Monthly Archives: March 2011

Pittsburgh Sketches

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No big full page spreads in the journal this time around. I need a lot of blank space for recording my thoughts and observations from the trip. Presenting at the convention wasn’t as nerve racking as I thought it would be. I knew my paper would be terrible in comparison the the rest of my panel, so I just went with it, got it over with, and left. The convention did have a few high points for me, and it presented me with quite a few ideas to consider, but I enjoyed the exploration of Pittsburgh far more. While I’d been told that Pittsburgh was dirty and full of crime, I didn’t expect to be a witness for the police when an incident occurred in a Chinese restaurant the very first day of the conference. Other than that, the museums were my highlights. Carnegie was so exciting to me, although most of it I’d seen before or something similar to it in the Museum of Natural History in NYC. The art and sculpture aspects of Carnegie though were awe inspiring, and I’m still marveling at Winged Victory, although it’s obviously not the original that’s on display at the Louvre. The Andy Warhol museum was interesting. Warhol has never been a favorite of mine, but I liked getting new insight on his work and also a tiny glimpse of his time capsules. Anyway, I’m off to go fill in all the blank space of my journal with the details of the trip…it feels so good to be home.

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Mindset

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I am so behind on uploading this piece in my journal it’s not even funny. After doing a discussion on fixed and growth mindsets in Creative Journal, I decided to do a more visual interpretation of what we had covered.

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A fixed mindset is when you believe that your qualities are carved into stone, and you feel the need to continuously prove yourself. IQ is everything, position in the class is everything, and you don’t take risks that may potentially put those positions in jeopardy. Fixed mindsets fear change and look for praise at their success to feel a sense of superiority. “Nothing ventured, nothing lost!”

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A growth mindset cultivates basic qualities through effort. Everyone can change and grow with application and experience. Growth mindsets thrive during challenges. They are open to learning from failures, disappointments, and criticism. They are aware of their abilities and weaknesses. Growth mindsets also look for new opportunities to learn and collaborate. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained!”

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While I found that personally I’ve spent my entire life as a fixed mindset, I was deeply curious as to how a person might go about moving from fixed into growth. The answer, I was told, was through the following:
Deep Practice – training to be great. Michael Jordan wasn’t always the greatest basketball player, but he spent at least 5 hours a day practicing to one day be the best.
Ignition – finding something that really lights your fire and really losing yourself in it so that you become driven to practice and devote yourself.
Master Coaching – find someone who is great at what you want to do, and learn from them.

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OPA!

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I haven’t posted in way too long, and I have so much to get caught up on. I worked my entire break so what little I did do that I wanted to post about, I was often too tired to go through the process of uploading and posting. I’m pulling myself out of that funk tonight though. I’m going to devote this to one heavenly meal I made this week. Beware, this entry will be image-heavy with what my buddy Donn likes to call “food porn”.

Being Greek, I am naturally drawn to Greek dishes and flavors. I live for roasted lamb, spanakopita, dolmades…and so on. Unfortunately, this area is not familiar with the best cuisine the world has to offer, and therefore, there’s no place within probably a hundred miles offering quality Greek food. So usually I end up making my own or infusing Greek flavors into other dishes – Greek Lasagna, anyone? That was a real winner. So when I had a large amount of chicken breasts to prepare, I decided to do a little experiment in a Greek ingredient stuffing. One of the things I adore most are kalamata olives. Often, as a snack I will eat a whole bowl of them covered in Feta cheese. Although they are pricey, they are worth every penny.

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Nom nom. Anywhooo….I started by making a stuffing of sauteed mushrooms, chopped kalamata olives, cooked spinach, and feta cheese. Slice the chicken breast as if you are going to butterfly it, but don’t cut all the way through on the ends.

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You will need to secure the chicken with toothpicks during baking so that the stuffing doesn’t run out.

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I made a quick sauce with chopped tomatoes, some Greek seasoning, and the spinach that I had leftover from making the stuffing. I also topped it off with more of the feta cheese.

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Popped those lovelies in the oven to bake, and I started on a couple side dishes. Greek seasoned fried potatoes and some zucchini with a dash of the Greek seasoning I used on the potatoes.

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About an hour later, I pulled this out:

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…and served over top of spaghetti noodles.

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It looked MASSIVE on the plate. It truly was a ton of food. Very difficult to finish all of it but it was great to the last bite.

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…and check out that yummy stuffed center…

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It was heavenly, as Greek food always is. 😉

Magic Words

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Where’s a fairy godmother when you need her? I’ve been so worn down with worries and stress that I’ve been wishing for a magic word to erase all this negative energy. Wouldn’t it be nice if there really were magic words like that? I’ve come up with my own magic word to rid myself of worries. What’s yours?

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“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.” — Joy Page

Burning Bridges

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Have you ever been so caught up in something or overwhelmingly busy when something you see will just strike you and you have to pause whatever you are doing to contemplate it. Then, when you do contemplate it, you see it for what it is and you see yourself in it. That moment where you go, “That’s ME…That’s where I’m AT.” It can be something relatively simple, yet it speaks volumes.

I had a moment quite like that today. Life has been a struggle lately, and all of my time is caught up in my senior portfolio work (due this week) that I’m constantly losing sleep over. I took a moment to check my facebook newsfeed, and what I found was a new picture Nikki Sixx had posted of a piece of artwork someone had given him. All it said was, “May the bridges I burn light the way.” …I read those words and suddenly – brain explosion. That’s ME…That’s where I’m AT!

I’ve turned my back on everything that has brought me down. There were times when I questioned whether it was the right thing to do or not, but then there would be clear reminders of why there was no going back. I’m burning that bridge, and I have a lot better to look forward to ahead of me. It’s already starting to light my way, and I can see where I’m headed, I just had to get past a few stepping stones first.

Of course, this was such a grand idea to me, that I wanted to record it to later reflect on it. Unfortunately, time is of the essence, and I couldn’t devote a lot of time to recording the quote in an elaborate page, but I did quickly grab some of those fun soft pastels and then bright white acrylic paint. Simple, but a great reminder of where I’m at and where I’m going.

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Also, I’d like to give everyone a great big THANK YOU. Just the other day, this site reached over 500 hits. It’s really remarkable to me since I started out this blog just to keep it to myself, and I still relatively do…but it has actually reached so many of you. It’s a pretty spectacular idea to me! So, thanks!

“If you haven’t the strength to impose your own terms upon life, you must accept the terms it offers you.”
– T.S. Eliot