Cdes header

College of Design

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Out of the Classroom Experience

Happy break, readers!

I'm down to three weeks until I leave for my semester abroad in Copenhagen. It is still surreal, but I am incredibly excited. As things are winding down, I've had to part ways with my first studio desk, and have my last day at my architecture internship.

I started at mattson|schuster last December and have worked there as the Architect Intern the past two semesters as well as throughout this past summer. mattson|schuster is a small, residential remodelling company with an office in Excelsior. Being that the company is quite small, I was able to get very hands-on experience. The designs were done between my boss and I, and as I continued to get more experience, I got even more freedom with the designs. As with any job, I learned so much when I first started -- codes, sizing, foundations, pricing.

What was really great about this internship is that I continued to learn throughout my time there. In the remodelling field, every home you visit is different. Customers desire different changes to their home, and each house has a pre-existing challenge that we either need to fix, or work around. That is one of my favorite parts about being in the remodelling business rather than new build; each project has to be different, because the existing structures are never the same. Below is a picture with everyone at mattson|schuster enjoying lunch on my last day! Check out some of the work from mattson|schuster here.


I have a very strong belief that internships are absolutely necessary to pair with one's education. This opportunity provided me with skills and knowledge that some of my peers don't currently have. Everything is not taught through coursework, and therefore, first hand experience is exceptionally relevant. Sometimes I got overwhelmed with balancing my internship and my coursework, but that is also a skill we all need to learn. Balancing a number of things is a struggle in college, but it makes it all that much more rewarding. Internships look fabulous on a resume, too! Even if you only work once or twice a week, or maybe 20 hours, it all adds up and shows your experience and commitment to your education and career choice.

The U of M has an awesome Career & Internship Services office, where students can go for free. I went there a few times last fall and received advice on my resume and more information on how to use the internship search. By December I had landed myself an internship!

See you in 2015! Happiest New Year!


Goodbye London, Hello Minneapolis

I hope everyone had a great holiday! I'm back home in Minneapolis. It's been a little bit of an adjustment coming back home, but it feels great to be here. I miss London and all the people that I've grown so close to there. My body is still adjusting to being back in this time zone and my pocket book is a lot emptier, but the experience I had there was worth it all, and then some.

I'm excited to be coming back with all these new skills I've learned, and bring them into the new semester and the new year! After this, I promise I won't go on and on about my study abroad trip and how wonderful it was. I just want to recommend one more time, that if anyone is considering going abroad to study, do it! You'll make lasting friendships from people around the world. It will push you outside of your comfort zone, and make you a stronger person. You'll learn things and have experiences that you may not learn or have otherwise. You'll also create memories and stories that will stick with you for a lifetime.

If I've convinced you to go abroad, and you want to go to London, let me give you some tips. The first couple of days may be hard, you may get homesick and you may be a little scared, but don't worry, that's normal and it will pass. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance with directions or interact with people. They say that the majority of Londoners aren't even from London, so most people should be willing to help. You may not get any help the first couple of times, but don't give up--persistence will usually lead you in the right direction. If you aren't from a big city, you're going to have to learn not to take things personally and to toughen up a little. Don't be afraid to be a little aggressive when walking through the crowd. A smile and being polite will also usually be returned with a smile as well. Definitely save money. London is an expensive city, so you want to make sure your experience isn't hindered with the worry of financial issues. While you're abroad, I would also recommend having someone help you take care of any issues that you might still have at home, because it's hard juggling a life abroad as well as your life back home. Make sure to make your time there the best experience it can be by making new friends and making memories.

I'll leave you with those tips for now. Until next time, have a happy New Year! Be safe and make good choices!

This is a picture of the illustration of my final line up for the collection I designed.

Here are some pictures of the final exhibition we did of our work in the semester.
DSC_0414.JPG DSC_0422.JPG

And now here is a picture of some of the best people in the world, my classmates and our tutor.

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with what's going on with me. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Minneapolis: A love affair

Hello Everyone!

Every year, the holidays remind me of why I love Minneapolis so much. In fact, one of the reasons I chose to transfer to the U of M was because of the city. I didn't always love Minneapolis, but it took leaving to make me realize how really great our city and state truly are!

Minneapolis has been ranked the Healthiest City in America by Forbes, the Best Place for Millenials, the 2nd Happiest State in America, and Friendliest City in America, just to name a few. If you want to read further about what else Minneapolis excels in, click here!

