How are you doing! Technically it is summer– my favorite season as long as there’s a pool nearby– but it feels like a brand new season! I think this whole year should have its own season, and we should call it ‘new’ or ‘life-feels-like-it-did-the-first-time’, or something like that.
Spring and Summer have been good to me- lots of great food and trying to figure out which coast I like better — East or West. Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever decide.
As much as I love the Bae, I will always feel like I am cheating on the East Coast while I’m here.
Below are some pictures for you! I hope you love them.
In March we tried out the ramen place in Palo Alto, the one that always has a line down the street. It was good but suuuuper heavy. It’s an item checked off of my bucket list. \/ \/ \/
\/ \/The reason you pay so much to live in California is because of the outdoors. There are so many hikes I still need to do and so many perfect days. Pacifica, below, never disappoints 🥳☀️.
Going back to college was a weird experience, because suddenly I felt like I was immersed in the trends that I had had the privilege of ignoring for several years. I usually listened to skillshare tutorials on the way to class, and I was always putting the mess of wires in and out of my backpack. While I was busy resenting my tangle of wired earbuds, it seemed that truly everyone else had wireless ones.
I have hardcore ADD and one of the things I was constantly reminded of during covid was that background noise helps me to stay focused. Silence is my arch nemesis. I need a movie, a podcast, a lecture or some noise going on to get me focused.
So recently, I finally took the leap and got wireless earbuds from Jabra. They are fantastic. 🎉🥳 I’m probably last to this party, but being able to walk into the kitchen while still focusing on a meeting on the computer, is such a liberating experience.
A few quick facts, if you’re interested in purchasing these:
They are very tightly bundled into your ear. They don’t move at all on a run.
The LED lights will flash to let you know the charge status as soon as you open the case. If they are fully charged, they will show green, if they are low on charge they show yellow, and if they have no power they are red.
The earbuds charge while they are in the case. There’s a little magnet in the earbuds that pulls them into their fitted spot and it’s actually really satisfying pop them in and out.
In the case, it takes 2 hours for the earbuds to fully charge.
They have Active Noise Cancellation and Hear through settings. The battery lasts longer on Hear through.
The case itself needs to be charged; I use my mac computer charger because it’s faster than the one it comes with.
They come in green, black, navy blue, sienna (pink), gold, and gray.
You can mute and unmute yourself by clicking the button on the earbud.
They cost a whopping $180. In about ten years, I will get back to you on whether or not they are worth that number.
I get a LOT more done with these. With them, I want to go running, I want to go to my ZOOM meetings and classes, and I like to get into the flow and rhythm or getting work done.
I hope this is helpful to you! And that you’re having a fabulous last week of June and first week of July!
School ended earlier this month, which means presents, candles, cards, and a bittersweet feeling. Although I love the gifts, I really cherish the cards from the students with specific memories and things they have learned this year.
I am so proud of our graduates. In our ten months together, they worked so hard and improved immensely. Graduation was a wild, beautiful, gorgeous success in which each of the eighth-grade students gave a speech they had written. They also performed a song on guitar together.
The ceremony was on the front lawn of a gorgeous home on Stanford campus, lined with roses and across the street from a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright. After the speeches, we had catered organic tacos and the graduates swam with their little brothers and sisters in the pool.
Here is my graduation speech. I hope you like it.
One day over the summer of 2020, two concerned parents here in Palo Alto had a chat about the coming school year and talked over an idea of creating a small school with a group of students. In this school, students would learn and study the four core subjects for four days each week, and then have a fifth day of project-based learning. They shared the idea with two other parents, who joined the effort to create a positive learning experience for their students this year.
These four spent hundreds of hours on the phone, trying to convince family friends to join in this idea. At last, they found the students and teachers to start their own school.
At 8:30 am on August 24, 2020, Justin, Natalie, Zach, Max, Katherine, and Hannah became part of the first and last year of Sage Academy.
This has been a unique year.
While covid has continued, people around the world have made sacrifices to support each other, and your parents have made enormous sacrifices to support you.
This year, you’ve worn a mask to school every day. You’ve had the chance to celebrate birthdays and holidays together, with just the six of you. You’ve had the chance to learn cooking, mindfulness, Chinese, Spanish, sports, film, guitar and more.
You’ve also had the chance to study and challenge yourself in the four core subjects–math, science, English and history.
In English, you have grown in reading and writing, developed your own voices, learned the rules of language, learned to critically evaluate online information, and practiced using new words to help you express your thinking. I have loved watching you grow in English.
In US history, you have learned how the idea of the United States first started, its initial failures and successes, its immense growth, conflicts, and its changing beliefs and ideals. You’ve challenged the perspectives of historians and you’ve learned about important leaders in America.
Recently, you memorized Gettysburg address, in which Lincoln urged Americans to honor the sacrifices made on the battlefield, by working to maintain the country. Similarly, I hope that you can continue to honor the sacrifices that have been made for you, by continuing to work hard towards your goals.
I’d like to share a few of your individual strengths that I’ve gotten to see this year.
