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Add this to the list of things I hate. It's up there, among the men who think they aren't being creepy when creepily "complimenting" me and asking for my number.

So many exhibitions I want to see at the Kemper Museum, namely this one on World War I, and another on social justice work.

I want to make amazing things, just like Henrik Ellersgaard made Drone Sans.

See look, it's science. I promise I know what I'm doing when I stay up all night.

I love poking around Jesse Chamberlin's website portfolio. It's so bright and colorful!

I think I need this.

This TED Talk called 'Social Services Are Broken' was really interesting.

Found an amazing new-to-me artist (Emily Carroll) through Fran Meneses! Her style reminds me of the Ava's Demon web comic (that I haven't finished yet....) a little bit. Kind of.

Early Morning Sunrise





Let me start off by saying I have this thing that I call a 'homework sunrise'. These rare (hopefully) things can only be seen on all-nighters, when you work so much you don't go to bed until everyone else is about to wake up. Yeah, it's fun stuff.

Today I got to see my first Austrian homework sunrise. I'm not very proud of it, but one all-nighter was bound to happen. Even if I only had 12 hours of courses this semester instead of the ususal 18 plus a part-time job. (I'm not the greatest with time management sometimes, but I always meet my deadlines). It's my curse.

The sunrise was beautiful, even though I could only see a teeny bit of it down my street and even though I only took a couple of minutes to break, relax, and snap some photos. Yes, I started drinking that coffee at 6 am.

Days like today are always, always rough, but seeing the sun rise in the morning definitely makes it a little easier. It's the little things, you know? And hey, I didn't even have to wake up at the ungodly hour of 5 am to see a sunrise because I was already up! Bonus.

(I'm trying to justify my bad habits, okay? Just go with it...)

Budapest for a Day
















Yesterday, Lexi, Marion, and I woke up bright and early at 6 am to catch a train to Hungary. Only having gotten 3 hours of sleep because of a cold and cough, I thought I might end up miserable all day. Thankfully that wasn't the case.

We arrived in Budapest at 9:30 am after a hectic, noisy train ride, exchanged our money for Hungarian Forints, made fun of how ugly the US Dollar is compared to other currencies in Europe, and headed out into the city. During our initial wandering in Budapest looking for some food for me (still hadn't eaten breakfast - sad face), we decided that it wasn't a very tourist-y city. It was interesting, for sure. It just wasn't filled with souvenir shops, which was a nice but unexpected change.

The Parliament building was the main site of our trip today. It was beautiful and the history was very interesting. I never really knew much about Hungary's history, or the history of eastern European countries in general - aside from the USSR used to control most of Eastern Europe, communism, and little snippits about it from the history of World War I and II. Obviously, there was a bit more taught about it, but not much. Eastern Europe is basically glossed over unless it affects France or England or the US.

It was really cool to learn about something new! And our tour guide was so adorable. She was very enthusiastic about teaching us about Hungary's history and the Parliament building.

Lexi loved it, and it showed with her 100 photos of the Parliament building from many different angles as we walked around Budapest and along the river. I hear she is currently in the process of choosing her favorite glamour shot out of all of the ones she took of her most favorite building.

We stopped to eat at a little cafe/bar/restaurant after our tour at the Hungarian Parliament where I had a beef and potato stew that was absolutely delicious. We also stopped by a little bakery stand before we headed back to the train station at the end of the day to get some pastries. I got a little round pink cake (cherry maybe) and a cookie sandwich pastry that had a fruit jam filling and was covered with chocolate. Yum!

We even stumbled upon a National Geographic exhibition set up in one of the squares. It was called 'The Future of Food' and talked about hunger, food production, and traditions all over the world. And we also found a Jewish World War II memorial of bronze cast shoes on the side of the river.

Lessons learned:
1. You can travel on 3 hours of sleep while sick and still have tons of fun.
2. I love Hungarian food.

Night Out at the Opera



Two Friday nights ago, I saw an opera for the first time in my life. Lexi, Toria, and I headed out to see Anna Bolena.

We dressed in our finest casual wear only to find others walking through the grand front doors of the Wien Staatsoper (the Vienna National Opera House) in tuxedos and sparkling ballgowns. That's when we decided that we had to find another entrance because this one certainly wasn't for use by us normal-folk.

After getting our 3 Euro tickets for a glamorous spot at the standing-room-only rails, we headed to the very top of the theater to find our spots at the next-to-the-top steps of the Gallery. We were living large.



The woman behind us decided she wanted to watch the opera with the German translation (not opposed to doing that) so she climbed over to change the little LCD screen in front of me (very opposed) to German. And when I say 'climbed', I mean 'wedged in between us and climbed up onto the railing'.

