Sewing a Dress

Hello Friends! My name is Reena Bradley. For my senior project, I will be creating my graduation dress. One of the most significant events in a ‘high school career’ at Westtown is graduation in at the Greenwood. As a sixth generation Westonian, I cannot wait to walk down those stone steps as my mother, cousins, and grandparents did before me. It is truly a special moment and deserves a truly special dress.

One of the most prevalent traditions of commencement is that all of the young women graduating wear white dresses. My mother has been trying to get me to pick out a white dress for graduation since sophomore year as there are only so many white dresses in stores (and everyone wants to be unique). In order to make my dress completely mine and add my own personality to it, I have decided to sew my own dress.

I have limited sewing ability, but I’d like to consider myself an ‘advanced beginner.’ I have only made a few wearable items, but I am optimistic about my ability to do this. The project will be about understanding the effort and detail that goes making a more complicated garment, especially one that is made for such an important event. I will be working with a seamstress in Wayne to construct the dress. I am so excited to begin. But first, I must find some fabric!

In order to acquire material, I will be headed to ‘Fabric Row,’ thus beginning my journey.

This is one of the shops I will visit on 4th Street in Philly (Fabric Row)

Distilling Grasse to an Essence – A Study of Culture and Perfume

02/28/19 – PHL – Introduction

Ever since I’ve been little, I’ve loved the idea of going to France. I’ve been taking French since I was little and singing French songs. I used to joke that the fact that my last name was the name of a city in France was fate, that I was destined to go, never would I think that for a week I would end up going alone.

Hello! My name is Kreider Grasse, and I will be going to Grasse, France for a week to study southern French culture and also to be making and studying perfume. By following along, you will hear about how it is to adapt to French culture and also enjoying loads of pictures of what my days, hopefully, different from each other, will entail. I hope to bring light to a different culture, a different city and a different type of senior project.

I’m not quite sure what my days will look like, other than my seminar at Galimard Perfumery. I want to keep my days as open and free as possible. Go into town for coffee or light snacks, live in the moment without the worrying and stress of due assignments. To have an open day, in a city I don’t know, is pure and utter independence. I am so happy to start exploring

Cooking with S.P.I.C.E.S! (A Quaker Service Project)

Hi everyone! My name is Bess Goldstein, and my senior project is essentially a service project involving service at food banks in Northern California. In my blog posts, I hope to bring you all along with me, showing you my progression, what I’ve done and what I will learn, and of course… pictures!

The premise of my project is to utilize my Quaker beliefs and values in service in a new part of the country that I have yet to explore. I will be staying in Arcata, California.

Arcata is located in Northern California, a small town in Humboldt County, close to the coast. There, there are many opportunities for volunteering and exploring. After a lot of scheduling and research for what I thought was best for my project, the family I am staying with and I decided that it would make most sense to volunteer at a certain food bank in Eureka called Food For People.

Originally, I was hoping to volunteer at the children’s theater in the area as well, but unfortunately, some communication issues got in the way of that. Either way, I am looking forward to bringing my love for service into my project despite the lack of theater.

So if you know me, you know that I am a Quaker, born and raised. I have always loved the values and beliefs they uphold, and that is why I hope to bring those values into my service project. The S.P.I.C.E.S are the Quaker pillars, in reference to my title. They stand for Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. By going to Humboldt County, CA and volunteering at Food For People, I know that most, if not all, of those Quaker pillars will be met with my service. Food For People values sustainability, respect, teamwork, integrity–all contributing to these important Quaker values.

Aspiring to contribute to my Quaker values is only one of the goals of this project. Another certain goal of mine is to work on my Spanish language skills while volunteering at Food For People. I am aware that it is extremely beneficial for volunteers at this food bank to speak or comprehend some Spanish, as they have families and people that speak Spanish come in often. ¡Espero que logre mucho con este proyecto!

Aside from the volunteer work, I am also looking forward to exploring this beautiful part of California; specifically the Redwoods forest and other national parks in the area. I will make sure to bring you all on the project with me, with updates, pictures and more! Thanks for reading!


Italy Senior Project Trip 2019!

Leaving Friday morning, this is the majority of the Italy senior project group! We will be starting in Sicily and then moving into Rome and all over the Southwest coast of Italy. We have all been adamantly practicing our Latin and Italian over the last few months in excitement! Some of the things we are most looking forward to are the Colosseum, Pompeii, classic Italian food, and of course Teacher Dan’s hometown. All of us our super excited to go and cannot wait to start!


