Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A One-Sitting Read

I am always looking for new books to read, and so, being that it's right after Christmas (though really, I don't need and excuse), I decided to head to "Barnes & Nobles". And, while I was perusing the shelves, I found this absolute gem of a novel: Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein.
Now, I have known of the existence of Code Name Verity for many months. I've seen in publicized on writing websites and reviewed on blogs. Though I never looked very closely, all of these sources seemed to have loved the book. I, however, started to read Anna Karenina- which, as Tolstoy lovers know, is a process. But a few days ago, I set out to the bookstore, armed with a gift card, and saw Code Name Verity on the shelf. I remembered the blogs and websites that had recommended it, and decided to give it a chance.

I began reading this afternoon, and finished in one sitting.

To begin, Code Name Verity is historical fiction. This is always a huge plus for me, as I so admire authors who put in such time and effort to meticulously reconstruct another time or setting. Also, Wein weaves the history and fiction together beautifully; she does not throw the history in the readers face, saying, "Look! I researched this! This is the exact type of shoe twenty year old working women would wear in the 1940s!" Instead, she weaves the two topics seamlessly together, recreating the World War II setting she has chosen.

But though Wein is writing about World War II, she does not focus on the evils of Germany at the time; instead, she chooses individual people to be her villains. Also, this is not a war book; it is not All Quiet on the Western Front. It is a book about people who are in a war. There is a war on. And there are spies, and airplanes, and secrets. But there are also best friends, and making the hard choices.

Code Name Verity is, in short, the best book I have read in quite a long time. It is heartfelt and emotional. It is well written, with wonderful narrative voice for each of its characters. It's plot is complex and intriguing, twisting and turning down beautifully foreshadowed alleys.

Wein has created a new world between two paper covers.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Speaking in Tongues

Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. 
Adveniat regnum tuum. 
Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. 
Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, 
et dimitte nobis debita 
nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. 
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, 
sed libera nos a malo. 
Quia tuum est regnum, et potestas, 
et Gloria,
in saecula. 

Isn't the Lord's Prayer in Latin just lovely? And quite a bit of it is decipherable, too, if you just think hard enough!

"Pater" - father
"Nomen"- name
"Terra"- land, earth

And even "panem", though without any obvious derivitives, is a pop-culture reference: the name of the country in "The Hunger Games", meaning "bread". 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

To Aspire to Greatness

Some people- generally people who don't actually read- believe that for a book to be good, it must have likable characters. This, however, is only true for "good" books. It is true for those fluffy, summer (or winter, spring, or fall) books that are nice to read but would never have a term paper written about them. While I am certainly not trying to insult these books- I do enjoy them, really- today, I am going to talk about the not those books books.

The not those books books are classics. They have successfully mounted symbolism, vaulted over plot, and won the battle of the "signpost". They are books like Jane Eyre (spoiler: he kept a WIFE in the ATTIC), The Grapes of Wrath (what, are there three nice characters?), and The Great Gatsby. 

I do not really like any of the characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic. Nick is much too passive, Jordan only a little less so, Tom is violent and unfaithful, Daisy betrays both her husband and Gatsby, and lets Gatsby take the blame for Myrtle's death. Even Gatsby- while wonderfully romantic- is obsessive, wanting Daisy to tell Tom she NEVER loved him. He is, as Nick says, worth the whole lot of them. That lot, though, is not much to measure up to.

So why do I love The Great Gatsby so terribly much? Because F. Scott Fitzgerald was a wonderful writer. The novel is well written and tragic, entertaining and full of symbolism. He gives us a novel full of terrible people, and makes us root for them.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between a great author and a good one. They may not give unappealing characters every time; that would be much too predictable. But they can write those characters. They can make girls fall in love with Gatsby.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Somewhere There's a Party

Let us all celebrate! This is my 201st post! Here's a few lovelies to celebrate with:

Everyone loves puppies and books, correct?

A lovely song by Ingrid Michaelson here.

A few classic book recommendations...

