Thursday, February 28, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

トトロの駅舎 まっくろくろすけ
( source )

Today is closing day! Which means the time to Jenga a bunch of boxes in my car and start making trips back and forth to the new house is nigh!

♥ My left-brained mind is at ease - I think I've found my groove, list-wise, after trying to find alternatives for TeuxDeux. I've got a crazy combination of any.DO, Wunderlist, and Google Calendar going on right now, and as much as it probably looks like I'm insane to outside observers, it works for me and that's what counts!

♥ Last week I received the latest Campfire Chic newsletter in my inbox, and something Kam sad really struck a chord. I've never branched into a newsletter here, for my own reasons, but I've always enjoyed keeping up with my favorite bloggers in this way. Why is it any different than reading their blog like I always do? Something about the tone of a newsletter gives me the feeling like I'm just chatting with bloggers, like we're sitting down to have a friendly conversation over a cup of coffee. It feels more personal, somehow.

♥ Having a trimmed-down closet is pretty darn liberating. I packed up everything that I just plain won't be wearing between now and the 14th (which is when we'll officially be living out of the new house) - things like spring skirts, summer clothes, etc. Then I weeded through the rest to give myself enough clothes to get me through work, school, nights out, and workouts (and the unpredictable weather). It's not super minimalistic, but I've only got a handful of pieces in my closet at the moment, and it feels quite good. 

little loves
paint chips (I don't know what it is, but seeing a bunch of colors and shades makes me giddy) ♥ the first wave of Girl Scout cookies came in - need I say more? ♥ Game of Thrones season 3 trailer ♥ Jennifer Lawrence wins me over with her goofiness every time I see her. Be my best friend, please? I'll feed you. ♥ the energy boost after a dedicated yoga session ♥ finally settling on a paint color ♥ replaying FFVIII ♥

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Big Move

Ok, now I can share the news! Take a guess :D
I should probably drive by and take an actual picture! O.O

It's the end of February already, which means closing on the house is right around the corner! I've got a few last minute things to pack up, namely the last things to be moved over since I use them every day, but it feels good to be in the home stretch.

Over the next couple of weeks we'll be painting and installing flooring, moving boxes over, and getting everything at the new house all set. And between work and school, it's going to be hectic, so I'm not anticipating having much time to blog (which sucks, because I've had all of these great ideas swimming around in my head as of late, but no time to write them down!). I'll still be posting Things I Like Thursday, since I could not only use a break, but some quiet time to reflect, but otherwise, things will be slow on the blog here for a little bit. Not so much of a hiatus as a "running around, living between two houses, trying to get settled in"-break. Here's hoping everything comes together quickly and seamlessly -- I'll keep you posted!

And so it begins...

Monday, February 25, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.40

Day 238: *Yawn*
source )

enervate v. [ˈenərˌvāt]: cause to feel drained of energy (via

Having four exams in the course of a week enervated the already sleep-deprived students who were studying for finals.

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, February 22, 2013

How to Pack for an Organized Move


With a week to go before the big moving extravaganza, packing has been number one on my to do list. The stacks of boxes piling up in my room have been great for fort-building, but little else, as it is currently a death trap of precariously stacked boxes, tight squeezes, and no living space. The game-plan for moving is largely up to Mum this time around, as I only have one room of stuff in comparison to her entire houseful, but that doesn't mean that I don't have my own checklist to make moving the most organized and least chaotic time possible.

1. Label your boxes! This one is a no brainer, but probably the most important. Depending on the circumstances, you might need to include different information. For instance, we're labeling boxes with  either "Allison" or "Kristin" depending on whose stuff is inside, plus the name of the room. Most of mine are just a simple "bedroom", but there are a few things that could migrate into the office or game room once we get settled in (having an office means that all of my school resources and desk materials don't have to hang out on my dresser - hoorah!). I'm also finding it helpful to jot a note of what exactly is in the box, wether it's clothing, books, bedspreads, etc. so I know where to find something if I'm looking for it.

