Tuesday, January 28, 2014

midweek enjoyments

So many wonderful bloggers do "Friday Favorites", and I have tried to jump on that bandwagon a few times. I find it difficult, however, to that sort of scheduled post. I love that sort of collective, though, and have decided upon a new trend: "Whenever-I-Get-Time-To-Blog-During-the-Week Favorites". And here are mine:

1. Kate Gabrielle's (of Scathingly Brilliant) society6 shop has begun to offer wall clocks, and they are absolutely gorgeous. Basically, society6 takes her lovely designs- vintage wallpapers, phases of the moon, and drawings of 1920s flappers- and puts them on everything they can think of, including iPhone cases, t-shirts, and throw pillows. They're all completely lovely, but I am definitely a fan of the clocks.

2. These shoes  from Topshop are so incredibly beautiful. They are also rather pricey, and it is also very much still winter. Even so, I can't stop from looking at them every chance I get, and trying to find a cheaper version somewhere. (Even though the real things would be preferable. Perhaps they'll go on sale?)
MARGATE Double Buckle Geek Shoes

3.  Urban Outfitters has its spring floral dresses collection out already, and it is making me seriously pine for summer. January has already been cold and long, so I think that perhaps we should all just skip February and March and move straight to sundresses.
Kimchi Blue Ruby Keyhole Fit & Flare Dress

4. The third season of "Sherlock", the raved about BBC show, is airing in the United States. The second episode (of a three-episode season) aired on Sunday. It was absolutely wonderful- just like all of the other "Sherlock" episodes. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman already have a dedicated following, but I simply had to throw in my two cents for this one.

5. Frozen, the latest Disney animated release, is just as amazing as everyone is saying it is. At first, I was skeptical. That, however, changed as soon as I heard Idina Menzel (of Broadway and Hollywood fame) was going to be starring in the feature. The music is amazing, the dialogue is funny, and Frozen is a lovely movie whatever your age may be.

Monday, January 27, 2014

really terribly sorry

I have been very, very busy of late, and haven't had the chance to do much blogging. As I said in the title, I'm really terribly sorry, and I hope to return in full force by the end of this week.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

stuck in my head

"Swingin' Party", a cover by Lorde, was originally sung (and written) by The Replacements in 1985. It's a wonderful song either way- just listen to the lyrics.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Let's Take a Moment

Named after the Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther King, Junior, had just as much effect on the state of the world. He, along with Rosa Parks, is one of the most remembered civil rights leaders. Even now, there is discrimination based on race, sex, or religion. Just think of the terrible uproar over the Cheerios commercial with the mixed race family. This is the sort of thing that Martin Luther King, Jr. fought to end. Instead of regarding the third Monday of January as simply a day off school, try to remember everything that this wonderful man stood for- and try to carry on his famous dream.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

It Had Prepared Me For So Many Things

Heather Vogel Frederick's The Mother Daughter Book Club series contained many lovely novel recommendations. I was thrilled when they read Jane Eyre, one of my favorites. Because of the series, I read Jean Webster's Daddy-Long-Legs, a wonderful story written entirely in letters. And even though the series has ended (and I have grown out of it), the books the girls read have stayed with me.

These books, however, steered me terribly wrong on one matter. It gave scathing reviews to The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a book they had had to read in school. They thought it was much too flowery and wordy, and even their mothers didn't like it. However, I am reading The Scarlet Letter now. And while it is verbose, it is beautiful. The words are exactly the ones Hawthorne wanted, and it shows. Besides that, it is suspenseful. My questions, while not quite halfway through, are abundant. I am intrigued. 

(If you don't know anything about The Scarlet Letter, you might want to skip this paragraph.) Hawthorne makes the reader wonder: Who is Pearl's father? Why won't Hester say anything? Why is her husband so creepy? Why is he trying to learn all of deepest, darkest secrets of the young pastor? Why did Puritans automatically assume witchcraft and devilry was involved in everything they didn't understand?

In short, The Scarlet Letter is worth a recommendation. It's brilliantly crafted, a work of art. Hawthorne is a master writer, seemingly telling a story within the novel. Things like, "if accounts are to be believed" are included, so to almost make it seem like he's writing a history. Though it is a novel, it certainly seems like something that the Puritans could have been capable of doing. And, when put in perspective to Arthur Miller's The Crucible (which was based on fact), The Scarlet Letter seems even more plausible.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Blues

January, February, and the beginning of March all drag on for what seems like a lifetime. It's that uncomfortable period between Christmas and spring, and days like to alternate between snowstorms (per last week) and forty degree weather. Why not, however, make the most of these winter days, and do some online window-shopping? Despite the common misconception, all blue does not have to be bad.

