Category Archives: Giveaway

Linen, Wool, Cotton Kids Giveaway [CLOSED]


Good morning! I thoroughly enjoyed a low-key weekend and I hope you had a great one too.

I didn’t do much other than eat, it seems. I grazed from one meal to the next, and the best part was that I didn’t cook at all and felt very pampered indeed. Although I squeezed in a tiny little bit of sewing, the weekend was all about hanging out.

My UFO pile seems to be shrinking a tad and my plan is to show you a finished item or two next week, but I acquired the English version of one of my favorite Japanese Sewing books and wanted to do a little giveaway for today. This book is particularly meaningful to me because it’s the one that launched my handmade wardrobe craziness three summers ago. I made this dress, and the sweat-inducing difficulty and the simultaneous exhilaration are still visceral.

Ooh La La Dress

And I kept making things from this book.

Same pattern, different fabric:

pinkdress_1A brown and silver combo:

A starry indigo top:

starryblouse6The Bubble Dress:


Jodhpur pants:


Sashiko Pullover:


Patch-sleeve Jacket:



Capelet 1:



Capelet 2:


Coat Dress


Fluttery Top:


Wow, I’ve never compiled all the outfits I’ve made from a single book before. I obviously had a lot more time back then. I remember how I loved the creative freedom I used to feel, and I can see that I really tried a lot out in the spirit of experimentation. Even though I’ve scaled back on the styling and propping (and the sewing), I do think my photography has improved with time, and it’s nice to see progress.

Anyway. If you’d like to enter the giveaway for this oh-so-special book, please leave a……hmmm, it’s getting harder to come up with questions. I just had a memory flash of a dinner with friends a while ago, and the topic of color therapy came up. Have you heard of it? It’s the utilization of light and colors to restore desired “balance”, be it physical, mental, emotional, etc. It sounds like it’s considered pseudo science, bordering on woo-woo. I admit that I don’t really understand it, but the conversation turned to how the diagnosis part of color therapy is as follows: you are given a multitude of colored papers to choose from (it makes me think of paint chips) and are asked to select the colors you’re drawn to the most and arrange them on a larger sheet of paper. My friends and I discussed which colors we would gravitate towards and that was fun and very enlightening. Whether color therapy works or not, I’m a big believer in the power of colors and their effect on my moods and general state of being. For my colors, I chose grey, blue, white, cream, and dusty, chalky hues you would see in French countryside homes like the bluish-greenish-greys and muted pinks. So my question is this: which colors are you most naturally drawn to?

The giveaway will stay open until this Friday, June 19th, and I’ll announce the winner the following Monday. Entries from around the world are more than welcome. Good luck!

Giveaway: She Wears the Pants [CLOSED]


A long time ago, when this blog was just a gleam in my eye, I had coffee with a writer friend who was an expert in the blogging world (at least more of an expert than I was or am). I confided in her that I used to maintain a blog that had petered out, but I loved it and wanted to maybe-sort-of-kind-of begin another one. I bounced around some ideas with her (“Sewing? That sounds like too much work,” she declared). After much hemming and hawing, I was no closer to figuring out what sort of blog felt right, but she told me this: “Whatever you decide to do, eventually you’ll start getting free stuff.” I slapped her knee lightly, snorted and said pshaw.

Well, here we are three years later, and she was right. The lovely folks at Tuttle sent me not one, but TWO copies of this rather hipster book of sewing patterns to give away. It’s called She Wears the Pants. I’m not sure how I feel about the title, but I do know that I’m definitely going to sew up a bevy of outfits from this when I eke out valuable moments for myself in the next few weeks.

Compared to most Japanese sewing books, this one is dark and moody and dramatic, but I like it despite my penchant for light and airy. The photography is simple as always, and the light is beautiful. I usually try to have an accompanying sewn project to share with my book giveaways so I can provide a more rounded out review of instructions and such, but I’m going to have to just show you my fave spreads this time:

The Oval coat is oh-so-chic, and must become part of my Fall wardrobe!


I love the shape of the mini dress on the right so much…


Again, I’m a sucker for the boxy shape on the right.


