Sunday, 29 July 2012

Carpe Diem

The sun is leaving us in golden brilliance, evening is coming, and the air in my house has expanded with the smell of raspberries. Two days ago was a quick shopping trip in the States, yesterday was small town shops and antiques, and this afternoon found me in the kitchen making raspberry jam. Besides quaint summer goings-on, I've also been watching the Olympics like crazy. The one event I didn't see but so wished I had was the women's synchro diving finals, in which Canada took a first place finish. Hopefully Team Canada can keep rolling on this momentum.

A couple of nights ago now, I watched the 1989 film "Dead Poets Society." I actually chose this film because I wanted to make a comparison to another I'd recently re-watched, "Mona Lisa Smile" (review here). Both are period films, set in the 50s-60s era, featuring students of gender-exclusive schools whose lives are powerfully shaped by forward-thinking teachers. While Robin Williams' character John Keating isn't swimming against the stream in such an obvious way as Julia Roberts' Katherine Ann Watson (who attempts to reshape women's idea of their place in the home and society at large), other issues and pressures are successfully brought to the forefront. My title today is the central message of the film which Keating attempts to instill in his pupils. Seizing the day is not an easy task for all of them as they repeatedly come up against the confines of their school system and their own desires are abandoned for those of their parents.

I have many more films and novels on my summer list to get through, so stay tuned for reviews and recommendations. Analyzing "Dead Poets Society" and the more recently made "Mona Lisa Smile" was a really interesting exercise, besides both of them being excellent films on their own merit. I guess when it comes to summer movie watching, there are two universal truths: nobody puts Baby in a corner, and that my inner academic will not be contained.

What did you do/read/watch/listen to this weekend? Have you been keeping up with the Olympics?


Saturday, 28 July 2012

No, that's why it's WORTH so much

Today's quotation comes from the beloved 1998 film, "You've Got Mail." I was inspired to write the following after rewatching this movie last night, so continue reading, if you please.

Tonight I watched "You've Got Mail." Kathleen Kelly and her Shop Around the Corner made me realize something. I want to write. Not in the journalistic style of a blog, but in the way I longed for smooth pencils and clean lined notebooks back in third grade. Last summer I was visiting Toronto, Ontario when I happened to pass by the Scholastic publishing house. Even such a short time ago, I had been unsure of my path, only knowing that I did not want to teach. The life-size Clifford charging up the wall behind the staircase, visible through the glass-fronted establishment, seemed to point me right to it: you will be an editor. You will not write a book of your own (I acknowledged this as meant to be and not in a self-deprecating way), but you will help others. You will give them the chance that no other has given and you will make them happy.

I do not necessarily feel that when it comes to jobs one may be worth less and another more, but now I feel I could do more. And I think children's literature could do that for me as well. These are the stories that teach us who, where, and why we are. They demonstrate the value of hope, the depth of love, and the possibility of magic. They make us smile and they make us cry. They make me wish I had enrolled in the Children's Literature course. Do you want to know something shocking? I didn't take it because it is one of the few English courses that DON'T ACTUALLY COUNT towards my degree. As an English major. I've never really been bothered by this before, instead just mindlessly avoided the class, selecting instead Renaissance Lit or the History of Theory and Criticism (that was mandatory, by the way), but now it strikes me (no pun intended) as a slap in the face to authors who write to a young audience. If schools of academics and the intellectuals of our future, and in the same discipline as many of these writers no less, don't take them seriously, who will?

The answer that comes to me is of course, the children. There will always be the children learning to love, read, and be inspired by the people who have said "You know what, Department of English? Children's literature is worth something to ME."


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A paperclip and pin and a tiny violin

This post's title is something a little different for me; instead of my usual novel quotation, I've used song lyrics. These lyrics come from "Clean" by the band Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, who I mentioned finding out about in my last post. Between reading, writing, and watching films, I've been quickly getting addicted to their brilliantly unique sound.

I've watched two amazing, and vastly different films over the past couple of days. The first of these is "Brick," a modern take on the '40s film noir, also categorized as "neo-noir." This movie is so far from anything I've ever seen before (anything current, because it is undeniably Hammett-esque) and it surprised me throughout at how well it worked. Going into it, I expected the hard-boiled detective speak to come off as forced and somewhat ridiculous. However, the language as well as the physical performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt were entirely and spellbindingly convincing. If you're a fan of classic films like "The Maltese Falcon" and/or JGL, I would heartily recommend this as a must-see movie.