After two weeks of happily walking around the streets of Spain, I am back in West Chester, PA, grumbling about school.

I have learned an incredible amount of random things during this Senior Project. I know more Spanish than I had at the start of this Project. Postres means desserts, and cerveza means beer. I learned that when you ask for water, you get an entire 1.5L bottle and you have to pay for it. And on the topic of food and drink, the quality of both is infinitely better than that of the United States.

Generally, Spanish people seem to take their time and enjoy the little things in life, like beer. Except for rainy days, in the early afternoon, I would always see cafes open with people sitting at little black tables drinking glasses of beer. Occasionally, there would be a coffee drinker, but coffee seems to be a morning beverage for the Spaniards. If that’s wrong, let me know!

Looking back to the trip specifically, I think I went to churches and cathedrals the most, followed by museums. I visited churches that were more than 300 years old and churches that are still under construction. My favorite is still the Sagrada Familia. The colors from the stained glass differ depending on the time of day. I easily spent about three hours walking around there.

I have learned a bit about traveling in general though. A lot of time was spent waiting in line to purchase tickets. Online ticket-buying is a must. Also, I didn’t allot enough time to simply wander around the city. Much of my time was bogged down in tourist places. While that did allow me to see the more famous side of Spain, I was not able to engage with the local culture.

Even so, I believe this was a very worthwhile trip. This project has encouraged me to go beyond my comfort zone and pursue areas of knowledge that I previously knew little to nothing about.



Xi’an, From Ancient to Modern

Day 4:

The wake up call was super early, 4am to be exact, but it was okay because we had to catch our flight from Beijing to Xi’an, the first capital of China.  The hotel prepared boxed breakfasts for us that we ate a few bites of on the way to the airport.  Around 1 in the afternoon, we finally arrived in Xi’an.

It was a rainy day so we had to move our itinerary around a little bit but it all worked out in the end!  Directly from the airport, we went to the Muslim Street which is this hectic street market.  The Muslim Street looks just how I pictured China looking and smells just how I pictured China smelling.  There are thousands of different food being prepared in carts scattered around the street and countless different stores selling everything from cigarettes to counterfeit handbags to rice.  Joanna, Kamryn, and I went around on the street and tried some of the different “street meats,” my favorite had to be the lamb on a stick!

After the Muslim Street, some of us decided to go get a massage.  In China, massages are a fraction of what they cost in the United States so this was an opportunity that I could not pass up!  The massage place was somewhat sketchy but it was definitely a fun bonding experience.  After the massages we all went for a dinner and a show at the Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show.  It was some of the best food that we had and the performers were amazing.





Day 5:

Our wake up call was super early today as well.  We all went down to the lobby for our breakfast before we loaded up onto the bus to go and see the Terracotta Warriors.  From the way it was described to us, I thought that the warriors were in the city, but oh was I wrong.  In reality, the warriors are a two hour drive outside of the city.  After this excruciating drive, we finally arrived at the Terracotta Warriors Museum.  The warriors were amazing to see.  The Warriors were buried in the ground, and there are THOUSANDS of them, so the area is still very much an archaeological site.  The different pits, the holes where they are digging up warriors, are covered by massive buildings that look like airplane hangers.  Inside the hangers, you can see the thousands of warriors that are being rebuilt by archaeologists.  While the site was really cool at first, after a few hours I was very ready to move on to our next event.  After the warriors, we had a traditional noodle lunch.  It was really cool to watch the chefs make the many different kinds of noodles that we got to try.   After lunch, we got onto the bus for the ride back into Xi’an.

When we got back into the city, we went to an art museum where we took a tour and then had a traditional Chinese calligraphy lesson.  I am very non-artistic so I didn’t enjoy the calligraphy all that much.  Then we went to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda which is a massive Buddhist temple. We climbed the seven stories to the top of the pagoda and the views of Xi’an were amazing.  After we climbed, I went to the gift store to buy Buddhist prayer beads for my family.  After the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, we went to the ancient city wall where we were supposed to ride bikes on the wall.  We got to the wall and Kamryn and I decided to take out a tandem bike because she just had ACL surgery and couldn’t bike by herself.  It was a terrifying experience but was super fun as well.  The Festival of Lights was still going on so a part of the wall was covered in massive lanterns.  Kam and I walked through the lanterns and ended up being super late to the bus but it was 100% worth it.  After this we went back to the hotel for a hot pot dinner.  On day 6, we are off to Guilin and Yangshuo!