2. Make a box of must-haves for immediate access. These are the things you need to toss in the car, drive over, then unpack pronto. Like shower gel. And toothbrushes. And school books for the current term. Most of my stuff that falls into this category is already sitting in a box, unsealed, that way it's just about ready to go, but I can still get to it in the meantime.

3. Make an inventory. Depending on how much stuff you have, this may be worthwhile or not, but making an inventory of your items isn't a bad idea. There are even a few apps to help! I invested a mere $3 into buying NestEgg, an app that lets your scan barcodes to make tracking easy. I can make note of what items I actually have (versus all the stuff I recently tossed or donated) and make sure I'm not missing anything when all is said and done. The other plus to NestEgg is that it will keep track of warranty information, so I can finally let some of that paperwork go.

4. Make a map. This one is all Mum's idea - though we're moving a bulk of the stuff ourselves, we did hire movers for the bigger furniture items and large boxes. They don't have the foggiest idea who "Allison" or "Kristin" is, nor that the 12 x 13 bedroom is going to be the office, so we're making a map and key for them to follow. "Kristin's bedroom" may make sense to me, but putting boxes labeled "2" in the room marked "2" will be much less hassle for the movers.

5. Sort while you pack. There's no point in packing stuff that you don't use. Old prom dresses? I doubt I'm wearing those anytime soon (in fact, I doubt I even fit in them anymore). Why take the time to pack something that's just going to end up moving from one basement storage container to another? I piled up all of those prom dresses and took them down to the Pittsburgh's Project Prom donation center, where they'll get plenty of use. And for things that need packed away in storage - like the four entire sets of dishes iI've inherited - can get sorted through (I didn't need four sets. One will do) and packed away the right way, and moved right into storage.

Other notable tips? That stupid "hands free" tape is, well, stupid. You can never have too much newspaper and tissue paper for stuffing purposes (just don't use newspaper to cushion kitchen supplies - no sense washing the ink off if you can use ink-free tissue paper instead!). Tape stick notes onto decorative boxes you don't want to write on to label.

What's one moving blunder you wish you hadn't made? Any tips to share on making moving go more smoothly?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

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This week has just been plain nuts! With the prospect of my favorite list-making tool becoming subscription based, I've been playing around with other alternatives, which, admittedly, has me all out of whack. What day is it again? Did I shower yet? Oh, it's time to go to bed? I'm a catastrophe as I try to adopt a new routine! But somehow I made it to Thursday without doing anything too crazy - that's gotta be a good thing! :D

♥ The prospect of doing something you love. There's a naturally light that emanates whenever someone talks of something their passionate for. Their eyes light up, they smile wider, become more animated. Sometimes I try to step outside of myself and look at the way I'm talking at a given moment - do I sound as passionate and excited about what I'm talking about? There are a few things I have felt this way about lately, and it's starting to sink in.

♥ At last week's meeting for preliminary student teaching paperwork, our department Chair popped by to introduce himself personally to every one of us. Do you know how much of a difference it is just to shake someone's hand? It feels great to be personally acknowledged!

♥ I don't know how I missed Neil Gaiman's #CalendarofTales but I discovered the full downloadable PDF of all of the stories and spent Tuesday reading them. The premise itself is fantastic: taking cues from responses on Twitter, Neil wrote a series of short stories, one for each month and prompt posed. I holed up in a coffee shop reading them all, not quite being able to read them fast enough or wholly enough, like wanting to take a deeper breath of words on the page. I laughed aloud at parts, my eyes got damp and parts, and I somehow felt simultaneously lonelier and yet more connected and inspired than I've felt in a long while. 

little loves
The Amazing Spiderman - a remake so soon surprised me but I'm in love with it! I wanted to like the first go at Spiderman because it was Spiderman! but they butchered it pretty badly. Much better go this time around ♥ Dir en grey's Rinkaku is finally downloadable on iTunes and it's amazing! ♥ comfy aerie pretty tees - seriously my new favorite thing to wear for sleeping, yoga, running errands - you name it! ♥ fruit smoothies ♥ friendly workers who just want to chat with you ♥ catching surprise Think Geek sales (and scoring this sweet Aperture Science mug!) ♥

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Eleven Things About Me

Kaylanaut tagged me to answer eleven questions last week, and I didn't know what to blog about this week caved so I figured, why the heck not? Plus, with packing going on, it's been a bit chaotic around here. I could use a bit of fun!

