Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Twinkle Toes, part deux

Back in May I jotted down a few things that make my life a little better - the little things that bring me joy, no matter how trivial or mundane. They lift me up and brighten my spirits... I call them "Twinkle Toes."

This particular week in November is a popular one to publicly give thanks. It's definitely time for TT, part two. I'll go ahead and get the big ones out of the way: family, friends, beau, food, job, place to live. My gratitude for these staples are the drumbeat of my existence, pretty much every day.

Okay? Okay.

Twinkle Toes, Fall Edition:

* two of my old friends from long ago moved to Cincy and are now my new friends again.
* all 22 pairs of different colored tights hanging in my closet mean I hardly ever have to wear pants.
* the misadventures my cats are constantly having in exploring the new apartment.
* did I mention the new apartment? two words: CENTRAL. HEATING.
* Sunday mass at St. Francis Seraph - celebrating Jesus with my neighbors of every background.
* urban campfire nights at my friend's fire pit in Pendleton.
* Instagram 
* Audrey Hepburn - I have something of an obsession...
* watching the Bengals not suck this year.
* fresh picked apples.
* my quest to find the best home-made biscuit in Cincinnati.
* roasted root veggies.
* making friends at work.
* the Broadway Blast exercise class I attend every week - learning dances to show tunes gives me confidence and is so much fun.
* landing my second-ever lead role in a show.
* all the ways that connections happen in Cincinnati - in this little big town it's amazing to hear the stories of how people meet and have known each other through the years. It's even better when two completely different parts of my social circle connect for the first time.
* silly or sweet text messages from loved ones.
* bacon-wrapped date pizza at A Tavola.
* listening to records.
* Tough Love: Miami and The New Girl - my new guilty pleasure Hulu sessions.
* watching through Mad Men and Dr. Who with my guy.
* getting to know my new neighbors in my apartment building and in the area.
* making my 'hood better in tiny, secret ways (if I told you what they were it wouldn't be a secret anymore!)
* spiked hot apple cider and hot chocolate.
* calling my family and catching up with them.

Naturally, I gotta know...

What gives you Twinkle Toes?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Video Roundup

Here's some videos that are inspiring, or hilarious, or ridiculous, or all of the above. I like them, and you like me. You'll like em too!

My cat LadyBird... she's a talker.

short film "Chocolate Bunny" by Lernert & Sander that I saw at OFFFCincy last week. Simultaneously unique and terrifying.

The Marmoset Song. I've listened to this probably 50 times in the last week and a half. Sometimes Constantly I get stuck on silly songs or videos and overdose on them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

City Mouse, Country Mouse

my hump, my hump my hump my hump
I got around to decorating the cast of my backside my friend Kara made as a sample for her senior sculpture project last year. In an effort to make it not so obviously butt-like (if that's even possible) - I got out my magazines (okay, I printed pictures from Flickr) and my Modge Podge and got to decoupaging.

It's representative of my life and personality - half of me is cool and confident in the big* city, the other half of me longs for the quiet and the stars out in the farmland of Indiana, from whence I came. It's been six years since I moved to Cincinnati, but there are parts of me that are still very much Country Mouse.

Naturally there's a lot of text, sayings I find inspiring, and it serves as a reminder of where I've been, where I'm going, and who I am.

Despite its camoflauged appearance, it was still a little disconcerting to have a crowd of people at the housewarming party in September standing around contemplating the art. Apparently there are some puns that were unintentional at the time...

Ah well. Check it out!

*yes, I'm aware that Cincinnati is not really a big city. It's in the top 25 metros... It's all relative.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

There's no place like Home.

I'm finally home!
It's been a little minute, chickens. I've gone through some changes in my life- good things. First and foremost - I moved! Not far - just around the corner - but it's definitely a move up. There's central heating and air, among other things.

It's a lovely place, and I'm sharing it with a lovely friend from high school... and the kittens, of course. Finally the things I've acquired are starting to match and become an aesthetic all their own. Does having a decorating style mean I'm starting to become a grown up?