Minneapolis Market

Another reason I love Minneapolis is simply the amount of things there are to do here! A few of my favorites include going to farmer's markets, hanging out at Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, ice skating at the Depot, and going to all the various festivals held throughout the year.

To find out more about what Minneapolis has to offer, Meet Minneapolis has compiled a list of 150+ things to do in Minneapolis.

If you're still not convinced, check out these videos Greater MSP and Meet Minneapolis have put together:

Welcome to Greater MSP

Minneapolis -- By the Seasons

And for those of you who are apprehensive of our winters, make sure you check out this one!

GMSP -- We Embrace Winter

I hope you all will fall in love with Minneapolis and Minnesota just as I have.

Until next time!

Graphic Design

Internship Search

It's winter break and for many people that means the start of the search for a summer internship. I know for future students this may not be the first thing on your mind as you're considering colleges, but I think it's definitely something that you should take into account! A school that supports your search for an internship and eventually a job and career is a school you want to be a part of.
The internship search can be stressful for a lot of people, but I have discovered some great tips and resources that can be helpful to find something you will really enjoy doing.

  1. 1. Informational Interviews. The first thing I suggest is taking part in some informational interviews. This is such a great, informal way to learn more about an organization, its work environment, and if you would enjoy working there. A lot of places will be very willing to talk to you as a student and let you see what they do on a daily basis. I HIGHLY recommend taking part in one of these. It can be intimidating at first, but from personal experience, I promise it is nothing to worry about and will be a very rewarding experience. The link above provides some information about informational interviews and tips for conducting one.

  1. 2. GoldPASS. A great resource the U of M offers is GoldPASS. It's a job search platform for students and includes job and internship opportunities from employers who are interested in hiring University students.

  1. 3. Resume help. The U of M provides career services that offer a lot of help preparing your resume for potential jobs. They provide tools such as networking information and mock interviews. Taking advantage of these resources is a great way to make sure you're prepared before an interview or submitting an application.

The job hunt can seem daunting, but if you're organized, prepared, and take advantage of the great resources at hand, it can be an easy, stress free, and exciting process. I hope this helps you out either in your future search for an internship or job, or even just to get you thinking about what the future holds.

Hope you're all having a fantastic holiday season!

Interior Design

Winter Break Life

Winter break, one of the most relieving times of the year for college students, has been pretty low-key so far. My fall internship is over and now I don't work unless it snows. Given the fact there hasn't been much snow, I've found myself just relaxing, where as normally I would be plowing if there were snow.

Currently, I am working on an application for the Accelerated Track for Landscape Architecture, a program that would allow me to start graduate school a year early and would offer a rather reduced price tag. I've also spent my time on break going to the lake to enjoy some ice fishing and outdoor recreation. The picture below is of my dog out on the lake over the holidays.

If you are interested in the Landscape Architecture program, and possibly graduate school someday, visit the Masters of Landscape Architecture web page. Just checking it out is helpful and will give you an idea of what you can expect in the coming years.


Landscape Design and Planning

Masters of Landscape Architecture

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Textbook Talk


Hello again!

I can officially say that I'm halfway through my junior year of college - how crazy is that? It feels like just yesterday I was walking into my AP European History class in high school. My favorite part of the end of the semester is returning my books to the bookstore.

I choose to rent my textbooks when applicable because it saves me a lot of money! If you have the option to buy or rent a textbook, I would suggest renting. You can write and highlight in the textbook as you would if you bought it, and then simply return it to the bookstore at the end of the semester. I also like renting my textbooks because I don't have to fuss with storing them or worry about selling them to another student on campus. However, if you prefer to buy your textbooks, Facebook is a great resource!

I hope you all have an amazing holiday and a safe break!

Style on,
Retail Merchandising

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

This is the final week for the program at Central Saint Martins in London. This week, we are doing our finishing touches on our final projects, as well as setting up an exhibition of all the work we have done while we've been here. The exhibition is in collaboration with the studio art students and the graphic design students who are also studying abroad. The task is to be able to curate all of our work into a cohesive exhibition, which means that we have to look at the space available to us, and decide what works we want to display and how we are going to display them. Turns out, putting up and curating an exhibition is a lot harder than you might think, especially when you have to make a cohesive show with so many different styles and pieces from everyone.

I'm excited and sad at the same time that my time here is almost done. I've learned a lot of things, had some amazing experiences, and have made some amazing new friends while I've been here. I'm excited to bring back the new knowledge I've learned here into the work I'll be doing when I get home. There will definitely be things I'll miss about London, but I'm definitely ready to go home.

