, in a bizarre twist of events, I find myself wanting to learn these things. Truth be told, part of me feels pretty unrealistic and defeatist about making this happen, and is questioning whether this is a productive use of time. But another part of me says, just try it. Earlier this month, for reasons unrelated to this blog, I completed an online course in Scratch (think programming for kids), and it was surprisingly fun. So now I've been browsing Skillshare, Lynda, and TutsPlus for courses. Has anyone used these sites?

+ I started reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, and I'm strongly considering re-adopting a vegetarian diet. I can already hear the reactions I'll get from my meat-eating family members! Well, I'll keep reading and keep you posted.

If you're still reading this ramble, insert praise hands emoji here. Happy Friday!

Current Favorites

A few of my favorite things at the moment. The petals on the right are hibiscus loose leaf tea; the ones on the left are Osmia Organics' "tea bath," a bath soak made from Epsom salts, oats, and botanicals commonly found in tisanes (chamomile, rose petals, spearmint, etc.). So you can drink tea while bathing in it, which makes me feel just slightly Marie Antoinette-esque (okay, maybe not quite!). Follow with barely-there blush & lip balm, a spritz of something sweet, salted almond milk chocolate, and a book where you can retreat for a while. 

Osmia Organics Tea BathNars "Deep Throat" BlushKari Gran Radiant Lip WhipJo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey Cologne, Hibiscus Tea, Theo Chocolate, Carlo Goldoni's La Locandiera

Lately

September is one of my favorite months of the year. I love the transformation of colors, the anticipation of shorter, cozier nights, and that fresh, back-to-school feeling I still associate with unsharpened pencils and new boots. During the rest of this month, I want to write more and explore new places with a camera in hand. I'm determined to impose a bit more order on the chaos that is my inbox (current status: 11,935 emails, 1 unread from Yelp re. "Seattle's food truck frenzy"). And I'm going to spend some time sweating it out in the hot yoga studio because I bought a Groupon for one month of unlimited classes, and thanks to my excellent procrastination skills, I have one week left to use it.

So far in September: I celebrated the harvest moon (aka Chuseok, aka Korean Thanksgiving) by feasting on mochi, kimbap, moon cakes, and Malbec. I've spent many an evening reading the archives of McSweeney's and watching Dexter. I decided to focus on fewer things but step outside of my comfort zone more often. And yesterday, I had this conversation with one of my students, who is four years old:

Me: "Do you like cake?"
Her: "Yes!"
Me: "What kind of cake do you like?"
Her: "Rapunzel cake!"
Me: "What's Rapunzel cake?"
Her: "She has hair all the way down to the floor!"

I hope your September is going well!

5 Documentary Films

This month, documentary films have been a huge source of inspiration for me. These five told astounding stories and challenged me to think from different perspectives. I'm already going through this list in search of more documentaries to watch... what are your favorites?

Blackfish
This documentary tells the story of Tilikum, an orca at SeaWorld who has killed several humans while in captivity. In exposing SeaWorld's often cruel and dangerous practices of capturing and training orca whales, this film examines the fatal outcomes of trying to "tame" such intelligent creatures for entertainment purposes.

Into the Abyss
In this sorrowful and complex documentary, Werner Herzog visits a small town in Texas where a brutal murder occurred several years before. Herzog interviews the killers -- one sentenced to life in prison, the other sentenced to death -- as well as members of the victims' families and community. While approaching difficult questions about the motivations behind violent crimes, the possibility of repentance, and the death penalty, Herzog suggests that the boundaries between good and evil are often difficult to draw.

First Position
This uplifting documentary follows several young ballet students as they train for the prestigious Youth America Gran Prix competition. You'll find yourself rooting for the dancers, who come from very different backgrounds but all share a passion for dance.

Room 237
This documentary, which takes a close look at Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining, is probably one you'll either love or hate. The interviewees (film buffs and obsessive devotees) present varying analyses of The Shining: some are less than convincing, but others made me want to re-watch the film in search of hidden meanings. The discussion is engrossing for anyone interested in interpretive theory or film studies, if you can get past some of the strange video montages (which feature Tom Cruise...).

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Werner Herzog is quickly becoming one of my favorite filmmakers ever... you can read more about him here. In this documentary, he takes us to the Chauvet Cave in southern France to examine the earliest cave paintings known to mankind. The paintings, dating to around 30,000 years ago, are far more sophisticated than I imagined, and the scientific archaeology used to map the caves is equally incredible. 

PS: All of these documentaries were available for instant streaming on Netflix!