Link love

21 Aug

The Most Important Writing Lesson I Ever Learned

Five types of problem editor. Can you guess which one(s) I am? That’s a trick–I’m all of them.

The prettiest necklace. Also, this one.

This post on A Beautiful Mess reminded me how awesome biscuit donuts are. I went with cinnamon sugar and basic glaze.

Very cool letter

Feeling a bit morose today. Somehow this helped.

Zadie Smith’s 10 rules of writing. Love this.

How to buy happiness

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26 Jul

It would be no exaggeration to say that I come from the least sporty family in the world. We never watched the Super Bowl, generally avoided all things spandex, and failed miserably at obtaining the green slice of pie in Trivial Pursuit. One of my brothers and I played badminton in high school, but that’s about as athletic as we got.

Knowing all this, you might understand my surprise when not one but both of my brothers signed up for the Spartan Race late last year. At the time, I struggled to understand why someone would want to run 13 miles and go through 25 obstacles, let alone why they would pay upwards of $100 to do it. But I was eager to see how my youngest brother would fare. He has not been, how do I put this?, the most fit of young men. Henry once wondered if he would sweat potato chips once he started training. Lovely imagery, I know.

Six months later he was running through mud, throwing javelins, scaling walls, and ducking under barbed wire. I couldn’t have been more proud.

So while I still don’t really get sports, I do understand the power of setting a goal and following through. I’ve never seen my littlest brother so happy as when he crossed the finish line, you know, moments after fighting gladiators wielding those giant Q-tip things.

Flossie’s Guide to Provo

13 Jul

When I left Provo in August–tires screeching, radio on full blast–I had no idea how much I would miss about it. I knew I would miss the people, but I didn’t know how much I would miss my favorite places. So here’s a quick list of my favorite things in Provo!

Food

Spicy Corea*
Why: Delicious food, favorite with Korean expats (so I hear), good prices, sweet location, and nice (but reserved) owners.
What to order: Bibimbap (ask for it with spicy pork, even though it’s not listed on the menu), Gojujang Sangipsal (if you like things spicy), or kimchi jiggai (if you like kimchi, obv). The side dishes they bring out before the meal are awesome. (Image source)

*No, I don’t know why Korea is spelled with a “C.” Also, isn’t their website bizarre?

Saigon Cafe
Why: Cheap prices, good food, generous portions, hilariously surly wait staff.
What to order: General Tso’s chicken, orange chicken, pork lo mein, pho, cashew chicken. I have to say that I’ve had a few things there that weren’t great, so once I found the items on this list, I didn’t branch out much (nor did I feel the need to).

Rancheritos
Why: Open 24/7, cheap prices, amazing tortillas
What to order: Texano burrito, California burrito, horchata, quesadilla supreme (this isn’t on the menu anymore but they’ll make it if you ask. And you should really ask). I’ve also had some missteps here. I don’t recommend anything with chicken (it’s a bit dry).

Cafe Rio
Why: If you have to ask, you must be new to the area.
What to order: Pork barbacoa salad. Once you’ve had that about 10 times, you may be ready to branch out.   May I suggest pork tacos, coconut shrimp tacos (only on Tuesdays), and the berry flan.

Osaka
Why: Authentic Japanese (apparently), great prices, magical salad dressing. (Ignore the creepy candy mannequin in the lobby.)
What to order: Salmon don burri was my go to. It comes with a salad. The dressing is magical. It just is. (Photo from Yelp.)

Happy Sumo
Why: Great sushi, swanky (for Provo) location, sweet VIP deals (sign up here. no, really, sign up right now).
What to order: I like simple sushi for the most part, so I go with the spicy tuna, philly, and avocado rolls. For appetizers, I like the seared tuna tataki, dragon scales, and edamame. I also want to marry the turtle shell appetizer.

Pon Pon House
Why: Boba, boba, boba.
What to order: Boba smoothie. My favorite is the honeydew. The strawberry and pineapple are good too. Avoid the avocado. You might think it sounds like a good idea (actually, you probably don’t), but it’s not. Also, the food is apparently not great. I just stuck with the boba.

Provo Bakery
Why: Quaint, delicious, surprising
What to order: The bran muffins. I know! Who gets excited about bran muffins? But these are indescribably delicious, and I don’t even love bran muffins. They’re baked, flipped on their little muffin heads, and drenched in this honey syrup/magic potion. Go early because they sell out most days, especially Saturdays. (photo source)

Terra Mia
Why: Authentic pizza, sweet gelato bar, located next to the mall and movie theater.
What to order: Margherita pizza with arugula. This is my favorite pizza in the area. (Image source)

The Cocoa Bean
Why: Creative drinks, extended hours
What to order: Frappes. The chocolate ones taste like an icy chocolate milk. Mexican chocolate is my fave. The cupcakes are good, not great.

Shopping: Groceries (oh the glamour!)

Sunflower
Go here for high-quality, low-priced produce. Check the ads for at least one great deal each week. And Wednesday is double sale day, so everything from the previous week and the next week’s ads is on sale. They also have quite a bit of health food stuff, organic, etc.

Buy Low
Groceries here are the cheapest of the cheap. Quality isn’t always great, but prices are ridiculously low.

