Home Now, But Not for Long

Home Now!

Yay! I am home! I actually have been home for a week. I was pretty productive. I got an internship, painted a coffee table, finished an essay and cleaned my room (sorta). My internship is with an engineering firm but they have a few landscape architects on staff. It’s also close to home which is good. I plan on biking at least a few times per week because I am out of shape yo.

Graduation is Boring

I’m sorry. But it is. Last weekend, I went back up to State College for my BFF Haleigh’s graduation. It was held in the BJC because she’s in (or was in) the Eberly College of Science which is pretty big. Anyway, the whole ceremony could be run so much more effiencently. But I guess tradition trumps speed. About half the time was taken up by people introducing other people and the other half was taken up by people who cheered for way too long when their graduate’s name got called.

Coffee Table

Here is a picture of the coffee table I painted for my friend. He wanted a radioactive waste barrel, an eel with three eyes, and a fish with a cowboy hat hidden somewhere. The resolution of this photo is definitely not good enough for  you to be able to tell which fish has the hat on.

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Not for Long (Because I am going to Germany!)


College, Round Two

Hi internet! Happy various holidays, including (but not limited to) Hanukkah, Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwanza, and New Years! I am back and classes start on Monday. So there’s that.

How was my break you ask? Let’s see… IT WAS WONDERFUL!

It’s great to not have anything to do for three weeks. Although, I also realized that I had no idea what to do. For the first few days, I basically wandered around my house, watched Netflix, and ate. Then my mom said something along the lines of, “You know I love having you around all the time but I think you should really go to gymnastics practice.” Gee thanks, mom. So I went to practice a decent amount and I enjoyed it quite a bit. (Shout out to my awesome teammates and coaches for putting up with me over break! I miss you all so very much! 🙂 ) Nothing all that eventful happened otherwise. It was nice just to be home (Shout out to the fam!)

And now here I am. Back in my dorm room, enjoying my last, fleeting moments of freedom.

Not much else to say, but please enjoy this pun that I made up today:

When asked if lettuce wanted a body, it said, “I’ll just romaine a head”!


Also, this pun that I made up during the soils final:

What does an introvert soils scientist say?

Leave me a-loam (loam is like a kind/texture of soil)


Survival of the Most Caffeinated: Finals Week

Just kidding, I don’t like coffee. But I thought it was a good title.

I am done with finals!!! That’s right! I’m DONE! As in, I finished my first semester of college EVER! (And I’m fairly confident that I didn’t fail)

So now I’m home, and enjoying the fact that I could go sit in the kitchen and eat food for as long as I want, because there’s enough food in the house for me to do that.

So finals was not too bad for me since I only had two of them, but I basically did nothing but study for the past four to five days, which has led me to some interesting realizations:

Firstly, I discovered that I can draw an extremely accurate depiction of endosymbiosis (which is when a bacteria swallowed a cyanobacteria and, from that cyanobacteria, gained the ability to photosynthesize. And this, the primary producer was born!):


I thought my cyanobacteria was cute 🙂

I also realized that I even make puns in my typos:


HAHA! Did you find it? I type up all the notes I’ve taken during lecture to study for my exams and I was looking over them the night before the test when I came across this typo. I’m pretty sure I laughed at my self for a good five minutes. Pants or plants? Genes or jeans? These are the real questions we need to be asking.

Thirdly, I realized that I know way too much about soils. I was walking back from my last exam and it IMG_5652(1)was raining and I took this picture.

What I was thinking was: there was runoff due to saturation excess and that Penn Sate really needed to get their surface runoff under control to reduce erosion. And, what it with this soil structure!? It’s terrible! I mean, clearly these soil aggregate are not well flocculated. There are too many impervious surfaces on campus. And then I had to tell myself to stop thinking because the soils test was yesterday.


I would now like to compare my desk at the beginning of the semester to what it looks like now:

In the beginning…


Aaaaaand then at the end of the semester…


Somehow, my desk actually got way messier than when I first moved in.

Sidenote: Shout-out to my awsome mother for suprising me with the things I needed the most during finals week!



Studio has Priority Over Everything Else, Apparently

Hi people! Gosh! It’s been a while hasn’t it?! Well, luck for you, I’ve been doing lots of things in studio and what not. Get ready, this will be a very long post.

