Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On Wednesdays, when our computer is still out of commission, we post fiction from the drafts files (although it's actually more of a paragraph of thought) and hope our readers don't judge us too harshly :) It hasn't be edited, and it also hasn't been looked at since it was jotted down in a haze of confusion on a post it sometime last fall. We hope to have the computer fixed by tomorrow, but in the spirit of consistency, we present a post dug from the archives of 2013. I'll stop using the enigmatic 'we' now, we think's it's creepy.

It kinda felt like drowning. Like being held under water, but no one was holding you. You can see the surface, and the calm of the water after the crash of each wave beckons you, dares you even, to break through. Just beneath the surface of the water, you can feel the sunlight on your face if you tilt your chin towards it. It warms you as you float within the cool ocean waters. Even though you feel the warmth of possibility, even though you see the opportunity, even though no one is holding you back, you don't reach, you don't even try. You allow the depth of the ocean floor to pull you down deeper. You let the passing of each second become an opportunity lost. You see it happening, in fact, you watch it. You are powerless against it. Yet, who but you could ever have the power to remove the invisible weight you've placed upon yourself? No one's coming to rescue the girl who doesn't want to be saved.

Another Reason I'm Irresponsible.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Before I tell you what makes me a completely irresponsible nincompoop this week, I first have to explain how I got into this situation in the first place. 

Almost 3 years ago (goodness this is worse than I thought), I fell into my bed drunk as a skunk after a few drinks with some law school friends. Sometime in the middle of the night, I jumped out of my captain bed to pee. I remember hearing a crunch, kind of like the way a chip sounds under the sole of a shoe, but thought nothing of it, stumbling into the bathroom and then back into bed. For a while, I was clueless. Then, during some law class, I approached my computer at an angle and saw what literally stopped me in my tracks. Running diagonally across my screen was the largest spidery crack I could imagine. You know when you drop your iPhone face-down, cursing it as it slips from your fingertips and praying it's ok as you pick it up, only to discover you've annihilated your screen? It was that feeling. I cursed not-so-under my breath, prayed I was imagining things and then felt my stomach drop as I dragged my fingers across the jagged edge of the crack. 

Oh but my irresponsibility doesn't stop there, my friends. You couldn't really see the crack if you were sitting in front of the screen and the computer was running fine so I didn't bother getting it fixed. 
For 2+ YEARS. I got so use to it I forget it's there unless someone points it out. 

But guess what? It doesn't end there. In case you don't follow me on Twitter and so don't know already, last Thursday, dear ol' cracked faithful croaked on me. When I turned it on, it booted up but then the screen went black. So who was staring at a black screen crying because she has 5 years worth of documents, pictures, etc., which she never backed up, stored on a computer that is no longer living? This girl, this stupid, irresponsible girl. I swear, I feel like Carrie Bradshaw during that episode when her computer crashed and she's freaking out because she didn't even know what "backing up" meant. Except I'm not Carrie, this is not 1999, and I know better. I repeat, irresponsible. Irresponsibility all around. 

So until I get my computer fixed (when I will hopefully find out the fate of my docs and such), posts may be weirdly formatted (I come to you from my phone today) or lacking. Bear with me, lovelies. 

Color My Mind 'Immaculate Conception'

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Color Is Your Mind? Strangest opening line ever, huh? I thought the same thing when I stumbled across this quiz, but then intrigue got the best of me, and by the time I hit the 'submit' button I was convinced the cheesy response would be "the world may never know." Serves me right for being so gullible.

Apparently, my mind is purple, which means:
Of all the mind types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.
At first glance, I read most of these fantastical qualities as negative ones. What do you mean my dreams are intense? Does that imply they're crazy pipe dreams that will never happen? On what planet could preferring fictional characters to real ones be a good thing? Are they implying that I'd rather live a fictional life? Screw the quiz-creating gods. Something about the results made me feel like that "eccentric" woman who lives down the hallway with 9 cats, which you only know about because you hear the wailing and clawing at the walls late at night. I am not that woman - I'm allergic to cats.

So I took the quiz again. Purple. Shit. Now that I had to accept that this was not a fluke but rather just the color of my maniacal mind, I tried to think about whether these things were true instead of whether they were "positive." Resounding yes.

As an example (I may have posted about this before), I was quite the child. I wasn't a rebellious child per se, but I had my own ideas and would stifle them for no one. At the age of about 6, while other girls in class responded to the "what do you want to be when you grow up" question with talk of weddings and babies and houses and girly things, I informed everyone that I wanted to be a rockstar. I'd have a baby girl of course, a daughter whom I'd take with me everywhere I went, including on stage to belt out my songs. I'd travel from place to place so everyone could hear my voice and see my baby. But that's it. No house, no picket fence, no white frilly dress, and no husband. No baby daddy. Just me and my immaculately conceived baby girl. What in G-d's name?? Wild, amazing thoughts? Intense dreams and fantasies? Check. I was a weird kid.

