Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 22, 2009

I haven't blogged in awhile. But hey -- my presentation's over! Phewie! I just found out that I received an average score of a 147.3/150 points on the presentation ... definitely content with that!

At this point, this is where I am:
I'm going through the book and bulking the "About the Contributor" section of every page. I have also received about 5 more recipes, so I need to go back and add those in. For now, they'll be at the back of the book out of alphabetical order (which is OK). Once I've bulked/edited all the About the Contributor's, I'll send it to print so I can have it back by May 15 for my Written Document grade and Application. A shift in my Application --- rather than do the lunch with FA upper-schoolers, I'm submitting the final cookbook to the FA library (putting my work and knowledge on display for the FA community). This makes more sense I think.
While even this printed version will not be final, I'll be working on the book over the summer as well, readying it to be sold. I need to address a few copyright issues (pictures, etc.) before doing so.

Things are about over with at this point -- at least for the school project aspect of things -- so, I'm feeling pretty accomplished and very proud of my work.

I went to a lunch with the accrediations team and did a "mini" senior exhibit presentation for them. They were impressed with my work; Jamie and I did a great job of bouncing off of each other's ideas and working together to make the senior exhibit process seem as successful as it was for us. We did a great job displaying how important our projects were to us and how much we got out of the overall experience.

For my actual senior exhibit presentation -- I was worried sick (literally) before the presentation... even though I was 100% ready to give it. I was relieved that once I began talking, my nerves calmed down and I really pulled it off. I tried hard to maintain the interest of my audience and make the students feel a part of what I was doing. I think they were able to see how much my project meant to me. I told them that we, the youth, have the future in our hands. We have the capability of making great strides as individuals. I also harped on the fact that the senior exhibit process can be an incredibly enriching and enjoyable experience and the importance of finding something you're passionate about. I am incredibly happy with the turnout of my presentation, and my set-up was GREAT. I made "Sinful Chocolate" for my audience and discussed Robi Damelin (the one who contributed this recipe) and what she does. They seemed to enjoy that. I had a gold tablecloth, blown up/mounted cover, candlesticks, blown up table of contents & a couple pages -- the display was reminiscent of a homecooked meal and looked very professional. Before my presentation, I also arranged all the tables in a semi-circle to make it a more intimate arrangement rather than a standard classroom with me lecturing.
I will use the same set-up with likely another recipe for the night when all seniors have a table to display to parents and other seniors (can't wait!). By that time, I will also have the book bound and ready to go.

I'll report back with any more detail in a little while.
Only a couple more weeks of school left----- deposited to Smith a few nights ago; I'm extatic.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 25, 2009

I had my rehearsal presentation yesterday. I was SO, so nervous beforehand. When I woke up yesterday morning, it was everything I could do not to absolutely freak out. As the day went on, I convinced myself that it couldn't be that bad -- I'm merely discussing the hard work that I've done over the course of this entire year. After all, this is not just a project for me - I've genuinely enjoyed working on it. Seeing the product is so rewarding, even when it's just printed out and not published. Before my presentation, I wrote down an outline that I wanted to follow to keep me on track if I found myself losing a train of thought. This helped me keep my cool, too. Walking through the entire presentation made me feel worlds more confident and excited about my final presentation. It was great getting genuine feedback from everyone that was there. They seemed impressed; that made me feel great. It's been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that my project isn't necessarily about the product - it's about the journey that I went through and the things that I got from the process. It was difficult yesterday to talk, talk, and talk about the book without having everyone looking through it -- even though I realize that they'd be distracted by the book. Maybe after my final presentation, there can be a ten minute or so period where people can look through the book. Some of the stories and peace commentaries that contributors sent are heart-wrenching; all of them are meaningful.
I found yesterday that at times, I was trying to stick to my outline too much. Rather than say "Now I'll discuss the process..." (even though that kept me on track), I'll just start talking about the process. When I talk about what I learned, it doesn't need to be cut and dry. I have to keep my personality and true feelings on the surface!