This outfit that’s also on the cover looks so comfy. I need to add another striped shirt to my collection of three dozen striped shirts, no?

There are a few quirky projects too, like this one called the belt stole:


It’s fun, right?

To win a copy of this book, I have a question that requires some thought. What’s something that people are surprised to find out about you? For some reason, folks are often taken by surprise that I’m from Los Angeles. So many people think I’m from Hawaii. I also have absolutely no sense of direction and this seems to throw people off too. Before smart phones, I used to build in at least an hour to get anywhere new because I would inevitably get lost. It’s part of the reason I’m constantly early to events, meetings, etc.

I love finding out unexpected hobbies/characteristics/origins about people. Like Rosey Grier’s passion for needlepoint. Or K’s skateboarding interest. Or the fact that M used to work for a big corporation by day and lived in a hostel by night for a few years (this was by choice – he said the people were way more interesting).

So. What’s surprising about you?

The giveaway will be open until next Thursday, May 28th, and I’ll announce the TWO winners the next day! Enter away, international folks. Good luck!

P.S. In case you were wondering, the winners of the Little Kunoichi giveaway were Kristi A., Maki, Sophie, Karen and Anne.

Little Kunoichi: LAUNCHED!! + Giveaway [CLOSED]


Taiko drum roll please…..


Little Kunoichi is large and in charge! Today is THE day, and I am doing imaginary backflips and round-offs of excitement!! The build-up has been so long, I thought I would be all blasé and casual and “Oh, is it the launch date today?”, but no no no. It’s a big deal. A huge deal. I am planning on visiting as many bookstores as I can today to surreptitiously snap photos of my book on shelves because this will never, ever, ever happen again: my first published book! (though I hope I will get to work on many, many more books)

I’m jumping up and down and full of nervous energy so I’m keeping this short. I thought I would show you my favorite parts of the book today:


You’ve seen the island map before, but I just love it to pieces.


And then there’s the secret ninja girls’ school, of which Little Kunoichi is a pupil.


And then….my pride and joy, the island festival page. I’ve hidden Little K and her new friend Chibi Samurai and the page is chock-full of Japanese references that are too numerous to list here, but if it’s of interest, I’d be happy to go into it another time.

Oh…this is so unreal. I am counting my blessings and trying to bottle this surreal feeling of a dream come true. Infinite thanks to my amazing editor Tegan and to the whole crew at Sasquatch Books that made this such a lovely expedition. And thank you, for the cheering on, the don’t-give-ups and for welcoming Little Kunoichi into your homes.


I have the impression that many of you have already gotten a copy of the book, but if anyone out there would like to win a copy, I’ve got some to offer up. Or, if you’ve already got Little K in your hands (or a copy is on its way), I would also love to give away prints of my favorite pages that you see above. The island print is 8″ x 8″, and the ninja school and island prints are about 6″ x 11″, all printed on high quality, archival paper. I’ll select five winners and you have the choice of the book or one of the prints.

M made a comment that made me laugh so hard, I have to share: he said that if I made $100,000 with the book, he would immediately go out and get a Little Kunoichi tattoo. This, I have to see. Neither of us has a tattoo so this is a significant thing — we shook on it! So please tell everyone about my book! It might take several decades to get to that amount, but he’ll be a rockin’ senior citizen with a cute ninja tattoo. To enter the giveaway, any comment will do, but maybe you have a suggestion for where the tattoo should go? I’m still trying to decide…

I’ll keep the give away open until this Friday, May 8th. Good luck!

P.S. I’m skipping tomorrow as I prepare for the launch party on Sunday and wrap up some work for book #2. Would love to meet you if you’re local! And see you back here on Friday!

P.P.S. Just in case I confused people, which I am known to do, I’m considering today Little Kunoichi’s official day of birth…hence, she’s saying “it’s my birthday” up there.


A Past Monday Outfit Giveaway [CLOSED]


Good morning! Time is of the essence as I juggle multiple projects for deadlines that are coming up at the end of the month. In my characteristic overly optimistic way,  K and I planned some fun outfits for me to sew up for her this weekend, and of course, by late Saturday evening it was obvious the outfits weren’t going to happen.

