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From Brain Pickings: Presenting The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook

by | Posted April 30th, 2013

From The Artist’s and Writer’s Cookbook

Ever wonder what some of your favorite artists’ and writers’ favorite recipes are? Look no further than The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook, “a lavish 350-page vintage tome, illustrated with 19th-century engravings and original drawings.” Brain Pickings recently wrote a review on the 1961 published book, featuring “220 recipes and 30 courses by 55 painters, 61 novelists, 15 sculptors, and 19 poets.” Some artists featured include John Keats, Harper Lee, and Anna Tolstoy, daughter of famed writer, Leo Tolstoy. Several artists take creative liberty with their recipes, but the end result is something any artist and writer can enjoy.

From The Artist’s and Writer’s Cookbook

From First Job to Dream Job

by | Posted April 29th, 2013

I started at MSU in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities in 2008. So, a couple of things here: The fall of 2008 was the beginning of the Great Recession, and of all things to invest in during turbulent economic times, I’d chosen a program that elicited a chorus of truly unoriginal jokes about job prospects wherever I went.

Junior year I found a second home in the Professional Writing program. And while the economy had seen some recovery, the doubters’ chorus had just become louder in its refrain: I would graduate and go live in my parents’ basement.

I had an entirely different set of plans, though. Plan A was still to immediately find a great job that would rocket me to stardom. If that didn’t work out by the end of my lease, plan B was to crash with family on Lake Charlevoix while continuing my job search. I have the greatest parents in the world, but moving into their basement was somewhere around plan X.

My job search prior to graduation was largely unsuccessful. I had little time, my portfolio wasn’t done, and I was trying to plan for my future in a field that only fills vacancies in the present. But following my graduation ceremony, I started making progress. I cast a wide net, searching a number of job sites, reaching out to my network, and researching the companies where I’d be happy to work for free (but looking for opportunities to be paid). Nine applications, three interviews and two offers later I’d accepted a job as the Visual Communication Coordinator at Adrian College.

Relocating to the small town that is Adrian, Michigan was never something I’d considered. However, I would have moved to Antarctica to be titled a Visual Communications Coordinator and to be given the opportunity to work in higher education marketing, so relocate I did. When I applied, when I was interviewed, and when I was hired, I felt really prepared to do the work I’d been hired for. There were a few quite practical things I wasn’t prepared for, though.

  1. I underestimated how hard it would be to move somewhere I’d never been, away from everyone I’d ever known. While I’d do it again tomorrow, I wish I’d better appreciated the support system I was leaving behind and the work it was going to take to forge new relationships.
  2. As many internship and work experiences as I accumulated over my four years at MSU, I did not yet have a grasp on workplace politics. Nor did I understand that navigating social aspects of my workplace would be a frustrating and unwritten responsibility of my job.
  3. Not everyone I encountered would have the same appreciation and respect for great communication that I’d assumed it demanded. (more…)

Is Your Creativity Being Stifled by Your iPhone?

by | Posted April 27th, 2013

What do you do while waiting in line, sitting in class, or even laying in bed at night, before you fall asleep? Most people would say they reach for their iPhone and check social media, play a game, or even check email. The smart phone was the ultimate cure for boredom. But what effect does this cure have on us?

A recent post on Read Write explores the possibility that the iPhone is killing a person’s creativity. The average user spends more than two hours a day on their phone, with the majority of that time being “wasted” on surfing the web, checking social networks, and playing games.

While spending your free time on your phone may not seem all that bad, this post reminds us that boredom may be a good thing. “Psychologists from the University of Central Lancashire have conducted research into the potential upsides of boredom and found that the time we spend daydreaming could improve our creative ability.”

The verdict is still out, however, as many users argue that phones can also help enhance creativity. Do you think the cultural phenomenon of the smart phone is killing creativity? Let us know @msuwrac.

From Cool Infographics: “Social Network Overload”

by | Posted April 25th, 2013

A large portion of the population is addicted to Twitter, Facebook, or some other form of social media. A lot of you reading this probably got to this post from a link on Twitter, right? I thought so.

This post from Cool Infographics demonstrates the “Social Network Overload.” A lot of people feel unplugged if they don’t check their social media accounts. 62% of people are afraid they will miss something if they don’t check, and 40% of people said they would rather run a marathon, get a root canal, or wait in line at the DMV than get rid of their social profile.

Are you a victim of social media overload? Check the rest of this infographic to find out!


From My Modern Met: The Keyboard Couch

by | Posted April 23rd, 2013

This is pretty much the coolest couch, ever. Designed based on the theory that “sooner or later, at home or at work, we all end up by falling asleep on our computers keyboard.” With that, these designers created this soft, comfy sofa bed, designed to look like a keyboard.

What’s more, the couch is completely customizable by remote. Each cushion, or key if you may, can be adjusted to any height.

I want this couch in my home! Do you? Check out more pictures here.

From Creative Market: “2013 Font Trends”

by | Posted April 22nd, 2013

Each year there are new trends in technology, hairstyles, and fashion that people try to keep up with. The same is true for fonts. Whether you are aware of it or not, some people are following font trends each year.

Popular designs for 2013 are grunge fonts, which give your work some extra attitude; big and bold fonts, perfect for creating amazing headlines; handwritten fonts for personality; and stencil fonts, for a blast from the past.


What is your favorite type of font? Do you follow any font trends?

Teaching with Twitter

by | Posted April 19th, 2013

Image of phone displaying a Twitter feed. Twitter is famous for sharing information in only 140 characters. Beyond sharing thoughts, general life updates, and news dissemination—a few of the typical ways Twitter is used—is the idea of using this site as an educator to stay connected with students and parents. Mind/Shift details 28 different ways we can teach through tweets.

One of these is to use Twitter to encourage student discussion to continue beyond the classroom. By connecting the students on one platform, and with things like hashtags to keep organized, they can ask questions, share ideas, and continue their group learning beyond the allotted class time. Another of the 28 ways is that it allows announcements to happen in “real time”; the cancellation of class, an update on a project, etc., can all be shared immediately to a social media platform many students are already regularly checking (potentially unlike their email inboxes).

It can also help students create professional online networks. For those who are already tuned into Twitter, it can be used to help teach them how to politely connect with those in their desired job field. For students who aren’t as familiar with the site, it teaches them how to effectively communicate, all while helping build their personal brand.

Personally, I have often seen professors syllabi stating when students send emails, it should have a clear and detailed subject lines, and if the message itself is more than five sentences, the students should come into office hours instead. This is another issue than can potentially be sidestepped by educators using Twitter; students would need to be concise as they only have 140 characters, and teachers wouldn’t need to spend as much time sorting through piles of emails. What are other ways Twitter can be used to expand education? Let us know on Twitter! – @msuwrac