Thursday, August 28, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

The first week of school is well underway and I'm frantically trying to get things together for day 4 as I type this. So I'm keeping this all short & sweet!

♥ My moods are quite ridiculously impacted by the seasons, and I'm significantly calmer and more focused when the weather shifts into fall. I'm in my element with things like sweater and blankets and caramel pumpkin-scented candles. Coziness aside, the changing of the seasons always feels like a fresh start, and I'm happy to add bits and pieces of autumn into my day in some small way.

♥ It warms my heart to see some of the kids I had last year in the hallways throughout the day! My day is infinitely better when I hear a "Hello, Miss A!" from somewhere in the halls and see those kids whiz by, somehow a whole foot (or more) taller than they were 3 months ago. Dear Universe: What the heck. Where is my growth spurt?

little loves
♥ I won Kayly's Sailor Moon bookmark contest and have a little Sailor Mercury bookmark on its way! I think my books will be happy ♥ friends who will literally hold your hand and tell you it's all okay ♥ handwritten letters ♥ when what you're doing is apparently exciting/good enough that it makes people want to take a picture of it! ♥ working with many awesome teams ♥ jewel-tones and autumn colors ♥ warm candles ♥ being brave and doing what I need to do, even when it's terrifying ♥ when kids list 'fanfiction' as a genre on their class surveys ♥ the start of #30Lists!

What are you loving lately?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NovelTea Book Club: Fangirl

When the NovelTea Book Club selected a Rainbow Rowell book for the month of August, I couldn't contain myself (even though I was hoping it would be Landline, so I could do reading double-duty)! Rowell has such a distinctively fun and witty style while still managing to tackle some pretty hard-hitting topics like unseemly and even abusive family relationships, and frankly, growing up.

You can watch the video below for my thoughts on Fangirl specifically, but I wouldn't be doing my review justice if I didn't bring up the fact that this novel centers around writing and fandom. Now, there are plenty of other themes that take center stage, or even pop up in the periphery, but to see a mainstream book discuss what it means to be part of a community that stems from a shared interest, especially in pop culture, warms my heart. Maybe because it's because I can relate so well to Cath, or maybe it's just the way Rowell sucks you into the characters and their quirks, their struggles. Regardless, the whole story just comes alive in Rowell's hands.
Being able to discuss everything from Cath's relationship with her sister to fanfiction's place in academia with the NovelTea book clubbers (members sounds really formal, but "book clubbers" sounds like we all go out to the club and wave novels in the air in time with pounding music and strobe lights) was the best part of reading this book again. There are so many little things I didn't pick up on the first time through, and being able to run those ideas past others and see that they had the same (and even different!) thoughts was wonderful!

It's funny, most people tend to pick a favorite out of Rowell's novels based on which characters they most identify with. At some point or another, I've identified with most of her protagonists, recalling moments in my life that just clicked. Fangirl is in the top two Rowell books for me, though I'm curious to see how attached I get to Landline.

Join us in September as we read Gail Carriger's Etiquette & Espionage!

What's your favorite Rainbow Rowell novel? 

30 Days of Lists Blog Hop: Meet the Blogger Behind My Life as a Teacup

#30Lists Blog Hop
If you pop by My Life as a Teacup on any given day, you'll be greeted with lists up to your eyeballs. Come by in March or September and your list intake will double — 30 Days of Lists rules my brain in those months, and I look forward to jazzing up the lists I make on a daily basis for the challenge (because let's face it, usually my lists end up on twelve different sticky notes across my monitor, and it's nice to make them pretty for a change).

While it's not quite time for September's round of #30Lists, the ambassadors and ladies behind the challenge have invited everyone to take part in a blog hop with the prompts of the March 2011 round! With so many new readers, I figured this would be a good time to re-introduce myself and tell you a little bit about the Teacup.