Big Ben.jpg Church.jpg London Eye.jpg London Tower Bridge.jpg

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with what's going on with me. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Finals, and projects, and papers - Oh my!

Finals week officially kicked off on Saturday. Lucky for me, I did have a final on Saturday. During my (almost) three years at the U of M, I've never had a Saturday final. However, it really wasn't as bad as it sounds. I only have one final left in my Human Resources class and then I'll be working, reading books (for fun), and blogging over my winter break.

Finals week is a pretty big deal in college, but don't let it scare you! My biggest piece of advice is to keep up with your readings and fully understand all material as the semester progresses. This way, when finals week creeps up, you'll already feel semi-prepared and you can focus your time on reviewing materials rather than trying to read and learn new material in addition to studying everything from the previous months. I made the mistake of getting behind on my HR readings and I now have to read eight chapters AND study before my exam on Thursday -- don't do this! Save yourself the stress. You'll thank me later.


This photo was taken before my Textile Analysis lab final. We were all pretty nervous and we studied right up until the last minute!

P.S. The U of M libraries are awesome recourses to use during finals week. They are even open 24/7!!

Style On,
Retail Merchandising

Fall Semester Is Over!

Hi everyone,

Well, it's already that time of the year--winter break! I was lucky enough to have all my finals done by Saturday and don't have any taking place over finals week. It feels great to have it all done, as these last few weeks have been jam-packed with things to-do and stuff to worry about.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 7.18.34 PM.pngThe other week my codes class (IDES 2613) went on a field trip to the new Microbiology Research Facility being built on campus and looked at how they are using codes in the construction of the building. To the left you can see a photo of me and some classmates outside of the site. We received a hardhat tour of the site and it was really interesting!

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 7.18.20 PM.png
After that it was time for me to get down to studying and finishing up projects. My big final project, for Interior Design Studio 3, was to design a chair showroom (seen on the right). It was a lot of work, but I was able to get it done on time and created something I am really proud of! After turning it in and finishing my final exams, it has been a great relief to be to-do free. It actually feels a little weird, but I think I can get used to it!

I hope everyone is finishing their semesters strong and best of luck on final tests and projects! Have a great winter break!

Interior Design

A Little Inspiration for Finals Week

Hello Everyone!

As finals are upon us, it can sometimes be challenging to stay focused and motivated all the way through to the end. Therefore, today I want to talk about inspiration and where I (and you!) can find it.

Oftentimes, before I start a project, if I get stuck, or just need a study break, I like to search through the graphic design tags on Tumblr and Pinterest. I keep both a design inspiration blog on Tumblr and a Design board on Pinterest so I can go back and look at the pieces I have re-posted or pinned whenever I need to.


If you don't do so already, I highly recommend it! If you don't know where to start, Creative Bloq put together this list of The 90 Best Tumblr Blogs for Designers.

A few other great websites to check in with, include:

-- The Dieline
-- Creative Bloq
-- Packaging of the World
-- Lovely Package
-- The Design Blog

What's great about these sites is that they all have Twitter profiles and Facebook pages, as well. If you follow them on those platforms, reviewing their content can fit into your regular social media check (I know you all do it already) and you won't have to always be checking in with their site.

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Nearing the End

Finals are here and the Fall 2014 Semester is almost to a close. For the most part, my finals have not been too bad. In the Landscape Architecture program, most of our work is project-based, which means not a whole lot of tests to study for. However, it does mean you are working hard to get that final project complete. Luckily, for me, my finals end pretty early this year. Four of my five classes are already wrapped up, and all I have left is a drawing project to present on Monday.

If you enjoy working on projects rather than memorizing things, Landscape Architecture might be a good fit for you. If you like gluing things together or drawing, it might be a good fit as well, and finals may be a little less stressful. Nonetheless, I am excited to finish up my fall semester on Monday and have a nice winter break. It will be nice to relax and enjoy some free time.

Pictured is a plan from one of my final projects.


Landscape Design and Planning

The Final Review.

Sault Archies!

The whirlwind of studio finals is now over, and I'm approaching my last exam of the semester. I'd have to say this semester has flown by faster than any semester yet, which is just bringing me closer to my departure date for Copenhagen!