Kayla's Questions:
1. What is one thing you geek out most over and why?
It's so hard not to list every fandom ever xD As much as I want to say The Avengers, or Sherlock at the moment, or even my lifelong love and passion for everything Harry Potter, I'd have to go with hockey. Which seems silly, for someone to be so geekily obsessed with a sport. But I love my team, they're part of home, they're part of Pittsburgh. It's so hard to explain such a relationship with a sports team, and I don't feel like any other sport has the same relationship as hockey does with its fans. It's a much more down to earth, personal connection, even though my "personal connection" with the Pittsburgh Penguins includes having Hal Gill stare at us/almost hit us with his car as my friend jumped out to pick up a giant ball of snow at practice. But my Penguins are my boys. There's a sense of connectedness that runs through the players and fans as a whole - a loyalty -  that goes unrivaled elsewhere.

Doesn't hurt that they do hilariously dorky crap too xD Flower hiding in Colby's bag. Which is kind of an amazing feat.

2. What is your favorite type of weather?
I'd give anything for a brisk fall morning, drizzly and overcast, but without the deep puddles that cause the hem of my jeans to get wet. It's perfect walking and coffee weather!

3. What is one thing that everyone seems to be into, but you just can't get behind? Explain.
High-low dresses and Channing Tatum. People drool over these high-low hemlines, and I just dont understand the appeal. Similarly, people drool over Channing Tatum and I just don't get it. Why are we hyperventilating? Is that really necessary? He's not that good-looking.

I also apparently don't understand what "one thing" means.

4. What was your proudest life moment so far?
Stepping off of the airplane at Narita Airport was surreal and stood for - and continues to stand for - an incredibly important dream and goal that I accomplished. There I was, by myself, after a plane ride around the world, landing in an airport where I didn't know a soul, where every speck of grammar and vocabulary I had feebly tried to acquire in a classroom was in my face. Where I was on my own, doing what I had dreamt of doing all my life. Stepping off of that plane was a breath of the most thrilling air I've ever tasted; it was freedom, it was adventure, it was accomplishment, it was terrifying and exciting all at the same time. 

5. Why did you start blogging, and is it the same reason you continue to now? How has it changed for you?
I started blogging just because, really. I was sick of writing on LiveJournal where I felt compelled to vent and focus on the negative. Not every post was pessimistic, but it was a place of frustration. While the venting helped, I wanted not only something more productive to channel my thoughts into, but I wanted to keep writing, and write, not just rant.

And here I am, three years later, with a productive outlet for my thoughts that's become a job that I enjoy. I write for me, I write to share, I write to record things that I feel are worthy of recording. One thing that's changed is that I'm no longer solely writing for me, but for my readers too. Not to confuse this notion of not being "true" or honest with what I want to write about, but rather taking my audience into account too. I don't just want to write about my crap day because when I honestly think about it, it's not something even I would want to read! I suppose it's more of an effort to be conscientious about what I'm putting out there, and making sure that I give it my all. Because I want to write things that I'm proud of, and that I enjoy, and I think if I do that you guys will enjoy it too!

