Mondays: Victor

DSC_4097 As the President of the Michigan Ballroom Dance Team, I am always trying to spread the joy of dancing. I love telling people my story of having no prior dancing experience but then discovering a passion for ballroom, and consequently becoming so infatuated with learning all the styles that I stuck around for four years.

Accordingly, it brings me so much happiness when others are so convinced by my stories that they not only give dancing a try, but they also join the team! Victor, a Shanghai native studying Computer Engineering, was one of those people who gave dancing a try and found joy in our community. Not only does he consistently come to lesson, but he reached out to me and another friend to get dinner sometime. Super cool to not only put yourself out there on the dance floor, but also in friendships and relationships with new people.

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Victor's aesthetic incorporates a classic look, contrasting dark and bright colors to achieve either an elegant or energetic look. From taking inspiration from a lot of different places (Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Ann Arbor, etc), he brings a unique perspective to getting dressed everyday. One of his favorite outfits that I see him in is a thick gray cardigan with a Facebook tshirt underneath (where he interned this past summer), and he loves his sunglasses too.

As a senior, it can be very easy to be close minded to meeting new people. However, getting ice cream with a cool person like Victor has definitely re-emphasized the importance of always being willing to grab coffee with someone new and getting to know them better.

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Mondays: John

DSC_3873 John and I have built a lot of memories together in the short span of time we've known each other. Loose associations formed through both being in ballroom at the start of junior year, we started sorta kinda hanging out a little bit at the end of junior year, and then didn't really start being real *friends* until the start of this year. Our adventures have taken us through episodes of Freaks and Geeks, across state lines for ballroom competitions, into basement practice rooms to sing acoustic versions of crude rap songs, and of course up and down the streets of Ann Arbor for whatever the weekend beckons.

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I love how John puts himself together everyday, and there's definitely certain pieces in his closet that I repeatedly tell him I love every time he wears them.  With a relaxed, individualist, and versatile look (with a little bit of prep mixed in), his wardrobe features great boots like the brown ones above.

Indeed, John has built a really diverse closet ranging from student org shirts to knitted rainbow sweaters, and his current favorite is his Eaux Claires festival t-shirt. There's lots of meaning behind his favorite things too: he wears is grandfather's belt buckle everyday.DSC_3884DSC_3901DSC_3928DSC_3931

Mondays: Stuart

Another week, another great guy brought to you by Jiaxin Machine. Stuart, an Alpena, Michigan native, has the best of all worlds. Behind his strapping face and body, he is an International Studies and German major who will be pursuing a master's in International Security at Sciences Po in Paris, France this coming fall. Stuart describes his aesthetic as warm, eclectic, and timeless and his favorite wardrobe stable is a pair of light tan corduroys. With his intellectual pursuits taking him to Paris though, I anticipate perhaps a new look the next time we see each other.

Our history together hails all the way back to freshman year welcome week where we became close friends. From our first daytime pregame to our Puerto Rico spring break trip that we're on right now, Stuart's kindness has been a source of laughter and light in my life and I know I'm going to miss him so much after graduation.

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Huron Canoeing

  DSC_0241By far, canoeing is my favorite Michigan outdoor pastime. I grew up always loving swimming and being near coastlines, and so I find a certain comfort in floating along a gently flowing body of water.

I definitely held the wrong mindset about canoeing the first time I went. I would race my family members, pushing the other person in my canoe to paddle faster so we could finish first. I have long since learned that this is the exact opposite of what the activity should be: indeed, canoeing should be a peaceful experience, centered around relaxation and forgetting the hectic schedules we are so accustomed to.

My personal favorite is an 8-mile trip with Skip's Canoe Livery that takes us through some light currents and also past a nice little picnic spot. It takes 3-4 hours: a perfect amount of time to cozy up with a drink and soak up the beautiful scenery around you. DSC_0209DSC_0198DSC_0279DSC_0293  [Reggie: a new corgi friend we made.]

The Blimpy Burger Experience

Any legitimate student here knows what Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger is, and definitely does not need a Food Network feature to remind them how delicious it is. DSC_1024

Blimpy Burger is more than just a burger joint--but rather, an efficient and streamlined experience yielding a succulent grease-battered work of art.

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One does not simply order a generic burger. One orders fresh beef patties on thick Kaiser patties with bacon and fried eggs. Grease on grease on grease on grease? Yes please.

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When you finally make it through the assembly line of heart-attack inducing goodness and pay (cash only!), you might have to fight the temptation to start digging into your masterpiece without bothering with politeness and manners and actually sitting down. With something so yummy though, I completely understand.

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And uh, oh, did I mention I'm a vegetarian?

Why "The Machine"?

11746_10151558705203330_884196816_n My name is Jiaxin, pronounced like "Machine" but with a "J". I love all kinds of food, and am rarely seen without my camera.

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I have always had an interest in blogging, but never really did any quality blogging. I am trying to transition from a strictly photo blog with sporadic posts, to this more in-depth and broad lifestyle blog.

Inspired by blogs like Cupcakes and Cashmere and Sea of Shoes, I want to share all the great food and style that I am so fortunate to be surrounded by! I am inspired by the many things I find in Ann Arbor, and hope to have some great travel anecdotes to share as well.

Happy blogging!