Our Studio One review was on the 8th, so after our return from Thanksgiving break, it was crunch time. I spent most of my time the weekend before the review at Rapson Hall making models and drawings. Although I spent a lot of time preparing for the presentation, it was a blast to be surrounded by all my friends who had the same deadline.

When it came time for the review, I was ready to rock my presentation. I had been working on this project for eight weeks, and I felt confident. That said, not everyone who looks at your project can feel the same way about it as you. This review was probably the hardest one I've had to date. I had to keep in mind that design is about pleasing yourself (mostly) and pleasing others (also important) who are grading and reviewing your project, but also have many more years of experience. I was happy with my designs and felt they were strong, so I tried to brush it off. Being critiqued by your peers and professionals takes a lot of courage. You have to remind yourself not to take it too personally because, ultimately, their goal is to help you improve.

Thumbnail image for DSC_0072_2.jpg

Do a bit of research during holiday break on which Architecture Degree Program is best for you!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Au Revoir Paris! Hello London!

Our break is over and I'm back from Paris. Paris was an amazing trip! Such a beautiful city, with so much to see, experience, and of course, taste!! I went on top of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, went down into The Catacombs of Paris, saw Notre Dame, and tasted amazing croissants and macarons! Definitely go to Paris if you get a chance, and if you do, it will definitely help if you learn some French phrases and words.

Now it's back to work. It's crazy to think that I only have three weeks left in this program at Central Saint Martins in London. I still feel like I just got here, but at the same time, like I've lived here for years. All of the electives are done for the program, and now we are on to our next module, Fashion Design 2. This is where we will be using all the skills that we learned from the previous 11 weeks in our final project. The project will be to create a collection, but a huge concentration will be on the process to make it into a portfolio-worthy piece to showcase our design process skills. Now to dive into research and to get some inspiration--wish me luck!

More pics from Paris!
Looking Down Eiffel Tower.JPG
Looking up Eiffel Tower.JPG
Arc De Triomphe.JPG
Paris Catacombs.JPG

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with my life studying here in London. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see some more of my experiences abroad.

Apparel Design

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Hello all! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed the break as much as I did! Now it is time to crack down into the few final weeks of the semester.

Classes are the most important part of college, but I've always had a firm belief that being a well-rounded college student is equally as important. Being involved and making connections is something that goes beyond the classroom and is essential during one's college years, and most definitely after. In the Design World, connections are very important and are often a key element when it comes to landing a job or an internship. Therefore, it is necessary to make these connections while still in school. Look no further than the College of Design's Design Student and Alumni Board.

The Design Student and Alumni Board (DSAB) hosts a few events throughout the year and provides an opportunity to meet with alumni or design firms around the Twin Cities metro area. These events allow students to speak one-on-one to firms and receive feedback on their portfolio or resume. Another great program that DSAB holds is the Mentorship program. This program is one of the largest mentorship programs at the U of M, even though the College of Design is one of the smallest colleges. The mentorship program is absolutely fantastic. It connects one student and one professional based on the interests of the student. I have interests in sustainability and travel, therefore my past two mentors have had similar interests. The mentors come from a number of firms scattered around the cities, some large, some small.

From November to April mentees and mentors communicate via email, phone, or in person at least once a month. I usually just met my mentor for coffee and we attended some of the events or lectures hosted by the College of Design. I also went on a firm tour, which is a really neat experience in a one-on-one, casual setting. It was cool to see the environments of my mentors--an architect and a house designer. I believe DSAB's Mentorship program is one of the best experiences I've had. One can learn a lot from someone who shares the same passions as you, and have gone through the same things you have. We could all use advice on how to structure our portfolio, or whether or not we go to graduate school right away. It means a lot coming from a professional who is interested in your well being and has taken time out of his or her schedule to answer your (many, many) questions. Such a great experience!

Check out more photos from the College of Design here.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Getting Home for the Holidays

The holidays are here and it has been a busy long weekend of friends, family, and food! I know some students come to the University of Minnesota from far distances and I thought I'd share some tips on getting home from college for the holidays or just a weekend.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.59.25 AM.pngSometimes getting off campus and going home is just the break you need to get away from school to-dos or just to get some home-cooked meals. The U of M has a service called Zimride, which is a ride-sharing service for U of M students. To the right is a map from the Zimride website showing the different rides and destinations available. I personally haven't used it because I grew up close to the U of M and usually can be picked up, or I hear of rides by word of mouth (another common way to get rides home). But if you're struggling to find a ride, or you're driving and want some people to pitch in for gas, it's a great service to check out!