So I got to translate the German translation of an Italian opera into English so I could understand half of what was going on. It was actually really great practice, but I really only understood 1/4 of the words at any given time. Surprisingly, when I asked Lexi and Toria for a recap at intermission, I had gotten most of it right!

After intermission, I moved spots to a newly emptied railing to watch the rest in English. It was much easier to understand, which was very enjoyable.

Wanderung at Kahlenberg










About a month ago, I went on a little adventure into the Vienna forests with Marion and Lexi. We headed over to a beautiful hiking spot at Kahlenberg Mountain and took the trail all the way back down the mountain since we had taken a bus to the top. The views were phenomenal. I'm so happy I brought my camera, and remembered to take my allergy medicine the day before too. Both were a big help.

We walked for quite a while and took so many photos before stopping for lunch. We pulled out our packed lunches and had a little picnic at a lookout spot with a wonderful view of the city and Donube River.

By the end of the day, we'd walked about 5 miles, gotten to breath some fresh mountain air, and seen some beautiful views of the whole of Vienna which was a great accomplishment in my book. 

After we left the forest trail, we wandered through a Vienna suburb that had more amazing city views, still following our trail markers. It was beautiful, quiet, and filled with plants. The air was so fresh. Some of the houses had huge gardens; some even had vineyards in their yards. All of them were completely adorable. We even found the cutest little orange and white cat who was friendly enough to come greet us when we passed his garden gate.

After getting back, we went to Aida Cafe with Toria for an evening coffee and snack where I spent my last 2.06 Euros cash (plus 14 cents from Marion - thanks again!). Hefty foreign ATM fees are a beautiful thing (kidding, obviously) that I didn't want to deal with that day. Nothing was going to ruin my nice day off from school.

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This is a super old photo, and not even from Vienna. It's two paintings I saw when visiting an art gallery in Peoria with my boyfriend and his family. I just really love how they were designed and painted!

I found this peek into Jamie Derringer's artwork really inspiring!

Wait, is it a refugee crisis or a migrant crisis? It's both, but they mean different things.

We found water on Mars! Well, evidence of it at least.

Wut? I want one!! Especially the one with all the windows and open space. Too bad they're only in northern California. :(

Ana Marta is someone I find really inspiring. Love watching her on Youtube too.

WHAT. That's so cheap!! I can't wait for Norwegian Air to start these cheap flights!

I need to step up my hand-lettering game. It's time to get creative.

Imagine describing everything like this. Everything you said would be endlessly confusing.

Minimal, botanical, lettering, from Corina Nika (my favorite designer) - what more could I ask for?

The Long Night of Museums









Last night was one of my favorite nights in Vienna so far. The Langenachte der Museen gave Lexi, Sylvia, and I a chance to go to four of Vienna's many art museums for only 11 Euro! The museums stayed open until 1 am, giving the huge crowd that was out and about last night plenty of time to see several different museums all across the city.

In the Leopold Museum, in the Museums Quartier, we saw some incredible paintings by Klimt and Schiele. We didn't spend too much time there, so it's definitely on my list of museums to visit - or re-visit - this semester. One of the things I hate most is breezing through art museums. It feels like a crime, and actually is one for an art student.

At Kunsthalle, there was a curated exhibition on collections. It was really interesting, and much different than other's I'd seen before on the same topic. This exhibition seemed much more eclectic, visually, but more cohesive conceptually.

The Kunstforum Wien had an exhibition on an old Austrian classic comic strip about a fox. It was called Fix & Foxi, which is a clever play on words in German. 'Fix und fertig sein' means to be at the end of your ropes or completely exhausted. The room next to the gallery room had a bunch of art supplies in the middle of the floor. Anyone was invited to sit and create art, paint, collage, whatever you wanted to do.

Then the Albertina. It's a beautiful museum in the first district. There we saw Monet, Munch, more Klimt, Kubin, Ferringer, and so many more. Half I had not heard of before, or at least didn't know by name. The Albertina was the highlight of my night. We spent the most time here out of all of the museums we visited last night, probably because I took so long. It was 100% worth it. We also saw the Hapsburg rooms and all of the beautiful Renaissance art displayed in them.

I would have loved to see more, but by 11:30 our feet were killing us. On the way back from the Albertina, we stopped for Käsekrainer, a cheese stuffed Wurst, at a street food stand in the first district.

After I got back to the dorms, I made myself a cup of hot chocolate to warm myself up while I tried to soak in all of the pieces of artwork I had seen that night. It really was an incredible experience to see the artwork from artists that I'd had art history lectures on for the past two years. I never really thought I would be able to see those paintings in person, and I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to last night. It goes without saying that I'll be going back to those museums, as well as visiting the ones we didn't have the time or stamina to see.

