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Final Week at CoCoDesigns: Suzanne Kasler and Serving Up Style Preparations

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My final week at CocoDesigns was filled with officework, but not exactly the boring kind. I researched furniture and other interior companies that I personally liked, and sent them donation requests for an event Lora participates in every year called Serving Up Style. Serving Up Style is an interior design competition in which 25 local designers compete for awards before a judging panel and general audience. All proceeds from the event are donated to Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus, a charity dedicated to assisting those with lupus through increasing public awareness of the disease, organizing outreach, promoting early detection and more. Last year, the sponsors for Serving Up Style included HGTV and Houzz, a popular online interior inspiration website. I spent a lot of time looking through websites and drafting emails to companies whose products I liked. ABC Home, Avenue Road, Caitlin Wilson Textiles and Oly Studios were among the companies I contacted. I even got my own @cocodesignspdx email address to seem more official! I’m sure this definitely helped my ethos in this realm!
In addition to the emails I sent and the research I did this week, I also showed Lora one of my favorite consignment stores in Portland, and accompanied her to the Parker Furniture 2013 Market Show. The market show at Parker was an interesting experience. Around twenty company representatives from companies such as Hickory Chair, Arteriors and Eastern Accents were present. We got goody bags, but to my disappointment these only contained brochures for the companies and discounts, rather than actual physical “goodies.” Guess they have to make money off the event anyways! My favorite company there by far was Eastern Accents, who makes bedding and other textiles. In their display, they had a throw pillow with an embroidered zebra that caught my eye—however, after some research I found out that it was selling for over three hundred dollars. It was a nice pillow, but I’m not sure if I could justify that purchase at this point in my life, or ever, really! I guess I’ll have to keep dreaming.
The main event of the Parker Furniture Market Show was a presentation by Suzanne Kasler, who is a very famous interior designer. She currently has lines for Hickory Chair, Ballard Designs, Lee Jofa, Safavieh, Soicher Marin and Visual Comforts. She also has her own interior design book named Inspired Interiors. She talked with everybody who attended the show about her design process, and walked the audience through different rooms she designed for her own use and for her clients. Her major point was that inspiration for interior decorating can come from many places, including unexpected ones, if a designer keeps their mind open. Her signature look usually contains white walls with accents of color, usually light blue, and classically styled furniture. She definitely has her own style and doesn’t deviate too far from it, which is probably expected from somebody at her level of interior design. Lora mentioned that she can pick and choose who she wants to take on as a client, meaning she doesn’t have to just take any job somebody offers her. Now that’s luxury! I attached a picture of myself and Suzanne in the photo gallery. I’ll be talking more about my experience with her in my presentation, so stay tuned!

All Good Things...End When i Want Them To

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            It’s a bittersweet end to the whole experience. I will miss the bizarre stories and interesting people I got to meet on a daily basis. Originally nervous, I wasn’t sure what to expect when coming in, but I think I ended up right where I was supposed to be. With a less than ideal social experience at Catlin, I loved being in an environment where I felt comfortable. I found people like me, not racially, but personality wise. I finally exhaled; Of all places, I didn’t expect to find peace in a tattoo shop, but being around creative, art-loving, unique people gave me a sense of home.
            My mentor traveled to San Francisco this week for work and family, but the other guys in the shop found plenty for me to do. We had a guest artist from San Francisco come in Monday. He was Black, so it was nice to be able to talk to someone of color in a racial (and gender) dominated profession. I think he specialized in neck tattoos because that is all he had booked for that day. He had worked with Dan in California and came to pay Portland a visit to temporarily escape the fast-paced California life. I heard some interesting stories from him as well. It was also fun to hear the differences between Portland and San Francisco through a tattoo artist lens. For example, many women in Portland have neck and face tattoos than he expected. He also saw the word “VEGAN” tattooed a lot on people (face, head, arms, etc.). Having a fresh face in the tattoo shop is always entertaining.
            Hugging Dan Monday afternoon as our semi-final goodbye really hit both of us that the project was ending. Neither of us expected it to go as well as it had and I think we both liked having me in the shop, each for our different reasons of course. Not wanting the experience to end, I secured myself a part-time internship for the summer so that I can finish up Jerry’s box of designs. I’m excited to be able to continue working there and learning more about tattoos, hearing stories, and figuring out how I can wiggle my way into the business. Talking to Dan, who has many connections, there is a possibility of working in a tattoo shop in San Jose when I leave for college. I’ve got to somehow find a way to learn how to use a tattoo gun so I can put the smiley face on the back of that guy’s head!
            I answered the phone for the first time this week! Movin’ on up! It was nerve racking. I’ll just let Mali or Nick who work the front counter handle that. I am also working on a consultation design. Hopefully I’ll finish it before the presentation Thursday. Dan gave me a concept and references for a lady’s tattoo he will be inking this month. When I’m finished we’ll go over it together and see how well I did. It’s all good practice for me later. It will help me when designing some of my family/friends tattoos.
            Not looking forward to being back on campus, but I can proudly say I have completed senior year and successfully finished senior projects. Go me!

