Monday, January 03, 2011


I told you I'd be back! I just started a brand-spankin'-new blog that is a spin off of all the posts here tagged "Natural Education." It's going to be a once a month deal. There's no way I'll be clogging your reader. And, fewer posts allow me to write thoughtfully.

Head on over and enjoy!
-T. Budnik

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Things That Have Happened Since September 10, 2009

1. Rode bikes with my boyfriend and friends from Xenia to Yellow Springs where we had pizza at Haha Pizza. (September 13, 2009)

2. Saw a ginormous wolf spider while trying to water the plants over at my boyfriend’s. (September 15, 2009)

3. Went to newly constructed outlet malls a few miles north of Cincinnati and wondered why outlet malls aren’t dead yet. (September 19, 2009)

4. Read Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Good book. (September 23, 2009)

5. Ate dove (like the little birds that squeak when they take off) for the first time. It was tasty. (October 1, 2009)

6. Drove to St. Louis for a wedding. Ate at Cracker Barrel for the first time. Delicious. (October 10, 2009)

7. Attended a Halloween party as an above-average banana sporting a red bowtie, red Converse shoes, and over-sized hands. (October 24, 2009)

8. Got notice that a bank took over ownership of my apartment building. And the fun begins! (October 28, 2009)

9. My boyfriend and I finished the Miami rail trail! We did it in sections over the entire summer. (November 8, 2009)

10. Birdie came and visited...well, she was in town for some work training. (November 13-17, 2009)

11. Jogged the entire Thanksgiving 10K Race! Officially the longest distance I’ve jogged. (November 26, 2009)

12. Read When Skateboards Will Be Free by Said Sayrafiezdeh (November 30, 2009)

13. Read House of Cards: Love, Faith, and Other Social Expressions by David Ellis Dickerson (November 30, 2009)

14. Read Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (December 2, 2009)

15. Looked at a total of 5 apartments in 3 buildings. Not going to renew lease with shady landlord/bank. (December 5, 2009)

16. Corey the Cat’s eye is goopy. I mentally prepare to take him to the vet. (December 22, 2009)

17. Read An Idiot Girl’s Christmas: True Tales From The Top of the Naughty List by Laurie Notaro

18. Took Corey the Cat to the vet. It was traumatic catching him. Have to put cream in his eye two times a day for several days. (December 26, 2009)

19. Very cold weather. So cold, I discovered a chilblain on my right ring toe. (January 12, 2010)

20. Read The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman (January 12, 2010)

21. Donated to the Red Cross for Haiti earthquake relief because I’ve been in earthquakes before and have family living in earthquake territory. (January 14, 2010)

22. Read The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell (January 20, 2010)

23. Packed most of the day. (January 24, 2010)

24. Read I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley (January 27, 2010)

25. Got news that my sister and her boyfriend got engaged! (January 29, 2010)

26. Moved into my new, much better apartment with the help of my boyfriend’s parents. (My boyfriend was out of town for work.) (February 1, 2010)

27. Read I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey by Paul Rudnick

28. Purchased a microwave and a lamp. (February 7, 2010)

29. Snow day! Worked from home and got a lot done. (February 9, 2010)

30. Made chocolate-swirled mini-cheesecakes for Valentine’s Day dinner (February 13, 2010)

31. My boyfriend and I went for a snowy hike at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs.

32. And then he proposed! (February 14, 2010)

33. Never thought I’d be engaged, let alone on Valentine’s Day!

34. Got stuck in my fiancé’s driveway because each side had 2 feet of snow and I’m not good at backing up—even if it’s a straight path. (February 16, 2010)

35. Read Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own by Doreen Orion

36. Decided a fancy ceremony and reception aren’t our thing.

37. Read Accidental Branding: How Ordinary People Build Extraordinary Brands by David Vinjamuri

38. My sister and her fiancé get married! (April 2, 2010)

39. Saw the Batmobile in the plain-old suburbs of Cincinnati. Batman was NOT driving it. (April 4, 2010)

40. Read Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

41. Ate too much at lunch. (April 12, 2010)

42. Heard bluegrass band playing from a house behind my apartment building. Love it. (April 14, 2010)

43. Read Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead (April 25, 2010)

44. My fiancé’s house sold and he officially moved into my new, much better apartment. (May 7, 2010)

45. Went through our first house. Unimpressed and still living in the apartment (May 16, 2010)

46. Read The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp (May 20, 2010)

47. Read Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard (May 31, 2010)

48. Hiked the Adena Trace Trail again. It was 12 miles of too freakin’ hot weather. (June 5, 2010)

49. Read The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (June 15, 2010)

50. Touchdown Jesus was struck by lightening and burned to the ground. Whoa. (June 15, 2010)

51. My upper-right wisdom tooth hurts pretty bad. (June 22, 2010)

52. Read All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World by Seth Godin. It was lame. (June 24, 2010)

53. Bought a swimsuit for the first time in my life and went swimming for the first time since high school gym class. Haven’t gone since. (June 27, 2010)