6. What is your current computer wallpaper?
I've got it on rotate, but at the moment, and probably my favorite, it's on this gorgeous illustration of the lantern scene from Tangled, by


7. What is your favorite book of all time? (And convince me to rush out to buy it, please.)
This is the hardest question I ever have to answer. I love too many books, it's impossible. Plus, my favorite book of all time is The Great Gatsby and you've probably read that xD My favorite is a toss-up between Neil Gaiman's American Gods, which I can't tell you much about without spoiling it, and Murakami Haruki's Norwegian Wood, which totally isn't the type of novel I typically go for, and while I enjoy some of his other works more, reading Norwegian Wood was like a punch of feels in the face. It's real and raw and still manages to be otherworldly and profoundly poetic. American Gods is more magical-realism and also dark, but is an incredibly well-thought out premise that really speaks to today's culture while still feeling like a fantasy novel. I need to get better at recommending books, not just gushing over them in my head.

8. If you had a "theme song" - a song that played every time you entered the room - what would it be?
I'm so picky with this one! There are so many songs with so many feelings, and for so many occasions. I don't want to pick a song that just embodies what I'm feeling at the moment, so one of those that I'm thinking is out. Plus then you start thinking about lyrics versus melody - I find lyrics to be too fleeting, so I usually demote them when thinking about this type of question (yes, I've pondered this intensely before). When I hear "walk into a room" I'm naturally inclined to pick something that's more upbeat, like I'm about to get the party started. But let's be realistic, when do I ever get the party started? I usually lull people into an introspective internal monologue, so I picture my "theme song" as more a song that plays when I walk down the street. So naturally, that'd be the Decemberists' On the Bus Mall. It's a perfect balance of everything me rolled into one moving, exciting, thoughtful theme song

9. What is your biggest fear?
I really hate feeling like I'm trapped, without control  with no way out. It's hard to explain - and not what you'd probably consider a traditional "fear", more a psychological one, I suppose. And it gives me tremendous anxiety. From waking up at other people's houses (sleepovers always made me antsy and I was always the first one up in the morning and out the door) to dreams with an oppressive, confining feeling, I hate not having control.

10. What meal could you eat day in and day out and never get sick of?
Can we talk about how heavenly homemade, cheesy, creamy macaroni and cheese is? I'll take eleventy-billion platefuls, please and thank you.

11. Be honest - how are you feeling today?
To be honest, I haven't been feeling a whole lot of anything lately, which worries me. I feel like I'm in stasis, and not one of good equilibrium. I feel stuck, I feel unmotivated, I feel apathetic. There's a lot on my mind, and I'm just trying to truck through it the best that I can. Otherwise, I've got some mad Downton Abbey feels going on as I catch up! 

My Questions:
1. If you were given a one-way plane ticket, where would you go?
2. What's the first thing you do once you wake up in the morning?
3. If you could go back to live in any time period or era, which would you choose?
4. Who's your literary character crush?
5. What is one challenge that initially terrified you, but you persevered through to overcome?
6. Tell me a story about the most cherished of your senses (a particular memory tied to the scent of baking gingerbread, a sound that strikes fear into your heart, be creative!)
7. What is one movie/show/book/video game that you're looking forward to seeing/reading/playing in 2013?
8. Favorite pancake flavor? (I'm partial to blueberry!)
9. What is the last book you read?
10. Who would you choose to play you in a movie of your life?
11. If you had to choose a single word to serve as a focus or goal for 2013, which would it be?

And I tag...
Wildflower at Heart
Whimsical Poppysmic
Chocolate & Cream Cake
Brighid's House
le fancy geek

...and anyone else who wants to share!

Ta da!