Dream [Beam] Team

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And just when I thought I was used to hanging out in the Beam office, it's already over. Did I blink? But wait. I'm not done yet! I still need to give a presentation to the office on all that I've learned and researched! I guess I'll be going back, then. (Can't get rid of me that easily, no no - they'll all see me Monday). But actually, I'm pretty sad that my senior project is wrapping up.
Just when I was comfortable enough to make my own cup of noodles without my palms sweating (okay still a little sweating)! I mean, really. I've learned a lot though, and I really appreciate how welcoming and friendly everyone has been in the office. It's a little scary sometimes (all the time) being the youngest doing anything, and especially when everyone else has a college degree and I just learned how to be a human, like, a year ago (and probably still have a ways to go).
So I thought I'd tell everyone a few things I've learned about "growing up" and "being responsible" and "working in an office."
1. Wear layers because it will get pretty cold or hot in your office, depending on the day.
2. Move around or you will get cramps in weird spots.
3. Sitting all day is kind of a bummer.
4. Natural light is awesome.
5. Google sometimes auto-corrects INCORRECTLY (once it corrected "a lot" to "alot" and I gasped in horror. Shame on you, Google).
6. Trying to be seen and heard a little as possible (office ghosting) is exhausting and not very fun.
7. Adults like to goof off too! Oh my god!! (Everyone needs a break, I mean really).
8. Being late is always uncool, unprofessional, and generally annoying. (Kind of already knew this one, but still. It's true).
9. People actually care what you have to say, even if you're 100% winging it and were born during the Clinton administration.
10. Write it down. Always write it down.
Here are some things about property development that I've managed to store away as well:
1. Politics are always involved.
2. Micro finance is deceptively simple. Financing is ridiculously complicated and I applaud all who somehow manage it.
3. If you want to make it, you have to be innovative, creative, and confident.
4. There are 9,000 plus things that can go wrong in a building, and as a developer you have to fix it.
5. Property development, when done correctly, can be a social experiment in place-making (and all the better for it).
And here is a list of things I'm really going to miss:
1. Feeling like a champion of the office world (haha, jokes, but I'll miss feeling so professional since usually I'm just being a goob on campus).
2. Getting to know the people in the office better.
3. The dogs. The office dogs are the greatest and I want them both.
4. Learning new things, meeting new and interesting people (I would say my knowledge of property development has increased 5000%).
5. Having my own office. (Can you tell how much I liked my office? I'm ridiculously in love with the concept. It's a power trip. I am on a power trip. I resent this because lets be real, I'll probably not get my own office again for like 30 years. What a let down. Thanks, Beam, for raising my expectations. But actually, thanks Beam! For everything.)
A big thank you to Brad, Joey, Liz, and the rest of the Dream Beam Team (rhyming always intentional) for helping me!

Ultimate regret: I never did purchase a pantsuit or a briefcase. (Sorry Hillary!)

I'll see if I can swing a pitcure of the office staff on Monday. 

Matt Junn Senior Project: Physical Therapy and Internal medicine BLOG 2

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In addition to working with an internal medic, I am also following a physical therapist. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, I work with Dr. Mir at the internal medicine clinic, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I follow physical therapist Jim at Westside Physical Therapy. By interning in both internal medicine and physical therapy, I am able to observe how different areas in health care collaborate. Dr. Mir refers many of his patients to Westside Physical Therapy, most commonly sending patients with cases of diabetes or back and knee pain.

However, unlike my time at Dr. Mir’s clinic, I do not commonly see diabetic patients trekking through a weight loss program at Westside Physical Therapy. The most common case I see at physical therapy is recovery from joint or muscle pain. Many of the patients I have been seeing these past several weeks were sent to PT because, for example, they were in a motorized vehicle accident, had torn a muscle while playing basketball, or had to do knee replacement surgery.

Although the patients are referred to PT for a diverse number of reasons, most everybody has a somewhat similar plan for recovery based exercises. Patients will do both cardio and strength training workouts at PT. A PT patient during a strength building session would first start off with biking for 5 to 10 minutes. They would then warm up a specific portion of the body in order to prepare for the specific muscle training that fits the patient’s case.  Then, the patient would enter a muscle workout, where the PT will guide the patient through various exercises that will help strengthen specific muscles in need of recovery. During cardio, the PT will help a patient keep fit without damaging any of the tissues that are related to the patient’s case. They would start out with a bike session of about 5 to 10 minutes, and then enter into various cardio exercises.

That is the basic gist of what I have been observing at Westside Physical Therapy, and what I have been doing other than internal medicine these past several weeks.

