my blog

a slimy affair

Another genius hour, come and gone…

I wanted to do something fun this time around, and be able to use it and share it even after the project presentation. So I began looking around, and I have an old friend who makes “slime” and sells it to others, and makes it for her friends. She’s a slime expert, and I wanted to channel her hobby into my project. So, I made slime! And not just any old slime. I made sparkly Valentine’s Day slime, that was clear and had little red sparkles suspended inside. The point of this whole ordeal was not only to make squishy, sparkly stuff but to use it for a good cause. Slime is meant to be squeezed and played with, yes? You see, the motion of squeezing and then relaxing your hand, that clench-and-release feeling, translates to the rest of your muscles. When you squeeze hard, you tense up, and then when you let go, you relax your body and feel looser. It relieves stress! So I thought that maybe if I make slime, not only only would people enjoy it, it could help them relax. Thus, my project was born: Making slime for stress relief!

look how pretty it is!

The first thing I needed to do was figure out how exactly to make slime. The key ingredient is always Borax, a laundry-detergent like chemical. This was easy enough, but soon I found a problem. I kept adding way to much of it, even though I was following the recipe! My slime kept coming out chunky and powdery. But then I problem-solved and figured out that if I put only half of what the recipe had told me, and heated it with water to better dissolve the powder, my slime would turn out fine. It was lovely and pretty, and so amusing to fool with and squeeze. I am pretty sure it took stress away, but maybe that is my imagination.

Then I needed to film myself making it, make a video, and then talk for 10-20 seconds about the slime I had made, finally showing the class the video I made using iMovie. This is where my second problem occurred. The video turned out fine, except for some of the pictures with text on them were cut off through a feature I couldn’t figure out how to turn off. But the problem was in the exporting of the video itself, from the iMovie app on my iPad. Literally nothing worked: Saving it to my camera roll failed. Trying to email it didn’t work. Converting to another file did nothing. Connecting the iPad directly to the projector wasn’t possible. Praying was ineffective. Literally NOTHING could export the file, making me believe that something is wrong with the iPad itself. So, my plans are to show it from the iPad screen to my teacher, so he can see it from there. As a result, I cannot link the video to this post 🙁

Image result for sad ipad clipart

bad, bad iPad

In all, I learned that as much as the slime de-stressed me, the presentation process just added 3x more stress than before. Next time, I will just make a PowerPoint and risk breaching the time-limit. And I now know to ask my savvy friend for her recipe (if she will indulge) so I can make the goo correctly the first three times. I did test the slime out on my dad, and he endorsed it as a tool for de-stressing. So it works! And my iPad does not! In addition, this helped me grow as a person particularly in the problem-solving area of my head, because I needed to figure out solutions to a lot of the problems I was presented with. I also felt more generous than usual as I let other people besides my dad touch the slime (through the plastic bag).

For my next genius hour project, I am thinking about researching domesticated foxes and how that could help pet lovers expand their horizons, because who doesn’t love pets?! Or, because it is such a recent phenomenon, it could help scientists in general discover more about the process of domestication. I’m thinking about this because I do love foxes a lot, and I want to transmogrify that love into something useful for science.

do want

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pics of my favorite things p.s. they’re cited

The corsac fox lying and posing wellCreative Commons License Tambako The Jaguar via Compfight

Steller's Jay Carolina Macaya via Compfight

 Ismail, Sabri. Sunrise Superb Moment Jetty. 16 June 2016. Pixabay. 20 January 2017.

 Hartnup, Ruth. Krispy Kreme Selection. 8 June 2012. Flickr. 20 January 2017.

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tweet tweet

Thanks to the copious blog assignments I have come to be familiar with throughout the year, blogging has become crucial to my understanding of digital citizenship. This is proved beneficial both academically and socially as I explored the internet and reached out to other online students. In addition, blogging taught our class to make connections online to better equip us with the tools we need to navigate the subject of the modern world: digital technology.

One connective outlet with which we experimented was the popular social network called Twitter, where one can message one’s own thoughts publicly, for better or for worse. That is the beauty of Twitter; it can serve as a quick, effective resource for communication, or a virtual void in which to scream extremist profanities in hopes one might receive a “like” or a “follow.”

With my new Twitter account, I searched and subscribed to ten Twitter users who were knowledgeable in my area of interest. This included experts, scientists, authors, and companies all associated with my research topic: sleep science. These include but are not limited to: Amy M Bender, PhD @Sleep4Sport, Amy Reynolds @SleepGutsHealth, Project Sleep @project_sleep, Max Kirsten @Max_Kirsten, Dr Stephanie Silberman @sleeppsychology, Julea Steiner @jbs_unc, Terry Cralle, R.N. @PowerofSleep, Sally Ferguson @Sal_Ferguson, Sleep Foundation @sleepfoundation, and Dr. Michael Grandner @michaelgrandner. None were too quick to follow my meagre student account, and I don’t blame them. I then created a Twitter list of said accounts.