Here is how I plan for my presentation to go:

1. Introduction
- It was not easy for me to come to a decision about what I wanted to do. First, I thought about community service. Then I realized that I go to Honduras every summer and that while it's an incredible experience, it isn't something new for my senior exhibit. I decided it'd be a great idea to incorporate my graphic design skills that I've acquired through being an editor of the yearbook -- it's something that I not only enjoy, but am good at. I thought it'd be a great idea to compile all the family, handwritten cookbooks into one graphic masterpiece. I hit the ground running with the idea... but my excitement only lasted about a day or so. I wanted to do something that had a deeper meaning -- and that while a family cookbook would mean something to me, who else would it touch? Not many people. I wasn't "feeling" it as much anymore. I went to dinner the next night with my dad and stepmom (Jody from now on) and discussed my mini-dilemma. Jody got really excited and said she'd been wanting to create a cookbook full of recipes from people around the world, peace advocates around the world. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 and knows amazing people. It clicked. I knew this was right from then on out. We got really excited, took paper out at dinner and sketched ideas for names, possible contributors, and cover ideas.
- From then on out, I had a goal:
- for everyone who opened my cookbook, it would mean something.
- for my project to be more than a deadline looming in the back of my head.
- for this to be a joyous and enriching experience for me, and everyone who reads it.
- to be excited about my project and want to make it the absolute best it can be.
- to show people my age and of all ages that one person can make a difference. that it is the little things we do that will create a change. that we must start somewhere. that tiny footsteps like recycling will eventually provide great leaps.
- to inspire people the way I've been inspired by these amazing people.

I dedicate this book to : "all who work for peace int he belief that some day, all families will live in a peaceful world and be able to share their favorite meals with family fand friends."

2. Process
- First, Jody and I (we) came up with a list of possible contributors. We came up with about 80.
- We then developed an email to send out to all of these possible contributors, explaining who I am, what my project is, and what we are asking of them. We asked for people to send a recipe and "peace commentary."
- Jody sent the email and we waited for a response. They started trickling in around September 2008. As they came in, I created a Word Document for every person, did vague research on them, and formatted their recipe. I decided every recipe would be organized "Ingredients" and then "Method." I saved every word document by last name (Williams, Jody).
- People didn't send recipes all at once; we developed a deadline of January 1st. I got my last recipe in February. Some recipes were really hard to format because they'd be so vague and personal.
- Once I had them all, I started creating pages in Adobe InDesign. Incredibly long process, huge amount of trial & error. Once all pages were created and the book was finished in its entirety, I exported each document in InDesign as a pdf. I uploaded the PDFs to, a self-publishing website. I chose my options -- hard cover, glossy pages, etc. I now wait on its arrival.
- After my presentation, I will likely "re-vamp" the book, re-publish it on Lulu, and then sell it on Jody's website ( We will make it available to everyone who is interested via Lulu & . Many people are interested, and I'd like to give a few copies to the school, too.

3. Design
- Cover:
- We came up with some key ideals of a peaceful world : environmental justice, gender equality, conflict resolution, protection & promotion of human rights, right to shelter, right to food, disarmament, right to basic healthcare, peace education, freedom from want, sustainable development, community service, and stopping violence towards women.
- we thought it'd be awesome to have a huge bowl on the cover with these words flowing out of it --- i.e. a huge mixing bowl of peace. I started designing it, though, and it looked like a cookbook for 3rd-graders. I knew this wouldn't work.
- So, I went to the shelves and shelves of cookbooks that my mom has, looking for inspiration on the cover. I came across the oldie but goodie Joy of Cooking. I loved the way the Gold popped and the word "joy" was dominant. This was my inspiration. As you can see - my book looks nothing like this, but I loved the gold and the dominant word; so i decided gold and dominant PEACE. I decided I wanted a graphically modern look.
- I loved gold. I wanted it to POP. I thought a darker color would be best, but didn't want black. I chose navy.
- I incorporated these two colors - gold and navy - throughout the entire book. As you can see, each page has gold on the outside and navy blue headers.
- Pages:
- It was not easy to come up with a design for these pages. I initially had decided every contributor would have 2 pages. A picture of the contributor would be dominant and on the left page with their name and information about what they do. The facing page would be quote(s) from them and thier recipe. I realized this couldn't and wouldn't work for everyone, though, because some people gave two-line recipes and one-line (or no-line) commentary. Some people didn't have good pictures available.
- So, I compressed most of them into one page. I kept all the pages saved with Last name first, but everyone had one page and the facing page was blank.
- I then compined everyone, alphabetically, and ended up with 60 pages. Some people, like my dad, got two pages because they submitted multiple recipes.
- INCREDIBLY long process!!!!!!!!!
- I chose Garamond because it is simple, easy to read, and it's not Times New Roman.
- I chose Mistral, as you can see on the cover for all the words that would bring a peaceful world. I encorporated this font throughout the book -- the dedication, header for Table of Contents, header for About the Contributor.
- The sizes are relatively uniform throughout but it does slightly depend on the lengthyness of the recipe etc.

