Good Fortune Gnocchi

In Argentina we have a tradition that every 29th of the month the family eats gnocchi (noquis) for wealth and prosperity. The tradition is to make the noquis at home, place money (of any amount) under the main dish and each persons plate, to eat contentedly as a family and friends, and then to forget it happened til the next 29th.

The tradition is lovely and fosters wonderful bonding time, however, there is one small problem: noquis are the worst pasta to exist. Personally I have never been a fan. But in the spirit of tradition, I have maintained eating them every 29th.

This 29th was special as it was the first time I made my own noquis, without Mama or Abuela’s help, and in the company of a few adventurous friends!

While ours did not quite turn out a pretty as those of my Mama, they tasted fine and I think worked their charm. I have been picking up pennies on the street for the past two days since eating noquis with friends. Clearly the wealth portion is in check.

As to prosperity, that is a matter which is only solved by sharing food, sometimes bad, with good company. To the next noquis day and more adventurous studio taste testers!

The top four images are Mama’s lovely noquis being rolled out, cut, shaped, and boiled before being mixed with the meat and pasta sauce. The bottom two images are our own production.


Stop: Gym Time!

Penn Recreation Homepage:

Penn Group Exercise:

Uh oh! The gym, a place avoided by many due to the pains often associated with growth. Sadly I was one of many avoiding the gym, not due to a dislike of exercise but rather due to the odd thought that all the work on my plate would never get done if I spent a minute not doing it. In reality working out, not only helps make one stronger and healthier in general, but helps to clear the mind and make one more efficient. I notice the difference in my spirits and efficiency.

For those who love exercise or just love how they feel afterwards here are a few insider tips on the gym at Penn:

It’s FREE! (ish)… Access to the gym equipment is included with your Penn ID as well as lockers, towels, and changing rooms/showers. If you want to participate in excercise classes, swimming classes, climbing wall excercises, or a few other select athletic activities that comes at an extra cost.

You don’t have to go it alone! There are excercise classes everyday of the week which choreograph routines for you. I have found these to be helpful in getting back into exercising. It allows you to go at your own pace, as intensely as you wish, without having to come up with all the moves yourself (particularly helpful if you aren’t well read on the musclar system and how to improve it).

Thus far I have attended Zumba, Spin 45, and Body Combat.

Zumba: a dance fitness class which works not only the entire body but also emphasizes cardio. The instructor was quite happy and the music keeps you going. Great class to start with if you haven’t exercised in a while and are trying to get back into shape.

Spin 45: A cycling class, held in intervals of 30, 45, and 60 minutes. This primarily targets legs and core with a cardio aspect inherent in the cycling. Definitely geared towards bikers, so if you don’t have much experience biking or balancing on moving pedals the 30 minute class is best to start. Instructor was very kind and motivating especially knowing that several of us were new to the class.

Body Combat: something between zumba and martial arts classes. There is plenty of cardio incorporated into kicking, punching, and jumping motions. This is my least favorite, partially due to my inability to properly hook punch or jump 2 feet off the ground. However the instructors are very enthusiastic making it enjoyable.

There a plenty of other classes, which I hope to try in the weeks to come, including: pilates, yoga, kick boxing, body pump, barre, butts and guts, spin and core, aqua aerobics, meditation, CXWORX, and Lit and Fit Bootcamp.

To those of you starting the new year off exercising your way towards a happier you check out the links posted above! Break a leg!


Schenk-Woodman Competion Complete

F. Schenk-Henry Gillette Woodman Scholarship in architecture awarded for travel abroad on the basis of a competition.”

This year’s Schenk-Woodman Competition consisted of developing a book-drop for a portion of the underserved neighborhood of West Parkside. The competition is a week long with deliverables consisting of  two boards and a quarter scale model.

The variety of proposals was quite interesting. Some were expected, benches, stairs, trashcans, while others were a surprise, cat containers, lights, popup sidewalk elements. Unlike most competitions this one had a few unique elements which made it more educational than expected. Jurors left comments on some, not all, boards allowing for some insight into the judging process. After the judging was complete jurors were availble for a Question&Answer session. The winners were not revealed at that time and so specific boards were not discussed. However, general ideas of the judging and competitions in general were discussed. The general encouragements were two: break more rules (don’t follow the guideline so strictly that you inhibit your own project) and watch your graphics (one really good image is sometimes all you need).

With these thoughts on our mind it felt like the entire year was anxiously awaiting the awards ceremony held on Friday at Happy Hour. Five winners were annouced  to split the $25000 award as three honorable mentions, second place, and first place. The awarded groups, following the order above, were: Vernacular Fur (P ), Found Identity (K), Pop-Drop (E) Memento (Q), lumiSCAPE (u).

Below are some images of the site, the excitement, and the competition winner reveal!

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Restaurant Week- Center City District

This is a neat offer similar to University City Dining Days where a group of restuarants located in a specific philadelphia district offer a deal for lunch and dinners. both lunch and dinner are three course meals based on a specialized menu aimed to highlight the restaurants best food. The price is permantely set with lunch being $25 and dinner being $35 per person. Reservations are highly recommended as it can get quite busy with such a great deal.

As well there is a restaurant raffle (a feedback mechanism) offering a reward to the winner of restaurant gift cards and U2 tickets!

I have not tried this out yet but love the idea! Hopefully this weekend I will find myself enjoying lunch and a morning out about the town!

Spring Semester Begins!

The first day of class is always an exciting one! As people trickle back in to the studio stories are shared of restful breaks. Amongst all the stories being swapped the mystery of studio is brought up. This semester opens with a competition! Four classmates, preselected into teams by the professors, are tasked with a week long design challenge which impacts a region of Philadelphia. I shall say no more of the competition but photos are soon to come of the team at work. Final submissions will be displayed Thursday, January 18th! Can’t wait to see all the work that can be done in such a tight time frame.

Welcome back to School!




What Happened in December?!?

With November came midterms and soon after midterms came an avalanche of pressing deadlines. As with every deadline, anyone outside the deadline has a million suggestions to allieviate the stress without considering any other part of life beyond the deadline. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Work over Thanksgiving Break! Yikes, I know, not really anyones dream to be working over break. However, it really, really, really helps! Even if it is just reading and taking notes for a paper or puting renders in one after the other to get a base image, every little bit of work adds up.
  • Sleep. Seems counter intuitive but if you are rested you are less likely to make mistakes meaning work gets done more efficiently.
  • Take breaks. Short 10 minute breaks every hour or two to take a walk or chat with a neighbor can help break up all the stress of impending deadlines.

These lovely tips helped keep me on track, albeit still stressed but on track. Thanksgiving break took me on a trip across the pond with my family and my laptop (for work). Inspired and rested from the trip, December came and went with the resulting work leaving me a little surprised. I had achieved much more than I had planned in studio, in the area of digital development, and felt confident in the rest of my exams.

It is hard to chronicle an entire month or so of work in retrospect, in all the detail it was felt in at the time, so a few snapshots below should help to illustrate a little of the feeling of the time.