Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Ins and Outs: What I Bought and Read Last Month

August Ins and Outs

Recently, a couple of books about what happens in our brains when we read have been blowing my mind. The first, What We See When We Read, I've just glanced at and haven't delved into just yet, but a glance is all it takes to know it's gonna be awesome. The other is Understanding Comics, and reading it feels like sitting in on a very, very good art history class. 

I've been enjoying Bad Feminist, but taking it slowly. It's nice sometimes to read essay collections because you can pick them up and put them down. 

As for the Archie Comics, I used to read Archie as a kid, and I recently heard that the new experiments they're doing with this series are worth looking at. So far I'm enjoying the cheesy, familiar world. 

I read In Cold Blood for book club. I liked it a lot, and I'm looking forward to discussing it. It's definitely weird, as a modern reader, to read something billed as nonfiction that has clearly taken a lot of liberties with constructing scenes. Knowing that Capote was really treading new ground here and that fact checking as we know it didn't really exist in the early sixties makes the experience of reading it all the more engrosing. Plus the story is simply riveting.

Austenland was just fine. I enjoyed the movie, so I thought I'd give the book a whirl. Longbourn was kind of mesmerizing. Both put me in the mood for more Austen, so I've started Persuasion for the the first time. 

Mr. Penubra's 24-Hour Bookstore was enchanting, Some of the characters were a little flat, but the concept was a lot of fun. Even though it was thoroughly modern, it kind of reminding me of The Night Circus

The Leftovers was really good. I've started watching the show now.

I thought Look At Me was just okay. I enjoyed Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad, though I had some issues with it, especially the last story. But, after this experience, I think she may just not be the writer for me. I really love the way she can parody culture so sharply, but then there are all these other nebulous ends of things that I don't enjoy as much, and they fill up so much of the book.

Spike: Into the Light was fun but not that great. I always enjoy the character, but there just wasn't a lot to the story. 

Boy Snow Bird was really interesting. There were definitely some parts that I found more interesting than others. But, all in all, I enjoyed this thoroughly unique book. 

Happy Handmade Home was disappointing. I'm a fan of A Beautiful Mess, and I liked Elsie and Emma's first book about photography, but this one just left me wanting more substance. It was mostly just ideas, a lot of which were variations on the same idea, without a lot of information about how to execute bigger projects. 

Fangirl absolutely roped me in like almost all of Rainbow Rowell's books before it have. If you like smart romantic comedies with realistic and flawed characters, and you're not reading her stuff yet, you need to get on that, stat!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Home Office Wish List

Home Office Wish List

With all of the work I do from home, it's so exciting to finally have a home office. At the moment, it's still just a chair and desk surrounded by boxes and random piles of things, but I've already spent hours at my desk writing, recording podcasts, and editing photos.

As with the rest of the house, I'm trying to balance masculine elements with feminine ones and harder things with soft pieces. For my home office, I've been drawn to lots of white, gold, and lucite, with bits of unbleached canvas and dark wood to keep things grounded.

Having a space of my own to focus on my writing and other projects feels like such a luxury, and my biggest hope is that working in a fresh, dedicated space will help keep me motivated, focused, and inspired as I continue to make strides toward my goal of supporting myself full time with my writing.

01. Target, 02. Terrain, 03. IKEA, 04. Anthropologie, 05. Madewell, 06. Target & Target, 07. Target, 08. Anthropologie, 09. Madewell, 10. Madewell, 11. Anthropologie

Monday, August 11, 2014

July Ins and Outs: What I Bought and Read Last Month

July Ins and Outs

July was a month of a lot of reading, probably because I've spent a lot of time listening to audiobooks while painting. I've also been tearing through a lot of home decor books lately.

The month's highlights include The Goldfinch, which I read for book club and which I thought was just amazing. The character Boris definitely gained entry to my list of favorite characters of all time.

I also finally found the time to sit down and tear through the first trade of Sex Criminals, and I was just blown away by how smart, funny, and sexy it was. I can't wait to see more from this series.

All My Friends are Superheroes was another highlight. It's hard to explain this poetic, funny, haunting, romantic, beautiful book. It's not like anything I've even read, and I kind of want to read it again just to spend more time in that world.

Landline was just a perfect romantic comedy of a book. Rainbow Rowell is really killing it. I'm glad I decided to stick with her after my lukewarm reaction to Eleanor and Park because I've liked all her other books much more.

An Untamed State was a real powerhouse. It's got a lot of tough stuff in it, but it was riveting, so I ended up reading it too fast and really messing myself up for a few days.