Monday, February 18, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.39

Sweet-briar, 14 June 2012,... 021 f
( source )

eglantine n. [eg-luh n-teen]the sweetbrier (via

I have no sentence for this flower, though, one girl in my class once shared that a character in a story she once read was named Eglantine, and frankly, I just thought it had a pretty sound to it :)

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, February 17, 2013

link love

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♥ How cute is this cozy winter picnic?
Thanks, textbooks. A collection of the world's finest academic writing. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's seen some questionable teaching in textbooks.
Why you should travel young
The Balancing Act of Being Female; Or, why we have so many clothes is one of the most thoughtful reads I've found in a while. Not only does the accompanying photograph speak volumes, but the concept of adhering to hundreds of calculated rules is one that I think affects all of us women.
♥ Great advice - 25 Things You Don't Have to Justify To Anyone
What's In My Bag? With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. Many good book and music recommendations await! Plus, I totally love these two.
♥ I enjoyed this campaign for Lady Catelyn Stark to be the next Secretary of State probably a little too much.
♥ This Antarctic research station that can walk over ice reminds me of something out of a Miyazaki film!
Bookish is a new search engine for discovering books you love! I'm excited to play around with it a bit more :D
Bill Murray talks FDR, cheese, and the meaning of life. Be my best friend, please?
♥ How perfect is this tee? Dark Lord Happy Hour!
Have you ever been inspired somewhere because of a book of movie? I blame all of the British novels I've read over the years.
♥ I find morning routines generally fascinating. My Morning Routine takes a look at those routines of celebrities.
♥ An Edgar Allen Poe game? Sign me up!
30 Great Opening Lines from Literature. Some I disagree with - do you have a favorite?
♥ On the flip side, Lines from Shakespeare Mistaken for 1990's Hip Hop Lyrics. Heather brought this to my attention, and it's fantastic!

Find any good links of late?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Penguins Practice & Blanket Forts

Penguins Practice

Yesterday was an adventure like I haven't had in quite a long while. With work and school and all of the little errands and must-do's that pop up in between, every time Kallie has asked me to a hockey game, toy convention, or even a run to Target, I've had other plans. But when I got her text earlier this week that the Pittsburgh Penguins were having an open practice on Thursday, it's like the hockey gods magically made the universe clear its schedule for me.

Jurassic Park

#pens practice!Photo

We were kind of all over the place, to be honest. Her alarm never went off; she couldn't get ahold of Sara, who was supposed to come with us; we didn't have time to grab coffee, and I sat on my "free Sheetz donut" coupon for ten minutes before realizing where it was. Needless to say, we didn't have high hopes for the day. Not that it wouldn't be fun, but more of a what's-going-to-continue-to-go-wrong-today vibe. You know what went wrong?


We made it to Southpointe unscathed. Sure, Malkin and Sutter weren't skating, but the rest of the team was on the ice, doing drills and messing around. I doubt I'll have a chance to catch a Pens game this season - with it being shortened and astronomically priced/sold out for my being a college student  - so it was nice to see my boys on the ice in some capacity. We got to see Beau Bennett since being called up (he's apparently playing tonight, so that should be cool!) and watched Flower throw his glove in disgust after a puck slow-motioned its way into the net after what he thought was a clenched save. It's always neat to see a practice - between trying to guess what drills they're working on, to seeing them just horse around with each other is always a fun time.

Penguins Practice

Penguins Practice

Though, as always, the gaggle of 14-year old girls with "James Neal: Be my valentine" signs were abundant. It sounded like the flock of seagulls from Finding Nemo with their incessant "Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!"

Penguins Practice
Oh! And I made a friend! The little baby sitting in the bleacher in front of us found us fascinating, apparently. And his name is Landon. As in, named after Lando Calrissian (to make a long story short: I've been plotting to name my child after Lando. I feel like the nod to Star Wars is inconspicuous enough to not be too noticeable, so finding someone who shared my thoughts was the highlight of my day).

And then we stuffed our faces full of Primanti's, which is always an adventure. (Though, Southpointe had ridiculous vending machines where you could legit buy a frozen box of french fries, then heat them up in the microwave. Weird.)

Vending Machine
Top it off with my desire to build a blanket for in my construction site of a room, and it was a good day.