My harried state of being was abundantly evident on that same Saturday evening when K, her friend and I swooped into the theater parking area (we had tickets for Robinhood, if you recall) with 9 minutes to spare. I’d just negotiated a labyrinthine series of construction roadblocks which made a normally 10-minute drive into a crazed, 35-minute one. Fortunately, I’m freakishly paranoid about being late for anything and always leave excessively early. I cut off the engine and frantically fished through my bag for my wallet to insert my debit card into the parking meter. Nothing. No wallet! I’d left it at home. This is something so rare, K gasped.

“We’ll have to miss the play,” I announced gravely. I had no money to pay for parking, no ID to show for the will-call tickets. 8 minutes until showtime.

The girls were crestfallen, and it’s amazing how the brain kicks in when faced with two stricken-looking tweens. I restarted the car, zoomed into the nearby grocery store parking lot — conveniently located roughly two blocks from the theater — and the three of us hauled ourselves at breakneck speed toward the will-call window. The women behind the glass didn’t even ask for my identification and placed the tickets into my sweaty palms. I glanced at the clock: 1 minute until showtime!

Robinhood was awesome. It had a bit of a contemporary twist to it (think disco music), and was full of humor and excellent performances. Note to self: I better go back to that grocery store and buy a ton of food – I’m feeling guilty about parking not-so-legally.

For spring break last week, I tried really hard to focus on K and spending time with her; I also tried desperately to find small pockets of time to hustle on work-related tasks when she was happily occupied with friends, but those were hard to come by. Though I felt good about prioritizing family time, I’ve been tamping down my mounting distress that other things are not getting done. Laundry? Psh. Cleaning? I wish dust farming existed, as I seem to excel at harvesting dust bunnies. As much as I love them, I’ve been cursing all those sound-bitey Ted Talks and books about organization and prioritization — I do think they help remind me about what’s important, but they’re useless when it comes to dealing with the uneasy feelings that come with choosing relationships over impending work deadlines and basic home maintenance.

Anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I may not be gracefully executing my projects, and I may be throwing out a cop-out post offering up a hardly worn garment for a giveaway (and it’s possible I’ll do this again next week), but childhood is fleeting and memory-making is priceless, no?

I’m not sure if anyone is going to want this pullover I made a while ago. It’s super stylish, I think, but it’s not animal print which is the singular most important criteria for K as we all know. So it’s up for grabs. It’s about a 5T in size and it’s not perfectly made, but I was pretty proud of figuring out what was one of the most complicated pocket instructions to date.

I’ve heard of pomodoro techniques, GTD, et al — but if you would like to enter the giveaway, I’d be delighted to know: what’s your most effective productivity or focusing techniques? Do you hide your phone/devices? Or conversely do you live and die by a particular app? Clearly, I need some help and love recommendations from folks.

The giveaway will be open until this Thursday, April 23rd and I’ll announce the winner on Friday. Do I need to mention that international entries are welcome at this point? Good luck!

P.S. Apparently there was some kind of technical glitch on Friday and people weren’t able to leave comments – sorry about that! It’s all fixed now, I believe.

Spring Fabric Giveaway! [CLOSED]


It’s been a few months since I’ve done a fabric giveaway, and I happened across a Japanese bunny seersucker cotton and knew it was time. With Easter around the corner, it seemed apropos for this week.


This is not an April Fool’s post — I’ve never been good at the whole prank-pulling business, and I tend to worry that I’ll flub the prank and make someone feel really bad (it’s happened). So this is just a straight-up giveaway!

Quite a few years ago, I made a reversible skirt for one of K’s friends out of this bunny fabric, which is actually the kind of material used for Japanese summer kimonos called yukata and jimbei. It’s adorable. Inspired by the vivid pinks, I hunted around for coordinating fabric, and found a tulip print cotton voile (I’m pretty sure it’s cotton – it might have a little bit of synthetic fibers, but it’s sheer and perfect for a spring top) and a bold pink floral quilting cotton.


I have a little over a 1/2 yard of the bunny fabric, just shy of 1 1/2 yards of the tulip print, and about 1/2 yard of the quilting cotton. Interested?

