Thursday, July 31, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

I know I've been singing the same tune for the past few weeks, but I feel seriously drained. When I stop and think about how much I've accomplished this summer, I should be proud; I did a lot! But I can't help but add more and more things to my to do list, and I keep unconsciously pressuring myself to do more in the last few remaining weeks. It's getting hard to focus on any one thing because I'm running through a mental laundry list of all of the other things I want to get done in my head.

It's no longer about doing them because I want to, but doing them to meet a deadline.

To which I say nay.

And attempt to take a step back and regain my sanity. And if that means taking a few days to do nothing but play video games and drink coffee, so be it.

♥ For as much as I complain about my car, it's nice to know that my passenger-side door has been taken care of. Since I bought the car last year, the passenger door would open only from the outside, and then just a few weeks ago it started not locking. Not only was I playing chauffeur to anyone who rode in my car (which I didn't mind), my car being unlocked all the time didn't sit well. I finally got it into the shop this past week and while it's working perfectly now, it cost way more than I anticipated. It feels good to know that it's in working condition, and that it was my money that went into getting it back in shape. As much as my wallet hates it, it's one of those things that makes you feel like an adult.

♥ NEWSFLASH! There are things in my arms! Called muscles! And you can kind of see them! And it's pretty cool. I've been going to the gym more or less every day (save one or two days when I was literally too sore to walk up my stairs) and it's felt great to just have a routine and feel healthy. I still can't bring myself to give up pasta completely, but I've been doing much better at controlling it, and feel much better to boot!

♥ I have a new mantra, almost on accident. If you recall, my OLW for 2014 is "now", but lately I haven't been as conscious of it as I was at the beginning of the year. That is until I realized that this new mantra of mine — I'll figure it out as I go — kind of embodies that. It's in my nature to plan everything. To the extreme. But lately I'm been finding myself winging it more and while it scares me, I just have to remind myself that the worst that can happen isn't the worst thing in the universe. Failure is okay. And sometimes you just don't know until you try.

little loves
 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY TONIIIIIGHT! ♥ the first of the new Doctor Who episodes will be playing at my local theater in August. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pumped ♥ vanilla espresso almond butter on toast as a midnight snack ♥ creeping on everyone's #SDCC pictures and news ♥ getting ready to start Fangirl with the #NovelTeaBookClub ♥ swing dancing birthday shindigs ♥ summer thunderstorms ♥ all of this cool weather we've been having (which means more sweaters for me!) ♥ photographs of the ocean are just so dreamy ♥ dinner at The Porch ♥ running around Oakland and seeing all of the neat new tech Pitt has! 

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NovelTea Book Club: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store Review

I couldn't be more excited to share this video review of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store with you today, Teacups!

Throughout the month of July, the members of the NovelTea Book Club and myself have been reading this novel, and we had a blast discussing all of our theories and thoughts about the story and its stance on digital reading and media (perfect if you want some food for thought on the physical versus e-book debate) and how we read. Or at least I had a blast. I hope they did too.

You can hear my full thoughts on the novel in the video, but I will say that this book is easily at the top of my "Books I Would Recommend to Others In a Heartbeat" list — it's that good!

Did you read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store? Link up below to share your thoughts/blog post/review. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

August's NovelTea Book Club pick is none other than Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. You can pick up a copy of the book from Amazon* or your local library. I do hope you join us on August 1st to get your read on!

*This is an affiliate link, but buying your copy through this link helps me keep My Life as a Teacup in tip-top shape!

Monday, July 28, 2014

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.114

Sneaking Around on the Kitchen Counter
( via Arielle Nadel ) 

abscond v. [ab-ˈskänd]: to go away or escape from a place secretly (via)

The thief absconded with the money from the cash register.

