Category Archives: Schwartz Athenaeum

Crunch Time

So, I blog all about my conference and launch my new website only to leave it for a couple of weeks.  It’s hitting crunch time of the semester and things are beginning to become urgent.  I still have a couple of blog posts backed up to work on, I promise I’ll get them out soon. The MAAM Conference about did me in, I’ll have to start a notebook of topics for a rainy day.  I have two big projects to finish up this month and lucky for me I’m enjoying both of them.

1. For History and Theory of Museum – 15-20 page paper on the history of an institution/museum/collection.  I’m researching the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton.  What an amazing place with such  rich history.  Built as a Barracks in 1758 it has served as barracks, housing for indigent women, a house of ill-repute, a school, a hospital, a site for small pox inoculation and more recently a museum.  Preserved as a museum by a group of patriotic women around 1902, this incredible piece of architectural history served as a nearby site to some of America’s most famous moments.  I spent five hours in their archives the other day and wished I could have spent the night!


Old Barracks Museum, picture from

How often do people really think of the history of a museum itself? Usually we are thinking about the history of the objects within the museum and in the case of the Barracks  the former is perhaps the more interesting of the stories.

2. For Exhibitions A to Z – Create a theoretical exhibition from beginning to finish, as finished as it can be on paper anyways.  This has been a fun project for me, “Simple Joys: Little Things That Make Us Smile” is being kept in the dark until either finished or I find a space that ACTUALLY wants to let me do the exhibition.   That’s my hope.

The other big thing on my agenda now is finding an internship/job for next semester and summer.  I’m hoping to come up with something amazing.  I’m over having a job just to pay the bills, time to get back to the point at hand.

Coming up in my agenda!


A Matter of Class: John Cotton Dana, Progressive Reform and the Newark Museum

Speaker: Carol Duncan,  Professor Emerita, Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Location: Thursday, November 18, 4 pm at the Newark Museum, Newark, NJ


Museum Expansion in the Global 21st Century: The Case of Abu Dhabi

Speaker: Andrew McClellan (he wrote the book we use for History & Theory of Museums class!)

Location: Thursday, November 18, 7 pm
Nursing Amphitheater (room NU113), Caroline D. Schwartz College of Nursing Building, Seton Hall University

The Fashionable Slug

I promise this post isn’t because of the recent post  “The Great Outdoors That is the Greater South Side” by the illustrious writer Jenni Schwartz.  I can’t combat with all of her creatures great and gross.

Tonight on my way into the house from class I saw the most magnificent slug.  That’s right, I used the word magnificent to describe a slimy untoward little creature.  I’ve only ever seen the thumb NAIL sized brownish pinkish creature we have back home.  This slug was bigger then my thumb and was quite fashionable.  He was sporting some mean leopard print.  I hope I see him around again for I’ve name him Lepstein.

It’s all about the food

My life, in general, is lived for food.  Yes, I have many aspirations, but on a day to day basis grub is my emphasis.  I’m attempting to alter my eating habits to a healthier standard but am also working towards only eating GREAT food.  No more eat this because it is easy or because I like it okay.  This has been going very well for me.  I have lost weight and am enjoying a better quality of life.  Occasionally I dedicate entire blog posts to food.  This is because the food deserves it.

However, when I eat something delicious it might not constitute an entire blog post so I’m forming a “Eat Joy” section.   You’ll be able to read about any new cooking endeavors I have tried or great restaurants I’ve been to. You may even find a recipe from time to time.

Eat Joy

Grub I’m Lovin
Goat Cheese/Greens/Peppers Combos – I love this combo in all forms! It can be a pizza with spinach and red peppers, toasted multi-grain baguette with arugula and yellow peppers, all with goat cheese all very tasty.
Purdue Baked Whole Grain Breaded Chicken Nuggets – Chicken nuggets? Really?  I know it SEEMS simple, but they are SO GOOD and a quick fix under the broiler.
Magner’s Hard Cider – It isn’t Kopparberg but it was pretty tasty.
So I’m cheating a lil’ bit this week because I’m including a couple of food dates that happened earlier that I just haven’t had the chance to write about.

