Friday, February 28, 2014

Things I Learned from Love in the Time of Cholera

Cholera sucks.
Always tell people how you feel about them.
Getting older is a natural part of life.
Also, Gabriel García Márquez has a serious way with words:

"He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born again once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."

"The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Tea: A Response to Lynn Shepherd's Article Concerning J.K. Rowling

I read a hilarious article yesterday written by novelist Lynn Shepherd entitled "If J.K. Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It," and I have several responses to it.  If you haven't read it, I recommend that you read it first so as to form your own opinions before I deluge you with mine, but the article irked me so much that I really feel like I must make a few comments on it even though I am not usually the type of person to verbally take a stance against an online article.

Starting to read Shepherd's article, the first thing that bothered me was how Shepherd openly criticizes adults who have read Harry Potter because it is a children's book series even though she has never read them herself--such a profession in an article that openly defames J.K. Rowling was astonishing to me, and it immediately undermined her credibility as I continued to read her article.  What's more, demeaning adults for buying into the Potter hype is irresponsible on her part as a writer when we live in an electronic and Facebook feed dominated world where most people would rather lie on the couch for an entire afternoon binging  on Netflix than pick up a book and actually read for pleasure.

I understand Shepherd's viewpoint that it is nearly impossible for unknown writers to get their work read and published, but Rowling did not always have this apparent ease at having her novels published; she finished writing the first book in the Harry Potter series in 1995, and the book was initially rejected by every single publishing house that she submitted it to.  So asking Rowling to stop writing for adults because she outsells most authors is bitter and petty.  Really any other successful author's name could be substituted into this article.  Shepherd might as well have been telling us to not read C.S. Lewis' Narnia series because it's a "children's" story or to not read Stephen King because he has had far too much success as an author.  Being a "literary mystery" writer herself, I can only help but feel that Shepherd's outrage against Rowling's new adult mystery novels stems from envy of Rowling's success while her own books are overlooked.

I took a creative writing class last year that focused mostly on writing poems, and I received some invaluable advice: in order to be a successful poet, you must read all the poems you can get your hands on.  I think this advice applies to all genres of writing, not just poetry, so if Ms. Shepherd can stop munching on her "sour grapes," then maybe she can stop being prejudiced about Rowling's work long enough to actually read Harry Potter and get people to read her novels too.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Nonsense

I like Banana Babies, and I like to pretend that they are a healthy dessert.  Who knows, maybe they actually are.  I bought the dark chocolate ones instead of the milk chocolate ones to further purport this delusion.

I have dreams of one day being a morning person--I like the idea of waking up before everyone else and getting some things done while drinking a cup of tea.

It's been too long since I recorded a YouTube cover.  Any song suggestions?  I need some new music inspiration.  I haven't been to a concert in too long.  Someone invited me to a concert a while back that I didn't go to but I wish I had.

How do people actually decide what to do with the rest of their lives?

I'm ready for Spring but not ready for bugs and pollen.

I want to start writing more poetry.  I want to write with wild abandon and say yes to more opportunities.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

365: Week 7

Great snuggler of a nephew :)

Starbucks changed their tea, so I had to go buy my own Tazo to recreate the experience.

Happy Valentine's Day!

At the circus!

Dark chocolate bacon cupcakes. Om nom nom.

David's and my bubblized faces at the World of Coke

Leftover V-day dessert: Angel food cupcakes with strawberries and whipped cream :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day!  Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)


How precious are these little yarns?  David gave them to me for Valentine's Day, and they're perfect.  It's like a little sampler pack, and the colors are great.  I was browsing Ravelry and looking at different projects that people have used these yarns in, and I think that I might use them for coasters or a bunting.  They would also make great granny square practice.  What would you use them for?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Tea: Weekending

This weekend was jam-packed with lots of activities!  David flew in Thursday night, so we got to spend Valentine's Day together, and we spent the day buying and cooking a delicious dinner and dessert.

On Saturday, we went with my parents and one of my sisters to see the circus at Philips Arena!  The women that my mom banks with offered us free tickets, and they weren't only box seat tickets, but we also got to indulge in free food and beverages.  The circus was so much fun!  We saw elephants and bunny rabbits and 17 tigers all in one cage, and it was all really enthralling.  We had thought that it might be to cutesy and kid-oriented, but we were so pleasantly surprised by the whole event.

On Sunday, David and I went up to Alpharetta to belatedly have a birthday celebration for David with his family.  We had smoked brisket, twice-baked potatoes, asparagus, fruit salad, and rolls, and for dessert, David's mom made dark chocolate bacon cupcakes.  I was a little skeptical to try them, but they were so yummy.  So yummy in fact that Mrs. Brown sent me home with ten of them.  I have a lot of happy friends now.