I have a record player, and a dishwasher, and a view to wake up to in the mornings that is both green and urban landscape. It's not much, but I finally feel settled. The boxes are unpacked, the pictures are framed, it's clean and spacious and peaceful.

Best of all I'm still smack dab in the middle of my favorite neighborhood, surrounded on all sides (literally) by friends and neighbors that I'm getting to know better. It feels like home.

I'm who and where I want to be. No change of heart - a change in me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


You know I love riding my bike to work. Rain or shine, snow or sun - I'm hopping on Laverne because I'm too lazy to walk in heels for the exercise and joy of it. Yes, even in sub zero temperatures, with a scarf wrapped around my face, I've derived a great deal of joy from riding to work. My commute is shorter now than it was in December, but I'm still scooting around - I love riding down east using the trail the City has been working on, out to Lunken Airport and down by the river. I love going to Covington, Bellevue and Newport across the river. I'm still a pretty big weenie about hills, but it's a little at a time.

And in case you were wondering... yes. It's really not that hard to ride a bike in heels! I wouldn't do it for 20 miles, but to get to work, just use the balls of your feet (not the heel part) on the pedal, make sure your skirt keeps you modest (no one wants to see unmentionables flying about due to a short skirt!) and get out and ride.

I'm submitting one of the pictures that the AMAZING Nick Thomas took for me this past weekend to the "What Women Want" photo contest and survey - hopefully it will win me a new set of ergonomic pedals! Check out all the pics below, and let me know which one is your favorite. The crowd seems to be indicating #7 is the way to go.

Monday, June 27, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation.

Within 20 minutes of my arrival, I was covered head to toe in creamy peanut butter. The stuff caked my pigtails and was smeared on my shirt. It was a voluntary ambush; a salty-sweet welcome to my late arrival as a counselor at summer camp. I showed up right in the middle of Yuck Night - a free for all cabin-bonding activity where peanut butter, oatmeal, jello and other foodstuffs are thrown about in various relay races.


This past week I spent 6 days and 5 nights in northern Indiana. It was mostly cold, rainy, and filled with 5th and 6th graders. There was a beach, but I didn't get much sun. It may not be many people's idea of a fabulous getaway, but I couldn't have asked for anything more.

I. love. camp.

Summer camp, at Tippecanoe Baptist Camp in North Webster, Indiana, was a tradition I participated from 1997-2007. From age 9 to 19, I trekked the three hours north from my home town to spend anywhere from a week as a camper or counselor to a whole summer as a lifeguard immersed at this modest summer retreat. The American Baptist Association of Indiana and Kentucky has rallied around this little camp for years - despite the distance, I chose to go here because my father and his family attended years ago.

From singing the camp song (Eye-I-kee-I-kus, nobody like us, we are the kids from the baptist camp!) to gathering around the campfire in the evenings, yelling at reminding campers to walk, not run down, the hill, and everything in between, so much of what I remember and cherish about this place is the same. Having counseled and even worked for several summers, it really warmed my heart to see that despite not having been there for several years, my presence and influence still lingered - in the music left on the chapel laptop, and even an old photograph from the camp I counseled in 2007 pinned to the bulletin board in the dining hall.

I know it sounds cheesy, but this place changed my life. I made friends, experienced leadership opportunities, and grew in my faith. Due to circumstances with school, I've missed out on camp for the last four years, but after a friend reached out needing female counselors, I grabbed my three vacation days and headed out. It was definitely a wake up call, as kids I watched over years ago were now employed at camp as lifeguards, or even volunteering alongside me as a fellow cabin leader. I felt so old!

Some elements have changed, but most are the same. There's something comforting about the cinderblock cabins, the seaweedy lake, and the quiet chapel, surrounded by woods, dappled with sunlight, inhabited with kids singing at the top of their lungs.

Enjoy the pictures from this week :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

an ode to typography.

I love words. since the time I started "reading" (memorizing) Doctor Seuss books, up to now with my incessant habit of analyzing and collecting fonts for my personal use, typography - the shape and influence and sheer art of letters - has been an influence in my life and style.