1. "The Great Gatsby", by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. "Anna Karenina", by Leo Tolstoy
3. "Fahrenheit 451", by Ray Bradbury

And this list of the top one hundred teen novels.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Enough is as Good as a Feast

Mary Poppins is enjoying a resurgence in fame. There is a new biography of P. L. Travers, the author, that has just emerged: Mary Poppins, She Wrote, by by Valerie Lawson. In addition, Disney is premiering Saving Mr. Banks this Christmas- a description of the the original Disney's fight for the right to the book.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Few Good Things

1. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is a fantastic book-turned-movie narrated by Death itself at the dawn of WWII. There are so many perfect quotes from the novel, I simply couldn't pick just one to share.

"I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."

"If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter."

And, finally:

"Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.”
While I was not certain how it would translate into film, the director- Brian Percival- does a splendid job. There are a plethora of direct quotes, and it is a stunning piece of art and literature in film.

And a few songs:

2. "People Help the People", by Birdy.

3. "Glory and Gore", by Lorde.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

By Definition, Film Noir...

Director Fritz Lang lived in both the silent film era and the one of the "talkies". Three particular films illustrate this evolution incredibly: Metropolis, M, and Scarlet Street. Metropolis is a silent film, with big gestures and a constant musical score. M is the bridge between silent film and synchronized sound; there is dialogue, cars honking, and even whistling. Not every scene, however, contains sound. Here, Lang takes the best of the silence and sound.
Scarlet Street is an entirely different story. It is film noir at its finest, and the film from which the above stills were taken. It tells a fantastic story of middle-aged Christopher Cross, Kitty, the girl he becomes infatuated with, and Johnny, her unscrupulous fiance. Now, film noir generally contains: a mostly decent man is talked into immoral or illegal activities by a femme fatale, and his downward spiral. Scarlet Street follows this pattern wonderfully. It is also full of dialogue, showing that Lang is really a director who can work with everything he has.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Land of the Living

Recently, I've been looking at Cyber Monday sales, modern art, and WWI literature. Modcloth- that lovely store I'm want to talk about- is having a 20% off sale. My local art museum has a new mid-century to early 2000s modern furniture exhibit. And, lastly, the poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est" is running through my head, mainly the Latin. World War I changed literature dramatically, and this line certainly helped things along: the idea that "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" isn't true at all.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving, darlings! I hope all of you American readers had a wonderful day filled with many great meals. Let's listen to some Angus and Julia Stone and be thankful, shall we?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

I sincerely apologize for my recent absence- I have been, as the title states, incredibly busy. More verbose posts should be coming next week!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Could Make So Many Puns

Though I usually talk about older movies- His Girl Friday or Casablanca, to name a few- Thor 2: The Dark World was actually amazing. No matter what reservations you might have to it, it is absolutely brilliant. Even "The New York Times" gave it a lovely review, and they do have that reputation for never liking anything.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Snow, Snow, Snow!

I know one should be expecting it by November, but the first snow is always a little disconcerting. And it brings to mind this fabulous movie... Who doesn't like a little"White Christmas" now and then?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My, Oh My!

I know I've talked about Kate of Scathingly Brilliant before, in reference to those amazing sweater clips that I bought from her shop Sweet and Lovely. Well, I haven't bought anything this time (quite a relief, as I'll have Christmas presents to shop for soon!), but I have been wish-listing quite a lot... This gorgeous print above is from Kate's Etsy shop Flapper Doodle, and, as you can see, it combines books and the 1920s! I'm quite smitten with this lovely artwork. And, while you're on Etsy, give Sew Sugar Beans (the composition notebook covers are just too cute) and Yessiree Petunia (those vintage dresses are to die for!) a look!

Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Let's Go Swancing

I just saw the most fantastic "1940's Radio Hour" production, and I'm in quite the mood to go swing dancing. If anyone has found so helpful online tutorials, I'd love to improve.

