Thursday, January 26, 2017

Style Inspiration: A Blend of Vintage and Modern

My style has always been vintage inspired; so when I was seeking inspiration for my wardrobe this winter I wasn't surprised to find myself leaning on the past. Whether it's 1920's style hats and coats from the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, or rich colors and plaid accents from the Outlander series, I'm constantly marveling at the lines and textures of vintage clothing. If you really think about it, all fashion is based on the past. Much like any aspect of the world today, it's all just a variation on what's been done before. The more modern outfits I've been inspired by lately all have nods to the past, whether it's wide leg pants, wool coats, full eyebrows, thick sweaters or mom jeans. Certain styles will remain in our lives forever.

Most importantly, what I'm really inspired by is the type of women wearing these garments, whether they're real or fictional. I'm inspired by strong women who can look feminine while also sticking up for themselves. Women who look put together. Women who are able to remain a bit of a mystery, and women who exude a sense of confidence. It's my goal in life to be one of these women. To be fearless and independent in my personal style and my life.

- S

Thursday, January 12, 2017

December Favorites

The holiday season is typically jolly but winter tends have a negative effect on my mood. So far, this winter has been especially cold, dark, and snowy, and it has me wishing I never have to leave the comfort of my bed again. In December I wanted to fill my time with entertainment that captivated me and made me forget all about the weather. Luckily that was pretty easy to find.

Podcasts, podcasts and more podcasts. I've been on a huge podcast kick since last month. Mostly Gilmore Guys, Ladies Who Lunch, WTF with Marc Maron, Anna Faris is Unqualified, and The Nerdist. I can't get enough.

Jane the Virgin. I started watching this show at the beginning of December and sped right through the first two seasons. Jane the Virgin is an hour long dramedy that mimics a telenovela. Although things can get a little crazy and over the top, it does not shy away from real life issues. I had heard nothing but good things since the show originally aired and it did not disappoint. If you haven't seen Jane yet, go watch it. Right Now. And no, I'm not caught up with any of season 3 so no spoilers.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In the past I've mentioned my mom's long term obsession with Star Wars and the family memories I have growing up with the films. When Rogue One came out this year my mom and I were both busy and we weren't able to see the film opening night. Honestly I wasn't even sure I wanted to see the film in theaters, but when my brother mentioned going to see it as a family my mom guilt tripped me into going along. Thankfully Rogue One was spectacular. Now I can't believe I almost missed it.

Bluetooth Speaker. I got a Bose portable mini speaker for Christmas and have been loving it. I now have mini surround sound while watching Netflix on my laptop.

Troye Sivan's Blue Neighborhood album. This album came out in 2015 but I only listened to the entire album for the first time last month. All the music on Blue Neighborhood feels dreamy and youthful in a way that reminds me of summer time or warm vacations. There is something comforting and nostalgic about Troye's music that took me from dancing to total relaxation and back again.

Kindred by Octavia Butler - Best book of December if not the whole year. Kindred is a modern classic that was originally published in 1979. The novel follows Dana, an African American woman living in the 1970's, who travels back in time to meet her ancestors. This story took off right from page one and had me hooked the entire time. It's a sit on the edge of your seat, stay up until 3 AM, give you all the feels kind of book. I read Kindred for January's book club meeting and I can't wait to discuss these characters with the group.

My last favorite of December,
Holiday spirit and Christmas traditions. The holiday season is usually filled with warmth and cheeriness, but this year seemed more merry than usual. I was amazed with the number of people who made a point of telling me "Happy Holidays," "Merry Christmas," or "Happy New Year" while I was at work. Each time someone said something nice it brought a smile to my face. It's the little things that make that time of year special. One of my favorite holiday traditions over the last four or five years has been watching the movie White Christmas at the State Theater with my friend Sandy. Now I get to experience one of my favorite classics with one of my favorite friends. Christmas traditions and all the lovely holiday decorations also made this year special. My family made new traditions by spending Christmas day at my parent's house instead of my Grandparent's like we've done ever since I can remember. The change was different but the day was just as fun! My dad and I even made a new egg casserole dish in addition to our traditional Christmas breakfast.

December wasn't too bad in the end. Thankfully I had plenty of help getting me through. I'll probably be enjoying some of these favorites throughout January as well!

- S

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year, New Book Challenge

Now that the new year has begun, it's time to set new reading goals for 2017. Since I enjoyed the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge last year, I decided to give it another go. I like the idea of reading one book a week and the prompts help diversify my reading habits. Once again I tried to choose books that were currently on my shelf or easily available through the library.

1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016 (link) - Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view) - The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
3. A book you meant to read in 2016 - Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E" - NW by Zadie Smith
5. A historical fiction - Atonement by Ian McEwan
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 - IT by Stephen King
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title - A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
8. A book written by a person of color - Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list - Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
10. A dual-timeline novel - The Secret History by Donna Tartt
11. A category from another challenge : A book you loved as a child (from the Popsugar reading challenge) - The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
12. A book based on a myth - Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors - A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (recommended by John Green)
14. A book with a strong female character - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland) - Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
16. A mystery - The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
17. A book with illustrations - Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
18. A really long book (600+ pages) - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
19. A New York Times best-seller - The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading - Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read - City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
22. A book by an author you haven't read before - Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
23. A book from the BBC's "The Big Read" list (link) - Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
24. A book written by at least 2 authors - Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
25. A book about a famous historical figure - Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (currently reading)
26. An adventure book - The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
27. A book by one of your favorite authors - M Train by Patti Smith
28. A non-fiction book - Chronicles: Vol 1 by Bob Dylan
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Hachette Livre) - The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated by Christina MacSweeney
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA books (link) - I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre - Lit by Mary Karr (memoirs about substance abuse)
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle) - A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
33. A magical realism novel - One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere - The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty - The Princess Bride by William Goldman
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link) - Saga, Vol 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
37. A book you choose randomly - I'm leaving this one open for now
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature - On Beauty by Zadie Smith
39. An epistolary fiction - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
40. A book published in 2017 - Things We Lost In the Fire by Mariana Enriquez
41. A book with an unreliable narrator - Rebecca by Daphane du Maurier
42. A best book of the 21st Century (so far) - The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold) - We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (link) - I'll probably decide on this book a little later in the year
45. A book with a one-word title - Beloved by Toni Morrison
46. A time travel novel - Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (link) : A book about traveling, can be fiction or non-fiction - Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
48. A banned book - 1984 by George Orwell (currently reading)
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf - A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) - The Tenth of December by George Saunders (currently reading)
52. A book set in a fictional location - Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

Like last year's challenge, these books are subject to change at any time. I'll try to check in every once in a while with updates, but this list provides a starting off point. Happy reading!

Do you participate in any reading challenges? If so, which ones?


Monday, January 2, 2017

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

Despite what some people might say, 2016 was a pretty good year. My brother got married and my parents remodeled their kitchen. I read more books than ever before and fell back in love with fashion. My car broke down, but I survived without a replacement. Gilmore Girls came back and I watch it with one of my best friends (and coffee). I spent way too much time watching TV shows on the couch with my mom and wasted time trying to fill in crossword puzzles with my dad. Nothing happened, and yet everything happened.

This past year did not bring me wealth, love, or success in the traditional sense, but it did bring growth. I have changed as a person over the last twelve months. My life has become fuller and my horizons broader. I'm more confident in myself and I can't wait to see what 2017 brings!

2016 Highlight Reel

I spent lots of quality time with my family this year and I wouldn't trade that for the world. I hope your 2016 was as enjoyable as mine. May your coming year be full of love and joy!!

- S