BUT! Before I dive in, I must announce that I tried, once more, to make the cooking in the mug, with exemplary results. (at least, it looked edible enough that I could take a picture).IMG_5265

It was very delicious!






And, speaking of food, here is what I’ve been doing in studio:



EATING DOUGHNUTS!!! Drawing doughnuts!!!!!

This was an in-class assignment where we had to draw a doughnut. Ok, let me elaborate. We are learning how to draw objects in plan, elevation and section. A drawing in plan perspective means looking at the object right on top of it (a birds eye view). An elevation drawing is done from the side of the object. A section drawing is as though you cut the object is half and you draw whatever would be in the middle. Drawing the doughnut was pretty handy for this part because I could actually cut it in half to draw the section perspective (That was the drawing on the bottom of the page). Another example maybe?


Plan View

Plan View

Our first studio project was to do the plan, elevation, section, and prospective of a single Lego block (did you notice my neatly-lettered labels). Then, we had to do the same things with a stack of blocks (Drawings on the left).

So I might have said before that all the first year LARCH students were split in to two groups. One did the digital sequence first (that was my group) and one did the analog sequence first. Then we switched. All the people who started with the analog sequence told me that it was lot of work and all the complaints that go along with that. On the first day I was like, this isn’t so bad! We get to eat doughnut and stuff. Then we were assigned that perspective project with the blocks, and I was like, Ok, they’re steppin’ up their game. Not too bad… HAHAHA.

In class, we did this exercise where you’d take some form and morph it into something else through a series of 5 steps. Example: They gave us each a toy animal to draw. I got an iguana. We had to then morph that animal (iguana) into a pencil. This is hard to explain. Also, I didn’t take a picture of the exercise. Anyhow, our homework assignment was to Use the large Lego blocks and morph them into some other object that people could interact with. That sounds fairly ambiguous? You have no idea. So our homework was to do that for thirty different objects. Meaning, five little thumbnails for each object. They were like, don’t worry! it’s only thirty drawings! But really, it was 150 of those little thumbnail sketches.




Then, after we finished 150 I mean 30 drawings, we had to pick our favorite one and do a perspective, plan, section, and elevation (there seems to be a pattern emerging). I picked a giant, wavy speaker thing that I imagine would be situated in a public square and would play music.

Below you see a terrible picture of my half finished homework. I apologize for not taking another but I forgot. I will post a better picture later.



Oof. I can’t look at that picture anymore. So moving on.

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I went home for the weekend, and I have a pretty good analogy for how I feel about going home for the weekend (I think it’s pretty clever).

Going home for the weekend is like taking a shower in the winter when you’re really tired. I don’t really feel like taking one because that requires all the necessary preparations for doing that. Likewise, I don’t like having to pack and take all my homework with me. I also don’t want to miss anything that might happen in my absence. So I drag myself into the shower, and it feels refreshing and warm and suddenly, I don’t want to leave. I just want to stand in the hot shower and steam up the bathroom and not worry about my upcoming tests or all the unchecked emails or the laundry that I’ve neglected for two weeks. I think, “What if I could just stay home and watch Netflix and eat late-night snacks all the time? I could be with my pets (and my family) and not have to buy food all the time and always have toilet paper in the bathroom.” But then the rational part of my brain is like, “No Zoe, you can’t do that.” I have to get out of the shower, which is hard at first because it’s cold and my hair keeps dripping on my PJs. But, after I’ve dried off and I feel all clean, I’m really happy that I took a shower.

Also, that book under my little sign is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It is the first non-fiction, completely adult book that I voluntarily bought! (Actually I’m reading it for a class). I’ve only read six pages, but it is very interesting.

The other day when I was getting ready to take my shower, I was getting out my soap bar and it fell and look how it landed!


I got so excited, but no one was home, so I took a picture.

Also, here is proof that I am still being productive in gymnastics. It is only one of two photos take of me during practice:



It’s really blurry because I was holding the camera while leaping, and attempted to capture my split leap in mid air. Unfortunately, I forgot that the camera would also be moving. It’s artsy, right?


Things and Other Things

First off, I’m very sorry that I haven’t posted in while, but you know, life. You might want to prepare yourself-it’s gonna be a long one.

