Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So long, November


 November is such a still and quiet and picturesque month, that is, until the chaos of the holidays hit (in the best way possible, of course!) I love how it can go from quiet and introspective one day to a day bustling with laughter, family, and traditions the next.

Here on My Life as a Teacup, I finally completed my first "Photo an Hour" project! I worried I would start taking redundant photos after a while, but it really gave me a kick in the butt from a photography standpoint.

I fawned over one of my all-time favorite musical duos - VNV Nation; touched up my hair and took a look at how many hair styles I've rocked over the past couple of years; and shared some inspiration from one of my favorite Japanese street styles - mori garu. A bit of panic set in about teaching, but I received some great American Literature reading lists from all of you!

One of my favorite posts of all time was this collection of holiday-themed Pinterest decor -- I can't wait to get started decorating!

Outside of the blogosphere, this month I:
  • registered for graduation!
  • celebrated Mum's birthday
  • bought tickets to April and my annual Nutcracker ballet
  • finished my holiday shopping
  • attended and read at my cousin Jill's beautiful wedding
  • celebrated the First Sheetzgiving with a late-nite, Thanksgiving Eve Sheetz run
It's been a relatively relaxing month, but finals are on the horizon. The reward of sitting down to the holidays afterwards with a big mug of hot chocolate will be totally worth it :)

How has your November been? 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

link love

Some of my favorite links of late!

♥ These stuffed toys made out of children's drawings are so neat!
#LiteraryTurducken may just be my new favorite holiday tradition
♥ My friends Steve and Randi have been documenting street art and graffiti in Pittsburgh
♥ This tiny Charlotte Bronte manuscript will be auctioned off
♥ Kyla of Kyla Roma shares some of her plans for holiday budgeting
Felt polaroid Christmas ornament DIY via katiecupcake
♥ A hotel in Finland where you can watch the Northern Lights from an igloo!

What fun links have you found lately?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Autumn Style

C'est moi


Cozy sweater and cowl for a rainy November day...

sweater: Target
trench: Target
boots: Target (is it surprising that I love Target?)
cowl: ohashleylove (Etsy)

Autumn Style Leather & Jean

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

13 november

Happy Thanksgiving to you U.S.-based lovelies! May your day be filled with much mashed potatoes, family and friends, pumpkin pie, and memories.

I'm so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family in my life, from those who I live in the same house with, to those who live four states away. I'm so grateful for the love and support they show me, and the relationships we have.

♥ I was riding the bus the other day and this poor little girl was crying for the entire ride. When I got up and wait near the doors to get out at my stop, she spotted my mini Yoda and moogle stuffed animals hanging from my backpack and instantly started smiling and giggling. Most adorable thing ever.

And I'm thankful for YOU! For all of the thoughtful comments and support and inspiration you bring. Hearing your thoughts and opinions always makes my day, so thank you for being diligent readers and keeping me going!

little loves
♥ cashews ♥ these delicious chocolate & pomegranate cookies ♥ this website, that makes counting words for final papers much more enjoyable ♥ free drinks from Starbucks ♥ hockey games ♥ coffee time with friends from high school ♥ celebrating the First Sheetzgiving -- I love my friends :D ♥ J-dramas (particularly Sunao ni Narenakute!) ♥ having Sid back on the ice!!

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teaching: The American Literature Dilemma

oh hey, excuse for a picture of Robert Redford...

As I sit here researching graduate programs, I think about all of the books I love and can't wait to teach and share with others. And then I realize that my content knowledge in literature and favorite books span some, uh, not so great topics for a high school English class (Dracula and half the other Victorian novels I love? Yeah, the sexual repression of the Victorian Era may not go over so well...). Not to mention that American literature and myself are mortal enemies.

11th grade tends to be the year where the focus of many literature courses is American works and when I realized this, I panicked. I never cared much for American literature, preferring and simply having more experience with British works. I feel like part of this is due to lack of exposure; I never read Twain in high school, nor Catcher in the Rye like the entirety of the University has, apparently. But overall, I just prefer things like Blake, Milton, Eliot, the Brontes, etc. What in the world am I supposed to teach?

Give me Gatsby, give me Poe, Sylvia Plath, and Theodore Dreiser. But I need to expand my horizons. So I'm digging out all the books I can find, and brushing up on my resources!

List of to-reads?

♥ The Sound and the Fury
♥ Catcher in the Rye
♥ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
♥ Little Women
♥ The Red Badge of Courage
♥ Fahrenheit 452
♥ A Farewell to Arms
♥ The Grapes of Wrath

I honestly don't even know where to start -- eek!

