Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Currently Reading

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The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland - Lena is the transcriptionist in a newsroom.  She sits, isolated, in a room with headphones on, listening to other people's stories.  After a story comes across her desk of a woman who was eaten by lions in the zoo, Lena begins to seek out the woman's history.  She realizes that she had an encounter with that very same woman on the bus just a few days prior.  A story about language, about technology, about our increasingly isolating culture, The Transcriptionist explores it all.  While the story was interesting and captured me, I spent the entire time waiting for something more.  I can't explain what exactly that would have been, but I did feel a lack of... something.

Slapstick (or Lonesome No More!) by Kurt Vonnegut - Reading Vonnegut just makes me happy.  He's clever and kind and witty and optimistic even in the face of disaster.  Slapstick follows the King of Manhattan, former President of the United States, throughout his life, beginning as a monster child and eventually to his untimely death.  The story is dark, yet never feels cynical.  It was truly a joy to read.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - Late to the game on this one, I know.  The novel follows Charlie throughout his freshman year of high school.  Somewhat of a loner, Charlie finds himself making unlikely friends in a brother and sister, Patrick and Sam.  They open him up to a world full of mix tapes, Rocky Horror, drugs, alcohol, books, and art.  The story is told through Charlie's letters to an unknown friend.  While I really liked the book, I had some issues with it.  Charlie's story is odd.  His family life seems off from the beginning, but that's never really addressed.  Also, everyone cries all the time.  I know it's high school and hormones and all that, but so. much. crying.  That being said, the book does capture that feeling of newness, of doing things for the first time, of experiencing certain emotions - love, deep friendship - for the first time.  

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King -  I grew up hiking in the White Mountains, so this book just hit me.  Trisha is nine years old, going on a day hike with her mother and brother, when she ducks into the woods to pee.  This one choice leads to her wandering the woods for days, lost, with limited supplies, and no idea of where she is or what direction she is headed.  Tom Gordon, the Red Sox closer, gets her through this, first by Trisha listening to the games on her headphones, and then later as a hallucination.  Maybe because I know those woods, or because I've always been taught just how easy it is to get turned around there, this book socked me in the gut.  It was beautifully written, captured the thought patterns of a nine-year-old girl, and, because it's King, I was never quite sure of where he was going to take Trisha (and us).

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Influenster Frosty VoxBox

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4 // 5 // 6
7 // 8 // 9

[1]  I got a Frosty VoxBox from Influenster!  Maybe because it's winter?  There's nothing specifically "frosty" about said box.  They could just be hopping on the Frozen bandwagon, but who knows?  Anyway, it was full of goodies, such as:

[2]  Rimmel London Gentle Eye Make-up Remover - Make-up and I don't really get along, so I don't have a ton of use for make-up remover.  If I happen to find myself covered in bronzer and eyeshadow, baby oil will usually do me just fine.  This remover worked just as good as baby oil, but without being oily.  Also, mascara is the worst to take off.

[3]  Fruit Vines Bites - I grew up on Twizzlers.  My mom had a thing for them.  We were a Twizzlers family, not a Red Vines family.  I gave these mini bites a shot anyway and they got me through quite a few 3pm slumps at the office.  Sweet, sticky, and terrible for my teeth - exactly what candy should be.

[4] NYC Expert Last Lipstick in Sugar Plum - This lip color is good.  It goes on smoothly, doesn't dry out my lips, and lasts for awhile.  The only disappointing thing about it was that the color had shimmer to it, which I sort of hate.  I'm working on it.

[5]  Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Eyeliner Pencil - Rimmel has been my eyeliner of choice for about a decade now.  I love the kohl, the color, and how easy it is to apply without repeatedly stabbing myself in the eye.  Naturally, I was psyched with this product.

[6]  Celestial Seasonings Green Tea in Candy Cane Lane - Truth be told, I haven't drank this yet, but it is sitting in my desk at work ready to go any time.  I try and drink a cup of green tea every day, but the whole candy cane thing freaks me out a little.  Should I just be expecting peppermint?  

[7]  Boots No. 7 Protect & Perfect Serum - My skin definitely feels softer after using this for a few nights.  I'm at the age where I should probably be using anti-aging stuff too.  No complaints.

[8]  EcoTools Sleek & Shine Finisher Hairbrush - My mom and I joke whenever we go somewhere on vacation together because neither of us ever pack a hairbrush.  We're not really brushers.  That said, I do try to run a brush through my hair after I get out of the shower so that it doesn't dry in a completely messed up way.  While I like the feel of this brush, the bristles are a bit too soft for my hair and I have to do a few strokes to get it all the way through.

[9]  McCormick Gourmet Thyme - What can I say?  It's thyme.  It's delicious.  I throw it in lots of dishes.  The other night, I made yogurt sauce to go on top of my carrot ginger soup.  A little honey, some black pepper, and this thyme made it the perfect addition.  Can't go wrong here.

