Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh the weather inside is frightful

Yeah, you heard me. The temperatures are frigid in Cincinnati, and my first winter on my own has been quite an adventure.

My lovely 3 room, 800 sq foot apartment finally exposed to me its big flaw after the temperatures began consistently dipping below freezing. It is poorly insulated, and has no central heating. When I saw and signed the lease for the place in August, heating my apartment for winter was not on my mind. Now, however, I'm trying to balance the astronomical costs associated with baseboard heaters with keeping myself and the kittens from turning into popsicles.

(my bill between October and November jumped from 120 kwH to 500 kwH.
I don't have data from December yet... and I'm a little scared to look. 
The only difference between Oct and Nov? Heating costs.)

A note to apartment renters to be: If your new apartment to be is heated with electric baseboard heaters, turn around and walk away. It is not worth it.

After I got my November bill I turned mine completely off.

(Electric baseboard heaters look like this)

Now, before you ask... yes. Yes I have. If there's a seemingly simple cost-saving energy solution, I have tried it.

I'm working for an Energy Alliance! I have done as much as I know how to make my place more energy efficient.

* I've taped all the windows in my apartment with a sheeted plastic and doublestick tape (and taped over the holes that the kittens have poked in them)

* During a brief warm up, I caulked around the cracks in the windows and floorboards in an effort to stop up some of the air escaping/coming through.

* Sweaters, Snuggies, and slippers are all mandatory coverings while inside. Sometimes, I look like a homeless Yeti. There are 5 blankets (2 comforters) on my bed, and 2 kittens keep me warm (when they decide they want to cuddle!)

* I try and use the oven once a day so that it warms the place a little.  I've been existing on home made soup and bread, and it has been wonderful! (Tea and cocoa help too)

* I have one space heater that my landlord gave me (after I complained about the amount of money I was paying to heat with electricity... too bad the space heater uses electricity...) and one oil-filled radiator that also uses electricty.

* My favorite new thing? Electric mattress pad! I keep it at level 9 for 10-15 minutes while I'm getting ready for bed, then turn it down to 2 for the rest of the night. With all the blankets I stay very warm at a low setting!

So which is more efficient? Two heaters used sometimes, or 3 baseboard heaters used sometimes? Or a combination of both? Hopefully I'll be able to figure this out in the coming months. I just got my December bill, and it was heartbreakingly high.

If you have any more ideas, let me know! Spring is almost here... and when the hot weather comes, I promise I will be keeping my mouth shut! No complaints here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


One of my very favorite Cincinnati events of the entire year was last weekend. Every year the Parks Department and several local hot air balloon companies come together to present the public with a balloon glow over Mirror Lake at Eden Park.

The array of colorful balloons glowing and reflected in the water is a photographer's dream, and I used the opportunity to play with the settings on my camera. This is why some of the pictures are very dark and others have a visible backdrop.

My favorite balloon was the one on the very end. They all had names - that particular one was Socrates. He looks so cheerful!


I picked up a part time retail job for the holidays, and my first shift is on Black Friday. It's not a ton of money, but working retail (this store especially) helps me learn more about design in a hands on way. They also said I can help with setting up displays and stuff! Plus, the employee discount is pretty sweet. I'm sure I'll have loads of harrowing tales to tell once the season is over.

Until then, here's hoping the rest of this week is full of thanks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Landor 110: Day 7 - an end and a beginning

 My last day of Landor 110? How could it be?! I was definitely bummed when I saw that I had reached the end of my sketchbook.

Tuesday, 1.10 pm. The view from my office building, 9 stories up in the middle of downtown Cincinnati. Today I couldn't help but notice all the rooftops as I stared out across the cityscape. Rooftops that hide from view behind facades and up way out of sight from the walkers and the drivers of the street below.

So much is going on that we don't even see or realize.



I wanted to go outside and play in the beautiful sunshine, but instead sat wistfully inside, munching some leftovers  and sketching for my 10 minutes or so, knowing that by the time the workday was done the sun would be setting. Damn you, November.





Green, an overabundance of energy and new life.

This was such a great little exercise. I miss sketching more than I realized. I'm glad for the job I have, but my artsy nature is sometimes a bit squashed. I am definitely going to have to get a new sketchbook for myself!

I took out all my color swatches and viewed my emotions over the last week. Pretty beautiful.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Landor 110: Day 6 - emo edition

Confession time: I was a total grumpy bunny on Day 6. A combination of personal stuff and a case of the Mondays made for a super-emo 110.

Oh me, oh my, I'm all alone! Thanks for indulging my angsty feelings. Not sure why I thought of "solidarity" as a word, seeing as how it means to be united. I guess the solo and I parts appealed to my nature.





One of my favorite grumpy-cures is yoga. I happened to be wearing fun colors, and an upside down view of Pigeon Pose actually looks pretty neat. This is definitely one of my favorite shots from the entire series.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Landor 110: Day 5

Saturday at 1.10 pm I was in the midst of the OTR Field Day, with friends in teams of four doing silly, fun, relay games. Quick, quick!





