Pitch Perfect


Pitch Perfect

Nice Glasses
What is one thing that you can improve upon in your next presentation?
— Reflection Prompt
Do you remember what you wrote to yourself?
— Dream in Progress Follow-Up
Pay it Forward: One piece of advice for me for my move to Norway from New York.
— Active Learning Prompt


Beyond the individual Sogetsu Ikebana lesson: Takeaways from in a suiban without a kenzan- Workshop with Mrs. Mihori


Beyond the individual Sogetsu Ikebana lesson: Takeaways from in a suiban without a kenzan- Workshop with Mrs. Mihori

I was able to attend my first Sogetsu ikebana workshop in Maryland in September with approximately thirty other women from the area. The workshop included a demonstration, lesson, and individual critique from Mrs. Mihori, a Sogetsu ikebana teacher of the highest rank. I really enjoyed the experience—learning from Mrs. Mihori as she designed her work and taught techniques and tips for ikebana design in a suiban without a kenzan. As I look back on the experience, there were several key elements that were highlighted that not only applied to the individual theme of the workshop but will also be on my mind as I work on my ikebana designs moving forward in pursuit of my teaching certification in the Sogetsu school.

Structure, balance, and weight are a focal point to start. When working with a suiban without a kenzan, I had to think about the weight of my materials in addition to their own individual balance points before bringing them together into an arrangement in a suiban. Mrs. Mihori highlighted that the structure of the vase coupled with type of balance that could be created by connecting specific elements of the arrangement together using ikebana wire, allowed for the foundation for a successful arrangement. In arrangements that I think about moving forward, I am going to be more mindful of the balance needed not only with the vase but also within the inner structure of the arrangements I create.

Happy flowers are possible. In watching the critiques of the different arrangements created, I noticed a theme of adjusting the flowers to be in a ‘happy’ position. I watched Mrs. Mihori use different techniques to create almost a scaffolding to hold flowers in a position where they were facing up, towards the light—essentially a ‘happy’ place. I can shift my flowers in any arrangement moving forward so they can be ‘happy’.

Ikebana wire has a technique. Mrs. Mihori taught how to use ikebana wire more effectively. I learned how to start with a tight pull with only one twist. I then learned to tighten the wire in a circular direction. The ikebana wire was a great tool and also came in a variety of colors that could blend with the flowers and sticks I was using. In some cases, I used double wire. Moving forward, I can use wire more effectively and minimally if I continue to work on my wire closing technique.

The intention of the line matters. I noticed in the critiques that Mrs Mihori would ask students where the line was intended to be in the arrangement. While you could tell she had an ideal direction, she worked with students wherever they wanted the line to go. I learned from this that the direction and flow (even without movement) of the design was important in learning where to trim down or enhance the arrangement. I will be able to think more about the intention of my lines in my arrangements moving forward.

Depth and height are critical. My arrangement ended up having great height but in the pursuit of a structure that was strong and did not fold, the design became flat. Mrs. Mihori encouraged me to think about how to flip some of the branches to add more depth to my design. I can use this concept moving forward but thinking through the total area of my work and balancing not only structure but height and depth as well in my designs.

Learn more about Sogetsu Ikebana: http://www.sogetsu.or.jp/e/know/about/.

A recap of the event can be found here: http://sogetsudc.org/index.php/past-branch-events-2/.



2018 Reading List for Class Conversations

Break gives everyone an opportunity to take a pause, reflect, and read to open the mind. Some books for consideration:

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Preview Link: Google Books

Purchase Link: Amazon

In this book, Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed –parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people (both seasoned and new) – that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called grit.

Goodreads: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

Preview Link: Google Books

Purchase Link: Amazon

In Drive, Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others), asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today's world is the deep human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Goodreads: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Preview Link: Google Books

Purchase Link: Amazon

From the author of Give and Take and co-author of Option B, Originals, examines how people can champion new ideas—and how leaders can fight groupthink: choose to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions.