I got my nonfiction fix from Bonk and Smarter Than You Think, which were both entertaining and informative, exactly what I want nonfiction to be. 

The Magician King was even better than The Magician. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that Lev Grossman once again asks questions and goes places that I've just never seen done before. He's opened so many cans of worms with this series, and is really treading brave, new ground. He explores meta questions of genre in a way I haven't really seen since Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is not to say it hasn't been done since then, just that I haven't seen it), and I've just been eating it up.

I finally read Interpreter of Maladies, which has been on my TBR list since I read Unaccustomed Earth in college. Now that I've read both short story collections of Jumpa Lahiri's (and loved them), it's time to tackle the novels. I guess I feel the need to take my time with her because I know that I'll love all of it, and I'm comforted by the fact that it's still out there waiting for me. Sometimes you want to gorge yourself of things you love and other times you want to savor them.

Minor disappointments include The Woman Upstairs, The Fever, and Little Failure. The first two had their moments but I've found them to be pretty forgettable in retrospect. The third I read on a whim after enjoying a Fresh Air interview with the author. It was disappointing in that it just wasn't as funny as I expected, and it was kind of meandering in that way memoirs can often be. I'm not giving up on Shteyngart, though, as I suspect I may still enjoy his fiction.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

What I wore today: 07/23/2014 (Waistland)

Waistland outfit: Cloth and Stone chambray tank from Anthropologie, Paige Denim high-waisted black jeans, Anthropologie sweater, nameplate necklace, Target "Kacie Peep Toe Bootie", vintage Moschino belt

I'm excited to share an outfit post for the first time in a while. With things so hectic in my life lately, I've been drawn to simple basics and classic outfits.

Though I love a good Canadian tuxedo, I think black denim might be the classiest way there is to wear chambray. It makes it less casual but still easy.

I'm obsessed with these shoes. I think they look like hooves. I've wanted something this style forever, and for some reason it didn't occur to me to look at Target until just recently. Target always has the best 20-dollar, design-inspired shoes.

I've worn my favorite vintage Moschino belt many times over many dresses, but this is actually the first time I've worn it with jeans. The benefits of high-waisted styles!

Bonus tip: if you're uncomfortable with the way high-waisted jeans make your butt look (flat, mommish, too 1996), try tucking in just the front of your top. It still gives you that retro-sexy silhouette, but without the dreaded mom butt.

Waistland outfit: Cloth and Stone chambray tank from Anthropologie, Paige Denim high-waisted black jeans, Anthropologie sweater, nameplate necklace, Target "Kacie Peep Toe Bootie", vintage Moschino belt
Waistland outfit: Cloth and Stone chambray tank from Anthropologie, Paige Denim high-waisted black jeans, Anthropologie sweater, nameplate necklace, Target "Kacie Peep Toe Bootie", vintage Moschino belt
Waistland outfit: Cloth and Stone chambray tank from Anthropologie, Paige Denim high-waisted black jeans, Anthropologie sweater, nameplate necklace, Target "Kacie Peep Toe Bootie", vintage Moschino belt
Waistland outfit: Cloth and Stone chambray tank from Anthropologie, Paige Denim high-waisted black jeans, Anthropologie sweater, nameplate necklace, Target "Kacie Peep Toe Bootie", vintage Moschino belt
Waistland outfit: Cloth and Stone chambray tank from Anthropologie, Paige Denim high-waisted black jeans, Anthropologie sweater, nameplate necklace, Target "Kacie Peep Toe Bootie", vintage Moschino belt

Chambray tank - Cloth and Stone, Anthropologie
Sweater - Anthropologie
Black high-waisted skinny jeans - Paige Denim
Belt - vintage Moschino, eBay
"Kacie Peep Toe Booties" - Taget

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Monday, July 21, 2014

New Home Wish List

New Home Wish List
01. Anthropologie, 02. Society6, 03. Anthropologie, 04. Target, 05. Jonathan Adler, 06. IKEA, 07. Terrain, 08. Anthropologie, 09. Urban Outfitters, 10. eBay

As we settle into our new home, I'm striving to decorate in an invested and enduring way, choosing pieces and making decisions that feel sophisticated and timeless.

As with fashion, I'm often drawn to masculine things with whimsical touches. I want our home to feel industrial and luxe but with plenty of softness, humor, and warmth.

As for colors, I'm really excited about slate-y grays, woody browns, and milky whites, with pops of metallics.

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