Without further ado...
#30Lists Blog Hop
A few things about myself:
  1. Currently, I'm a teacher by day, blogger by night. Teaching English — literature, writing, you name it — excites me and I get to put my organizational skills to use, too (though, at outward glance, it probably doesn't look like I'm the most organized; believe me, I know where everything is, though!). I tend to make references to The Avengers/Star Wars/Pokémon/etc. in my PowerPoint slides, because really, a presentation is worlds better with superheroes/spaceships in it.
  2. If I could, I would go back and get my English Literature degree all over again. They were some of the most challenge, rigorous, thought-provoking classes I've ever taken, and I saw myself grow as a writer, researcher, and intellectual like never before. As an undergraduate, I didn't necessarily have to choose a period as my department was more focused on a smattering of different eras of literature, but I tended to hover around the general realms of British Literature, William Blake, Gothic/Victorian Literature. And did I mention William Blake? 
  3. I hold my pens strangely enough that everyone who sees me comments on it. It ends up looking like a fist with the pen tucked into my pinky. I've only seen two other people hold a pen like this, and while I don't quite understand why we do it, I have to say, I've got neat and controlled handwriting. I even won a handwriting award in elementary school for it. Take that, teachers who gave me countless pencil grips to correct it!
  4. I am a morning person, through and through. While getting out of bed isn't necessarily easy, I'm at my best and most productive before 11:30am. I'm organized, making and breezing through to do lists (which is a whole other story; I'm a planner to the point of being incredibly stressed and unable to function if I don't), dreaming up my best ideas, and implementing things like a boss.
  5. It's impossible for me to pick a favorite novel. I blame this on the fact that, as a child, I couldn't pick a favorite stuffed animal because I didn't want to hurt the others' feelings. But really, I find it so hard to deem any book my all-time favorite because I have favorites for so many categories! Some books are well-written, some are just a story I can get lost in, others depict a rich fantasy world I'd love to live in, and a handful resonate poignantly. Don't ask me to choose.
  6. That said, I have a scar on my hand from a book. A hard-cover textbook from 8th grade, to be exact. But how many people can say they were in a fight with knowledge and knowledge won?
  7. I'm a recovering dancer. And by recovering I mean that even though I don't dance anymore, every time I have enough space I'm tempted to jeté across the room. I habitually stand in third position, even fifth or first at times, and that usually alerts other dancers in the vicinity that I am one of them. It's an addiction; I can't shake it. And frankly, standing that way is comfortable, though it seems to look unnatural to non-dancer folk. This is, in fact, how I met my best friend.
  8. Hockey is in my blood. I grew up in Pittsburgh surrounded by a grandfather, father, mother, uncles, aunts, and cousins who all play/watch/referee hockey. I've road tripped with a friend to see hockey games. I've stood in line in the freezing winter months for student rush tickets. I've been whisked onto the ice as a kid by the Penguins' mascot, Iceburgh. I've played in family holiday pick-up games. I've had embarrassing moments where I've cried during the playoffs. In fact, it's hard to hang out with me during playoff season unless you craft outings around hockey games. I try to keep the simultaneous emotions/rantiness in check here on the blog (Twitter is really the culprit), but I can't make promises. Especially during the playoffs.
  9. I was nominated "most artistic" in my high school yearbook. I don't think I've done anything artistic since graduation, but I did paint my dad's Father's Day gift last year. I've missed painting, and am trying to do it more these days.
  10. I lived in Japan for three months back in college while I was studying Japanese as my second major. I keep meaning to write about it more on the blog, as it was such a huge part of my life, but haven't gotten to it yet. I always loved and had a knack for foreign languages, and fell in love with Japanese early on. I wanted to study it, even if only for personal reasons, and was elated when I had the chance to go. I stayed in Hakodate (a small town on Hokkaido) and immersed myself in family life, local festivals, taiko, trains, sightseeing, and a whole manner of other things. But my favorite part? Just getting to do things like a local would, like visiting the local bakery, taking the bus to school, and going to the konbini. Whenever I travel, I hate feeling like a tourist, and getting to "live" in the country I love is one of the things I look back on most fondly.
And a bonus: I'm confident I could live on cheese alone. Is there anything that cheese isn't good on/with? I didn't think so.

You can still register for September's of 30 Days of Lists — come and join us!

Visit the other bloggers participating to pump yourself up for September (which is just a few days away!) and don't forget to explore the community as everyone is getting their feet wet today! A few to check out:

Tell me about yourself! What are 3 things about you I should know?

I'm an ambassador and affiliate for 30 Days of Lists, but having participated in the list every year since its initial iteration, it's safe to say that I'm 110% behind this challenge! If you like being crafty or making lists, I think you'll enjoy it too!

Monday, August 25, 2014

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.118

( via Keiichi Inoue ) 

pander v. [ˈpan-dər]: to provide what someone wants or demands; to cater to (via)

The plotless movie pandered to its audience of males who just wanted to watch people drive fast cars and things explode.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series celebrating the snazzy words we encounter, from those found in great literary works, to those pesky words that keep popping up in everyday life. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

link love

If there's one thing you do today, watch this:

It's so important that I'm putting it first.

♥ Kyla Roma always posts the most thoughtful and motivational nuggets. Except that they're not nuggets; they're long. And I love that they're long. -er, at least. Notes to My Younger Self is no exception.
♥ YA Authors Sort Their Own Characters Into Hogwarts Houses (adorable doodles ahead)
♥ Editing can be a pain. Here's why. And really, after all the fun of actually writing, I can't blame that train of thought (but I'm the weirdo who likes editing, ha!)
♥ How to be a beginner again (and why it's really a good thing!), because acknowledging that you're a beginner, and treating yourself as such can be tough.
♥ Mo’ Neopoints, Mo’ Problems: How That Website We Liked As Kids Became An Economist’s Nightmare 
♥ This is always relevant, but in light of what has happened recently, more powerful than ever: O Captain! My Captain! What Dead Poets Society Taught Me About Writing
♥ An insightful article on gender-flipping geek icons and geek icon canon (NSFW - language)
Soon your computer screen will correct your vision (seriously!? How awesome would this be!?)
♥ Yes & Yes runs a series of personal anecdotes, and the latest — True story: I'm a nun — is absolutely fascinating!
14 Books That Change When You Reread Them Later In Life
Games for girls? How about games for everyone? Fun story, I actually heard a comment made last week that meant no harm, but implied that essentially "only kids play Minecraft and adults don't get that kind of thing". I play Minecraft. I am an adult. I get it.
The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami
♥ A look at Russian suburbs
♥ The Harry Potter universe just keeps growing! Rowling recently added a bio for singer Celestina Warbeck and a song!

Find any fun links this week?