Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Woods Are Just Trees
( source )

Have a happy Halloween! I hope it's a spooky one! (Or filled with candy - the good kind, not the leftover candy bars that nobody wants).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

Halloween isn't Halloween without taking a trip to the pumpkin patch and carving pumpkins! For some reason, the past few years I've gone with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme - where it originated from, I have no idea, but it's totally fitting and a blast to do each year. Of course though, I end up sitting down to carve for over an hour and the Boy has breezed through carving his in a matter of minutes. Though, this year I didn't end up accidentally sawing off Zero's nose or anything.

Dan's pumpkin!Zero! Sticking with the Nightmare Before Christmas theme for this year's pumpkin

Though, Jack Skellington may still be my favorite pumpkin to date!

Jack Skellington!

Do you carve pumpkins around the holiday? Show me your favorite! :D

Monday, October 29, 2012

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.24

source )

chthonic adj. [ˈthä-nik]: of or relating to the underworld; infernal (via

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Life Lately


There swings are always a place that helps me to think. I don't know if it's the wind tangling my hair, or the feeling of my stomach dropping, the thoughts of the playground at the end of my street growing up, the rush of almost-flying or just the time alone. But it always calms me down.

I went on the swings today. I don't think that my head feels particularly cleared, or my spirits particularly lifted. But if anything, I feel calmer now. It has not been a particularly easy month.

Aside from the lack of time and hectic-ness of the past few weeks, I can't even confidently say that I feel stressed. I feel emotionally exhausted. Part of me feels the everlasting blogger guilt of wanting to apologize for not being present here, both physically through posts, and in my mind, as of late. But I would be wrong to bury the difficult moments in a ditch in the woods. But these aren't bad, these thoughts aren't negative. They're just scattered.

More than ever I just want to fold up into the pages of a book; I'm finding myself more and more drowning into words and stories because they are familiar, they are constant. I am floating. Somewhere, out there, I am floating, and I just need some time to think.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Things I Like Thursday

tarot reading
( source )

Guys, let me be honest here for a second (not that I'm not not honest, I just, frankly, haven't had time to be). I've been neglecting the Teacup lately, and even though I have a chance to schedule a blog post here and there, I'm eyeball deep in school work and the end is not in sight at least until after December. Do I feel terrible? Yes, because I love blogging. I love writing posts and scouring for inspiration and sharing things. Of course I feel bad. But hey, that's life and things happen. Whatever. Am I bummed NaNoWriMo is looking like a no go this year because of the fact that I'm constantly either at my field placement, work, or class? Yes. Do I wish I had time to just sit down and read a book for a hot second? You betcha. But right now, I've just gotta take it as it comes.

And yes, I do wish I had more sleep to remember all of the awesome things that've happened this week. But alas, a short TiLT it is.

♥ The hike to my field placement is just that - a hike. A hike in rush hour traffic, in the wee hours of the morning, and I feel like a vampire (daylight? What's that?). But I have to say, having the chance to just drive for over an hour in the morning is kind of nice. I'm alone with my thoughts, some music, a steamy cup of tea, and aside from the occasional honk from an angry driver who doesn't understand merging, it's peaceful, in a strange way.

♥ Beautiful, moody photography. I've found myself getting lost in the most - how do I put this: do you know the kind of ambience that Focus Features' film have? Even if they're not Focus, that ambience -  of films this week, from Brideshead Revisited to Lost in Translation. 

♥ Recognizing students! I've had the chance to sit in on some different classes, which is great in itself, but it nice to shoot a kid a knowing smile or have them even recognize me. I'm just observing now, technically, so I feel like I don't have a ton of time to "bond" as I'm really not involved with the actual classroom, but this feels good. I can't wait to actually student teach!

little loves
♥ Brideshead Revisited, which may just be the lovelies novel I've ever read ♥ listening to the loveliest instrumental music, especially Sebastian's theme from Brideshead Revisited; I'm smitten ♥ tea in the mornings ♥ assigning kids Benedick and Beatrice's first scene from Much Ado ♥ Halloween parties with friends ♥ awesome friends who dress up like many versions of Nathan Fillion ♥ Nathan Fillion ♥ Halloween parties with co-students

How was your week?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: Howard's End


Reading a book as a class assignment can go one of two ways: if there's not complete disdain from the start, by the time you've read, dissected, written, and reread, you're so mentally exhausted by the book that you want to shove it under the mattress and never look at it again. At least for another ten years. Or until you're 80. 

