Monthly Archives: March 2015

Culture Connoisseur: Palm Springs Photo Essay

I went to Palm Springs for the day last week, and it was awesome.

Palm Springs is about an hour and some change away from where I live, and the Sundstrom gals and I decided to go for the day.

Palm Springs is about an hour and some change away from where I live, and the Sundstrom gals and I decided to go for the day. The weather was great and nothing was ultra-crowded. Not a bad way to end spring break. 

Paige and I have already been here once before, so there were some things we knew we wanted to revisit. While we were in town, we looked in a lot of the touristy shops and got some great sandwiches. Photo cred Paige.

Paige and I have already been here once before, so there were some things we knew we wanted to revisit — some food places and the aerial tramway, in particular. While we were in town, we fooled around in a lot of the touristy shops and got some great sandwiches. Photo cred Paige.

After lunch, we decided to go up to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The tramway is scary the first time you go, but Paige and I were pros. Poor Noelle and Mama Sundstrom.

After lunch, we decided to go up to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. You have to go up a long windy road to get to it, and walk up a very steep incline from the parking lot to the base of the tramway. The ride (which costs about $25 roundtrip) is scary the first time you go. You’re up 2 1/2 miles in the air, and the tram tends to swing as it hits three or four checkpoints — but Paige and I are pros. Poor Noelle and Mama Sundstrom, but they made it. Photo cred Noelle. 

The view from the tram is incredible. You can see the Palm Springs windmill farm out in the distance and the town that seems miniature, which is both fascinating and disconcerting. Compared to PS’s triple digit temperatures, the San Jacinto Mountains are only about 60 to 70 degrees. When we were here last in September, it was a very welcome break from the sweltering heat. 


There were actually more people on the trails than last time, presumably because it is spring break season. The trails are very walkable and present some great photo opportunities, which I appreciate both as a Girl Scout dropout and Instagram user. Photo cred Noelle.

Some of the white in this photo is snow, which was cool to see in the middle of this March heatwave. Paige and Noelle also totally climbed that big rock on the right bottom corner. They are master mountaineers.


Up on the trail there’s a tree that someone named Jeff (it even has a plaque) and it smells strongly like butterscotch. This was one of many of the big beautiful trees not named Jeff, featuring Paige and Zoë. Photo cred Noelle.

Runnin’ through the six with my woes. Photo cred Noelle.

I couldn’t get over how beautiful the day was and the sheer greenness of the foliage, which was probably the universe’s way of saying “You deserve a great end of spring break surrounded by some of your favorite people and things.” Thanks, universe. Good company, a clear blue sky and fresh air are real gifts. 

And finally, the real reason (especially according to Paige) for the trip — a milkshake from Great Shakes, which has a solid 5-star Yelp review that is well-deserved. I picked salted caramel, which was an A+++++ choice. And yes, that is a mini donut hanging out on a boba straw. It’s okay to be jealous. I would be.

See you later, PS. Now, onto spring quarter.

Have you been to Palm Springs before? Let’s talk about it in the comments.




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Link Party: 3/23-3/27

This beach, you guys. This beach.

This beach, you guys. This beach.

Here’s what I read this week:

1. This really interesting comparison between evil soliloquies in Shakespeare and Robert Durst’s hot mic.

2. If you’ve ever been curious about how shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart get specific sound bites from news broadcasts and stuff like that, this is how they do it.

3. Ephemera on Instagram. (For the record, I love this kind of Instagram account.)

4. This guy tried to use a 56k modem for a week and found it to be nearly impossible.

5. I want to be a Pollock restorer.

And a bonus: Someone took a new Kendrick Lamar song and layered it over the Seinfeld theme song and it is perfect and you should listen.

Have a great weekend!

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Culture Connoisseur: Encinitas

My best friend Paige always has the best ideas. One of her best ideas started with texting me about this art store in Encinitas, and subsequently us deciding to make a day trip out of it.

Encinitas is a sleepy beach town in San Diego about two hours away from where I live. Neither one of us had been there before, but after some careful research in the Instagram geotags and Yelp reviews, we set off on a cool Sunday morning to kick off our spring breaks.

I felt God in this iced coffee, to be quite and totally honest.


First things first: food. We had seen photos of Pannikin Coffee & Tea, and decided to stop there for brunch. It’s a restaurant in an old train station (which reminds me of this other place I’ve been to in Chino), with a fantastic patio view of the highway and the surrounding garden. If you follow my print, textile and design board on Pinterest, you probably know that I fell in love with the tile on the table (But really, you guys, look at that tile.) We each had a bagel sandwich with steamed scrambled egg, jack cheese and two orange slices, plus the best iced coffee I think I’ve ever had.