These Books Should Be Read

Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
A Company of Swans, by Eva Ibbotson
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Emma, by Jane Austen

Article Five, by Kristen Simmons
Enclave, by Ann Aguirre
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
After, a collection of apocalyptic short stories
Wither, by Lauren DeStefano

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor
Beautiful Days, by Anna Godberson
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

The Season, by Sarah Maclean
The Twin's Daughter, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
All of A Kind Family, by Sydney Taylor
My Mother the Cheerleader, by Robert Sharenow
Boston Jane, by Jennifer Holm

Science Fiction/Fantasy:
The Lost World, by Michael Crichton Wings,
Wings, by Aprylinne Pike
Eve and Adam, by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
I Am Number Four, by P. Lore
The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

Wings, by E.D. Baker
Half Upon a Time, by James Riley
Surprise Island, by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Twice Upon a Time, by James Riley
Between the Lines, by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

The Thirty Nine Steps, by Patrick Barlow
Our Town, by Thornton Wilder
Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

Saturday, November 2, 2013

People Have Tattoos of This

Today, I saw a simply wonderful production of the play To Kill a Mockingbird. It's one of my favorite novels, and the play exceeded expectations by including several direct quotes. One of these is a particular favorite of mine:

"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

And another amazing Atticus Finch quote:

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win."

(The ham costume, unfortunately, was not included.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"I'm Used to Working in my Basement Where Things Fall to the Floor."

I will not give any spoilers, I will not give any spoilers, I will not give any spoilers. It's sort of a mantra, and next to impossible with a film like Gravity. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, it's bound to be nominated for a few Academy Awards. In fact, if it doesn't win in at least one category, I'll be shocked.

Let us set the record straight: I hate space movies. Space is beautiful and wondrous and vast, and it's nice to go to a planetarium every once in a while. I have not ever, however, been interested in going into space. I was one of the only kids who never went through the "I want to be an astronaut" phase.

I absolutely adored Gravity. It's wonderful from every aspect- film work, camera angles, acting, writing, directing. But be sure to bring tissues; when I went, the entire theatre was sniffing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Times New Roman

Although tattoos aren't for everyone, and I certainly do not have one (yet), there's quite the appeal for literary ink. The first of these images is from, obviously, Alice in Wonderland. Though the quote is not my favorite, I am quite a fan of the font. The second is not a quote, but still counts as literary. Both these link back here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oh, Lorde

When I started listening to Lorde's music, I suddenly had a problem: how to pronounce her name. I couldn't very well tell someone that, "Oh, I love that one artist's music- Lordy? Lord-eh? L-O-R-D-E? However you pronounce it? She sings 'Royals'?" And so- as every problem requires- I Googled it. As I did so, I found interviews of this artist, and, naturally, watched. By doing so, I found not only that Lorde is pronounced "lord", but also she seems like an actually cool, down to earth person. And (to top it all off), I am incredibly jealous of her hair.

And so, do give Lorde a listen- a few of my favorites of her songs are as follows:

"400 Lux"
"The Love Club"
"Buzzcut Season"
And, of course, the ever-played, a-bit-too-mainstream, "Royals".

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Series of Four or Five

The "Tommy and Tuppence" series is one of my very favorites from Agatha Christie (affectionately known as the Queen of Crime). They occur in "The Secret Adversary", a 1922 novel, "Partners in Crime", a sort of short story collection, "N or M?" an espionage adventure, "By the Pricking of My Thumbs", a post-WWII novel, and their last, "Postern of Fate". They are Christie's only detectives that age with the novels, and that in itself is a marvelous feat. They solve crimes from their twenties to their sixties, and are marvelous in each endeavor!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

She Lights His Cigarette

Isn't this just a marvelous photo of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell from His Girl Friday? The film itself is a must-see, honestly. It's also a beautiful example of good film, and should be watched accordingly (as well as being watched for a simple good time).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

If I Had a Good Amount of Money

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go into one of my favorite home decorating stores- the lovely West Elm. If I was a millionaire, I would most likely just buy the entire store. Here are a few lovely examples of the stellar workmanship:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Favorites (Or, Something That Will Happen Once in a While)

I'm not really sure how often this will happen, as a post on a specific day of the week does seem like something I would often forget about. However, I will endeavor to try as hard as possible to share a list of lovely things every so often. They may even land on a Friday!
1. Beautiful food photographs- and those of vintage dresses- from Esme and the laneway.

2. The This is the Daisy Top from Modcloth. It's on sale, it's mint, and it has a scalloped collar- to save money or not to save money, that is the question.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I'm Really Terribly Sorry

It seems as if my pictures in the previous post are not showing up- I'll try to have it fixed as soon as possible. Meanwhile, ride a bike, read a book... Do anything you wish! And be satisfied with this gorgeous quote. I'm recently reading "Pride and Prejudice" after a less than stellar attempt a year ago, and I'm absolutely in love.