4. Table of Contents
- Above the Table of Contents, I wrote "a prelude to my project," where I discussed the importance of this project to me. This is what it reads:

To me, this is more than my senior exhibit. More than a project that I must have completed by a certain date; more than a deadline that is hanging over my head and swiftly approaching, and more than another assignment that brings me stress and frustration. This has been a joyful, fun, and rewarding experience for me. Not only have I seemingly gotten to know sixty amazing people from all over the world, but I’ve gained knowledge on worldly topics, global issues, and most importantly - I’ve become aware and a part of a quest towards something so precious as peace. I am honored to be a part of this cookbook, honored to have compiled and formatted each of these recipes; honored to have researched every person and their unique cause, and honored to now have such an insight to the purpose these amazing people have united. An incredible inspiration is best descriptive of my feelings towards the contributors and I so hope that this book can bring other ordinary people, like me, to realize that small acts can and will make a difference in our world. We must start somewhere. Time is of the essence, my friends.
So please, enjoy this cookbook. Enjoy the recipes. Enjoy the words of wisdom sprinkled throughout. And most importantly, be thankful for each person’s efforts towards a common and beautiful cause. Believe in the strides that we as united individuals have the capability of making.

The Table of Contents is alphabetical by last name of contributor - this shows the importance of the contributors, emphasis on them rather than only thier recipe. It also shows the reader straightfowardly who they can cook with!

4. Application
- I have not done my application yet, but my plan is to make an announcement and send a follow-up email about, broadly, what my project is and what it involves. I will ask who is interested. I will coordinate with a small group of students a trip over to the Middle School where we prepare a recipe as we discuss my project, peace, and specifically the contributor who's recipe we're making. My goal in my application is to show that one person really can make a difference. It is so vital that youth realize that they can make a difference and grow to make a difference. My goal is to have them realize how passionate these people in my cookbook are about what they do, and the importance of this when we grow up.

5. What I got out of this project:
- I learned about managing my time : I learned that if I was going to work on tihs, I needed to set aside huge amounts of time. I further learned (after yearbook) that creating and editing pages is incredibly time consuming.
- Trial & Error: Things are not going to work out first try, but this adds to the glory of the final product. My book looks virtually nothing like what we had invisioned at the start, but yet I am 100% satisfied and extatic about how it turned out.
- Working with people on a deadline: I had to wait for people to send me their recipes -- they are not at my beckon call, nor should they be. These people are busy with their own lives and will not drop everything for my school project. However, I had to set a deadline for them so that I could meet my deadline for the project.
- Graphically, I learned about encorporating a theme throughout an entire book and encorporating colors and fonts throughout without having it be overdone or repetitive. I learned about formatting pages to look similar but not boring.
- I learned about amazing people that devote their life to a common and beautiful cause.
- I learned the importance of being passionate about what you do. If you aren't passionate, where is the glory? Happiness does not come from money - it comes from accomplishment and satisfaction with what you do.
- I have developed a relationship with my step mom that one point, I thought I could never have. It has been such a special experience.
- It has been a great experience for me to work on FA's yearbook at the same time as this cookbook. I've bounced ideas back and forth, used common themes (i.e. the [brackets] and "s p a c i n g " that are in this year's yearbook). Using two different programs (InDesign and yearbookavenue online) is similar to reading two books at a time ... you learn new things and connect the two in all sorts of ways.
- It was also great working this project during the presidential campaign. I was pushed to care, pushed to want to have an influence on the election. This was the first time I've been able to vote, and I love that I had a part in it. These people have such strong minds and opinions, and they inevitably rubbed off on me. This is not to say they developed my opinion for me, but these people are in the middle of so many things -- they see the poverty, they see the hunger, they see the world. How lucky they are.
- Most of all, I have been inspired by my project. I am inspired to be a better person because of these people. I am inspired to be the best I can be, inspired to be happy, inspired to be thankful for what I have. Inspired to make a difference in this world just like these people have. Ispired to write great essays for college, and inspired to express my opinion confidently.
Inspired to believe that the small things I do -- such as being kind, not sweating the small stuff, donating a dollar towards Darfur at the supermarket rather than towards the latest about Britney, recycling ... I am inspired to be aware. Inspired to turn on the news and read the newspaper. We are in a world and time that is in desperate need of people who are aware and care about what is going on.

My mind has been opened, my horizons broadened and enriched. What a gift this project has been during such a key point in my life.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Winter Break Progress

This week off from school has been incredibly productive. I had felt a little disconnected from the book for awhile because I've been so caught up with the yearbook and other school work.

