jg

jg

Saturday, November 10, 2012

munchies and goodies

Hello!
As the title of this post implied, here follows a collection of my edible adventures of late. I included some other goodies intermittently so it wouldn't get TOO foody.


AVOCADO SALAD
so i had some avocados that were on the edge...so i decided to make them the centerpiece of this beauty.
1 avocado
1 handfull heirloom cherry tomatos
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt

the lovely thing is that the balsamic vinegar disguised that the avocado was starting to brown haha. and the flavor combo was delish :]





IMPROVISATIONS ON A SPINACH SALAD
i whipped this up on my way to class on day, and it just blew my mind. somehow the textures just harmonized beyond belief.

1 handfull spinach
5 small white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lemon (juice)
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

Here's a shot of the paparazzi coming to film me on my way to class...just kidding, it's the news reporters the morning after the shooting. Sadly.



so i have been kind of in love with eggs lately.
(breakfast burritos)
I have two research papers and a research project due, quite imminently in fact, but the good news is that it means I get to look through all these fantastic art history books! One is a look at Degas' portrayal of active vs. passive women, one is a mini art history book on Futurism, and the last is about how the Faberge eggs reveal aspects of Russian culture.
If you're interested in learning more about the Faberge eggs, here is an excellent website that gives a little annotated provenance of each egg. If you want to read about the amazing, National Treasure-like history of the greatest egg hunt of all time, check out the 1984 Renaissance Egg or the 1889 Necessaire Egg.

On Friday night a friend and I were able to attend a student directed performance of Peter Pan. It was a phenomenal production! The theater held maybe 50 people, including some on the floor, which added to the already intimate atmosphere and integrated the audience with the action even more.
The Narrator was "a painter" in the program, and I think it was quite creative to have the entire set composed of painter/studio elements, like easels, ladders, drapes, crates, etc. The paint theme was continued in the action because paint brushes were used as swords and knives. I thought it was a clever way to say the narrator was designing and creating the story, as if it were one of her paintings.
The costumes were also brilliant. They were a mixture of all eras, cut and tied in new ways and most splattered with paint. The mermaid outfits were my favorite: a shimmery green top and leggings, with shreds of tulle in different watery shades wrapped around just one leg, to imply a tail. Ingenious.
toad-in-the-hole this weekend. tj's gf multigrain...mmmmm.

iPad cases? no, just some amazing antique Faberge
cigarette cases from the turn of the century.
I bought some quinoa from Trader Joe's that you can cook in the microwave, which is necessary for me, because I have no pots. It is actually really great, although it requires like twice as long a cook time as it suggests on the package.
some pretty prep work for...

...this delicious quinoa salad! (it was less blurry in real life.)
Other than that, these weeks has been pretty typical. It rained once, which was interesting. I guess it really is fall!

Oh! Before I go...here is an absolutely fabulous and inspiring blog I stumbled upon whose aesthetic I adore. It has been one of the most inspiring procrastination decices I have encountered yet.

And one last thing!! Check out this amazing Ted Talk...I truly admire his ability to flip all conventional assumptions about sustainability on their heads. He truly understands the role of a designer in society.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Autumn Adventures

SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED SINCE MY LAST POST.

Highlights: I went to Hawaii with my entire family. I bonded with my Cru family at Fall Retreat. I signed a lease for an apartment with one of my best friends. I had a lovely date night at The Grove with my boyfriend. I took the Metro downtown at night to the brand new City Target. I registered to vote. I had the time of my life walking Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach with a dear friend. And of course, I learned lots and worked hard in school! 

Here are some related pics, and also some recipes! And by that I mean pictures of my food and descriptions of how I did it haha.

colors and textures of the construction site soon to be my new home

my future floorplan

SUPER FRESH TACOS
named thus because there is no cooking involved. yay!