Which is the primary reason I hate reading books for class (I know, I know, that's kind of the whole point of being an English Lit major); a perfectly good book that I would otherwise fall in love with is ruined by someone beating it into my head in a matter of weeks. And that's where I feel I'm at with Howard's End. I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed pondering it, but it's part of a class I'm not enjoying, so my brain has evidently made it a point to swear off anything on the syllabus.

There is so much to say about Howard's End, Forster himself has so much to say on class, the commodification of materialism, industrialization and its effects, and the future of England. But I've always been drawn to the battle between extremes, myself, and the novel doesn't fall short of showing the two sides of both character types and individual characters in tension with one another. The rational and the aesthetic, the practicality and the passion. Forster has a way with words (but what exceptional authors do not?), but I enjoy his bluntness best. It is so well-calculated that it's perfectly feeling and concise all at the same time. 

I did start watching the film adaptation with Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter in an effort to I-don't-even-know-what. But I am starting to enjoy the story again. Those two - sigh. It really brings it to life in a way that's separating it from the class for me and making me give it a chance again.

So the moral of the story is: Howard's End is a good book. Just don't read it for a class you already dislike. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.23

Merry-go-round in the forest
source )

menagerie n. [muh-naj-uh-ree]: a collection of wild or unusual animals, especially for exhibition; a place where such animals are housed (via

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Words of Wisdom

( source )

With The Perks of Being a Wallflower amok these days, I can't help but think back on my reading, rereading, and re-rereading of the book. Each time I've picked it up - school-age, a high school senior, post-college and beyond - it leaves a different impression. Different things catch my attention, my focus is here or there. But each time, I stop to ponder this quote.

"We accept the love we think we deserve." - Stephen Chboksy

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Things I Like Thursday

Green House, YSP
( source )

I hate how I try to start working on long-term projects early so that I'm not procrastinating with papers, write-ups, and presentations at the last second, but it still always feels as if I'm falling behind even though I know I'm truly on task, if not ahead. To lessen the chance of overkill though, I've been trying to take a step back and enjoy some of my favorite seasonal things like baking with my apples from the festival (I made this apple spice loaf but totally forgot to take a picture! Eating it was much more important :D), planning last minute costume ideas, and making time for a trip to the pumpkin patch. If I don't take some time to enjoy the little things, I think I'd go crazy with trying to sprint through all of my work.

And a brief side note? I'm (still!) loving playing with my new 50mm lens! I don't know if I mentioned, but the Boy got me this new little love for my birthday and it's been a challenge, but a fun one. Most of the pictures on my Flickr of late are taken with this lens (or Instagram O.o - oh, life).

To-do lists. Honestly, these bad boys get a shout out this week. This term is so busy that, if it weren't for sites like Teux Deux, I would get nothing done. Literally, nothing. I almost forgot to take a shower last night because it wasn't on my list (that's pretty bad!)

♥ While on my field placement this week, I had the opportunity to sit in on the Japanese classes and talk one-on-one with the sensei about the classes themselves, teaching languages, and the little joys of teaching. Not only were the kids super awesome, the classes were all amazingly fun! The sensei is such an energetic and fun woman and really loves what she does, which is so inspiring, and you really get to see that the kids she teaches love her back.

♥ On the note of school, I've got the best advisor in the world. She actually teaches my Wednesday night class and usually brings us food - pizza, chocolate, chocolate cake, you name it! - but that's not why she's awesome. She teaches the way she teaches us to teach, if that isn't too much of a brain bender there. Classes are always engaging and thoughtful, and she's flexible enough to make part of it an impromptu advising session, or tie in things we've been seeing during observations. She truly just puts everything into perspective for me a lot of times.

