Sunday, September 28, 2014

Photo Diary: A Day at Art Prize 2014

Fall is finally here, which of course means apple cider, cinnamon donuts, and plenty pumpkin spice lattes (yeah I'm a walking stereotype; it's fine). However, for me the start of Fall also means the opening of one of the coolest traditions and events in Grand Rapids. ART PRIZE!

Every year around the beginning of October the entire city of Grand Rapids is turned into a giant art museum. Artists from all over the world submit their work, ranging from paintings to sculptures to just about any type of art-form you could possibly think of and more. The exhibits cover the city for a couple of weeks, during which visitors get to vote for their favorites to determine the winners.

I la-la-la-love Art Prize. It is something I look forward to every year. You never know what you'll find and I'm always blown away by the variety. The writer in me is always inspired by walking around and seeing all the different perspectives and ideas the different artists offer. Plus it's kind of like a giant scavenger hunt; you never know where you might find a sculpture or an installation, or what stores might have opened their doors as venues this year. I mean I suppose you could just Google it, but where's the fun in that?

This was the opening weekend for Art Prize 2014, so I've only managed to go down for one day so far and there are plenty of venues that I didn't make it to, but I hope you enjoy the pictures I've taken so far!

We've dubbed this one Battle Pug.

The colors for this installation are so vibrant I had a hard time getting a picture that didn't look fake!

Dragon! This beautiful thing is rather appropriately stationed in Vault of Midnight, a comic book store in Grand Rapids.

This instrument is called a Hand Pan. They sound sorta like steel drums. They're super awesome.

I love me some turtles! 

Seriously. I love the turtles.

This is one of my favorites. It is a series of photographs of American soldiers and people living in the Middle Eastern countries that have been/are war zones. The photographer is hoping to draw attention to the way the majority of Americans experience war- at a safe distance through photographs- hence the title of his piece.

I believe this piece was entitled "Wind." We found it because I saw something shiny and obviously had to see what it was.

That's all I have for you right now! I'm hoping to go back to art prize at least one more time before it ends. If you want to see any new pictures I take in the future you can follow me on Instagram!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back to School Breakfast of Champions

By now I'm pretty sure that classes have started back up just about everywhere. And that means everywhere students (or parents of students) have returned to the universal school time question: what can I make for breakfast that fills me up, gets me to class on time, AND is super healthy? Well friends, I have your long awaited answer.

Poached eggs on avocado spread toast. Healthy. Delicious. Quick.

"Wow, that looks delicious!" you say. "How do I make that?" I know some people fear poached eggs, but this is stupidly simple, I promise.

You will need:

  • 1 large piece of bread; preferably something delicious and fancy from the bakery section.
  • 1/2 an avocado (more or less depending on the size of your avocado. Mine are pretty tiny.)
  • 2 fresh cold eggs (1 if you're not super hungry)
  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Fill a pot with about an inch of water and let boil. You don't want it to be a roaring boil, just a light bubbling, so don't set your stove super high. 

While waiting for your water to boil, toast your bread. A toaster oven is ideal, but, if like me, you do not own one, just cut your big fancy piece of bread in half and toast it in a regular toaster. I won't tell anyone.

Next cut up your avocado into little chunks and then smush them across your toast with the side of your knife. I like to leave little lumps on mine, but that's up to you.

By now your water should be ready. Remember light boil, not roaring. If your water is bubbling too much you run the risk of it breaking your yolk. 

Crack your first egg into a 1/3 or 1/4 cup measuring spoon. Then take a spoon and create a whirlpool in your water; this will help to keep your egg together. Lightly drop your egg into the center of the whirlpool, holding the measuring spoon as close to the water as you can when you do it. Let the egg boil for 3 minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon and plop it down on your avocado toast. If you're making two eggs, simply repeat

You'll probably lose some of the egg whites. I always do. It will still be delicious.

Salt and pepper to taste, splash a little balsamic vinegar on top, and enjoy your super fast and fancy breakfast!

*Fun Fact: Since you won't be using a whole avocado, be sure to cut up the half that does NOT keep the pit when you cut it in half. Avocado's stay ripe longer when you leave the pit intact.* 

I hope you enjoy this breakfast as much as I do! What are some of your other favorite before-school breakfast recipes? Let me know! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SAIL's First Campus Life Night

Last night was Campus Life Night at GVSU, which means thousands of students squeeze into one parking lot to learn about the over 350 student organizations that run on campus. Life Night showcases everything from swing dance club to the GVSU Amnesty International chapter, and new tables show up every year.

This year, we were one of them.

Near the end of the last school year I started playing with the idea of starting a literacy advocacy group on campus. A few months of brainstorming and talking all my roommates into being officers later and SAIL was born.

The group will officially be known as Student Advocates of International Literacy, or SAIL, and I am so excited to get to start working with this group! None of us had particularly ambitious expectations for last night; we were hoping to get maybe 10 people signed up. Instead we had over 30 people sign up and even more who just took fliers for the Facebook group. Even if only half of the people who signed up actually turn up for meetings, we are off to a pretty great start. It was really exciting getting to meet people who were just as interested and passionate about this idea as I am; I can't wait to get to know them all and to start making a difference with them.

There was one part of Life Night that was a bit of a failure: I didn't take any pictures. I got so caught up talking to people and passing out fliers that I completely forgot, so unfortunately I don't have any of our table to share with you. But I will definitely take lots of pictures at our future events and projects so you have that to look forward to!

If you're interested in seeing how SAIL progresses and keeping updated with upcoming projects you can follow our Facebook page here! Some of the ideas we have people will be able to participate in online, so you can get involved even from the other side of the world.

Do your schools have any traditions like Campus Life Night? And are you a part of any of the organizations at your school? Or maybe your a parent who is extra relieved that the kids are back in school and out of the house; are your kids involved in anything cool? I'd love to know!

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