Tag Archives: forensics

February favorites.

february favorites

With the turning of the calendar page from February to March, it’s time to bundle together the best products, places, media and everything in between from the last month. Here are 9 things I found myself loving in February…

1. Tom Bihn backpack

I was floored when I opened this early Valentine’s Day present from Chet. I just couldn’t get over the adorable pattern and perfect pocket placement. I’ve been wearing it around the whole month and it does NOT disappoint. You can read my full review of the bag and see some pictures of me sporting it in the wild HERE. I can not thank my thoughtful dude enough for this spectacular present. We have many day-trips and ultra-light adventures ahead of us. And we shall be so wonderfully well-equipped!

2. Downton Abbey

While I had previously seen most of the first three seasons of this show, I convinced Chet to watch it from the beginning with me. We just started the 5th season and I never want it to end! In case you’ve been living under a rock, the British drama follows the lives of the Crawley family and all its servants as they go about their business, upstairs and down, in the large country manor estate known as Downton Abbey. The show begins with the 1912 sinking of the Titanic but now in season 5 we’re all the way up to 1923. It’s quite fun to track the actual historic events that play out alongside the fictional lives of the Crawleys. Bonus to our nightly viewing? Chet does a bang-up impersonation of Mr. Carson, the Crawleys’ beloved butler, and will often chime in with his own commentary.

3. WKU forensics alums

In February, I traveled to Bowling Green, KY to spend some time with the current WKU Forensics Team and a small group of alums. We had a great weekend coaching speech and catching up. This team was such a big part of my life for 7 years that I love any excuse to step back into that world for a few hours. I saw some amazingly passionate, intelligent, and inspiring speeches and even played a few rounds of flip cup. (When with your college pals in a college town…..amirite?)

4. He Named Me Malala

I was selected this month by 21st Century Fox to receive an advanced screening copy of the documentary, He Named Me Malala. I pretty much cried through the whole film and really hope lots of people tuned in to watch the TV premiere. It was a profoundly impactful film made by filmmaker Davis Guggenheim exploring the life of Malala Yousafzai before and after her attack at the hands of Taliban. You can read more about the film HERE.

5. Save-the-Date cards

Initially, I wasn’t too on board with the whole idea of sending Save-the-Date cards. Wouldn’t it just be easier to hop on the internet to spread the word about our selected date and send out invitations later? But then again…I LOVE sending and receiving mail and I just couldn’t let the opportunity to send some mailbox cheer pass me by. I ended up designing them myself with the free photo editing site PicMonkey. I’m REALLY happy with how they turned out and think using PicMonkey and printing them on cardstock was a wonderful budget-friendly option. I’d be happy to post a tutorial about how I whipped them up if you’re interested!

6. My notebook

I snagged this notebook from Target when Chet and I were in Lafayette for Christmas. While I’m a huge fan of Moleskines and the Baron Fig Confidante, I’d sort of come to the conclusion that I wanted a hard-back spiral-bound for my day-to-day, planner-ish notebook. I like to have my To-Do list out all day and while other notebooks claim to “lay flat” they don’t always do so, or they do but they take up too much desk space. I also like to dedicate a whole page per day which can seem a bit wasteful when using a higher end notebook. I started this notebook, along with a new notebook system, on January 1st and it’s been really helpful and easy to stick to. I use a modified version of the Bullet Journal system. I prioritize daily spreads over anything else and I don’t index but I implement a lot of the other strategies. When this one is all used up I think I’ll continue to stick to this type of notebook!

7. Shakespeare’s First Folio

The book that made the bard made it’s way to Florida International University this month! Chet and I got dressed up and attended the opening of the first folio exhibit at The Frost Art Museum. It was amazing to see so much Shakespeare programming and hype occur at the university and in Miami while the book was on display. We loved taking a peek inside but only wished we could hold it in our hands and flip through the pages. Think of all that history!

8. New living room couch

Arriving into our humble abode just in the nick of time to make this favorite’s list is our new couch! We headed out early last Saturday morning to beat the crowds at Ikea and came home with all sorts of goodies. I’ve had my eye on a grey couch for some time now and I think we chose a great one! We poked around online to find a few contenders before heading into the thick of things but then ended up going with this one instead! It is super comfy and a great place to lounge with the sliding glass doors pushed open for a cool breeze. (Don’t mind the wrinkles in the photo above. It was only just born when I snapped that pic!)

9. Rooibos Chai Tea

My mom is always hooking me up with fair trade goodies and in February I was loving this chai tea she sent. I love brewing up a mug when the weather is a bit dreary or for an evening treat when there’s no dessert in the house. It’s just the right level of spicy and sweet with delicious notes of vanilla. YUM!