little loves
♥ when students say "hi" to me in the mornings - I'm just observing in the background, so I'm not really a part of their day, but some are slowly treating me like it and it feels lovely ♥ Coulson liiiiiives! ♥ lunch with friends I haven't seen in a while ♥ a warm cup of tea ♥ how awesome my English classes were at Pitt - I miss them quite a bit ♥ being able to park in the driveway instead of my ditch for a change ♥ sort of related: we're getting a Noodles & Co. closer than Oakland! ♥ planning a last minute Halloween costume -- can you guess what is is from the picture below?
Halloween costume strategizing!
What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Mug Collection

Full of Bokeh

Some people collect figurines, some stamps, some comic books. I collect mugs. Though, "collection" now sounds a little understated. Maybe hoards? They've grown to span two cabinets, not to mention the  antique teacup I'm currently using as a jewelry tray and what's lurking in the boxes packed up in the garage. But I don't just collect any old mug. Each mug that sits on my shelf is linked with a memory.
Some are from silly adventures - like the Star Wars mug I found while my best friends' and I went on a serial toy store shopping spree, or that time I won a coffee-themed prize for having the most junk in my purse at my best cousin's bridal shower - and some are grand, like the mug from the top of Mt. Hakodate or the Boy and my first big vacation together to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I even have mugs from Paris and Australia (though, that is my Dad's doing; I hope I can get there myself soon!).

PhotoThis mug never fails to crack me up.
Pumpkin Spice Latte tiiiime!! #PSLPhoto
Do you spy the ear?

And though they make take up quite a bit of room, each mug has a story, reminds me of some event, some place, someone dear. To come home with a mug from this place or that, this trip or this country, is more than a morning cup of tea for me. It's a warm, rich memory.


tea time



Monday, October 15, 2012

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.22

Calling all Ghosts
source )

preternatural adj. [prē-tər-ˈnach-rəl]: exceeding what is natural or regular; inexplicable by ordinary means (esp. psychic) (via

Fun fact: I'm pretty sure I first learned this word listening to AFI. I learned a lot of crazy words that way.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Friday, October 12, 2012

link love

♥ Part of The Hobbit's movie website let's you play riddles a la Bilbo and Gollum!
♥ Staying true to your roots is advice that gets thrown around the blogging world quite a lot, and I'm a firm believer that if you talk about what truly interests you, your posts will shine. But that doesn't mean that writing for your audience isn't wildly important too! Ashley from After 9 to 5 shares some advice with Because Blogging For Yourself Doesn't Equal Success
♥ The Art of Kimono Dyeing
♥ Libraries and book stores can be absolutely gorgeous, like this stunning book store in a cathedral and  some of these libraries of the rich and famous (Hearst's is stunning!)
♥ Autumn seems to be the time that more schools and companies start participating in food drives - Angie shares some tips on how to maximize your food drive contribution!
♥ What kind of reader are you? I'm a hybrid bookophile, delayed onset reader #1, and compulsive reader. And cat.
♥ A really interesting article on the three-act structure and what video games are doing to challenge that
♥ Kam on getting stuck, self-talk, and help-seeking behavior.
♥ I'm always complaining that my handwritten notes should be command + F-style searchable and Moleskine and Evernote have teamed up to make digital note conversion that much better
♥ If you need help figuring out what kind of ramen to buy at the Asian grocery store, this handy Ramen Rater will help!
♥ How NOT to Multitask - I'm guilty of multitasking and as a consequence not getting anything done. Rather, I need to take this advice and work smarter!
♥ Who doesn't love a good Star Wars tattoo? Han Shot First!

What fun links have you found?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Things I Like Thursday

( source )

Despite all of the crazy that's happened this week, including my car breaking down, needing to rewrite a paper entirely, and having to postpone my observation hours, strangely good things have happened to mellow out the not-so-great. Good things include: a Noodles & Co. is opening across the street from my work (!), I caught a KHL game last night (which will keep my satiated while the NHL is on lockout), one of our papers got an extended due date, and I've got a big pot full of apple butter waiting for me!! Not a bad week after all :D

♥ Do you know how liberating it feels to be stuck in a stiff, professional skirt for 17 hours, then come home and put on sweatpants? So. Freaking. Good.

♥ Mother dearest won an award at her professional association and I can't say how proud I am of her! She's had a ton on her plate lately and still somehow managed to find time to learn how to assemble and run a website, some coding, and revitalize her chapter's social branding. To see her be recognized for something she did purely out of a desire to improve her chapter makes me incredibly proud. You go, Mum!

