Flavor of the Week

Standard

FLAVOR OF THE I decided to create my own meme, because that’s a sure-fire way to get me to post once a week right? (HAH) But for serious, I’ve wanted to do this for a bit, so I’m just going to. The idea is I pick one book, song, movie, and ice cream flavor that I love for the week. It is to be posted on Saturdays. Occasionally, I will also post recipes for delicious meals or desserts. Ta-DA! Book of the Week: Dracula by Bram Stoker. I’m listening to the full-cast Audible version and I’m blown away. Before you look at me in horror (ha! get it?), no I haven’t read it before. I was never really into horror, but I decided that I want vampires to scare me, so I got it a while ago. It’s on my summer reading list as well. I’m over halfway through and I’m excited to finish! Although I’ve discovered that listening to it pre-bed is a bad idea. It’s supa creepy.

Katherine Kellgren is in it too! :D

Song of the Week: I know I’m behind the times, but Really Don’t Care by Demi Lovato is my song of the move. It’s catchy and emotional and I can scream and let out a lot of frustration in a legitimate way, because it’s just that kind of song.

TV Show of the Week: I haven’t watched many movies this week, but Arrow has been on almost every day. I’m boning up for the Flash show which will grace our screens come October. Barry Allen is my favorite. No joke. I love that he appears in the second season of Arrow! Anyway, the Green Arrow adaptation is a little dramatic and serious (I always the Green Arrow was a comical man. He made the quips and was funny), but I like it most of the time. I find it amusing that all the internet ships Oliver and Felicity (#Olicity!). She’s definitely my favorite character.

Flavor of the Week: Finally! The ice cream flavor of the week is Caramelized Banana Chip Gelato by Häagen Dazs. There are too many chocolate chips in this, but other than that it’s the perfect banana ice cream.

Nom, nom, nom.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Out With the Old

Standard

Things have been particularly crazy lately (thus the lack of posts). We are getting ready to move back to Dayon, OH, home to more than a few of my self-esteem issues. So the flurry of activity and need for escapism is never-ending. I have started watching Arrow, and a myriad of other shows that I don’t actually care about. I’ve also re-read or re-listened to all of Patricia Briggs Mercedes Thompson universe. I’ve eaten more than my fair share of ice cream and have procrastinated mailing Emily’s package so badly that I’m pretty sure even all the extras I’ve added won’t make up for it (SO SORRY EM!).

However, in the past two weeks I have thrown away a lot of paraphernalia that needed to go. I culled through my books and got rid of things I never had any intention of reading or things that I know I’ll easily find again at a used bookstore in my future home (*cough cough* A Raisin in the Sun). I also have been applying for jobs and trying to decide what my future is going to look like.

I want to travel and experience different cultures. To that end I will be taking a TESOL certification course which I may be able to finish by the new year. Maybe. I have also applied for many jobs, which is exhausting as any unemployed person will tell you. I have an interview, so that’s good news.

That’s all the boring stuff. What’s really new with me is that I cut 8 to 10 inches of my hair off. It was mildly traumatic for me because I LOVED my long hair, but I think I needed it. New home, new job, new hair. Why not? Also, I stopped biting my nails. I now file like a maniac, but it’s been almost two weeks. It’s a little weird to type now, not gonna lie.

IMG_2552

I think that’s it. Today and tomorrow are garage sale days, so that’s fun. But nothing else uber important is happening.

Bye darling readers.

Notes From a Blue Bike

Standard

This June I’ve decided to take time to focus on non-fiction books because I’ve been inebriated on fiction as of late. That being said, after finishing Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider was recommended to me on Goodreads (omg, I love Goodreads). It’s been on my list for a while. I loved the cover and that was the primary reason I wanted to read it. I’m just that shallow.

It’s so pretty…

It’s about Ms. Oxenreider’s life as a mother of three and a world traveler. As the subtitle implies, it’s about living intentionally in every aspect of life.