"I must be content with being happier than I deserve."

A Sneak Peek

Though my book sculpture is not entirely finished, I did feel as though a bit of a peek was necessary. I snapped a few pictures just for fun, and though you lovely readers might enjoy them. Keep in mind that this is not the finished product!

With ever so much love,
the eclectic authoress

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stuck in my Head

I generally have one song or another stuck in my head. And so, I decided to share it, so all you lovely readers might also be hooked. The song in question is "Lady in Spain", by Ingrid Michaelson- a really remarkable songstress.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

To Look Forward

November has many things to look towards with anticipation; there's Thanksgiving, and perhaps even the first snow of the year. The November, however, has three diverse movies coming out almost sequentially.

1. "Thor: The Dark World"

2. "The Book Thief"

3. "Catching Fire"

And so, fans of every genre will have a new flick. Happy watching!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It's a Countdown

Though the event I am awaiting is over a month away, I'm absolutely thrilled at just the mention of it. "The Book Thief", by Markus Zusak- a simply perfect novel- is being made into a movie that premiers November 15 of this year.

The remarkable trailer can be found at:

If you are less than halfway through a reading, don't watch the trailer yet- there are a few things it will accidentally spoil. However, to all the rest, I highly suggest it.

If it's not the best movie ever made, I will extremely disappointed.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It Just Feels Wrong

I've recently been introduced to a new form of art: book sculpture! There are thousands of pictures and tutorials available (easily accessible via Google!), and I'm finding them to be quite beautiful. Books are, as a whole, one of my favorite things. Here are a few I'm quite enthralled with, all credits to their creators:

I'm also currently making my own, though it's nowhere near as complex as Alice in Wonderland. I'm using a short story collection of F. Scott. Fitzgerald's. Hint: my theme goes along with "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz". Really an incredible story- it feels almost sinful folding and tearing it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Play it Again, Sam! (or not)

I've just finished a watched of "Casablanca", that swoon-inducing movie that practically invented romantic clichés. Surprisingly, the ever-quoted "Play it again, Sam!" line isn't actually in the film. Here, however, are several other beautiful lines:
There's the ever popular: "We'll always have Paris."
Or, my special favorite: "...I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Word of the Moment

Vivacious, adjective: [vi-VEY-shUHs] lively or animated

Friday, September 6, 2013

Humming On the Road

A week ago, I made the mistake of saying something like "Everything with Bing Crosby is good!" My friend had just watched White Christmas, eighty-degree weather apparently aside, and I was quite thrilled with the remembrances. It is quite a good movie, after all, and thus inspired me to look up some of Bing's other hits.
Road to Singapore (1940) PosterI watched Road to Singapore, a 1940s film with Bing Crosby (naturally) and Bob Hope. It had a few fun songs, and I'm now quite the Bob Hope fan.
I do not, however, recommend the movie. I'm still rather disappointed that Bob's character didn't get the girl. He was definitely the better person in the film, and, though the girl (played by Dorothy Lamour) was rather stupid, he certainly deserved her. A man who can sing and dance, and talks about making a home with her- and oh, yes, she chooses the one who left with his fiance.
I really don't understand it.
And so, while Bing and Bob are simply marvelous, I cannot add Road to Singapore to any recommendation list. It's good for a laugh, and maybe for a sappy, romantic mood, but it is certainly not any follow-up to the previous night's Field of Dreams.

Screaming about curtains is no match for If you build it, he will come.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Calling

As I said in a post a few days ago, fall is close at hand! I happen to be one of those people who is absolutely giddy about fall, and I'm on the edge of my seat. The cool weather is not yet approaching, but hopefully, it'll begin at about the twentieth- perfect timing! I apologize to people who don't live in the Northern hemisphere, although, spring is a lovely season too.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Game is A-Font

I know that I stated earlier that I was decently certain I was done fooling around with blog designs for a while, but once I found this marvelous title font I simply had to use it. Comments on the new look would be simply lovely- as would be any layout tips.
With ever so much love,
the eclectic authoress herself

Herald of Heaven

It is the very last day of August, and, naturally, fall is approaching. Soon it will be sweater-weather!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Coppola and Luhrman

This will be a sort of review, and a sort of venting post. It's a subject I feel rather strongly about, strangely enough, and after trying in vain to explain it to a friend, I thought I'd have a go here. I recently watched the movie "Marie Antoinette", directed by Sofia Coppola (of recent "The Bling Ring" fame). It was a movie with awkward blackouts and strange shots, and entire scenes with no dialogue at all. It was light on action and heavy on beautiful sets, and somehow, the picture was altogether very sad.

