Hobbies: Model United Nations

Greetings, MB&H readers! I’m back from my summer blogging hiatus that was spent working the most excellent job in America, being a summer camp counselor. This summer has given me a lot of time to reflect on why we like to do the things that we do. I’ve always thought of my hobbies as time-killers as opposed to a road leading to success. Math was always a hobby of mine;  now it’s my primary source of income.

Marie: MUN Extraordinaire

Marie: MUN Extraordinaire

I started considering the people in my life that began participating in something for fun that eventually lead to a whole lifestyle. That’s where today’s post comes in.

Today’s post is exceptional because 1) it’s a guest post and 2) that guest happens to be my super talented cousin, Marie Hanewinckel.  Marie recently moved to TAIWAN for a Fullbright program where she will be teaching English. She discovered her passion through her hobby.

Model United Nations 

by Marie Hanewinckel

Hobbies. Everyone thinks they need them. People are always searching for a hobby – a hobby to make themselves feel as if they have a purpose, or if nothing else, life outside of work, school, and family.

I’ve often felt as if my life is lacking a hobby. I’m terrible at crafts, can’t play any instruments, and have no special talents beyond intellectual pursuits. But what if an intellectual activity could become a hobby? That’s how I found my greatest pastime of Model United Nations.

I know you’re thinking one of two things right now: “Wow, what a nerd!” or “Wasn’t that one Mary-Kate and Ashley movie/Parks and Rec episode about Model UN?” However, MUN is so much more than simply a nerdy debate activity. It became, for me, a hobby to which I was more than happy to devote hours of my time each week.

Although I initially joined MUN in high school simply as a way to become involved in something that wasn’t basketball, there are many irreplaceable things I gained from MUN:

1. The ability to engage an audience through public speaking, as well as manage and lead large groups of people in a more informal setting (better known as “caucusing”).

2. Confidence in myself. Confidence in my intellect. Confidence in my ability to speak in front of an audience. Confidence in my ability to command respect. And, most of all, confidence in my ability to improvise.1978591_10152353492336410_142506202_o

3. Amazing friends. I’m not kidding – the typical “MUNer” isn’t a socially-awkward nerd. You have to be pretty social and have the ability to make friends to excel at MUN. So MUNers are pretty social creatures.

4. A support system. College is hard. You learn a lot about yourself and finally have the chance to become your own person. Being part of a team helped facilitate this and gave me a community at my university.

5. Professional skills. I have no fear of interviews or talking with others at formal events.

This hobby has taken me places I never dreamed it would – I’ve traveled all around the country and even held a job teaching MUN. It’s a hobby that more and more people are joining every day – and begins as early as middle school! I’ve seen so many people, myself included, find their passions and grow into themselves through this engaging activity. To conclude – even the nerds with no tangible talents can find hobbies at which they can excel.

To keep up with Marie’s life in Taiwan teaching English as a second language, follow her blog.

Keep hobbyin’!



Hobbies: Beadwork

My senior year in high school, I broke my foot. It was my right foot, so I couldn’t drive anywhere, and I couldn’t exactly exercise anymore for fun.

As a way of fighting off the boredom, I decided to develop a new skill set: beadwork. That’s fancy lingo for “making cool jewelry/ accessories with very tiny beads” (seed beads).

Seed Bead bracelet, peyote stitch, size  14 beads

A bracelet I made for my mom

I LOVE making bracelets, especially intricate ones with seed beads. It’s a hobby I’d highly encourage. I’ll lay out the pros and cons of beginning beadwork, then share a few tips for getting starting.


  • You can make some seriously beautiful pieces. In general, whenever I wear something I made out of seed beads, I get a ton of compliments. People can not fathom that I made the piece.


  • It can be a little difficult to teach yourself, although definitely possible (I taught myself).


  •  Unlike friendship bracelets made out of embroidery thread, (a hobby I’ll talk about in a future post), the beadwork jewelry you make can be used as an actual, heartfelt,  expensive-looking birthday present. This is great, because making the present is entertaining to you, so you’re killing two birds with one stone. In addition, you can sell your work!


  • The hobby can get a little supply heavy. To learn peyote stitch, you’ll need a beading needle, beading thread, thread conditioner, and of course, seed beads! If your town has a bead store, great! You can get everything there and usually the staff will already know what you need. I won’t lie, it can get pricey, however there is some good news…


  • Seed beads are A LOT cheaper than most of the other types of beads you’ll find at a bead store.


  • You will find seed beads everywhere. The carpet, the couch, in your car, etc.


  • Once you get the hang of a stitch, it’s a great hobby to multitask with; you can work on a bead project while watching TV.


  • It’s fun! There’s a ton of things you can learn to make, from the flower I made at the top of the page to jewelry. It’s challenging but rewarding.

Where should I start if I want to make beadwork my new hobby?

  • I started at the very comprehensive beadwork section on About.com Beadwork . On the site, you’ll find everything from supplies to beadwork tutorials. I still reference it frequently!
  • I suggest learning even-count peyote stitch first. Once you get that down, you can easily make striped or solid bracelets, and later patterned ones. Here’s an even-count peyote bracelet I made with a free pattern I got from About.com Beadwork.
    zig-zag peyote stitch bracelet, pattern from beadwork.about.com

    You could make this!

    Zig-zag Peyote stich bracelet,  pattern from beadwork.about.com

    Zig-Zag Bracelet

  • Gather Supplies from a local bead store or craft store. For starting materials, I’d suggest a few colors of size 6 or 8 seed beads (12 is the norm, but bigger beads can be best to learn with), a beading needle, beading thread or wire (I use Nymo size D), a plush beading mat, and thread conditioner (I use Thread Heaven). Eventually, you’ll need more supplies, but this is a good starting list.
  • Work on learning a stitch first, then when you feel like you’ve got it down, start a project.
  • Use Pinterest, YouTube, and the rest of the world-wide web to find awesome tutorials and projects. Books can be helpful too; I’d recommend checking your local library instead of purchasing.
  • Experiment by learning other stitches, like  African Helix Stitch:
Beadwork: African Helix Sitch Bracelet

African Helix Stitch

If you’ve decided to dive into the seed bead universe and have any questions, please comment or visit the Contact Me form! If you are already a beadwork pro and have a blog that includes tutorials, let me know and I’ll feature it here!

“I need to find a hobby!”

I’ve heard this phrase, the expressed desire for a hobby, more than once from fellow twenty-something’s. Luckily, I’ve tried most of them. 

In this blog, I’ll be reviewing the various hobbies I like, such as:

  • Making bracelets
  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Crossword Puzzles 
  • Drinking wine
  • Snacking

There are many more that I will comprehensively review in due time. From time to time I will also feature guest writers who will talk about their favorite hobbies like

  • Chess
  • Model UN
  • Running very long distances 

Stay subscribed and find a new pastime!