“Most of life’s decisions don’t come with black-and-white answers, and that’s a beautiful, marvelous thing. We’re given freedom to choose our decisions, and that responsibility is the very definition of living with intention, after all: making daily choices so that your  life lines up with your passions and values. It should all make sense in your head.”

In the Food section, she talks about using local, natural resources. Our fast paced way of life has led to fast food and a lot of times supporting organizations that thrive due to slave labor or exploiting working conditions. She encourages the reader to support local businesses and to take more time savoring what you eat. I was pretty inspired. My mom and I are doing a whole foods challenge right now, and I’ve been failing. I want to do better though, and just hearing Tsh talk about the benefits of her simplified eating plans makes me long for that kind of life. I think it’s more difficult for those of us that have a full working day though and that she doesn’t take that into account, which was a little frustrating.

Tsh has an awesome job; she’s a blogger and makes all her income off of that entrepreneurial endeavor. I am totally impressed and jealous. If I could do this for a living, I would. However, I don’t have the discipline required and I’m called to other things in life. In the work section she really implores the reader to leave work at home, to manage time better, etc. She tries to relate to those of us that work traditional jobs; she has a whole chapter on it, but she list friends that have chosen to work alternatively, like she has, instead of exemplifying people that don’t have that option. Honestly, I found this section to be the most difficult to swallow. I can’t live the way she prescribes here because I’m a single woman with multiple part-time jobs.

You would expect that with all this talk of simplifying, she’d be a home-schooling mama. And she was for a year. She examines the options of homeschooling vs. traditional in-school education and I have to say I loved her point of view. The thrust of this section, however, was being life-long learners and teaching your children to be the same.

“I’m convinced that parents are the most essential key to unlocking the next generation’s curiosity, creativity, and innovation.”

I think that this was probably my favorite chapter.

Her sections on travel and entertainment didn’t really impress me. It was more of the same. Travel is important to education and we should all take time to go out of the country at least once (I’ve been twice, so check!). Entertainment-wise, she gave her family as the ultimate example. They only watch TV once a week and so on and so forth.

I was convicted as I read this book. I have a lot of the opposite problems that Tsh has. I know how to slow down and enjoy life at a slow pace. I don’t know how to wring joy out of working hard and setting goals for myself. My entire life is wrapped up in entertainment and I don’t know how to live any different. It’s a problem and one that I am now striving to fix. After I finished this I bought her 52 tasks book and have started changing my life a little at a time.

I will say that this book is not what I thought it would be. The title is a little deceiving. She rarely mentions riding her bike. In the front there is a map of the bike going all over the world, but she only received the bike after she moved to Bend, Oregon, her current home. I thought it would be more of a travel memoir of sorts and that’s what the description makes it sound like, but it’s not. Don’t expect that when you read it.

It is a great example of how to live life intentionally, and she’s careful to say (many, many times) that it will look different to every family, but it is just one example. Her word is not law. I can’t be her family. I’m just me right now, no husband or kids to think about, and sometimes it will be better for me to watch a movie than to spend hours cooking a meal from whole foods. That being said, my life can’t be fast food and movies. I definitely need to take more time to plan and enjoy the beauty of the creation around me. I need to try and be my best and I’m not right now. I needed this book and it’s message.

I’d definitely recommend this to others, with the caveat that it’s not for everyone.

 

Warning: Cliche post-graduation topics may occur in near future

Standard

Nicole:

My friend Jenna just wrote a post that pretty much sums up post-college life and feelings. So I’m reblogging it.

Originally posted on Jenna Kristine:

“I graduated 365-something days ago;
Twelve months ago, I walked across the Moody church stage;
One year ago, I finished my last finals.”

Sound familiar? Yes, every single person I graduated with is probably saying versions of these things right about now, just as the 2012 graduates did last year and this year’s graduates will do a year from now.

Then you add one more line to the graduation nostalgia:

“This first year out, it’s hard.”