4 corn tortillas
2 handfulls of shredded monterey jack cheese
6-8 pieces of Favorite Chicken (recipe here)
1/2 small avocado, cubed
1 roma tomato, cubed
juice of 1/2 lemon
a handful of diced red onion
salt to taste

double up the tortillas so they're strong enough to hold all the yummy toppings. put a handful of cheese and half of the chicken on each, and microwave for 1 minute. meanwhile, cut up all the veggies. avocados are really easy when you score it and scoop out the meat like a mango. top the tortillas with the veggies and salt and squeeze lemon juice all over to bring out the unique flavors of each element. 

enjoy while listening to this yummy playlist.



SPINACH SALAD 
handfull of spinach
handfull of peas
1/2 can tuna
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

i start by mixing the mustard, oil, lemon and salt in my salad bowl with a fork to create the dressing.
when it's well mixed, add the veggies and tuna and toss it a bit. mmmm.

These next two have very similar premises:  
 
Sautee some chicken, and warm up a veggie in the leftover lemon juice and olive oil. I did add some rosemary to the tomatoes, which was ver nice. The spinach was just nice and lemony, and more "wilted" than sauteed.


taking on public transportation

OH HELLO MAGICAL GLOWING CITY TARGET!


DESPERATE TACOS 
also know as "what I throw together when she has nothing left in the fridge."

In this case, the dregs of my food shopping consisted of:
2 corn tortillas
a handfull of spinach
1 yellow bell pepper
crumbled goat cheese
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

shockingly enough, it was really yummy! the first tortilla held up great and the ingredients meshed well together. the vinegar had really disintegrated the second tortilla by the time I got to it. Just something to keep in mind.

falling in love with Abbot Kinney

so organized! and a lovely mix of old and new...biodegradable flatware in mason jars, simple syrup in olive oil jars, plastic lids on a silver tray.



Here is a lovely, chill playlist to vectorize (create a digital version of something in Adobe Illustrator) to...or at least that what I do to it. http://8tracks.com/stimulusjunkie/beach-hair-summer-2012 This guy is incredible. He has the most inspiring adventures and makes the most incredible playlists about them. Check it out.

While you do that, here's a cute blog post to check out: a bit out dated, but still quite clever. I stumbled across this link while researching for my next design project. I like the third design the best!

Have a lovely fall, friends! Hopefully it's not so long til my next post!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Weekend...

Hello all! I thought I should augment my last post with some updates from the weekend, before I leave for a week-long conference tomorrow. 

Here is another amazing dish inspired by a good friend:
GREEK SALAD
2 parts garbanzo beans
1 part Feta cheese
olive oil to coat
salt
pepper (generous)

rinse the beans before you mix up the salad. just add all the ingredients in a bowl and EAT!
it's really yummy.

I had to visit a gallery for my Art History class, so I went to the Fisher Museum of Art here on campus. It was really enjoyable! The current exhibit features contemporary female artists from around the world.
The bathrooms were really weird. When you walked in the door, there was a stall door you had to go through to get to the stalls. I really have no idea why this would be, but it was interesting.
Saturday I went to a friend's roller hockey game, which was great, if also very, very smelly. 
On the way back we happened to pass the In-n-Out headquarters! 
So of course we went inside. And found a lot of interesting souvenirs, like In-n-Out uggs and chapstick and bikinis. These milkshake cups onesies were the best though :]
i wonder if they say "John 3:16" on the bottom...hee hee :]
On Sunday I had the most mellow essay writing experience of my life! I was finished by lunch time. It was honestly a miracle. 
After that, I got to work on a collage I started, inspired by the amazing artist Andy Gilmore, while listening to this playlist
Today, Monday, I get to turn in my fabulous paper, work on some art, and PACK FOR HAWAII!! It should be good.

One last thing: if you are at all interested in poetry, or want to learn more about it in an engaging way, check out this blog I fell in love with over the weekend: The News From Poems.

Since Last We Met

i pass this gorgeous wall of hibiscus bushes every day on my way to class.
This is a post I've been meaning to get out for a while. I am using my break in Design today to finally hit "Publish." It features mostly all the awesome recipes I've been able to make now that I am cooking for myself! I was able to stock up on some awesome basics the other day when my friend blessed me with a ride to Trader Joe's. 

My favorite part of cooking is buying a bunch of ingredients for specific recipes, because then over the next few days I get to make up ways to use the leftover bits. It will probably be pretty obvious what basic ingredients I began with, but hopefully you'll find the ways I combined them inspiring!


