Thursday, January 31, 2013

Best Reads of the Week

Oh look! A new feature!

For those of you who don't know me well, to say I read quite a bit might be a bit of an understatement. Part of this voracious reading appetite comes from my area of study- when one studies international relations and civil conflict, one needs to stay up on what's happening in the world. The other part is most likely predisposed. When I was a kid, my mother discovered that the best motivation to get me to do my chores was to confiscate my books until they were done. (Seriously, I was the kid who didn't clean my room because I was too buried in a book. Grounding or banishment to my room wasn't an effective consequence in the least.) Anyways, I'll be posting a short list of my favorite articles and books that I've read each week on various topics. I'm sure my favorite news sources will become pretty obvious over time (Al Jazeera, The Economist, Slate, The New Yorker...), but I'll try to have a nice selection of well-written and interesting articles for you every week. 

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite finds this week:

Two wonderful articles on Jane Austen and her legacy: Piece 1, Piece 2,

Google's attempt to map North Korea

Nonviolence for White People

Short Film: Dark Side of the Lens

At the heart of "Dark Side of the Lens" is one man's struggle to capture the power and beauty of the ocean. After seeing some fairly big waves in person, I can't imagine going out there in that surf and trying to film it or photograph it. It must take some combination of adventurousness and insanity. But it seems he's doing what he loves:

Winner - Best Cinematography, Rhode Island International Film Festival, 2011 | Action Sports Category, Vimeo Awards 2012 | G-Raid Driven Creativity award - Professional Category | Best Cinematography, 5Point Film Festival 2011 | Grand Prize - Chamonix Film Festival 2011 | Best short - New York Surf Film Festival 2011 |  Digital short of the Year, Surfer Poll | Relentless Short Stories 2011 | Amstel Surf Film Festibal, Peoples Choice award | Best short, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival | Best International Short, Canadian Surf Film Festival | Best Short, Waimea Ocean Film Festival

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wedding Sneak Peek

The end of a wedding seemingly opens the floodgates for a torrent of wedding photo requests, one that I cannot quite satisfy since we still don't have all the official photos. However, we do have a few "sneak peek" photos generously provided by our lovely photographer as well as some wonderful shots from family and friends. Perhaps they can buy us another few weeks?

Photos by Thea-Grace Okimoto (our lovely photographer), Uncle Calvin, Uncle Jack

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Inspired: Jennifer Booher

Beachcombing No. 63, available on Etsy

Jennifer Booher, a denizen of Bar Harbor, is an art historian turned landscape architect who delves into the intersection of art and science. An avid beachcomber, she gathers and carefully arranges her finds into beautifully ordered photographs. She calls herself "part magpie, part squirrel, part scientist, and part historian" in her drive to collect, document, and research her findings as she transforms castaway flotsam into captivating fine art. Her work can be found in her Etsy shop, Quercus Design, or on her blog of the same name. These are a few of my favorite pieces of hers.

Beachcombing No. 52
Aluminum, Seaweed, Driftwood, Periwinkle
Beachcombing No. 55

All photographs belong to Jennifer Booher and can be purchased in her Etsy shop

Monday, January 28, 2013

On a Reception and Such

On Saturday night we had our last wedding reception here at the lovely Tucson Museum of Art. The night was fun, relaxed, and festive, with great food and drinks and wonderful company. It marked the end of the last eight months of wedding planning, and I can't say that I'll miss it very much. I want to write a bit in the next few weeks about what I learned from the wedding process- about weddings, about marriage, about family and friends, and about myself. But for right now, I'm content to bask in the glow of the well-wishes and revel in the wonderful return of the routine. Never did a week of simple coursework and little things around the house seem so nice. For some long-awaited rest, I am thankful.

PS: All of these photos were taken by our wonderful, talented friend Blake and his fantastic camera

My mom made all our desserts from scratch! (And they were DELICIOUS)
We used Carte Blanche Catering and the food was awesome!
My best friend Hannah and I

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Short Film: Mine Kafon

Landmines are a huge problem around the world. Nearly invisible, buried in fields or along roads, landmine can kill for years after a conflict, rendering land unsuitable for farming or for habitation, and killing 15,000 to 20,000 people per year. The mines can be difficult, dangerous, and expensive to remove, making demining difficult in developing countries. However, Afghan designer Massoud Hassani has engineered a low cost, effective solution for demining in regions of Afghanistan. Check it out:

MINE KAFON is a 5th place Winner in the $200,000 GE/FOCUS FORWARD Filmmaker Competition. Watch the winners at
DIRECTOR: Callum Cooper
DOP: Michael Latham
CAMERA: Michael Latham, Mahmud Hassani, Callum Cooper
EDITOR: Anna Meller
COLOR GRADER: Chris Teeder
PRODUCERS:Alicia Brown, Michael Latham, Callum Cooper
THANKS: Lucie Kalmar, Slowmo High Speed, Optimism Films
The RNLA explosive ordnance disposal service 
Copyright Ardent Film Trust 2012