I also know of some people who use the Megabus to get back home. If you haven't heard of it, it's a bus system that goes to many different destinations and tickets can be secured for very good prices. So be sure to check that one out, too.

Hopefully these tips can help people planning their rides back home for winter break. Only a couple more weeks!

Interior Design

Friday, November 28, 2014

What are you thankful for?


Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I spent a lot of time with my friends and family. I found myself periodically thinking about what I was thankful for and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts with you all.

I'm thankful to have the opportunity to receive an excellent education from the University of Minnesota.

I'm thankful that my family lives close to campus and I can visit regularly.

I'm thankful for my adviser, Katrina -- she's awesome!!

I'm thankful for the diversity that surrounds me. Both on campus and in the city, diversity in multiple senses: racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural.

I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had while attending the U of M. I've had the chance to meet amazing friends, join extraordinary student groups, be taught by outstanding professors, and (next year) study out-of-state!

I'm thankful for the support that the university offers. Whether it be your residence hall Community Adviser, your academic adviser, or other resources found on campus. Also, a big shout out to the technology support team - they have helped me out multiple times! A handful of these resources can be found here.

Now it's your turn. What are you thankful for?

Style on,
Retail Merchandising

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bachelor of Environmental Design Open House

Last Thursday, there was an open house for Bachelor of Environmental Design (BED) students, Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) students, and College of Design faculty and alumni to discuss the work of LA 3001 Understanding and Creating Landscape Space in LA 3001 studio.

The models were admired and critiqued at the open house event and the current curriculum of the BED was discussed by all who attended. Current students and graduate students were put into groups with faculty and alumni. The groups discussed landscape in general, work done in 3001, and the general curriculum of the BED program. It was a great opportunity to meet professionals and fellow classmates to discuss and learn more about the field and journey we're embarking on. These opportunities to network are really special and ones you should take advantage of in college!


Landscape Design and Planning

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Bonjour! I'm writing this blog in Paris right now. I'm currently on break from school for a week, so I decided to take a trip to Paris for a couple of days. London is so close, so might as well. This last week my classmates and I handed in three major projects, so this break is much needed. Hopefully after this break, I'll be refreshed and ready to take on my last major class for the semester.

From my experience studying abroad so far, I have learned so much. The information and way of learning that they teach here has definitely elevated me as a designer. If you have a slight thought that you would like to study abroad, I would highly recommend it! Not only do you learn skills in your major to supplement your home university's teaching, but you also learn to become much more independent and self sufficient as a person. I can already tell that I've grown so much as person. I've attained new life skills that will definitely benefit me in the future. You'll learn problem solving skills and social skills, which you can take with you as you enter the workforce, and it also gives you interesting things to talk about when you interview for jobs.

Here are some pictures of Paris in my first day so far.

Paris 1.JPG
Paris 2.JPG
Paris 3.JPG
Paris 4.JPG

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with my life studying here in London. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics from Paris.

Until next time, I'll bid you adieu!

Apparel Design

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dirty Laundry

Hello Everyone!
dirty laundry
I know I've written about a lot of events lately, but there have just been so many to attend! Last night I went to another event hosted by the Design Student and Alumni Board. Dirty Laundry hosted Ben VandenWymelenberg from Woodchuck USA and Colleen Carey of the Cornerstone Group.

Now incredibly successful, Ben and Colleen discussed some of their "bumps, hurdles, and crashes along the way," of which both agreed there were too many to count. Colleen even went as far as to say she probably had one bad idea every day in her 30 years of business! That being said, they both also spoke about the importance of making mistakes.

The big takeaway from Ben's anecdotes was that problems and challenges are opportunities. Colleen agreed that mistakes prove to be significant learning experiences. When you view mistakes less as failures and more as opportunities, you can move past them faster and provide opportunities for growth and improvement. You will fail sometimes, but that's okay.

Finally, during a night in which business and design horror stories were being traded, Colleen added that though failures and mistakes are both constant and inevitable, you still need to be an optimist to succeed. If you focus on the negative, you will never do anything, so here's to looking at that glass half full!

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Hello, everyone!

These past weeks in Minnesota have been a snowy few. However, the snow doesn't stop classes or events from being held. I want to take this blog post to share a little about my favorite student group on campus: FAB. Sounds FAB-ulous, right?