Magic Tricks and Tattoos

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Ever thought it was possible to levitate? I didn’t either until watching a guy get his palms tattooed. Originally standing, he slowly rose out of his chair hovering inches from the seat with the angriest look in his eyes. The needle didn’t travel far; only a few serifs and swirls were able to get touched up. The customer had the words “keep calm” tattooed on the palms. He came in originally to get the tops of his hands inked (birds of course since they are so popular). After finishing he decided he should get the faded lettering redone to make them look more finished. After observing what looked like excruciating pain, I have come to the conclusion that the palms might just be the most painful spot on the body to get tattooed. The downside about the palms, or anywhere on the hand for that matter, is that the hands go through so much each day and are constantly being exfoliated, which is not good for the tattoo. The more time it has untouched and left alone, the better the outcome. I also learned that is why knuckle tats and wedding rings on fingers always look bad; tattoos on hands don’t stay fresh for very long.
            I also secured some “skin” this week as possible canvas. The friend of the guy getting palm tattoos offered me his head to experiment on. Well, the palm tattoo guy actually offered his friend’s head space, but his friend agreed. He wants a smiley face engrained into the back of his head. Being in the tattoo shop has definitely increased my desire to learn how to tattoo and now I know I have at least one willing soul to risk their head and let me create art on their skin, permanently. I’m thinking if it doesn’t work out, if I can’t figure out how to put a circular shape on and egg shaped head that his hair will grow over it. Then, when I improve as an artist, I can cover up my own tattoo and make it so much better.
            I’ve learned that Atlas and Dan’s name goes pretty far around here. The shop is known globally and the name holds a lot of clout. The artists are already booked up until September and people come in constantly for walk-ins. The shop is also very friendly because when they don’t have time for a walk-in, they refer the customers to other good tattoo artists in town, which helps the other artist’s business as well. When the shop first opened, it was one of nine in the city. Now that Portland is full of tattoo shops and required a tattoo license from a school, shops have popped up all over the place. Though there are more competitors in the game, I don’t think they put up much competition because Atlas is so well known. I hope I can get my business (whatever that may be) to gain that much respect from people. That won’t be for a while though…

Week III with the AD!

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My sole task for Sandy this week was the complete cataloguing of uniforms - an immense task, but one that will inevitably save everyone involved with athletics a few headaches. I began by photographing all of the uniforms I could find in the weight room closet, front and back, and after condensing them all into one document, began to organize them. I paired the home and away uniforms for each specific team with one another so that someone looking at the document could easily find what they're looking for. After pairing up the uniforms, I then set out discovering whose uniforms were whose - whether it be JV or Varsity, Boys or Girls, Middle School or Upper School, every uniform had to be labeled. I am still in the midst of this process as I am typing this. The reason for all of this is so in the future, I can create a large spreadsheet the holds all of the data regarding which uniforms have been turned in and which haven't. Sandy is still relatively new to Catlin, and thus isn't familiar enough with each uniform to know which is which. Hopefully I will be able to have pictures of the uniforms alongside the data, so that anyone can know when tracking down uniforms what they look like, and which ones are missing. That's really all I worked on this week - it was a shorter week and Sandy was also out on Thursday and Friday, which severely limited our interaction. Hopefully I'll have a juicier final blog post, but for now, that's where my senior project is!

Week 3: All GLIDEZ On Me

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So week 3 has come and gone, and now its time for another installation of rap pun titled blog posts about my experience working with GLIDER. Unfortunately, I was not able to work with GLIDER nearly as much as I would have liked to last week, because of several events that were out of my control. I worked a full day last Monday in the east side office on a new blog post about trends in employee tenure. Using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the blog post was supposed to demonstrate how workers are working more jobs over the course of their lifetime, and that lack of job security has interesting consequences for our modern economy. I have to draw my own conclusions on what this means for the "millenial/Gen Y" work force. It was a challenging blog post that realistically would've taken all week for me to do well, but several things prevented me from finishing this post last week. After the day off on Tuesday, when the seniors went to the zoo with the first graders, the GLIDER team went to San Francisco to go to a conference called "Under The Radar" to pitch to VCs and companies that might be interested in their service. They stayed there from Wednesday through Friday. I planned to work from home, if not for the AP fiasco (my entire Calculus II class had their BC scores cancelled, so I took my retake test Thursday morning and had to spend my entire day from home on Wednesday studying for it.) For that reason, I was really only able to work on this blog post on Monday and Friday last week, and wasn't able to finish by the end of the week. It might seem ridiculous, but that's life, and I have to roll with it (or GLIDE with it.) I'll be working on this blog post into next week, but I really want to have an awesome last week with GLIDER, so I plan on taking in as much as possible before my time is up and working really hard. At some point in the last week, we'll move out of the dark, gloomy east side office we share with Sprintly into the new, entirely our own office in the Pearl, which I am very excited about. According to Justin and Eli, the conference went really well; everyone loved what they were doing and they had a ton of engaging conversations from people who wanted to get involved. Not much else to report now, but I promise my blog post following the end of my last week will be spectacular.