Goodreads: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Preview Link: Google Books

Purchase Link: Amazon

In this book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers" – the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

Goodreads: Outliers: The Story of Success

The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve Case

Preview Link: Google Books

Purchase Link: Amazon

From Steve Case – one of America’s most accomplished entrepreneurs – The Third Wave presents a compelling roadmap for how anyone can succeed in a world of rapidly changing technology.

Goodreads: The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

Preview Link: Google Books

Purchase Link: Amazon

Ray Dalio, one of the most successful entrepreneurs and investors of our time, writes about the unconventional principles he has developed to create unparalleled results in his life and business endeavors.  His expertise and advice can be adopted by anyone.

Goodreads: Principles: Life and Work

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder

Preview Link: Google Books

Purchase Link: Amazon

Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation is a book meant for game changers looking to defy old fashioned business models and revolutionize enterprises.

Goodreads: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers


The Montauk Circle: The End and the Beginning


The Montauk Circle: The End and the Beginning

Montauk, New York is one of the places I consider home as a TCK (Third Culture Kid: http://www.tckworld.com/). At the very end of Long Island, the quaint fishing town has many visual characteristics of several Norwegian coastal villages that I have visited. Montauk or as the sticker says MTK or The End is a place that has been a location of many beginnings to me--my first job at the Montauk Yacht Club, my first bonfire, my first dancing friends, my first serious volunteering efforts at Montauk library, spending time with my grandparents and extended family, and fueling my love of sunsets. Montauk has changed with the times but there are still many places that capture my heart. I hope you have the opportunity to take advantage of some of them and also suggest new venues as they come on your radar. If you have questions or feedback, reach out.

There are spots I enjoy for a variety of reasons:

Sunset: Either at the Montauket (https://www.facebook.com/montauket-174938227919/), Inlet Seafood (http://inletseafood.com/), or Navy Beach (https://www.navybeach.com/).

Yoga: Beachfront yoga during the summer at Atlantic Terrace Motel (http://atlanticterrace.com/).

Dancing: The local and non-local crowds come together at Shagwon Tavern (http://shagwongtavern.com/).

Hiking with Photography: Shadmoor State Park (https://parks.ny.gov/parks/16/details.aspx), Camp Hero State Park to see the hoodoos (https://parks.ny.gov/parks/97/details.aspx), Seal Haulout Trail (http://www.hike-li.org/haulout.htm), or Montauk Point State Park (lighthouse)(https://parks.ny.gov/parks/61/details.aspx).

Walking with Photography: Docks at Montauk Yacht Club (http://www.montaukyachtclub.com/) or Navy Beach.

Breakfast Coffe Walk: Montauk Bake Shoppe for Town (http://montaukbakeshoppe.com/), Montauk Market (https://www.themarketmontauk.com/) for Gosman's Dock, and Goldbergs Bagels for the docks or town (https://www.goldbergsmontauk.com/).

Reading and Research and Classes (Exercise, etc...): Montauk Library (http://www.montauklibrary.org/).

Reading and Golf: Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course (https://parks.ny.gov/golf-courses/8/details.aspx).

Outdoor Dining: The Backyard (http://www.soleeast.com/restaurant).



Cities To Consider: Oslo, Norway


Cities To Consider: Oslo, Norway

Oslo is on my top five destinations to consider embarking on the next stage of my journey. As a child, I was not fond of Oslo--I found it hard to see the charm of the Norwegian culture in the hustle and bustle of the city. As I have gotten older, my perspective has shifted and I love the accessibility that the city allows from a transportation perspective (the airport has become a great hub for travel) in addition to the balance I can find in seeking out the charm of Norwegian culture with international opportunities. Hoping that you will find these tips and ideas useful to inform your journey to one of my favorites cities, Oslo. They will continue to evolve but if you have questions, reach out.

Here are some of my favorite spots and transportation tools for trips to Oslo (in no particular order):

Operahuset- Norwegian Opera House: https://operaen.no/en/ (I appreciate the design and view of the city)

Mesh- The Nordic Creators' Community (co-working space): http://www.meshnorway.com/ (I love to grab coffee/tea here and work on my laptop or meet other people)

Ruter.no (travel routes for tram, train, etc...): https://ruter.no/en/ (I use Google Maps to get around but if I need to double check, I use Ruter.no).