I was fascinated by what folks were saying they would be willing to pay for in terms of products or services last week and it got me curious. It made me reflect on purchases that are guilt-free for me. I’m referring to things that may seem frivolous or unnecessary but they are delights  — most of us make sacrifices to make sure the bills get paid but I think there is almost always a little room for fun spending. Items that aren’t astronomically expensive but require weighing the merits and feel absolutely worth it. At the top of my list: books. And coffee. Really good coffee. Fabric would be on there too, and many of you said the same.

What about you? Maybe you fancy citrus-scented soaps (I do!) or perhaps you happily treat yourself to cut flowers? Pencils or pens? To enter the giveaway, I’d love to know how you like to enhance your every day with small, don’t-break-the-bank items other than fabric, because clearly, y’all love textiles.

I will leave the giveaway open until next Thursday, April 9th and will announce the winner the next day. Yes to international entries, and good luck!

P.S. The first Furoku went out yesterday – please check your promotions or spam folder if you haven’t received it yet. Next month is going to be even better!

Monday Outfit: Sailor Dress + Giveaway! [CLOSED]


Good morning! One of the unexpected perks of starting this little online documentation of sewing and whatnot has been the relationship I’ve developed with Tuttle Publishing. Considered the largest publisher of “Asian-interest” books, they’ve recently been adding a slew of translated Japanese sewing books to their catalog. It’s been such a thrill to receive books before they’re let loose into the big world, especially when they’re the type of books I’ve adored and sewn from for years. Like this beauty by Yoshiko Tsukiori, who is one of the top designers of Japanese sewing patterns:


What makes this book especially appealing to me is that the sizing goes up to 140cm (roughly equivalent to sizes 8-10). For K, this means I could sew outfits from this book for another couple of years (she’s currently a perfect 130cm, and each size seems to last over a year with their generous proportions). I’ve gotten emails asking if I know of any teen-sized Japanese sewing books, and so far I haven’t been very successful in hunting down any. Then again, the smallest size from the women’s Japanese sewing books will probably be up to the task.


But back to this lovely book. This one takes the approach of offering up eight basic patterns, and each pattern can be modified in several ways (the modified patterns are called “Applied” in the book). I counted 18 variations, but the possibilities are limitless.


Here are a couple of spreads that I really liked:

sewing-for-your-girls3 sewing-for-your-girls4

And when I saw the sailor dress, I was all over it. Anything nautical or sailor-themed makes me weak at the knees.


I had just the fabric, and though it’s described as midweight quilting cotton, it’s actually quite fluid in its drape.

dotted-sailor-dress6This book requires a lot of flipping back and forth to look for the illustrated or photographic step-by-step instructions, but it wasn’t too bad. In fact, the step-by-step photos were excellent, and as a visual learner, I appreciated them immensely. Also included are basic sewing tutorials that are heavily photo-based as well, and overall, this is my kind of book.


The trickiest bit for this dress was the front placket, and I had to put my full body weight onto the iron to get the bottom of the placket to lay flat because I managed to sew it all puckered. Looks nice and flat now, right?


As for changes I made to the pattern…I don’t like armhole facings, so I created my own bias tape instead. Appears much cleaner that way to me, and I imagine it’s more comfortable for K.

I love this dress! And I love this book!

dotted-sailor-dress3 dotted-sailor-dress1

You, my lucky readers, can win your very own copy since Tuttle generously sent me two. And if you don’t want to leave things to chance, the book is available for pre-order now and will be officially launching in a mere two days on March 17th!

If you’d like to enter the giveaway, please leave me a comment with…let’s see…Okay, I have spring break on my mind, so how about a dream spring break location? If you could go anywhere in the world for spring break, where would you like to jet (or sail) to? Italy is sounding really good to me right now. Or perhaps New Zealand, because the season would be completely opposite and that would be fun.

The giveaway will be open until this Friday, March 20th, and I’ll announce the winner on the following Monday. International entries welcome as always! Good luck!





Giveaway! Sock and Glove Charmingness [CLOSED]


Is there anything cuter than sock puppets? Probably, but Miyako Kanamori has taken the heart-melting factor up a notch with her book Sock and Glove: Creating Charming Softy Friends from Cast-Off Socks and Gloves.