Blanket Fort

Blanket FortBlanket Fort

Blanket Fort
How was your Thursday? Any favorite adventures you've taken in your life?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things I Like Thursday

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I kind of forgot about it being Valentine's Day! That's what I get for celebrating a week early, but I did pick up one of Dozen Bake Shop's special Valentine's boxes as a treat this week! Kallie, Sarah, and I are off to watch a Penguins open practice (last time, the whole team put wads of gum on the back of JStaal's helmet, so who knows what will happen today!) which has been a long time -- can't wait!
♥ My job has its ups and downs, like any other job (the benefit of mine is that it's temporary and part-time), but the stress that comes with this particular branch of retail runs high. So amidst the retail blunders that come up, it's nice to work with customers who are patient, organized, and laid-back. It makes my job go so much smoother, which makes me more pleasant, which makes you more pleasant to help, and everyone leaves happy. 

Getting my #30Lists supplies in the mail! My love for 30 Days of Lists is pretty unparalleled, but I'm still undecided as to whether I'm going to play along in March like usual, or if I may join the catch-up crown come April. I guess it'll all depend on how the move goes, though it might be nice to join in later to get a feel for that side of things. Any thoughts? I figure I at least have a hassel-free scrap kit to use this time, since I don't feel like having to dig through boxes to find my supplies. Are you participating this time around?

♥ At the recommendation of Kaylanaut, I downloaded the game Journey last week, not really knowing what to expect. Well, that's not entirely true. I was expecting a simple gameplay, stunning graphics, and an intriguing storyline - something not entirely unlike Limbo. But I didn't expect the game to be so beautiful, or to make me cry at the end. Journey was more of a spiritual experience than anything else I've ever played, or even seen or read, I'd venture. It's not terribly long, it's not terribly complicated, and even if you're not a gamer, I'd highly recommend giving Journey a play-through. It's worth it.

Coral and spots#30lists supplies came in the mail today!
Don't mind if I do! #cupcakeopen-uri20130212-888-1vake8p

little loves
Valentine's cards from Gram in the mail ♥ getting most of my room packed ♥ 50% most Final Fantasy titles in the PS3 store. I might've started a new game of FFVI ♥ when people are honest and take responsibility for their own actions ♥ a day warm enough to wear spring clothes ♥ sharing the same name with someone ♥ finding little notes left around the house ♥ Jane Eyre ♥ two women having a knitting date in Starbucks

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Firmoo Glasses Giveaway

You might recall the new pair of eyeglasses I received from Firmoo a few months back. I've always been picky with eyewear, but Firmoo calmed my ordering-glasses-online phobia by being incredibly helpful with plugging in my prescription and finding the right fit, as well as offering a virtual try-on (you can upload your own picture to "try" a pair of frames with your face shape -- how cool is that!?) to make sure I loved the style I ordered. I snatched up these tortoise-shell frames and couldn't be happier (I think I'm eyeing up a new pair of sunglasses for the upcoming - hopefully sunny - months!).

Just in case you aren't familiar with Firmoo, they're an online eyewear retailer offering styles ranging from men's and women's, to prescription frames and sunglasses. They even have a First Pair Free program which allows you to try those suckers on in person and fall in love with them, sans risk! My favorites?

FIrmoo Eyewear

clockwise from top-left: #LF6356 | #CP6715 | #SD2383 | #BD33004

Okay, okay, here's the best part. Firmoo is going to hook six readers up with a $30 voucher to be used on a pair of designer frames of their very own*! And if more than 30 (thirty) people enter, one lucky reader will even win their own pair of glasses**! Did I mention this giveaway is open internationally as well***?

Here's the scoop
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below by telling me what pair of Firmoo glasses is your favorite (mandatory)!
  • Be a follower of My Life as a Teacup via GFC (mandatory)
  • Plus even more opportunities to enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway The winners will win a $30 designer glasses voucher each, shipping not included. The vouchers only can be used on these designer glasses.
** For the first prize winner (1 person): a pair of fashionable eyeglasses, both prescription & non-prescription are available, shipping not included. Designer glasses and sunglasses are not available to choose. Second prize winners will win a $30 designer glasses voucher, shipping not included.
*** The giveaway is open internationally, but the winners have to be located in their delivery area. Please visit Firmoo's site to see a list of countries they ship to.