Cuban Pete’s in Montclair, NJ Highly Recommended
Situation: My friend Marie-Agathe came to visit from Philly before she moves home to France.
Atmosphere: Busy and loud but very popular/hot
Empanda De Queso (Manchego cheese and spinach empanada)
Pernil Con Tostones (Crispy pork with fried plantains and garlic mojo)
Pollo Cubano (Half boneless chicken with Cuban garlic mojo, white rice, black beans & sweet plantains)
Rating: Love. Everything was VERY good and portions are huge!
Village Diner in South Orange, NJ Breakfast Not Recommended/Lunch Recommended
Situation: Breakfast with Marie-Agathe before she went back to Philly.
Atmosphere: Very breakfast at a diner-y
Buttermilk Waffle w/ a side of crispy bacon
Rating: Could have easily been Eggo waffles, very sub par.

Situation: Lunch after class with Danielle
Atmosphere: Loud and hoppin’
Grilled Chicken Panini (Grilled Panini with chicken breast, baby greens, roasted red peppers, mozzarella,   balsamic vinaigrette with AWESOME French fries, pickle and coleslaw)
Rating: They have a large/varied lunch menu and this was a HUGE tasty dish.  Danielle had a beef gyro and that was also quite good.

Famiglia Pizza, Times Square,  New York City MEH
Situation: Catching the bus home after going to the King Tut exhibition in Times Square so I grabbed a slice for the walk.
Eats: Big floppy delicious looking piece of cheese pizza
Rating: I t was incredibly mediocre. I hate when pizza fails me.

Fashionista Carnivore

I realize I’m not a very fashionable person.  I love cute clothes but I’m more of a jeans and t-shirt type of girl.  I’m working on this about myself and have recently HAD to indulge in some shopping for new clothes.  I say HAD because it wasn’t just because I wanted to, it was because my clothes don’t fit.  I’m both annoyed and pleased by the fact that I can shop at stores like Express and American Eagle where I couldn’t before because they didn’t make clothes in my size. My fashion advisors Jenni, Tiffany and Jess have been very helpful assisting via phone pictures in picking out clothes.


Being back in campus life reminds me of all the stupid fashion trends I strongly dislike.  I see people wearing these things daily and it makes me shake my head in disapproval.  Yes, everybody is entitled to their own style.  This is simply my own opinion on clothes people are wearing that I think are terrible.  I wrote an article in my high school newspaper about my issues with fashion and how much people base on it.  I was then referred to as a “fashion carnivore” by a fellow classmate.  Ha! First, that would mean I eat up fashion, quite the contrary. “Fashionista carniove,” possibly the better title. 

Socks with Sandals

I’m not a pessimistic person, life is excellent lately.  I just simply have some things in life, fashion, style and/or otherwise that take down my happiness meter at least ½ a point.  I don’t hate everything and to prove it I’m adding a selection of things I LOVE!  Many of my readers/Facebook friends recently participated in my ‘Simple Joys’ survey about what little things make you happy in life.  I appreciate all of these things and expect my next post to include the list of my “chosen” entries

Fashion/Style/Action I dislike:
1) Socks with Sandals – ALWAYS a bad idea, if it is cold enough for socks then you shouldn’t be wearing sandals.
2) Shirts with necklaces printed on them – I wish you would just cough up the money to buy a real necklace, these shirts REALLY bother me.
3) Dress shirts with sweatpants – Why go through the effort of wearing a cute dress shirt and then wear sweatpants or gym shorts.  Men and women alike do this out here.
4) Guys who come up next to you and think it’s attractive to haulk a loogie – It’s not even a little attractive.
5) People turning left who think they have the right of way – Okay so this is just New Jersey BUT it’s seriously a huge problem.
6) Guys who layer three polo shirts and pop their collar – Especially when all three shirts are the same size, they pull, push and bubble in all the wrong places.
Skinny Jeans

7) Ugg boots – They are hideous. Also, it does NOT make you look European when you wear all black with your tan Uggs.

Too Much Poppin’

8) Skinny Jeans – I don’t care WHO you are, these look bad even on you.  They make people’s hips look weird and feet look huge. ALWAYS, skinny jeans are dumb.  There is one exception when I find these okay, see below.
9) Flat-billed hats – It infuriates me even more when people leave the sticker on the underside of the bill. You are not a thug and it makes your head look big and weird shaped.  Really it annoys me when people don’t take the tags/stickers off any possession. Binders or Tupperware with stickers still on the side or reusable grocery bags with the sale tags still on them.

