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Design Your Life

The most important thing you’ll choose is how to live your life.

Design Your Life

Develop Great Mate-dar!

09/28/2009

You’re single and want to meet that someone special NOW! Especially since we are on the cusp of the holidays, right? So naturally your Mate-dar (your ability to suss out a great mate) is turned up a notch. Or so you think. Truth is, Mate-dar is only as good as its end user.

So, whatever the reason, you’re on the prowl for a significant other. Maybe you feel you’re ready for a commitment. Maybe you’re looking for companionship. So you feel like your “Mate-dar” (your ability to suss out a great mate) is in full force, turned up top notch. But the truth is – even if you have the purest of intentions for seeking out a relationship – nobody’s Mate-dar is perfect.
The problem—or, should I say, one of the many challenges— with being human is knowing the difference between who we are and who we are not. Making the all-important distinction between our unconscious persona and our authentic, healthy, whole selves. Until we have addressed this process it is likely that our wounded little kid has a hold of an adult tool, waving it around like a toy, and then BANG! somebody gets hurt. Our Mate-dar, when operated by our 5-year-old wound, can get us into a lot of trouble—as would any part of ourselves we have not made peace with, healed or become aware of on some level.

In the case of seeking a great partner, when we are seeing through the eyes of a wound we are less likely to see clearly! This can show up in different ways (boy, can they be tricky, slippery and subtle all at once), most of them falling under the guise of denial or rationalization.

Here’s a great story to illustrate how elusive accessing our very own truth can be.
My husband, David, got on the scale this morning. I could hear the clang and distinct argh. “How can that be? I gained four pounds? I have only been eating lettuce all week, for crying out loud.” I tried to comfort him by saying that muscle weighs more than fat, and then burst out laughing, realizing that’s what I told myself last time I got on the scale. After we lavished one and another with a few more excuses, we decided that the scale was broken and we needed to get a new one. One that told us what we wanted to hear! That we were not fat!

I have learned it’s one thing to sit around and bitch and moan wishing things were different, and another to do something about it. So I went for a run, then later we went to get the scale. Apparently doing a little of both.

pretty in pink

“It’s never a good idea to weigh yourself late in the day, sweetie” I reminded him as he stepped off the fancy glass scale in Bed Bath and Beyond, that seconds before had held such promise. “Yeah, but this one says I weigh even more than the one at home—did I gain four more pounds since we left?” I wasn’t laughing, as I was about to climb on. Mind you, I don’t make it a habit to get on scales—I know all too well they are not my friends, because I almost never feel better about myself as a result! How bad could it be? I thought. I run and eat well and anyway I would know if I… “What the…? A hundred and…? Wow, I don’t know what to say, except …that scale can’t be right!” I leapt off like it was a bed of hot coals.

“Oh, look, here’s one that tells you how much muscle versus fat you have, and it will show us how much water we are retaining! Let’s try it. You go first!” I said. David placed the Ferrari version of a scale on the floor, took his flip-flops off again and stepped on. “Uh oh…uhhhh… Wait, try that one, that’s just a regular old scale,” and quickly pointed to another. He put the Ferrari one back, put the next one on the floor and hopped on. We both waited as it calculated. “Well, this one says the same thing as the one at home does,” he shrugged. ‘Which means—uh…we’re fat, right?” We both laughed, let it sink in for a minute, and then decided that since we were ready to admit the truth, that we weighed more than we wanted to, we might as well buy the really cool one that told us in great detail all about it.

What the heck does this have to do with relationships? That’s a very good question, and if you answered “Everything!” you are definitely smarter than the average bear!

Pay attention, ‘cause this is some heavy. It doesn’t get any more real than this kind of reality. A huge contributor, if not a top ten reason so many of us don’t have a GREAT relationship, is—we don’t tell ourselves (or others) the truth. It’s an exact proportion, as a matter of fact! Think about it. Let’s say I asked you right now to write down your name, how much you weigh, how much you make a year, the color of your eyes, hair, your shoe size, how tall you are, where you live. Nine out of ten of you would lie about at least half. The rest of you would at least exaggerate or minimize. Don’t believe me, go grab the next person you see and tell them how much you really weigh. How tall you are, to the centimeter. What color your hair really is. How old you actually are. Go down the list; if you are honest with yourself, you will see how often we lie about the most mundane things. Why? Because of what we make it mean:

I weigh X = I am fat = no one will want/love me
I am X years old = I am too old = no one will love me
I am five feet X = too short (or tall) = no one wants that = no one will want me
My real hair color is X = I am unattractive = no one will love me
I make X amount of money = I am poor = no one will want to be with me/love me

So we do what my husband and I tried to do. We slip right into the old river called Denial. We begin with some simple rationalizations, adding or taking away a zero here and there. What harm can it do? we think, Who cares? If I don’t care, why should anyone else? Well, that’s the problem. You do care, or you wouldn’t bother lying—especially to yourself!