Find out more about this project on Hassani's website: You can also read more about the project on their (fully-funded) Kickstarter page.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

North Shore

We made the drive out to Oahu's North Shore on a wet, stormy day when the clouds hung low across the mountains. The grey mist shrouded all but the road and a few glimpses of pineapples, coffee, and corn stretched out across the flat plains. As we hit the coast, the rain finally let up enough to promise a clear view of the surging surf that had closed the beaches for the last few days.

From Waimea to Pipeline to Laie Point, the sea pounded the shore under a blanket of grey skies. We wandered the shores, disregarding the wind in favor of a chance to try to capture that moment of breaking.

Laie Point provided the most haunting views, at the edge of the land, a glimpse north into nothing, knowing that from here only the Aleutian islands dared to rise above the sea.

After the shutters stopped, the wind carried on relentlessly, bringing with it another misting of rain. We stood bundled in our coats, content to watch the waves and wonder.

All photos by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Make: Terrarium

 DIY Terrarium via Project Wedding
As the artsy-crafty type, there's usually a list of at least three projects in the back of my mind that I'd like to complete if only I could manage to find the time. And since I'm finally taking a lighter semester (no writing-intensive classes for the first time since I started college!), I actually have the time to check some projects off the list. And thus here, in order of scheduled time of completion, are my projects for this spring (so far):

1. Finish the vases for the Tucson reception (expect a post next week)
2. Give the beloved bubble chandelier a facelift (in blue!)
3. Finish organizing the apartment
4. Learn how to grow mushrooms (I'm debating about trying this kit)
5. Create my own terrarium

For a while now, I've been fascinated by terrariums-- I love the idea of living decor. Plus Tucson is a perfect place to grow succulents. I'll probably find my glassware at one of my favorite thrift shops around here, but these lovely terrariums will be my inspiration:

Pyramid Terrarium, Jechory Glass Designs

Air plant terrarium, Sea and Asters
Universe terrarium, ABJ Glassworks

Suspended Tetra, Score and Solder
Glass terrariums,  West Elm

Monday, January 21, 2013


There's nothing quite like significant life milestones or periods of extreme stress to shake out all sorts of things you never knew about yourself, or at least all those things you suspected but never wanted to admit to. Being the over-achiever that I am, I decided to roll at least of three of these events into a period of a few short months, and the result has been an avalanche of uninvited self-discovery. (A note to anyone tempted to try writing a thesis, getting married, moving apartments, and graduating all around the same time: It will unleash insanity. Be forewarned.)

Probably the most uninvited of these discoveries: I am a very particular person. 

I think I've suspected this, but I like to masquerade as the happy-go-lucky, go-with-the-flow, laid-back type. Do whatever you want-- I don't care... Oh, that can go anywhere. Routines? Oh, I don't have those. There's nothing like combining your life with another person's to quickly shatter that illusion.

It drives me nuts when people squeeze from the middle of the toothpaste tube instead of the end of it. I really do want the furniture to match. I need at least one hour a day, preferably in the morning, to sit quietly, read, or do something by myself without interruption to preserve my sanity. Dirty dishes need to be in the sink, in the dishwasher, or washed immediately (none of this countertop-lolly-gagging). 

This sort of particularity is actually normal, okay, and even good. Everyone has their own personal quirks that create unique little particularities that make clutter on the coffee table odious or form a tolerance for squash only when it's baked with butter and maple syrup. In fact, if I had to hazard a guess, I would say that most of those happy-go-lucky, laid-back types out there are probably closet people-pleasers like myself. It's not that we don't have particularities, we'd just rather hide them than risk offending others. Of course, such facades can only last so long, and they can crumble in quite ugly ways. Rather, it is best to put away the pretenses and expose one's idiosyncrasies with grace. Some will have to be put away for the time- the dishes may always find their way to the countertop, but better than the kitchen table; the toothpaste tube may always be slightly squished around its waist, but such things will not matter for more than a few moments. Other particularities can be accommodated with ease-- so be it. 

Most of all, I've learned that one must release that false hope that everything will one day be "just so." Right now the house is filled with boxes-- hopefully in a week it will no longer be, but it may never be completely spotless. Lived-in houses rarely are for more than a day or so. Best instead to focus on pursuing the reasonable: a comfortable, inviting place to host friends and family or to simply enjoy now being two together from formerly-autonomous ones. With that I think I can be content.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Song for Sunday: Of Monsters and Men

We have successfully moved, and now we just have the daunting task of unpacking all the boxes... Listening to Of Monsters and Men makes the task a little bit better:

Of Monsters And Men perform "King And Lionheart" Live @ Billboard's Tastemakers Session

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy Friday!