Intersecting Paths and Gaudí’s Imagination

March 15, 2018

At the top of the Passion Towers of the Sagrada Família

I began my first day in Spain by simply wandering around the hotel where I was staying. In a span of only a few minutes, I stumbled across the Palau, its full name being the Palau de la Música Catalana. The pillars were decorated with tiles of contrasting colors. Above the entrance was an extremely impressive array of statues and busts of various composers. My curiosity peaked when I saw a baby grand piano in one of the large glass windows, so I walked around the hall to find a way in without having to pay for the guided tour. (I’m cheap, I know.) The side of the building was covered in glass windows and so had a decidedly more modern look than the front. The interior reverted back to the typical style of the bourgeoisie, complete with gilded stairs and high, elegant arches. In the center, however, was a charming little café area with yet another piano. An old man dressed in a rumpled black coat and a large striped scarf was seated at the piano and playing Mozart’s Sonata No. 16 in C Major. The music filled the area, lending a nice juxtaposition to the quiet chatter of people milling around. To my surprise, once he finished performing the composition, he simply collected his keys, which were lying on the stand, and left after acknowledging the scattered applause. After questioning a guard standing nearby, I learned that the piano was there for public use, for any person to come and play if they wanted to. After some seconds of internal debate, I decided to play a piece, despite weeks of avoiding practice.

Once I finished, I was reminded acutely of Westtown’s South Room. Anybody can go in and play, and the main purpose, as I see it, is to find some respite in the middle of a busy day. It is by no means a formal performance, which I tend to strongly dislike. As I walked out of the music hall, I was filled with a similar sense of glee I had felt when I first played in the South Room four years ago. I also felt something new. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also once said, “Music is the universal language of all mankind.” This was the first time I understood this sentiment. When I had glanced up after performing, there was no sense of awkwardness when I addressed my audience. I felt connected to the people listening.

Recording of my playing in the Palau. Check it out, if you want!

In the afternoon, I began following my itinerary with visiting Casa Milà, or more commonly known as La Pedrera. It is currently in use as both a place of both residency and business. However, it dates back to 1912 when it was designed by Antoni Gaudí for the Milà family. The architecture was different from any other that I had seen before, in that I could not find a single right angle. This characteristic remained constant as I went through my tour of Casa Milà. The courtyard had an ovular shape, with the open sky overhead. Some surfaces were splattered with faint hues of blue and green. Even with this show of eccentricity and my knowledge of the pictures on Google Images, I was not prepared for what waited on the roof. Shapes that resembled bodies and faces lined up one after another in the middle of the curving tiled path. Some had white tiles stuck on them, others were left blank. As cliché as it sounds, if I could not see the city roofs around me, I would have believed I stepped into another world. Continue reading “Intersecting Paths and Gaudí’s Imagination”

Feeling Affirmed

It’s been healing and comforting to be surrounded by people who affirm my identity. At Westtown, I’ve struggled with coming to terms with my identity in a space that is overwhelmingly white, cis, and straight. While Westtown is in some ways a progressive and open-minded community, it isn’t one in which there are many other people like me.

At the museum, I am being surrounded by queer people of color, their art, and their energies. My boss Lindsay is genderqueer and black! So are a lot of the teens in the programs I’ve been helping with over the past week. I’m so grateful to be spending time in a place with people who are so empathetic and passionate.

And the people I work with are similar to me outside of our shared identities; we’re all passionate about art! I’ve been engaging in amazing conversations with my supervisors and other teens alike about what art means to them, especially in relation to social justice. This is one of the few times in my life where I have not been the only one, and I am so happy.




The Final 72 – Cooking with a James Beard Award Winning Chef.