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, July 27, 2014

link love

Readers are the best people to fall in love with. Science says so.
The difference between acrylics and oil paints for those new to painting. Honestly, which I personally favor depends on how patient a mood I'm in!
15 Words and Phrases You're Probably Saying Incorrectly (I hear some of these way too often!)
♥ The Barnes & Noble blog has put together a definitive list of books for all vacation occasions and wow, what a list!
Your choices are not the only right ones.
♥ In honor of Batman Day, here are 10 Reasons Batman is the Perfect Book Nerd
♥ Did you ever wonder what Wordpress theme a site is running? Fear no more - What Wordpress Theme is That? saves the day.
Pedro Pascal and a Sailor Moon wand. Be still my heart.
♥ Xandra of Fashionably Light has launched her very own school for heroines! Live your life & be your own heroine
What YOU can learn about social media from DKNY's PR girl
♥ A thoughtful piece on feminism and expressing your own opinions: Women who are ambivalent about women against women against feminism
♥ I'm fascinated by the French perspective on books.
♥ We've been talking about the social aspects of reading in the Novel Tea Book Club this week, and with Fangirl on the horizon, this look at reading as a social activity fits right in.
Speaking of new ways of reading, another story takes to social media; David Mitchell is tweeting a short story. I'm always intrigued by new mediums, especially those rooted in technology (even if I wasn't a fan of Cloud Atlas or number9dream)
If Book Nerds Ruled The World (Three! And Five! And Eight! And Twelve! ALL OF THEM YESSS!)
♥ I still can't justify services like Oyster or Amazon's new unlimited Kindle service, but this article brings up another side of the discussion: Libraries are not a Netflix for books
Can Full-Time Bloggers Live Off Of Rainbows & Hugs?
♥ And in response to the above article: Are bloggers who make money sell-outs? What do you think? Do sponsored posts and the like irk you?

Find any fun links this week?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Travels: Dry Tortugas

A friend of mine insisted Mum and I go check out the Dry Tortugas while we were in Key West, and frankly, I wasn't sure what to expect. An island 70 miles out at sea? A historic costal (unfinished) Civil War-era fort? The island itself is a national park, housing not only the fort but coral reefs that make for a great snorkeling spot. We took a two-hour long boat ride to the island and spent the day exploring; snorkeling; and sadly, getting sunburnt. It was worth it, though.
Fort Jefferson
Fort Jefferson
On the Dry Tortugas
Through the fort
As fascinating as the fort was, the best part was hands-down the snorkeling! So many different types of coral and fish line the moat (there's totally a moat - can we talk about that for a minute?) wall, and we could've easily spent hours just swimming its length to check out all of the colorful species. I'm pretty sure I bumped into a few fish who I just didn't see swimming towards me, but multitasking isn't my forte.
It's funny how being in a crumbling fort in the middle of the ocean also makes you feel like a pirate.
Been snorkeling before? See anything cool!?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

One of the best and worst things about vacation is coming home. When you do come home, your bed feels ten times more comfortable. That "same old sandwich" that you make for lunch each day tastes a little more exquisite. Old routines seem fresh and new. And yet you still have to unpack and find time to readjust to your old schedule, to come back down from vacation time.

I've been using the past week to do just that; to come back down. There are things I want to do (watch more OITNB), things I should do (plan Linguaphile posts), things I have to do (start planning lessons for the start of school), and things I really don't want to do (like go to the gym) that I'll still do anyway. I just need some time to readjust and frankly, just enjoy summer for what it is, right in this moment.

♥ Lately I've been trying to be more mindful of the now. I chose "now" as my OLW for the year, but haven't been the greatest of upholding it in all of the areas that I would like to. Planning and preparation comes easy to me, but it's hard sometimes to let go and take things as they come. Certain things don't need planned or defined or anything, other than to just be and unfold as they are.

♥ The simplest things bring a smile to my face, like the comic book store that I go to. There's a closer one than Phantom of the Attic, but the guys who work there are so friendly and always take the time to chat. There's plenty of times they've gone out of their way to help me find things or answer questions. More than the awesome help they provide though, it's just incredibly nice to walk into a shop where they know your name. I've not been going there long, but when I swung by yesterday to pick up my haul, I didn't even have to say my name. Take note, anyone in customer service; all it takes is being friendly.

little loves
yesterday was Batman's birthday! ♥ a cup of tea before bed ♥ I'm thrilled to reread Fangirl for the Novel Tea Book Club next month ♥ I'm warming up to the idea of surprises ♥ cool days in the middle of July (when I can sneak into a flannel dress!) ♥ I got a surprise call from my Dad over the weekend asking if I wanted to come by for a dinner of golabki ♥ dinner with friends ♥ participating in Alexis's Geek Girl tag

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Smitten: Ernest Hemingway

The motivating factor of my visiting Key West was seeing Hemingway's house (and cats - don't forget the cats). I could babble on for eternity about the man and his writings, even though I've still not read all of his stories.
Hemingway & Tea
My first encounter with Ernest Hemingway was a bit late in life; sure, I had been forced to read "The Old Man and the Sea" in middle school, but closed its cover rather unimpressed. It was a story about an old man on a fishing trip. Fishing was about as interesting and exciting to me as golf: it was neither interesting nor exciting, not in the least bit. It was boring. And so I didn't think twice about that short story by the textbook-summarized man named Hemingway.

I caught glimpses of his name on "100 Books You Should Read" list for the next few years, but it wasn't until I was studying literature in university that I met Hemingway again, and even then, it was not in the way that you would think.

I had been trying to convince a friend at the time that The Great Gatsby was indeed not a horrid book, but rather lovely and one worthy of reading. After getting sucked in completely, there was a time where I had to get my hands on everything related to The Lost Generation. Enter Hemingway, retake two. By the time I sat down and gave my first novel - The Sun Also Rises - a read, I was completely hooked by his short, terse prose and the tenderness that those simple statements could evoke.

Hemingway is one of those authors you either love or hate. His straightforward prose is not for everyone (and yet the teacher in me is adamant that, love or hate, everyone should be able to identify a Hemingway quote after a single sentence by style alone - it's not as hard as it sounds), but I found myself completely willing to open up my heart to a man who loved fishing and big game and who was an overall early 1900s bro who I probably wouldn't have much in common with. I have no idea how he makes me feel so deeply when his stories are framed in ways that I don't particularly understand (bullfighting? war? Did I mention fishing?).

Just last month I reread "The Old Man and the Sea". I wasn't overly excited going into it as, yes, it is still a story about fishing and, yes, I still find fishing boring; but this time something clicked. Frankly, I don't think any 13-year old can really grasp the complexities of emotion represented in "The Old Man and the Sea", that kind of perseverance and pride; it takes a certain level of worldliness and experience, if you will, to be able to appreciate the short story on more than an "it has themes of perseverance"-level.

I guarantee you, there is no other author who could make me cry over an old man's struggle with adversity, no author who could make something so personally out of touch feel palpable and relevant to a 20-something year old girl in the year 2014.

Hemingway 101: short, simple sentences; lots of 'and's; war/bullfighting/sport; still makes you cry. Want to write like Hemingway? Or perhaps you're living in a Hemingway novel?

Smitten is a biweekly feature where Kristin shares her latest obsessions, be they television shows, a new webseries, intriguing persons, internet memes, or artisanal cheeses. Nothing is off limits. Get your geek on.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hemingway Home & Museum

Usually I try to post about something literary on Tuesdays and with my recent trip, I figured a tour of Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West was more than appropriate! (Plus, I didn't want to inundate you with bajillions of travel photos all at once)
Hemingway House
While Key West wasn't the only place Hemingway lived in his lifetime, he spent 9 years in his Key West home with his wife, Pauline. The big, airy windows are to die for (though, I don't know how even those windows would save you in the crazy heat down there).
The Old Man and the Sea
First Editions
The best part was seeing Hemingway's own studio out back. What I wouldn't give to have my own little writing space like that (though I doubt I'd be as diligent about going to "work" everyday like he was)! Like, Hemingway actually wrote things here - excuse me while I go giddily jump up and down in the corner...
Hemingway's Garden
Hemingway famously salvaged the urinal from his favorite bar during renovations, claiming that he "pissed away most of his money there" and thus should have it (or so the story goes). Needless to say, it's now in Hemingway's garden, even if his wife did attempt to disguise it with Mexican tile.
Hemingway House
But really, the highlight is the cats...
Curled Up
Hemingway apparently owned 50-60 at the time, but now 40-50 descendants of his own polydactyl, six-toed cat live on the grounds and proceed to look adorable all the time.

I'll be posting some more about Hemingway for tomorrow's Smitten, but it was surreal to be on the grounds of not only a famous author's home, but one whose writings I personally love!

Have you visited the Hemingway Home? I always get giddy when I get to visit an author landmark!

Monday, July 21, 2014

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.113

Bright Weeds Beside Cyclone Fence
( via Theen Moy ) 

onerous adj. [ˈō-nə-rəs]: difficult and unpleasant to do or deal with (usually of a task) (via)

After agreeing to help her mother in the garden, Jo was given the onerous task of pulling all of the weeds out of the mulch by hand.

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, July 20, 2014

link love

♥ How adorable is this beach bag DIY from Bookworms in Dresses? If only I had time before vacation...
Joss Whedon Brings Back Firefly (as a doodle). STOP PLAYING WITH MY EMOTIONS!
Thanks to Chocolate & Cream Cake for passing along this Illustrated A-to-Z of Unusual Words. I feel like many of us could get some use out of "scripturient"
Reader's Guilt: I suffer from the malady in many of its forms
♥ I somehow wrangled a month with a personal trainer, and I have a feeling my relationship with cheesy carbs is coming to an end. Imagine how excited I was to hear that my favorite fitness blogger, Cassey Ho of Blogilates, was hosting Quest's "Cooking Clean" series with loads of healthy dessert recipes. I may part with my macaroni & cheese, but I refuse to give up my dessert.
10 Things We Learned About Rainbow Rowell at her Landline Reading
♥ Mia Moore totally nailed it with her latest cosplay - Daenerys Targaryen
♥ In London this summer? Have a seat on one of the city's many book bench sculptures! Have a seat on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Don't mind if I do! (Also: Mary Poppins!)
Why can't I just watch the movie instead of reading the book?
Biographile is featuring a summer series called 'That Summer', featuring stories and memoirs on the season by writers like Margaret Atwood and Emma Straub (which is making me want to write my own memoir/Penumbra-y codex vitae)
♥ The Princess Type, for Good or Ill is a nice exploration of the progress and shortcomings of the princess genre. I'm conflicted myself, having grown up in Disney's second wave of princesses in the 90s; as much as I have nostalgia for the genre, the pros and cons present an interesting look at what princesses stand for and the problems they face.
♥ Hello Nature shares her top 5 business + blogging productivity tools (I've been using DayMap this weekend and am turning into quite a fan!)
♥ What to do when you have too many ideas
♥ I have a habit of hanging on to things forever, and never using them. Exhibit A: cool Project Life cards. I want to save my favorite just in case the perfect opportunity comes to use it. But Sarah of Yes & Yes reminded me why you shouldn't save the good stuff.
9 of the Greatest Cats in Literature
♥ With all of the books, movies, and television shows to keep up with, we've all probably had something spoiled for us at one point or another. Never fear - Dorkly has laid out a step-by-step plan for avoiding spoilers
♥ Don't avoid your troubles, rather turn toward the problem

What links have you discovered lately?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Travels: Key West

Home sweet home! I must say, it feels good to be back in Pittsburgh after spending the past week in Key West. Mum and I had the chance to take a rather impromptu vacation and while it was a much-needed getaway, there's truly no place like home.

I'm not much of a hot weather kinda gal, but made an exception for a visit to see Hemingway's home cats. Let's be honest, that's the main reason I chose Key West. And pie.
Key West
Southernmost Point


Mum and I had the opportunity to go sea kayaking and good news - I didn't float out to the open ocean! If you ever get the chance to go, I'd highly recommend it. As much as I love relaxing on vacation, I'm a firm believer that you need a little adventure, and this was a perfect blend of the two. We got to explore both mangroves and open water, and saw eagle rays, nurse sharks, ibises; and got to hold everything from sea cucumbers to starfish!
SunsetDusk on the Pier
Rather than overwhelm you with photographs, I figure I'll space out my travels into little mini-recaps over the next few days. We had the chance to see quite a few neat things, and while I didn't lose anything in Key West that I need to go back there (it's a bit too hot for me!) Mum and I had a marvelous vacation!

Up next...the Hemingway Home & Museum!

Have you been to Key West? Not a tropical-destination kinda vacationer? Where would you like to visit this summer?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

Our plane arrived yesterday afternoon, meaning that mum's and my little family vacation has officially come to a close. As nice as it was to get away for a few days, like Dorothy says, "There's no place like home". I'll be sharing pictures soon, once I get things unpacked and settled in (and can move my poor sunburned back), but for now here's a bit of what I'm loving, vacation-style:

loves this week:
having time to read copious amounts of books ♥ scaling a fort from the 1800s ♥ vibrant fish and coral spotted while snorkeling ♥ well written YA novels ♥ cuban bread ♥ exploring Hemingway's house and writing studio (and playing with his cats!) ♥ did I mention Hemingway had a lot of cats? ♥ salt water clinging to your hair ♥ kayaking on the open ocean ♥ mangrove wildlife ♥ hidden oasis restaurants ♥ a breezy 60 degree day upon returning home ♥ sleeping in your own bed ♥ when you've been home long enough that both you and your clothing no longer smells like hotel room ♥ familiar territory ♥ getting a second wind ♥ not having sunburn (which is not the current state that I am in) ♥ hammocks ♥ key lime pie for breakfast ♥ boat rides ♥ ocean breezes

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: Since You've Been Gone

Since You've Been Gone
I have a confession:

Somehow, I've been a member of the Internet for years without stepping foot onto YouTube.

Sure, I've looked at the occasional cat video and watched a few John Green Crash Course Literatures, but until recently, I've never delved into the world that is subscriptions and channels and all sorts of wonderful creations.

Naturally, this whole missing-out thing included the Booktube phenomenon (phenomenon? Community? Subset? Fabulousness? All of the above? All of the above.)

And so here I am, a latecomer to the YouTube game, realizing that I can solve my dilemma of not bogging down my blog with book review after book review while still helping you find books you love. Sure, I'm bumbling around a bit as I learn the ins and outs of video blogging and editing, but I'm excited to finally have a place to reflect more deeply on the books that I read and share the awesome ones with you!

You'll still find all sorts of book-related goodness here on My Life as a Teacup, but I don't want this blog to become a space where all I do is review books; I want to write meaningful content that can help you become a more active reader, better writer, and more tech-savvy/cultured/confident human being. I can't deny my love of books though, which is why I've started an official YouTube channel for My Life as a Teacup, where you can get the scoop on my latest reads and recommendations (and who knows, maybe some fun book tags in the future!).

I won't always be cross-posting my videos here to the blog, but I loved Morgan Matson's Since You've Been Gone enough that I felt it was warranted. Without further ado, I present the very first My Life as a Teacup video book review!

Props to Jess for the new logo design! You'll be seeing these more often shortly!

*This post uses affiliate links. This book strike your fancy? Use this link to make your purchase and help support My Life as a Teacup!

Want more book reviews and recommendations? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get the latest! (Seriously, have you seen my reading pile lately?)

Monday, July 14, 2014

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.112

( via Jenny Downing ) 

ebb v, n. [eb]: the flowing back of the tide as the water returns to the sea; a point of decline; recede (via)

It was calming to walk the beach in the early hours of the morning, with no sounds but that of the light ebb and flow of the waves.

Other things can ebb and flow (time, energy, feelings) aside from waves, but I'm feeling particularly beachy today :) Keep up with my Key West adventures on Instagram!

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, July 13, 2014

link love

Greetings from Key West! I may be kicking back on the beach, who am I kidding, I'm totally at Hemingway's playing with his cats, but I couldn't leave you hanging without some amusement for your weekend...

♥ Prepare for my favorite thing on the Internet ever: Sorting 19th Century British Novelists Into Hogwarts Houses
♥ In case you haven't heard, J.K. Rowling released a new Harry Potter story. Okay, short story. Newspaper clipping. But it's NEW!
♥ And in more Harry Potter-related news, Emma Watson was just appointed ambassador for UN Women
♥ Douglas Adams on how to make a proper cup of tea - always handy!
♥ Science really is fascinating: We would rather do anything than sit and think for 15 minutes.
31 Places Bookworms Would Rather Be Right Now
♥ A not commonly argued stance on why you shouldn't write in books (I can see many pros/cons to both stances, but when it comes down to it, it's just something I do periodically - no biggie in my eyes)
Why must dudes ruin perfectly good superheroine and action franchises with their requests for diversity?
♥ The weirdest/best Japanese Doctor Who parody.
♥ Fan fiction takes a lot of heat, but from a writer's standpoint, I can see the benefits just as much as I get caught up in hopeful story continuations (in the sense of wanting more out of the world; not rewriting endings or wanting characters to hook up). Fan fiction is more than words - its about worlds.

Some days I just want to get on a plane to the UK and not come home. Don't tempt me, Internet...For now I'll just have to live with this awesome primer aka YouTube channel. 

What fun links have you found this week?