More tiny print: This giveaway is open until February 21, 2013 12:00AM EST. The winners will be chosen via random number generator and I will contact you in a timely manner (so be sure to leave an email I can reach you at!) as well as post the winner here on the site. 

Being an affiliate with Firmoo has allowed me to bring you this giveaway, but I wouldn't offer you something I haven't tried and love myself!

Monday, February 11, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.38

hot chocolate with cream ^__^
source )

quaff v. [ˈkwaf]: to drink heartily (via

The two friends ducked into the corner cafe to quaff a hot cider before trekking back out into the cold.

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, February 8, 2013

Book Review: On Beauty


It feel like ages ago since I've read On Beauty, which was part of a series of books for my class on estate novels in British Literature. Having read Howard's End first made this a much more exciting read for me; had I not read the one source material Smith's novel was based on, I think a lot would've been lost, and honestly, I might have a different review of this book.

Let me be honest for a moment: I'm a book snob. I love what I love, and while I'm not afraid to delve into something new, I'll sing the praises of the tried and true for all of time, and still be apprehensive about the book that doesn't make an impression within the first 10 seconds, be it the synopsis, cover, opening sentence, etc. Which is why, I think, a lot of modern fiction doesn't entice me. Too often does a story, usually more contemporary and realistic, seem bland to me, and I'm sure there are tons of lovely books that I've passed up because of that. On Beauty would have been one of those books.

At first thought, a novel on race, class, art, and academia doesn't appear to fit in with my treasured sci-fi/magical realism/urban fantasy-minded self. I've never been particularly drawn to contemporary fiction, though I have read a number of the genre that I do indeed like; they never seem to jump off the shelves and catch my imagination in the same way that other novels do, though I don't particularly have anything against them. The same thing goes for On Beauty, which is incredibly thoughtful and reflective, especially from the point of a fellow student, a recent graduate of academia. Some characterizations were so almost-not exaggeratedly spot-on that I couldn't help but chuckle at the truth behind them.

It's a book that can be read from many different angles, one that, outside of a classroom setting, leaves dark, dusty corners to explore and new themes to uncover with each new read. The commentary on academia and art is what held me in, but the class commentary is equally thoughtful. Stylistically, On Beauty doesn't speak to me the way it's model Howard's End does, but that's more a matter of personal taste than poor characterization. Worth a read, I say, though I ultimately prefer the extra dose of Englishness in my estate novels.

Have you read On Beauty or Howard's End? What about books that are retellings of previous works - yay or nay?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

i feel at times like falling into the deepest sleep
( source )

I'm pretty sure I've gotten nothing done all week. I keep sitting down to read something for class or write up my notes, or even write a blog post, and a big dose of distraction just stops by and punches me in the face. Normally, at least the distraction is productive, but I honestly don't think I've gotten a single thing accomplished ><; Oh well -- I guess it's just one of those weeks! New goal? Refocus!

♥ The Boy and I had dinner reservations last night to a quaint little restaurant in Greensburg called J. Corks. I can't remember for the life of me who recommended the restaurant to me, but I figured somewhere new would make for a nice early Valentine's Day dinner. We always celebrate on a day that's not the actual 14th, because really, who wants to fight hundreds of other couples in overpacked restaurants? Last nights meal ranks on my top ten favorite dinners ever (I wasn't even aware I had this list until I declared it RIGHT NOW). Maple jalapeño risotto with scallops? Honey-almond cheesecake? Pretzel artichoke dip? Half-price bottles because it was Wino Wednesday? Great staff and lovely waitress? Perfect! The only thing that could've been better was if it were nice spring weather and we could have walked around Greensburg after dinner!