FAB stands for Fashion and Business. I first learned about this group when I was a sophomore and was having a difficult time getting involved on campus. My Center for Academic Planning and Exploration, or CAPE, coach recommended that I join FAB to meet and connect with other students interested in the opportunities that the fashion world has to offer. This group isn't specific to retail merchandising majors. The main thing that FAB members have in common is their passion for fashion and the endless opportunities the industry has to offer.

FAB holds many great events throughout the semester. Recently, they held an interview workshop that I found very helpful. They've also held tours of local Minneapolis boutiques, behind-the-scenes Mall of America tours, and other experiences that I would have never been able to have if I wasn't a part of FAB!

If you want to get involved around campus and are interested in fashion and business, I would highly suggest joining FAB! To learn more, check out its Facebook page!

I have my calendar marked for FAB's most recent event that will be taking place on Tuesday!


Style On,
Retail Merchandising

The Snow is Falling!

It has begun...the snow is falling and we can now say that winter is here. Some of us have grown up in Minnesota and snowy places like this, and others students are coming from places in which they have never encountered snow before. Either way, the U of M has some tricks up its sleeve for avoiding the cold and hopefully I can help you stay warm by sharing them!


First we have the campus buses. I've mentioned how convenient they are in previous posts and I can't emphasize it enough--the buses are lifesavers! Not only can you get on the Campus Connector to go to the St. Paul campus, but there are Campus Circulators that are perfect for getting you shorter distances. The East Bank Circulator and St. Paul Circulator travel throughout campus, the Washington Avenue Bridge Circulator goes between East and West Banks, and the Weekend Circulator runs until 2 am to safely get you around campus on the weekends. These buses are so convenient and easy to use, and can really save you on colder days.

Second is the Gopher Way. Totally underestimated and unknown by many, the Gopher Way is a series of tunnels and paths that students can use to get around campus indoors without having to face the elements. There's an online map and PDF that offers information and shows exactly where the tunnels and paths are on all three campuses. You can get you pretty far without having to go outside. Take a look so you can start taking advantage of it!

Apart from the obvious solution of bundling up against the cold, I seriously recommend exploring these great options for getting around campus in the winter!

Stay warm!
Interior Design

The Designed Environment.

Hello Readers,

If you have been keeping up with our Instagram you may have seen I've been on a few field trips around Minneapolis this semester. Visiting local examples of what you are studying in your courses is incredibly beneficial.

One of the reasons I feel the College of Design at the U of M is a great place to study architecture is because of the cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul. The architecture here is great, and one doesn't need to travel far to get in-person experiences. Through a few of my travels, and going on these field trips, I've learned that seeing and experiencing a building or place is quite different than studying it from a textbook. It's important to be able to relate local examples to other places one may be studying.

It's also essential to dive into the local design and become very familiar with your surroundings. I'm from a small town, so downtown Minneapolis is always a new learning experience. Last week, my class and I visited a few of the skyways within the extensive skyway system in downtown Minneapolis. This was all new to me, and I couldn't make sense of the map. It was interesting to visit the skyways, which are a rather unique element to a large city, and experience how they influence the culture of the downtown district.



Thursday, November 13, 2014


Snow! Snow seems to bring mixed emotions to many people. I find it exciting. Yes, it brings extra work and cold temps, but it creates a completely different mood and world. If anyone understands the added work it brings, it would be me.

I work for a landscape company that does snow removal in the winter and have spent plenty of sleepless nights plowing and shoveling. However, the white snow brings out every color and makes a sunny wintery day brighter than mid July.

Also, campus becomes a completely different place: roller blades are replaced with cross country skis, hockey and basketball become prevalent again, and everything is covered in snow. Bikers fall because they think they can still bike, and folks waiting for the campus buses--the Campus Connector and Campus Circulator--become covered in a breath-made cloud. Maybe the snow is just a sign that the holidays are right around the corner. I find it refreshing!

A snowy scene from around campus:


Some more inspiring winter images:

Landscape Design and Planning

Friday, November 7, 2014

Caution: Graphic Content Ahead

Hello Everyone!

Last night I attended the Caution: Graphic Content Ahead event put on by the Design Student and Alumni Board (DSAB) and it was phenomenal!


The DSAB brought in a panel of younger designers to talk about their experiences when transitioning from college to career. With this being a source of one my biggest anxieties (along with a lot of other Juniors/Seniors), it was fantastic to hear each of their stories.