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Friday, January 23, 2015

For Your (Weekend) Consideration

I've been thinking about the concept of home lately.  DC has never felt like home to me.  It's always been the place where we were going to live for awhile.  But almost 6 years in, that description doesn't feel quite right any more.  

When I talk about going home for the holidays, or for vacation, or really for anything, it's about going to Boston, to New England, to my parents' house.  When that trip ends, it's always "back to DC".  

My best friend bought her wedding dress on Monday and I wasn't there.  When my dad was sick, I wasn't there.  There are countless birthdays, anniversaries, dinners that I miss because I'm not there. That is hard.

We have built this life for ourselves in DC though, and I appreciate that.  It's the place where I had my first apartment, where DT and I first lived together, where we've made great friends.  Life is good here.   Instead of feeling like I'm missing out, I have to treasure the experiences that I am having, wherever that is.

Here's how to take on the trolls.

As a former captain of my high school varsity basketball team (nbd), I love a story about an all-girls team kicking boys' asses.

The Wire in present-day Brooklyn.

Just in case you didn't already love Chris Pratt and Chris Evans.

This video made my day.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Four on Thursday

This week is flying by and I'm loving it.

Clockwise from Top Left:

1 //  I struggle with leather.  Black leather can feel too hard sometimes, too much like I'm trying to be an extra on Sons of Anarchy.  That's probably why this white leather pencil skirt caught my eye.  Take a classic piece and mix it up by putting it in an unexpected fabric.  This would be perfect for spring.

2 //  The Lisbon jeans in a lighter wash have been serving me well, so much so that I'm looking at buying them in lots of other washes and colors.  First up is this black pair with a medium rise and an ankle grazing cut.  They might solve the lack of black denim in my life.

3 //  Field jackets have been a popular choice for lightweight jackets the past few years.  While everyone and their mom has the J. Crew version, I prefer this one from LL Bean.  The quality is top tier, I'm sure, and it's lined, so that's awesome.  Love that it comes in navy.

4 //  All stripes, all the time.  I'm wearing some today in fact.  An open cardigan is a great layering piece because you just throw it on top of whatever else you're wearing and look put together.  You can't go wrong with navy and white stripes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recent Purchases

Recent Purchases 1.21.15

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[1]  DT bought me this dress for Christmas.  The material is on the sheer side, but nothing that a slip can't fix.  The blush color is pretty and very on trend.  I plan on wearing this on our vacation next month.  Result: Kept.

[2]  When I stained my long-sleeved white tee almost a year ago, it was devastating.  I didn't realize what a workhorse that piece was until I didn't have it any more.  Searching for a replacement has been an adventure, but I finally settled on a classic from LL Bean.  The cotton is thick and high-quality.  The cut is perfect on my frame and I expect this will be a staple for many seasons to come.  Result: Kept.

[3]  I asked for a running jacket for Christmas because this workout thing has really gotten out of control.  DT picked this one up, also from LL Bean, and I'm psyched that he did.  Again, the material is top-notch, there's just enough stretch to it, and the thumbholes put it over the top.  The grey color is awesome because it matches all of my other workout stuff.  Result: Kept.

[4]  Yet another Christmas gift, these earrings are a welcome addition to my stud collection.  The pyramid shape is sort of edgy, sort of mod.  And yet the light pink color makes it girly and pretty.  They're simple and fun.  Result: Kept.  (Sold out, but similar options here and here.)

[5]  I didn't know I needed white booties until I saw these online and decided that they must be mine.  So I made them mine and then was disappointed.  They are SO CUTE in person.  The problem was that the second I put them on, I could tell they were going to be horribly uncomfortable.  And not the type of uncomfortable that you can break in, but the type that lasts forever.  Even though it pained me to do so, these had to go back from whence they came.  Result: Returned.  (Sold out, but similar here.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stretch Armstrong

Pullover: Athleta (sold out, similar); Leggings: Zella; Sneakers: Asics (similar); Shades: Ray Ban

This is almost definitely my old age talking, but it feels really good to wake up on a weekend morning without a hangover and to go work out to start the day.

Up until very recently, I was of the mentality that if you work out X number of times, you should just look good all the time.  It's taken me sort of forever to realize that exercising and being healthy and all that jazz needs to be a lifestyle.  Revolutionary, right?

Cute workout clothes are still the best motivation around.

Friday, January 16, 2015

For Your (Weekend) Consideration

Words can't express how happy I am that it's finally Friday.  

This week just got away from me.  Too busy, not enough time to feel settled and relaxed.  Too active, but somehow feeling sluggish.  The weekend will hopefully remedy all that.

Tina and Amy hosted the Golden Globes on Sunday and were amazing as always.  Here's a detailed timeline of their friendship so that we can all aspire to such greatness.