Even so, I think that overall I liked it, and this is why: the characters were vapid and greedy, but you saw their vulnerabilities and understood them. Hollywood characters are so often black and white, good and evil, and people in real life are not that way. Marie Antoinette spent France away, but you understood what it was like to be in her high-heeled, fur-lined shoes. The entire picture is overwhelmingly sad, with the lives that can only be describe as "pomp an circumstance". Even so, the last image is a single room inside of Versailles, wrecked almost beyond recognition, and you think that maybe Marie and her husband were people after all.

No one could glorify them into heroes, and Coppola didn't even try it. The characters were deeply flawed, but this made them seem real. It reminded me, honestly, of Baz Luhrman's recent release "The Great Gatsby". No one will say that Daisy or Nick or Tom or even Gatsby are good, but they also aren't evil.

So while the beautiful costumes and sets of "Marie Antoinette" didn't overshadow the rough edits, the beautifully and realistically woven characters certainly did.

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

38. esmeandthelaneway.blogspot.com
It's an absolutely beautiful blog that belongs to a twenty-something fashionista sharing her love for vintage down in Melbourne. She was a Modcloth featured blogger, and her pictures are absolutely to die for.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

37. Notebooks

I'm terribly sorry for the awkward positioning- working on mobile has its problems.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Everybody Do Their Share

Though I know I said that no more changes were going to occur for a while, I'm afraid to say that I've suddenly changed my mind. The new blog template I'm using is much cleaner, and I'm quite happy with it. All of my favorite blogs have plain white backgrounds, and, as I've been trying to get a clean look for some time, I thought that this would be the way to go. I've still got some work to do on the header, but only God knows when that will be "just right"!

As it turns out, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Aesthetically, the blog layout and background simply wasn't working. Now, I'm much more pleased. Thank you so much for your patience with my little fixes!

With ever so much love,
the eclectic authoress herself

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Blogger Bungles

I'm quite sorry for my lack of sufficient posts lately; Blogger has been behaving oddly.  I've been reduced to blogging with the mobile version, as it won't allow me to add texts to my posts on the computer. It's quite strange, really, and I'll try to remedy the problem as soon as possible. 
With apologies,
the eclectic authoress herself

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dracula or Cedric Diggory

Transformations occur in many things: vampires, werewolves, and... blog designs? Uncommon Lovelies has been rather fickle of late, and I've had quite a difficult time choosing the perfect background. I believe, however, that I'll stay with this one for a while. Tell me what you think in the comments!

Rave Reviews

In the mail yesterday- a wonderful serendipity- I received the sweater clips I had ordered from Sweet and Lovely, an online shop run by Kate of Scathingly Brilliant. It absolutely made my day; every detail, even the packaging, was adorable. The printed tape and personalized box were a nice treat, and the piece itself is very high quality. It's not fabric, as the bow shape would suggest, but plastic. The clasps are the sort on actual hair bows, and clip onto most collars and cardigans. The order came promptly, and I was pleasantly surprised to find an email that told me my order had been sent. Sweet and Lovely carries other sweater clips, and I might just have to start a collection- continuing with these adorable mint ice cream cones!
With ever so much love,
the eclectic authoress herself

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

36. sugarbeans.org
It's a blog, contrary to the web address. And I also have to mention this crafter's Etsy shop- Sew Sugar Beans. Her pouches are simply to die for!

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

35. mermaidens.blogspot.com
A beautiful blog of pastels and fashion, Mermaidens is one of a kind. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

August Arguments

No one cares for the end of summer- not even the beginning of the end. Still, here are some ways to make the most of the remainder of summer, and then, some reasons to look forward to fall.