I spent a lot of time compiling and formatting various recipes that had trickled in from mid-January to now. I told Jody that this is about the end of the wire -- I need to start finalizing the book for submission to

As of now, every recipe that I have created has a place in the book. Every contributor has a page. I had initially had it set so that every contributor had two facing pages -- one page would have the contribtor's name, peace commentary, and information about the contributor, and the facing page would have the recipe (formatted into ingredients & method). However, some contributors provided a very simple recipe and little information to include; this made for an incredibly bland and blank couple of pages. So, for those who didn't send in much, I combined. I combined up to two contributors on two facing pages. This was a little tricky, though, because the book is organized alphabetically, not by type of recipe, etc. I had to wait to combine these contributors until after I had received all the recipes from everyone. The pages are really looking amazing. I am so excited to see the book in its entirety. Because I had initially created two facing pages for each contribtor, it took a lot of time to go through and compress many into one page.

I am in editing-mode now. I am going through each page and making sure they are formatted similar enough. I'm checking for spelling mistakes, font sizes (consistency), ingredient-measurement consistency, etc. I still have many "About the Contributor" paragraphs to write. I am hoping to sit down with Jody this week for some help on this. I just plan to write something very short & sweet about each contributor and what they do. It shouldn't be too time consuming.

To Do:
- Finish editing the nitty-gritty
- Write blurb about remaining contributors
- Add page #s to every page
- Create Table of Contents
- Write thank-yous & send (Will not be hard once I have an address/e-mail for every contributor [easily obtained from Jody])

I'm hoping for a snow day tomorrow so I can devote it to this! It sounds like a lot to get done and it my make you question what I've done so far -- but I really have done a huge amount. Every page takes at least 30 minutes to create. It isn't healthy to sit in front ofthe computer for 7 hours straight! I feel comfortable where I am with the book - I really do. Lulu only takes 3-4 days to get the book back to me.

Right now, my focus is completing the book. I want to have it finished by March 15. That is two weeks from today. I think I can do it. I would really resent not having the actual book for my presentation in just over 1 month! I'm not too worried, though.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Outline of Presentation + What is to be done

Outline for Presentation

1. Introduction
- I will have the book completed and out on a table, along with 1 recipe that is prepared, my printed off list of contributors (I already have this), and any conversing that I have done with the contributors via email/mail.
- I will first explain the idea that I had initially -- incorporating design/cooking, then my decision to do this.
- I will explain what this project means to me, what peace means to me, and how the contributors and their words have affected me.

2. Process
- I will explain the process of getting the recipes. I got them via Jody and e-mail. I then compiled each into a word document and formatted them to look alike. (i.e. same font, same ingredient-measurements, etc.) I researched each contributor in order to write a blurb about each of them which is included in the book. I played around with different cover ideas, then established the perfect cover. I then created a uniform design for each page. I then pasted each person's name, recipe, personal blurb, and my blurb about them. This got tricky because each person's page is different depending on the amount of information they provided, lengthiness of their recipe, picture, etc. Once the page was completed in its entirety, I uploaded it to in a PDF format.
-I had to set a deadline for all the recipes to be in, which was mid-way through January. Some have trickled in since then.
- I have been meeting with my step-mom periodically and showing her my progress. She has helped give me a more personal view on a lot of these people -- deeper than what Wikipedia has to say! :-)
- I have learned so much about each of them through their personal story/blurb. I will talk about how they have inspired me, etc.

3. Presentation of the Book
- I will give as many people I can a copy of the book to look through.
- I will first ask them to look closely at the cover, and discuss why I chose the design/colors that I did.
- I will then ask them to flip to certain pages to read a certain person's story and recipe, and discuss the design/format of the page and why I chose for it to be that way. I will have these pages already picked out.

4. Struggles
- I will discuss the struggles I faced: time management, getting recipes in on time, getting substantial and useful information on each person, writing about each person and attempting to make each person sound as great as they are, etc.

5. What I've Learned
- About individuals and what they can do
- About time management
- About building and incorporating a theme and design aspects throughout an entire book
- About making do with what I have
- About the difference one person can make
- About key issues in the world
- What I can do to make a difference every day (discuss examples).

6. Questions

What I Still Have to Do:
- I have gotten all the recipes and thus the list is complete
- I need to write a thank-you note to each contributor (it's good form!)
- I will hold 2 classes where a small group of students get together and make a recipe from the book. I will explain my project and zero in on one of the contributors each time as we prepare the recipe.
- Complete all pages
- Edit all pages
- Submit to Lulu for the first copy to get back and edit
- Re-submit to Lulu for the final and order multiple copies