An Office Ghost Tells All

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Week three at Beam is already over. What? How did that happen? (The Earth revolved on its axis yada yada yada - we all get it ok, SCIENCE). But seriously time flew by! My week hasn't been so different from the others, so I thought I'd give you a rundown of what my day looks like.
7:30am: Wake up and panic because I'm going to be late for class. Realize I am 2nd semester senior. Remember my name. Remember Senior project. Get nostalgic about how time has flown. Decide (eventually) to get out of bed. Grumble about being a "slave to the clock" and then chuckle at own joke. No one hears (it's not really a joke - probably still semi-asleep).
7:55am: Dressed and ready, but still unaware. Make tea. Drink tea. Eat food. Emerge from haze. Realize clothing is on backwards/dirty/inside-out. Groan. Change clothes and remember to brush hair. 
8:15am: Lounge around then remember I actually have to commute to the east side and panic about being late again. Leave house immediately. Get in car and realize I've left all belongings in the house that are necessary for the day - including keys.
8:20am: Back in car, bag on passengers seat, keys in hand. Take a moment to recognize my own togetherness. Back out of garage, almost hit stupid cement wall that has been there since the house was built. Curse cement wall. 
8:30am: Still on Burnside. Complain loudly to self about traffic, because thats what real adults do. 
8:40am: Finally across the Morrison Bridge. Panic about having to make the same unlighted left turn to get into Beam parking lot. Sit for 5 minutes while cars pile behind. Decide to grow a pair. Check intersection exactly 457 times. Inch forward. Take deep breath, charge into intersection that has been clear for at least 1 minute. 
8:45am: Gather things in parking lot. Walk one block to Eastbank Commerce Center. Curse rain for ruining your cute flats - vow to wear more practical shoes tomorrow (forget vow and wear different but equally impractical shoes the next day). 
8:50am: Walk into building. Straighten out hair and still half-grown out bangs. Try to make bangs look presentable. Fail miserably, get very angry. Put hair back in bobby pins. Wish I were Rapunzel. Walk to office.
8:55am: Say hello to Joey if he is at his desk. Say hello to anyone passing in the office. Attempt to appear calm and professional. Pet office dogs for longer than is necessary to avoid eye contact. Walk down the hallway to office. Turn on light, set down bag. 
9:00am: Walk back out to Joey's desk. Wait for him to finish call/conversation/doing a real job and stare at walls/pretend to read framed articles about Beam which I've have already read at least 7 times. When it looks like he's done, act casual but ask him what I'm supposed to do today. Exchange pleasantries. Figure out good time to meet later in the day. Say okay to whatever time is offered. Go back to office.
9:10am: Sit at desk. Turn on computer. Open google. Open all relevant word documents to research project. Wait 500 hours for word to load. Curse computer. Sit angrily waiting for computer to do anything. Finally. Go back to chrome. Open 12,000 tabs of articles and searches. Begin sifting through information. Stop occasionally to type something up. Hyperlink. Research. Repete. 
9:55am: Wonder what the heck "dividends" are. Decide government is fickle. Silly contractors. Read article about Mayor Bloomberg or something else off topic. Refocus.
10:10am: Computer begins to overheat. Ignore. Computer shuts itself down. Mentally curse all technology and pout (why CAN'T a girl have 94 tabs open, OKAY?). Restart computer. Plug in charger which requires crawling under desk. Worry someone will walk in on you with your butt sticking up in the air. Worry about indecent exposure. Try to get out from under desk as quickly as possible. Too quickly. Hit head on edge of desk. Again.
10:40am: Decide it is time to stretch/go to bathroom/take a break. 
10:50am: Do some more research and try not to get off topic. Fail occasionally (can't resist articles about angry city hall meetings - its like a soap opera but real). 
11:15am: Someone will inevitably come into the office to say hi/see how it's going. It will scare me to death because my back faces the door. Try to play it cool, like I didn't just squeak in fear. Say hi back. Exchange pleasantries. Go back to work.
12:15pm: Decide it is acceptable time for lunch. Eat at desk because I'm too chicken to eat with everyone else/not actually sure what they do. It's whatever. I'm independent and cool. Right? 
12:17pm: Try to eat as quietly as possible so that I don't disturb the office. No one can hear me anyway. Still try anyway.
1:00pm: Meeting with Brad & Joey or just Brad or just Joey. Variety is the spice. Try to appear cool as a cucumber. Fail. Pretend to understand what they are talking about. Nod. Write a lot of things down. Hyperventilate because I am completely winging it. Try and sound knowledgable. Second guess self in front of them. Mentally face-palm. Curse teen angst. 
1:15pm: Researchresearchresearchresearchresearch.
2:15pm: Get back cramp/butt cramp/foot cramp. Walk around office for a while. Go back to desk.
2:30pm: Write things up. When Word freezes, I am zen. I am calm. I am zen. I am calm. Hurl computer at the wall. Mentally. I am zen.
2:55pm: Pack up. Congratulate self on being a "grown up". 
3:00pm: Say bye to Joey and dogs/anyone else I see in on the way out.
3:05pm: Try to start car. Fail. Curse Car. Try again. Drive home.
3:30pm: Fall asleep on couch and/or binge watch old seasons of Project Runway. Decide to like Tim Gunn, once and for all. 

Week II with Sandy Luu

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This week was a wild one. I fulfilled a lifelong dream, grew a few gray hairs, became a fence-posting master, and suffered temporary deafness due to my proximity to gunfire. Are you on the edge of your seat, chomping at the bit for the next details (especially about those fences)? Read on.

The most intriguing part of this past week, by far, was assisting in the district track meet. It gave me the best glimpse at what an athletic director's job really is, and how he/she interacts with coaches. Essentially, Sandy is like the coach of the coaches. She has to make sure everyone is doing alright and they're happy, but also that they're staying within the rules and treating their players correctly (as well as fulfilling their coaching duties). An AD has to know most things about most sports, not being an expert in any particular discipline but having enough knowledge of the sport's workings to make unbiased and intelligent decisions. This is also important because she's readily accessible on-campus, and is therefore often sought out when there are questions or issues regarding sports. She has to be prepared to deal with these, because coaches aren't always on campus. I have really garnered a lot of respect for Sandy and her line of work. It's not always a thankful job, but it's an absolutely essential one. Even though I'm most likely not pursuing a line of work in her field, I want to apply Sandy's work ethic wherever I end up; keeping everyone happy, but not over-extending oneself and having to retract on your previously overzealous statements (i.e., don't promise what you can't deliver). This is also particularly relevant to someone such as myself who hopes to become involved in international diplomacy one day.

Now, back to the track meet. On Thursday, the day before the meet, I loaded all of the necessary gear into the Gator and drove it down to the announcers booth, where I helped Catherine (Sandy's assistant) to set up the tech hub. In doing so I got to pilot the glorious Gator, if only for a short while. Those scant few minutes were a blur of joy (because really, once you've seen Facilities whirring around in them, their allure is truely ineffable). I was very impressed when the tiny wooden frame with a scoreboard on it was turned into the meet's center for organization, time management, and number crunching. It was obvious everyone involved knew what they were doing. Next, I had to set up the camera at the finish line, making sure that everything was plugged in properly and that nothing was blocking the camera's view.

My task on Friday was to follow and aid Sandy wherever she needed the assistance while also learning her roles in the operation of the meet. I began by setting up the blue and white fences that separate the field events from the crowd. This was a fairly straightforward task that simply needed doing. Afterwards, things started getting dicey, as we soon realized that the starter (i.e., the person who shoots the gun to start the race) was misinformed about what time he needed to be here and had to be rushed to the starting line of the first event. To make matters worse, the system which tracks the start of the race and sends said info to the announcers booth was having serious issues. This was really frustrating to all of us, as it was the most up-to-date system available and it still wasn't functioning. Fortunately we managed to get everything running again before the runners had to wait too long.

That's all for this week!

I'm set for breakfast... for the next year!

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This week was very exciting! I knew my way around the bakery and understood the process, so the bakers trusted me to work with the pastry dough a little more. Although my alarm was still set for 4:45, I decided to start waking up to something brighter! I hooked my ipod up to my alarm clock and woke up to Britney Spears’ lovely voice singing her 2000 hit: “Lucky”. With a catchy tune in my head, I was ready to start another day at the bakery.

On Monday, I worked with Ruth in the morning because Shiho, my mentor, wasn’t working. She let me do a lot! I watched her make a couple of pastries and helped her make a couple different kinds of croissants and brioches. There are two “bakes” in a day’s work. The “first bake” is around 6 and the “second bake” is at 10. Basically, all the pastries are prepared and baked around these times, so that there are two waves of fresh pastries coming out and the supply on display is refilled. After our first bake, the bakers usually start making fruit tarts, éclairs, or cream puffs. They have a specific number that they’re suppose to have on display and so if more tarts are sold the previous day they have to make more to reach the required amount for the display. So I helped Ruth cut up fruit for the fruit tarts! I cut up a huge box of strawberries. Then I learned how to cut kiwis and a pineapple! It’s actually a lot easier than it looks. I’ve always been a little intimidated by pineapples, because they’re so big, kind of clunky, a little thorny, and so odd. I never knew exactly how to tackle the shape and what angle to go about cutting them. But Ruth taught me and I cut up all the fruit she needed for her tarts. I had to rush out of there though, so I didn’t get to help with their final assembly.
I worked with Ruth again on Tuesday and helped her make all of the morning pastries. We finished working with the pastries pretty early, so we were able to start with the fruit tarts sooner. La Provence makes a couple different sized tarts: there are really mini ones, your traditional mini ones, and then the larger 8 inch ones. Sorry those sizes aren’t super exact. Ruth put out the crusts and then I filled each with the vanilla custard. To fill the pastries and tarts, you have to use a pastry-piping bag. Now, I haven’t had a lot of experience with piping bags You know how you get a tart and the custard is nicely “swirled” on top? That’s the work of a piping bag expert. Let’s just say, I’m not an expert yet. They weren’t bad! Ruth said they were great, but unfortunately they didn’t look like the demo she showed me. It takes some expert wrist twirl and then the perfect amount of custard squished out of the bag to create that beautiful tart. Fortunately, I covered all of them up with strawberries and other assorted fruits. Hopefully I’ll have another try at them this week!
Wednesday was a pretty easy day. I worked with Ashley, who is actually a baker in training, so we help each other out a little. She asks me how the other bakers do it and she teaches me the techniques she’s figured out. It’s interesting to see the little differences in each other their preparations. For example, they all use something to put on their hands so that the dough is easier to work with. Ruth uses excess egg wash, Amalia uses water, and Ashley goes at it with nothing on her hands. The pastries turn out a little different every day depending on which baker is working. Regardless, everything is DELICIOUS!
On Thursday, I was working with Ruth again. We made pastries, and I helped out even more. Doing whole trays of croissants and brioches. But disaster struck when we realized we didn’t have any icing for the cinnamon rolls! The delivery truck was supposed to come with a bucket of icing, but the order was lost and we had no icing! Luckily Shiho was there and taught us how to make icing. Baking Tip #1: Icing is easily made in a mixer with powdered sugar and the tiniest amount of water (depending on the consistency desired). You can also add a little vanilla, but Shiho said it doesn’t really make a difference. With the problem solved, I moved on to help Shiho assemble macaroons. They have so many different kinds of macaroons: chocolate, coffee, espresso, raspberry, passion fruit, lemon, vanilla. I can’t remember them all! I had to take out the crumbled macaroons that were still on display and replace them with new ones. I learned from Shiho that it’s good to put out the pastries that came out smaller from the oven, so that the customer feels better when they get a larger one. Shiho has made it her job to help me learn about bakery, but also the managerial and philosophy behind restaurants and bakeries.
Friday was a busy day. The bakery’s busiest days are on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and sometimes Mondays. The amount of pastries being made is always larger, so that means I get to do a lot more! I helped Amalia with the pastries, working for the first time with apricot croissants. Then I assembled a couple of chocolate creations for Shiho. I had to glue together a mini Eiffel Tower onto a sheet of chocolate using melted chocolate. It was delicate work. I had to get the tower to lean off the edge a little and then carefully transfer a tray of them to the fridge where they could set. Then I packaged madeleines. Putting eight into a bag, sealing it with ribbon, and putting a La Provence sticker on it. I did a couple of those before I had to leave for ballet!
I’ve made it my goal to try every pastry by the time senior project is over, and Shiho has been paying me with free pastries! So far, I’ve tried a bear claw, a raspberry croissant, a cinnamon roll, a walnut roll,  a palmier, and of course their plain and chocolate croissants!

PowerPoint & I are like THIS

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Despite all the rumors, I don't actually just sit around in my office all day taking naps on the thoughtfully provided couch (can you tell I'm still excited about the office?). No no, I type furiously fast and keep open more tabs than Peter Shulman (didn't think it was humanly possibly - but computers are pretty darn impressive - and not human, so I guess that makes sense). I've spent the last week continuing my research, and delving deeper into the realm of property development. Taking the outline of topics that I created last week, I tried to flesh out topics and to further expand my knowledge.

On Monday, I presented to Brad and Joey what the heck it was I DO all day. They asked questions, and made some comments and suggestions for me to work on. Brad then asked me to be ready to present to him again by Friday. Gulp. As much as I feel like I've learned, I still get nervous about presenting information even though everyone has made it perfectly clear it doesn't matter that I'm basically winging it (teen angst, I guess). I talked a lot about the importance of sense of place and how that plays into creative cities, districts, businesses, etc.
Then I made another presentation. And it was incredibly long (45 slides or something like that). And I spent all day (Friday) on it. The title was "All About Attitude" because Catlin has taught me a catchy title is always worth it (even if it's cheesy). So needless to say, Microsoft PowerPoint and I are basically in a committed relationship at this point. I may have strayed with the alluring vixen that is Keynote, but eventually I returned to my beautifully loyal PP. The presentation was the culmination of all my research. There were several slides on what "live/work" space is and how to categorize different types of live/work, more on creative cities and districts, micro-housing (and micro-finance), and crowd-sourcing. These topics are all going to be amalgamated into an even bigger research project, that sort of synthesizes everything I've found so far into a more cohesive piece (that I will potentially be presenting to the school or the office. Some platform or another).
Other than research, on Wednesday, I attended a luncheon with Brad and Jonathan that was honoring William J. Hawkins III for his work in historical preservation with the McMath Historic Preservation award. There were several architects and other members of the developing community present. Though I only knew Brad and the other members of Beam, it was fun to be introduced to different people and to just kind of absorb the whole event. There were a few presentations with a lot of references that sailed right over my head, but I found it interesting just the same. The other bonus for me was getting out of the office for a spell (don't think I'm complaining - my office is still the greatest of all time - I just also happen to like sunlight, thank you very much).
This week, Brad won't be in the office, but Joey will be helping me navigate my new project (or expansion of the other projects) and I'm looking forward seeing how far I can push this.
UPDATE: I still have not purchased a pantsuit. It's really not essential, but sometimes I just want to feel like Hillary Clinton, you know? 

Below I've attached a PDF of my last presentation for Brad. 