I am continuing with my life-changing tidying among other things, and as much as I love this book, I’ve had it since 2007 when it first came out and I’ve looked at it twice, if that. The photography, the projects, the sweet story-telling element of it — they all make me smile, but honestly, I’m just not the sock or glove puppet making type. My slightly OCD nature balks at the thought of using previously worn socks, though I suppose I could use new socks or even knit fabric to construct these endearing animals. However, deep reflection (well, as deep as thinking about sock puppets can get) forced me to admit that it’s time to let it go.


I could donate this to Goodwill or try to resell it, but I wanted to offer it up as a giveaway in case anyone was interested? It comes with instructions for thirteen softies, and possibly the loveliest little clothes:


I mean, c’mon:

giveaway-sockandglove5These are some of my faves:

giveaway-sockandglove6 giveaway-sockandglove7 giveaway-sockandglove8Irresistible, right?

To enter the giveaway, since I went on and on about K’s little frogs earlier and since this book features animals, I’ve got pets on the mind — please leave a comment telling me about your favorite childhood pet. Or, if you didn’t have a pet (I didn’t), maybe your favorite softy/stuffed animal from days of yore. I had a white little bunny that my mom made me when I was just a wee lass, and I still have it to this day. I can’t believe this li’l doll has survived all these decades — I called her “usagi-chan”.


The giveaway will be open until next Thursday, January 29th and I’ll announce the winner the next day. International entries, of course, are more than welcome. Good luck!

P.S. I finally got all the custom illustration requests all organized. Please check your email junk or spam folder if you haven’t received an email from me and you commented on that post. I have some major book deadlines coming up so my progress on them might be on the slow side, but I’m on it! 




Monday Outfit: Hooded Knit Cardi + Sew Sweet Giveaway [CLOSED]


Good morning, friends! I thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend, and I’m feeling rejuvenated. We ended up at a Chinese restaurant on turkey day after all, and I believe this will have to be our annual tradition because it was so stress-free. I don’t mind cooking, but the clean-up is a sore spot for me, so not having to while away time sudsing up dishes was a huge bonus. We also went to see the movie Big Hero 6, and it’s an all-ages pleaser (and yes, I cried — it was very touching)! To add spice to the weekend, we had yet another one of our unplanned trips and found ourselves at a Comfort Inn in Bellingham on Friday, swimming in their minuscule pool. It was awesome.


As promised, I have a little giveaway today. I was gifted this stellar book by Tuttle, and I was excited to add it to my arsenal of sewing books because I’ve been waffling over whether to buy it for years. It was originally published by Nihon Vogue, and I have hemmed and hawed over acquiring it for various reasons, and always left it at the bookstore because I felt like I had too many books. I thought “score!” when I received the newly translated English version, but oh, the sizing goes up to 120cm, which K has pretty much outgrown.


Undaunted, I wanted to make at least one thing out of it before I passed it along to someone with a smaller girl-child to sew for. So I traced pattern L which looked generous in sizing, added two inches to the sleeves and hem (though I forgot to lengthen the plackets so had to shorten the hem back to its original length), and pieced together some scrap knit fabrics, making sure to use the stretchiest knit I could find for the top portion. Too-tight shoulders never feel good. I’m really liking the sporty look. Note: because the stretch factor was vastly different between the light grey and blue-grey knits, I couldn’t get the gathers below the yoke to form. The gathers would have been sweet, but I’m fine without them. This is what the cardi looks like in the book:


With the color-blocking, gathered sleeves, pockets, hood and plackets, this cardi actually took a little longer than I expected. All in all, it’s a good cold-weather staple to have, and I’m glad I sewed it up. As you can see, K got bored of modeling and insisted that she read while I snapped away with my camera:

hooded-knit-cardi4 hooded-knit-cardi7


She did oblige by dancing a little, and then we tried a different prop, which she quickly abandoned:

hooded-knit-cardi3 hooded-knit-cardi5 hooded-knit-cardi6

So, onto the giveaway! This book comes with 22 patterns for dresses, pants, skirts and tops (plus a bag and a hat). Super cute. And of course, the book is filled with the signature beautiful styling and photography of all Japanese craft books. You can see more of the book here.