The next step was to broach the void between my drafted questions and these online savvies by composing ten introductory tweets, one directed to each user. Two kind sleep doctors responded, Dr. Michael Grandner and Dr. Amy Bender, making clear that they were ready to share their information for my benefit.

A few weeks passed, and I was ready to ask my questions, which I had previously drafted, covering various topics in the sleep science realm. I composed 10 new tweets, one to each account, and since narcolepsy (a condition such that one is chronically drowsy) is a widely discussed topic in the world of sleep study, I kept my questions specific to the risks of that disorder (Could it be dangerous to fall asleep uncontrollably? In which situations could it be the most dangerous, e.g. driving? Swimming?) and the two aforementioned scientists responded gamely and thoroughly. Dr. Bender said “It would have to be the somewhat unpredictable nature of the sleep attacks which can occur during any activity and any time of day,” and Dr. Grandner said “Some “dangerous” risks are very rare. Most reasonable would be severe impairments in daily functioning. Extreme sleepiness on its own can cause decreased ability to focus and pay attention and even maintain consciousness.” To achieve such a detailed response, I had to continue my conversation with Dr. Grandner, and we formally corresponded until my interrogative attitude was spent.

After thanking them both, I reflected. Even though only a fifth of the people I contacted responded, I managed to get all my questions answered, and thoroughly. Although I am interested in narcolepsy, and sleep health in general, I did not base my topic of study on my Genius Hour project, which is focused on relieving stress. I guess one could suss out a connection between the two, but I largely diverged from my project to just get some good Q & A on another subject. So, in short, their answers don’t really help me, but I still found use for them in my mind.

In the future, these results help my understand an interest of mine, but they don’t directly benefit my existence at ISD in particular. Maybe, if I do a future project on sleep health, I could use this as additional information. Also, reaching across cyberspace to gain knowledge from experts looks swell in a college essay.

Until next time, Twitter…

Image result for twitter

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the *click* was supposed to be a cool camera noise. in case you didn’t get that 🙂 ANYWAY this post is dedicated to my love for photography and cameras.

I have been taking pictures of things since I was in, maybe 4th grade. that’s when my mom gave in to Apple and finally bought the iPhone 4. immediately I was taking pictures. at first it was random, like a photo of our street, my cat, flower, etc. but soon my dad dug out an old camera of his grandfather’- the kind that needs film and takes grainy, grayish-lavender pictures. what did I do with this new prize of mine? I went out into the neighborhood to take pictures of flowers, the street, some cats, my dad, etc. this model is actually so old that I searched and searched and I couldn’t find a pic of it online.

a week later, after a trip to the drug store to develop the film, I received a sleeve of shiny photos. I stared at them for a long time, especially the one of the lilies I saw growing tall in someone’s yard. I remembered one of them was hot pink with yellow stripes, but in the photo, without its defining colors, it looked like a ghost. there were more; some of them were shots from underneath, the leafy stem extending high and splitting off into the pale, lifeless petals. out of focus; dreamlike.

my second camera was an eternal switch off of disposable cameras. no words can describe my hate for those piece-a-junk cameras.

my third camera was a sleek, blue Kodak that my grandmother sent to all of the grand kids. by then, I was in 5th grade, and had figured out what qualifies as a ‘good’ picture and how to take one. for the first time, the camera had settings that could change the outcome of the picture, like exposure, zoom, etc. what did I do with this new, innovative tool (that broke itself 6 months later)? I took some really aesthetic pictures of my cat.

Image result for Kodak EasyShare Sport C123 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera (Blue)×300/BLU-C123-FB-R-unit.jpg

now, I can probably predict what you’re thinking. wow, who let this girl even ten feet from any form of picture-taking device? but don’t worry! photography is fascinating to me, and I always want to learn more (I think the whole concept is very poetic), so I didn’t suck at cameras for very long. soon, I began using my iPhone to take pictures. this was a huge improvement, because I actually understood how it worked, and how to edit the exposure and lighting. recently, my dad sent me a set of iPhone lenses, which were really fun to play with. I used the close-up lens on the one of my eye:


this Christmas, I will be able to fulfill my love of photography once and for all. I’m getting a whole new kind of camera: what one would call a dSLR (fancy camera). this will allow me to take any kind of picture that I want. I’m excited! lily’s journey through the world of picture-taking continues…

Image result for d3300


photography is one of my passions. here is some extra info about it, if you’re interested. and here’s some cool pictures to look at.

and now I ask you: what do you think about the art of photo-taking? what is your passion?



wow, the first time I wrote the word ‘community’ I wrote it with three m’s, haha. hence the title.