The other film is one I mentioned taking out from the library over a week ago now (mentioned here): Roberto Rossellini's "Il Generale della Rovere." This is a serious Italian-language WWII film, but actually less violent than "Brick." The film stars Vittorio de Sica as a crafty Italian con man who finds himself in a tough spot when caught in his fraudulant act by the Gestapo. He is compelled to impersonate and enter prison as a valuable Italian general whom the Nazis have mistakenly killed. The film is all about "Il Generale"'s moral evolution from con man to a man of strength and conscience.

On the lighter side of things, I have a new NOTD to show you. As some of you may already know, I've been looking for a nice pale pink polish (read here) and finally managed to settle on Essie's "Fiji." However, the store where I planned to buy it were all out of this shade (and just this shade. . . of all the rotten luck!). Rather than traipsing all over town for one measly nail polish, I've used a darker, sparklier pink that I already owned.
"Rose Petals"

Are there any detective story lovers in the audience? Ever since I took an English course in Mystery and Detective Fiction, I've been looking for new recommendations as far as literature in the same genre.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

I wanted to be supportive but throw up at the same time

I find myself needing to quote "Gilmore Girls" yet again to come up with a fitting title for this post. A similar feeling to today's quotation is what I anticipated being overcome with yesterday. I spent the day with family, which unexpectedly included one relative's boyfriend (whom I had never previously met). Before you all get the idea that I harbour any negative ideas towards any family member or their plus-ones, let me remind you that I only thought I might have the feeling expressed in this post's title. Luckily, everyone behaved themselves and there was no awkward couple-ness going on.

Potential family drama averted, the group of us had a great time at a local festival, followed by dinner and games. We're definitely a big family for games. I also heard some great music performed while we were out, including one band called "Olenka and the Autumn Lovers," who I'm definitely going to look into further.

Here are some quick pictures of what I generally looked like. It was pretty hot out and we were pressed for time with family visiting and getting to and from the festival, so I don't have nice shots like I usually do. My top was worn in a slightly different way here. You can't see it in these pictures, but I've tied the belt in a bow at the back because I find it cuts me strangely to wear it wrapped around the top in the way it was intended to be. I paired it with some simple white shorts and no jewellery other than the earrings you see pictured.

On the film and literature front, I'm still working my way through Byatt and am halfway through two different movies: "Brick" and "Il Generale della Rovere." All three will be reviewed here upon their completion.

What did you get up to this weekend? Have you come across any great music lately? Let me know!


Friday, 20 July 2012

The poet in the grip of the divine madness

Today's bizarre quotation is taken from my current read: A. S. Byatt's The Shadow of the Sun. I'm feeling a bit in the grip of "the divine madness" myself as so many crazy and wonderful things have been happening lately! I've been getting through this novel at a slow, but steady rate, so hopefully I can present all of you with a fresh book review sometime next week! Speaking of books, I put in an order on Amazon today. If you've been reading my posts for a while, it should be fairly transparent to you that I am an equal lover of fashion and literature. Although I major in English at university, I don't set books aside come summer holidays. I've been plowing through my reading list this year and have already managed to complete 10 novels (Byatt's will be numero undici [#11]). However, school is not nearly so far away as it was two months ago (funny how that works) and I'm starting to turn my attention back to mandatory readings and textbook lists.

From Amazon I ordered one novel I know I'll be reading in my fall American lit course: Herman Melville's Moby Dick. This thrills me on so many levels. First of all, you know how I love a good classic; Faulkner, Hemingway, and James have all made appearances on my reading list so far this season. Second of all, I love the television show "Gilmore Girls" (more on my obsession here) and ordering Moby Dick takes me back to the very first episode of the series. Rory is in the middle of her first awkward conversation with Dean (how many times does she end up saying "cake"?!) and as the topic swings over to books she tells him "[she knows] it's kind of cliché to pick Moby Dick as your first Melville. . ." Besides the fact that I needed to buy this novel for school, I felt instinctively better knowing that it had the Rory Gilmore stamp of approval; even if it is a cliché.

The other book I bought is actually not for reading. "A book not for reading?!" I hear you exclaim, "How can it be so?" Well, I'm also an avid piano player (saying "an avid pianist" will just never sound quite right to me) and I was in need of some new material. What I'm about to tell you may make some of you cringe, but bear with me and I'll explain. I bought the piano book for the "Breaking Dawn: Part 1" soundtrack. I know this is not exactly a best-loved series of books or films, but to clarify, the soundtracks compiled for these movies are typically AMAZING. I kid you not. As in, the musical selections from these films introduced me to both Florence + the Machine and Muse. According to Amazon, I shouldn't be getting either of my books for a good three weeks, but at the risk of calling them dirty liars, I find my orders typically arrive much sooner than that.

I'm planning on hitting up a great little festival in my city tomorrow, so I should have a fresh post complete with OOTD sometime this weekend. I would put it up straight away, but I have family coming to visit as well, so my blog may have to take the backburner for a day or two.