A candy dress from Modcloth

A fit-and-flare, from Modcloth

High waisted shorts, Topshop

A baby blue blazer, from ASOS

Baby-doll, Urban Outfitters

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Eclectic Authoress Recommends...

41. I Wear Milk Crowns, a blog by aspiring author Kim Karalius. At kkaralius.blogspot.com (called I Wear Milk Crowns, and linked to above), she talks about her daily misadventures and her writing, which sometimes fall under the same category.

My Weekend Playlist

Including songs from all sorts of artists and genres, here's the music that will be the movie soundtrack for my somewhat mellow, mostly-stay-at-home weekend.

"Laughing With", by Regina Spektor

"Ribs", by Lorde

"5 Years Time", by Noah and the Whale

"California Gold Rush", by Sara Jackson-Holman

"Exceed my Expectations", by Emma Wallace

"Danger", by Katherine Farnham

"2.99 Cent Blues", by Regina Spektor

"Patchwork Girlfriend", by Punch Brothers

"The District Sleeps Alone Tonight", by Birdy

"Paper Aeroplane", by Angus and Julia Stone 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


1984, by George Orwell, is one of the most famous depictions of dystopian society. A huge trend lately, dystopian novels show a society that advertises itself as utopian, but is very far from it. (An interesting side note: "utopia", by using Greek roots, is translated directly as "no place".) These novels today, however, have created a new connotation for dystopia: a female protagonist, with at least one love interest, who helps to bring down the regime and/or spearheads a rebellion. Unbeknownst to me until this year, this is not the traditional dystopian form.

Don't misunderstand me: I enjoy the modern dystopias. You've seen me rave about The Hunger Games and Divergent and Enclave. They are generally suspenseful and entertaining, with no lack of sweet romantic moments; they are generally rather well written and planned. These books, however, have changed quite a lot between the 20th and 21st centuries.

In 1984, the protagonist a man in his thirties. There is absolutely nothing "special" about him- no incredible abilities, no superpowers. And, most importantly, there is nowhere he can go to escape the government; there is no opportunity to be like Katniss and sneak under a fence. There are "telescreens" and microphones everywhere, and one has to assume that the government is looking in at any given moment. Brief respites are possible among the proles (the mass population of the poor, regarded as animals), but these are still not safe. As the posters on every wall say, "Big Brother is watching you."

And, while the ideas of love and lust are exercised, they are used to prove a point about the Party (the government, where one works is s/he is not a prole). The "romance" is not for the sake of sighing teenagers. It is important not because it is a relationship, but because of the things it sets into motion.
Also, 1984 does not leave the reader guessing about the rest of the world, as most modern book do. (We know Panem is in trouble, but what about the other five inhabited continents?) The world contains three empires: Oceania (the setting, with the protagonist, Big Brother, and the Party), Eastasia, and Eurasia. Oceania is constantly as war with one, and at peace with the other; this chances at intervals.

Orwell's novel is only one novel that contains the previous view of dystopia. It is expressed in films like Metropolis, and books like Fahrenheit 451 and Thomas More's Utopia (one of the very first). Modern dystopian novels are in no way bad, but they are not likely to become classics, either. Reading both old and new installments of a genre is helpful to see its progression, what has been improved, and what is now lacking.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Presidential Flashcards

That Thing You Do, directed by Tom Hanks (who also is part of the cast), is a fun boy-band, placed in the 1960s movie that brings one straight to the era of records and appliance stores only being open on Sunday. The laugh out loud film is jam packed with witty one liners, many relating to the band's name: The Oneders. Now, this is One-Ders (sounds like Wonders), and the fact that the name is changed (The Wonders) just before they make it big doesn't stop the jokes. It's commonly pronounced the Oh-Need-Ers. And, when manager Tom Hanks prompts the change, the joke "I wonder what happened to the Oneders?" is born.

Throughout the film, Tom Everette Scott and Steve Zahn are constantly cracking jokes, helped along by Liv Tyler (and, in a bit of a breakthrough part, Charlize Theron). One of the main characters is known only as "The Bass Player", and quotes like: "Are you crazy? A man in a really nice camper wants to put our song on the radio! Gimme a pen, I'm signin'! You're signin'! We're all signin'!" are common. 

While giving subtle nods to The Beatles and The Monkees, That Thing You Do is rocking representation of the sixties music scene, basic boy bands, and unpredictable (well, only a little bit predictable) romance. While not exactly a classic, this 1996 hit is funny and fun, and absolutely a must-see flick.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Orig. 1907

It is now the proverbial "New Year", and bloggers everywhere have been making lists of their favorite memories of 2013. While I could do this, and list my favorite books, songs, and blog posts of the year, in my first post of 2014 I will simply remind of a quote from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

"You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance brings you pleasure."

Happy new year, my lovelies!