Something not mentioned in this post was the amount of times we were confused and/or lost while trying to read the maps and navigate to different museums. I assume it goes without saying that anything I'm involved in will be a struggle.

The Best Things I’ve Seen (So Far)



Bob’s Special Tours - How could this not make the list? When looking for cheaper alternatives to the Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg for our trip (that we couldn’t go on), Lexi stumbled upon this little gem. From an actual, legitimate tour with a really creepy name to an awkward hangout with an actually, legitimately creepy man, we had no idea what it actually was.

Lesley the Pony Has an A+ Day - A happy fairytale cartoon short about a pretty pony. A wonderful end to our Film Appreciation class. On the second day. It was very unexpected, but we all love it now.

Acrobats and aerialists in the park - On our second day at the Donube River park, a group of acrobats, aerialists, and other performers showed up and decided to practice all around us. And they kept coming. We ended up having two people swinging things around, two pairs of aerialists spinning each other around, and eventually, someone setting up a tightrope through the whole middle of the park using trees.

I couldn’t leave out our honorable mention moments, such as:

Lexi getting her skirt caught in the escalator at the U-bahn station, with several people behind us.

The man clipping his toenails at the Danube River, because out in public is the perfect place for that.

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Holy crap, this is amazing news! The fact that this species is so human-like is really incredible. It's a missing link in our puzzle.

The coffee addiction is real. And so is the morning laziness. This should be a good solution to both.

Have you ever wondered why you should learn a second language?

I've found (just a few) good articles that talk about the refugees that are coming into Europe from Africa and the Middle East: from Serbia to Croatia, the situation as a whole, and Hungary's own issues with the massive influx of refugees.

If you don't know who Zipf is or what his mystery is about, watch this!

Getting informed on the future... I can dream, can't I? Having my own brand is my absolute #1 goal in life. That, and exploring new places.

A note to my creative side.

Wandering around Vienna








A few weeks ago, I decided I would go out and find a park. I wandered up the street and into Augarten park. It was absolutely beautiful and the entrance I found myself at seemed like it was tucked away behind apartment buildings and shops, just opposite of a busy intersection. 

I only got a little ways into the park before I decided I needed to head back home and do something productive, like feed myself or do homework, but the little I did see in the park made me want to go back. 

Time passed, classes picked up in pace, and It wasn’t until I stumbled over some photos I had taken on my phone that I remembered how much I actually wanted to go back. Hopefully it won’t get any colder any time soon, so I can just snuggle up in scarves and sweaters to sit in the park and enjoy the fresh air. And that the creepy guy who asked for my number last time won’t be there again. Fingers crossed.

Weekend at Alte Donau

That weekend was probably the most relaxing time I’ve had so far. Actually, I don’t think I’ve felt that relaxed and calm and not stressed for a very long time. Sitting out in the park for 4 hours, two days in a row really does wonders.

We found a really nice (and free!) park on a stretch of the Alte Donau, where locals always go to cool off in the summer. The water is so cold, but exactly what you need when air conditioned space is a rarity. I honestly felt really bad for not doing more relaxing and mini-vacation trips like this back home. I had all summer and I only went swimming once.

I took full advantage of my time this time around. However long we stayed, it felt like double. That’s how peaceful the area and the weather by the river was. We sat around, sunbathed, talked in the shade, people-watched (a favorite pass-time) the whole afternoon. I felt like I was meditating, almost. My head was so clear and it was an amazing breath of fresh air.




Even in all of its peacefulness, there was no lack of interesting sights. Namely, the little girl of the family sitting a ways in front of us that sounded suspiciously like a dog. She barked very realistically. And of course, the man who decided that this was prime real estate for toenail clipping.

I regret not going back more before the temperatures dropped, but I’m so happy I took the opportunity to go for a weekend. I feel like I started off my semester the right way.

Schönbrunn Palace Gardens


















I did not expect the first week to fly by. Adapting to a new country and trying to brokenly speak their language are huge tasks already, but when you pile on jetlag, classes, and levels of walking around that are pretty much unknown to you on a daily basis, plus that 6:00 am trip to another country for paperwork, it gets kind of hectic. I’m exhausted, but I couldn’t be more happy.

On Wednesday of the first week of classes, instead of sleeping in, I got up early and took a mini morning excursion to the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens with Lexi. Boy, were they beautiful. And boy, was it hot.

Finally wandering around with my camera, I got some beautiful shots. I had a really great time walking around and being a tourist with Lexi. There’s not too much to say, except we took tons of photos and had a really nice walk through the huge gardens. I would definitely recommend going, and you can count on me going back to take a break from school. Once we finally get our semester metro passes, that is.

P.S. Can we talk about that totally unintentional awkward gap between us? Definitely did not think we were that far apart when we took the photo...