To enter the giveaway, please answer the following question: if you were guaranteed the time and resources to acquire any new skill or improve upon an existing one, what would it be? I myself would like to learn how to invest and understand how the market works. I’m fairly money-challenged, and I’ve never really invested, and it seems like a solid skill to have. On the flip side, I would also love to learn pottery/ceramics. How about you?

I will leave the giveaway open until this Thursday, December 4th and I will announce the winner the following day. Yes to international entries! Good luck!


Happy Friday + Giveaway! [CLOSED]


Here in Washington, grocery stores and many retail stores charge five cents per bag if you don’t bring your own to carry out your produce or miscellaneous household items. A pragmatic and environmentally sound move, but I’m constantly forgetting to bring my handy nylon eco bags because they’re always filled with library books. Between the accumulating nickel charges and overdue library fines, I’m sure I’m frittering away enough money to feed a small country.

I’ve been thinking that I need to really make my own eco bags, and it’s as though Tuttle Publishing sensed my thoughts and sent me this lovely book:


Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics has 60 (!!) ideas and patterns and also comes with a couple of extremely detailed and picture heavy “lessons”. When I saw the eco bag on the cover, I knew that I had to make one right away. Well, I ended up making two because it’s such a quick sew. My favorite part of the pattern is that the bag folds itself into the front pocket (you attach a button on the backside of the pocket and a loop for closure on the opposite side — steps you could easily skip and still have the transformative effect). I’ve had this robot Kokka fabric for so long, it’s practically an antique. It underwent some mishap and was dyed pink when I accidentally washed it with something red. Until now, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.


My first bag took less than an hour, and the second one took less than half an hour. The blue and grey striped fabric is cotton from here. The french seams make the insides look nice and tidy, though I should point out that the instructions for creating a french seam are incorrect in the book. There’s a section in the back of the book that provides mini tutorials on various stitches and methods, and the technique shown under “french seams” is actually for a turned-and-stitched seam. This is a well-done tutorial for actual french seams.

Another unique aspect of this book is that it’s intended for hand-sewing. There’s an abundance of running stitches required. Of course, I ignored this and used my machine, and there’s no shame in that.

Minor issues aside, this bag is great for scrap busting as are all the bags in the book. Would you like to see a sampling of the projects?

handmade-bag-book2 handmade-bag-book3 handmade-bag-book4 handmade-bag-book5 handmade-bag-book6 handmade-bag-book7

So many sweet ones! And as always, I love the styling of Japanese craft books.

Now, I’m a big believer in paying things forward, and it seems silly for me to keep this book in my possession when all I really needed was an eco bag pattern. Which, by the way, isn’t too big or too small and will fit perfectly in my purse when tucked into its pocket.

eco-bag4 eco-bag3

Are you interested in the book?

As for the giveaway question…hmmmmmm. Yesterday, K told me that a classmate of hers instructed his grandma that the word “awesome” is essentially passe, and updated her lingo. This hip grandma now likes to say “I’m rad”. I think that’s rad on so many levels, not the least of which is that she refers to herself as awesome and rad (relates to my post from earlier this week, no?). These words actually feel like throwbacks from the nineties, and it’s fun to see them in active use now. I remember my college roommate liked to tell me how “stoked” she was about everything — do people still say that?

“That’s cool” has always been my go-to phrase, but what about you? Is there a particular slang that you tend to use to describe something interesting/great/delightful? Or one that used to roll off your tongue when you were younger and is no longer in general circulation?

I’ll keep the giveaway open until next Thursday, November 13th and will announce the winner the next day! Go for it, international folks (those of you in the US are always welcome to participate, naturally) – I love to learn about colloquialisms and slang in other countries. Good luck!


Happy weekend to all!

It’s wicked awesome
to be part of this cool world
of groovy people

Fall Cleaning Giveaway: Part 3 [CLOSED]


This is such a great book. A great, great book. And the two patterns that immediately drew me in were first, the dress on the left:


And next, the giant bow top:


Herein lies the problem. I am simply not a giant bow kind of gal and quite frankly, I think I can self-draft that other dress. And as I looked through the book carefully, I realized that none of the clothes really felt right for me. I was drawn to the photography, and there must have been a part of me that wanted to be more “feminine” as the title promises. Chances are, however, that I will end up squirming with discomfort in the clothes. I’ve been doing this a lot for the last couple of years — asking the question, “does this feel right?”