Week 2 at CoCo Designs

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This week, I got to look at pictures on the computer and compile lists of them. If this was on paper this would be called “collaging,” but since it’s not and the internet loves to be unique it’s called “Pintrest,” “Tumblr,” or “work.” A client wanted a less expensive version of a chair, so I spent a solid two hours trying to find similar models that wouldn’t break their budget. Furniture websites are pretty, so I got sidetracked a couple times during this task. Namely, my mentor and I discussed Kim Kardashian’s wardrobe choices while pregnant. Some comparisons to pregnant Jessica Simpson were made (I’m so sorry, Kimmy). We also both agreed that Kim and Kanye are perfect for each other because they’re obsessed with themselves. Their kid will turn out wonderfully humble and balanced.
After researching chairs for a bit, Lora and I met with the owners of a financial planning firm. The two owners are opening a new office in the Lincoln Center, and we showed them the design plan Lora had created for their office. I convinced them into choosing the wood floors I liked the most. Victory number one for Valerie. I guess a caveat to that victory is that I convinced them into the color of wood, but the style Lora had picked out had hand-scraping on it which they didn’t like. But that wasn’t my fault, right? So I’ll still take that victory. Plus, they told me (technically “us” but I’ll take this one too) that they’ll trust whatever I (“we”) pick out for style. This means they don’t need to okay their hardwood floors. Lora and I picked out their floors after our meeting. Trust is a crazy thing! I put some pictures of the flooring showroom down below.
Additionally, I think I conquered my fear of telephone conversations this week. I had to call different furniture showrooms to ask for pricing, customization and other options for furniture, and I successfully interacted over the phone without crying. I didn’t even cry when a photography company yelled at me over the phone for a deadwall Lora forgot to fix. Victory number two for Valerie. A deadwall, in case you were wondering, is a blank wall without any decorations or furniture in front of it. It’s visually “dead.” Designers usually put décor on these walls. This brief foray into customer service made me realize I have dead walls in my room that I need to fix ASAP. 

I am now trying to install a gallery wall in my room. See picture gallery for an example. This specific project isn’t going so well seeing that I am an art snob and will only buy original pieces that cost a fortune (if anybody has any abstract artwork or block prints they’d like to sell me, please let me know! Warning: do not be offended if I’m too snobby for them/if I am impossible to please). I gave up trying to buy an original abstract piece today and decided to painted my own piece instead. Think the documentary "My Kid Could Paint That!" but with a 17/almost 18 year old. Less cute and more starving artist. This is not really a solution to my problem of finding art because I'm already insanely critical of art overall, which makes me even more critical of my own (victory number this is not a victory somebody please help me) (I have been researching gallery walls all week) (I still don’t have one) (help) (how am I going to be able to live in a dorm after this internship) (I am going to stop typing right now and find more artwork that I will probably not buy because it will be too expensive) (See you on the flipside… hopefully)

Week 2: Swing down, sweet chariot, stop, and let me GLIDE

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I had a very busy second week working with GLIDER. Between juggling the two projects I've had to work on that I described in my last blog post, Eli was in and out meeting with investors, on the phone with potential business clients, etc. (he even added over two more hours to his work day.) Meanwhile, Justin and Cameron are as busy as I've ever seen them. So I'm glad to be of any sort of help, and I'm learning a lot observing Eli managing this company.

The first project I worked on was helping Eli research and compile a list of businesses with over 100 employees that have been seeded by venture firms that Eli is connected with. I had to find out the names of their CEO, COO, VP of Sales, VP of BD, and their sales operations managers are (which wasn't easy, the information on linkedin often differed with the information on databases like crunchbase and on the company websites.) I think that next week either Eli or I will be reaching out to some of these people to try to pitch GLIDER to them so they can use it in their actual businesses, as an alternative to having to manage their contracts and sign deals the way they currently do.

The second project I've been working on has been helping Justin with content for his blog, The Future Of Work ( The blog is meant to be a stand-alone project that discusses how "smart enterprise" tools are disrupting enterprise as usual. The premise is that, today, because of how seamless and successful consumer tools like Facebook and Twitter are, workers expect the same quality of performance from the tools they have to use at work. Often times, the IT departments of their work give workers tools that they'd prefer to substitute for technology they are more familiar with, so when workers bring in their own technology to be more efficient to work (BYOD = bring your own device), the IT departments and CIOs can be the last to know. Services like GLIDER that are making work much easier and far more efficient are disrupting entire industries. I spent the majority of last week working on a blog post that discussed this (it'll get published next week), with links to various articles and a big shout out to one of my all time favorite comedies, Office Space. I also helped on a running series called "The Business Setup" that showcases the different technologies that modern businesses use to be more efficient, like Github or Hipchat. I've learned a lot of interesting things by managing this blog, like the "Flesch-Kinkaid Readability Test," which uses a formula that involves ratios between words in a sentence and syllables in a word throughout the text to indicate how comprehensive and difficult the reading is. For example, on a 1-100 scale, a blog post should score above a 50 (fairly easy to read or skim). The text in blog posts can't be like text from Dickens or in Heart of Darkness, which would probably score close to 0, if not in the negatives.

Next week should be a little less busy. Besides the senior/first grade trip to the zoo, the GLIDER team is going down to San Francisco for another tech conference that would introduce them to more VCs and angel investors called "Under the Radar," so I'll be working from home those days. We also move into the new office in the Pearl next week, which I'm excited about (more food options for lunch), so I suppose I'm helping Eli move furniture on Monday.