They also called out Bill Cosby which was awesome and uncomfortable and incredibly important.

This is one of the most difficult, beautiful, and heart-wrenching stories I've ever read.

Shocker: being female in the Senate is just as bad (potentially worse) as being female everywhere else.

An essay on Wild and the trope of leaving it all behind.

The best thing on the Internet this week clearly combines Harry Potter and feminism.  Team Hermione!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Four on Thursday

Why is it that some weeks seem longer than others and everyone feels the same way?  Both my mom and my friend commented to me how this week has been the longest ever.  Time is weird.

Things are pretty great around these parts.  I've been getting to the mat or the barre fairly often, I'm getting a haircut tomorrow (cross that off the resolution list!), and DT and I just booked a vacation that I cannot wait to take.  In just under a month we'll be on a beach, sipping on something delicious and with fresh pineapple juice in it.

Clockwise from Top Left:

1 //  A long-sleeved white shift dress is something that should obviously be in my closet, but for unknown reasons, is not.  It's simple, chic, and perfect for almost any occasion (don't be wearing this to a wedding).  The insert necklace is a nice detail.

2 //  Winter's here kiddos, and it's not going anywhere for awhile.  Naturally, you should invest in a sick hat like this faux fur Russian style.  Wear this out, drink vodka, and yell "Nostrovia!" as much as possible.  Oh, the things we do to stay warm.

3 //  Midi dresses have grown on me.  It's probably something about getting older and wanting to eliminate the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction, but the longer lengths just seem more flattering to me lately.  This is a great weekend dress that is easy to throw on and go.  Also in black.

4 //  Bucket bags are the new it bag, but we can't all drop serious cash on a Mansur Gavriel version.  Forever 21 comes in with the winner, this faux leather bag complete with tassels and an absurdly awesome price.  Get the style without the huge price tag.  Also in black and a gorgeous cream color.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Currently Reading

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Faithful Place by Tana French - Yes, another Tana French book.  I'm plowing through these things, but that's easy to do with good books.  This novel follows Undercover Detective Frank Mackey, as he is drawn back into his childhood home 19 years after leaving and never looking back.  A call from his sister brings him home to discover that Rosie Daly, his first love and the girl he thought left him for England, never made it out of Faithful Place, their street, after all.  Combining all the relationships and dynamics that make up a complicated family life, French expertly draws you into Mackey's life, both past and present.  

The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones - We open with Hannah running for her life, driving away from something as yet unknown, her husband bleeding out in the passenger seat next to her and her daughter asleep in the back.  Over the course of the novel, we find out exactly who Hannah is running from and why: a supernatural creature known as a hosszu eletek who has been obsessed with her family for over a century.  I'm a sucker for stories that cross generations, especially when they are linked as cleverly as The String Diaries does it.  I also love the idea of a secret sub-culture, hidden among us for years.  This book was fast-paced, well-written, and a great story.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix - You may mistake this book for your Ikea catalogue.  And that's the point.  Set up as part retail catalogue and part ghost story, Horrorstor may be a genre all its own.  Amy works at Orsk furniture store, a cheaper and shoddier version of Ikea.  She's bored, lazy, and doing her damnedest to avoid her boss so that she doesn't get fired.  Weird things have been happening at Orsk lately though, seemingly at night when the store is closed.  When Amy's boss asks her and another coworker to work an overnight shift with him to patrol the store, she's not psyched for the job, but she does need the time-and-a-half.  What they find takes us into total horror story nightmare.  Hendrix has taken the classic haunted house story and flipped it on its head in a funny, smart, and truly terrifying way.

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion - I picked a good time to read my first Didion, considering she's been everywhere lately thanks to the new Celine ads.  Despite being the coolest model around, Didion is also an incredibly brilliant writer.  Play It As It Lays is deceptively simple in its construction.  Books that seem to be about nothing are often my favorites.  The characters fully embrace the concept of ennui.  Nothing seems to matter to anyone.  I'm not even sure what else to say about it other than it is sublime.  Didion's prose is exceptional.  There were dozens of lines or passages that I re-read simply because they were so beautiful or haunting.  I will definitely be seeking out more of her work very, very soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'm Bringing Neon Back

Coat: J. Crew (old, love this one); Sweater: Theory via TJ Maxx (old, similar); Button-up: Lands' End; Denim: Asos; Tote: Street Level (similar); Booties: LL Bean (old); Shades: Ray Ban

When the weather is cold and rainy and grey, I suggest putting on your most obnoxiously bright outerwear.

While I was home for Christmas, several of the keys on my computer keyboard stopped working.  When you don't have a functioning "Shift" key, it's impossible to sign into anything because you can't enter the @ part of your email.  And when your space bar doesn't work, well, typingishard.  I'm going into the Apple store today to hopefully get that squared away, and hoping that the blog won't suffer too much in the meantime.