Moving on Up

I has been a little over two months since my big move (and since I last posted…oops!) and to say that I am thoroughly inspired and in love with my new neighborhood would be an understatement.  It is such a relief to be in a neighborhood where people actually walk around and where I see a diverse set of people.  In my old ‘hood, it was more car and bus oriented so it always felt weird to walk anywhere and in some instances, the sidewalk would just abruptly stop and you would be forced to trudge through foliage to get to your destination.  Now I am surrounded by urban gardens, sidewalk cafes, boutiques, and restaurants galore. The apartment complex across the street from me has a fountain in their courtyard, so anytime the weather is nice, I can open my windows and zen out to the sound of the water. On Friday and Saturday nights, I do have to deal with all of the drunken people and loud motorcycles en route to the local bars, but I don’t mind since pros of the apartment far outweigh the cons. My favorite thing about the apartment is that I have a great view of the city skyline from my bedroom window, and it looks even better at night when the buildings are illuminated in various colors. I will do a series on apartment hunting, living with a roommate, decorating, and how to put together Ikea furniture without losing your mind (you are going to love that one).
P.S. Check out the new blog header! It was designed by MerelyBlogDesign. If you are in need of design services for your blog or website, definitely get in contact with her. I have been admiring her work for a while now and I am excited that I got to work with her.

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Out with the Old, In with the New

Getting prepped to move out of my apartment has involved a lot of sorting, recycling, donating, and contemplating. When I first moved to Philly, all of my belongings fit in four suitcases. Over the past few years, I have accumulated enough things to require hiring a moving service to transport everything to my new apartment. When I first started packing, I meticulously sorted everything into “Keep, throw away, or donate” piles. By box 4, I just wanted to get packing over with so I started throwing everything into random boxes. I’ll deal with it later!

Packing has also provided me with a lot of time to think. When I first started this site, I intended for it to go in an entirely different direction. I wanted this to be a place where I can explore creativity, be inspired, and hopefully in the process inspire others. I don’t know what it was about July, but everything seemed to be going wrong. I am sure that I will look back one day and understand why all of this was happening, but for now, all I can do is move forward in full belief that tomorrow is a new day full of opportunity and exciting things. I will be back on August 1 with new content, a regular posting schedule, and perhaps a new theme (something about my current theme reminds me of cupcakes…). Off to go pick up my new keys!

Coursera.org – A Really Cool Website for Those Who Love to Learn

Remember when you were in undergrad and there were always those one or two really interesting sounding classes that you wanted to take but couldn’t fit into your schedule? Or perhaps you have been out of school for a while and want a refresher on some subjects. Well here’s your chance. Introducing Coursera.org.

I was perusing my Twitter feed a few weeks ago when one of my friends tweeted that she had just signed up for a free finance class on a website. I clicked through to the website and saw that not only were they offering finance, but they were also offering other cool classes like Cryptography, Intro to Pharmacology, and my personal favorite, Intro to Sustainability, among many others. 

The best thing about this site is that the classes are offered through really amazing colleges and universities including Harvard. The classes are interactive and have assignments and even final exams in some cases! I see huge potential in this being a great tool for high school students to use to determine what their career interests are and to get acclimated to the academic rigor of college.

 I signed up for the finance class but I definitely plan on signing up for more once my schedule allows me to. I was really inspired as I read through the course listing. It is admirable that these schools are offering access to these courses for free! The philosophy and management courses look particularly interesting to me.  I am so glad that my friend recommended this website and I knew that I had to pay it forward and share it as well. I’ll keep you posted on my Coursera experience as I go through the course.

That Awesome Moment When…

Taken with Instagram

I had a great time at all of the Philly 4th of July activities.  It was HOT outside. Like 105 degrees hot.  Standing in a crowd of 30,000+ sweaty, funky smelling people was definitely not preferable, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. Each year Philly shuts down the street leading up to the Art Museum (where Rocky does his famous run up the stairs in the movie) and hosts a concert and a 4th of July fireworks extravaganza.

I made my way down to Center City and arrived early.  I was meeting up with a few friends, so I waited for them at the base of a statue on a corner in front of the Four Seasons Hotel.  Less than 1 minute later, I saw a convoy of police motorcycles and big white vans headed directly my way. Little girls started running and screaming. I, of course, assumed the worse and thought that someone got hurt.  However, as the vans passed me, I realized that Joe Jonas and Nick Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers) were in one of the vans. Apparently they were performing at the concert. Then I saw more people start to go crazy. The next two vans that passed me were Common and Queen Latifah!

I met up with my friends and we walked to the concert area. First up were Queen Latifah and The Roots. I wasn’t really that impressed with her set. She performed some slow songs. People were getting angry because they wanted to hear some of her rap stuff.  Then Joe Jonas performed…and yeah. That’s all I have to say about that.  Then Common came on and did a 45 minute set! He had the crowd going c-r-a-z-y. Then Queen Latifah surprised everyone and came out and performed some songs with Common.  Then some country guy performed. I don’t even remember his name, lol.

Then, Common announced that he had a surprise for the crowd. Everyone was wondering what was going on.  MS. LAURYN HILL WALKED ONTO THE STAGE. I about died. Everyone was going nuts! She performed Ex-Factor, Ready or Not, Could You Be Loved (Bob Marley), Fu Gee La, and Doo Wop (That Thing).  Everybody was on their feet dancing and singing along. She looked fabulous and sounded amazing. I really hope that she doesn’t end up going to prison :-(.  #FreeLauryn! Then, we watched some fireworks and headed home. I hope that you all had a great 4th!

-Sylvia

Spontaneity

Rittenhouse Park (Taken with my Instagram)

I am a planner. Not in terms of my occupation, but in terms of my mindset. I’m that annoying person who always has to know “Who, what, where, when, and why.”  I hate surprises. Not knowing is not an option for me.  It makes me quite anxious. When I go on vacation, I am not able to relax unless I have a full itinerary planned out and Google Maps directions ready to go for each destination. Yes, it is that bad.

This morning, I knew that I had to buy a dress for one of my best friend’s upcoming wedding, so I picked out several stores to visit and got ready to head out the door. Right when I was putting on my sandals, one of my friends texted me to let me know that her phone was on the fritz, and that she was wondering if I was headed to Center City (Downtown Philadelphia) so that we could meet up and so that she could get her phone fixed at the phone store. She would not be able to call me once she got to Center City since her phone was not working, so I let her know the names of the 3 stores that I would be visiting and had her write down my number so that if she was able to find a phone, she could call me. She assured me that she would would somehow find me when she got there. My friend is very much the opposite of me. She is very free-spirited and has a “go with the flow mentality.” She was confident that she would be able to find me, but I was not so sure.

I was stressing out big time. I hated not knowing how I was going to find her and how she was going to try and find me without a phone.  Long story short, she was able to borrow a phone, and ended up being in the same building that I was in. Things worked out after all! We spent hours meandering  around the city, spending entirely too much money at Macy’s, stumbling upon a huge fountain at a park, and sitting on a park bench eating water ice (It is kind of like a sno cone).

Rita’s Water Ice (Taken with my Instagram)

I guess all of this is my long winded way of saying that it doesn’t hurt to go without a plan every once in a while. In my mind, going without a plan guarantees that everything is bound to go wrong, but today proved me wrong.  I ended up having a great day and I got some shoes. (Ok, several pairs of cute shoes.)  Are you up for some adventure in your life? Throw out that to-do list and see where your day takes you. Let me know how it works out for you.

-Sylvia