You can see how easy it is to miss cues, red flags and warnings or signs from another person that they really aren’t interested. Our agenda for love can be so strong, our wound-ology so ingrained, that it actually distorts reality! Here are some recommendations to help develop or adjust our Mate-dar.

One of my favorites is to interview people who have the kind of relationship you want. If you can’t interview, at least pay attention and jot down some features that stand out for you!

Date yourself seriously. Yes, seriously…date yourself. Make a date, get ready for it, pick the place you want yourself to take yourself, the whole nine, and do it. How do you like your own company, what do you notice about yourself?
Interview yourself. Yeah, why not? Who are you? What do you want out of life? What’s your five-year plan, what is your relationship history? Ask yourself all the questions you would ask of another, and see how you react or what comes up for you.

Have a few practice dates with real people to see how well your intuition is working. Yes, a date where you actually try and work on your weakness. Maybe you even ask the person for feedback about you and see how your perceptions compare. Could be very enlightening, if you have the courage!

Look, if you don’t take care to do these things, or things like this, for yourself, why would you expect anyone else to? Awakening to consciousness is not for lightweights—it’s hard work, and you got want the good stuff! Like I always say, great relationships begin within. Don’t kid yourself!

Design Your Life

Minimalism vs Hoarding and Decadent Interior

09/24/2009

If I could just… if this was.. it still doesn’t *feel* right!

I’m often finding myself stuck when designing new layouts for Miseducated — it started so collage heavy as I was using tons and tons of popular icons.. then I started seeing the collage thing EVERYWHERE and it was feeling cluttered so I obviously cut it down… :p I always feel that deconstructing and ridding of any excess is a positive thing.

Now why is this?

My room was very cluttered as a child and I hoped for a day when I would have my own modern, minimalist house.

As you can see my minimalism kind of lost the battle with whimsical nonsense and fantasy candylands. Obviously I find my *greatest* satisfaction in cuteness, well-designed, minimal yet colorful homes (Jeu de Paumes went RIGHT UP my alley, didn’t they yours? ^_~).

.. but is deleting and deconstructing making it better really? Is it just my fucked up sense of things?

I *know* hoarding isn’t healthy, it’s very hard to overcome like any addiction… so does that mean that minimalism is the goal? We simply *must* know! I’m very familiar with hoarding regarding my own life and have studied it extensively in my obsession with psychology and helping myself and those around me.

(… and while we’re at it, why do you *insist* on using asterisks *everywhere*?!

Because I often despise italics, use bold for other things and have a strange need to use the only flower on my keyboard over and over and over! As well as inserting random thoughts that have no relevance to the subject at hand –if anything this NEGATES minimalism–because of course, I am a crazy rambler. With all positives come negatives. ^_~)

Hoarding

Hoarding is the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them.
Hoarding, also called compulsive hoarding and compulsive hoarding syndrome, can be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
People who hoard often don’t see it as a problem, making treatment challenging.
Mayo Clinic

Minimalism

A twentieth century art movement and style stressing the idea of reducing a work of art to the minimum number of colors, values, shapes, lines and textures. – ArtLex

Funny thing is.. minimalism is many times regarded as ‘rejective art’ and I think of it as ‘perfective’ art — it’s a very tough thing to master correctly — it can be done both very right and very wrong.

A minimal lifestyle… now that’s exactly what I admire. When applying the rules of minimalism to your life and home it helps a lot if you’re moving (I was) or organizing absolutely everything — it’s good to do yearly (*spring*cleaning)!

1. Evaluate your possessions that sit on shelves.
2. Find a place for everything.
3. Enjoy what you have.
Christian PF

Zakka

Another design movement, but in Japan. Generally means improving your environment and seeing beauty in the mundane.

When I see zakka it reminds me almost of a minimalist cuteness and innocence, it is completed with the sweet kitschy illustrations and/or designs that are *just enough* to add color and sweetness into the room. It’s very natural and inspired by country lifestyle.

