what's an autoharp?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

That's the question I got from most people when I told them I bought an autoharp last week.  I bought it for the program Journeys in Music that I've started with UT's The Autism Project.  (I'm going to finish going through all of the pictures from the event this weekend on Friday - so I promise I'll write a big blog post soon!)  Part of the program required enough instruments for each of the children to have one, so then they could rotate through and get a chance to play each of them.

I went on Craigslist and found a bunch of cheap instruments - I was trying to get a well rounded group of instruments, so I when I found an autoharp, I thought it might be fun.  I didn't know exactly how to play one, but I figured it would be awesome for the kids to play on.  The guy I bought it from had found it at his grandmother's house and had no idea what to do with it.  It came with all of the original paperwork, including a bill of sale from 1967 from Sears Roebuck (it cost his grandmother $8.67) and a record to help you tune it.

I didn't end up using it this weekend because it needs to be fixed up, but I think once we get it ready to play, the kids will have so much fun with it.  I think I might research how to play and learn a song or two, because that's a pretty bad ass instrument to have on your repertoire.

What what?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Best thing I did today.
(Don't judge me, I spent my weekend teaching kids with autism how to explore music in a million different ways. But today? Definitely what I'm most proud of. ;)

this makes me happy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When I was at UT the first time, I had all of my classes in the education building on the edge of campus (makes sense, I was a special ed major...)  But now that I'm back and taking all the random little classes I have left before graduation, I'm spending time on campus in places I've never really been before.  The photo above is outside one of my classes where I sat down and ate lunch on a bench and just past those trees is the UT tower.  So, pretty much in the middle of campus, behind me a straight view to the Capitol, but a place I've never had class before/spent any time in.

I sat there on Monday, eating my seitan BBQ wrap (awesome new vegan food cart right on my path during lunch time... score!) and waiting until it was time to volunteer for a linguistics experiment.  (Volunteer is such a nice word.  Forced to sit and listen to non-sensical sentences for an hour for class credit is more like it.)  There were flowers all around, six gorgeous old buildings surrounding me (they call it the six-pack) and these giant, amazing trees forming a canopy over my head.  It was a perfect moment.

I would spend the rest of the day stressing out about how to get everything done before Friday for my autism/music program and then spending an hour or two discussing/arguing about everything from roles for women in Hollywood to the government's role in our solar panels (and daily lives.)  But those twenty minutes were calm and peaceful, surrounded by beauty and great architecture, and just for me.

my weakness...

Tres leches cake. Oh yeah.

I drug the littlest seester around with me tonight to pick up some instruments I was buying for cheap off of Craigslist for my music/autism program.  I rewarded her with Hao Hao's (my favorite hole in the wall Chinese place for the last ten years) and though it wasn't as good as I remember, it was still awesome to have the owner, Lin, recognize me. (I haven't been there in years.)  We had dessert at Whole Foods on the way home with a slice of tres leches cake and a pink sea salt caramel.  (Seriously?  Chocolate, good caramel, and sea salt?  I vote yes.)

It was gone pretty quickly, as you can see.  I've been spending a lot more time with the youngest Corder girl since she moved in with my dad and it's pretty awesome.  She's like a hotter, more stylish version of the sixteen-year-old me.  My mama calls us bookends 'cause we're so similar.  Lucky her.

Friday nights and Feminism.

Friday, February 17, 2012

So, I've spent the last hour watching all of the videos on this channel, but this one is my favorite.  In short, the Bechdel Test is "a basic gauge to measure women's relevance to a film's plot and generally assess female presence in Hollywood movies." (quote from afore-mentioned clip)  The idea is simple.  Are there two women characters (who have names)?  Do they speak to each other?  And is any of that dialogue about anything but a man?  You'd think that was a seriously low bar to set, wouldn't you?  Well... We'll see.  Now, this test doesn't have anything to do with whether a movie is any good, has a positive view of women/men, or is focused on a woman character, it just gauges whether there are female characters in this movie relevant to the plot.  In the clip, Anita Sarkeesian goes through this year's Best Picture nominees and the results are surprising...

I won't ruin it for you, just spend the 10 and a half minutes and watch it.  Think about it.  (And then go to the YouTube page and watch all of the rest of her videos...)