After brunch, we decided to go hang out at one of the beaches. Since it was 12:30 p.m. on a gorgeous Sunday, my inner Angeleno was worried that it was going to be really crowded, and that on top of there being no parking, you had to pay for it.

However, the one we decided to go to seemed to be so secretive that Google Maps had us take a lot of backstreets. Nobody was at the beach. There was plenty of parking. And it was free.

Welcome to the photo essay part of the blog post. So you have to walk down this steep wooden staircase to get to the beach but holy shit, this is what you first see when you walk up. Are you in love yet?

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Are you crying yet? I was.

Everything grows so magnificently at the beach. But real talk, can you imagine the view these people have 24/7? (Photo cred Paige.)

This is currently my lock screen background and lemme tell you, it looks like I snapped it straight off of a Hollister bag.

We didn’t find any shells, but the fact that we could stand comfortably in the water without fear of swelling waves totally made up for it. (Photo cred Paige.)

We had a lengthy conversation about paragliding and skydiving after we saw this dude float by. You go, dude.

After the beach, we went to the art store (which turned out to be a bust [I’m spoiled]), refueled with some In N Out (#basiccaliforniagirls) and headed home (to sit in two hours of traffic on the 5 / discover a weird splotchy sunburn on my leg.)

All in all though, it was truly the perfect day. The point of this post was not just to show off photos or give you an extreme case of FOMO, but my way of telling you to go out and experience the world. I really needed a day to completely forget about any responsibilities, and I’m sure you can commiserate in some way. And even though the original plan ended up not being completely fruitful, I spent time with my best friend and a morning/afternoon in the warm sun and the beachy breeze — and that was really the point. I can’t wait for my next day trip, which I’ll tell you about next week. In the meantime, indulge your own wanderlust, embrace serendipity and find your own slice of the world to soak in.

See you later, Encinitas. (Photo cred Paige.)


Have you ever been to Encinitas? Or can you think of a day trip you thoroughly enjoyed? Let’s talk about it in the comments.


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Link Party: 3/16-3/20

So I help run the university's Instagram account (go follow @calpolypomona) and I went hunting for a photo on Wednesday. There's this patio that has a very nice succulent garden growing.

So I help run the university’s Instagram account (go follow @calpolypomona) and I went hunting for a photo on Wednesday. There’s this patio that has a very nice succulent garden growing, and y’all know how much I love plants.

For it being finals week, I’ve had an incredibly productive week — I could get used to that. Here’s what I read this week:

1. A really interesting look at the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Pioneer Girl.

2. A good argument for bringing texting back.

3. A story about two data designers who sent each other postcards documenting their daily lives. (You guys, I cannot stress how cool this really is.)

4. What do you think art tastes like? These people apparently know.

5. The Mad Men exhibit is calling my name.

And a bonus: A rare look at Jean-Michel Basquiat’s notebooks.

Have a great weekend!

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Gold Star for the Internet: Juniper Books

So I’ve been looking for a pretty copy of William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! (because of reasons), and in my periodical search for the perfect one today I stumbled across Juniper Books. My life (and probably yours too) is officially ruined.

Must. Procure. Faulkner. Set.

Must. Procure. Faulkner. Set. Take all of my money.

Juniper Books is a bespoke specialty bookseller in Colorado, but seems to be mostly web-based. It sells beautiful versions of beloved classics, and offers a billion custom options and bundles. They do sell the Penguin Classic editions like you see in Barnes and Noble, but their own offerings are miles ahead. One of the things Juniper Books can do for you is help you build your own custom collection — I’m sure it costs a fortune, but man, #goals.

You can also get bookplates put in and change the color of the fabric. It is too damn rad. I have to go lie down.


It’s kind of like Folio Society, but I like Juniper Books’ vibe a lot more. There are a few author sets that I’m partial to, and I’m thinking about giving one of the custom bundles as a gift.

I have a huge Riverside Shakespeare that has seen much better days, but dang I would like this too.

I have a huge Riverside Shakespeare filled with notes and scribbles that has seen much better days, but dang I would like this too.