Which lifestyle do you lean towards? 😉

Gallery

Merci: Landscape Online, Momoy, Christopher Coleman, Elidur, Homepic, SoSuperSam, BKK Home, Zakka Candy

Design Your Life

Qualities in a Partner

09/23/2009

I heard the most evil thing the other day. My definition of evil is often flexible, lying somewhere in between totally heinous and completely ridiculous. This story falls in there–you decide for yourself.

My gal pal told me she read a book this guy wrote ( If I had one less scruple, I might tell you his name–for now, we’ll call him something friendly, like Penile Supremacist…PS for short. Fine–forget that, let’s just call him Jack. There! Who can argue with that?) So JACK made quite an impression on my not-so-easily-impressionable gal pal recently. She rang me straight away to give me the scoop.

“Maryanne, you’re not going to believe what @#$% says in his book!” She’s known me for 15 years now, knows that in general male/female issues have been in my top 10 list of favorite things to get bunged up about…particularly when they’re coming from downwind, let’s say. Historically, she delivers the message and then runs for cover. As she started recounting “The top10 qualities women are looking for in relationship with men,” my eyes started rolling back in my head. (I get bored easily sometimes.) Here’s all I can remember:love-is

1. Presence

2. Intelligence

3. Sense of humor

However, I perked up a bit when she started on the men’s list, which I remember every detail of, luckily. You have to be so excited–are you? I mean, finally someone is willing to divulge such privileged information–top 10 qualities men are looking for in relationship with YOU! Here they are, in order of importance:

1. Great in the sack

2. Great in the sack

3. Great in the sack

4. Great in the sack

5. Great in the sack…

Sorry.. I know I am going too fast–I do that sometimes–but did you get that so far, ’cause I have 5 to go… but – you already know what the rest of them are. Exactly–great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack.

Now then while I am sure JACK has some motivation for telling this story, other than to humiliate men for making them appear as though they have no discretion–which would really be like saying men are stupid (that can’t be true). Perhaps he’s simply lost his way. I must give him credit for the fact that he apparently asked these gentleman to rethink the question, and they did come up with some insightful, significant qualities they are looking for in their relationships with women.

Apparently our friend (who now shall, for his own protection, remain nameless) has not been informed that hormonal litmus testing is medieval, that we live in houses now, we even read and write. (How did he miss that?) We have developed skills beyond pounce and attack. How does someone who is in the position of teaching open, impressionable people get away with spouting ancient stereotypes like he was proud of the “well-known fact” that men often think with their smorgasbords?

The point is–well, one point is: Making love is an art – and it’s not just about the sex. It’s no wonder so many women think being great in the sack is a good investment of their time. How about we all revisit that list, people…take pen and paper and really make a list. Look and see what unconscious ideas you may have about the other sex…’cause when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Design Your Life

The Trip of a Lifetime: A Drug User’s Fairytale

08/16/2009

I grew up in the 70’s/80’s watching everyone do cocaine. I thought it was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen. when I was 8, i lived with my aunt for awhile and her husband would snort big rails of what he called “sugar” and then he’d do nasty things to my cousins (ages 2 and 2 weeks) and break things– there was lots of screaming and crying and my aunt would always beg me to never do drugs EVER!!!!!!

In high school, I fell in love with a heroin addict who killed himself. My best friend was a crystal meth addict. The adverts were everywhere, too, “THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS!” with the egg frying in the pan. My boyfriend fell asleep at the wheel of his mom’s Porsche and crashed into one of those signs with me in the passenger seat. I swore it was a sign from god. I designed myself to stick to my chain smoking and alcohol (I’d been drinking heavily since age 9 and this addiction was BAD ENOUGH).

Then I started going to raves… I got curiouser and curiouser, like Alice in Wonderland. I gave in and tried acid for the first time at 22 years old. It was the most fun I’d EVER HAD!!!

Something else happened at 22. I found out I had an ovarian cyst the size of a PEACH PIT. The cause? Another drug! Ortho novum 777 – the birth control pill that I’d been on for the past 7 years. My body was never the same after.

I’ve never done an ‘illegal’ drug that did the damage that that ‘legal’ one did.

The cancer made me angry and careless. My experimentation became a reckless fascination. I set out to try every single drug in existence and did drugs constantly for the next 10 years.

In 2002 I swore off illegal drugs. My life without all the drug craziness seemed like a dark void. I filled that void with marijuana. I watched a LOT of t.v. and did NOTHING with my life. I stayed with a boyfriend that beat the shit out of me and didn’t care. I was too lazy to leave. Lovely drug but zzzzzzzzz …. watch the motivation kill.

When I finally got off my lazy ass and left the asshole boyfriend, I found myself sober again and severely depressed. The doctor put me on ‘celexa’. this made me go CRAZY. Crazier than I ever went years ago when I experimented with ecstasy, mushrooms, acid and crystal meth.

Needless to say, I have friends that have done meth and acid for years and have LOST THEIR MINDS. One of them saw me driving by once and thought a giant twinkie was driving my car. I didn’t go THIS crazy, thank god.

Several prescription drug combinations later (and MANY side effects along with them, including 20 pounds of weight gain), the depression was gone but the cancer came back, this time in my right fallopian tube.

rainbowbowl

Sober now for a year, marijuana entered my life again as the miracle drug that helped me get THROUGH that cancer. It was the only way I could SLEEP, EAT .. hell, get THROUGH the day. I WAS IN SO MUCH PAIN. Legalize this drug NOW!!!!! 🙂

Confused?

Yeah, me too. If this made no sense, It’s because I’m trying to stop smoking pot again and I’m fiending a xanax like you wouldn’t believe. I had too much caffeine today and it’s making my words all jumble together. I could really go for a cigarette, even though I only smoke when I drink, but I can’t have a drink because it counteracts with my xanax. DRUGS ARE EVERYWHERE. ahhhh!!!!!

Am I pro drugs?

Hell yeah!!! Wouldn’t change a thing. My life was f*cked up before them and f*cked up after them, but I LOVE the rainbow trail that they created behind the rollercoaster of my crazy ass life while I was on them!!

Design Your Life

What Life Should a 20-Something Live?

04/23/2009
what life to live?

I am a twenty-four year old woman and I don’t know what I want to be, do or where I want to live when I grow up. Sound familiar? Lately I’ve spoken to a lot of girl friends and women and have found they all have questions and concerns about the life they have chosen and the lifestyles they are living. Women have more choices than their mothers and grandmothers, they have a choice to be whoever they want to be, to live however they want to live. This also makes for more stress, what if you miss your chance? What if you wake up when you’re 60 and realize you didn’t achieve any of your main goals and choices? Possibilities are endless. Lately ladies have been finding economic stresses and lifestyle decisions that leave them in shells, filled with questions. How can you decide how to live your life when you can’t even afford to live it? Will you marry? Start family? Start a business? Travel the world and write a novel? Record a demo and play your songs live? Redesign a product? Help people in some way? Whatever you life you create, build it — be conscious you’re always changing and you’re always molding your life into the life of your dreams. If you’re not happy where you are after honestly questioning yourself, find new routes, question yourself about new goals and dreams, make steps to create the life you want and that life will be yours.

DIY Lifestyle

Step 1: What is my lacking in? What is abundant in my life?
Step 2: What is my dream life and what goals do I want to achieve in life?
Step 3: How can I achieve these goals? (even if you’re not sure, quite a lot of resources are available for us to research possibilities)
Step 4: Make conscious efforts, daily, to create that life and achieve those goals. Talk to people doing what you want to do, tell them you admire them and get advice.
Step 5: Continue working towards and gaining the benefits of your dream lifestyle.

Lifestyle Inspiration

Is it most important to you to do what you want to do, live where you want to live or to live with whom you want to live with?

Lifestyle Q&A

Reply or contact us for questions and comments regarding this article~ Please communicate with us if you do not want your questions/comments to show here after discussed and answered.

* The photo above was taken by myself in Hello Kitty’s house (Puroland, Japan).

Design Your Life

Who’s That Girl? Anna of Branch and Birdie

04/22/2009

At 18 I ran as quickly as I could from my two stoplight town, to New York City where I dabbled in the fashion and modeling industry.

At 19 I tried out Los Angeles and motherhood all at once. Three years later my daughter and I headed back to the Big Apple in search of something more. What I did find was my soul mate, and we moved out West together to bask in a few of San Diego’s rays. Sunny yes! Creativity and culture? Not so much!

So a Medical Assistant Certification, a marriage and one more baby later my little family of four and I trudged to the rainy town of Portland, OR. Now at 25 years old here I am.

My life has already started, it’s in process and I knew I would not ever be content without creating and decorating.

I had always dreamed of having a little boutique full of local artist’s goods, but I never would have imagined that I would be able to become that local artist. I had sold some of my handmade jewelry in stores before, but did I have the motivation to start up my own empire? Then I discovered Etsy! Fantastic! Phenomenal! A mecca of beauty and vision! With a few click clicks on my computer keyboard, and some design help from my genius filmmaker husband (owner of Two Penguins Productions) I plunged forward and started up Branch and Birdie.

I find my inspiration in nature, scavenging through thrift stores and watching my daughters draw and play! As women we are being profiled from birth, directed to become the celestial being of beauty- but don’t you think that it’s time we take charge? Diaper in one hand, courage and confidence in the other? So good bye NYC glamour and hello PDX basement! I’ve traded my Louboutins in for a sewing machine, and couldn’t be happier.

Design Your Life

On Being Miseducated for Life

01/03/2009

Sure, why not. So the word LIFE is a little loaded, or scary, or both. A lifestyle and way of living… that’s really a bizarre thing for women to grasp sometimes. When you wake up a little hungover and your mascara has smeared across your pillow, is that a lifestyle? We’re not all mothers, homemakers, students, wives, career-driven, party girls, crafty mavens, so why accept Miseducated so freely into our life and mantras? Well don’t unless you feel you’re a little conventionally different, your lifestyle is a little odd but that’s what makes it rad.

There is no necessary reason to sprinkle the table as well as your cocoa. There is no need for a tiny, pink lamp that releases such a faint fairy glow so that you can hardly see your hand in front of your face at night. These are the lovely pieces that nestle within your life, they add a sense of nostalgia, whimsy and they make you smile.

Now, some tips for making your life and your home a little bit more Miseducated whilst in the lifestyle battle of deciding what you’ll do once you actually have clean laundry…

Miseducating your Life Tips

When you finish making your cocoa, whether pink or not, top with a few sprinkles. Add more happy hues into your world where they are sparse. Colors affect your mood but it doesn’t mean a little more here and there isn’t perfectly acceptable. I’m telling you it is.

Before bed and after a bubble bath or shower, grab some of your favorite scented lotion and rub it all over your body excluding your face! Keep a bottle in your night stand for just this purpose. While you sleep your body sweats and leaves the scent behind, your bedsheets however will smell like your favorite delicious lotion when you jump in next!

When choosing home decor don’t stick with safe, muted colors. Choose your favorite colors, choose bases you feel comfortable with, such as black and white or chocolate brown, and add accents of your favorites everywhere. Each and every table, shelf and desk are stylized scenes you have created, feel free to nestle glass bottles of your colors and candles, knick knacks. Hit the antique shops or your local thrift store for some unique, inexpensive finds.

Hide tiny positive fortunes (from fortune cookies, of course!), pictures and notes in numerous, unexpected places around your home. You’ll find these and smile later.

Remember, your creativity can only be expressed by you. Stay tuned for more nonsensical tips in the future.

Design Your Life

The Flower Child and Rainbow Candy Rave Culture

12/29/2008

The mod youth culture of the early 1960s used the word rave to describe any wild party in general. People who were quite commonly seen in attendance to the parties were sometimes called ravers. However specifically speaking of the rave culture and how it started, the terms rave and rave party have been used since the late 1980s worldwide to describe dance parties. This subculture was inspired by the acid house movement. DJs and other performers play electronic music of a wide range including happy hardcore, trance and jungle at these parties.

candy rave

The rave attendees go to dance, socialize, use drugs and have fun in an uninhibited way with like minded people. Attendees also commonly partake in the use, distribution or sale of club drugs such as MDMA, LSD, cocaine, amphetamines and, most recently, ketamine.

Candy ravers can primarily trace their style of fashion to the late 1980s culture and the “Summer of Love” in the United Kingdom. Fashion in clubs at the time were primarily day-glo colored attire, smiley face clothing, beads and whistles.

In the US this loud, colorful and inviting style was used to locate the drug dealer at rave parties. This cute attire however caught on and the candy ravers formed a community of Peace Love Unity and Respect. The lifestyle and mantra lives on throughout old skool and new ravers alike. The candy rave scene has died out a bit since it’s abundance in the mid 90s and early 00s but raves can still be found if you look around and the fashion has evolved and lives on. It has been said that the style is similar to the decora style of Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan. Each style has a completely different community and mantra; it’s kind of like saying hippies and beatniks are the same. Candy ravers continue to adore the color, fun and happiness and unity of an adoration for the cuter, more colorful things in life.

Design Your Life

How to Travel Happy and Care Free

12/24/2008

Traveling is Doable- Even On a Budget!

Miseducated girls know that one of the best parts of life is getting out of your every day cycle and exploring what the world has to offer. Unfortunately, leaving your abode and venturing out into the unknown can be a little pricey. Never fear, though, there are plenty of ways you can cut down on the cost of traveling, whether your plans involve a simple (but awesome) road trip or venturing across national territories.