I also really like #6 in her Tropes vs. Women series, The Straw Feminist. and the Lego & Gender videos part 1 and 2.  Now, I don't agree with every single thing she says or some of the rhetoric she uses, but these are things we need to think about.  Anyone who's seen the amount of skirts I wear (that I made myself!) or embroidery I do won't argue that I don't have stereotypically female interests and skills.  But, that doesn't mean I don't need to be aware of what I think about being a woman in the US at this period in time.  I might have a daughter some day; do I want her to think it's interesting/weird/different that Mama has just as many power tools as she does sewing accoutrements?  Or should she just think that I'm really good at a lot of things and wielding my jigsaw is just one of them?  Cause I am.  :)

Anyways.  These are things I think about and I hope you do too.

Dude. My family is talented.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm pretty aware that my family has some pretty serious musical chops. We all sing and play an instrument in some form or fashion (I am definitely the least advanced on that last front), but some of us are louder than others (that would be me). Well, the quiet ones sneak up on you...

My littlest seester, Larisa, (the one that can't cut her bangs) got a ukulele for Christmas and I've been telling her to learn a song that we could record together. Well, she sent me a little clip of it and it just... Blew. Me. Away. We'll be recording it to share with you all pretty soon, so I just wanted you to get excited. You're in for a treat.

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So, there's a non-profit called 826 Literacy Project that offers tutoring, student publishing, and workshops that get children excited about writing and connects them with accomplished writers.  The idea of this program is that these writing and tutoring centers are behind "fantastical shop fronts designed to fire the kids' imaginations" (and generate income for the nonprofit.)  (We Made This) 

The Ministry of Stories is an extension of this project from the guys at We Made This in east London and I'm obsessed.  Their storefront is Hoxton Street Monster Supplies and it is so charming.  I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

So charming.  I love.

"Each (can of Tinned Fears) comes with a specially commissioned short story from authors including Nick Hornby and Zadie Smith"

I'm guessing the Organ Marmalade isn't vegetarian?

The 8 year old boy in me is delighted.

Evidently their best seller.

No Magic Beans accepted as payment, guys.

Behind the monster supply store is the writing center.

Your respect, your courage, your imagination will bring you victory.

I just love this thing.  It's so charming (have I used that word enough this post?) and such a precious idea.    There is evidently an other part of this 826 project in Brooklyn that has a Superhero Supply Co. as the money-maker for it's literacy work.  It was founded by author Dave Eggers (whose 2008 TED talk about the project is on my list of things to do when I'm caught up with schoolwork.)

How great is this?  You can do good for the world and be well designed at the same time.

All photos and quotes from We Made This Ltd.

slinging drinks...

Monday, February 13, 2012

As I said earlier, I'm training behind the bar at work (I killed my test, by the way!) and I had my second train on Sunday.  It was super fun and I definitely got into the groove (much better than I did on my first train, anyways!)  Amanda trained me again and she was much nicer this time - probably because I tried to ask less questions so she'd stop calling me Alex Trebek.  Cristi was the other bartender and she was much nicer to me than Amanda.  Amanda asked that I blog about our experiences together and I warned her she might not like what I wrote.  (I'll try to be kind - something you've never done with me.)

It was a fun day, interacting with guests and making mimosas and bloody marys all morning.  I even got to invent a drink (well, Cristi really invented it, but I made it pretty!) for some awesome regulars.  They even told me that I made the best drinks, so of course, I loved them. (Flattery will get you everywhere with me.)

let the record state...

Friday, February 10, 2012

That Larisa Joy Corder is not allowed to cut her bangs if she wants me to listen to her complain about them.

She looks beautiful in them (likes she does in everything) but she hates them.  And complains about them.

So, she's just said she's considering cutting them again.  I'd like to publicly state that I refuse to listen to any whining about them.  That is all.

They're cute, right?  But, it doesn't matter.  She hates them.

burger king crowns and infomercials

So, I randomly found these photos on my computer and I thought I'd share them with you.  Lucky, lucky you.  One of my bestest, Bri, had been living in Virginia Beach with her husband while he was in law school.  I got to spend a few months up there (one of those pack-up-my-car, rent-a-room-from-a-stranger, spend-some-time-in-another-part-of-the-country-with-a-yaya random things you do) but I was waiting for the day when they'd move back to Texas.  I flew up to Virginia last summer for Matt (and his brother James's) graduation, help pack up their moving van, and then drive with Bri to their new house in Dallas.  It was a great week, spending time with Matt's family (I've known them forever and they're some of my favorite people) getting to know James' fiance and her family, hanging out with Bri's brother who flew up graduation, and then wonderful time alone in the car with Bri (and Gus, one of the dogs) for the ride home.

Very random pictures were taken the whole week, but one of my all-time favorites (it was the background on my computer for a while) was taken at the graduation ceremony with Bri's brother, Seth and Katrina (of 30th birthday party fame).