Do you like American Literature? What are some of your favorite novels? Did you read anything in high school that stuck with you so?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

Christmas 2008

Happy birthday, Mom!

♥ Today is Mum's birthday, and I couldn't ask for a better mother, friend, and part of my life. For all of the teenage angst she put up with, the rough times, and strange habits of mine (remember that phase of sleepwalking that resulted in a paper cup being placed on the sink each night?), I'm truly lucky to have such a wonderful mom!

♥ Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with some advisors and take a peek around Chatham's campus and I couldn't be more impressed! The MAT program sounds outstanding and the campus? Absolutely beautiful! It's like a little oasis nestled in the city and I'm completely sold!

♥ I've been packing my lunch for the better part of this past week and it's not only been a money saver, but it tastes so much better (not to mention, I don't feel like a big ball of grease afterwards!). It's one of the best decisions I've made this year, and I'm slowly accumulating a variety of foods to toss on my menu :) do you have any favorite meals to eat on the go?

♥ I don't get to dress up very often, but I paired my super-cheap clearance dress, ankle booties, and favorite sweater with my new favorite hairstyle courtesy of Sara Lynn Paige for my cousin's wedding and not only had a blast, but felt like a million, all dressed up :) Sometimes it's just nice to get out of the jeans and pj's and look snazzy! (I'll have to steal a picture off of my Dad's camera :D)

little loves
♥ campfire mochas ♥ my first cancelled class of the term! ♥ fun holiday napkins ♥ "Baby It's Cold Outside" ♥ dancing with my Dad ♥ dancing in general! ♥ getting a head start on final papers (I can't believe it's almost that time already!) ♥ the outdoor skating arena opening up in the South Side tomorrow ♥ watching the Big Bang Theory - it's so geeky, I love it! ♥

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pinterest Inspiration: Holidays

I love decorating for the holidays, not to mention all of the peppermint-flavored goodies that come with the season! (then there's the little fact that Pinterest is deadly addictive, in a very very good but "where has my day gone!?" kind of way :D). So I've rounded up some of my favorite holiday-themed Pins to share!

These are just some of the holiday ideas I've been gathering via Pinterest (addictive, no?). I've got a whole board dedicated to the holidays, and everyone has tons of great holiday decorating ideas floating about! (like this gorgeous Polar Express themed winter party - it's to die for!)

What are you most excited for about the holiday season?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Morally Ambiguous Trope

This season of The Walking Dead has been extremely awesome so far! And not to give anything away to others who have been DVR-ing the show and aren't caught up yet, but due to recent events, Shane has more or less cemented himself as my favorite character of the series (next to Darryl). And then I realized: I'm totally not surprised.

My favorite characters in books and movies aren't the tough guys or the heroes; Jayne Cobb of Firefly, Wolverine, Frankenstein's monster, Jean Valjean, Shane - I have a soft spot for the morally ambiguous character. From the mercenary, to the well-intentioned extremist, characters who either aim to do the right thing through some radical ways, or those who are who stick with the good guys for the money, the jaded good guy who is tired of fighting - they always win me over.

I love trying to figure out just where their allegiances will lie when a choice or tough situation arises. Characters like Shane give a depth to the story, they give unpredictability to a part of the story that would otherwise be linear and predictable. And you know -- when Shane steps out of the truck with that look in his eye you know - that something shady is going on...

The gap in the spectrum between good and evil is so large that the possibilities are endless, but it's so much more fulfilling to read about someone who's not cut and dry saves-the-day-in-a-shining-cape-of-glory or evil scientist; it's more realistic. And besides, who wants to read about someone who is 112% perfect?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

Coffee hearts

♥ On my last trip to the grocery store I picked up some little snacks to start packing my lunch! Most days I'm at school - and subsequently away from a refrigerator or microwave - for 7-8 hours, so packing has always been tough. I don't have much room, and I'm limited, but even being able to eat one meal that's not from a greasy, expensive campus joint would be a lifesaver. Between some cheddar crackers, string cheese, and pb+j "sushi", I've got a whole arsenal of lunches to create!