 

mid-week round-up

zebraWhat are you up to this week, loves? We saw a Bluegrass band play Monday night at the weekly Southland Jamboree. It was nice to have an excuse to eat dinner outside and we even (accidentally) showed up matching.  It took my mom pointing it out for us to notice! Thanks for all your love on my barrage of social media activity about our recent trip to Savannah. I had such a wonderful time and can’t wait to go back. And shout out to the new Mr. and Mrs. Berger!

OH, and speaking of Savannah, thanks to the million hour car ride I’m now obsessed with Snapchat. So…follow me at bberg1012 if you’re into Snappin’! Now onto the links…

America falls behind on language learning.

These new homes offer a (submerged) sea view.

A true icon of dance.

Your yoga flow with x-ray vision.

Illustrator says, “…animals lives are so sad and so weird.”

The shape of a healthy spine may surprise you.

Many women’s prisons use periods to punish inmates.

What to do on a short stay in Savannah.

A podcast featuring an interview with one of my ballin’ on a budget muses, Leanne Brown.

Absurdly unequal use of the term terrorism.

To Kill a Mockingbird tank for the literary lady.

Where my speech folks at? #ballotshame

On the road again…

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As I mentioned last week, I spent my middle and high school years criss-crossing the state and my college years criss-crossing the nation because I fell head over heels in love with an extracurricular activity. Which is why, when I read this article about a JV girls soccer team from Alaska, my heart went out to them. You’ll see why…

Players from the Ketchikan High School girls JV soccer team, the Lady Kings, wait in the Ketchikan airport for their final trip of the season. They’re flying to Sitka, a slightly smaller town that’s about 200 miles north, also on an island. The past month and a half, they’ve traveled nearly every weekend. They flew to Juneau twice, then Anchorage, now Sitka.

Marissa Medford, the team’s head coach, acknowledged that the trip was exhausting. But she was nevertheless confident and optimistic.

“They’ve got this down,” Medford said. “They’ve pretty much been living out of their bags for a month now. Pretty much enough time to get home, wash their stuff, get the new set of homework and hit the road again.”

Wow, have I been there. My first year competing for collegiate forensics, before our team had travel restrictions in place (mandating students couldn’t travel over 3 weekends in a row), I felt like I was in a constant state of motion with my eternally packed suitcase in tow. I can remember doing laundry with my roommate before our last and most important tournament of the season and tearfully confessing to each other, “I don’t want to go.” We were just so exhausted. Because not only were we sleeping nights on buses, putting in long days and coming home to paper due dates and tests to study for but we were never alone. As an introvert, this was the most tiring and scary aspect of a rigorous travel schedule. No time to slip away and recharge one’s batteries; having to be “on” all the time.

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Indeed, if soccer is such a huge and exhausting commitment, some might wonder if playing in the first place is worth it. But according to Coach Medford, the experience of being on the team does more than give the athletes a chance to play sports.

“I think it helps them grow, and it brings them closer,” Medford said. “It’s different than people down south. You hop on a bus, go play a game, hop on a bus, go back home. [The Lady Kings] are with each other all the time. They grow friendships, and they grow up together.”

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And she’s right–friendships forged in this manner will last a lifetime. More or less because… you’ve been. through. some. shit. My coaches and teammates saw me at my absolute best and my rock-bottom worst. And I saw them. We were thrown into some pretty wacky situations that only travel can create…and became closer as a result.

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[Medford] believes the payoff is worth it, despite the brutal schedule.

“We have a really bad issue with substance abuse and domestic violence,” Medford said. “Not just Ketchikan, but Alaska in general. So it’s good for them to stay involved and have self-worth, and a sense of purpose and meaning. So that’s good to see.”

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But this is the part that struck me right to my core…how in the face of shitty consequences, extracurriculars, whether that means debating or kicking a ball or strumming a guitar, give a different option. In simplest terms, they give kids something else to do…something BETTER to do, than the outlets that can look so enticing when you’re young and dumb and not thinking about consequences. The girls on the Ketchikan JV soccer team may miss a few homework assignments. They may not be as chatty at the family dinner table because they’re reserving their words for strangers hundreds of miles away. They may, on certain days, question why they even chose to play soccer in the first place. But they will also have beautiful bonds with their friends and memories. They will have opportunities perhaps otherwise overlooked. And maybe they will play that much harder because the journey was just as important as the destination.

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And whether they know it or not, they will have a forever fan way down here in the Bluegrass State who realizes how meaningful those journeys can be.

 

(Pictures of the soccer team from the original article and by Emily Files. Pictures of the WKU Forensics team from Facebook culling and by various friends and old teammates who I hope don’t mind. ;  )

mid-week round-up

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Spring has sprung and I couldn’t be happier!!! Has anyone else noticed a correlation between the rise in temperatures and a rise in social invitations? Everyone is coming out of hibernation, at long last. As for last weekend, I had a magnificent time in BG, KY at the WKU Alumni Work Weekend. I visited several vAry Bowling Greenian restaurants (I started to type them out but then got a little embarr-barr at how MANY places I was able to go in the span of basically 2 days lol), caught up with my WKY fam, and saw fantastic forensics performances. I know, as time continues to pass, that team and those people will always feel like home to me. Now, this weekend is filled to the brim with my favorite spectator sports–the American Forensics Association national tournament and the NCAA FINAL FOUR!!! I’ll be wearing blue with my 4’s held high in the hopes that both the Kentucky Wildcat Men’s Basketball Team and the Western Kentucky University Forensics Team bring championships back to the Commonwealth.