We're really good at being in pictures.  (Also, Bri, we're sorry we excluded you from this photo session.)

So, after proving my amazing skills at moving (and marveling at Matt's dad's skills at loading up a moving van - seriously, he filled that van like he was playing Tetris!) the chance to sit down in the car was a welcome relief.  Of course, then after hours and hours, we got a little silly.  This is where you get lucky, because I recorded some of that long-car-ride delirium for posterity.

Serious driving delirium.
And dude?  My voice is annoying.  I guess I have to cross "Be the voice over lady on the evening news" off my life goals list.

At one point, we stopped at Burger King for lunch.  Classy, I know.  There was a stack of these crowns and I'm pretty sure Bri and I coveted them the first moment we saw them.  We proceeded to wear them for the rest of the afternoon.

Oh!  Sorry, I didn't see you there, I was just pumping gas in my crown.

Yes, I am aware that I look really glamorous at this moment in time.

For this trip, I had brought along my favorite blue scarf/pashmina thing (ok, it's really my sister's) and I was using it as a blanket in the car.  Then, I started using it as a... Well, it's better just to show you the infomercial I made about it.

You totally want to buy that now, don't you?  We'll be millionaires as soon as it hits the market.  After realizing how cute Gus looked in the scarf, I did a little photo shoot with him.  He didn't love it very much.

After all of the house/dog sitting I did for Bri and Matt while I lived in Virginia, this dog and I are very close.  His big brother? (When I say big, I mean giant)  We have a more tenuous relationship.

Now, I'm not going to get into this whole story, but let's just say, getting the photo above (which, for a Texan who hasn't lived in Texas for a few years, is very sentimental) cost us a few hours, money, and a whole lot of frustration.  Why?  Well, I'll just give you a little picture.

I bet you didn't know you could break a car jack.  You can.  Trust me.

I think I'm just going to leave you with this.  Bri decided to tell me how she felt about my constant filming.  You're welcome for putting this on the internet, babycakes.

four eyes

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I look so scholarly, right?

The photo above is simply me jacking Bri's glasses and pretending they make me smarter.  However, I have a super janky left eye (it's some weird eye disease called keratitis) but I'm really bad about taking care of it, and I'm always convinced I'm gonna need glasses someday.  This means that I spend giant amounts of time looking at glasses shops online (because I secretly really want them) and/or photos of people wearing glasses.

 I want her abs as well as her glasses.

I found a website, Lookmatic, that has adorable glasses as well as a application that lets you upload a picture of yourself and then it puts different pairs of their glasses on you.  I'm pleased to announce that I look adorable in all of them.  I think the Jesse in tortoiseshell is my favorite.

my view all morning

So, despite the fact I spent all week studying for the government test I had yesterday and working on the Music program for children with autism that I'm starting with a professor of mine (more on that, sometime, I promise), I'm up early to study again this morning.

I'm moving into management at work and I have to train behind the bar (which includes taking the giant test the bartenders do).  I've been studying drink recipies all morning and I'm super nervous about the test in a few hours.  (If I'm so nervous, I probably shouldn't be blogging, but whatever, I need a break!)  Once the test is over, I actually get to step behind the bar and train with one of my favorite people at work.  So, once I get through the test, the day will be fine.

There is a logical and consistent order to most of the drinks, though that I appreciate.  I was able to write them out into groups and they all really fit into patterns, which I appreciate when I'm trying to memorize something.

we're just a couple of city girls

So, on Tuesday, I met the littlest seester at her school (Austin High) and rode the city bus to our dad's house with her - so she would know what she needed to do if she missed the school bus and couldn't get a ride.  We stayed downtown for a while and ate some chicken/eggplant parmesan at my favorite hole in the wall Italian place.  I love having Larisa in Austin because she loves the city as much as I do.

all photos by Larisa Corder

Just FYI

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I changed my settings so that you don't have to have a Google account to comment.  So, feel free to say "Hi!" or "Dear heavens, you have exquisite taste!" or "Wow, this is the wittiest blog post I've ever read about pancakes" or "I've never been so interested in bathroom graffiti."*  I mean, whatever you want to say.  Those were just suggestions.

* I wish I could say that last part is a joke, but I seem to write about bathroom graffiti a lot.  Only the best and wittiest, of course.  If I ever go through and make tags for each post, there will definitely have to be a "bathroom graffiti" tag.  Those are sad words to admit.

** FYI part dos (the unnecessary information edition)  The post above is the first time I've ever hit the spell check button and not had a single word misspelled.