What are your plans this weekend? Do you get overly excited buying books, or purchasing anything online for that matter?


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Standing out as though sugared

Today's title is an adapted quotation from A. S. Byatt's The Shadow of the Sun, which I am currently reading. I found the idea of something "sugared" a pleasant one, evoking sweetness and a sort of frozen brilliance; the arrested beauty of the rose from "Beauty and the Beast" comes to mind. I spent this morning dealing in equal parts with something "frozen" and "brilliant." At my mother's behest, I was out picking raspberries at a local farm. Seeing as this has been the first cooler day for a while, it felt quite comfortable to be out in shorts and a t-shirt. However, this sensation quickly evaporated as the weather turned from just pleasantly cool to pouring down rain. I was totally drenched and chilled to the bone, but at least I have a whole container of fresh raspberries to show for it!
I took this early one just to demonstrate how amazing this mascara is! The flash made the colour a bit stark. Face: MAC select SPF 15 foundation in NW15; Sonia Kashuk beautifying blush in "Flamingo"
Eyes: a purpley-taupe from the E.L.F. everyday basic palette; Lancôme hypôse drama mascara in "Black"; E.L.F. liner in "Brown"

Luckily, I wasn't planning on taking any OOTD pictures outdoors today because the weather would definitely have spoiled that idea before it even got off the ground. Instead, I'll leave you with some quick FOTD shots I took to go with the outfit images I posted yesterday.

Lips: EOS lip balm in "Sweet Mint" (because the lipstick is a bit drying); MAC creamsheen lipstick in "Speak Louder"
Hope you're all staying warm and dry! Do you have any plans for getting outdoors this weekend?


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The KISS principle

The title of this post is not a quotation. I'll give you a second to get over the shock. Aaand we're back. It's actually a nifty little saying I picked up from my father, who, working in the business of advertising and graphic design, is full of such tips, tricks, and tools of the trade. In this case, "KISS" (very unromantically) stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid! It's funny, catchy, and a great reminder that the simplest thing/plan/idea is often the best. I like to think this same idea is one I apply (no pun intended) when putting on makeup or compiling items for an outfit. I try to find pieces that are interesting, but still an organic part of my style.
Top: Monteau via TJMaxx; Necklace: Forever 21
Skirt: Forever 21; Shoes: Enzo Angiolini via TJMaxx
In today's outfit, I've paired a neutral top with a bright coral (surprise, surprise) skirt. If you'd like to learn more about my love of coral, including the explanation behind my blog's title, please click here! The top is clean and simple with straight lines and little detail, but I absolutely loved it when I saw it. It sort of reminds me of being on safari (not that I've ever been on safari. . . you know what I mean). The skirt is likewise simply cut, but also includes a scalloped hem, which I think is a beautiful feminine touch. The gold of my necklace is picked up in the detail on my sandals, and both include a great piece-y geometric look.


Monday, 16 July 2012

Pain like this seems inseparable from perfection

Allow me first off to clarify that today's titular quotation does not refer to any sort of physical injury I've sustained or personal trauma I've encountered since last I wrote. The line comes from L. M. Montgomery's Anne's House of Dreams and the feeling of pain is meant to be connected to an intense sensation experienced upon seeing something very beautiful; also referred to by Anne as "the queer ache." This juxtaposition in feelings is something extremely enjoyable for me in literature and film. It lends a satisfying tension to the work and often composes that illusive feeling of being moved by what you read or watch.

Something similar to this feeling exists in the film I watched last night: Carlos Saura's "Don Giovanni." You may already be familiar with this title as the famous opera. The film gives a sort of fictionalized background as to said opera's creation by composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and lyricist Lorenzo Da Ponte. If you've read my review of "Il Deserto Rosso" (here), you can easily imagine how a colourful, vibrant, period film like this would stand in stark contrast. For the overarching effect of a large, brilliant spectacle, you could likely find similarities in films such as "The Phantom of the Opera" (I'm thinking of the 2004 Gerard Butler version). However, I was impressed by a few unique production choices made in "Don Giovanni" that did an excellent job of echoing the feeling of watching a live onstage performance.

