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Once upon a time (circa 2005-2013), I had a blog I called Okazu, in which I reviewed Asian snack foods. It was …ahead of its time, perhaps, and never super successful, in terms of bloggerdom. Its high point was probably during the summer I spent living in China, because I was writing just about every day. When I returned, some of my photographs were featured on Engrish.com, and I scored a guest spot on a relatively popular animation website writing a review of Hello Kitty DVDs. People I didn’t know even sent me snack foods in the mail. In an eventual attempt to eat better, I ended up consuming fewer snacks, and the blog got left behind when I started writing here more frequently. I miss writing snack reviews. It was fun, and pleasantly low pressure. Honestly, Okazu was a big part of my life for a really long time. I thought it might be nice to bring some of that back, even though many of those snacks are now pretty mainstream, and it’s likely that the novelty is gone. The fact that I can purchase Pocky at a Walmart in New Hampshire still kind of blows my mind. Welcome, Okazu.

Okazu (御菜) is a Japanese word that refers to a side dish to accompany rice. It can also be used as a term meaning something like food for thought. In some contexts (not here), the word also refers to print materials used during masturbation.

#NSFW #AdultContent

Have I mentioned I love language? I so do.

Tj recently spent time in LA for work, and brought back an assortment of green tea flavored snacks for me to eat. Have I mentioned he’s the best boyfriend? He so is. He gets a big thank you for inspiring this post.

Okazu: Green Tea all the Things :: girldust.com

Okazu: Green Tea all the Things :: girldust.com

Dars Uji Matcha

Okazu: Green Tea all the Things :: girldust.com

Pocky Matcha

I’ve never had the plain matcha Pocky, only the limited edition matcha mousse variety. These were nice, but I actually liked the filled version much better (Pocky’s friend, Pejoy). Pejoy was entirely new to me, and I really enjoyed it. I like having the custard/cream go all the way through, and the biscuit seems much crispier.

The Dars chocolate had a nice green tea flavor, but the chocolate itself was a little waxy. I find most Japanese bar chocolates to be that way.

Okazu: Green Tea all the Things :: girldust.com

Pejoy and Pocky

Asian Food Grocer has a pretty decent selection of Pocky/Pretz/etc. (including the green tea flavor shown above). J Box is another great source, and can be counted on for seasonal flavors.

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This year. It’s been something. I started graduate school and I turned 30 and I hiked some mountains. I made a more meaningful effort to connect to the natural world. I’m taking a look through the archives:

quartzcollage

In January, the gemstone feature received a revamp. I started fresh with a post about clear quartz.

fat and the moon review :: girldust.com

In February I reviewed some Fat & the Moon products. Their deodorant cream is my favorite.

all natural oil-based moisturizer DIY

In April, I made my own facial serum using essential oils. I used Young Living lavender and frankincense oils.

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In May, I picked some wildflowers and took some photos.

BITTW #Sebago Simmer Down

Over the summer, I started blogging about beers I’ve tried. I am hoping to continue the trend. It’s one of my favorite features, and I hope to be working with some special guest authors in 2015.

nail serum with Young Living essential oils // girldust.com

I made a healthy nail serum in July using essential oils. Frankincense, lavender, lemon and wintergreen are a healing combination.

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Tj and I spent a few days in Acadia National Park in August.

Philadelphia eats

In October, I turned 30. I had some thoughts. I also had the pleasure of visiting Philadelphia, where I ate a lot of good food, spent some time at the Mütter, and drank some whiskey.

thanksgiving1

I was thankful in November.

We just got home from a family-filled, whirlwind trip to NYC and northern Vermont. We’ve been in constant motion for a week, and I am happy to be still. There are still some challenges left in the upcoming week, but I am looking forward to everything 2015 has to offer. I’m starting my second graduate class at the end of January, and I’m hoping for another year of travel, food, and new experiences. I hope 2014 treated you kindly, and that the new year will do the same.

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Go further back: favorites from 2013

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Today I had the pleasure of visiting the Museum of Science in Boston for the day. I took the Down-easter into the city, and took advantage of my membership to the New England Museum Association. My purpose was mostly academic (I am writing an exhibit critique for class), but for the majority of my visit, I had the hands-on science exhibits to myself. A little girl shoved me out of her way at one point to learn about dinosaurs in a button-smashy kind of way, but I was cool.

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My main goal for the day was to spend some time with Water Stories at MOS. I love, love, love the idea of art and science colliding, and having smart, challenging, beautiful babies. There are so many opportunities to bring these two worlds together (I haven’t told you about the Mütter, yet, aaahh!). As a museum nerd, I’m excited to see it happen “locally.” And, as an occasional artist, I was inspired by Anne Neely’s work. I don’t necessarily want to work in an art museum in the future, but I’d love to be a part of future exhibits like this one! Of course, if an art museum wanted me, you can be assured I would jump on the opportunity, I just see myself being happier at a history or anthropology museum.