♥ I'm always astonished at the sheer number and types of courses that are offered online. There's such a huge difference between taking a class that's normally taught in a classroom in an online format, and taking a course that's online just for the joy of learning with other like-minded people. I just signed up for two classes on Canvas Network - one in educational technology to hopefully supplement what I'm currently doing in grad school, and Gender Through Comic Books, which just sounds rad. There are tons of online courses and learning networks, another being Coursera, and I'm loving finding ones that sound interesting and useful (still looking for a digital literacy/editing course that sounds fun and is not full >< Bah.)
little loves
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries ♥ honey almond cheesecake from heaven - not too sweet, but just right. And massive. I might've eaten the entire thing by myself. No shame ♥ simple black wedge heels ♥ dirty chai lattes ♥ great mix CDs from friends ♥ teacup printed dresses ♥ how great, though often overlooked, is a good night's sleep? Journey - I'm addicted! ♥ the prospect of a tax refund - here's to hoping it's good!

What are you loving lately?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We're Moving!

Ok, now I can share the news! Take a guess :D

I don't think I've said a word of this to anyone other than family over the past few weeks, but now that it's official - and a month away! - I figured I should fill everyone in. After a very long search in an unbelievably not-so-suffering housing market, my mum finally bought a house! It's something I know she's been looking forward to for a very long time, and I couldn't be happier for her.

Now, what's this got to do with me? As you may or may not know, ever since my sophomore year of college, I've been living back at home. Going to a local university meant a short commute, and with only a 20-minute drive into the city, grad school is also nearby. It never made sense for me to take out loans to live in a smaller version of something I already had so close, and mum agreed to let me move in with her in the new house until I finish my Masters degree. The new house is only 10 minutes from where we are now, so it's not much of a hassle on the commuting end of things, and I figure that if I can stick it out for another year or so, I'll be in a much better place financially (who can say no to that?).

So we're packing up the townhouse and stacking boxes wherever we can find! Closing is at the end of February, and we've got a lot to do in the meantime, but we both couldn't be more excited!

Monday, February 4, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.37

source )

matutinal adj. [mə-ˈtüt-nəl]: of or occurring in the morning (via

Her matutinal cup of coffee was a necessity; without it, she was likely to put on mismatched shoes on her way out of the door.

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, February 3, 2013

link love

( that is King's Landing. Recreated in MineCraft. Which is simultaneously amazing and admirable as well as insane )

This week's collection is just a bunch of fun sounding things. Translating pens, libraries where you can borrow e-readers, and the most amazing trailer of all time for Bioshock Infinite, which I cannot wait to play!!! Oh, an Paradise Lost continues to haunt my very existence. Milton and I have a very love-hate relationship.

edit: Oh yeah, today is the Superbowl. It's funny, because in my mind, today was just free noodles from Noodles & Co. day and a trip to IKEA. As you can probably tell, I'm not in love with football. The Stanley Cup run is an entirely different story. But happy gameday to you all who are rooting for your team!

♥ It's cold again. Like, from 60 degrees to 30. So here are 3 Tips for Getting Warm On Cold Mornings from Apartment Therapy
You're Not Making the Most Out of Your 20s, courtesy of Thought Catalog, whose sass usually makes me sit down and reevaluate my life in earnest
A pen that translates while you read - how cool is that!?
Campfire Chic shares 5 Reasons to Get On Your Mat
10 Ways Milton's Paradise Lost Is Like A Bad Comic Book. The inner English major in me couldn't resist. Do you know how many times I've read Paradise Lost? Too many.
♥ Can't remember that word that's on the tip of your tongue? Try Tip of My Tongue, which is too fun!
♥ The physical book vs. e-book debate rages on. Here's why printed books will never die.
First "bookless" public library features e-readers you can borrow. Interesting idea, what do you think?
Celebrating 200 Years of Pride & Prejudice
♥ Speaking of literary anniversaries, here's a 50 Year Visual History of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar (a favorite!)

What fun links have you discovered?