The panel was made up of:

Stacia Burtis, Designer at Zeus Jones
U of M '13 -- Graphic Design

Laura Anderson, Designer at Persicope
U of M '10 -- Graphic Design

Ashley Hohnstein, Associate Art Director/Designer at Target
UW-Stout '13 -- Graphic Design

Rett Martin, Digital Associate Creative Director at Target
U of M '04 -- Graphic Design

Drew Covi, UIX Design & Developer at Honeywell
U of M -- Graphic Design

Paul Derby, UX Designer, Honeywell
Texas Tech -- Psychology

A few pieces of advice I found particularly helpful were:

-- Connect with people on social media, especially Twitter. Follow agencies you're interested in and make sure the link to your website/portfolio is in your bio.

-- Informational interviews and networking are everything. Attend and volunteer at American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) events. Be a face people start recognizing.

-- Invest time in personal projects, startups, freelance, etc. It can fill out a portfolio, it's something that will set you apart from other designers, and it shows you have initiative.

-- Finally, don't stress about finding the perfect job. Find a job you think you could enjoy (for at least a year), try something new, connect with people, and learn a lot.

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Monday, November 3, 2014

Don't Watch Life, Live It

I hope that everyone had a great Halloween weekend! I celebrated it here in London with some of my classmates. It was a fun experience to see how Londoners celebrate Halloween. It is not the same as in the states, but was still fun. Halloween here is apparently not that big, but the people who do celebrate it definitely get dressed up.

I also went to the city of Bath. It was such a beautiful city for a day trip destination. The buildings and scenery in Bath were gorgeous and somehow created a warm filter that felt like a sunset the whole time. It definitely had a much more relaxed vibe than London.

I'm not going to lie, but I did sacrifice getting work done in order to take the day trip to Bath. I do think the experience was worth the upcoming late nights that I'll be having to catch up though. I'm not encouraging putting off your homework and enduring sleep deprivation, but I do encourage you to take every opportunity to try and experience new things. College is definitely about learning through classes and homework, but it is also learning through experiences as well. This is the time where most people have their greatest growth as a person, so if an opportunity comes, don't let it pass you by. The study abroad program here demands a lot and has high expectations, but I knew that if I solely concentrated on my homework, I would be missing out on the amazing things here in England. How often am I going to get this opportunity to be able to travel so easily to places I've never been?

Here are some pictures from Bath.
DSC_0200.jpg DSC_0213.jpg DSC_0221.jpg DSC_0254.jpg

Remember, I'm not encouraging you to put off your homework, but I'm merely saying don't let the world and life pass you by.

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with my life studying here in London. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Sunday, November 2, 2014

So you like design...but what else?

Happy November everyone!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have a lot of interest in sustainability, which has lead me to include sustainability in my studies here at the U of M. So let's talk about minors!

I decided to make Sustainability Studies my minor at the end of my first year here. Being an architecture student, I have a lot of interest in green building design, efficient systems, and material studies. So it made sense to pair the Sustainability Studies minor with my architecture degree. In fact, many other architecture students feel the same way, since architecture represents the most common major within the minor.

Minors provide a great opportunity to fulfill other interests that you may have, without taking on another major. They also work out pretty well to fulfill any upper division courses outside your major that you need to graduate. Most minors are around 15+ credits. For Sustainability Studies, there are two core courses, and three elective courses. There's a large range of courses, even an architecture course (!), that you can take to knock out the elective courses. It's really a lot of fun to be able to expand your education and meet people who aren't typically in your design courses.

I'm currently taking the Sustainability Studies capstone course, or the final required course for the minor. It's really interesting because we are paired with cities around the metro area to assist in their sustainability action plans. Being able to work with real cities, rather than a fictional city, and have a real impact has been a cool experience. We will be showcasing our work to community members at the Sustainability Fair later this month.


So remember, don't feel the need to focus on only one interest if you have many! Your first year is the time to try new things!


Concrete Jungle - New York City

Hello again!

Today I come bearing some exciting news about plans that I have in store for Fall 2015 -- I'm going to New York!!

How it all started:
Last year I was browsing through Katie's blog posts (she was the Retail Merchandising student blogger before me) and saw her post about her semester studying in New York City. I was immediately intrigued and contacted her asking about her experience.

What I did next:
I followed up with my adviser, Katrina, and she gave me further information regarding the partnership that the University of Minnesota College of Design has with The Fashion School at Kent State University's New York Studio. This program is typically a semester long.