ANYWAY… time to discuss community. I guess you could say I’m a part of many communities, such as the isd community, edublogs community, American embassy community, non-religious community, etc. but today I want to focus on the ultimate frisbee community in Dakar.

basically, this community is a group of students and adults who gather at our field to play sports with a frisbee. we have lots of beginners and experts with us playing, so it’s really fun, but also serious. serious fun. I’ve been playing frisbee since the 3rd grade, so it’s nice to have a community of people just like me. that’s one of the many values of being in a community: you feel like you’re a part of something/supported, which helps you make new friends.

however, being in a community can also be a bad thing, because if two communities oppose each other, it’s difficult to mix them/make friends within the opposite community. in other words, you might be judged by the communities you’re a part of, which isn’t such a good thing. prejudice shouldn’t be allowed within communities, but maybe that’s my opinion.

comment below: what communities are you a part of?


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REMEMBER: click on the links to see a cool picture to help visualize what I’m saying!

I want to live in Italy, because I love everything about it, but I also want to live in Washington, because that’s home. So maybe I’ll have a tree house in the countryside of Italy, lots of pet foxes, work as a really-highly paid important person (that should really be a job) and then go to Washington for the holidays to my cabin and sleep until 11 every morning, and maybe ski, too. yesssss.

that’s the dream life. not exactly sure it will happen, but it’s nice to think about.

that’s what I’ll do when I’m done with stressful, tiring, dramatic, all-consuming school here in dusty, hot, boring Dakar. okay, so Dakar isn’t all those things. but in comparison to the dreams of my Italian lifestyle, it certainly is.


commenting part 2

hello guys,

this is my second post about commenting. there are two because it’s very important; connecting all over the web is vital to the core of the challenge, which is to meet and learn about new students online, all over the world. I’ve left countless comments for this same reason!


for week 6 on the blog challenge, I left comments on Jennifer’s blog post complementing her on her vivid details, Emma’s blog post commenting on how inspired by her encouraging post I was, and finally Mallory’s blog post because we both love the same book series!

anyway, I think so far commenting has been really good. I enjoy connecting with others overseas, but it’s annoying how sometimes they don’t reply. I’ve found many interesting posts- many things to read and comment one! However I don’t get a lot of comments, which is probably because my blog hasn’t got a lot of exposure. oh well.

here are some ways you can comment on mine and other’s blogs to start a conversation:

  • yes, and…
  • this makes me think/reminds me of…
  • one thing I like about this post is…

well, seeya soon!

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lily the poet????

hello, I’ve decided to share a poem I wrote a while ago that isn’t a very happy poem and I don’t think it’s that good anyway, but here it is. it’s short, so this blog post will probably be short, too.




what did you think? was it good? what do you think the meaning is?

HAHA just kidding! that isn’t the real poem. the real one is below, with a picture:


snow cone man


big, strong hands handed

the perfect moon of ice

a cold paper cone for a cold paper girl

she said thank you like she was singing

the blues

sad he thought

he was the big man behind the counter

and he had no words he wanted

to say something

to assure her don’t worry it’s alright

you probably won’t ever feel so sad

or be so blue

as the guy in my freezer



genius hour project… how did it go?

here is a little reflection on my genius hour presentation and what I think about it.

first of all, the topic I researched for genius hour was hypnosis, and how it works, how to hypnotize someone, etc. I chose this because it was something that greatly interested me and I was curious how it worked. however, once I delved into the internet tutorials and Wikipedia articles, I discovered that, once again, Hollywood has failed me in that it made hypnosis look super cool and magical, when really, it’s just another form of sleep and you’re just so relaxed that you’re really easy to persuade.

of course I tried to hypnotize my dad, and it went really great (he was feeling relaxed, I was giving him super relaxing scenes to visualize, etc.)  until the first command, when he just stood up, claimed to be hungry, and left. oh well.

this may be interesting to some, but for me, it was plain disappointing. but at least I now know how it works, even if that didn’t really help me grow as a person or help the community around me in any way. I mean, how can my world be helped now that I know hypnosis isn’t voodoo? my curiosity is satisfied but the world still has its copious problems. it was kind of a waste of time, and maybe that’s why I didn’t get a good grade; I was no longer interested.

next time I’ll choose something more interesting and fun to play with like slime (a borax concoction). I’ll probably make a video about it, too, because then I can be absolutely sure I don’t go overtime. and I’ll do different colors and cool sparkles to make it less black-and-white boring. how fun, blobs of sticky color will help planet Earth, I don’t know–perhaps it will make people smile, because they’ll like playing with it while the video is going, maybe brighten their day–but it sure is something that I’m interested in.

one last thing: here are some copyright-free images of hypnosis I should have added to my presentation: demonsundialbunny


my created image


“have a growth mindset”


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