So, as part of my fall cleaning/purging I am offering up this gem of a book for someone who can actually strut the pretty clothes in a way that I never will. And bonus: the book is in English!

Now, for the question, I was thinking back to my university days. I initially started out as a Mass Communications major with a minor in Business. Initially is the operative word here. The Mass Comm program was, at the time, an incredibly competitive and selective major that required an extensive essay for entry. It was essentially Journalism school, and being that my college was in Los Angeles, there was a prominent media/broadcast journalism component to it and was regarded as one of the top programs in the nation. Long story short, I got in. And then I found out two of my roommates got in as well (the third roommate was a math major and scoffed at all Liberal Arts). I’ve talked before about my reluctance to compete with people I know and this put me in a quandary. As silly as it sounds, I did not want to be in direct rivalry with my roommates, so I decided to switch to the lesser known and quite openly mocked Interpersonal Communications major. When you’re 18, you make decisions like that. The course load for Interpersonal Comm heavily incorporated Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy as well as core Mass Communication classes.

I remember thinking, “Dude,” (remember, I was 18) “what have I done?” At the helm of my first day of the required class stood the professor: she of a beehived coiff, pince-nez and a bristling energy that you could sense yards away. She handed out multi-colored packets with a child-like drawing of  — I don’t even know what it was — something on the cover. The packet contained sheets and sheets of daily exercises with questions like “What did you dream last night?” and “If you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” and “Name three strengths and three weaknesses that you’ve never told anyone. Why don’t you tell people?” Some of it was way out there and beyond wacky, something like “If you could be an alien, what kind would you be?” More child-like illustrations accompanied each sheet along with lots of stars and curlycues. I listened skeptically as she listed her credentials from MIT and described her stint at NASA. That seemed to explain the alien part. And I eventually figured out that the packet was meant to help me explore parts of myself that I would never openly discuss. The idea being that you couldn’t truly connect or relate to other people unless you knew yourself.

I obediently worked on the sheets since I’ve always been a good student and attended all the other requisite communication classes. Meanwhile, I was taking Micro and Macro economics and Finance/Accounting for my Business minor. Which I hated. I quickly sussed out that I was doomed when it came to any business aspirations.

And secretly, I loved my Interpersonal Communications courses. The major was so ridiculed among my peers that I had to put up a front that I too found it a waste of time, but in actuality, I discovered that what I was and still am deeply interested in is interpersonal relationships. And multi-disciplined learning. So although I ended up with a Business minor (a mystery, since I stopped taking the required classes but my academic advisor told me I qualified), I took so many education courses that I should have had an Education minor.

I’ve read that people rarely end up pursuing careers directly in their field of studies. I meandered a lot too, but I was thinking of how I have consistently utilized an overwhelming number of the lessons learned from my classes in my scattershot career — this, I think, is the point of a Liberal Arts degree and I don’t think it’s ever a waste of time to study what you love. It will inevitably prepare you for a variety of opportunities. And obviously, that weird packet from Interpersonal Communications 101 or what-have-you has unconsciously become my source for these giveaway questions. Vital life skills, wouldn’t you say? But back when I went to college, it only cost $3000 a year and I could justify (at least to myself) that I could study anything I wanted. I worked and paid my way through school, but I worry that K will have a far more difficult time when the question of higher education comes up; I have no idea if we’ll be able to save enough money for what is bound to be an astronomical amount for university costs in 2025, and I don’t know if it’s even feasible for students to pay their way through college anymore unless they have Warren Buffet-esque investment skills.

But that’s a subject for another time, and my giveaway question is this: not what kind of alien would you be, but what did you study in college/university? Or perhaps a better question is, what was your favorite subject in school? It could be from university, high school, preschool, whatever.

I will keep the giveaway open until next Thursday, October 9th and will announce the winner the next day and yes to international folks. Good luck!


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