*** FYI part tres (the embarrassing information edition) The "FYI part dos" above did have a misspelled word in it.

EDIT: Since you don't have to sign in now to write a comment... Tell me who you are!

Pretty, pretty things...

So, before Pinterest existed, I used iPhoto on my computer as a way to organize and collect photos of rooms, parties, furniture, etc., that I loved.  iPhoto lets you organize your photos in groups and besides the groups of photos that I had actually taken myself, I had a million different photos stolen off of the internet - grouped in an overwhelmingly detailed fashion.

I thought I'd show you one from each - demonstrating my OCD that comes and goes (Seriously, I'm so all or nothing.  I'm either ridiculously organized or a giant mess.  These photos are definitely on the OCD side.  So is my iTunes. That thing has 1500 songs, all organized and labeled in a specific and detailed way.  It's disgusting.  But it makes me so happy!)

"My dream wedding" - This group actually doesn't really have a lot of wedding things in it.  It's mostly little random detail shots from weddings I liked or invitations.  A pretty unhelpful iPhoto group.

Oh!  The cakes!

"Little home details" - Again, made up of detail shots, this group has two big themes: tree branches as poles for hanging clothes and terrariums.

 I love terrariums... But throw a plastic dinosaur in there?  I'm all over it.

I'm also really obsessed with clothes not being hid away in closets.
I think I like to pretend I'm 97% less messy than I actually am.

"Wall art/treatments" - This group is mostly murals for little kid's rooms, but it also includes the most amazing modern sewing room ever.  (Well, actually, just a shot of one wall in a room, but I imagine it's the "most amazing modern sewing room ever.")

Cross-stitching... on a wall?  Perfect.  I think I'd like it a little more if it was in a more modern room, for contrast.

I'm not crazy, right?  Even though you can't actually see this whole room, it's obviously amaze-balls.  The clean, white, rustic architecture?  That chair?  The thread and its glorious color?

"Furniture" - This group makes me wish I wasn't poor. Anybody want to fund my "actually buy all of this stuff I drool over" initiative?

Classic wingback covered in a vintage suzani?  I vote yes.

I want one of those flat file cabinets.  And that print.  And the owls.

"Tablescapes"- Yes, I know that sounds like the lady from "Semi-Homemade."  Whatever.  There are pretty tables in here.

I always love the outdoor ones.  Oh!  I want a dinner party-able rooftop someday!

"Flower arrangements" - I love me some flowers.  The best job I ever had was at a florist in high school.

Can this be my life?

"Event Details"  - I weirdly like this group better than my "Dream Wedding" group, even though most of the pictures are from weddings.  I would make such a killer party planner.

Why do boring place cards when you could have spray painted elephants?

"Living Rooms" - Though most of these were saved 2 or 3 years ago, I still find myself loving some of these rooms as much as I did when I first saw them.

My (someday) kids are totally getting a swing in the living room.

The living room of an old Domino editor.  You guys!!!!!!!  Dominio is coming back!

"Bedrooms" - Dude.  I have some seriously disappointing bedroom photos on my computer.  I don't really like any of them.  I will skip this.

"Dining Rooms" - I'm also a bit disappointed in my dining room collection.  Why is this going downhill so quickly?

This color palette is insane.

"Kitchens" - Ok, things are getting much better now.  If I had a kitchen like one of these, I swear I would be an amazing cook.

This is the office kitchen at Drew Barrymore's production company.  Love the floors, the wall color, the fridge and the bunny.

The cabinets!

This kitchen belongs to a lady who works at Anthropologie (of course) and I've got every picture I could find of her house saved.  

"Others" - This is mostly offices and patios.  

True story:  Once, my college friend Cesar and I were talking about this room (Why? I don't know; I think I sent it to him and said, "You have to live here.") and I promised him I could do it for him.  I then went online and found pictures of every element in this photo.  I guess... to prove that I could really do it?


"Bathrooms" - In (not-so) shocking news, almost every single picture in this group has a claw-foot tub in it.  Guys, I've been known to take 4 hour baths.  No lie.  When I say I love baths, I mean it.

Can you imagine?!?!


I wanted to also say that I've been working really hard lately to make sure I source all of my photos.  That's one reason I like Pinterest, is because you can almost always get to an original post of the photo (and therefore find who to give credit to.)  Unfortunately, I didn't save any sort of info with these pictures, and so I have no idea where I found them or who took them.  I need to always give credit where credit is due, so sorry I can't do that this time.

genius, obviously. All rights reserved >>>>> © Blog Milk Design