♥ I try to eat smart, I really do. I feel better and way more satisfied. But I'm not gonna lie and say I didn't absolutely enjoy that Kraft mac & cheese I had on a late night from class when I was chilled to the bone all day. Mmm, comfort food that tastes like being 7-years old again.

little loves
♥ changing leaves - so pretty! ♥ sweet comments about my hair from strangers in the coffee shop ♥ turkey panini and veggie soup is the perfect fall day lunch ♥ surprise days off to recuperate ♥ thoughtful friends who send Lego Star Wars birthday cards and fuel my grad student coffee addiction ♥ drives in the dark, early morning ♥ car troubles that aren't too troubling ♥ having my gracious family and friends nearby and willing to cart me around when car troubles arise ♥ brisk fall weather ♥ burning candles ♥ borrowing big comfy sweaters at work

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Cbiji Collection Earrings

A little while ago I found myself tearing open a package that contained these beauties. I had won a pair of lovely gold, charm earrings (feathers!) from a giveaway that Christine of Cbiji Collection had hosted. Now, I'm pretty particular when it comes to jewelry (read: I don't usually wear much jewelry, period). I have my silver bow necklace and gold key necklace, as well as my signature 3 pearl earrings in each ear. Other than that, I don't wear much jewelry, even for special occasions and when I do, I keep it simple. But these Cbiji Collection feather dangles are spot on - simple and small enough to not be gaudy, while still making a statement. I'm actually surprised at how often I find myself going for these guys when I'm getting dressed in the morning (it kind of throws off my necklace, but I'm learning to live without one xD).
I keep forgetting to snap a picture of these beauties when I wear them, but they're easily my most fun (and yet practical) pair of earrings!

Do you have a jewelry routine? What's your favorite pair of earrings from Cbiji Collection?

Monday, October 8, 2012

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.21

Stealth Cat
( source )

furtive adj. [fur-tiv]: sly, stealthy; a furtive glance (via

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series where I share the joys of being an English major and language lover with a useful new vocabulary word or definition that keeps popping up lately. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apples 'N Arts Festival


Every year I wait for the apple-shaped "Delmont Apples n' Arts Festival" signs to start popping up all over town. Despite living here for 11 year now, they always manage to sneak up on me.  I can't remember when I started going, but I always enjoyed perusing the craft stalls, snacking on apple dumplings and hot cider, and filling a bag to the brim with fresh, local apples for baking as many pies as I could.


Apple Festival

The festival is largely a craft show, with your typical house wares, candles, and autumn-themed goods. Baked goods, ham BBQ, and warm apple dumplings galore - it's perfect for just taking a walk, especially on a brisk autumn day!


This little piggy...





And then the best part - gathering apples! While I'd love to go apple picking some day (if anyone knows of any farms around Pittsburgh that let you do this, I'd be eternally grateful if you let me know in the comments!), just being able to pick local apples is a treat - there's something special feeling about an apple pie baked from these than the ones at the store.

Apple Barn




Golden Delicious

One little boy came over while we were picking some McIntosh and asked his dad if he could climb into one of the giant crates. While his dad said, no, unfortunately, they don't need apple juice, this little kid hit it spot on - how many people, myself included, were just itching to jump in one of those crates?

The Same Scene

There's an old junk pile that always sits under this tree and pickup truck outside of one of the barns. I find myself taking a picture of it year after year. It's just tradition now.

Then there's the Boy, reluctantly agreeing to let me snap a photo of him. Carrying and holding a half bushel of apples probably wasn't helping.



And so we made our way back on a perfectly chilly afternoon with a carful of apples. Bite mark complimentary.

The loot!


Oh, and you can't forget some of the best loot of all - homemade oatmeal cream pies. With a big glass of cider? Mmm!

Oatmeal Pies!

There's something so perfectly quaint about going to the apple festival - it's just enough to keep you occupied on a cool October afternoon, but the promise of freshly baked apple pies is so comforting that all you want is to come home to warm tea and blankets and enjoy a lazy afternoon.

Especially if that lazy afternoon also entails watching The Avengers. For the fourth time. This week.

Do you have a favorite fall tradition? Know of any good places to actually pick apples?