Anyway, you may have noticed that I now have just over 1,000 hits on my blog. You know, no big deal or anything…

*Must…resist…making…reference…to…The Office*

This is a HUGE DEAL! (At least for me). I have always wanted to make a website that people actually looked at, but I never had anything to write about, and the BAM! COLLEGE! So thanks for that readers!

Now on to more important business.

I had my first SOILS101 test earlier in the week. Here is my fairly extensive study guide.

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I was very proud of myself.

So the testing experience: Penn State had a state-of-the-art testing center, and it’s seriously high security.

I had to arrive at the testing center at least 15 minutes early. Then, I sat in a waiting room full of anxious, sleep-deprived students frantically flip through their notes in a tense silence. So that’s fun. When it is close to the starting time of the test (tests start every hour) we all lined up in a snaking line behind three little turnstiles. When it was my turn, I swiped my ID card and walked through. At the desk, a ticket printed out with my picture and station number. Also, if your teacher has allowed scrap paper, you are given a one at the desk that has a bar code on it that must be scanned before and after the test is taken. The measures they go to to prevent cheating are quite impressive.

Next on the agenda, the LARCH freshman trip to Pittsburgh and Fallingwater.

I woke up a 5:15 in the morning. I’m sort of a morning person so I enjoy the times when you are awake and you know that everyone else is still sleeping and there is no one on campus, but there are also those who are…less enthusiastic about being awake before the sun comes up. As soon as the bus took off, everyone fell asleep. Sitting close to the front of the bus, it was pretty funny looking to see the array of sleeping positions. The open mouth with head slumped back is a classic, but the drooping head and pillow neck position are also promising up-and-comers.

Before we drove down in to the city, we stopped at an over look. Here is a panorama I took at said overlook:


It’s a pretty fantastic looking city, I’d say!

Here, also, is a non-panorama picture:



That fountain there is the tip of Point State Park, which is where we went next.

In first-year seminar for landscape architecture, we are talking about the value of place and what that entails, so we went around to multiple places in Pittsburgh so we can consider what we think “place” should mean and whether or not the locations we visited have the qualities that would distinguish it as a  place. Generally, if somewhere is considered a “place,” it has a cultural or personal significance, makes peoplIMG_5127e feel happy, and creates or encourages feelings of community.

From my incredibly-some might even say lacking-knowledge of this state park, I can tell you that there was a for there. According to one of the articles I read, “Point is where the Allegheny and the Monogahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio” (Van Trump 59). I am very excited to be using this article outside of school 🙂 Also, “In November 1758, a British army under General Forbes captured Fort Duquesne, which the French had abandoned, and the new garrison-settlement at the Point was named Pittsburg by Forbes” (Van Trump 59). I thought that was pretty neat.

Fun fact! The water from this fountain comes from an under ground glacial river! (I also learned that from reading)




…and I just realized that I got my finger in front of the lens again.

After the park, we visited two plazas that were across the street from one another.

Here is the Gateway Plaza:


(With my traveling shoe)


And here is the PPG Plaza:









I really don’t much to say about either of them, since we didn’t spend much time there. Also, I must apologize for my not-so-great photography on the trip.

After that, we went to the strip district for lunch. (and I am still very sorry for these pictures. This is much cooler in person).









This was taken on the outskirts of the Strip.

And this is one of the streets with vendors and whatnot.





Then, after another hour and a half of driving, we arrived at Fallingwater.

There are really only three things you need to know about this house:

1. Frank Lloyd Wright was basically a genius.

2. Nature is everywhere.

3. Cantilever, cantilever, cantilever.

If you ever tour the house, I would advise you to count how many times the tour guide says the word “cantilever” because it is said an incredible amount of times. Of course, that it not without cause, since basically every other furnishing in the house is a cantilever.



But you really just want to see pictures…

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We are not allowed to take pictures inside.

Last weekend, I went home for the first time since college started. It was nice to be home in my own bed and my pets… and my family 🙂 I also went to the gym (where I do gymnastics) with my best buddy and we surprised everybody! That was a good time. I would show you pictures of me spending time with my family and friends, but somehow, the only picture I got was of my bathroom at home and I’m to posting that (even though the bathroom is clean since just my sister is using it now).