My idealism didn't stop there. It carried on into middle school and high school on the wings of Harry Potter novels and blank notebooks waiting to be filled. Like any other teenager, my home life was "unsatisfying" (Breakfast Club reference, anyone?), so at times, I preferred living vicariously through others or in the worlds I created myself. I sound like a nut, I blame it on teen angst. I read incessantly and filled notebook upon notebook with my ideas. In short, I spent "a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for [myself]." That particular notebook (pictured above) still sits on my bookshelves and I open it from time to time but to see how far my writing has come along.

Even now, I enjoy making extensive lists. I list things I need to do, planning everything out on Sunday nights in my beautiful Erin Condren Life Planner; I have a never-ending list of books to read and places to visit. I have a file in my computer under my name, consisting of pictures of hair styles I'd love to have, wardrobes I'd die for, goals I need to complete, routines I want to set in place - basically, any and everything I need to become the person I've always wanted to be. Actually, I'm big on that. I spend a substantial amount of time thinking about the woman I want to be and crafting a way to get there. Even the boundaries of my current life, my current self, are not enough to check my creative and inventive mind.

Go figure. Looks like my mind's purple afterall, and turns out it's not so bad. What color is your mind? Scroll up to find out and let me know what you think of your results in the comments below!

Chick-Flick Movies I'll Never Tire of Watching

Monday, July 14, 2014

I've been MIA for so long I can even remember the last time I posted. Blogger says it was like 2 weeks ago but it feels like so much longer than that. Recently, I've been wrapped up in reading like a mad woman and, you know, just life's happenings in general. If I'm being honest, there's been a short supply of blog ideas in this head of mine and whenever I do start working on a post, I think "eh, no one wants to read this shit" and delete it. Basically, I lost my bloggy mojo. But this weekend, while browsing blogs, I felt left out. Left out of this blogging community that I really wanted to be a part of but felt so disconnected to these past two weeks because I was posting so infrequently. So I brainstormed post ideas, made a list of ones I thought were interesting enough for publication and I'm back on this blog of mine with new dedication, if you will.

With all that said, you'd think I had time for nothing else this weekend. You'd be wrong. Last night, I was pleasantly surprised to find A Walk To Remember on Lifetime and was instantly transported to my 14th year of life and my kind of unhealthy obsession with all things Shane West (seriously though, he was and still is so damn sexy). I could watch that movie a bagillion times without ever getting tired of it. Then, I thought there's quite a few chick-flick-y films that I could, and have, re-watched so many times and loved them just the same each time. (Sings "It feels like the first time...") And so here we are, with a list of movies I'll never get tired of. Let me know if I miss any!

If you were born in the 80's and haven't seen or don't love Clueless, we can't be friends. For real, I don't think it's possible not to love this movie, even though I was only 7 when it came out. It's less than 20 years old, but feels like a classic girl's night in film, the ultimate chick flick.

Breakfast At Tiffany's 
As if this classic wasn't going to make the list! I love quite a few Audrey Hepburn movies, but I can never pass up an opportunity to see this movie. Holly Golightly + her amazing fashion sense + New York City + Cat. What's not to love?

Pride & Prejudice 
Maybe it's because I just love this book or maybe it's because Mr. Darcy melts my heart, but I've watched this film adaptation at least half-a-dozen times since I read the novel last December.

The Breakfast Club 
I know it's not really a "chick-flick", but it's my favorite movie ever so I had to include it. I didn't want to flood this list with all movies Molly Ringwald, but it's safe to assume I could watch anything with her or any other Brat Pack member in it, including 16 Candles and Pretty In Pink (Duckie!).

A Walk To Remember and The Notebook 
Both film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks books with dreamy male leads of the the hot, early 2000s variety, I watch these films every time I catch them on television. When I really think about it, there's something depressing about the endings of both of these stories, yet I love watching the love develop anyway. And of course, I cry every single time.  

Devil Wears Prada 
It's much more humorous than lovey-dovey, but still a favorite. Part of what makes this movie so addicting, aside from the stellar performances of Anne Hathaway and the timeless Meryl Streep, is the inside look at the fashion world. Who knew blue was so serious?

Mean Girls 
This might be one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Seriously. I laugh-cry through the entire thing every time I watch it. And I quote it, quite frequently, just because.