WEIRD VEGETARIAN CREAMY PANINI:
2 slices of sandwich bread, buttered on one side
1/2 avocado
2 tbsp. goat cheese
1 handful of arugula
balsamic vinegar
salt

butter side down, spread goat cheese on one slice and avocado on the other. toss arugula with balsamic, and sandwich it between the slices. put that baby in the panini press until it is nice and golden brown.

a nice view of the sunset on downtown from the dorms.

this picture is totally unappetizing, but trust me, the meal was phenomenal.

FAVORITE CHICKEN
2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. diced red onion
salt

I simply heated the olive oil on a 350 degree griddle, and threw on the chicken until there was no longer a hint of pink to be found. meanwhile the onions caramelized fabulously.
this also works with sliced bell peppers too, and lime, more fajita style.
I was able to make a pretty big batch, in order to use it for a few different meals throughout the week.

a quick breakfast date with my Art History book before Digital Tools...it must be fall.
SAUTEED HARICOTS VERTS
1 tbsp butter
1 large handful of green beans
salt and pepper
Feta, of course

melt the butter on the griddle, which will still be hot if you just made the chicken :]
all it takes is tossing them in the hot butter until they are heated through and a bit softer than before.
salt, pepper, and cheese to taste.
    

CLASSIC ARUGULA SALAD
a few handfuls of arugula
chicken
handful of pecans
sliced red onion
crumbled goat cheese
olive oil and balsamic vinegar

This is my favorite standby salad of all time. just toss everything together and dig in. it is also so versatile! you can do beets in stead of chicken, candied walnuts in stead of pecans, ditch the red onion, whatever suits your fancy. I just don't recommend tomatoes. they don't quite gel with the peppery arugula. other than that, arugula is absolutely the most enjoyable lettuce because while it versatile across the theme, it also has so much personality. if you add the right elements, they'll complement rather than overpower it.

the view i came home to the other day...there are some benefits to smog, you know.


NOT TUNA SALAD
1 cup white rice
1 cup peas
1/2 can of tuna, including olive oil
1 tsp. dijon mustard

this is literally the most fabulous variation on tuna since the tuna salad sandwich. oh my goodness. and it takes like 4 minutes total, because the rice microwaves in 3, the tuna is pre-cooked, and I love the peas raw. the dijon is the perfect mild kick to pull it all together.


FABULOUS SHRIMP
2 tbsp olive oil
salt
5-6 shrimp

preheat griddle to 350. let olive oil heat up while you prepare the shrimp.
since they're frozen, I rinse them under water until they reach room temperature, then 
I pour a teaspoon of salt in the palm of my hand and rub it all over the shrimp. 
by this time, the oil is heated, so I plop them on the griddle. 
it sizzles really nicely and only requires about 2 minutes on each side.
it's so simple, SO delicious, and the way I make shrimp every time now.

the sunset from my other window, towards the west.

VEGGIE SALAD
1/3 cup peas
1 bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onions, diced
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
crumbled feta
salt and pepper

this was an awesome way to enjoy the last bell pepper before it went south. basically I just chopped everything up to the same size, and tossed it in a bowl. on this occasion I decided to pair it with my fabulous shrimp.

bon appetit!!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Welcome Back!

Hi Everyone!

So I just started my 4th week of class. It is my pleasure to report that ALL of my classes are AMAZING! Here's a little synopsis:

     -Art History: General Education co-requisite with my writing class. We are examining the social conflicts created or exemplified by works of art from the 18th century to the present day. It turns out I love art history even more than I thought I would! It is not only answering all the questions I've always had about the social contexts of art, but also teaching how to think critically about art to answer these questions yourself. Last class we studied (James Abbot McNeill) Whistler's trial when he was accused of "throwing a pot of paint in the public's face," or in other words, practically inventing abstract art. Whistler is once again confirmed as my favorite artist!
     -Writing 140: Underclassmen General Ed requirement. Similar subjects, since it's a co-requisite, except more focused on expressing yourself successfully through writing essays. Right now we are preparing for an essay debating the success of the 9/11 Monument, which has first required articulating what defines a successful monument. It's one of those things that you feel like you know, but when you are forced to say it in words, you realize you have a lot of research to do haha.
     -Accounting: Lower Level Business Requirement. Absolutely shockingly more fun than I anticipated. I knew I would appreciate the usefulness of the material, but honestly, the beautiful logic of the system is really enjoyable to study. I think a lot of it has to do with my wonderful teacher, Maria, born in Greece and here after working in Prague and New York and earning her master's degree at Harvard. She is like a living marble statue of Athena who happens to teach Accounting through in-class practice rather than lectures. So fun. Plus she is so un-American, it reminds me of my family.
what?!?!? my favorite coffee has arrived!
     -Design 2: Design Minor class. I can already tell this class is going to help me so much as a designer, because while we have much more freedom when it comes to completing projects, with great power comes great responsibility, and we are likewise held to a much higher standard. My professor and classmates are great, and it's been so fun helping refine each other's designs. We have almost completed our first projects and I am so looking forward to the results.
here are some random shots from an exhibit the cinema school had with the REAL costumes and props from THE AVENGERS and related films!
     -Digital Tools for Design: Design 2 co-requisite. This class is essentially Adobe Suite 101. It is going to be so useful, but I didn't realize how hard it would be for me to start thinking digitally! When I want to make something, instead of the idea moving from my brain to my hands like I'm used to, I have to convert that idea into the program, then my hands can make it happen, kind of. Through the program. Basically I have to constantly be thinking, "What would a  programmer do to achieve this result?" rather than just following the intuition of my more tactile brain. It's a learning experience for sure, but it's great.
the mighty THOR and his hammer

Here are some other noteworthy involvements:

     -Campus Crusade: I have the privilege of being a Assistant Focus Area Leader this year! This is essentially a Bible study leader for a specific area, in my case, my dorm and the one next door. Two of my closest friends and I get to do it together, and all the freshmen we've been getting to know are awesome. I am excited to see what God is doing!
this is a beauty from the Blue Moon last month.
     -Unity: this is also a Christian initiative. It began as a night of worship for all the different Christian fellowships to come together, but that has been changing a little bit as God leads us to see what He's doing on campus. I'll keep you updated!
     -MICC: This is the case competition I get to plan this year. Business schools from all over the world come compete for a week, and it is my job to make sure they are well fed, comfortable, and having a really fun time! My fellow Executive Board members are great and it is going to be a great event.
here's a pic of the Zipcar I rented for my first day driving in LA! 
     -AIGA: I recently got invited to be on the Executive Board of AIGA, the design club, as an Event Planner! A few other members and I will get to plan workshops, tutrorials, museum visits, etc. for the USC design community. 
     -Cooking! Yes, I have a kitchen in my apartment, and yes, I intend to use it. It just so happened that yesterday, just as I used my very last dining dollar for the semester, a friend offered to take me grocery shopping for the first time! What an answer to prayer.

I pretty much just walked around and grabbed things that looked yummy, because I knew I would be able to make something up to do with it all when it came time. Also, I was glad I followed my #1 food shopping tip: EAT BEFORE. Or else EVERYTHING will look delicious. If you shop for food hungry, your stomach will tell you weird things like, "I love sauerkraut! I eat it all the time! Buy three jars!" Just don't do it.

So here's what I inaugurated my Cuisinart "Griddler" with after Accounting today!
Recipe:


5 shrimp (frozen Argentine beauties from Trader Joe's)
1/2 lime
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp. diced red onion
1 cup brown rice
Olive oil and salt to taste

1. start making the rice! this was good practice for having all the elements come together on time. (although it was admittedly the organic microwave rice from tj's. shhh)
2. rinse shrimp, add olive oil and salt.
3. put those babies on the grill set to "sear" for 2/2.5 mins.
4. meanwhile, cut lime, avocado, and onion...
5. juice the lime over the rice, with a little salt.
6. add the rest of the veggies and shirmp.
Voila!
Yum :]

Here's the new playlist I enjoyed while cooking! And incidentally every other moment I'm home haha.