♥ My cousin Jill is getting married on Saturday! I couldn't be happier for her and her fiance, and I'm so excited to attend! I've got some last minute nail painting and running around to do tomorrow before the rehearsal, but she's been awesome and laid-back about everything (which is the best thing in the world for any potentially high-strung occasion) and I can't wait to be a part :)

little loves
♥ ordering Nutcracker tickets ♥ watching old Sailor Moon episodes (and seeing the manga in Barnes & Noble? Is it being produced again!?) ♥ scoring a cute dress for the wedding for only $40! ♥ watching Once Upon a Time ♥ the extras from part 1 of Deathly Hallows ♥ the video for "Henry Lee" ♥ a good night's sleep ♥ elevator conversations with strangers

What are you loving lately?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

mori garu

Japanese street style is absolutely fascinating, with particular groups of styles or "-kei"usually originating from one or two Tokyo neighborhoods. From the various branches of Gothic Lolita, to the tanned-skin gyaru and accessory-laden fairy-kei, Japanese fashion runs the full gamut of creativity. If you've ever perused Tokyo Fashion's street photos or the "street snap" of the popular FRUiTS magazine, you've probably seen some of the faces of the ever-creative street fashionistas, pulling together many brands and resources to create something truly funky, trendy, and new! But one of my favorite movements of late is the 森ガール style ("mori girl" literally meaning "forest girl").

Reminiscent of the fictional "Honey and Clover" art-school student Hagu (and coincidentally, her mori garu idolized actress Yuu Aoi), with loose silhouettes, layered clothing, natural fabrics, knits, florals, and an earthy feel, the mori garu style evokes the aesthetic of a girl who lives in the forest. These girls look like they've stepped out of some whimsical fairy-tale world, somewhere quiet and relaxed. Something about the style is cozy and eclectic, yet pulled together at the same time.


There's a long list of what "defines" the mori garu style, but outside of evoking the entire lifestyle associated with the trend, I've just been pleased to admire it from afar. It's not something I could pull off per say (in the basic sense that baggy clothes and a big chest do not create the same kind of "loose silhouette" that it does on these models) but I think the color palette and fabrics are a lot of what I already have in my closet. I love the look the layering achieves, and will definitely be incorporating some of those layered fabrics into my winter ensemble!
If you're interested in the defining characteristics of mori style, here are the sixty or so "rules" of mori garu from the founder of the Mixi community. I have an inherent problem with making a group so exclusive that rules are needed (a decent part of why I left the EGL scene) - while I appreciate some guidance on how to recreate the style, "rules" seem to rigid and keep things fairly homogenous; I like to experiment and play!

If you're interested in more on mori garu, Tokyo Factory has a well-written article explaining some of the ins-and-outs and trends of mori garu, as well as commentary on Yuu Aoi and street snap photos. 
And though this mori garu blog doesn't appear to have been updated in a while, it's got some great pictures of the style and collections.

Just Googling mori garu and the like brings up tons of Tumblr pages and photos for references and ideas as well!

Do you have a fondness for Japanese fashion? What do you think of mori garu?

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Photo an Hour

Every time I try to do a "photo an hour" or similar post it rains. Or I have a giant backpack filled with 10,000 lb. books for class. Something stops me from taking my camera out every single time. But I finally just sucked it up and went for it! Here I was thinking that I could never possibly remember to take a picture each hour, but lo and behold, I took more! I'm crazy proud that I finally spent some bonding time with my camera :D


7am - wake up!

Morning Blog Check

8 am - A bit of blog catch-up (and pink tea!)

Getting Ready

Getting ready



10am - library trip!


11am - the trek to Oakland


12pm - rain from the Cathedral


1pm - in from the rain and cozy


Hard at Work

3pm - Sitting at my, er...desk. Totally working. And by working, I mean watching The Nightmare Before Christmas


4pm - tea time

Scouring for Dinner

5pm - raiding the fridge


6pm - Reiley decided to help me finish off my dinner

Study Time

7pm - kanji studying


8pm - yoga (taking a picture of yourself doing yoga is hard than you think)

Working and Tweeting Are One in the Same

9pm - more work, and tweeting the #Pens game

Late Night Wind Down

Good night
11:30pm - sleeptime!

Have you done a photo an hour project? I'd love to see!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

Half-blood Prince
♥ Getting my paperwork filled out for graduation! I can't believe I graduate in April -- crazy!

♥ I had a chance to sit down and chat with one of my all-time favorite people from university - my Renaissance professor. It was great to catch up and chat about the future, what we've been up to, and some good ol' Milton. Plus, her British accent is adorable. Always a pleasure.

November has got to be one of my favorite months of the year. While I love all of the bright autumn splendor of October, November is just so quiet and chill and quaint and it's the perfect time to snuggle up - in sweaters, reading nooks, by fires.

little loves
♥ watching the deer family on the hill across the street ♥ white chocolate peppermint mochas! ♥ attempting to rag roll my hair ♥ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ♥ finally getting things organized in Evernote ♥ girl's night ♥ pomegranates ♥ surprise tastes of winter ♥ hot apple cider ♥ a successful first attempt at rag curls!

What are you loving lately?