Dirty Dancing 
It was the beginning of all the "falling in love" dance movies (like Step Up which I also really like). Bad boy meets good girl who just wants to dance, and helps her overcome the non-believers, partnering with her for one stellar final performance. It's an irresistible combination. Plus, Swayze was a stud.

Now I know you're thinking "what is this movie doing on a chick-flick list?" Sure, it's a much darker film (bordering on wildly inappropriate in some ways) about cliques, featuring a suicide obsessed male lead and the one and only Winona Ryder as his female lead and accomplice. But it's also a really witty film that makes me laugh while commenting on pretty serious topics, and I just love it.

The Princess Diaries 
A novice Anne Hathaway and a seasoned veteran in Julie Andrews, it's the feel good story of the nerdy outcast who finds out she's actually royalty, basically every teenager's fantasy.

10 Things I Hate About You 
Even though, there's a sadness to seeing Heath Ledger on the screen as singing and swoon-worthy, I still love this movie. The younger sister's storyline is pretty funny, and I love how hard Heath works to win Julia Stiles over. And can you imagine having to wear "the belly"? :)

The Wedding Planner 
Starring J.Lo in her prime and Matthew McConaughey right when he achieved heart-throb status, moments from this film will always stay with me. Like the fact that brown M&Ms have less artificial coloring because chocolate's already brown.

Sex And The City 
Let's not pretend as though I haven't already expressed my love for these ladies. Any excuse to watch my girls take on the City one last time!

Crazy, Stupid, Love 
Hilarious and super cute, between Emma Stone's witty one-liners and Ryan Gosling's greek god bod, I can't get enough of this movie.

I shouldn't have to explain this. You should just know.

When I compiled this list, I included all kinds of movies, and narrowed it down to chick-flicks later. So, my original list included quite a few Disney movies like Parent Trap, Mighty Ducks, and Brink (but of course!). That's not really relevant to the post but I felt like I had to inform you of my love for Disney channel movies. It's only right.

What movies could you watch over and over again?

2% Milk Manicure.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sure, it's summertime and I should probably be covering my nails in brightly-colored varnish. But I can't deny my love of neutrals. It's clearly not enough that my room is mostly white and that my living room is decked out in browns and whites, I've got to have neutral nails too. And recently, I've been all about Wet n Wild's Megalast polish in 2% Milk. I don't even like milk but I love this shade!

The Wet n Wild Megalast collection of polishes is an amazing line. I have quite a few and they have yet to disappoint. The brush is large, which makes it really easy to cover my entire nail with a few quick strokes, and the colors range from perfectly neutral to wonderfully vibrant. And they're less than two bucks a bottle! 

For me, this color runs a sort of "my nails but better" shade, but then in certain lights, it takes on a pinkish that I adore. The only downside to 2% Milk is that it's pretty freakin' sheer. The polish applies wonderfully, perfectly coating my nails, but I needed to use three coats to get the opaqueness below. It's really no bother to me, so I love it anyway! 

Because one is never enough, tell me about some beautiful nude/neutral polishes you love in the comments below!

Binge-Reading All The Wrong Books?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

So, I missed the first month's check-in for the Semi-Charmed Book Challenge. Not that I would've had much to report (I didn't read very much in May). But I'm checking-in for the second month with suboptimal progress, but nonetheless, checking-in.

I crafted my preliminary challenge list strategically, keeping in mind the books I wanted to read and fitting them into the categories, so that this wouldn't happen. It's weird. I've been reading like a mad woman, but I've so little headway regarding this challenge. I got sucked into the vortex that is The Mortal Instruments and could pick up nothing else for nearly a month. And I still have yet to break out of the YA bubble. (I like my bubble!)

I've only completed two of the challenge categories, totaling 60 points:
  • 15 points for We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (book read by another blogger)
  • 20 points for The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  • 25 points for Cress by Marissa Meyer
I can't say I'm disappointed in that progress though, at least not in general. I've read 8 books this past month, which averages to a book every 4 days or so. I haven't devoured novels like this for years. I do, however, plan to read at least two of the books on my challenge list very soon. Attachments is the To Fill Up & Live BookClub book of the month for July, and if I don't read Great Gatsby soon, I'm not sure I ever will. I've also heard so many good things about Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, so that may be moving up on the TBR list as well. And book! So many books, so little time :)

Off I go to continue re-watching (aka binge-watching) Gossip Girl season 2. My addictive personality is showing I know.

What have you read recently? Are you participating in any reading challenges?