Every piece of artwork I own is typographic in nature. my senior thesis project revolved around the positive and negative and in between space of language and letters. I can't get over the power of letters, combined into the perfect words, to communicate exactly what I mean.

The weight and context of the written language - the ability to exactly convey emotions, and thoughts- is the most precious gift.

It is art.

I am innately drawn towards art through words. the shapes and forms the letters in their different styles take - an f is an f is an f is an f - so many ways to make it depending on its font.

So many ways to paint a word depending on its size, slants, curves, negative and positive space.


Words! We are so lucky to have language with which to communicate! EXCLAMATION POINT! and so many of them.

Words are so important. They carry weight. emotion.

I love you.

you're fired.

I'm sorry.

Writing them down fixes them in space. Makes them important and memorable. Keeps them forever.

Even typing on this screen seems less permanent.

Typography takes the beauty of language and makes it visual art.


They say a picture's worth a thousand words.

I say the perfect word paints a thousand pictures.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Shoes

For a variety of reasons, I've given myself particularly heavy boots about life in general lately. And for a variety of reasons, I was recently reminded that I need to change my perspective.

Or perhaps, just my shoes...

So in the spirit of Paolo Nutini's fantastic song "New Shoes", I'm trading in my boots for something lighter - a small list of things that are currently making my heart really happy.

My twinkle toes, if you will.

* How excited my cats are to see me when I come home
* Perfectly cooked meat - shrimp, fish, salmon, chicken
* Caramelized sweet potatoes
* Getting to know some girlfriends a lot better
* Meeting my neighbors
* Riding my bike... in heels
* Sunsets over the skyline
* The ice machine at work (we have an ice machine! it's awesome!!)
* Singing and doing dishes
* The flowers in Melindy Park, around the corner from my house
* The fact the two plants I bought over a month ago aren't dead yet
* My shoe collection - I have pretty fantastic shoes.
* Nicole at Incredible Creations who makes my nails look pretty for a super affordable price
* Sitting in the courtyard at Neon's and knowing more or less everyone I see
* Sitting on my fire escape enjoying the weather
* Getting a great parking spot and not moving my car for two weeks
* Every time I see the Schwartz's
* great yoga classes at You do Yoga and the Yoga Bar
* the four minute bike ride from home to work
* seeing live concerts around town
* making delicious food for friends where it's so good, there's no leftovers
* grocery shopping at Findlay Market, Aldi, and Mayberry Foodstuffs
* my new bike lock that lives on my bike
* hearing from old friends out of the blue
* planning trips and adventures
* little flowers that are probably weeds but look like flowers to me anyway
* overhearing or seeing people be sweet to each other when they think no one is looking or listening

What gives you twinkle toes?

Friday, April 8, 2011

I has a clothesline.

I am big on saving money, and I hate wasting extra energy if I can help it. I also happen to live in a small apartment that faces out onto an alley, and I know the owners of the building that faces my building. These serendipitous circumstances added up to me working with the owners of Venue222 to install a clothesline outside my apartment.

It was really easy, only cost me $15, and will save me $1.50 a load in dryer costs (raise your hand if you hate quarters!)

The Dents (who also gave me my kittens!) came over a few weeks ago and helped me (okay, Wade did most of the work) install. Naturally I documented the process.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Dee Cee Weekend!

I love and miss my DAAP friends - even the ones that live less than 10 minutes away! With everyone so busy in the Real World with Big Girl Jobs, sometimes you just have to stop and take time out to smell the cherry blossoms.

My girl Sarah (the one who lives 10 minutes away) and I drove out to visit Corrie in Washington DC, where she's working at an awesome design firm and living the dream!

Check it out!

this is Cincinnati.

this is Frederick, Maryland. They look very similar.

 awesome beer bottle cuff links at Eastern Market.

ladyfriends looking all beautiful and urban.

 great ad by Zipcar - when are you coming to Cincinnati?!

 we stopped to smell the cherry blossoms.

 and had fun photoshoots in the park (what?! we're designers!)

 and ate awesome local food.