The following link may be fashion faux pas of 2008, but if they were considered terrible at that time why are people still doing it?


Trends I love:
1) Old men who pop their collar – It’s cute because it’s only ONE shirt and they think they’re hot stuff. 

Riding Boots
Cardi & Sundress
2) Sundresses with cardigans – such a fun, innocent look (and super popular out here
3) Riding Boots – This is a SOMETIMES love for me and is the only time I allow skinny jeans.  Stipulations: The girl has to have cute boots and be able to pull the jockey look off, most cannot.  I myself, for instance, wish I could do this but I don’t think it’s possible.
4) Moccasins – Love! Super comfy too.
5) The plain look – A white tee and dark blue jeans that both fit well.  A look I always APPRECIATE!
So maybe there are more dislikes than loves.  There are a lot of trends I either like or don’t mind, there are just few I outwardly LOVE. What are your hates/loves?

Labor Day Adventure

I have been spending FAR too much time inside.  I wake up I go to my graduate assistantship position, come home, READ, go to class, READ OR go to my graduate assistantship position, race to work at Eden Gourmet, come home, READ READ READ.  I’ve been doing an okay job at fitting the rec center in here and there.  I had all of my reading done for this week and a head start on next week so I decided that today I would not set an alarm (bad idea) and I would go do something to get out of my wallowing homesick misery.

Oops. I slept in until 11:30. It doesn’t matter WHAT time I go to bed my body has no internal alarm clock whatsoever.  I got up and had a bowl of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, my favorite as you all know.  There are two sizeable state parks near South Orange so I thought I might go for a hike and check out South Mountain Reservation.  I’m very glad I did because it is a beauuuuuutiful park with a ton of trails.  There is also a waterfall at the end of a beautiful babbling little stream.  I hiked the forest in and the stream back out, it is currently my favorite place here (I haven’t really BEEN anywhere else).

Hiking and getting some sun was great, though it didn’t help clear my mind as much as I had hoped.  I guess I haven’t stated that I was granted a graduate assistantship at SHU.  This is an AMAZING thing I’ve been fighting very hard to get.  I don’t even know how many I applied for and was finally able to land one in the Dean of Arts and Sciences Office.  Tons of students apply for these and a blessed few get them.  This means that I work for the university 20 hours a week and get free tuition and a stipend besides.  I’ll admit it, I cried a little on the phone when I told my sister because I feel like my hard work is finally paying off.  I’m sure stress and being tired were a factor in my blubbering also.  Maybe this blog is too emotional for you? I apologize, I’m just so relieved that I won’t be coming out of school drowning in debt that I’ll never be able to pay off.  Like my mom says, “Good things come to good people.”  At least, I think she was referring to me.

During the week or two before/after coming out to school I wondered if I was making the right choice. Leaving my family and an at least decent paying job to go to nowhere, with no job, to put myself more than $45,000 in debt didn’t seem reasonable.  BUT, I got the assistantship, good living arrangements, I enjoy my classes immensely (more than normal students do) AND my family has been very supportive.  It will be O.K. Other people often say things better than I do, so in the words of yet ANOTHER wise woman, “Remember, we all have good days and also bad days, but thank goodness everything works out in the end.” -Myrtle Pickett

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

This blog is inspired by the show of the same name on Food Network. I’m sure I’ll forget something here but as of now I ‘m going to write about some of the best foods I’ve ever had. I have so many so this may turn into a first edition.
Winner Takes All: Manny’s Pizza in Savannah, Illinois.
This is my take all final supper meal. Its thin, chewy crust and grease dripping cheese is THE PERFECT mating of crust, sauce and cheese you’ll ever find. Anywhere, period.
Soups Up from a Can: Campbell’s Tomato Soup made with Milk
A childhood favorite and I don’t care what anybody says, it always taste better when Grandma Taplin makes it and you eat it with a serving spoon like Grandpa did, not just a regular spoon.
Soups Up Home Edition: Chicken Dumpling Vegetable Soup
This soup made by my mother herself is true soul/home food. No matter where I eat it or if I make it myself, it isn’t as good as my mom’s, her dumplings are perfect every time.

