Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Morning Poetry

Do you have any advice for us just starting out?

Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. Leave
your house or apartment. Go out into the world.
It's all right to carry a notebook but a cheap
one is best, with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.
Avoid any enclosed space where more than
three people are wearing turtlenecks. Beware
any snow-covered chalet with deer tracks
across the muffled tennis courts.
Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
where a child a year or two old is playing as his
mother browses the ranks of the dead.
Often he will pull books from the bottom shelf.
The title, the author's name, the brooding photo
on the flap mean nothing. Red book on black, gray
book on brown, he builds a tower. And the higher
it gets, the wider he grins.
You who asked for advice, listen: When the tower
falls, be like that child. Laugh so loud everybody
in the world frowns and says, "Shhhh."
Then start again.

Ron Koertge

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In the book bag: The Hunger Games

I know, I know-- again, I'm a bit late to the game on these books. They've been recommended to me so many times over the last few years, but I always hesitated to pick them up. Generally, YA dystopian novels are not a genre I usually gravitate towards, but I'm so glad I gave up my preconceived notions and read them anyways. I read them all in about a week (one of the perks of reading a series after all of them have been published-- no waiting!), so the plot lines blur together a bit for me, hence the three-in-one review. Let's get to it, shall we?

The Hunger Games tells the story of a teenaged girl living in a post-apocalyptic world, where all that's left of the United States is a small country called Panem, consisting of 12 different districts all ruled by the dictatorial Capitol. Every year, the Capitol requires each district to send one boy and one girl to the Capitol for the Hunger Games, a televised gladiatorial fight to the death. 

And that's all I'm going to say. The story is incredibly complex and grows in leaps and bounds from the original premise in ways that are both relevant and disturbing to our current society. I quickly got attached to the characters, and found myself flying through these books, unable to turn the pages quickly enough. I will say that the first and second books were quite different than the third, but I enjoyed all of them. I was surprised to see the third book get a less-than-stellar rating on goodreads, but I think it followed the story perfectly and was a necessary and realistic way to wrap up the novels.

Have you read the Hunger Games trilogy? (I'm sure many, many of you have :)) What did you think of them? 
As always, I'm constantly looking for a good new book to read-- I'd love to hear your recommendations below!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

the clash revolution.

First things first:
Do I have the greatest readers, or do I have the greatest readers? 

Tee: F21; Skirt: NY&Co; Leggings: Primark London; Boots: Gift

Hint: the answer is a resounding yes :) 

Seriously-- you guys are the best. If I wasn't back to my usually sunny disposition a few days ago, I certainly am now after reading all of your lovely comments and emails. I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to post such a detailed account of all of the not-so-plesant details of my last few weeks, but your warmth and understanding floored me. It reminded me, yet again, that even though I write about generally fun & surface things like my clothes, the silly things I'd like to do before my next birthday and my favorite music at the moment, I still am a real person, writing things for other real people to read, and that you all get it. 

The short answer: you are great and I am grateful for you :) 

But I digress. Moving on, going forward, just like I promised! I pinned this outfit a few weeks ago on pinterest, and while I have the vague recollection I've worn some semblance of this outfit before (I won't go through my old undergradfab archives if you won't :)), I love it for its simplicity and slightly quirky/clashy  undertones. Plus-- I jump at the chance to mix brown and black now after years of being told I can't. Viva la clash-olution! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

an update.

Well. Hello, there.

It's been a while-- or at least, it's been a while since I've been really invested in writing an actual blog post. Without going into too much detail, these last few weeks have been a bit rough. I've started grad school (and love it-- what a nerd I am :)) and my new job, which are lovely but challenging. Then suddenly, two weeks ago, we lost our family dog, Delia. I know not everyone will understand (and that's fine) but losing a pet is so incredibly difficult, especially in the circumstances we lost Delia. She was young, only 8, and was in perfect health until 12 hours before she died-- and then suddenly, she was gone, just like that. She was quite possibly the sweetest dog I've ever known-- everyone loved her, and even my friends who weren't dog people often told me how much they loved her. She was a therapy dog, and so devoted to bringing peace and comfort to those who were ill. Needless to say, her loss was a shock and is still difficult to comprehend at times.

As if that weren't enough, the apartment I thought I was in the process of getting settled into is no longer my apartment. To make an incredibly long and difficult story short, we discovered some incredibly not good things about the property as well as the landlords, and decided to cut our losses and get out immediately. My lovely roomie and I did find a beautiful apartment that is big, bright, and full of character and charm and completely, 100% what we were looking for, but our lease doesn't begin for a little while, so I'm in apartment limbo again for another month. As we wrap things up with the old place and move onto the new, however, I'm incredibly grateful for the way things turned out and the fact that we are getting out of a bad situation before it's too late.

Luckily, now, things seem to be slowing down (knock on wood :)). I'm getting into a groove, and am feeling a bit more myself. I'm not going to make any lofty promises that I can't be sure I can keep, but at the moment, I am feeling more like sharing, more like writing, and more like my blog has a place in my life again. I wasn't ready to talk about the past few weeks' events while they were happening, but now I am. Real life happens to everyone, and I know that you all can understand where I am coming from, regardless of whether you share it publicly or not.

I hope you all can understand my absence, both physical and mental, from blogging these past few weeks. I hope that you'll stick with me as I begin to post more frequently again, and re-find my voice. I came close to calling it quits altogether, but that simply didn't feel right. I also knew that I couldn't just bypass the events of the last few weeks and pretend they never happened and put on a happy face-- I simply do not work that way. My mini-hiatus helped me clear my head, and I knew the only way I could start to blog again was to lay all of this out on the table, and go from there. So. Table: laid. Me: moving on. Thanks for listening, and sticking with me, and being so lovely. I can't promise where we'll be going from here, exactly, but I do promise that I will keep on going-- and I hope you continue to read, and come along for the ride :) 

Sunday Morning Poetry

There is a community of the spirit

There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion, 
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes 
to see with the other eye.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Away for the day...

Today, I'm guest posting over at the lovely Yammering Muse while Ashley is away! I've written about my perfect fall day and included some of my favorite yummy fall recipes and things to do once the leaves begin to change. Have a read and check out the rest of Ashley's lovely blog while you're at it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Morning Poetry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

- Wendell Berry

Today, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were affected, and hope for a more peaceful future for all of us. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

a big day.

Today is a big day. 

Four months ago, as a brand new college graduate, I only had inklings of what my life would be like now. I knew I'd be going to grad school, but I had no idea what it would actually feel like to take such a big academic step. I knew I'd be starting a new job, but I had no idea how woefully unprepared I'd feel to be starting it. I knew I'd be moving to a new apartment, but I had no idea where or when or any of those important details.

Dress: Kohls, Fall 11; Sandals: Target, Summer 10

But today, I start them all. First day of grad school. First day at my new job. Moving into my new apartment. My first apartment not in my college town, but in the town that I'll be establishing myself as an adult and could possibly be spending the majority of my adult life in. Needless to say, it's all a bit overwhelming.

In a good way, though. I won't say I haven't had a few emotional meltdowns (the tears, I have them in excess.), but overall, I'm ready to move on, ready to turn a new leaf and move from my comfort zone to being a bit uncomfortable in my day-to-day for a while. A few weeks ago, right after I signed the lease to my new apartment, I had a particularly rough night, tossing and turning and wondering if I'd done the right thing. And then I remembered reading a quote that said:

If you're not doing something every day that scares you, you're doing something wrong.

And I realize that I've spent a lot of time doing things wrong, staying in my comfort zone and being afraid of being a little uncomfortable. So lately, I've been trying to step out of the box a bit more. Planning a rather lofty trip abroad, adding a few scary-big things to my life list. And you know what-- I've re-learned (as I always do) that a little discomfort isn't as scary as it seems, it's exhilarating. 


So off I go, doing things that scare me a bit, and being glad that I'm making the decisions to do them now, rather than finding myself a few years down the road asking why I didn't just try. It's something I have to constantly practice, trying to step one extra toe out of my comfort zone each day, but so far, so good :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hello, fall!

Confession: it's 9:32 AM on the day before I start my new job AND my new grad school classes and I'm still in my pajamas, drinking chai & cuddling my kitty instead of doing all of the responsible adult-y things I should be doing today. And I kind of could care less. In the spirit of a nation-wide Monday off (happy labor day to my stateside readers!) and in celebration of the gorgeous, cool fall weather that has rolled into Wisconsin the last few days, I thought I'd share some of my favorite songs that, without fail, will always remind me of fall whenever I play them.

I'll be back tomorrow with an outfit post, but until then, I hope you are enjoying your day off as much as I am :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Morning Poetry

After a While

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
That kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child
And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers
And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every good bye you learn.
Veronica Shoftstall

Thursday, September 1, 2011

4/23: Watch When Harry Met Sally

"I've been doing a lot of thinking, and the thing is, I love you."

Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikish. 

I love movies. I get really, really into them when I watch them-- I gasp out loud when something shocking happens, I jump in my seat and cover my eyes dramatically every time there's a scary scene. I cry at the sad parts, and get teary at the sweet romantic scenes. I've watched You've Got Mail about a thousand times and it remains to this day one of my favorite movies. WHICH is why anyone who knows me is completely shocked every time I say I've never seen When Harry Met Sally. I figured it was about time to add it to my repertoire, so on it went to my 23 Things.

Can I just say? I ADORED it. Probably not a shocker to pretty much every other rom-com lover in the world who has seen this movie (I think I'm the only one left in the world who hadn't). So last night, one of my very best friends and I cuddled up in our PJs and made girly cocktails and watched it. And I gasped. And I laughed. And I cried. And I got all misty. And I shouted at the TV. And I loved it.

Without giving too much away (on the small chance that you're one of the few left, like myself, who haven't seen it) it's not just a good romantic comedy, it's a good movie in general. Plus, Billy Crystal as a romantic male lead? WHO KNEW!

Have you seen When Harry Met Sally? Do you love it as much as I do? And I totally want to know your favorite romantic comedy-- I'm always looking for new movies :)