It was a really fun weekend. I love and miss my friends!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dancin' Fool.

Just a little funny to bring a smile to your day.

(Click on the pic for my sweet moves!)

some sweet moves from the CAC Keith Haring opening a couple weeks ago. My buddy David DeWitt shot this video and edited it to showcase some happy happy kids jamming out :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

You're a hipster. I'm a hipster. Let's be geeks instead.

Maybe it was all the chatter about Grammer's closing this week, but I feel suddenly deluged by the term "hipster." Don't know where it came from or how it became such a popular, deragatory term, but I'm tired of it. Don't believe the hype. We've all got a little hipster inside us (even Disney!)... at least I know I do. I don't know when it suddenly became popular to hate and label "hipsters", or why the subject draws so much contempt.

I've embraced my hipster-ness, for the most part. I listen to obscure bands, I live in a tiny apartment downtown and ride my bike everywhere, I love design and have a unique style... yeah. I'm pretty freakin' hipster, and okay with it.

okay, okay, not my usual hairstyle... but look at that freakin' hipster!(from 2007)

However, there is something divisive about being a true hipster, and it's something that often grinds my gears. I think the thing that people really, truly hate about this stereotype is the arrogant attitude, the presumptiousness and sense of indifference and irony that seems to go along with the label.

I'm cooler than you because my interests are SO obscure, SO unique. It's nothing more than another way to separate and divide, to stand out, and to be kind of an asshole about it.

However, at my core, I like to think of myself as more of a geek than a hipster. The biggest difference?

Geeks get excited.

Isn't that where the term "geeking out" came from? I love learning more about the world around me and sharing it with everyone I know. My Google Reader and sites like Fast Company and BoingBoing keep me up to date on everything from the hottest new tech concepts to the next hilarious viral video sweeping across the internet.

My enthusiasm travels off-line as well. If there is a chance for me to capture the joy of a small detail or moment as I'm going through life, I'm going to take notice and share it with the world, or at least my immediate circle of friends.

So, here's my proposal. This is 2011. The reign of the hipster is over. Let's get over ourselves, our obscure bands, our "cooler-than-thou" attitudes, and embrace our inner geeks. Let's get super excited about the little things, and open up to the people around us, instead of limiting and staying in our silly cliques of ironic hipness. Let's evolve...

Be an early adopter... you can say you did it before it went mainstream. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Seitan isn't Satan, but tofu sure is.

So I'm over halfway through my meat-free February!! It has been an uphill battle... I find myself craving things I don't normally crave - BBQ wings for example - but I've had some fun with new recipes and trying new things.

I gave tofu one shot out to eat last week, and it was terrible. I've had it prepared well before (namely at Thai Express in Clifton) - when they saute the tofu in a sauce so it's crispy and flavorful... but not so the last time I had it (at a different Thai restaurant that will remain nameless. There's gotta be better options than tofu! YUCK!

So my main new discovery has been this seitan stuff. Seitan is wheat gluten - wheat flour is rinsed until all the starch dissolves and what's left is this elastic mass that has a similar texture to ground beef. I got some to try at Park+Vine, and it worked out pretty well. I crumbled it and sauteed in in oil, and it was good both in a salad and later as a "phony coney" - cranberry walnut bread (locally made, also from P+V), seitan and cheddar cheese melted in the toaster oven. YUM.

(pics: Upton's Naturals Seitan and spinach salad with raspberries, oranges, honey sesame sticks and seitan)

I've also had good success with beans. For Super Bowl Sunday I made a really fantastic black bean and sweet potato chili adapted from Serious Eats (using Arrogant Bastard Ale), and tonight for dinner I just made the best freakin' black bean burgers of probably ever. Yes, seriously. Ever.

See? They were fantastic. 

 Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers

1 16 oz can black beans, rinsed and dried
1 8 oz can chopped carrots, rinsed and dried
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
4 TBS minced garlic
1/4 cup flax seeds (gotta get that protein!)
1 egg
3/4 cup Italian seasoned croutons, smashed
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, garam masala
 1. drain and rinse the beans and carrots, and squish them with a fork in a bowl until they're all mushed.

2. loosely chop the onion and red pepper with a knife, put the pieces into your food processor with the garlic and flax seed. (10 points if your food processor is with the immersion blender like mine). Chop it up until it's really fine, then strain out most of the liquid through a mesh colander or one with small holes.

 3. Combine the pureed vegetable mixture into the bean bowl. Add egg, croutons and bread crumbs. Add the spices a little at a time until the mix tastes good. Stir to combine - the mixture should be easy to work with and not crazy sticky - if it is, add more bread crumbs. Use your hands, you know you want to.

4. Form into patties whatever size you like - I made 3 big ones and 4 sliders and some meatballs for later this week. It makes a good amount of food - probably enough for 3 or 4 guys. Bake the patties on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Add a little mozzarella cheese 3 minutes before removing.
I served my sliders on toast with mango chutney and brown mustard. 

No fat, all protein and vegetables and wonderfulness - and it was REALLY filling. Enjoy!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Mom is Awesome.

 No seriously. She's amazing. The woman raised two kids for 12 years, and regularly outdid herself in terms of domestic, family and school affairs. For example: Once long, long ago, if I had friends spend the night over the weekend, Mom would make pancakes for breakfast.

Not just pancakes, though, a special recipe from scratch.

And not just from scratch pancakes, but pancakes shaped into various shapes - initials, cats, christmas trees, flowers... you name it.

This is how us Kesslers operate: above and beyond. There is always a way.

So anyway, she came to visit me about a month ago while I was (and still am) in the throes of the Very Cold Apartment experience. And she decided I needed curtains for my many windows (7 windows for a 3 room apartment! Amazing... and cold.)

Not just curtains, though... handmade curtains.

And not just handmade curtains, but curtains with black out fabric attached, in order to block light and retain what little heat my poor pad may have.

So she took measurements, we figured out the colors (hey, that interior design degree still comes in handy sometimes!) and two weeks later, hey, presto!  She also made a futon and ottoman cover. And some pillow covers. And they all look AWESOME.


 Living room


Futon/Ottoman cover. 

Hey... they seem to like it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meat-Free February

My friends Janice and Andy did a vegetarian diet for the month of January, and it got me thinking. I don't eat much meat to begin with - the occasional slice of bacon/chicken broth to flavor my soups, shrimp, sushi and sometimes burgers when I go out to eat. People often ask me if I'm vegetarian and I say, "I eat what I want!" It makes them laugh, but it's true. I often eat vegetarian meals because they're tasty (and cheap!), but I will answer the siren song of a delicious burger without hesitation.

But we all know how good it is for you, for the planet, for humanity, for the future, to cut back on meat consumption. So I'm going to try it.

I have trouble sticking to resolutions, mainly due to forgetfulness and lack of interest. So I'm thinking I will try not eating meat for the month of February. It's only 28 days, and it will be fun finding new recipes to try out. Of course I'm taking you with me ;)

Yesterday I kicked off my meatless February with a grilled goat cheese and spinach (and Grippo's BBQ chips) sandwich from Tom + Chee. My friend Shannon gave me a recipe for that night's dinner - she calls them "Nom Wraps": tortillas with cream cheese, spinach, sauteed red onion, roasted butternut squash, and sliced green pepper.

They were REALLY nom!! Thanks lady!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A new adventure

Today I accepted a job as a Communications Associate with local arts nonprofit ArtsWave
(remember, they did Paint the Street!) I'll be working to promote their brand message through word and graphic design. 

For six months I have held out for my trifecta: 

A place I love 
With people I love
Doing work I love

And I found it in this organization. Promoting the arts in Cincinnati doing marketing and graphic design with incredible, talented people. I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity.

Thanks to everyone who has supported my job search thus far - the proofreading, encouragement, support and love. 

I am so excited for this opportunity!!!!!