Simple Breakfast for Super Cheap: Waffle Stop in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
It’s easy to get stuffed for less than $7 here. I recommend a FULL ORDER of Biscuits and Gravy and when you order their warm cinnamon rolls the icing will make you weep.

Breakfast with All the Options: Café this Way in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Hash browns. That is ALL you need to eat here. A delicious mound of hash browns with an insane amount of fixings you can have loaded on top. Yum! I recommend goat cheese, roasted red peppers, bacon and pickled jalapenos!

Dessert from the Heart: A chocolate malt made by my Dad.
I’m really not biased to my family’s cooking but he gets it perfect every time, it is always the ideal ratio. Recently he made a Mocha Coffee Malt that rocked my world! Second Place, colored or carmel popcorn made by Grandma Taplin

Cakey Dessert: Blarney Stones made by Grandma Schwartz.
These are a labor of love and my fave.  I had them at my graduation, I want them at my wedding!  If you don’t know what these are you are truely missing out.

Restaurant Breads: Popovers at Jordan Pond Restaurant, Acadia National Park, Maine.

These are legendary and for good reason. Simple but perfect.

Homemade Breads: Dilly Cheesy Onion Casserole Bread by the Iron Hill Church Ladies?
Mom correct me if I’m wrong here… I don’t remember what the exact name of this bread was but we used to buy it at Farmer’s Market in Maquoketa, Iowa and it is DELICIOUS! I will recreate this.

Pasta at Home: Roasted Red Pepper Rotini Caesar
Recipe compliments of my sister Jenni. My only addition is asparagus. I can eat this dish for an entire week and I just did.

Pasta Whoa!: Ravioli at One Eleven Main in Galena, Illinois.
Handmade asparagus and asiago filled lemon spinach ravioli with a creamy parmesan broth. What’s not to like.

Sushi/Maki Stuff: Asparagus Maki Rolls at Soho in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
I don’t like sushi so I stick to maki, they make an AMAZING asparagus roll with a soy wrap, grilled asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, goat cheese and balsamic reduction sauce. You all KNOW I love Balsamic Vinegar! They used to make a mean chicken satay but they took if off the menu so I stole the recipe. You can now find it at my house, mmm.

Thai Food: Thai Lagoon in Chicago, Illinois.
I don’t even know how to explain it. I have eaten A LOT of Thai food and this has always been the best.

Potato in Chip FormOld Dutch Dill Pickle Chips, unsurpassed by ANY other brand.

Potato in Fry FormFrench fries and burger sauce, Camberwell Kebab, London, U.K.

Runners-up, Staples and Other Notables – My spinach dip recipe, brown sugar bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, Green Bean Casserole, Cheesy potato hash brown casserole, Strawberry Meringue Kiss Cookies, Popcorn

The Beginning of an Excellent Journey

Today was the start of my graduate career. I must say I am really looking forward to only learning things that I’m interested in. Anybody who has attended undergraduate schooling knows there are so many courses that you HAVE to take that will never apply to your life. This semester I am enrolled in Writing for Museums, History and Theory of Museums and Exhibitions A to Z. This evening was my first class of Writing for Museums. This is something I know I need, so my followers can look forward to an improvement in my writing as the semester progresses. We had a short in-class assignment today and in it I mentioned my writing tends to be conversational and verbose. Verbose? What do you think? As my last two blog posts turned into novels, I’m going to attempt to start writing more effectively and so consequently, I will hopefully be writing more succinctly.

I assume my classes and text readings will provide me with a surfeit of topics to discuss. Is there a topic you’ve been dying to discuss? Leave a comment and I will see what we can get started.

Upcoming: Logos and branding to take notice of.
Also, I’m working on some new designs for this blog because this one is not hitting the spot. Maybe we will have a vote.

Some New Photoshop/Illustrator Fiddlins

Nothing has been happening. I’ve been applying for jobs and trying not to go insane about it. Classes don’t start until next Monday so I have plenty of time to use for other things and it has been raining so exploring has not been ideal. I think I’ll try to go for a bike ride this weekend, apparently there is some safe/nice riding up by the state park and there is a South Orange Bike Coalition with some maps on their website I may try. Sounds like it splits into the leisure riders and harder hill/speed training which I can definitely use. It would be good for me. They ride twice a week so I’m hoping to get in on that, schedule permitting. More exciting is that there is a 25 mile ride in Newark in September that goes around to different historical monuments, two things I love all bundled up in one.