It’s rendered near cliche when you’re in this age group (or listening to this age group), isn’t it? And, quite honestly, it’s why I’ve had such a hard time justifying writing about some of the things I might otherwise write about in this pie slice of twenty-somethingness: like learning to manage time when classwork isn’t a constant priority, figuring out how to cook for one, budgeting (kind of), and dealing with the deep shift in how…

View original 545 more words

Literary Retellings: Youtube

Standard

Untitled design

Recently, Hello Giggles wrote an article highlighting some of the best web series on Youtube: the literary retellings (if you click above, the link will take you there). I admire the article, but in my humble opinion they missed a few. In that spirit I decided to write my own little blurb about some of the best retellings on the interwebs. They’re listed in the order they popped into my head…

1. Jules and Monty. I just finished watching this and the end…oh the end. This is the retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet done by Tufts University students. It’s all student cast (with the exception of Friar Lawrence) and intersperses some of the original dialogue throughout. I found it a little odd, but after the first two episodes it became normal and I became entranced with Jules and Monty’s epic tale. It led me to believe that the story could have a happy ending…Check out the trailer and then go devour the series.

2. Emma Approved. My current favorite web series in on hiatus for the month of May (which means it’s coming back soon because June is almost here!!), but I am totally devoted. This is Pemberley Digital’s retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. The casting is perfect and I love a lot of the more modernized concepts. If you’re a fan of Austen watch it. If you aren’t, watch it. I think that a lot of people who don’t like Austen will like the retellings. The plot points are essentially the same. The characterization as well, but the language and the way they are communicated are different and reach different audiences. And Austenites, like me. This series is interactive, so if you start watching and like it, make sure you follow all the characters on Twitter and like Knightley Disapproved on Facebook. Here’s the first episode. Watch it; I triple dog dare you.

3. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. This was my first love. Lizzie popped out at me and made me listen, despite my doubts. I couldn’t handle retellings, but I was converted by Lizzie, Jane and Lydia Bennet. And Charlotte too. And most especially by Darcy, because when he showed up in episode 60 I literally SWOONED. This is Pride and Prejudice reborn. I think Austen would be proud. I know I am. There are lots of additions to Lizzie’s story. Lydia does her own vlog when she’s away from Lizzie and there are lots of Twitter happenings as well. They also recently published Lizzie’s diary as a book, which I fully intend on purchasing. Don’t start unless you’re prepared to fall in love. Here, let me help you:

4. The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. This is relatively new and fantastic. It’s Peter Pan, but in Neverland, Ohio with a more adult cast. Peter is a 20-something man boy who leads Michael (the pothead little brother) and avoids John (the “responsible” one). He and Wendy are BFFs and are both starting to realize that maybe it’s something more. It’s not devoid of Tinkerbell or magic either, which I love. This will probably become my favorite very quickly as it stars my favorite actor from any Pemberley Digital project to date. Kyle Walters plays Peter and was Edward Denham in Sanditon this past summer. You can start enjoying this refreshing series right now. Here’s the trailer.

5. The Autobiography of Jane Eyre. I am totally invested in this Jane Eyre adaptation. In this version Jane has a nursing degree, but isn’t convinced that her life path is set, so she impetuously agrees to be a nanny and tutor for a brilliant child. You meet Rochester, Adele, Grace Poole and others through her vlog, which she starts because she needs to talk things out. There are a few boring episodes, I will warn you now, but for the most part, it’s brilliant. I love it. Simon (aka St. John) is my favorite. He’s my favorite in the book too.

6. I Didn’t Write This. This isn’t your typical series. These are individual episodes visualizing scenes from books and poems, like Fangirl, Looking for Alaska, and others. They are all written and directed by Yulin Kuang, who is the coolest person. Many of them star my favorite actress, Mary Kate Wiles. I think that this a lovely, original concept and I always look forward to new episodes. This is ideal for people who don’t want to commit to a full book/series. Just get your toes wet and enjoy a beautiful five minute adaptation.

7. A Tell Tale Vlog. This is a series all about Edgar Allen Poe, who is someone everyone wants to  know more about. It’s silly and haunting and glorious. It’s got Lenore and ghosts and ravens. There’s also a cupcake and bowties. And I think that’s all I want to say about it. Here.