Now enjoy some links in this calm before the storm aka the wildest weekend imaginable for lovers of college basketball and college forensics:

If the movie “Her” occurred in 1995 (featuring Clippy!).

New racially biased hairstyle rules for women in the Army.

This new book about the Kitty Genovese murder is going straight onto my reading list.

…and this ballet book too!

The real dirt on archaeology.

A lesson in time management.

A beautiful story of a dedicated father (right here in Lexington, KY).

Ever wonder what Pamela Anderson is up to these days?

A new dating service.

Great long-form read: The Dead Zoo Gang.

25 facts about my favorite scary movie.

Alcohol hacks.

And a fan’s well-wishes to Coach Cal.

Forever and always–STNJ!!!!!! ❤

 

Smudge.

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I used to coach forensics (speech and debate) for one of the top collegiate programs in the nation. It was a wonderful job full of constant brainstorming and creativity, politics and passion, and some of the most fantastic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working alongside. But the thing I miss most about my old profession is live entertainment. The possibility for performance at my disposal on a daily basis was an amazing job perk. Lucky for me these performances were by some of the most talented college students in the world! The beautiful thing about forensics performance, specifically interpretation of literature if you’re familiar, in my opinion, is it’s simplicity. These sort of no-costumes, no-lighting, no-sets, incredibly nuanced and detail-oriented performances have completely spoiled me over the years. Sure, I love a Broadway show with a budget of millions as much as the next snob but I also crave a performance where the focus is the text and character. Where I can totally suspend disbelief and my only guide in that suspension is the performer herself.

Now that I’ve been out of the world of competitive forensics for a few years I fully realize how much I took these performances for granted. I try my best to support the performing arts at the local level as much as possible. I want to use my dollars to keep these programs doin’ what they’re doin’ but also for selfish reasons–I CRAVE live performance.

Needless to say when my sister asked if I wanted to check out a play put together by a few of her pals I was totally game. The show was produced by Actor’s Guild of Lexington but wasn’t a part of their regular season lineup and only ran for a weekend. Tickets were only ten bucks. If you’re on a budget and love supporting local art, get on some e-mail mailing lists so you don’t miss out on opportunities like these. Many times theaters will run these awesome little shows on the cheaps but ya gotta be in the know! These shows typically have lower production values but will feature many of the same actors you’re gonna see in the regular season and are often directed by younger, less-seasoned directors–so they’re super eager and experimental. Hmmm…smells like forensics to me!

The play we were lucky enough to catch was “Smudge” by Rachel Axler, directed by Chrisena Ricci (assistant to the artistic director at AGL) and starring Cindy Head, Eric Seale (artistic director at AGL) and Marshall Manley. Katie and I loved it! Initially, I was just excited to see a show at the new Actor’s Guild location out Old Harrodsburg Rd. (near the Ramsey’s) but the performance itself ended up being quite a delight. : )

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“Smudge” is the story of a young American couple giving birth to their first child and how they cope with the one in millions chance undetected abnormality she is born with. Cindy Head and Marshall Manley, as the young couple, played off each other extremely well and their scenes alone (and with the special carriage the baby had to stay in to survive) were equal parts comical and horrifying–dark comedy at it’s best. Eric Seale, as the uncle, was fantastic comedic relief. Most scenes had the sort of humour you weren’t sure you should laugh at because they featured squirmy subject matter. However, Seale’s scenes you knew you could. This dichotomy, in my opinion, is what made the performance work. The show culminated in a lovely scene, where the father, who worked for the census, presents a PowerPoint that tailspins into how his child fits into statistics. These numbers, coupled with the array of emotions displayed throughout the show, merge in pitch-perfect form and create a sense of finality, a sense that the characters can now, and we along with them, acquiesce to their given situation.

All in all, I thought the show’s simple set, props and costumes were a boon, as they didn’t add or detract from the honest performance the actors were giving. Just the sort of performance this former forensics coach can get behind. While the run was short and you’ve already missed out ; ), do keep your ear to the ground for future shows–the simple ones can sometimes surprise you!

AND if you’re looking for some live entertainment this weekend, Actors Guild of Lexington’s regular season show “Other Hands” opens TONIGHT and runs through Sunday. Wed-Sat shows are at 8pm and Sun is at 2pm. The show will be at Actor’s Guild of Lexington Theater, 4383 Old Harrodsburg Road #155 and you can purchase tickets here. Break a leg cast and crew!

(Photos generously provided by Chrisena Ricci.)