Friday, October 30, 2009

Modern Victorian Collar DIY

I’m trying to find an appropriate way to explain how excited I was when I saw this tutorial, but only the crudest metaphors jump to mind.

But can you blame me? This “modern Victorian collar” is just amazing.


I don’t usually wear things so close to my neck since I get this weird sensation that I can’t breathe (plus I’m large chested and high collars just make me look HUGE), but I have got to make this.

You can find directions and step by step photos here.

-I also just posted some of my favorite Halloween tutorials at Random Thoughts. If you’re interested you can find them here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Tumblr

Just a roundup of things I've recently hearted on Tumblr.


I do not take credit for any of these graphics or photos unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Scrap Tree Pillow

Isn't this pillow the cutest?


I'm not really big on sewing... actually that's a lie. I like to pretend I'm going to sew things. Beautiful wonderful marvelous things, but then I realize I suck and get super frustrated rather quickly. Then I end up with half finished projects and scraps of unused fabric all over my house.

And since I enjoy cleaning my house about as much as a pelvic exam, it's just a lose-lose situation all around.

I might just have to give it another try for something like this though. What can I say? I guess I'm a masochist.

Wow this post got way out of hand didn't it? Anyways, if you want direction even I can follow you can find them here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Want: Leather Jackets and Platform Pumps

I have been itching to go clothes shopping for quite a while now. I used to have a ton of clothes, but ever since I've had my son my closet has been sorely lacking.

I really want a (fake) leather jacket. It's just one of those things I think everyone should have. I've also been looking for a pair of platform pumps for quite a while.

Me Likey

My main problem is I'm really cheap. Even though I know some things are worth the money, I still have a hard time justifying spending over a certain amount on anything (like fifty bucks). Luckily for me Forever 21 has this leather jacket for only $33 dollars and these pumps for only $25.

I see a shopping trip in my near future...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Handmaid's Tale

Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Fantasy/Dystopia

Publisher: Everyman's Library
Publishing Date: October 17th 2006 (first published 1985)
Hardcover: 350 pages

Stand Alone or series: stand alone

Where did I get this book: Library (as usual)

Summary:(from goodreads)
A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.

Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid's Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.

Review:

I have to admit I’m not a big fan of “classics” or books that seem to be put on every “Must Read” list. It’s not that I don’t doubt some of the books are good (or impacted literature or culture at the time); it’s just that there tends to be too much hype surrounding them. War and Peace? Couldn’t even finish. Jane Austen? Not too impressed. That being said, I did enjoy A Handmaid’s Tale (I have a terrible soft spot for dystopia).

I thought the story itself was incredibly interesting. Since it was written as a sort of journal, it also had an impact I don’t think it would have had if written otherwise. When Offred is struggling, you struggle with her. When Offred begins to hope, you find yourself snatching at the tiny gleaming thread with your whole being.

It’s one of those books where you just keep wishing for a happy ending (if you’ve read She Comes Undone you know exactly what I mean).

The thing about books like this though, is it makes it difficult to understand exactly what’s going on at times. Since it’s written in the first person, Offred speaks about things as if the reader knows exactly what she’s alluding to. The problem is we don’t. I didn’t even get a firm understanding of exactly what it was that happened to Offred until far into the book. Though some vagueness is usually a good thing, I noticed there was a point where it hurt the story in my opinion because I started to skim and rush through passages.

In some situations skimming happens because a book is just so damn good you have to know what happens NOW (seventh Harry Potter I’m looking at you), but in this situation it was almost like I couldn’t get any more interested in the story until I understood what the hell was going on.

Did that make sense?

Atwood also didn’t give much explanation as to why the situation Offred was in came about. I mean, the women in her dystopian aren’t even allowed read signs – there’s got to be a reason for this. (I know that a lot of dystopias don’t go into how the situation was created, but I thought a little more info would have been beneficial in this situation.)

Then there was the ending. I though Atwood’s ending was well done, but it did leave me unsatisfied. No matter how well I can understand why an author will write an unexplained ending, I’m always a bit disappointed in it (Go Ask Alice is a perfect example).

Notable Quotes/ Parts:
"Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn't really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn't about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it's about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing." - chapter 23

Rating: 6 - Good, but might not be for everyone.

You dissapoint me Robert

Oh Robert, how I loved you on Surprise by Design. Then you have to go and be jerky and just ruin my adoration of you.
"I think people of all sizes should be wearing clothes. I don't know if they necessarily need to be photographed in clothes," he continued. "A lot of women say 'I should've been alive when Ruben was because I'm Rubenesque.' So times have changed. There are different cultural norms and values and beauty identities, and the fact that thin is in — who cares? It's why I stopped eating. I think food is for fat people and poor people. Rich people don't eat. They get dressed up and go shopping."
-via NY Mag

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Tumblr

Just a roundup of things I've recently hearted on Tumblr.



I do not take credit for any of these graphics or photos unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday Wednesday Tumblr

So I've just discovered Tumblr and I'm a little bit obsessed. Since I want to save like almost every picture, I've decided to start a "Tuesday Tumblr" post.

Knowing me it wont be every Tuesday, but what can you do?


I will post photo credit if I can, but from what I've seen that won't be easy.

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

I usually stay away from The nightmare Before Christmas since Hot Topic shoppers have bogarted it for their own use, but these cupcakes are too adorable:


Cute and super easy - my kind of treat.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mini Top Hat Tutorial

I just saw this easy top hat tutorial by Goldiestarling on YouTube and I love it. Even though the directions are a bit choppy, the idea is great and especially useful since Halloween is coming up.



I also want to post her zombie/dead girl makeup tutorial for Halloween cause it's all kinds of awesome:



Seriously, why can't we just walk around in this kind of makeup for no reason?

Check out goldiestarling's YouTube channel for more Halloween ideas. This chick rocks.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Willow

Title: Willow
Author: Julia Hoban
Genre: YA

Publisher: Dial
Publishing Date: August 2, 2009
Hardcover: 336 pages

Stand Alone or series: Stand Alone

Where did I get this book: Library (as usual)

Summary:(from goodreads)
Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow’s parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy—one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow’s secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the “safe” world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl’s struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy’s refusal to give up on her.
Review:

First off, I need to say this isn’t the sort of book I regularly read. I am a fantasy junkie and rarely read anything outside that genre in YA. Not because there aren’t plenty of good books out there, but because I have a hard time with the protagonists of a lot of YA books (tends to be a lot of whining going on). So I was a bit unsure about this book and just decided to give it a shot after I saw it on Dannie’s blog.

That being said, I loved it.

Even though I did find the main character, Willow, to be annoying at times, when I finished the book I realized it’s one of the characteristics that makes Willow’s story believable. The constant self doubt and emotional flagellation make sense in Willow’s world. Her instability will draws you in and the grotesque images of cutting will make you distance yourself. That constant teeter-totter is what really fleshes out the story.

Believe me, there will be times when you can’t stand Willow. As a reader you can only read so many pages of constant self hate before you find yourself shutting off emotional from the character. But then Willow will take a small step forward and you’ll find that’s all you need to restore your hope. It’s the sort of emotional connection that only a great book can make.

Then there’s the issue of Guy. A lot of people seem to criticize Guy’s character as unbelievable, but I don’t really agree with that sentiment. I think cutting is the sort of thing where you think you know exactly what you’d do if you found out something like this was happening to someone you knew, but I think Guy’s reaction was quite usual. (At least in the sense that he just tried to be there for Willow but was otherwise lost.)

The thing I liked least was the repetitiveness of some of the book. This is kind of one of those double edged swords though. Even though I found myself skimming some of Willow’s internal struggles, I think there were necessary to convey a true sense of emotional turmoil. (A great example is in the book Melusine by Sarah Monette. The character Felix goes crazy in the book. Though there are a lot of repetitive parts and I found myself skimming, I realized when the book was finished that it made the story more realistic.)

I also liked how the ending was satisfying without being too tidied up.

Notable Quotes/ Parts: (page 108)
Guy rolls up her sleeve and she thinks he wants to check to make sure that his bandage is holding, but instead he peels back the Band-aid and stares at the cut.

“It’s so ugly.” His tone is matter-of-fact.

Willow jerks her hand away. She can’t believe that he said that and she can’t believe that she cares. She knows the cuts are ugly, and she’s not interested in his opinion, but still, she’s horribly insulted. Hurt and insulted. It’s almost as if he said that her face was ugly.

Guy tears his eyes away from her cuts and look up at her. He must have seen from her stricken expression that his words have had an impact, but he doesn’t apologize.
Rating: 8. Excellent – some laughing and/or crying involved

Monday, October 5, 2009

Circus

I have had the circus on my brain for a few weeks now. I'm not even a big fan of the circus (though I love carnivals), but I love the decor and care-free autmosphere.

One day I am going to have a circus themed party whether or not my friends get into it or not (they're not theme party people).

Here are some ideas I found on the intertubes:

1. Circus by Northstander 2. Candy by Sidereal 3. Cupcake by Bookgrl 4. Ice-cream Parlour 5. Old Fashioned Soda Bar 6. French circus


I can just envision being surrounded by vibrant colors and tables covered with candy, cupcakes, and all kinds of popcorn. Throw in an ice-cream buffet (just change the pink color scheme to red) and some hot dogs and you're set.

I also came across some fun costumes:


I love the top one (especially with these boots), but I'm diggin the striped tights on the left and the jacket on the right.

Anyhoo, just bored and dreaming of the red top. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I want: Indoor Fireplace

I just saw this indoor fireplace at shelterrific and I just about died:


Isn't it gorgeous?

It's the master thesis project of Fredrik Hylten-Cavallius and is a "chimney-free indoor stove that burns ethanol fuel instead of wood." The shiny gold layer is actually a brass reflector, and beneath it is a layer of rockwool fire insulation that keeps the outside cool to the touch.

I want.

Cannibals, Zombie, and Brain Feeds

I've been meaning to do a review on these three books, but I never got around to it so I figured I'd just post them together.

And lets be honest, I'm not that great of a book reviewer so a quick snippet suits me just fine.

The Inferior by Peadar O’Guilin:


from goodreads:
STOPMOUTH AND HIS family know of no other life than the daily battle to survive. To live, they must hunt rival species, or negotiate flesh-trade with those who crave meat of the freshest human kind. It is a savage, desperate existence. And for Stopmouth, considered slowwitted hunt-fodder by his tribe, the future looks especially bleak. But then, on the day he is callously betrayed by his brother, a strange and beautiful woman falls from the sky. It is a moment that will change his destiny, and that of all humanity, forever. Peadar Ó Guilín’s debut is an action—and idea-packed—blockbuster that will challenge your perceptions of humanity and leave you hungry for more.
This book is all about “eat or be eaten” and the difference between living and simply surviving. The greatest strength of this book is easily the hero, Stopmouth. Seriously, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a story with a more enduring character. Like all great heroes, he becomes such on accident and is plagued by self doubt. As we travel with Stopmouth on his journey, we get to meet a plethora of different creatures and a few interesting hints at what’s going to come. I literally could not put this book down and can not freggin wait for the sequel.

10/10. This is probably the best book I’ve read all year.
"Are you truly human?" Stopmouth asked. He hoped she'd open her eyes and look at him. Another part of him wanted her to keep them closed so he could watch her without making her angry.

They stayed closed.

"I'm human," she muttered. "As human as you are, anyway."

"What do you mean?" he asked, puzzled.

She lifted her head. "None of your men have hair on their faces. You live on a diet of pure meat, most of it non-human. Your women never die in childbirth. You rarely get sick, any of you. And all of a sudden I'm the one who's not human?"
You can read a more in depth review here.

Zombie Blondes by Brian James:


From goodreads:
From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.
A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school.
The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.
But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: if she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town. . . .
I really loved this story (and the gorgeous cover doesn’t hurt). Though I did think some parts were a bit too high school drama for me, it fit the story well. This is one of the few books where the teenage character felt really authentic (instead of sounding like an adult trying to sound like a teen). Anyone who’s a fan of zombies should pick this book up.

Solid 8/10.

You can read a more in depth review here.

Feed by M.T. Anderson:


from amazon:
For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon – a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.

I don't even know what to say about this book. It took me a while to adjust to the slang constantly thrown around in the book, but once I did I realized what a strength the vernacular is to the overall story (similar to A Clockwork Orange - though not as confusing). Really there is nothing to say but read this book. It left me thinking about the story days after and that’s always a sure sign of greatness in my opinion.

9/10

You can read a more in depth review here.