Blocking (placement of characters within the space) was done to a tee and a couple of times further accentuated through the use of tableau. If you're up on your classic films, I think you could compare this tableau and posed crowd effect to the race scene in "My Fair Lady." The other effect that I found very interesting was the use of screens. Occasionally, a printed screen would be used as the backdrop, both in rooms and outdoor settings. They were clearly artificial, but gave a strong feeling of watching a play within a play (or, to be more accurate, an opera within a film). Once, the audience's attention was even specifically drawn to the artificiality of the backgrounds as a character remarked that he was looking after the books in an illustrious library; all of the walls in the library, including the shelves as well as the books upon them, were nothing but hanging backdrops. Screens were used again to achieve extremely smooth transitions between scenes. The scene you were watching would seem to take place in a solid building, then the lights would dim, while other lights on the opposite side of the wall would raise revealing the wall to have been only a screen the whole time. The camera would film the newly illuminated figures on the other side of the screen through the transparent backdrop until switching camera angles to bring the back room into the forefront.

Now for a little of something else I promised you in my last post. I've really been trying hard to take good care of my skin lately. My blog deals a lot with many different areas, but beauty products are definitely one of my interests. In that vein, we most often come across blogs focusing on skincare for the face alone. I can tell you what sort of products I do use on my face if you're interested, but today's review will actually be dealing with body products instead. The Body Shop has had a summer sale on (it still is on online, I'm not sure about in-store) so I swung by and picked up a couple of items. One of these is their body scrub in "Mango," which did not disappoint in terms of providing a scent true to its name. This scrub smells so fantastic you'll have to stop yourself from grabbing a spoon and just shovelling the contents into your mouth. Honestly, it does smell THAT good. Besides the scent, this product has been working really well for me so far. It's quite a thick texture, but I find that you can work it in decently well, even on dry skin. It claims to be for very dry skin, which is great because it doesn't leave your skin feeling super worn out, but rather soft and moisturized instead.
I wish you guys could smell this stuff! UH-mazing.
To seal in the feeling of goodness the scrub leaves on my skin, I then lather on Lubriderm's Advanced Therapy Lotion. I've only been using these products for a little while, but my skin feels amazing, and it smells pretty good too!!
Oops! I didn't realize how blurry this was!


Sunday, 15 July 2012

His life, though vivid, was largely a dream

The quotation for this post comes from E. M. Forster's A Passage to India. Today's composition will be my 27th blog entry; not exactly a typical landmark, but it did strike me as I was beginning to write this that almost every one of these posts has been introduced with a quotation. Repetition is a wonderful thing- the more I say, think, or write something, the more likely I am to remember it for ages and ages. I've always delighted in recording lines from books. Events in real life often recall almost-forgotten song lyrics. The frequency with which I introduce film speeches into everyday conversation is almost obscene. When I see all of my past titles lined up along the side of my blog, it's like a row of little gems I've picked out over the recent days, weeks, months, and years of my cultural experience with film, literature, and television. For me, it's pretty much the best of the best; C's "greatest hits," if you will, in the form of snippets from a million (27) individuals moments of joy at stumbling across a line I just loved.

The act of finding, recording, rediscovering, and transposing each of these separate moments onto my blog is a feeling similar to the Forster quotation I've used today. Each one has the dreamlike quality of a memory, but possesses a sharp vividness in my mind from being especially selected for the purpose of being remembered.

In terms of the real meat of this blog post (yes, I did just go from a sort of poetic attempt at explanation to "meat"), I can connect the most recent novel I've completed to this same half-imagined reality. This book would be L. M. Montgomery's Anne's House of Dreams. I don't feel as though I really need to review this; either you've read the Anne series, or you ought to. These are certainly not works for children alone. Characters (Anne especially) spend as much time in the world of imagination as they do faced with very real, difficult, life-altering challenges.

Giving myself a break from Montgomery for now, next on my reading list is A. S. Byatt's The Shadow of the Sun. So far I've only read the introduction, but honestly, even that was extraordinarily interesting. Though this is near blasphemy for a student of English literature, I must admit that I usually skim or skip entirely over introductions in novels (not to be confused with prologues which are actually a part of the fictional text). I was prepared to do the same for this latest work, but I found myself captivated as Byatt reflected on her novel (N. B. the introduction was added 20 years after the original publication), drawing parallels between her life and her characters, these characters and figures of her other texts, and how she has come to see her novel in a new way, making fresh connections she was previously unaware of in her own book. Imagine coming back to something you'd finished decades before and feeling as though you were seeing aspects of it for the first time! To me, this certainly counts as a mark of a great author.

I'll be watching the Italian film "Don Giovanni" in a little while, so I should have a post about that up tomorrow or the following day. Also on the blog roster are items from a recent shopping excursion, which will be compiled into a little skincare and fashion haul. I didn't think it would be exceptionally interesting to display these items as a pile of stuff (some of it wrinkled, none of it laundered), so I'll be giving reviews of the cosmetic products alongside pictures of them, but just describing briefly the clothing I bought. Out of personal preference, I'm going to save images of fashion pieces for OOTDs to give you a better idea of the actual size and shape of each article as it exists on an average-heighted/weighted person, outdoors, in natural light.