Making the most of summer:

Have a picnic. Grab your favorite blanket, a few tasty sandwiches, and a friend, and enjoy eating on the grass!

Buy a bathing suit. There's no better time to get that perfect one piece or bikini than August; the sales begin, and there are still pool-worthy days left.

Read a book. Summer is the perfect time to sit back, sunbathe, and delve into literature. For those left high and dry with choices, here are a few recommendations:
For mystery lovers- "Partners in Crime", by Agatha Christie
For classic lovers- "Les Miserables", by Victor Hugo or, for a lighter read, "The Great Gatsby", by F. Scott Fitzgerald
For sci-fi lovers, "Ender's Game", by Orson Scott Card
For romance lovers: "Starstruck", by Rachel Shukert

Looking forward to fall:

Take advantage of sales. Summer items are going on sale, but there's still plenty of wear in them. Modcloth (modcloth.com), for instance, just released an enormous sale yesterday, and most of the items are 50% off. Urban Outfitters, too, has a summer sale at the moment.

Wearing sweaters. Who doesn't love the warmth of wool or cotton blend?

Hot drinks. Coffee and hot tea seem a bit presumptuous in the summer, especially when ordering at a coffee shop. Another point for fall- Starbucks will once gain offer its "caramel apple spice".

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spa Day

Want a calming afternoon with friends without paying for a manicure? Here are some easy-to-make recipes for relaxation.

To make your hands/feet soft:
Combine oil and sugar (in increments that make a paste). Rub the mixture over your hands/feet, then rinse off. You're hands will feel like a baby's after you're done, but you might want to use some scented lotion or soap; it smells like the dipping sauce at Italian restaurants.

To open your pores:
Boil some water with mostly squeezed orange slices (you could use the one from the "recipe" below) and cinnamon. Put in a bowl and (excuse the slang expression) stick your face in! Make certain that you don't forget to put a towel over your head so the steam doesn't escape.

To exfoliate:
Take about a tablespoon of real orange juice (squeezed directly from the orange is preferable) an mix it with two tablespoons of baking soda. It should have the consistency of a paste. Rub it onto your face and neck, and leave it in for ten minutes; wash off by wetting your fingers and rubbing in a circular motion.

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

34. "You Have Seven Messages", by Stewart Lewis

Monday, July 29, 2013

Heady Stuff

For medical reasons, I will, for the next three weeks, be on an experimental gluten and dairy free diet. If anyone cared to share a recipe of that sort, I would be most obliged to them. Rice milk, anyone? 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hungry for More

The popular YA series "The Hunger Games" is back after over a year's lapse with "Catching Fire", and so far, two trailers have been released. The second, in my opinion, which was released only a few days ago, captures more clearly the desperation of the novel. Instead of looking like a franchise, as the first one did, it shows a film that might- if we're lucky- have meaning hidden behind its new, fancy graphics. Watch trailer two here to see if you agree, or want to have it out with me. I might enjoy the debate!
With ever so many opinions,
the eclectic authoress herself

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cats and Cardigans

A few months ago, I posted "A Clothing Piece to Remember", detailing my recent purchase of cat shorts. Well, now I have found a way to style them! They're quite difficult to pair things with, considering the maroon, white, and black color scheme- as well as the basic theme of cats! The pattern craves a solid, but that ends up being much too boring. Now, I have the perfect outfit to fit all your cat-short dilemmas:

The necklace and denim vest are optional, an shouldn't be worn together. It's an either/or situation, and can be used to dress up or dress down the outfit as you please.
I've mentioned the denim jacket before, but here are the rest of the outfit details:
Shirt- Franchesca's
Necklace- Charlotte Russe
Shorts: Forever 21

With ever so much love,
The eclectic authoress herself

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Alas and Alack

Though I have been valiantly searching for the 1950s attire I have mentioned in a previous post, I have come up flat. I've searched four antique shops in the last two weeks, and it's all either too large for me, too expensive, or not in proper quality!
Does anyone know of any Etsy shops where reasonably priced vintage clothing is sold? I believe that will be my next attempt.

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

33. The chocolate-chip cookie recipe on the back of Nestle chocolate chips. (Hint: I take out the nuts and add butterscotch chips- one half bag of each chip instead of a full of one.)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mason and Co.