I met my other roomie, Shannon, today. She says she wants to get in to biking so I tried to encourage her so maybe I can have a riding buddy. She’s seems every bit as much a card as Sheila. I’ve been spending some time on family history stuff and made a bit of a breakthrough on a few more names on the Weimerskirch side. I’ve also been fiddling with some new graphic techniques I’ve been meaning to tackle and master. I’ve included some examples so you actually have a reason to enjoy this blog. As you can see, I have some practicing to do and some fine tuning. Feel free to shoot me comments or suggestions, ideas or requests. I like doing stuff.

The layout of the rest of this blog is really dumb, but blogger has some issues when it comes to moving around photographs.  They also have issues with adding captions and maintaing spaces so the captions are as follows from left to right in each row, sorry for the viewing inconvenience.

1) Out of Bounds photography- I like the idea of this, I need to work on it.  The big thing is what do you put in the background behind the photo that’s effective?
2) The Sin city Effect – I didn’t have any gruesome quotes from the movie and didn’t feel the need to add a gun to the picture so, it’s just my favorite quote.
3) Vectors, 3D text and overlays – I REALLY need to work on these, though I blame it mostly on a poor choice of font.  I did say font, not name.
4) The Ansel Adams Effect – It is my belief that most outdoor photos can be AMAZING when blow up to enormous sizes.  Unfortunately I don’t have the funding to blow some of my pics up to interest people so I create effects instead.
5) The Polaroid Effect – I like this, it is fun.  I’m finally getting the hang of clipping masks.
6) Again Clipping Masks, I MISS MY KIDS and I LOVE YOU!

Wake up kid, you’re not in Iowa!

It’s official, I am now a student. I’ve registered for classes and have a student i.d. I had my main wakeup call yesterday when I went out to get my starter groceries. First of all I forgot how expensive getting started is and second, I am pretty much in New York City it’s going to be EXPENSIVE! This will be the true show of whether I am my mother’s daughter or not. Coupons and sales here I come because my diet will be limited to what you have to offer.

There are several supermarkets in the area. PathMark which is the main sort of Hyvee-ish one, A&P which I haven’t been to but Dr. Chu says that’s where they shop and even though it is super dive they are friendly and a bit cheaper. We also have Fine Fare which is the most eclectic hodge podge of an ethnic food store ranging from Russian to Cambodian to Japanese foods. Love it, a little weird but I like options and Dr. Chu says you get a 10% on non-sale items with a Seton Hall I.D. even better!

Sorry the vid is sideways, clearly I need to work on video editing software. My digs here are quaint and cute. It’s just a nice little colonial style house right behind campus (super convenient for me I’m about 100 ft from the gates into campus) and I have a room on the 2nd floor. The room is plenty big and with two big closets, and armoire and dresser type thing I’ve got all sorts of places to cram my stuff. We have a pretty big kitchen and back yard, normal living room and dining room. The only real downside is that there is one bathroom for three women; Sheila and Shannon are both teachers so they have to be TO work by 8am, this may help me out depending on where I find a job. I yell about the basket because it was part of my lovely going away basket full of stuff and snacks from my sasster Jenni!

I was just telling a friend the main reason I’m excited for grad school is that I get to take ONLY classes I want on a subject I’m INTERESTED in. I know undergrad schools want you to be well-rounded but most of those gen-ed classes are lame-o and you have to take them with a bunch of schmucks who don’t give a crap to be there, not my favorite. This semester on my plate I have Writing for Museums (text panels, exhibition guides, etc), History and Theory of Museums which is, well, just what it says and Museum Exhibitions A to Z. I’m excited for all of these. I love but also dread taking the Writing for Museums class. I NEED this, really solid professional writing is not my forte as you can tell, I write the way I speak which is fine for informal matters but not in my career. It will be my biggest challenge and hopefully a big accomplishment.