8. School of Thrones. This is a parody of Game of Thrones. What if it all happened in high school? Prom is coming.

9. Classic Alice. Alice is a college student who is urged by her friend Andrew to live with flair. So she decides to emulate literary characters and do what they do in her own life. Starting with Crime and Punishment may not have been the best idea, but it’s very entertaining. I will warn you that Classic Alice is currently on hiatus. They’re scrounging up funds for a second season, but I loved the few episodes they produced for the first book and I think I’ll like the second one too.

Honorable Mentions:

Green Gables Fables. This is a newer show and very…green? It’s an adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, in case you hadn’t guessed. The writing and the acting are amateur, but I keep watching because the actress who plays Anne is so…Anne. I think it will get better as it goes on and I’m excited to see how the project develops.

Kissing in the Rain. The only reason this is an honorable mention is because it isn’t strictly a literary adaptation. It’s a story about multiple literary adaptations though. There is Anne of Green GablesI Capture the Castle, Persuasion, Edgar Allen Poe and Annabeth, and The Great Gatsby. It was a fan collaborative project and is still happening. It’s basically awesome. Go check it out.

Some Lazy Days of Reading (Coming Soon to a Summer Near You!)

Standard

Laugh

I love this post. All the hopes and dreams of the summer, with the knowledge that I absolutely will fail. It’s so great. I have created a Goodreads shelf all about my 2014 Summer Reading List (I keep deleting books from it though, because I read them pre-June…June starts my summer reading).

So here’s my list, for better or worse. I wanted, as always, to focus on classics, but I also want to get back to some YA reading because I’ll be working with them again soon and I need to know what’s good and what’s crap. So here we go.

  • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Tom Stoppard is a genius. He wrote the latest Pride and Prejudice movie and many other things. I’m excited to read this.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. I want to read Victor Hugo and I don’t want to read Les Miserables. So this is my choice. I know I won’t finish it, but I want to start.
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. I’ve started it many times. I’d really like to finish.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’ve started this too. Again, I’d like to finish it.
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Henry Ford. I’ve owned this book for a while, but I’ve never started or finished it. I look forward to finally getting to it.
  • Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I love the mini-series. I’ll love the book; I know it.
  • Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry. Do I need to explain why I need this book in my life?
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It’s a classic and I’d love to read it before I watch the movie. And I really want to watch the movie.
  • Wool: Omnibus by Hugh Howey. I heard about this before it was officially published. Howey self-published first and got picked up later. I’m really interested to read his masterpiece.
  • Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. I’m 1/3 of the through this and I fully intend to finish this before the end of the summer.
  • Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen. It’s the short story before the book above. Sort of like a longer prologue.
  • The Once and Future King by T. H. White. I’ve never actually read this, but sometimes I pretend I have. I’d like to actually read it so I don’t have to pretend anymore.
  • One Thousand Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I started this over Spring Break and I liked it, but I had to return the book to the library.
  • The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene. This is about a group of women who form a teacup club. Why wouldn’t I read it?
  • Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a World in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider. It’s great so far. I’m excited to read it.
  • Justification by N. T. Wright. I’ve been wanting to read this since college. Ta-da! This is my non-fiction quota for the summer.

So there it is. What are you planning on reading this summer?

Let’s talk…life

Standard

Life is hard. Ask anyone. Except for the small children. They don’t know life is hard yet. And isn’t that beautiful? But for the rest of us, it’s a struggle; it’s a war. If I may quote Les Mis…

My most recent struggle is yet another move. My family will be leaving this country life and moving back to a more populated area. As for me? I will be endeavoring to move back to the greatest city in America. CHICAGO. It’s my greatest ambition for the time being. So I’m applying to jobs and trying to figure out what the next eight weeks hold for me. All with a supremely unhealthy dose of escapism which has led to massive amounts of binge reading and watching. And it’s led me to the question…why?

Why do I do this when I get stressed? Wouldn’t it be easier to just deal with whatever is stressing me out rather than try to escape the inescapable? I don’t actually know the answer, but I thought I’d throw it out there.