There are pencils, pens, and paintbrushes strewn throughout my living space. Clutter is a common problem, and few of us know how to deal with it. Fortunately, I have a handy, vintage way to keep your writing utensils in line. (If only I could do the same for my closet!)
Mason jars can be found at any thrift store or antique shop, and are a perfect solution. Simply shove the clutter into the jars, and wallah! You look artsy, vintage, and inventive.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ankle Biters

I attended a friend's mostly-outdoor party on Monday, and come back with a DIY to share and mosquito bites aplenty. My ankles and feet are getting torn up from scratching, so I've been inspired to think up a few solutions.
1. Socks. Sure, it's summer, but some Bobby socks with Mary Jane's work with sundresses and shorts as well as winter coats. I use gray socks from Gap and these wonderfully inexpensive, canvas Mary Jane's from Urban Outfitters (pictured).
2. Anti-Itch Lotion. I know it seems obvious, but it's incredible how many people forget about this little wonder. It's  available at drug stores like CVS or Walgreen's.

Now, for the DIY I mentioned!

How to Go Glow-Stick Bowling: Illustrated Version

You'll Need:
1. A few packages of glow sticks; you'll need about fifteen individual ones
2. Ten plastic water bottles, filled with water.

Crack the glow sticks (to make them glow), and put them in the water bottles. Tighten the lids, and line them up in a bowling formation. Use the extra glow sticks to form a lane, and wallah! Now you just have to wait for dark, and bowl! It's very simple, and very fun- especially in large groups of people.

When all is said and done, it looks a bit like this. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends: Theme Edition

Today I have gathered my recommendations into one subject: other blogs! Here are some of my favorites; I realize that I have mentioned most of these in previous posts, but I thought they deserved a conglomeration.
28. yessireepetunia.blogspot.com
29. blog.caseybrowndesigns.com
30. yourstrulymag.blogspot.com
31. scathingly-brilliant.blogspot.com
32. fashionforestry.blogspot.co.uk


Thursday, July 11, 2013

A, B, C... Z!

A trip to the zoo is always a pleasant experience, especially when one sees lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Other animals, those not in "The Wizard of Oz", are similarly amazing: giraffes, sea lions, cheetahs, penguins, meerkats, red pandas, and many more!
Here, however, is a tip: pack a picnic. Zoo food is highly priced.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Roll Call

I'm afraid to announce that I will be a rather absentee blogger this week. We're having company, and I'm afraid I won't be able to post as regularly as usually.
Until we meet again,
the eclectic authoress

The Eclectic Authoress' Guide to Houseguests

We all have friends that come to stay, and we're all thrilled to have them- until we realise that we must clean and cook and clean again. Here are some tips for making your houseguest's stay as enjoyable as possible- for them and for you!
1. Plan ahead.
Make sure you have the food you need to last the week, unless you want to drag your guest out to the supermarket. And, if your guests have any dietary needs, find out early and plan accordingly.
Plan, too, entertainment; what will you do?
2. Think about breakfast.
It's the most important and most overlooked meal of the day. Get an arrangement of cereals, bread for toast, bagels with various spreads, and eggs. Make it continental style, and have the guests choose what they want to eat.
3. Clean ahead.
This sort of goes with planning, but definitely deserves its own category. Clean bit by bit so you aren't overwhelmed the day before arrival.
4. Activities
Plan things to do that you normally wouldn't. Go to an art museum; have a picnic; visit a zoo.
5. Document
Take pictures throughout their stay and send the best to them- after departure.
6. Film Buff
Have your guests put a hand in the movie night picks. Spread out your choices and have them narrow it down from there; mix in classics like "Big" or "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with newer releases like "The Avengers".
7. Peace and Water
Everyone enjoys a pool, lake, or ocean. Younger visitors can have a swim while other, less interested guests can sunbathe.

I hope my seven step guide is helpful for the next time you entertain!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fifties' Lips

The easiest part of a 1950s makeup look is the lips- bold, bright, and very, very red. It's hard to find a gloss or stick that holds its color, so what should you use?
Answer: the same thing you use on wood. Stain.
Lip stain stays on even after eating, and gives that great fifties red vibe. I use Elf brand- the two dollar "Crimson Crush". Make sure, though, that you color all of your lips, since it doesn't blend as well as sticks or glosses.