Things I forgot about big city and college town living:
1) It’s bright in the city, you don’t get pitch black night.
2) It’s loud; sirens, airport 10 minutes away, drunk hollering (luckily not much in my neighborhood.
3) People from different cultural backgrounds (not so common in Maquoketa) this is a plus!
4) College kids, specifically undergrads, guh. Many of them dress dumb and it annoys me.
The ride out here was pretty uneventful besides getting detoured over an hour out of my way off 80 and almost dying once in Pennsylvania when a car stopped too suddenly and jack-knifed across the road in front of me. You could smell the tires on that one but I survived it. It rained when I was finishing packing my car Friday night, rained from 2 p.m. on on Saturday, rained almost all day Sunday and was a torrential DOWNPOUR when I arrived at my new abode. This made the windows for unpacking the car a little spotty but I managed. NJ here is the beginning of a two year relationship.

This edition of “You look like…”
1) You look exhausted/tired. – EVERYBODY tells me this, I sleep sometimes I promise I do.  I just have some awesome purpley bags under my eyes all the time but I’ll be honest I am a bit of an insomniac.
2) This is not a You Look Like moment but it’s common and funny so I’m sharing it.  People, never people I know just people when I first meet them, seem to comment on my eyes a lot.  My new neighbor Tony, who apparently has a bajillion brothers had some friends over the other night and one of them was Ian, who they refer to as Magic and has a very thick Jamaicany/Islander type accent.  He was heckling me as I was unloading my car and I mean heckling so I went over to chat with him because he threatened to hop the very short fence and come to me.  He stopped in mid-sentence as we shook hands (in which he wouldn’t let go of mine) and said, “What’s in those eyes? (Here I stand awkwardly not knowing what to say) You’ve got searching eyes…What’s in those eyes? What are you searching for?” My reply, “I got them from my mom…”  What do you say to that? Awkward, I like people.  Not funny to you? Probably not. Guess you had to be there.

A Sad Farewell

This is it friends; the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one in the life of Pam Schwartz.  This will be my 14th move in 5 years, 14!  I love having new experiences but I hate moving.  I have lived at least 5 weeks or more at each of these places which has required me to take a fair amount of my things with me.  Luckily my parents are sweet enough to rent me a storage space in their home in exchange for my undying love and devotion.

I haven’t even left yet but I miss my family.  I’m glad I came home at the beginning of this year to nanny the little monsters.  I love them so much and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve almost called grad school off more than once because I know I’m going to be missing so much of their lives.  I’ve been spoiled the last several months getting to go the the basketball games, baseball games, to cry through the first tooth and learning how to walk.  Having close nieces and nephews is just like having your own children because you love them so much you can’t bear to leave them.

In the last year or two I’ve learned the serenity in just being with your family whether you’re actually doing anything or not. Just sitting and chatting with my grand parents and relatives, having dinner with my parents, seeing all of my sisters and brothers on a fairly regular basis have made the past several months the best ones I’ve had because now I’m old enough to realize how important those things are.

I have an amazing network of family and friends and though I know I can pick up a phone and call it’s not the same as walking upstairs into a room full of family and smiling faces.  Sixteen hours away just isn’t the same as 2 or even 5.  My Masters degree will take two years and I always thought I wanted to end up on the east coast, Virginia seemed ideal, but now I’m hoping to be much closer to home.  All three of my siblings and their families are here and I want to be a part of that and an even bigger part of their children’s lives, not to mention wanting my kids to know their cousins and to get to enjoy grandma and grandpa.

I missed time at college because I could no longer walk across the hall, down the apartment complex, or a few blocks to my friends’ places.  Now I’ll miss even being able to drive four, or however many hours to see them.  I would never take back the hundreds of dollars I’ve spent on gas driving to see friends because I know I won’t even have that luxury in NJ.  I’m not scared for New Jersey, I know I’ll make plenty of friends and colleagues but they won’t have known me for years.  They don’t know that I don’t like mushrooms, that I love dessert wine, that I like bad horror movies or that popcorn is a perfectly normal supper for me.

This will be an adventure.  I have high hopes for my education and the possible experiences I will have in New Jersey/NYC. So, I bid thee all farewell for now.  This is sappy, if you didn’t like it you would have stopped reading. I love you all and I’ll miss you.  Somebody come visit me, please?