You’re a talented reader and writer. Whenever there is a quiet moment in discussion, I can always count on you to chime in with your knowledge and inferences. I appreciate your humility and honesty and I always catch you doing nice things for others. Thank you for sharing your sense of humor and hard work with our class this year.
I’ll always remember when I found out that you and Katherine were not allowed to shoot in the basketball game against the boys, in order to make the game more fair for them! I thought that was hilarious.
You are such a capable leader, and I am thrilled by your love of words! I get goosebumps when you speak passionately about your beliefs. You have a critical eye for motives in history and I hope that you always stay hungry to lead others. The world needs good leaders. Thank you for sharing your writing, your voice, and your leadership this year.
You have grown so much this year, and have done a great job of learning to express your thinking in your writing. You are always willing to think independently. I appreciate your positive attitude during both simulation games, and your detailed class presentations on the geography of Killer Angels. I love your passion for new information, especially related to technology and finance. Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and helpfulness this year.
Your sense of humor, adventure, and creativity have added much to our classroom. You make learning fun, and always put a positive spin on things. I especially enjoyed your ‘two truths and a lie’ presentation as well as your drawing assignments to memorize things in history.
This school year, you have asked good questions about how to improve your writing. Thank you for asking those questions, and striving for growth.
You always strive for perfection. You are my executive assistant and secretary, so hungry to excel. I often notice you doing thoughtful things for your friends. You have developed as a speaker and writer and with your drive, focus, and work ethic, I know you’ll continue to develop in every direction. Thank you for your conscientious work and consistency this year.
You are so humble, teachable, and funny. You have clear writing and are so interested in feedback. One of my memories from this year was your speech during the Patriots and Loyalists simulation. The sixth-graders couldn’t stop talking about how inspiring it was. You have a great presence and a wonderful attitude. Your competitive spirit in the simulation games made it more fun for everyone. Thank you for always asking more questions and coming to extra google meets.
Thank you for letting me be a part of this wonderful school year!
Congratulations to the one and only Sage Academy Class of 2021!
I have a wonderful friend named Ana, and she is the type of person who you could chat with about anything. She’s cheerful and fun and curious about all of the things I love to talk about. She is perfect for a chatty girl like myself! She is the sort of person who makes you feel like you’re best friends with her, but….you’re pretty sure she makes everyone feel like that! 😅
Thanks to instagram, I discovered Ana’s secret weapon/talent/love of cooking, and I am here to broadcast it to the world📢. Below, Ana shares about her love affair with food and a pound cake recipe. I hope you love it! and feel free to add your name to her list of best friends here.
I love food. I’ve always been a fan of food. I was the sort of food-obsessed kid that would journal about exceptional meals and kept a mental catalogue of all of my “life changing” food experiences.
When it comes to where my ardent devotion for food comes from, there is the question of nature vs nurture I guess. My dad is originally from Greece and his mother, my YiaYia is one of the best cooks I’ve ever known. A colleague of my husband said of Greeks the most important factors to being Greek are: family, food and laughing loudly. That feels right to me. Add to that the fact that I grew up in the south with a healthy dose of southern cooking and hospitality and my love of food seems inevitable.
One of my favorite people as a child was my great grandmother. Her name was Emily Sloan but everyone called her Sloan. Growing up I can remember watching Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right or Little House on the Prairie with her and drinking Tang which she would proudly declare the astronauts even drank.
She was hilarious and had many choice sayings like “Well I’ll swan!” or “I wish I had a swing like that in my backyard!” or “It beats the hen ‘a pecking.” Or “As nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers.” Too many more to name. One of my early memories is of her oohing and aahing to my impromptu choreography and dancing around her small apartment. She was lively and warm with an infectious spirit with an enormous heart.
One of my grannie’s signature dishes was her pound cake. She made it in a bundt pan and would make it a little underdone so it was extra soft. It is a pretty simple recipe but you definitely wanna grease it generously or be prepared for it to stick. Though it does taste quite good even if it sticks.
I paired it with some fresh sliced peaches bathed in diluted apricot jam and crème fraîche sweetened with powdered sugar and a dash of pink sea salt.
While my family and I were visiting my parents in Texas having what my dad likes to refer to as “an eating vacation” we made and ate at least one every day! As Grannie would say, “I could eat my weight in that!” We surely did try to.
Sloan’s Pound Cake
2 C. Sugar
1 C. Butter-Softened
2 C. Flour
2 tsp Vanilla extract
Generously grease & flour Bundt Pan.
Cream Butter & Sugar; Add Eggs 1 at a time beating constantly. Add Vanilla & then add flour gradually. Pour batter into pan. It will be thick so you can spoon it in if you want.
Bake @ 325 for 45 minutes or until top starts getting brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Thank you for sharing Emily Sloan and her recipe, Ana! Please invite us over for lunch soon. ☺️
My friend Jackie just started at NYU this past year! Although she can’t speak to a normal year at NYU, she generously offered to share her experiences with you here. Hope you can enjoy it vicariously.
What is NYU like?