Google Maps (app): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.maps (I use the Google Maps app to plan my trips when I travel and have not had many issues).

Google Translate (app): https://translate.google.com/ (I download the Norwegian language dictionary to use offline when I am traveling).

Holmenkollen- Norwegian Jump Tower and Museum: https://www.skiforeningen.no/en/holmenkollen/ (I have memories of visiting Holmenkollen with my mom and brother and also from my Fulbright experience)

Astrup Fearnley Museet (Museum): http://www.afmuseet.no/ (I enjoy the location of this museum, the collections, and the view of Aker Brygge).

Det Norske Kongehus (The Royal Palace): http://www.royalcourt.no/seksjon.html?tid=80428&sek=80422 (This is a great place to visit any time of the year but tours are only in the summer. I also recommend visiting the Queen Sonja Art Stable).

Gardemoen (Airport Oslo): https://avinor.no/en/airport/oslo-airport/ (This is the airport I mainly fly in and out of.)

Norwegian (Airline): https://www.norwegian.com/ (I find Norwegian good for flights in Norway and Europe. I also find options from JFK but have had a few issues.)

SAS (Airline): https://www.flysas.com/ (I find flights through SAS that work internationally and also within Norway).

Wideroe (Airline): https://www.wideroe.no/en (I use Wideroe for flights within Norway).

Sixt (Car Rental): https://www.sixt.no/ (I still can't drive stick so Sixt is one of my focal points when I travel).

Radisson Blu Hotel (Airport Hotel): https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-osloairport (This is an airport hotel I use if I have an early flight).

Flytoget Airport Express (Train from Airport): https://flytoget.no/no/ (This is a great service and quick service from the airport to downtown).

Flybussen (Buses): https://www.nor-way.no/en-US/routes/our-routes/flybussen (I sometimes use this from the airport to downtown).

Schwab Bank (Bank account): https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/banking_lending/checking_account/ (I use Schwab Bank when I travel--I find the ease of using a debit card with a pin, the ability to take-out money without a service fee, and the overall customer service to be great. I try not to use cash in Norway (they are typically a card society now).

Vigelandsparken- The Vigeland Park (sculpture garden): http://www.vigeland.museum.no/ (I visit The Angry Boy (Sinnataggen in Norwegian), The Monolith (Monolitten) and The Wheel of Life (Livshjulet).

OM- Oslo Museum (collection of museums): http://www.oslomuseum.no/oslo-museum/english/ (I enjoy the Bymuseet).

Moxie OsloX (hotel): http://www.moxyoslox.com/ (I stay at this hotel if I am flying out of Oslo and have a car as I appreciate the decorations, simplicity, and culture).

Oslomekaniskeverksted (cafe/bar): https://www.oslomekaniskeverksted.no/ (I feel like time stops when I get to hang out here with friends).

Aker Brygge (shopping, dining, and culture on the water): https://www.akerbrygge.no/english/ (This is one of my favorite places to walk and take photos and meet people for food and beverage).

Munchmuseet- Munch Musuem: http://munchmuseet.no/en/. (I believe this is moving locations but am looking forward to more of Munch's work to be displayed. Seeing Scream is one of the highlights (if it is on display).

Yr.no (weather website): https://www.yr.no/ (This is the best weather website for use in Norway).

https://www.visitoslo.com has great ideas for your next visit. On my list for my next visit:

Mathallen Oslo (food hall): https://mathallenoslo.no/en

The Thief (hotel): https://thethief.com

Stovnertårnet- The Stovner Tower: https://www.visitoslo.com/en/product/?TLp=1259204&Stovnertarnet-apner-i-dag

Blå (bar, entertainment): http://www.blaaoslo.no/

Rope in one trip on a scenic route before getting to Oslo or flying out of Oslo: https://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes.