Friday, February 28, 2014

The Best Books to Be Seen Reading

Ah, to be caught with an embarrassing book. Be it a guilty pleasure or 50 Shades of Gray (if that's what you're into; I can't bring myself to read it, but that's another story), plenty of people prefer the privacy of an e-reader, or have pulled the very suave slip-a-book-behind-another-book move. But what about the opposite? The books that, if caught reading, make you look like a hardcore literature nerd cool?

Whether you're trying to out-do the stuffy hipster at the espresso bar with his behemoth Dostoyevsky, impress your coworkers with your knowledge of 19th century Romanticism, or catch the eye of the cute guy on the subway, you're sure to turn heads if you pick up one of these gems:
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - Clocking in at a whopping 1392 pages (depending on your edition, of course), this bad boy is just intimidating to look at.
  • Coriolanus; or Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare - Don't just read plays from The Bard himself, pick a more obscure one to seem like a die-hard 
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot - A lengthy classic of Victorian Literature. Plus you can toss out the fun fact that George Eliot was a girl
  • Brideshead Revisited - You can discuss the rise and fall of the British estate novel to make your awesomeness known. Plus you can toss out the fun fact that Evelyn Waugh was a guy.
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski - Despite being one of my favorite books of all-time, sitting in a cafe by yourself turning your book upside-down and holding a mirror to it to read it does make you look like some mad-trendy-literary-snob. And it has a cult status, only adding to its coolness factor
  • anything by Ayn Rand is bound to strike up strong feelings from any passersby. People either love her or hate her. If a heated debate is your thing, whip this out in a public place and you'll have opinions galore.
I jest; do really love these books - and really, you should read them if you haven't already! - but frankly, carrying around a semester's load of books when you're a Literature major does make you look kind of pretentious on default. I'm the girl that probably was given college props from afar, being seen reading Paradise Lost all the freaking time, but I probably scared off many potential friends while laughing menacingly to myself in the corner of the library about my used book misspelling "Satan" as "Satin".

Are you self-conscious about what books you read in public?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

Getting out and doing things has felt so good. From lunch with old friends to an impromptu museum trip, it's just felt good to get out of the house when this winter cabin fever is setting in. I've been making more of an effort to go out and do things, though, and it's never felt better. Even the smallest of outings feels like a new adventure!

♥ Three and a half days in and this week has been an adventure in the world of substituting. I've been lucky to have spent the first few days with my kids from student teaching, but I know their classroom routine so well that it doesn't actually feel like subbing. It's been great to see all of the familiar faces though, and I'm glad to be there!

♥ If you haven't checked out ruKristin's Currently List Journaling Cards, I can't stress enough that you do. I may be an ambassador, but I've been hooked on Kristin's simple way of documenting daily life since I first saw how easy it could be. This month's featured card is a gorgeous fuchsia shade, and can be purchased in both Physical and Digital form from her shop (physical cards will only be available during the month they are featured and digital cards will have promotional pricing during the month they are featured)

little loves
♥ workdays at Starbucks ♥ spontaneous galavants around the museum ♥ gravity-defying blowouts at Swank Hair Studio ♥ friendly hellos from people you aren't expecting ♥ classical art ♥ tea tents, even though it was occupied ♥ still active student IDs to get into the museum for free ♥ seeing dinosaurs from the library ♥ street parking with no meters ♥ Batman The Animated Series ♥ masala chai ♥ friendly cafes that aren't full of hipsters ♥ blackout poetry ♥ Indian Food ♥ the start of #30Lists soon!

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

#StylishSundays at Swank Hair Studio

Swank Hair Studio
Last month, Alex of Pretty Living PR reached out to me with an opportunity that sounded just dreamy. Each month, Swank Hair Studio hosts an event called #StylishSundays, which brings together local vendors for a beauty bash that covers everything from hair, makeup, jewelry, and clothing. And desserts - very important! Swank runs some pretty amazing deals on just about everything as well (half price blowouts, deals on color, cuts, and brow waxing - you name it!), and I couldn't say no to checking out the local scene.

I'm sure I've mentioned how terrible I am at being a girl, but let me refresh your memory: it was only - oh, four years ago? - that I learned how to actually put on blush like a real adult. And when asked "What kind of brush do you use?" my usual answer is a dumbfounded expression that reads: "There's more than one kind?". As much as I like looking nice and getting dolled up, I'm terrible at actually doing it myself. So I jumped on Alex's invitation to get a professional blowout at Swank Hair Studio in Lawrenceville.

(Also, sidenote: when I was a girl, for whatever inexplicable reason thought that I could "curl" my hair with what I today found out is called a round brush. 7 year-old me wasn't nearly as skilled as Sam, my stylist, is, so I ended up with a hairbrush tangled in my hair and sticking out the side. This might be one reason why I don't really mess with my hair...)
Swank Hair Studio Swank Hair Studio
Within minutes of arriving, Alex greeted me with a hug and introduced me to Sam, my stylist, who whisked me off to the sink to get shampooing. Has anyone else noticed how amazing professional shampoos feel? The difference between the chore of a regular shower washing and the spa-like treatment of a pro is incredible.

Same got to blow drying, brushing, rolling, and spritzing and in no time, my hair had transformed!

I couldn't be happier with how my hair turned out! Who knew that just a good shampoo and a blow dry (with a round brush that Sam did not get stuck in my hair) could turn my stick-straight locks into a flippy, volume-filled mythical being. I felt like a jazzed up version of me, but still me - which is important!

And then I ate a glittery cake pop to celebrate my new 'do.
Swank Hair Studio
I ducked into a tiny cafe on my way back to my car for a celebratory coffee. It was full of grouchy, grumpy looking hipsters. Needless to say, those cafe-goers were not nearly as chipper and friendly as the ladies at Swank. Boo on you, cafe.

You can follow @SwankHairPgh on Instagram and Twitter for cut and color inspiration, as well as all of the latest deals (and let me tell you, Swank always has a special going on, it seems!). If you're in the Pittsburgh area, book an appointment (tell them Kristin sent you!) and make any day of the week stylish!

The ladies at Swank treated me to a complementary #BloggerBlowout in exchange for a review, however all opinions remain my own.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

#30Lists Blog Hop: Least Favorite Words + Win Registration to March 2014's 30 Days of Lists!

For as much as I love words and language, there are some words I plain just don't like. Just as I have favorite colors, I have not-so-favorite colors, and the same thing goes for words. There's not many words I dislike, as long as they're used where needed and not overused. Others, I just don't personally like the way they sound on your ear, or feel on your tongue as you say them. Lately, I'm more peeved at stupid slang.

And no, 'moist' is not one of my word pet peeves; it doesn't sound weird or gross to me. Alas.

What words am I not a fan of?
  • judgment - Mainly, I'm just not a fan of the American spelling. British English has it right; there should totally be another 'e' in there. Too many consonants otherwise)
  • jodhpurs - Kicked my butt in the spelling bee. See also: too many consonants next to one another
  • YOLO - Just no.
  • ricochet - The spelling and pronunciation don't add up. Eight year-old me was very confused.
  • cowlick - Putting two not-so-appealing words just enhances the lack of appeal
  • bro - See 'YOLO'
What are your least favorite words?
And lucky you, because readers of My Life as a Teacup can enter to win free registration to March's round of #30Lists! If you've already nabbed your spot, never fear - if you win after registering the lovely hosts will refund your registration fee and you can list for free!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to visit the other lovely #30Lists bloggers to read their lists for today!
Do you enjoy writing lists? Join us for 30 Days of Lists, one of my very favorite creative projects. Being creative can seem daunting, but just a few minutes a day and a list scribbled on the back of a receipt can be a game changer. Document your daily life with #30Lists this March!

This prompt comes from the March 2011 edition of 30 Days of Lists. You can play along with the free, March 2011 list prompts, or complete them at your own pace whenever you get the urge to list!

Monday, February 24, 2014

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.92

Autumn reflection
( Roel Wijnants )

limpid adj. [ˈlim-pəd]: marked by transparency, clear (usually of a liquid); clear and simple in style (via)

The buildings and autumn foliage were reflected perfectly in the limpid pool of water.

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, February 23, 2014

link love

♥ Pittsburgh has potholes the size of craters on a good day. Perhaps we too should try embracing potholes by turning them into hilarious imaginative scenes
♥ I'm in love with the idea of a tiny, minimalist micro house.
Lemon & Raspberry's March/April book club selection has been decided! Will you be reading along?
Must haves for any bookworm!
♥ Your weekly dose of cute animal pictures: adorable before and after photos of animals growing up
♥ Haven't signed up for 30 Days of Lists yet? Here are 8 more reasons to list this March
Superheroesque is the geeky lady community brainchild of Mia and Liz and I'm so excited to see how the community grows! Geeky lasses unite!
♥ While I am not a dude in need of a razor, Dollar Shave Club has a pretty hilarious video to explain their subscription razor service. If I was a dude in need of a razor, I'd be won over.
8 Storytelling Apps to Help You Record Your Story
♥ I, too, keep books in my purse at all times. Or in my car. Basically, my life is this Mary Poppins gif.
♥ I love Blake. I love Milton. Ta-da: William Blake's Mesmerizing Illustrations for John Milton's Paradise Lost
♥ If these links aren't enough to hold you over, check out Amanda's weekly Tuesday Treasure Trove!

What fun links have you found this week?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pittsburgh: Your Friendly Neighborhood City

Stanley Cup Parade
Author's note: Bear with me; this is long. I decided somewhat haphazardly that I miss writing. Specifically essays. And as much as social media is wonderful in that it can capture your attention quickly and consumed just as fast, there are far too few long-form articles out there. So this year, I'm challenging myself to write 12 essays - personal, academic, whatever. Here is my first, somewhat personal musings on Pittsburgh and life lately. If you make it through this whole thing, I owe you cookies or something.

It's amazing how the right song, and the right lighting, at the right time, can move you to tears. Can lead you to somehow both the saddest realization and the most hopeful feeling that you could imagine and it hits you out of nowhere, just under these certain magical conditions. Like the golden hour for photography turned a time for golden epiphanies.

I cried today.

Driving to the shopping plaza to see Spaceballs, I cried.

I had been rummaging through the CD holder in my car when I found an unmarked disc. With my iPod out of commission, I've been finding little treasures in the forms of CDs and mixes that friends have made me over the years. One such friend happens to be exceptionally good at giving me a random mix every now and then; the shiny jewel-blue disc I popped into my CD player just happened to be one of hers.

I'm listening - as you do with CDs - not really sure what's going to be on the next track. Not having the luxury of seeing the titles of songs displayed on the list in front of me. And from out of the speakers comes a song I never dreamed I'd hear on a mix from said friend: on this mix of hers, I somehow end up with country music blaring from my speakers (I never thought I'd see the day).

The song in question? Small Town USA.

I laughed at that song the first time I heard it. I laughed a lot.

You see, we regarded our small town growing up as a "prison" (the "bubble" to be exact, but the sentiment is similar). Twenty miles outside of the city itself, growing up in a small town seems like it's miles away from any civilization, any culture, any excitement. Now I realize that this eon-long twenty-minute drive is nothing at all, but I, like any student itching to grow up and move on, became fascinated with Pittsburgh as soon as I had a car and the freedom to drive to wherever I damn well pleased. I became captivated by the tall mirrors of the PPG building; the much too cool and chic streets of Oakland, teeming with college students; the shady pizza joint on Carson Street, and the night view from the incline, and the patches of greenery you could spy between buildings.

I fell in love with Pittsburgh.

But nights of laying on the stairs to the museum, falling in love with the building-top installations quickly turned to disillusionment when I went to the city for college.

I admit now, I never gave it a fair chance. I was in a place where I made some rash decisions that left me living outside of the life I had at my fingertips, and instead of appreciating the beauty in the weird sidewalk garbage, I found myself dreaming of a life that I couldn't have. I know now that I was wrong.

But it doesn't change the fact that I fell out of love with Pittsburgh for a period.

It was dirty, inconvenient; filled with reckless students and scummy places; parking was a nightmare and, not knowing anything in Pittsburgh's various neighborhoods left me feeling isolated and lonely, like my city was a stranger just waiting to leap out at me and scare my soul from my body. I harbored a lot of hate and resentment, a lot of dissatisfaction with myself and channeled it into the city. For that, I apologize, Pittsburgh. You deserved better.

And now here I am, 5 years later, living twenty-minutes outside of the city again. I haven't really given Pittsburgh The Being a thought since I left college two years ago. Though it had lost its magic, I also had lost my disdain, the feeling instead replaced by not much of a feeling at all - just indifference.

Back to Spaceballs.

Here I am, driving to a shopping plaza not even in the city itself (The Waterfront sits on the outskirts of the outskirts of Pittsburgh and is a weird slice of small-town shopping for the urban suburbs across the bridge) and yet the magic of Pittsburgh hits me out of the blue. Driving past steel mills, churning out smoke that billows through the valley to my right and seeing all manner of bridges whizzing past my window drove me over the edge.

I don't know where the next steps will take me, or where my feet will land. Will I ever get a job? What if I have to move? Where would I go? Where do I want to go? I love the solitude and quiet of my small town. I love having a parking space that I don't have to reserve with a chair; I love fresh air and quiet afternoons by the lake. And yet, I love the city. I love walking places, people watching, bustling urban sprawls, and more events than I know what to do with. How do you choose between two distinctly different ways of life?

Here I am, feeling somewhat lost as a twenty-something college graduate, and Pittsburgh comes to speak to me again.

In all of my emotion, the good and the bad, I hadn't been paying attention to where I am now.

Here is Pittsburgh, this beautiful city, dotted with yellow and blue bridges, smokestacks, and a growing quaint little hubbub of its own. And yet just a mere twenty minutes away, you can lose yourself in the woods by the lake, with a book and a picnic and a quiet afternoon away from it all.

Hearing that silly little song and driving through the city rekindled my love of Pittsburgh, somehow. There is plenty going on, and yet the people are friendly, neighborly. A giant rubber duck comes to the Point. Residents fiercely love their sports teams, to the point of a Steelers windbreaker being a requirement of living here. There are amusement parks, historic landmarks, chain restaurants, unique delicacies, ballets and operas and musicals and plays, green grassy squares downtown and wide open fields out in the country.

I don't have to choose. I can have it all.

And driving in that blazing light, with those right words, at that right time, made me see the magic in my city again.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

Mother Nature must have read my post on How to Beat the Winter Blues, because that afternoon, the snow stopped, the sun came out, and the day went on in a gorgeously warm fashion! Today? The high is 50. Get. Out. Of. Town. It's like a slice of spring! Except for when the sun melts the snow, the temperature drops again, and everything freezes over...Oh well, I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

♥ Are you reading for the big news? Drumroll...I accepted a substitute teaching position! It may not be a full-time teaching gig, but I've missed the classroom and my students and can't wait to be teaching again. I'm incredibly nervous, as subbing and actually teaching are two different beasts, but I've got to just put my fears aside and deal with it. Here's to new chapters!

♥ Recently I've been doing some proofreading and editing work for some friends, and was reminded of how much I enjoy reading other people's work. I don't often get to help others edit, and haven't done much of it since Pitt, two years ago, but I love hearing new thoughts, new arrangements of words, and piecing it all together. And I'm really excited to read the final products from these lovely ladies!

♥ Speaking of writing (-ish), last night I bought Natalie Goldberg's Old Friend from Far Away*, a memoir-writing exercise book, and spent some time just sitting in the bookstore, reading, and - gasp! - writing. For as much as I love reading books and crafting papers, the actual physical act of writing has never been my favorite. Well, it has, but it hasn't. I always feel pressured to write fiction, am not good at writing fiction, and then my hand cramps up and things spiral downward from there. But it felt good to write. To not worry about the cross-outs or mistakes, or editing, or anything but the words on the page. (note: this book is all Megan's fault. I blame her. Out of love). *affiliate link

♥ My #JadoreVoxBox from Influenster came in just in time for Valentine's Day and I've been really enjoying this box of products to (complimentary) review. It was love at first sight when I opened the lid to find a whole bag of Hershey's Kisses. Which might've lasted, oh, a day? Whoops. I'm still testing out some products, like John Frieda's Frizz Ease (which, so far, is making straightening my hair easy as pie! And I haven't accumulated static as much - I blame you, wool coat), but Red Rose Tea's Creme Caramel is divine, and Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask leaves my skin feeling like clean, fresh, heaven.

little loves
pleasant phone calls ♥ not passing out during medical procedures that involve needles (this is a huge accomplishment for me; my mother once took me to get blood drawn and I passed out in the car just thinking about it) ♥ blackout poetry ♥ my long hair - who is that girl on my license with a short hair cut? ♥ only having to make one stop instead of two ♥ spring anoraks ♥

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February: Sponsor Love + Fictional Crushes

First of all, a big thank you to you, dear readers! I'm so glad to see that you enjoy being introduced to My Life as a Teacup's sponsors, who help keep this blog up and running. These ladies are talented writers, costumers, screen printers, creatives, business-women, and all around incredible human beings and I'm proud to share the word.

So who's behind the Teacup this month? February's sponsors are sharing their own fictional fancies, as well as their perfect Valentine's Day. The holiday itself may be over, but who's to say you can't have your perfect night any old day?

Hi everyone! My name is Amanda, and my blog is Dragonflight Dreams. I also have an Etsy shop of the same name full of cool screen printed shirts and art prints. In real life, I'm a freelance graphic designer living in Austin, Texas with my boyfriend and dog. I dabble in sewing, cooking and photography and can often be found with my nose in a book. I’m an avid traveler, and amateur cook, and may have an unhealthy addiction to chai tea lattes and strawberry danishes.

It's not a crush unless their initials are doodled on your notebook! What fictional character do you fancy?
I have to pick just one?! Impossible. No, really. I can't narrow it down that much. I think I fall a little in love with a character from almost every book.

What's your idea of the perfect Valentine's Day?
I don't need an over-the-top Valentine's Day. A good amount of time spent together that day, and a nice meal (whether at home or out somewhere) for dinner. Flowers or chocolates are nice, but not really necessary, and I'd actually appreciate them more on a non-mandated-love-token day. :)

I'm Mia - I'm an MBA student and a geek of all trades. I love dressing up, digital media, and geek girl culture. My blog, xo Mia, is a love letter to everything I'm passionate about, especially style, cosplay, and living the geek life.

It's not a crush unless their initials are doodled on your notebook! What fictional character do you fancy?
My biggest fictional crush - currently, anyway - is Dick Greyson, AKA Nightwing. He's such a dreamboat.

What's your idea of the perfect Valentine's Day?
Ideally, my Valentine's Day would include something vegan that is full of sugar, a relaxing evening watching a movie or a show, and spending quality time with my partner. I'm not big into presents on Valentine's, especially stuff like flowers that get overpriced for the holiday - I'd rather have a nice, relaxing evening!

Hi, I'm Ella! By day I work in a high school special education classroom, and by night I craft and blog! I'm an avid list-maker with a constant travel bug, who believes washi tape is the only kind of tape one should use, turns almost everything into a craft project, and has an affinity for anything sea foam green. Paper Umbrella is where I share DIY projects, fashion and design inspiration, my favorite music, recipes (I especially love creating new cocktails), lots of photos, and anything else that inspires me.

It's not a crush unless their initials are doodled on your notebook! What fictional character do you fancy?
Is it a cop out to say (almost) any character ever played by Ryan Gosling? ;) If I'm being completely honest though, I think it's been a while since I've developed a true fictional character crush! I'd say the last time was when I was a pre teen and my best friend and I were obsessed with the "Song of the Lioness" series and developed huge crushes on one of the main character's love interests (who else read those books religiously when they were younger?).

What's your idea of the perfect Valentine's Day? 
I like something simple and romantic! This year involved sushi, chocolate cake, a nice bottle of wine, pink twinkle lights, and a pillow fort...and it was just about perfect! Pretty sure the fort part is going to become a tradition :)

Hi! I'm Danica and I blog over on Goodheart. I'm a soon to be 25 year old (February 27th!), pinterest enthusiast, and obsessed with chai tea lattes. On my blog, I love to share lovely quotes, fashion, travel, and much more.

It's not a crush unless their initials are doodled on your notebook! What fictional character do you fancy?
Jim Halpert! Love him.

What's your idea of the perfect Valentine's Day?
I don't ever make big Valentine's Day plans, so having brunch and watching romantic comedies sounds great to me. (A few episodes of The Office wouldn't hurt either.)

At the daily blog Lemon and Raspberry, Amy T Schubert helps you tell your story, build your platform and find your GREAT WORK … and how those all combine to help you live your best creative life. She has been a writer, photographer and encourager for most of her life. If you're looking for a free guide to jumpstart your creativity or one-on-one blog-business coaching, head over to Lemon and Raspberry. For more day-to-day fun (including cat photos), follow Amy on Twitter and Instagram at @amytschubert.

It's not a crush unless their initials are doodled on your notebook! What fictional character do you fancy?
My two favorite books growing up were Gone With the Wind and Anne of Green Gables. I realize that Rhett Butler and Gilbert Blythe have very little (if anything) in common, but I just love them both so much!

What's your idea of the perfect Valentine's Day? 
My idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day is more or less the way that my husband and I spend most of our days off. Reading, hanging out or working around the house, homemade dinner and Netflix marathoning at night. We’re homebodies and easy and I look forward to every weekend for similar days together.

♥ ♥ ♥ 

Are you looking to promote your blog or business? I'd love for you to join My Life as a Teacup's family of sponsors, and help you spread the word to a smart, creative, sassy bunch of readers! Advertise with My Life as a Teacup in March!

How was your Valentine's Day!? And let's dish - who is your fictional crush?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to Beat the Winter Blues

Living in Pittsburgh, I'm used to long, cold winters with lots of snow and usually a salt crisis come March. This year, the salt shortage is early, and we've had so much snow that we're almost out places to shovel it (and keep having to clear the growing pile away from the house numbers, as the snow has crept that far up our mailbox post). While my back may be hurting from all of the shoveling - and I don't really like driving in these conditions - I don't mind the snow, believe it or not.

But come February, I start to get antsy. It's cold, it's snowy (and not the pretty kind of snow that lays on the trees and looks like powdered sugar; this snow is slush and wet and gross), I start to get cabin fever and I get cranky. The few scattered day of 40-50 degree weather in between snowstorms only helps fuel my wanting it to be spring. I want to go to the park! Swing! Wear dresses that I can twirl in! Iced coffees and barefeet!

If you too have a case of the mid-winter blues, or just happen to be just as antsy for spring as I am, I've compiled a list of things you can do to combat the cabin fever and get through the next month and a half:
  • Go on a hot chocolate date and make getting warm cozy and fun
  • Treat yourself to a manicure/pedicure in a bright, spring color
  • Shovel that snow, then go play in it! Make an igloo, snowman, or go sled riding
  • Buy colorful flowers to spruce up your room and remind you of impending spring
  • Do some yoga
  • Make a blanket fort and spend the afternoon curled up inside of it with a good book
  • Bundle up and go for a winter walk
  • Have a Netflix or movie marathon
There are plenty of other things you can do to get through these last few hard winter months with a smile on your face. Go out for brunch, brave the outdoors, exercise, but most importantly, have fun! And you know what? Before you know it, spring will be here!

What do you do to beat the winter doldrums?

Do you enjoy writing lists? This list was inspired by 30 Days of Lists, one of my very favorite creative projects. Being creative can seem daunting, but just a few minutes a day and a list scribbled on the back of a receipt can be a game changer. Document your daily life with #30Lists this March!

I should point out that I'm no medical expert, and this isn't a guide to coping with seasonal depression as much as it is a list of ideas to enjoy the last few months of winter when everything is gross and there feels like there isn't anything to do.

Monday, February 17, 2014

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.91

( Joseph Greer )

garrulous adj. [ˈger-ə-ləs]: rambling; pointlessly or annoyingly talkative (via)

The garrulous passenger was, of course, seated next to her, and kept her awake the majority of the flight.

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, February 16, 2014

link love

For some reason, I forgot that I had saved a bunch of fun links in Pocket last week, instead of my usual Evernote folder, which resulted in a fairly light batch of links last week. The good news is: I remembered - hooray! - and that means even more links coming your way today!

The real reason we pass judgement on other people's taste in books - agree? Disagree?
♥ Ditch your devices and unplug: the complete printable guide
♥ I have this inexplicable love for Canada. The Winter Olympics aren't making this any better: 10 Ways Canada Has Already Won the Winter Olympics
♥ Procrastinators, listen up: procrastination is a mindfulness problem
The Colbert Book Club on Ernest Hemingway.
I swear I'll stop talking about the latest Harry Potter news, but this piece on Where Do Books Go After They End? hits on my feelings about the epilogue and all of this unnecessary love triangle business pretty spot on. And kudos for the Paradise Lost as fanfic comment. I feel a new thesis coming on...
♥ The OED strikes again! Historical Slang We Love from the Oxford English Dictionary
This is what a librarian looks like.
♥ As if Post-It notes could get any better.
♥ Fiction vs. Literature - discuss! I find the distinction kind of murky myself...
♥ Ever feel conscious about what people are thinking about you?
#SixWordPaperTitle might be my favorite thing, up there with lolmythesis
♥ This never gets old: superheroes and their part-time jobs (namely, Batman)
How electronic publishing is changing academia for the better
♥ Join October June and The Modern Austen for Blog Talk! Newbie or old hat, there's a lot of good stuff here!
Kids read to sheltered cats - how adorable is this?
The shortest and most accurate history of the world you'll ever read. Oh, Reddit.
♥ Brain Pickings is one of my favorite new email subscriptions, and their piece on The Psychology of Trust in Life, Learning, and Love is fascinating
♥ Such simple ideas, but I need to do more of these: 10 Ways to Support an Author
A treasury of rare and weird Star Wars posters from around the world
♥ I want to applaud these guys for creating awesome Lego Literature scenes
The Great Language Game is kind of addictive.
♥ I'm not normally a fan of short stories, but this guide to 6 Short Story Collections For Ultra Specific Moods might make things more tempting

What fun links have you found this week?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Literary Loves

Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you're celebrating with your sweetie, your gal pals, or Ben & Jerry's (which is quite a fabulous date, if I do say), I hope you have one filled with love and chocolate!

On a holiday that's all about love, why not share something love-related about something I love! It's like love-ception.

Okay, not really.

So what do I love?

Surprise, surprise: books.

And while I can't help but get whisked away in some select romantic novels, I find myself falling in love with characters much more often. This attachment can range from literary crush, to just a character I really care for, but the characters can make or break a book for me.

If you're looking to develop a new crush this Valentine's Day, let me introduce you to my favorite literary gents! And when I'm not dreaming of Mr. Rochester, I'm frantically rooting for my top fictional couples to get together (HAN AND LEIA FOREVER!).

Who are your favorite literary pairings? Crushing on any fictional dream character this February 14th?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and even though I'm feeling festive with my glittery heart hair clips, I'm kind of meh about the whole holiday. I'm past the stage of brooding if I happen to be single on Valentine's Day, but even still, a date on the calendar is just a date. I'd rather celebrate with a nice dinner the week after so that we're not elbowing people in a crowded restaurant just because it's the 14th. Or have a nice dinner in. It's the sentiment that matters, not the day on the calendar.

♥ Making progress on my daily to-dos feels good. As I've been reading Focus for the L&R book club, I'm making note of the things I want to minimize, and the tasks I want to prioritize. Staring at my to-do list and actually being able to cross off certain tasks that aren't just mundane little things (and even those too) feels good. Feels productive.

Talking with Mum in the mornings or evenings as we're getting ready or winding down is such a little part of my day, but I can't say how much I enjoy it. There's been a lot on my mind lately, and just to have someone to talk with - even just about the little things, like the book I'm reading or "hey, these cocoa covered almonds are delish!" is nice.

little loves
♥ literal cat naps & kitten (yes, a ten-year old cat is still a kitten in my book) headbutts ♥ good news, that I really want to tell you guys but want to wait until some things get finalized first (but it's very exciting!) ♥ The Lego Movie, which is as good as you've probably heard it is! ♥ a very comfy Marvel tee I snagged at Target ♥ easy journaling options thanks to #currentlylist journaling cards ♥ Casablanca ♥ coffee ♥ more coffee ♥ even more coffee ♥ getting pumped up for Game of Thrones ♥ the scent of a candle in a freshly cleaned room ♥ sparkly heart hair clips ♥ lunch dates with Mum ♥ scoring a Kate Spade wallet for 40% off (I splurged, but I needed a new wallet, so I feel justified)

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Ultimate List of Dating NOs


Dating is awkward.

Not that that's news or anything. But the awkwardness of dating doesn't really hit you until you're in the middle of an awkward interaction and a thousand thoughts flash through your brain.

Do I pay? Does he? Should I have worn contacts? I really need a laugh tonight but is this new comedy going to be terrible? Do I have a piece of cookie stuck in my tooth? Is he going to kiss me? Do I even want to kiss him? Now? How NOW! Is it annoying that I'm quoting The Avengers from start to finish? Should I text him tomorrow or wait for him to text me? No, I play video games, why is that shocking? No, not Madden-whatever-year-they're-on-now. It's 9pm - I'm usually in bed; here comes another yawn, does he think I'm bored?

Honestly, I've been lucky. I've never had a truly terrible date, though I have had some interactions that left me wondering why I thought it was a good idea to give said guy my number in the first place. Usually, it's a matter of not thinking a situation through, only to realize three texts in that this guy is not my cup of tea and prefers football and working out to video games and Neil Gaiman (Neil, how do you manage to make it into every post!?)

Whether we're just chatting or out on a legitimate date, if you want to get to know me, don't:
  • Request a picture - If it's a dating site, I get it, pictures are important. But I'm talking the "hey you shuld send me a pic" type. No, I will not. Not of me, my face, any body part, or wearing what you're assuming is a cute bridesmaid dress at my best friend's wedding. This is just creepy. Don't. 
  • Be 100% agreeable - If we have something in common, that's great, but don't just say you like something because I do. Have an opinion. Opinions are attractive (I rephrase: informed opinions are attractive). *note: if your opinion is "Star Wars sucks", or, "You mean Episodes I-III?" we are through
  • Be pretentious - Your music is not the holy grail, and if I haven't seen that artistic, award-winning, soul-touching and profound movie I probably have a good reason why (even if that reason is that I just didn't get to the theater yet); don't put me down.
  • Ask me, "What's your favorite color?" - Really, what are we, in 6th grade? I know we're getting to know each other, but I'm not filling out a questionnaire. Listen engage in conversation, and you'll find out what I like and don't like. 
  • Not do the check dance - You know, the check dance. Call me old-fashioned, but I think the guy should pay for the first date. If we see each other past that, I don't mind paying for dates every now and then; I like being fair, and I'm enjoying the date just as much as you are. But don't just assume I'm going to offer to pay. You should reach for the bill first. I'll fight you on it, and honestly, if I let you pay, I'm going to snatch the check next time, you can count on it. But don't just stare at me until I reach for my wallet. If you're too cheap to take a girl out, stay home. 
  • Text me every day - We've just met only exchanged numbers or gone out once; texting me incessantly is creepy and intrusive. If I don't respond right away, it's because I'm busy, y'know, with life. I don't report to you, so stop asking "Are you there?". 
But do:
  • Make me laugh - I like wit, sarcasm, and a general terrible sense of humor in general (that is, both bad puns and Cards Against Humanity style).
  • Hold the door - Yeah, yeah, chivalry is dead and all that jazz. I will hold the door for you, just because I'm not a terrible human being; I hold the door for everyone. But this small gesture will make my heart pitter patter just a little bit more.
  • Compliment me - It doesn't have to be a big, grand statement, but a simple, honest compliment will do. "You look really pretty with your hair down" goes a long way.
  • Be you - When it comes down to it, we all have our quirks. Is every single person you meet going to love every single thing about you? No. Am I going to hate you for a difference of opinion? No. Do you sometimes do something embarrassing, or put your foot in your mouth? Guess what - I do too. Have an opinion. Be open. Be honest. There's no pressure to say the perfect thing at the perfect moment, just be you.
Granted, this is all kind of a case-by-case basis, but doing a no if we've just met or have only gone on a few dates is an invitation to have your phone number added to my block list (true story). It really comes down to this:

Be a gentleman, and don't be an idiot.

What are your dating rules? 

My love for lists knows no bounds. This list was inspired by 30 Days of Lists, one of my very favorite creative projects. Being creative can seem daunting, but just a few minutes a day and a list scribbled on the back of a receipt can be a game changer. Document your daily life with #30Lists this March!

Monday, February 10, 2014

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.90

( randomix )

aubade n. [ō-ˈbäd]: a morning love song; a song or poem of lovers parting at dawn (via)

It seemed silly to write a sentence using this word since it's so specific, but it's a fascinating literary style I had never heard of before! In honor of Valentine's Day coming up later this week, it seemed a fitting style to share.

Here's a bit more on the aubade thanks to the ever-knowledgeable Wikipedia (it's not terribly long. And my ears perked up at the mention of John Donne).

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, February 9, 2014

link love

♥ Amanda has been a freelance graphic designer for 8 years, and here are her 10 Lessons Learned from Freelancing
5 Tips for Taking Camera Phone Pics at Concerts. Phones have come a long way since I was last at a concert, but my 16-year old self would have been very appreciative of this.
♥ I need to start packing my lunches again anyway, but Kam's lunchbox Pinterest board just looks too good!
♥ Bookworms in Dresses writes an adorable little comic called Barista Banter (and when I say adorable, I mean adorable!)
When is it acceptable to call yourself a writer? I've often pondered...
I don't know which is funnier, these bad Jane Eyre book covers or their captions!
Anxiety, Depression, and Adventures in Public Speaking
♥ Childhoods have been shattering this week as the Internet has been abuzz with news of J.K. Rowling's Ron x Hermione bombshell. I'm not mad at J.K., and really don't have strong ship-feels in any one direction, but this might be one of my favorite responses to the whole ordeal.
♥ The art of the love letter, with the ladies behind fabulosiTEA!
♥ I kind of need to make Ella's DIY gold heart headband for this Valentine's Day!
♥ In a winter rut? Here are some exciting activities you can do this month to make February awesome!

What fun links have you found this week?