Pack your own food

Airplane food is mega expensive so it’s advised that you avoid it at all costs. Pack yourself enough for 1-2 meals and carry it onto the plane with you. You’ll use up food in your refrigerator (it will go bad anyway!) and save quite a bit of money. Also pack snacks (I promise you’ll get hungry later) for the plane ride and if you have room, enough for the duration of your vacation.

Eat breakfast at your hostel/hotel

Many hotels and hostels offer a free, continental breakfast. Take advantage of this! Don’t feel guilty taking a few rolls or fruits for the road – often times food is thrown out because hotels/hostels make more than what they need.

Don’t eat out for every meal

Don’t get me wrong – going out to eat is one of my all time favorite ways to spend money, but it can get very expensive. Buy your meals like a local would by going to the grocery store. This is especially great if you’re abroad. Many markets and grocery stores are set up different to your own and you’re sure to find some peculiar items!

travel now!

Book at the right time

This goes for plane tickets and hotels. When booking, try your very best to avoid booking during peak season. That would be holidays, the summer and other random events (like the Super bowl, for instance). Not only will you save money, but you’re more likely to find yourself in overwhelmingly crowded tourist destinations. Also, many airlines offer drastically reduced ticket prices for last-minute bookings. This is because the airplane wants to fill their plane to full capacity.

Stay at a hostel (or with a friend!)

Don’t let the movie, “Hostel,” scare you. Hostels used to be more of a European thing, but they are quite popular all over the world, including the United States. Hostels are great because they are drastically cheaper (any where from $10-30 a night), you meet people from all over the world and they come in a variety of shapes and forms. There are upgraded hostels that are very similar to hotels, so if sleeping with 4-10 other people in the same room bothers you, keep that option in mind. Also, hostels provide lots of excursion activities. Check out hostels.com for hostel reviews and locations.

Avoid booking on weekends

If it’s possible for your schedule, book on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The most popular days to fly are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The most popular days to stay at a hotel are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You will notice quite a difference in the prices if you do this.

Go to free events

You can often find discounted days and times for various events you have in mind. For example, some museums offer free (or cheaper) admission on certain days that are normally slow. Also, visit parks and other landmarks that don’t require an entry fee. Ask your hotel/hostel attendant and locals for advice. Also do research online before you leave.

Shop around and spend wisely

Depending on where you vacation, you can find a lot of great deals. Avoid malls, where items are often mass produced and over priced. You can find some really unique keep sakes and trinkets (often hand made by artisans themselves) by going to street markets and vendors. If you’re vacationing in a big city that does not have markets like these, save money by window shopping just like you would at home!

If you’re driving…

The biggest way for you to save money is to cut the cost of gas prices. How do you do that? Make sure that your tires are in great shape. Have the rotated and fill them with air if necessary. Also, change your oil. The $30 you spend doing this could save you much much more in the end. Also, don’t forget to pack a lot of your own food. This is especially easy for you!

Exchange Rates

Use your debit card to get money out of ATM’s/pay for items if you are traveling abroad. Since the payment is electronic, you will get the best exchange rate. Also, it’s much safer to travel with a debit or credit card because if it’s stolen you can report it’s missing right away. When cash is gone, it’s gone. Also, I have found that travelers checks are often not accepted and are more of a hassle than anything.

Lastly, exchange money before you go abroad and never at the airport. It’s much more expensive at the airport and you’ll save money if you exchange elsewhere.

Good luck and happy adventures!

Design Your Life

Cake is Love: A Japanese Chef

11/16/2008

I graduated from Le Cordon Blue in Tokyo. My major was French cake making and my teachers were french chefs whom taught me a lot of details. My teacher’s actions, skills, techniques, designs, chocolates, all kinds of sweets, everything really impressed me very much. They inspired me a lot and are still living in the bottom of my heart. Those experiences made me improve myself.

Since then I have been working at a french cake shop (a shop of long standing), the head office is in France. I wanted to study more and more so I decided to study many subjects in a correspondence course while working at the same time. I finally got a license. I wanted to get it, really. My wish was to broaden my horizon.

I think sweets are art. A chocolate is a jewel, cake is love. I love seeing people think about cakes a lot, which cake they will get (maybe for oneself? or for parents? or for a special person?). I have seen a lot of wonderful things in my life. A thousand broad smiles spread over everyone’s face. It’s like a magic.

Story: Erika Yoshida
Photos: Erika Yoshida