Monday March 12, 2018 10:33 P.M. EST

Friday began quite early again due to us getting home early from a restaurant  opening that I talked about in the previous blog. So the plan was to get up and work out early after dropping chef’s daughter off at school.  The only real reason that I went was to swim at the gym that I thought we were going to. Instead we went and made some desserts for the restaurant. Yiheng made a flour-less chocolate cake that is matched with a round piece of chocolate Ganache. Once that was done we had a quick breakfast across the street, and went on a shopping trip.  We went to visit the local Cutlery store called Ambrosi Bothers. They service almost all of the chef’s knives in the entire city of Kansas City. It was amazing to see all of the different gadgets, and knives to use in the kitchen. I already have a few chef’s knives but I did purchase a new slicing knife. This will aid me when I need to cut prepared meats and other cooked objects. After this fun, we began running our errands for the day. This included dropping off  catering supplies to the company that we made lunch for that past Wednesday, and making a run to the apple store. Once that Happened we went back to the restaurant to start our prep for service. It was quite busy that evening due to the large college basketball tournament taking place down the street. At one point during the night we had hit a rush where we sold 20 burgers in about 15 minutes.  There was also an group that came into the restaurant for a special dinner where nothing was ordered off the menu. One of the starters that we made was salmon tartar.  This was a lot of fun to make because it allowed me to learn the proper way to filet a fish. Chef Tio made it look so easy.  Once we filet the salmon she took a small piece of the fish and chopped it up very fine and adding all of these amazing ingredients to it, like an artist adding layers upon layers of color to their work. She also knew that I had never ate raw fish before. So pictured below was the first raw fish I have ever ate before in my entire life.


Below is one of the other menu items that we made for the group which was pan seared scallops with blanched potatoes that were then pan fried, with homemade chorizo, and pickled red onions.


Shortly after this dinner was done we made our dinner, and headed home for some well needed rest.  The next day would also be my last day at the restaurant. Unlike most days we slept in pretty late and enjoyed it very much. This was a major day for getting prep work done for the next week of the three month catering contract that Chef had just received.  Once all of the shopping was done Chef took us to a really cook place for lunch in which she called ” fun Chinese food.” This place was called Blue Koi and it had some great dumplings, and roasted duck. We all got hit with all of the dreaded food coma and we all went back to the house and took naps. We all got up and rushed over to the restaurant to begin prep work. I chopped lots of squash, and eggplant for Monday’s vegetable dish for the catering event. Since we had all of these vegetables around Yiheng wanted to make what is really called vegetable byaldi, but is better know from a famous Disney movie which is called Ratatouille.  Here is one of the ones that we made before it went into the oven compared to the one from the movie

IMG-0825.JPG     Image result for ratatouille movie dish

So with that we also made a few other dishes for fun with some of the salmon and potatoes from the night before. It was great to see all of our minds come together to see make some amazing food. For dinner that night I made a pan roasted salmon with a maple bourbon glaze and the same potatoes as the scallop dish the night before. It was such a hit that I didn’t get a picture of it.  So to wrap up my time at the restaurant I took pictures with some of the people I worked with. In the first picture is Keith who ran the grill in the kitchen. In the second picture are Daniel, and Jake, who are probably the funniest and most enjoyable bartenders I’ve ever met.



Finally here are some of the pictures of the restaurant and kitchen.

IMG-0827 – The Dish Room

IMG-0828 The Kitchen: Small but Mighty

IMG-0822 – A map Showing Westtown township including Westtown’s Campus.

IMG-0823 The restaurant from the view of a comfy couch as I rest my feet briefly.

Sunday was a nice day to end my adventure out in Kansas City. After Sleeping in and packing we went to a donut shop for breakfast and then went around town on a street car, and took a few final pictures before I got to the airport.

The First picture below is me standing exactly in both Kansas and Missouri at the same time.


And the final picture taken of course was with Chef herself at the belfry before she took me to the airport so I could catch my flight home.

IMG-5633 Thank you for reading the blog, and I will be writing a shorter blog in a few days with a reflection of my time out with Chef Tio.  Until next time!




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The museum’s One Basquiat exhibition is amazing. It is only one painting in a mostly empty room, but somehow that connects you to Basquiat even more deeply than if there were a whole collection of his work. There is something amazing about a painting that allows you to time travel into the exact setting of the artist. It was a deeply emotional experience for me to view the painting as I’ve always loved Basquiat.

The work was donated by Yusuku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire and art collector who bought the it for $110 million dollars.The purchase made history as the most expensive American painting ever auctioned, so it was a huge deal in the art world when he bought it. Since I keep up with art news, I remember hearing it about it on one of my favorite podcasts! The purchase was a huge deal not only because of the price tag, but because Basquiat was a black artist in a largely white art world. On Friday, Mr. Maezawa came to talk to teen staff about how the education department was using the artwork!

It’s been a great first week and I’m feeling extremely grateful and inspired by the art around me.