Although I am passionate about my work, I also have a lot of (largely neglected!) hobbies. That is largely due to the fact that I have two young boys. Keeping them happy and active doesn’t leave me much time for my hobbies (reading, cooking, mommy blogging, photography, and glass bead making) … but I am loving it, sleepless nights and all!
My mom is French and my dad is American, so I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by the smells and tastes of home cooking from the Provence region in France. In my application to graduate school in Anthropology, I wrote about the ways in which my bi-cultural upbringing shaped my understanding of cultural differences. Before I finished high school, my mother had received formal training at the Cordon Bleu, and had started a small cooking school called Chez Monique. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as a foodie, with that kind of background, you can imagine that I do love to cook and to eat good food!
During my childhood, I spent many summers in the south of France with my mother’s family. I think it gave me a permanent travel bug! During my first Masters’ degree I had the opportunity to travel to mainland China (1991) and Bali Indonesia (1993). I have also travelled across the United States by car twice. I’ve been to some wonderful places, including Seattle (where I lived for four years), Portland, Northern California (where I lived for two years), Taos and Sante Fe New Mexico, Maui, and New Orleans. In 2010 I also had an opportunity to travel to Japan. I have curated a subset of the pictures from those experiences, and they are available for viewing in the Photography area of this site.
When I have the time, I do like to make beautiful things that aren’t edible, including photographs and jewelry. My first love was seed beading, the tiny glass beads that are used by Native Americans to adorn their traditional garments. I have been smitten since I was first exposed to them through the YMCA Indian Princesses program that I attended with my father during elementary school! When I got to college, I learned to weave bracelets and larger pieces, and then began exploring a variety of other stitches like flat and circular peyote. I also learned how to crochet with beads, so that I could recreate a beautiful necklace that belonged to my paternal grandmother. Before I had kids, I splurged on a vacation week at the Bead & Button show, and one of the introductory classes I took gave me the glass bead-making bug. I absolutely love it, and I have spent many hours mesmerized by the intensity of the torch and the meditation that molten glass provides.
More recently I’ve gotten a little obsessed with collecting beautiful images and great ideas with Pinterest. You can learn more about that in my blog post on Digital Hoarding, and visit my pinboards if you like.
Reading has long been a love of mine. In sixth grade my English teacher asked us to track the books we were reading, and I had read 47 in one semester. With a full time job and two young kids, I don’t have that much time on my hands anymore! But I do love to read both for fun and around my research interests. Many of the books I’ve read lately are referenced in my blog posts. The biggest themes for me at the moment are changing trends in people management, data visualization (especially for the presentation of user research findings), and social network analysis. And of course my ongoing focus on the broad domain of user experience. For fiction, I do have an account on Goodreads if you’re interested in seeing what I’m reading … or more likely wishing to read!