What I'm doing now:
I just recently got my acceptance letter into the program -- yay! Now, I have to fill out a series of confirmation paperwork and start apartment hunting for my semester stay.

What I'm planning on doing in New York City:
I plan on completing about 15 credits at Kent State's Fashion Studio in addition to completing my internships. I also plan to live like a New Yorker to the best of my ability. This will be a once in a lifetime experience and I want to make the most of it!

I will keep you updated on my journey as the year continues. Please ask me questions if you're interested in the program or would like to know more about my process. I know that if I didn't ask Katie questions I would never be in the position that I'm in today!


Style On,
Retail Merchandising

Afternoon Trip to Ft. Snelling State Park

Today I took a trip to Fort Snelling State Park, located along the Mississippi River in the heart of the Twin Cities--just another example of how unique the Twin Cities metropolitan location is.

The park, named after an old military camp used to control transportation on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, is filled with amazing walking paths, bike paths, and skiing and hiking trails. Other activities include, canoeing, swimming, fishing, bird watching, and so much more. The park itself is hundreds of acres, and after factoring in other adjacent parks, you have access to thousands of acres of river and forest land to explore. Just in one trip I saw deer, beavers, ducks, and a fox.

I recommend a trip to the state park because you get to enjoy some beautiful nature and learn about a piece of Twin Cities history. Just remember to bring a camera!

Landscape Design and Planning





So Busy!

It's post-midterms and things are really starting to get busy around the U of M. There's this project and that project, this exam and that paper, and it can be a lot as we get closer and closer to the end of the semester. The work can add up and it's important that we don't let it get the best of us!
There are so many ways to manage all these to-dos and the stress that comes with them. Boynton Health Service hosts a Cirque De-Stress event focused on giving students a break from the stress of the semester and an opportunity to have some fun. It's a free event at Coffman Memorial Union that features aerialists, high-wire walkers, clowns, jugglers, and more. It's a great way to get away from the stress for a little while!

Other ways to manage stress include an efficient use of time and helping your mind get away from it all. I've found that a great way is to get together with classmates to work on projects. They understand the stress because they are going through it too, and it can help make getting all the work done a little more manageable and pleasant.

The most important thing to remember through this stressful time of the semester is that it will end, we will survive and make it to winter break, and you can do it!

Interior Design

Friday, October 31, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Hello Everyone!

It's the most wonderful time of the year...Registration! Most people cringe when they have to start thinking about registering for classes because it definitely can be a stressful experience. However, I for one am excited. In two weeks, I will be registering for my last ever spring semester! It's so crazy to think about how far I have come since I started at the U of M 2.5 years ago. I've grown so much, as both a designer and a person, and I'm so excited to see what these last two semesters will bring.

Schedule 2.jpg

I am also excited because my credit load for my last two semesters will be significantly lighter as well. I only need to take 14 credits next semester and 6 credits next fall to complete my degree. This means I now have a lot of options. I can either choose to go part-time my last semester and save some money by paying per credit, or I can go full-time and take a few fun classes that I'm interested in. I'm not sure which I option I'm going to choose yet, but I've been looking into a few interesting classes such as Yoga, Floral Design, Wines and Vines, and Snowboarding. Check out the Class Search function on OneStop and search by subject or go to the Course Guide to see if anything looks interesting to you!

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Designer in London

Well I'm in my sixth week of this 14-week program at Central Saint Martins. The work I'm doing here is definitely different compared to back home at the University of Minnesota, and it has made me appreciate the knowledge that that the College of Design has given me. Both of the schools have amazing qualities and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to experience them both. That said, I guess no matter where you go, as long as you are in a fashion design program, you are in for a lot of work. So if you are thinking about doing fashion as a career, be prepared.

Studying here requires a lot of independent work, self-motivation, and being comfortable with ambiguity. These are qualities that a good designer should be comfortable with. Along with those qualities, a good designer also knows the importance of research and development to really give their designs creativity and uniqueness.

One of my teachers here said something that really stuck with me: "If you design from your head, without any research and development, you may come up with great designs in the beginning, but it will eventually run out, because you only design things that you already know." That's some knowledge I learned here, that I'm giving to you. Research can be tedious, especially if you already have ideas that you are set on. But research, if done correctly, can take your designs and ideas to the next level.

Here are some things that I've been working on here:

Learning to use the knitting machine.
Knitting Machine.jpg

Jewelry class experimentation.
Jewellery Class.jpg

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with my life studying here in London. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see some of my pics.

Apparel Design