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

27. yourstrulymag.blogspot.com
A beautiful British blog by an absolute maven of fashion, Yours Truly is pleasing aesthetically and with content. The blogger's Topshop, H & M, and vintage clothing pieces weave together perfectly- and she's simply wonderful about finding things on sale!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

DIY Foreshadowing

Today I began a new DIY, and this time, it's something quite a lot bigger than a denim vest! I picked up an old metal cabinet from a vintage marketplace for five dollars- the absolute most I'd pay for it, since it was completely horrendous. Now, with a bit of sanding and a few coats of red and black spray paint, it's almost as good as new! My lovely cabinet is almost ready to share with you; I just need to do a few touch ups.
I'll post full instructions and the final project as soon as possible!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happiness is a Vespa

Nothing cheers up a rainy day better than a brightly colored, moped-decorated shirt. Pair it with high waisted shorts and a vest for a laid-back, indie look, or a dress for a more vintage ensemble.
(shirt, shorts: Urban Outfitters; vest: Target, see DIY Denim post; dress: Franchesca's)
So sorry for the awkward rotation on this picture- this blog is rather mobile, written and pictured with the wonderful Blogger app. The app does not, however, allow me to rotate pictures.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Denim DIY

Denim vests are very hip, reasonably vintage looking, and incredibly overpriced. Check out the "Levi's Denim Trucker Vest", $59, or the "BDG Americana Denim Vet", $69. Both are from Urban Outfitters, and are at the low end of denim vest prices. Instead of shelling out sixty or seventy dollars, why not make it a DIY?
I took a light colored jean jacket I got from Target (Converse brand) for twenty-five dollars. I've worn the jacket for years, but the sleeves are getting a bit short. Also, I've been eying denim vests. So what do I do?
Cut the sleeves off.
You can get a jean jacket at thrift stored like Goodwill, or at your local Target or Walmart. They'll all be less then thirty dollars, and you can probably find one for about $15.
Cut with an Exact-o knife (on a cutting board) around the seam of where the sleeve attaches to the shoulder. Clean it up with a pair of sharp scissors, and wallah!
You have a DIY denim vest.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Elegant Pin-Up Hair

Now, I quite realize that I have already shared with you the "Elegant Musings" blog that I so much admire, but I have a new aspect of it that I simply must speak of. Blogger Casey looks like she's stepped out of the 1940s or 50s with her hair, makeup, clothes, and even eyebrows.
In her "Tutorials" section, she shares sewing patterns and how-to videos. Here, I must show you one of my favorites. You can access them through YouTube (she states on her blog that she has her own channel), but I prefer to watch them straight off her blog. Either way, here is a link to a "1940s Pin-Up Hair Tutorial"; let the fun begin!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Going Indie

Independence Day, better known as the Fourth of July, is quickly approaching. Here are some tips to make your party as patriotic as possible.
1. S'mores.
If you have a fire pit, this is a must. Guests will be entranced, and want "s'more" of your parties.
2. Plates
Buy plastic or paper plates that fit with the theme. This could be flags, eagles, or fireworks.
3. Accessories
Napkins, cups, and table runners: these match beautifully, and don't have to be overstated. A lovely red and blue plaid gives the desired effect. When accessorizing as such, white plates will suffice.
4. Games
Do you have any plans for your party? What will you do between dinner and s'mores? I recommend some sort of card game- KEMPS is a favorite, or blackjack- and make it into a tournament. If your party is too large for that, set up a game of charades or Pictionary.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ecce! Look Out!

It's the sale time of year, so be on the look out for falling prices. Check off-season items for a discount, and look even off the designated sale rack. I found two pair of tights at Urban Outfitters for two dollars each today, and they were hidden among other ten dollar tights. Best luck shopping!
With ever so much love,
The eclectic authoress herself

Saturday, June 29, 2013

If the Shoe Fits

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

25. yessireepetunia.blogspot.com
It's a beautiful blog peppered with vintage fashions. And, while you're at it, look at this lovely lady's Etsy shop of vintage clothing: Yessiree Petunia.