Bollywood
If you like Indian food, you need to go here. They have all of the ingredients you need to make most Indian dishes, and the owners will even give you their recipes! Their fresh yogurt (in tall, clear cups in the refrigerator case) is great in smoothies and as a garnish with curries. On Saturday morning, they sell fresh, hot samosas. Also, in the adjoining shop they sell Indian street food a la carte. Most of it’s fried, so I don’t recommend making a whole meal of it (lesson learned), but definitely stop in for a snack (the little doughnut hole things in honey syrup are delicious).

Shopping: Thrifting

Deseret Industries (Thrift shop associated with the Mormon church).
Provo’s DI gets a bad wrap as being picked over, but I’ve found some great stuff there. Go often, put on your ipod, and don’t be afraid to dig!

This isn’t Provo-specific, but the Centerville DI (about an hour north) is my very favorite thrift store. It has the thrifting trifecta: affluent area, older demographic (lots of vintage), and large location.

Misc.

BYU work out classes
You can pay about $50 for an entire semester of workout classes if you’re a student, employee, or spouse of either one–or if you know someone who is and will sign up for you… They have a good offering of classes and fun instructors. The intervals class (embarassingly called Ripped) is one of the best classes I’ve even been to.

Aveda Beauty School
For about $10 you can get a cut and style from one of the more advanced students. They also offer manicures, pedicures, and facials. I’ve never been disappointed with a haircut from here. Prices are cheaper than some of the other schools in the area, and the salon has comfy chairs and a professional feel. Also, the first time you go, you get a gift card for services totaling the amount you spend on products. Try the Aveda volumizing serum if you have baby fine hair like I do! (image source)

Skweez deals
Sign up for daily coupons that arrive via text. They can sometimes be repetitive or lame, but often they’re pretty decent.

Overrated
Chances are if you live in Provo for any amount of time, someone will drag you to these Provo institutions. They’re ridiculously popular, but I don’t see what the big fuss is.

Brick Oven
They do give you free root beer, but I’ve just never seen the big deal about the average pizzeria-type food.

Los Hermanos
The only thing I’ve ever had here is bland, not-at-all-authentic Mexican food.

Let’s hunt for jobs!

20 Jun

Don’t you think the phrase job hunting sounds a lot more fun than the action it describes? It sounds like a fun game, but it’s really, really not.

Well, here are some links to make things a little easier. I’ll update as I find more.

What to ask in an interview

What 4 common questions really mean

Tell me about yourself


What to do when you don’t get a job


Writing a thank you

“One of the biggest reasons it’s generally easier for someone that’s already employed to get a new position vs. someone that’s unemployed, is because they usually come across less desperate. They don’t need the job as much, so they ask better questions and evaluate the position more thoroughly for their own fit and interest.”

More on writing a thank you
” I say (if I believe it to be to true) what a nice environment they created for the interview/audition. And I say simply at the end, ‘I hope to see you again soon.’ ”


Salary negotiations

Aside

Ray Bradbury on…

14 Jun

Ray Bradbury on books and libraries.

Kind of love this surprising travel tip from Cup of Jo

Neon sign graveyard museum! I want in.

Black and white photo zaniness. People were doing weird sh*t long before the internet. But that hasn’t stopped the evidence from finding its way online.

I’m about half way through this book and I’ve already fallen hard. The writing, story, and characters–amazing. After I finish this, I’ll systematically read everything Julia Alvarez has ever written and then write her an embarrassing fan letter.

Are you a chaos puppet or an order puppet?

Change of plans

8 Jun

On Wednesday, at 11:15 a.m., I found myself alone and sobbing in a parking structure.  At 11:15 a.m. on a weekday, I generally expect to find myself at my desk at work. And actually, at 11 a.m., that’s exactly where I was, calmly entering changes after a proof.

But 15 minutes later, I’d been asked into my boss’s office, introduced to a kind but weary HR rep, and politely told that I would no longer be needed on the fifth floor. Effective immediately. And so I’d numbly gone back to my desk, gathered up my things, and stumbled out to the parking structure, handing over my security badge at the front desk (good riddance, really; the picture was terrible). I’d find out later that I was only the first of many to be called in that day.

So I wept and hiccoughed in the car for a while and then called Henry and repeated the drill. Finally I took a few deep breaths and drove out of the garage for the last time.

I can’t really think of a good way to tie up this post. Right now, I don’t feel like putting a neat little bow on this experience. If I’m honest, it’s terrible and heartbreaking and I’d rather not go through it, thanks. But I hope tonight’s fortune cookie is right, that there’s something good around the bend. I think that’s the best as I can do right now.

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Silly things I’ve learned: Craigs Listing

14 May

You know how sometimes you spend hours on Craigs List hunting for an apartment/a job/a phenomenal guinea pig? And you know how you sometimes respond to, like, 27 ads in one day? And then you get perhaps 19.5 emails back. But you don’t know which response goes with which ad. So you’re like, who are you again and what do you have that I want?

I have solved yet another of the world’s problems. When you write the initial email, you simply paste the URL to the ad at the bottom of the email. That way, when the person responds, you’ll see the URL in your own message and know what they’re talking about.