By the way, locals, if you haven’t been to the Museum of Science in the last five to ten years, you should go! They’ve refreshed old exhibits, and added some new ones. And yes, in case you were wondering, you can still smell the animals of New England dioramas. I understand how important that is. I feel you. It’s a classic.

Museum of Science, Boston

So let’s talk about writing academically versus writing for a blog. Because it’s so different. Is that obvious? I want to hash it out a little, here.

Sometimes I have a hard time with it, because the voice of this blog has been determined.  How do I stick to that? I want it to be honest, sometimes smart, nice to look at, a little funny, and accessible. People (bloggers) always talk about writing the blog you would want to read, but if I’m honest, I read a wide range of internet content, and some of it is total garbage. As an academic, I don’t feel comfortable writing garbage. But, and kind of a big but, girldust isn’t meant to be an academic or research blog. I will tell you that I am extremely thankful for the loose definition of “lifestyle blog.” I can more or less do whatever I want, be who I am, and hopefully, eventually, there will be a handful of people I connect with.

You can get away with quite a lot when it comes to writing for a personal blog. Good spelling and grammar are important to me, but blogging actually allows me to use a more colloquial style, which I think is a lot of fun. I can choose to write how I might speak if you were here; I can use different style of language than I would when writing a paper for school, as long as it’s more or less appropriate for my message.  I can have one sentence paragraphs if I want. Heck, I could use a bunch of hashtags. I won’t. I could.

TL;DR: there’s a lot of freedom in blogging. If you want there to be.

There’s the freedom to decide you don’t want that freedom. Blah blah etc.

I was a little worried, when I began taking graduate classes, that I would have a difficult time switching back and forth. It turns out that, after having an online presence for over a decade, I’ve had more than enough experience juggling; it’s not switching voices that’s difficult, it’s simply finding the time.

So today I made a little time.

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This blog has many purposes. I am not a baker, a foodie, a DIY maven, or even a beauty product junky or a fashionista. I’m not an amateur photographer.  I am not a graphic designer. My family is small (it consists of Timothy and a tortoise). My current job is a semi-miserable inbetweener. I am shy, and awkward, and not very pretty. I am not an expert in anything. I am intelligent, but sometimes have a hard time communicating. I am an introvert. Sometimes I am too angry, or too anxious. I am also sometimes incredibly depressed. None of these things make for good blogging. What is there left to share? This place continues to grow.

The things that do find a way onto this wordspace, in some form or another, are the things I care about. These are the things I want to share.

I’ve made a list, included mistakes and misthoughts. This is girldust. I do not want to pigeonhole this space, or myself.

Things I Actually Care About :: girldust.com

 

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The sunlight and the cool spring air creep in through cracks in the window. Is it spring? It was, for a brief moment. The sparkling promise of warmth teases, and is gone.

And that is how I feel, lately.

The warmth is a metaphor. Did you get that? I wasn’t sure if you got that.

I have been spending time playing around with essential oils and ignoring paintings, ignoring text messages. I have been reading. Sometimes the windows are open. I have been trying very hard to stay positive, and not let the cold take me. This has been exhausting. I also tried oil-pulling. That was exciting. I think it’s probably pretty good for my gums. My mouth has been historically terrible.

Young Living Essential Oils :: girldust.com 1743207

I saw my father at South Station on Tuesday, which was a happy surprise. I stepped back on the red line train to Harvard with glistening eyes in the middle of the post 5 o’clock rush. My emotions are getting the better of me. While it is sometimes wonderful to be overwhelmed with joy to the point of tears, it is not so wonderful to be overwhelmed with terror. I get both, in equal amounts, and at times when it makes no sense to feel either. Gut reactions, and logic out the window. This is not a new development, but I have decided, perhaps regrettably, to be more aware of it. Tj sometimes says I’m sort of like a rabbit. I can’t really argue; it’s an astute observation. I nibble and fidget, panic and sprint. I like carrots.

I realize that I have a really different voice on this blog when I’m not sharing some kind of project or list. I try to find a balance between the two voices, because both are me. One is not more genuine than the other. This era of blogging is all about shareability, but I wonder if we think about that in a distorted way. I don’t necessarily want to have a post go viral (that actually sounds terrifying), but I absolutely want to share my words, and make a connection on an individual level. That is such a cozy notion. Very few of us are picture perfect. I am quite possibly the least so. Ever. I feel like the most pinnable posts make absolutely zero emotional contact.

Being a little vulnerable is good. Honest, and maybe sometimes awkward, is good. Those are the blogs I like best.

I like to think I’ve been mostly honest and awkward since the start

burro's tail :: girldust.com

I’m not saying product review, DIY or OOTD posts aren’t good, but they’re a totally different good. There’s a place for all of that, and I think a single blog can be that place.  A lot of bloggers probably disagree, but they’re looking for something else in all this. I actually have only a very short list of blogs I read that maintain the balance I speak of. It is a difficult thing to do. I think it must be one of those things that either takes great care or great carelessness. Either you work hard to maintain voice and integrity, or it just flows.

I hope this day has been kind to you., and warm.

 

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