OK! I have to get back to work. Those designs aren't going to computer generate themselves.
Have a great week!
Vanessa


Saturday, May 5, 2012

FINALS

Hello Friends!

Just wanted to let you know 1. I am right in the middle of finals, and 2. I am so ready for summer break!!

this is the cover of a graduation scrapbook a friend and I are making for senior friends...bittersweet

To elaborate on #1, I finished Macro Thursday and Communications yesterday, and as far as I can tell, both went well. My speech in Comm was fun, because we had to deliver an end-of-the-year report (it is Business Communications, after all) and I chose to do J.Crew :]   My art final is a children's activity book guide to an exhibit of the Natural History Museum across the street. My group chose the Gem and Mineral exhibit, and it's coming along smashingly so far. I'll be sure to post pictures of the completed book. Finally, my Organizational Behavior final should be...special. It is such a bonus that I finish two days early!

And as for #2, I just got back from Manhattan Beach and I am more ready than ever for break. I'm all packed and everything! It's a bit of a bummer, in the sense that the seniors are leaving and I'll miss everyone here so much. But I'll be back sooner than I realize, I'm sure.

the jeffersonian...?

Guess what I realized this week: After watching WAY too much Bones to chill out between finals, I finally realized that the shots of the outside of the Jeffersonian where Bones works are most definitely taken here at USC! Well actually it's right across the street at the Wallis Annenberg Building for Science and Learning, which is directly across from the business school, and I've walked by it countless times on the way to football games and the Natural History Museum. I have to admit it was quite a fan moment.

I also found out about a really cool project this week. Some pretty big names in vlogging got together to create a vlog adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which was fun to watch. I was a little bummed it's not exactly universally appropriate, especially since the first time I read the classic, I was much younger than the audience this project seems to be targeted at. However, I was totally impressed with the immersive social media aspect of the project...they created Twitters, Facebook pages, and even tumblrs for the main characters, which is so creative. They seem to be taking the book page by page, so this series should go on for a while. Which is also cool because there is definite interaction between producers and audience, since anyone can leave comments on YouTube, so they are continually improving it as direct response to viewer opinions. I'm excited to see how this turns out!

Ok, I should really get back to studying. Two more days til summer break!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Week 15

This weekend I have been thoroughly enjoying the LA Times Festival of Books here on campus. Every open space on campus has been overtaken by white tents full of books and authors and book-related goodies. Right outside my door is the Children's section, which has been my favorite. There were also Comic, Poetry, Cooking, Classic, Religious and Hispanic sections. Here are a few of my favorites:

video
 This amazing children's mariachi band


this cartoonist created Kim Possible!

community crossword puzzles

one of the coolest tents by far!


"bestbathroombooks.com"
???

here is a tiny picture of John Cusack (on the left)

free samples! score!


Choo Choo Soul from Disneychannel


Laura Numeroff reading her book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie


and finally, Julie Andrews!

Yes, that is right. I got to see Julie Andrews.
She is just as adorable as you would expect her to be.

Here are my two favorite companies from the Children's area: playingwithplays.com, which makes kid's "translations" of Shakespeare plays, and littlebookwormz.com, which sells some very clever tees for kids. My favorite stall overall was a tie between the Jane Austen Society of North America, where I discovered this amazing journal (look at all the sample pictures!!), and the Chronicle Books tent, whose books I have always loved. They also had an absolutely fantastic journal selection.

Finals are quickly approaching, and we have already been assigned our final project in Art. It's a group project to create a kid's activity book based on the Natural History Museum across the street. We got to go over as a class to explore, and I went again to do more research. They also had a tent at the Festival, where they were giving out plantable "butterflies" with wildflower seeds in them.

We also discovered this blog in researching for our project, which has some fun posts.

This week was the Cru End-of-the-Year Party I got to help plan. It was half boys vs. girls, half Hunger Games themed, which was a great opportunity for hilarious games. It was quite a success, and really fun too.

Finally, here is a video. It is a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson that was a hilarious presentation of something I think a lot about: eduction reform. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!