Have you been enjoying your weekends? As always, feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you've been reading/watching/wearing or any recommendations you might have for me!


Friday, 13 July 2012

A return voyage to India? Nearly. . .

If you've been keeping up with my aggressively optimistic summer reading list, you'll know that I recently read E. M. Forster's novel A Passage to India (first mentioned here). If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll also be aware of the fact that I love word play. I thought that for this post, I could be tremendously clever (not really) and link my previous literary experience to a new NOTD, but you know what they say about the best laid plans. The polish I selected was just not feelin' it today. It went on just okay, and then three nails got almost immediately flubbed (to use the technical term). Rather than persevere, which today, with so, so, so much heat, would likely have just let me frustrated, I instead threw in the towel and wiped my nails clean.
OPI's "Jewel of India"
I'm sure I'll come back to this particular colour of polish eventually, which, by the way, is called "Jewel of India"; hence the opportunity for word play between it and Forster's novel. In the meantime, I'd like to fill you in with a review of the most recent film I've watched: "Il Deserto Rosso." I mentioned this movie, along with a couple of others, in the post immediately preceding this one, so if you'd like to see what will likely be next on the movie review roster, feel free to scroll on down! I'm now thinking of the announcer on "The Price is Right" (it's a long running TV game show if you've never heard of it) telling the next contestant to "Come on down!" Please tell me I'm not alone in my enjoyment of cheesy game shows. Please?

Anyway, back to the film. This movie is from 1964, was directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, and starred Monica Vitti and Richard Harris. If you would classify yourself as a somewhat casual movie watcher, meaning you see movies just for the mindless entertainment of it, then DISCLAIMER: this is not the film for you! If I had not been so committed to seeing this film the entire way through to get the benefit of hearing spoken Italian, I would quite possibly have found myself banging my head against the wall before it even reached the halfway mark. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a horrendous movie by any means. It's just a very artistic film that meets you with odd dialogue, drab colours, and less than thrilling '60s haircuts at every turn. I can appreciate this film as a work of art, but it won't be one of my go-to favourites in the years to come. 

"Il Deserto Rosso" deals largely with the theme of depression and an existential nihilistic mentality which pervades throughout all aspects of the film. If you can watch a clinically depressed woman stagger about in landscapes of poison-spewing factories and lakes yellowed by the ooze of toxic waste, then more power to you. It's certainly an interesting movie, and one that juxtaposes an attempt to find meaning in life with man's own destruction of his environment in a very striking way, but I feel fairly certain that I would have better enjoyed the same concept displayed in a series of photographs at an art gallery (I'm thinking of something along the lines of Ed Burtynsky).

If this concept appeals to you, and you, like me, appreciate foreign films, but would like a little more action and intrigue, I would suggest the 2008 Italian film "Gomorrah." I'm not going to review this movie on here, but if you are interested, it deals with multiple plotlines surrounding the Mafia in southern Italy; one of which examines the effect of political corruption on the environmental decisions being made, decidedly underhandedly, in the country.


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The delusion that it was bright hot morning

The quotation I've used today comes from a novel I read a little while ago now; Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night. Now, it being bright hot morning (well, afternoon actually, but near enough!) when I took these OOTD pictures was not in fact a delusion, but rather a harsh, humid reality. Looking at these images, you're likely going to think the only delusion going on is whichever one I had in my head that convinced me to wear a scarf wrapped nearly thrice around my neck in the middle of summer. I don't really have a great answer for that, except that it is quite a light-weight scarf, so I wasn't completely boiling.

Scarf: Calvin Klein via TJMaxx; Watch: Fossil
Top: Forever 21; Skirt: Tommy Hilfiger; Shoes: Enzo Angiolini via TJMaxx
It was actually quite a lovely day today, so I ventured out to the library (yay!) to return my Faulkner novel and James short stories. In their place I am now in possession of the novel The Shadow of the Sun by A.S. Byatt. I've never read anything by Byatt before, and actually never intended to read this particular novel. I became aware of this author through my favourite novel, The Time Traveler's Wife. Texts that make reference to other works are really great sources when you're trying to find new material; I already knew how much I loved Niffenegger's novel so I figured the outside quotations she worked in were worth checking out. By the way, The Shadow of the Sun isn't the book I was aiming for. I'm hoping to get my hands on Possession (also by Byatt), but all of the copies are out. . . and have holds on them for when they're returned. I decided getting something else out by the same author would at least give me a chance to test-drive her work while I wait.

In the interest of continuing to forge ahead con il mio italiano, I picked up three Italian films as well. They are: "Il Generale della Rovere" directed by Roberto Rossellini, "Don Giovanni" directed by Carlos Saura, and "Il Deserto Rosso" directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. If you're interested in foreign films (which I think everyone really ought to be), keep checking back to my blog. I'll be putting up reviews as I watch these films, so hopefully I can give you a couple of new recommendations!

Do you look internationally when selecting movies or literature? If you live outside of North America, are there any great films from your country that you would like to tell me about? Provided I can find them online or in a library, I will happily check them out!

P.S. I thought I'd get back into the swing of things with this OOTD and include a couple of coral pieces. The mustardy-yellow of my top is another of my favourite colours, and putting these two together was, I think, a happy accident!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Tone with truth and emotion with beauty

This post's title is adapt from a quotation which comes from Henry James' work The Lesson of the Master. I've been going in full gear these past couple of days as far as overstimulating my mind with novels and films. I don't have any fashion-related pictures for you this time because I like to do things in my own time. I never want to force myself too much with this blog because, as I've mentioned before, I am a perfectionist, and I'd rather write something quite good once a week than something rather mediocre every single day. All of the material I've been watching and reading will hopefully get me motivated to keep my creative juices flowing (I actually really dislike that saying), as it were.

Yesterday, I read The Turn of the Screw in its entirety. I can unhesitatingly remark that it is certainly the finest thing I've read by James and one of the more interesting things I've consumed lately in general. It wasn't nearly as frightening as I had expected it might be, but it definitely is a psychological thriller. I love that it has so so many possible interpretations.

I've now switched into a different track completely and have picked up the fifth Anne novel: L.M. Montgomery's Anne's House of Dreams. It was my intention last summer to read the entire series (I own all eight novels), but I ended up only getting through four of them. Rather than begin again from the top, I've started where I last left off. I know that these stories are typically considered the property of children, but I really think Mark Twain said it best when he called the series "the sweetest creation of child life yet written."

The two movies I've watched are "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Mona Lisa Smile." The first I viewed mostly because I almost couldn't believe myself that I hadn't seen it before. I mean, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Come on. It was decent, but I appreciate it mostly for the nostalgia of watching an old and beloved film (though it was technically new to me). "Mona Lisa Smile" is not as old of a movie, but it's one that I actually have seen before. It had been a long time though, and I've found myself recently on a bit of a Julia Roberts kick ever since I wrote about how much I adore her character's style in "Pretty Woman" (see here and here). This film is really wonderful for the very important story it tells, but, truth be told, I'd have watched almost anything just to see this cast together. Besides Julia Roberts, we also see another talented Julia: Julia Stiles. I absolutely adore this actress who stars in my favourite film of all time: "10 Things I Hate About You." After these two lovely Julias, there are also Kirsten Dunst (who I'll always love as the littlest March girl in "Little Women"), Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ginnifer Goodwin, and many more talented women. Cast is a big deal for me; it's probably what's going to get me to watch the finale of the Batman series this year even though I didn't like the last two. I realize this is near blasphemous to say anymore, since so many people adore them, but they just weren't my thing.

What have you been loving in literature and mooning over in movies? Please let me know so I can check it out too!


Saturday, 7 July 2012

I'm going to be surprisingly better

As promised, here are the outfit pictures to go along with the FOTD I posted yesterday. I'm a big fan of keeping it simple, especially with clothing. I don't usually go in for anything with a big brand name splashed across the front or an excess of anything like beads or lace. I've also been buying many more solid pieces than I used to. This may seem boring to some, but it's fantastic for me! It's so much easier to put things together and have them look nice when each item has less going on. However, I also choose articles with interesting details because dressing simply and dressing boring do NOT have to be the same thing. 

For example, the white t-shirt I'm wearing here has a low scoop in both the front and the back, so it's a little variation on a classic staple (I also wore it in my first OOTD here). The shorts are definitely a bolder choice. I'm pretty much in love with the coloured jeans/pants trend (check out my coral capris!), but it's not really feasible to wear full-length bottoms when it's this hot outside. For me, these purple shorts are a great alternative; they're bright, but have a classic look, great fit, and really adorable button detailing to keep them from looking too casual.
Since I was spending the afternoon outdoors and new it would be about one million degrees (maybe a slight exaggeration. . .), I wanted to look nice, but be comfortable and not over-dress. To achieve this, I picked one bright colour and paired it with neutrals like white and brown.
Sunglasses: Nine West via TJMaxx; Top: Old Navy
Bag: Fossil; Shoes: Enzo Angiolini via TJMaxx
Shorts: Banana Republic; Bracelet: Kohl's
I know I usually talk about my title right at the beginning of each post, but I wanted to jump right in to the outfit today since I'd promised it yesterday. Anyway, this titular quotation comes from the short story I recently finished: Henry James' The Lesson of the Master. I don't have too much to say about it other than that it was a very good read and I enjoyed it. It's a simple quotation that I've picked out, but it just struck me as quite a nice line. I like the idea of improving yourself for your own benefit, not to mention doing it so well that you end up surprising even yourself. I'm definitely looking forward to getting into the next short story on my roster: The Turn of the Screw.

In the future, would you prefer to see literature and fashion/beauty mixed in together in one post, or a separate entry for each? Also, I just realized that I've been blogging for just over a month now. I've really enjoyed the change and am so grateful for the people who have chosen to follow me and the wonderful comments I've received. Thank you all so much!


Friday, 6 July 2012

Only my eyes, for your eyes only

Today's title is a combination of a description of this post and the title of a James Bond film/short story (the second, by Ian Fleming). It's another stifling day here and I spent the afternoon at an outdoor cultural festival. My skin is not always a big fan of the hot weather; I have combination skin and the top of my nose gets quite dry thanks to the recent oppressiveness of the sun. Because of this, on days when it's so sticky and hot outside, I typically use a fairly limited amount of makeup, and hardly ever any face products. 

To provide a fresh FOTD (I realize I haven't done one in a while), I thought I'd do my eyes anyway, just keep in mind there are no products on the rest of my face. Also, I have a lot of freckles, which is something I never try to hide. I accrue them copiously during the summer months and absolutely love them!
Eyes: a very pale purple from the E.L.F. everyday basics palette; Lancôme hypôse drama mascara in "Black"; MAC eyeshadows in "Amber Lights" and "Creme de Violet"
I don't wear as much eye makeup as often as I used to. I usually try to during school, but I find that my attempts peter out around second term. I really like wearing it though, so I thought today I might as well! The above picture doesn't quite do justice to the vibrance of the two MAC shades I've used. From what I've seen, "Amber Lights" is a fairly popular colour, so for those of you who use it, you know how goldy-orange metallic it really is. "Creme de Violet" is a very beautiful purple, but I've built it up because I find it fairly sheer otherwise. This might look like a crazy amount of colour to some, but I happen to have what I've seen described as "hooded eyes"; basically, when I open my eyes, I have a small space of eyelid below my crease so it's difficult to see eye makeup there unless I pull the colour up higher. . .
. . . so when I open my eyes, most of the colour vanishes!
I'll be putting up the accompanying OOTD tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!


Thursday, 5 July 2012

You like me, you really like me!

This post's quotation is actually, ironically, a famous misquote of Sally Field's 1984 Oscar acceptance speech. Perhaps one day, people will famously misquote me; I should be so lucky! For now, I'm writing twice today (twice!) because the lovely EleanorGrace has nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Her blog is extremely well written and gorgeous to look at (I really dig ribbons) and her nomination pleases me very very much! And now, on with the show!
Hello Oscar!
Tell us how the idea of making a blog popped up and what makes you continue it:
Like many of the bloggers I've encountered, I was originally inspired by watching more than my fair share of YouTube videos. If someone is able to show me that they have style, drive, and a great personality within the space of one video, I'm usually hooked. I'm not much of an on-camera girl myself, but writing has always been a great comfort of mine. I'm an English lit major, so I've invested hours into getting papers done by crunch time, but I found that composing something for fun was an activity I hadn't indulged in for a long long time. Blogging is a fantastic outlet to help me relax and share with likeminded individuals. I really treasure every comment, follower, and even every view my blog gets. Thank you so much!

Describe a usual day in your life:
I'm on summer holiday from university at the moment, and am currently unemployed (ho-hum), so I don't have as regular a schedule as I do from September through April. My days are typically filled with reading (I get through a lot of books!), playing with my English Springer Spaniel, seeing friends, running errands, and watching films (or catching up on "Gilmore Girls"). I am lucky enough to have many intelligent and creative people in my life who make frequent recommendations for my literary and cinematic choices and inspire me to keep up with my blogging. Blogging has become a good friend of mine. It started with me just inviting him in out of the cold, but I find that he hangs around more and more. I spend a great deal of time thinking about and working on my blog (we've switched out of the personification now) and I really do love it. Stumbling across a great new blog is always a fun experience too. The more the merrier; this is really a great community.

The best collaboration with a blogger:
I haven't had the opportunity to embark on one of said collabs yet, but I would certainly jump at the chance!

The worst collaboration with a blogger:
Again, none as of yet, and I think it'd be a little premature to assume a collab would turn out negatively. I love blogging too much to let it get me down, and I love being able to trade ideas back and forth with others. The only potential downside to doing a collab would be not getting enough done because I'd be having way too much fun (which sort of sounds sarcastic, but I don't mean it to be)!