Friday, February 7, 2014

On My Bookshelf: February

I originally went back and forth between making this monthly series reflect what I'm actually reading this month, and books that are on my excited-to-read-(eventually) radar. Some months it's more one than the other, and though I've just finished reading 3 different books in the past week, I love that I can share both what I am and would like to be reading.

February is the month to pay homage to love, so I've rounded up four of my very favorite "romances" ranging from the quirky to the classic.

Some of these works can be downloaded as free e-books, so I urge you to check the store of your e-reader of choice (which is generally a good idea anyway!). For those that aren't free, I've provided Amazon (affiliate) links where you can always add the books to your collection!

Dangerous Angels - I can't help but love this quirky, YA (perhaps?) story from Francesca Lia Block. Not your traditional love story, Weetzie Bat is such a unique individual and all of her relationships resonate love. It's been a while (read: early high school) since I've read this, but nostalgia aside, the prose conjures up the fluttering butterflies of first romances all over again.

Price & Prejudice - Jane Austen's classic can't be left out when thinking of the most romantic of the romance novels. Mr. Darcy is the standard to which all literary leading men are measured (even all men, period) and Austen writes such smart prose that hides more layers in the story than just misunderstood love. Wit, social commentary, and humorous banter are aplenty.

If you've read this classic before, spice it up this time around and give one of its many adaptations a go, watch Bridget Jones' Diary, read the Marvel classics graphic novel version, or pick up a shiny Penguin classics clothbound hardback.

A Farewell to Arms - Hemingway does heartbreaking tremendously well (Hemingway does a lot of things tremendously well). Why torture yourself this February with a depressing love story, you ask? Answer: because it's Hemingway. No one captures emotion so simply and beautifully, and even though love may be tragic, it's beautifully and truthfully so.

Much Ado About Nothing - When it comes to love, no one has anything on William Shakespeare. Sure, classics like Romeo & Juliet always seem to make readers gush, but honestly, I find nothing romantic about playboy Romeo brushing off what's-her-name in his first three lines of the play, only to turn his sights to Juliet after seeing her at a party. And Juliet, seriously? He's whiny. You can do better.

But, ahem, enough about R&J; for real romance, turn to Much Ado About Nothing. Quick-witted Beatrice and Benedict battle through sharp words, misunderstandings, and - it's not a Shakespearean comedy without tons of weddings by the play's end! These two might be one of my favorite fictional couples ever. (Also see: Joss Whedon's recent film, shot with a bunch of his friends on like, a weekend whim. Why wasn't I invited, Joss!?)

If you're in need of more romance to sweep you off your feet this month, check out my favorite fictional couples or frantically scribble the name of your literary crush on your notebook with me!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

There's still more snow. And ice. And slush. While my arms are getting quite the workout from all of the shoveling, I'm looking forward to spring and being able to twirl around in skirts and dresses again (I know some of you are brave enough to layer up a skirt with tights in the winter, but it's not been all that mild around here, and I'd much rather be warm this time of year!).

In the meantime, I'm applying to jobs left and right, though I'm a bit split at the moment. I've really been missing teaching since December, but there are plenty of positions in digital marketing and brand management that my undergraduate degree has prepared me for. Until I can get some online database-stuff finalized, I'm kind of at a standstill, but the least I can do is apply where I can.

♥ Last week I had my first blogger date aka blate with Marissa from The Modern Austen! We met through our blogs just recently, but found out that we had grown up mere towns apart (small world!). She was back in town, so we decided to grab dinner at Winghart's in Market Square (mmm -- chili bacon french fry pizza!) before hitting up the first Pittsburgh Levo League event of 2014, which was all about setting goals for the year to come. Marissa is a doll, and I'm so glad we had a fab first blate. And the Levo event? I can't stress how amazing it was to workshop and talk careers with other women. I highly suggest you attend meeting if there's a local chapter in your area!

Letting things go. It sounds so simple, and yet this week I've tried to focus more on letting go. Letting go of guilt, letting go of hard feelings, letting go of that nagging feeling to do this or do that. Doing so has allowed me to not feel so stretched thin. Even letting go of the simplest tasks has made me feel more refreshed and less like I MUST DO THIS.

♥ I've been feeling inspired to start Project Life again. I don't know where the inspiration came from, but perusing layouts on Pinterest hasn't helped. I caved and picked up the Midnight core kit from Pat Catan's earlier this week, and have just been taking my time planning my title page and easing into things. I want to stay more organized this time around, to hopefully make the process a bit easier to keep track of, plus, that way I think I can backtrack to January 1st and cover the year from the start!

little loves
warmer days ♥ meeting blogger friends irl! ♥ Lady Grey tea ♥ lazy days spent reading in bed ♥ I've finished a boatload of books this week, including Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, These Broken Stars, and a stack of Batman comics (you can keep up with my new reads and reviews at Goodreads!) ♥ black & white & yellow ♥ finally getting my hands on a copy of Allegiant ♥ kind of enjoying Zac Efron in That Awkward Moment ♥ ruKristin's #currentlylist project! ♥ prepping for 30 Days of Lists ♥

What are you grateful for this week?