To Fill Up & Live BookClub | The Fault In Our Stars

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I've mentioned it a bagillion times, but it's finally here. The last Thursday of the month, a.k.a. the day I (and Kay!) review the book of the month. If you haven't seen my 76 plugs over the last month, click here for all the info (there will also be a page on my blog shortly). Also if you've reviewed this book, link your post in the comments below. And so, as I ramble a bit in this review, we're cutting this introduction short: Join the bookclub, please :)

Title: The Fault In Our Stars

Author: John Green

Publication: 2012

Main Plot:
For Hazel, her cancer diagnosis might as well have been her death sentence, but after a miracle treatment, she has much more time on her hands than she'd expected. Little did she know, that time would be filled with people and adventures she'd never forget. Little did she know it'd be infinite.

Favorite Quote(s):
"You're so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are."

"Come quickly, I am tasting the stars." (what Dom PĂ©rignon said after inventing champagne)

"What am I at war with? ... My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They're made of me as surely as my brain and my heart are made of me. It's a civil war [...], with a predetermined winner."

"So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay."

"Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth."

Basically, the last 4 pages of the damn novel!

My Rating: 5 or infinity.
How do I even write a review of this book? I'm searching for the words to describe what I'm feeling but nothing feels right beneath my fingertips. Instead, my hands have been hanging over the keyboard, not unlike Tyrannosaurus Rex hands, as I search for something to say. So instead of trying to write a review worthy of this novel, I'm just going to write, and hope like hell it's not a total fail and that most of you don't quit reading 1/4 of the way in.

It's been a little over 3 weeks since I finished this book, 2 weeks since I saw the movie, which gave me plenty of time to think about what I feel and plenty of time to forget the story in a way. Yet, still, after plowing through five Mortal Instruments books, I haven't forgotten it at all. Everything is still vivid in my mind, including the fact that the day after seeing the movie, I figured out how I feel about this novel. I hate it. I hate it because it was beautiful and it ended.

The novel opens perfectly. "Late in the winter of my seventeen year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death. Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying." From the first three sentences, I knew everything I needed to know about our narrator, Hazel Grace Lancaster, and I absolutely loved her. It was clear that despite the fact that having cancer sucked, she was going to narrate this story how she saw it: a inevitable, unchangeable state of being that she had accepted and was going to live with for as long as her lungs decided to carry her.

In the past, I commented that I was jealous of the writing of a few authors. But, holy shit, I wish I wrote like John Green. There is just something about the way his sentences are crafted; they aren't overwrought or over-thought or over- anything. They aren't under- anything, either. It's fluid, but simple and complex at the same time. Conversational yet descriptive and poetic all at once. I never had to reread a sentence or paragraph to understand it, unless of course I wanted to, which I frequently did. There is an ease to his writing that I cannot explain. I adore it the way that I adore Jane Austen's prose. I sound like the biggest Nerdfighter right now, and there are probably some people out there groaning over my John Green praise, but I can't help it. He's become an auto-buy author for me. In the words of Hazel Grace, I'd read his grocery list.

It has been criticized that Hazel and Augustus are "too mature for their age" based on the way they speak throughout the novel. I reread a few passages to see why I didn't sense this "too mature" thing while I was reading. I think it's because Hazel's narrating voice, the one in her head, isn't like that. She describes her lungs as "suck[ing] at being lungs" and tells them to "keep [their] shit together". Her support group blows and is "depressing as hell". And in the first chapter, she thinks Augustus is "dead sexy" (I'm inclined to agree). It was only in the dialogue that I noticed a maturity in their voices that seemed beyond their years, which didn't strike me as an error in character development as much as a smart teenager trying to sound even smarter. I'm not so far removed from high school that I don't remember using big words and trying to sound sophisticated. So for me, this adds to the "normalcy" of these characters.  

I didn't relate directly to this book. I'm cancer-free, which I now realize is something worth thinking about and thanking my stars for everyday instead of complaining about my everyday life. (Not that I wasn't thankful for everything in my life before but still...) Yet in some ways, I envy the characters in this book. Many reviewers consider this novel to be a sad one, and while, they're not wrong I can't label it that. Sure, there were sad moments. Admittedly, I cried for 1/3 of both the book and the movie, and when I say cry, I mean uncontrollable-tears-I-forgot-tissues-thank-goodness-I-wasn't-wearing-makeup sobbing. In fact, this novel broke my heart. But it also made me feel good. I laughed until my stomach muscles spazzed, until I cried from the laughter; I smiled so hard my cheeks hurt; and I longed for the relationships the characters had with each other - well, all but one (I'm looking at you, Van Houten!).

Overall, for me, the message of The Fault In Our Stars was this: It could be so much worse, and even so, it's not actually that bad at all; it's actually kind of beautiful.

Have you read the book? If so, talk to me in the comments below.


Oh & the book for July is: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. There will be an update on the Goodreads page and I'll probably mention it again at the beginning of the month, but there you have it!