Custom Tea Blends, photo by Briar Winters
It's finally the weekend! (Which means that my first week of school is done and I survived!) This weekend is moving weekend for us. I'm so excited to be in the new apartment and to finally start unpacking. It will be so nice to no longer be living out of boxes. But before I dive into moving, I've collected a few links for you:

Making your own custom tea blends

These bowls are stunning

Love this loft

This comic made me laugh

I can't wait to make this salad next week

My new favorite t-shirt (It's so soft and comfy. I'm convinced it might be the best t-shirt ever.)

A fantastic article about chores, gender roles, and... zombies

Have a wonderful weekend!

PS- If you're in Tucson on Saturday and want to help us move....we will be eternally grateful!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Short Film: Neighborhoods

The process of moving has sparked many thoughts about travel and home for me in the last few weeks. I've moved out of my college apartment (home for the last three years), travelled to my childhood home (just before Christmas), to Nate's childhood home (for the wedding), to a whole new place (Kauai), back to Nate's apartment (a temporary home), and finally, hopefully, on Friday we'll be moving into our new apartment, our first home together. All of this travelling has provided all sorts of contrasts in the last few weeks. And such contrasts are precisely why I love this little double-projection film, "Neighborhoods":

Two contrary places that are connected by stylistic features. It is about the metropolis New York City (USA)
and the provincial Dessau (GER). Based on the topic "neighborhood", the films about the both cities are shown in a double projection. This short film was created in the framework of the cooperation between the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences,
Department of Design Dessau, and the NYU.
Supervised by Prof. Rochus Hartmann (Dessau)
Supported by Prof. Angela Zumpe (Dessau) and Prof. Mechthild Schmidt (NYC)
Idea/realization: Saskia Kretzschmann & Vera Danilina
Music: Johnny Ripper "In A Dream"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


If you've been reading for a while, you might remember the pictures from the hike I took up to Lanikai Pillboxes with Nate and a couple of his friends. Since I loved the hike so much and since we had friends with us who had never seen a sunrise in Hawaii, we decided the hike was a must-do activity while we were on Oahu. 

The weather that morning was wet, misty, and overall uncooperative. Rain soaked the trail, rendering it a slippery, muddy, mess that could only be navigated with the help of ropes strung along some small trees by some helpful prior traveler. We scrambled up the hillside to be greeted with a view of mist, mist, and more mist. 

The water was still a lovely crystalline blue, and a few small islands could be glimpsed through the white mist, presenting a pretty, if not astounding, picture. We snapped a few photos, trying to make the best of it.

But just before we turned to make the treacherous slide back down the muddy mountainside, the sun began to illuminate the clouds.

The mist rolled back.

And the sun broke through.

And we were treated an array of pure, awe-inspiring light. 

After a brief break in the clouds, the mist rolled back in, and soft rain began to fall.

We ran and slid back through the mud, giddy and soaked, glad for a brief blessing at dawn.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy Returns and a New Year

 Morning Light over Lanikai Pillboxes, Oahu, Hawaii

I'm back! Nate and I landed in Phoenix on a red-eye flight from Honolulu at eight o'clock yesterday morning and drove down to Tucson just in time for me to make my first class of the week. Since then it's felt a bit like we've been thrown into the deep end- classes have started, work is making daily demands again, schedules need adjusting, homework has begun to pile up, the thesis is still waiting, one more reception begs for our attention, and on top of it all we're moving to a new apartment this weekend. It's still a crazy sort of time of change and new beginnings.

First of all- we're married! It's been ten days since the wedding and I'm still not sure it's hit me yet. We're still in the early, gawky stages of combining all our earthly possessions and figuring out how two schedules will fit together and how two apartments worth of stuff will somehow coalesce into one new home. At the same time, we're just beginning to peek ahead at where this year might take us- beyond the next six months (and my graduation), we have no clear idea of where exactly we're headed, but we're eagerly awaiting the next adventure. 

In the next few months I look forward to processing it all- the wedding, marriage, living life together with another person, finishing school, planning for the future- and this will be one of those spaces where I process. I'm hoping to add in some serious discussions that arise from my area of expertise- questions of politics, inequality, conflicts, and ethnic relations- from time to time. And on the lighter side, I have a new apartment to decorate, new pictures to share, new recipes to try, and new music to explore. In short, I have all sorts of new content that I am incredibly excited to share with all of you, and I hope you'll join me in this new year.

photo by Kara Haberstock, 2013, all rights reserved