54. Read Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson (July 10, 2010)

55. Read The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves by Siri Hustvedt (July 22, 2010)

56. Hiked at Clifty Falls in Indiana and despite being asked a bajillion times where the falls were, we didn’t see them either. (July 31, 2010)

57. Had my wisdom teeth removed. No horror stories to report. It was glorious having 3 days off from work and a good reason to sleep most of those days. (August 4, 2010)

58. Read Autobiography of a Fat Bride: True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood by Laurie Notaro (August 5, 2010)

59. Read IdeaSelling: Successfully Pitch Your Creative Ideas to Bosses, Clients and Other Decision Makers by Sam Harrison (August 5, 2010)

60. Read Adland: Searching for the Meaning of Live on a Branded Planet by James P. Othmer (August 23, 2010)

61. Read How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley (August 31, 2010)

62. Read Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn by Hannah Holmes (September 9, 2010)

63. Read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (September 24, 2010)

64. Decided to officially stop writing this blog. I unofficially decided this over a year ago. (September 25, 2010)

65. But, I’ll be back. At some point, in some new form.

66. I’ll keep the blog up.

67. And, in the meantime you can catch me here:

68. Facebook

69. LinkedIn

70. Website

71. Thank you for reading.


T. Budnik

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book Review: The Impostor's Daughter
by Laurie Sandell


Simply put, you really should read this book.

It's a "graphic memoir," but before you start thinking it's manga, it's not. It's fun cartoons or comics, but without the slapstick of Bazooka Joe.

Laurie Sandell tells the story of trying to figure her father out and as a result figures herself out. Sandell's storytelling is straightforward and she doesn't work too hard to bring meaning to her stories--it just happens. She follows the "if I tell my deep dark secrets, they no longer are secrets that I have to haul around" rule (whether she means to or not). Which, is quite refreshing--and I'm sure anyone who has experienced adversity in their life will find it reassuring.

The book, despite being 247 pages, goes very quickly. I read it from start to finish last Friday. So, go get it and start reading! This is the best book I've read in a long time.

T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


So, I haven't seen a "dentist" in 10 years--since I had my braces removed when I was 16 years old. And, really, I haven't had my teeth cleaned in about 12 years (right before I had my braces put on). This was hard for me to admit to anyone as I figured they would think I was slovenly.

My reasons for not going to the dentist for those all-important cleanings are that I was either under-insured, un-insured, or just hesitantly lazy. I never had health insurance when I was in Atlanta because I was working retail. I can't remember if I was offered benefits being a part-time employee, but I would have declined them anyway. Being a full-time student and part-time retail worker, I needed every penny I could get my hands on. That meant taking the risk that I wouldn't break an ankle climbing up the stairs at Amicalola Falls.

But, I've been fully insured since I've been fully employed here in Cincinnati. I've lived in this fine city for one and a half years now. My reason for not going to the dentist was purely laziness and hesitation--ten years, folks. I couldn't imagine what they'd find, not to mention I had a wisdom tooth poke out in July.

Today, I took the trek to a dentist in my neighborhood for a good ol' fashioned cleaning and to hear any bad news. The only bad news I heard: I need my wisdom teeth pulled. Um, I knew that. I knew that when my braces came off and my orthodontist took one last x-ray. All of the teeth were there, waiting patiently in my gums. He recommended they be removed. The good news: my teeth are in pretty darn good shape for not seeing a dentist in 10 years. That is, no cavities, no problems, and such mild build-up that the dentist said I could come in for a cleaning once a year as opposed to every six months, but he said it was up to me. I told the receptionist I'll come in once a year. She'll be mailing me a postcard in about ten months.

This leaves me to wonder: how much will my dental insurance company save on me?