I think what I love most about a business like Juniper Books is that they are helping to preserve an incredible art form. Instead of building websites or curating social media accounts, people used to make beautiful books. You can see these books in museums and private collections, but I’m still skeptical about whether or not the Internet will be preserved. I’m guilty of having more paperbacks in my bookcase than hardcovers based on convenience and price, but I can appreciate books like these as pieces of art. With the advent of e-readers, there’s even less of an incentive now to pour money into physical copies of books. However, buying a collection from Juniper Books, for example, is making an investment you can be proud of. You’re not only investing in your own collection, but in the future of the industry. For all of those reasons, I’m giving them a humongous gold star.

I’ve always been interested in book-making, but haven’t had the tools to do so. After spending the afternoon browsing the website, I’m thinking about making it happen. In the meantime, hope for me that they’ll respond to my message about whether or not they can customize Absalom, Absalom!

Do you know of any bespoke booksellers like Juniper Books? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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Undergrad Adventures: Senior Symposium

The coverpage for my lovely portfolio, featuring my scribble.

The coverpage for my lovely portfolio, featuring my scribble.

In order to graduate from the English literature and language program at Cal Poly Pomona, you have to take a class called Senior Symposium. In addition to reading books by one author (in this case, Italo Calvino), you’re also required to teach one class / write a research paper / and put together a portfolio exhibiting your best work over the past four years / several documents explaining your growth and how to improve the program for future students. Senior Symposium is not one of my favorite classes I’ve ever taken, but I learned a lot.

Italo Calvino is pretty alright.

I’ve already done a fair amount of reading about postmodernism, so I didn’t think Calvino’s philosophies were particularly earth shattering. I do know a lot of students in the class came away with a better understanding and a new viewpoint, so I’m good with that. Calvino does have a lot of ideas, however, that are resonant in today’s “want everything instantly” kind of world. It was also really interesting to hear from a writer about what he thought the purposes of writing and reading were, and how to craft a good story. If you’re interested, I highly recommend Six Memos for the Next Millennium and Mr. Palomar.

Learning how to teach a class is an Experience. 

I was lucky that I got to plan it with a partner, but trying to come up with a concept that will create a lot of discussion questions and last the full hour took a long time to formulate. Our presentation was on Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler, so we decided to start with a “What is postmodernism?” discussion before moving into the text and its ideas.  We decided to go the mini-lecture on the premise / small groups / reconvene into a big group route, and that worked really well. People were more comfortable to discuss in small groups than they were in a larger one, and that was quite alright. I felt quite unprepared, but we did just fine. If I had to redo it, I would have drawn stronger connections to other theorists and maybe found out if Calvino had expressly ever said anything about postmodernism.

A portfolio is a really great idea, with limits.

Getting to see just how much I’ve grown as a writer over four years was really cool, and I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to do it if not for the class. There are some assignments that I’ve done in the program that I’m really proud of and know that I did a pretty good job on. There were a few where I cringed at the construction and grammar of essays I got pretty good grades on. Save for my last set of Shakespeare commentaries and maybe my Modernism & Postmodernism term paper, I would completely redo the essays I included knowing what I know now — but coming to that realization was basically the point of the portfolio.  I will say, I did so much reflection about the entire process via questionnaires and 7-page reflective essays that I started to repeat myself. My portfolio ended up being about 65 pages. Goodbye to all of those trees. It was definitely worth it.

And a side-note: no 11:45 a.m. classes ever again.

Having a class in the middle of the lunch hour sucks, and learning that in my second-to-last quarter as an undergraduate student was pretty damn rough. Heed the warning.

Have you ever had a class like this? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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Link Party: 3/9-3/13

I think in some other life or alternate timeline I did something with plants because I. love. them.

I think in some other life or alternate timeline I did something with plants because I. love. them.

A brief bit of unsolicited advice before I get to the link party: I just want to tell all of you that there is absolutely nothing that limits you from teaching yourself whatever you’re interested in and seeking out additional educational avenues. I wasn’t getting the writing experience I wanted from my academic classes or my job, so I took the initiative to start this blog and explore the things I wanted to talk about. The secret to getting started? Overcome the urge to be lazy. *drops the microphone and gets out of this bitch*

Here’s what I read this week:

1. The delineation of your IRL personality and your Internet personality, which is something I think about at least once a day.

2. A very interesting discussion about making references to other things, which is something I think about at least once a week.

3. This person wrote to The Awl’s advice column asking about how to move on from not getting a job at Buzzfeed, and all I can say is yikes.

4. Simple tips for success, presented graphically.

5. Not much to read on this one, but this scene from House of Cards is hands down one of the best in television history. Claire Underwood for president of the universe.

And a bonus: My new favorite Instagram account, @ihavethisthingwithfloors.

Have a fantastic weekend!

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