This has been such a fun experiment. I hope you've enjoyed my random thoughts and feelings at 1.10 as much as I've enjoyed creating them. Only 2 days left!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Landor 110: Day 4

Fountain Square/Streetcar edition!

On Friday I was down on Fountain Square around 1.10. I ate lunch at Via Vite and sketched the streetcar on display on the Square. It's pretty neat. 





Landor 110: Day 3

Lunchtime edition:





Thursday, November 4, 2010

Landor 110: Day 2 (1am edition)

I missed the afternoon 1.10 so I set my alarm this morning for 1.10 am...

I awoke and sketched for approximately 2 minutes. Apparently I was having some strange dreams. Don't judge my subconscious!

Sketch: Magenta from Rocky Horror (or maybe Lady Gaga?) wheeling a dolly full of suitcases

Word: Apparently my emotion at the time...



Red, the color of Magenta's hair, who I was dreaming about (watched Rocky Horror Picture Show last night before bed)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Landor 110: Day 1

My buddy Micah has teamed up with local branding and creative rockstars Landor Associates to allow some Cincinnati creatives to chance to let their juices flow.

I'm participating in this social experiment, called Landor 110. Every day (or night) at 1.10 pm (or am), I have four tasks that will express what I'm feeling, thinking, doing in that moment:

Sketch, Write a Word, Take a Photo, Pick a Color. Pretty easy, I guess. It's 8 days long, and I'll be cataloging my entries here as well as on Twitter. Eventually all of these thoughts and emotions will be displayed for all to see at the Landor Studios.

So. Here we go.

Day 1 - I'm feeling a little sicky today, but overwhelmingly grateful for a great job and co-workers, a pretty view of 6th street, and all the fun things I get to do with my life.





Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh Hey There, Henry

My kittens are ridiculous. I'm pretty certain they are a new hybrid of puppy-cat. They eat lettuce, chew up shoes, and chase their tails.

Henry in particular really enjoys hiding under small spaces and peeking out from under them. His expression says, "oh hey there, what's up?"

Oh hey there, Henry.


Lady peeks out from things as well. 

I just found out I'll be interviewing with a prestigious design firm in Washington D.C. next week. I'm super excited and nervous all in one. Cincinnati, you know I don't want to leave you. I've stayed around when it wasn't convenient, always coming back and telling everyone how awesome you are. 

I've given you as much as I can, Cincy. I've gotta go where I'm wanted, even if in some ways it breaks my heart.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Library Cafe

I had a great day at TedxCincy, but a whole day at the conference means I neglected my Google Reader all day. Blasting through 150+ articles, and this gem from Fast Company Design grabbed me.

D'Espresso, a cafe in New York City, is opening a new location close to the public library. Designed by Nema Workshop, it looks like a library gone wonky... literally flipped on its side.

The books are actually glazed tiles printed with photos of books taken at a travel store. Clearly I'm a huge fan of libraries, and the way the design forces its inhabitants to consider their perspective is great. Yeah, it's a gimmick... but this time, it really works. Apparently he's going to do more, which I think could get a little tired after a while. But who knows... sometimes novelty can be done right. 

My other favorite detail about this project is the "baseboard" trim that can be seen in the first picture between the herringbone wood "floor" and the bookshelf "wall." Details like that really kick the design up a notch!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Have You Been Doing Lately?

September has been a happy, busy month for me. The hot days have gradually turned into cool nights, and I am keeping plenty busy between two jobs, writing, job searching, and experiencing all the neat things Cincinnati has to offer. 


The RecycleBank bins have finally arrived on my street!! I have signed up and can't wait until I start cashing in my recyclables for sweet stuff. It's awesome to have the huge bins, and I really like that everybody keeps them outside. Being the recycle nerd I am, I'll sometimes pick recyclables up off the street and now instead of carrying it home, I can toss it in someone else's bin. 

PARK(ing) Day 2010 came and went, and I got to spend a day hanging outside with the good peeps of downtown. This year we included real sod, and people were surprised and excited that I was chilling out on real grass! 

Many of my friends have moved away from Cincinnati since graduation, but the few of us that remain still get together occasionally for Sunday Night Dinners. I got to host one in my new apartment - complete  with a kitchen table! - and made crazy awesome Oktoberfest inspired food.

 A dear friend from high school moved away after graduation to Portland Oregon, and now 5 years later she's back, got married and moving with her beloved to Pittsburgh. A beautiful wedding for a beautiful bride!

Lastly but not leastly I got to volunteer with ArtsWave's Paint the Street event this past Sunday. Over a thousand people showed up to beautify a section of Over the Rhine, and it made me bubble over with joy... I was seriously smiling all day! I carried paint, made sandwiches, and took lots and lots of pictures of this sweet experience. I couldn't believe how many people came together and how awesome it all looked when it was finished. Not only did this act of beauty affect the people who were working on it, but the entire neighborhood swelled with excitement and energy. Just another sign of the heartbeat of my fantastic neighborhood.