T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What I've Been Reading (and What You Should Be)
I feel like I've been reading a lot of books lately (I'm always Internet reading--which is a whole other thing). But then, maybe I've just been reading a lot of easy books recently. Whatever the case may be, here are three books I read in the fine month of August.
Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee
by Alex Frankel
Anyone who has worked or is working retail can appreciate this quote from one of Frankel's Gap co-workers: "Dude, this place fucks with time. It slows down, it crawls, it moves backwards." Amen. I didn't get through my entire high school Algebra 2 class before I was applying the laws of exponential decay to that last hour of work.

I really wanted this book to be a blow to those companies that don't carry their branding to their store employees. Some companies can pull it off, but others aren't. That interaction between the kid/part-time mom/grad student/career retailer wearing a polo at the register is more influential than any marketing dollars poured into billboards, television, and that sneaky thing described as "viral."
This is more of a memoir than a biz book, but it's good.

Next up:
Free-Range Chickens
by Simon Rich
This book is such a quick read, why wouldn't you pick it up? Not all of it is funny, but there are enough funny portions to make it worth your while. You won't get upset about having to read something unfunny.

One note: Simon Rich is a year younger than me. He has published 2 books (one of which I have read and like) and writes for Saturday Night Live. Because of this, I have to hate him, as it is obligatory to hate anyone younger and more successful than yourself.

The Hummer and The Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape
by Robyn Waters
It's good, but feels dated. The book was published in 2006--it's been 3 whole years. There are a lot of good examples in the book that encourage me to think differently about branding and the biz in general, but some of the examples I've seen before. Then again, maybe it's because I read Waters's other book.

Bottom line: read it. While some examples given seem obvious, they'll be classics in 2 more years. Plus, it's a quick, insightful read.

T. Budnik

Friday, August 07, 2009

Things That Have Happened Since April 29, 2009

1. My boyfriend and I took a hike around the lake at Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky. We also saw the following animals: one Canadian Goose sitting on its nest; several Bison. (May 3, 2009)

2. Went on many bike-toodles.

3. The water in my apartment was threatened to be shut off. I do not pay directly for water. (May 19, 2009)

4. I have decided that once my lease ends, I'm moving out of this apartment.

5. Hot. Sunny. Humid. Sticky hot.

6. I had my eyeballs checked. They are -.25 worse than they were before. (May 29, 2009)

7. My boyfriend and I took a Wilderness First Aid Course. I highly recommend it for anyone who goes out into the wild.

8. I saw the movie “Up.”

9. While jogging, I was charged by 2 dogs. One was a boxer, the other looked like a golden retriever, except that it was black. I yelled at the dogs to leave me alone and then proceeded to yell at the 2 owners who had their dogs, unleashed and uncontrolled.

10. I’ve been taking advantage of “summer hours” at work.

11. Kayaked 5 miles down the Little Miami River.

12. Hiked the Adena Trace Trail along Brookville Lake in Indiana with my boyfriend. It took us 7.5 hours to go 12.5 miles. We saw 2 toads, 2 tadpoles, 4 turtles, 2 deer, bunches of squirrels and bunches of snails. It poured down on us twice. (June 14, 2009)

13. Purchased a new digital camera.

14. Jogged the entire Hyde Park Blast Fun Run. Here are my stats: distance-4miles; time-43:52; pace-10:43. (June 27, 2009)

15. Decided that I really need to stop buying Healthy Choice Pizzas, because no matter how much I think they’ll be delicious and “not that bad for me,” they’re disgusting.

16. Um, did I mention I journeyed back to the homeland? (July 3, 2009)

17. And that my boyfriend came up for the second week?

18. We climbed Lazy Mountain, some of us fell, we went to Seward, did a wildlife cruise, camped, saw Exit Glacier, climbed Bodenburg Butte, drove to Denali National Park, took a shuttle bus, saw bears, camped, and enjoyed being with my family that’s in Alaska.

19. Started and continue to harvest cherry tomatoes and big tomatoes from the plants my boyfriend and I planted this spring.

20. I finished reading these books:

a. Sky Time in Gray’s River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place—Robert Michael Pyle

b. When You Are Engulfed in Flames—David Sedaris

c. IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea—Sam Harrison

d. Orbiting the Giant Hairball—Gordan MacKenzie

e. The Trendmaster’s Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next—Robyn Waters

21. I recommend all of these books except for the first.


T. Budnik

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Conservationist Fashion

I kid you not, The Nature Conservancy's blog has covered fashion for conservationists. It's something we already know: if you want something/want to fit in, dress the part.

My favorite tip is #10.

T. Budnik