A quick anecdote about the week: on the second floor of my building, there's a modeling agency and I always see the two women who scout potential models walking out of the building at the same time as me whenever I'm on my lunch break. So they invite me into their office one day after work to have my picture taken and meet their boss, and when I come in to see the open casting call, I literally see some of the cutest girls ever, who aren't even that much older than me. So I come in, everyone's all smiles, I'm making nice conversation with this blond girl on the couch waiting to have my picture taken, when they tell me that I'm too short. (Really hurt my pride with that one.) It's not like I've ever felt any desire to model, but I feel like it would be funny to have girls see my face going into an Abercrombie. Knowing me, the whole thing would be very ironic. Anyway, this story has made for some funny jokes in the GLIDER office, and hopefully I get into more funny encounters in the new building in the Pearl. 

Here's a video featuring GLIDER from the Wall Street Journal:!B800F8EB-BBAC-4262-A09C-8B9F7316F78F

Here's an article about GLIDER from Tech Crunch about GLIDER's launch at Disrupt in NY:

In the picture below, Eli is writing something up on the whiteboard and Cameron looks super engaged.

Update on my senior project at the internal medicine clinic with Dr. Mehdhi

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At the internal medicine clinic managed by Dr. Mehdi (the doctor I am interning with), I heard a lot of: “You’re at high risk for diabetes”; “You must walk at least two miles a day”; “I’m sorry, but you’re stuck with diagnosing diabetes for the rest of your life”; “I recommend you fast a couple times a week”; “You’re blood pressure’s very high”; or “You’ve gained weight.” In other words, the majority of the bulk of patients I saw everyday for the past week were overweight. A typical checkup at the clinic would start out with figuring out the patients problems/symptoms, checking blood pressure and lungs, and finally drawing blood out into three different tubes (each relating to a specific lab test). It might sound monotonous, but each patient comes in with a different story on how they deal with their diabetes and weight problems. I saw one patient who told the doctor that he was fasting for ten days straight, once a year, and was also fasting at least three days per week. Dr. Mehdi told him he was being unhealthy. Some other patients seemed to be lying to their doctor, telling him that the bag of chips the patient ate the other day was the only unhealthy thing he ate since they last met. Overall, I have had a pretty interesting senior project so far. (I will offere visual content by the next blog post)

No more gold lights for the queen earth

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Hello there Catlin. I totally forgot about the whole blog thing, so here I am, typing away on the desktop computer at my house about my experiences last week.

Anyways, let’s get started.

So, in case you didn’t already know, I’m working with John-Henry Dale over at La Musica Studio. How do I reach this La Musica Studio, you may ask? Well, to find it, all you have to do is get on Belmont and drive all the way to SE 45th. There, you enter the Old Belmont Square (the front gate has been locked every single time I’ve gone so far, so I recommend you enter via the back door), and go down to the basement floor. There, you can easily find La Musica Studio since there’s a big sign that says “La Musica” (if memory serves me right) as well as a large Ableton poster (if memory serves me right again).

Now that I’ve gone over how to get to the studio, I’ll get to what I’m actually supposed to write about: what I did last week. Well, I spent the majority of my time there learning the basics of Ableton Live, and aspects of studio recording. For those who don’t know what Ableton Live is, Ableton Live is a music sequencer/workstation with a strong emphasis on live performance, as it contains several studio instruments as well as support for a large amount of Ableton-created instruments, including the brand-new Push (okay, not really brand-new since it came out in the past month or two). Since it’s a computer program that’s meant to be used as a live instrument, it’s primarily used by electronic musicians and DJs, with a lot of big-name artists using the product, ranging from industrial stalwarts Front 242 to post-rock outfit 65daysofstatic to dubstep poster boy Skrillex to everyone’s favorite robot helmet-wearing French house duo Daft Punk. I’ve always wanted to use it more, but I’ve never gotten used to its interface and have instead preferred Logic’s staff-based arrangement style, so I’ve found this project a good opportunity to learn how to use Live.

Personally, what I found most interesting was the composition style of electronic artists. A lot of electronic music doesn’t have the same melodic sensibilities as a lot of bands I listen to do, and I’ve always wondered how electronic artists come up with their interesting melodies and what kind of obscure music theory they employ, since whenever I write/make/compose/whateveryouwanttocallit a song, it always ends up sounding like Thursday, Sunny Day Real Estate or something from a Kingdom Hearts game. As it turns out, a lot of electronic musicians don’t really use any special kind of theory, as they instead go for a more rhythm-centric approach (as far as I know), employing grid-based instruments such as the aforementioned Push to come up with their melodies and harmonies with less emphasis on what note should go next. I’m thinking of trying out this method in the future, because perhaps my MIDI keyboard usage is shaping the way of how I write music.

Since the first meeting, I've been bringing my cello over to the studio because John-Henry is planning on making a cello/electronic EP or something along those lines. We already had a go at it by using a recording of me playing the main bassline to an American Football song and adding beats and synths to it, but I doubt it'll be used again in the future.

So yeah. That's my first week so far. Below is a picture of part of the workspace. That's Ableton Live on the computer, an analog synth (I believe) on the left, and the Push on the black table on the bottom. Woo.