Describe what having a blog means to you:
Having a blog means having my own space. I have a channel for my thoughts to flow. It's a place of my own where I can do what I love to do without the pressure of a deadline or a negative onlooker. Plus, it's easier than keeping a journal! I can record things that I think are important and actually share them with other interested men and women. The ability to connect with people on this level is incredible on its own, but on top of that having people who really care about what I have to say. . . it's truly amazing. Honestly, an opportunity like this is invaluable.

Nominate other bloggers:


The lesson of the twilight wind: the screw strikes back

Today I've woken up feeling surprisingly motivated. It's still morning, but it already seems like it's going to be a hot one; my face feels all stuffed up, so that's a positive harbinger for humidity. Hopefully I'll get through the rest of the short novel I'm reading: Henry James' The Lesson of the Master. I know I said The Turn of the Screw was meant to be next on my reading list, but both of these stories are bound together in one book and by the time I got started on it the other day, it was fairly late at night. I'm expecting The Turn of the Screw to creep me out enough without the added bonus of being immersed in it alone at night, so I flipped to the other novel instead.

I'm also hoping to get some drawing done today; a skill I've yet to mention I possess on this blog. I literally have generations of artists behind me on my father's side, including my father himself. I do not profess to be on the same level as them at all, but I do enjoy drawing; it's extremely relaxing. Like a coward, I prefer not to test the extent of my abilities (you can laugh here), so I stick to drawing things that aren't real and can't move. Pretty thrilling! Mostly I draw things from posters I have in the house. I worked on Bella and Edward from a "Twilight" film poster a few years ago and have lately been drawing Han and Leia's "Gone With the Wind" pose in the "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" poster. I'm not making it up by the way, their pose is recognized as mimicking the same one on the "Gone With the Wind" poster and is titled as such.
I drew this pose. . . minus the title!
Only Han and Leia from this one. The poster as a whole is so overwhelming!
My horribly chipped nails inform me that another thing I need to do today is remove my old red nail polish. If I paint them again today (or maybe tomorrow, we'll see), I'll post a new NOTD for you. Right now, I'm contemplating using a certain bluish-turquoise from China Glaze, but we'll have to wait for the finished result to see for sure!

The title of this post is also terribly unclever. . . three guesses where it came from!


Monday, 2 July 2012

It sounds just disgusting enough to be fabulous

Today's bizarre quotation comes from the TV show "Gilmore Girls." I realize this series hasn't actually been on television for several years now, but a few months back something made me think of it so I've been re-watching all of the seasons. It's actually incredible how much I want to be a Gilmore. Sadly, even if this were a possibility, I don't think I'd be accepted into the clan due to my general distaste for all things coffee; Starbucks' "pumpkin spice latte" may be helping me combat this issue though. Only time will tell.
Note the coffee cups.
In book news, I finished reading William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying this morning. I found it an extremely interesting read, but it's definitely one that I'll need time to think over. Some research would likely help as well since I really feel as though I didn't understand it entirely and am definitely not above seeking out the opinions of those that might have. Next up on the reading roster is Henry James' short novel The Turn of the Screw. I haven't started it yet, and I'm planning to wait to do so until tomorrow. Then I can sit outside in the sun which will hopefully help me be less freaked out by the story (I'm not sure what the novel's effect on me will be yet, but I'm hedging my bets). I can't directly apply today's quotation to James' novel, but allow me to slightly adapt it by stating that The Turn of the Screw "sounds just [creepy] enough to be fabulous." Mr. James has yet to let me down, so the forecast is looking pretty good.

Have any of you read it? Do you ever step outside your comfort zone with literature/film/television or do you find yourself falling back on old favourites? Between this ghost story and the Gilmore antics, I seem to be doing a little of both at the moment.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

145 candles

Move over Molly Ringwald, your 16 candles just won't cut it today. In my part of the country, there are just a few hours left of our national holiday. Today Canada turns 145 years old. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to buy a gift, so will likely have to sheepishly skulk out and grab one of those sad belated birthday cards in a day or two. Ho-hum. On the bright side, I spent my dad with family, swimming, and hamburgers. I didn't go full-out patriotic with a funny hat or red and white striped knee-high socks (both of these items were actually worn by family members), but inside I feel no less thankful for the beautiful, majestic, and inexpressibly vast expanse of the country in which I am lucky enough to reside.

For now, the white is the glow of my laptop screen in the dark as I type this post and listen to fireworks explode outside my window (well done neighbours!), and the red is the half-chipped polish on my nails and the shade my back will be tomorrow due to too much sun day.

From the depths of my "glowing heart" (that's straight out of our anthem, look it up), Happy Birthday Canada!