Some of my favorite memories from my first year at NYU are walking around for hours with my friend Theo, a native New Yorker. One of the first weeks after he and I met, we walked all the way from NYU’s campus to Central Park and back as the sun set. Every glimpse I caught of a beautiful mural or brick buildings that complement each other perfectly was accompanied with the thought, “wow! I actually live here!” I can’t begin to count how many times throughout the year I had that realization, accompanied with the knowledge that I get to spend the rest of my college experience in New York City.
My time at NYU this year is by no means representative of the typical NYU freshman experience, but NYU has specific characteristics that undoubtedly persist without a pandemic. NYU’s student body is extremely diverse, with no single race making up more than 25% of its population. This means that, for the first time in my life, I am the only white person in my friend group, which includes an international student from South Korea.
The core curriculum courses I have taken this year, specifically the First Year Seminar and the Writing the Essay Class, have been incredibly inclusive and progressive in their curriculum and in the class discussions we have that are facilitated by the professor. LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, and feminism are issues that are emphasized as valid and crucial to the improvement of our society in NYU’s classes.
Many people warned me that while New York City can be an enchanting place to live, it can quickly become a very lonely city. I have made great friends this year, whom I have really enjoyed spending my weekends out and about with, but I do understand this warning better than I had hoped I would. I spent many days without leaving my hall or seeing anyone other than those in my computer screen. It is easy to find yourself without plans to see friends for days on end, and without your family nearby, it can be really, really lonely. I think it just takes a special effort to make sure you aren’t spending so much time alone.
I am so excited to spend the rest of my college experience in the city. I’m even hoping to study abroad in Shanghai this spring! Getting to spend some of your best years in New York City is a magical experience and I’m so glad my college experience will forever tie me to one of the best cities in the world.
Thank you tons Jacqueline! So excited for your next three years of outdoor life at NYU!
Before discovering the Myers Briggs personality test, I’ve never really cared what color my parachute is or anything like that. I felt like most of those quizzes were basically a MASH game and smoke and mirrors.
But if you’ve had a conversation with me in the last several months, you have heard me talk about my obsession with Myers Briggs. I’m an ENFP, and the more I have read about ENFP’s, the more I’ve understood my own needs and thinking. I feel like studying the MBTI personalities has also helped me to better understand how to make other people happy.
Anyway, in keeping with my newfound respect for personality tests, I thought I would share one of my own. This one is based on scientific evidence. Be sure to keep your answers private.
Jessica Payne and I were in the freshmen dorms together and she is the funnest! Post-college, in Arlington, Jessica secretly started an instagram account for our favorite legs – Logan’s calves – and solicited anonymous photos from anyone who could steal a secret photo of that eye candy. 😂👏👏 Aren’t those spectacular?
I didn’t know that Jessica is a professional chef and sous-chef until I started following her on instagram. Below is a delightful recipe Jessica developed with a combination of fruity, warm, tart, sweet and savory flavors. You can see more of her delicious work here.
I hope you are celebrating national donut day! And the brand new start of life. Traffic on the last day of school was insane and for a moment, it felt like covid never happened. But I also feel like I am a different person after this and all of life is so much sweeter now. The movies are open! People are making new friends! Life is so great. Normal is so great.
A few more gems (kid quotes IRL) that I got to enjoy:
Young children, for some reason, are stroking each other’s forearms. You can choose if you want your stroke to be done ‘lightly’ or ‘full-power’. I think adults should start offering each other either ‘light’ or ‘full-power’ arm-strokes as well.
Kid 1: ‘If you do that again, I’m not your friend anymore.’ Kid 2 stopped, very concerned about this threat.
In her carseat, my friend’s daughter clung tightly to an empty jar of gummy vitamins for a full five hour road trip in order to ‘fight off the monsters and the bad guys”. 😅
We just finished reading Killer Angels and I am incredibly proud of our students. I thought it was a challenging read, but they took a deep dive into the character development, geography, and chronology of the events. They also shared some great insights. Next week this teaching life will be over and I will miss it.
A few nothings on my mind as of late–
1- Do you know what an NFT is? It’s a non-fungible token, anything that is unique and cannot be replaced. The popular example that is all the talk today is digital art and gfy’s, but it can be other things as well. The Charlie bit my finger youtube video is apparently a very valuable one. All the rage right now.
2- What do you think about Naomi Osaka leaving the French Open? I respect her. When I see famous people being asked really rude questions — those are the moments I am so glad I’m not famous.
3- Lastly, does your friend group need a token ignorant white person? Because I. 👏 am. 👏 here. 👏 for. 👏it. 😆
Hope you are well! I can’t believe the cold spell I am seeing on the east coast! The coldest since 1898 in Virginia I heard.
The above pictures are from a drive in San Jose this Memorial Day weekend. You would not believe the amount of work it took to get that funny dog to look at the camera. To get her attention, I am holding a cucumber dipped in salad dressing just out of frame.
When Maxie first sees me, her tail wags, she jumps a bit, makes excited noises, and I feel so loved. For a while I think she loves me, and then I start to wonder if maybe the reason she just loves me is because she knows she can steal my food. 🤔
Hope you’re warm and planning your travel adventures!