Then on Monday, David and I went with some friends to the World of Coke.  I had never been before even though I am an Atlanta native, and it was a fun time.  Some part of it were obviously very exaggerated to make it more thematic (and of course they left out the minute detail that Coca-Cola used to be derived from cocaine), but I enjoyed myself.  It was interesting to sample all of the different Coke products from around the world (some good, some bad), and we ultimately determined that samples from Europe were the most disgusting, especially one particular beverage called Beverly.  After we were done at the World of Coke, we went to get a bite to eat at Fat Matt's, quite possibly the best barbecue in all of Atlanta.  This place is practically an Atlanta institution.  Afterwards, we got some really unique ice cream from Jeni's and went and lounged around in Piedmont Park for a couple hours.  It seems like we're finally getting some warm weather back, and I can't wait.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bacon-Wrapped Filets and Garlic Mashed Potatoes // The Pioneer Woman Cooks

This past Friday was Valentine's Day, and even though David and I have been dating for three V-days, this was the first time that we got to spend the actual day together. I'm not really a gimmicky person, but being in a long-distance relationship, David and I felt that it was important to observe such a lovey-dovey holiday.

To celebrate, we stayed in and cooked dinner. We opened a bottle of wine and set to work. On the menu: bacon-wrapped filets with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and salad, and angel food cupcakes with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert. The recipes for the steak and spuds came from my Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook, and by using two recipes from it, I fulfilled my goal for February of making at least one thing a month from this awesome cookbook.

The mashed potatoes were really easy to cook and the cream cheese made them really creamy (definitely not a diet food). The steak however proved to be a little more difficult than expected. The main reason was because we weren't able to get the filet mignon that the recipe called for. After having two snow days, the Atlanta grocery stores were wiped out, and we had very little red meat to choose from. We ended up buying "mock filets" which was ultimately a mistake. The meat took much, much longer to cook than a traditional filet, and the result was a chewy and slightly tough steak. Well, lesson learned, I guess.



We also realized while prepping the steak that we didn't have any toothpicks to hold the bacon in place. So David had the idea to use dry spaghetti instead. Resourceful much?

Dessert was very yummy though. Because I don't have a bundt pan, David and I made our angel food cake in an over-sized muffin tin, and that worked great. We added some fresh strawberries and some whipped cream, and we were in dessert heaven.



Overall, it was a wonderful meal, especially the company :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Spoon

Many months ago, I shared a poem that I wrote last Spring in the creative writing class that I took.  I revisited recently some of the other poems I wrote in that class, and I wanted to share another, much shorter, one here.  It felt perfect for Valentine's Day :)

Spoon

A thin layer of sweat regardless,
I am smooshed beneath a comforter,
Yet I receive no comfort
But from the cradling of your arms,
The curve of your body,
And your sweet kiss on the back of my neck,
Falling asleep,
And taking with me
The smile that curves my lips,
Knowing that reality is finally
Greater than my dreams.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)


How great is tweed yarn or what? I'm seriously loving it right now. It gives everything a warmer look and it lends itself to a lot of different color palates (so it's perfect for wearing with a lot of different things!). I haven't had a lot of time for yarn recently, but I'm hoping that will change soon and that I will finish up this scarf quickly. I have some future project ideas in store that I want to get to work on :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Tea: Handwritten


One of my goals for 2014 was to write more handwritten letters, so I figured what better time to start this than for Valentine's Day. I cheated a little bit and bought cards, but I purposefully wrote messages of love in each one. I think a nice, long letter on good ol' college ruled paper is called for next.

This drive to make my life more "handwritten" though has started to permeate into other aspects of my life.  Although I love the idea of a planner, I usually just maintain my scheduling electronically, but recently, I've really gotten into writing things down in my Moleskine planner everyday.  I've also been making lists like crazy.  Grocery lists, to-do lists, idea lists, you-name-it lists.  I've even done a little bit of blog planning, which is something that's new to me although I do prefer the posts that just come to me spontaneously.  Planning takes a lot of the stress out of life though, and by planning things ahead of time, I'm not rushing as much to get a million things done at once.  And who doesn't like that?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Currently

Reading: Introduction to Analysis by Maxwell Rosenlicht.

Watching: tonight's newest episode of How I Met Your Mother.

Listening: to my computer make angry noises at me.

Loving: this week of love!  I'm not much of a Valentine's Day sap (why do we need a certain day to express love?), but I love that David is coming into town.  This will be the first time that we get to celebrate Valentine's Day on the 14th.

Wanting: A's on my tests this week.

Wearing: yoga pants and a sweater.

Making: a tweed scarf.

Drinking: a teacupful of organic ceylon tea.

Deciding: what to make for dinner.

Wishing: for the future to sort itself out.

Waiting: for Thursday evening so that David will be here already!

Friday, February 7, 2014

On My Bookshelf: February

Last month, I read three books, so I'm on track so far for my goal to read 30 books in 2014.  February is shaping up to be a hectic month, so I'm only going to list two books that I want to read this month.  With any luck, I'll wind up reading three anyways, but I really don't like making goals that I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to keep--it was hard enough finishing A Tale of Two Cities.  It's not that I didn't like it, I really did, but it has been a long time since I have read a book on the level of Dickens, and I got seriously confused and turned around at some points of the plot.

This month, I plan to read:


The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
I'm not usually the kind of person that reads quote-on-quote self-help books, but after a nightmare experience in the airport, I was perusing the bookstore, and this book just screamed out to me.  Maybe it was the fact that I'd just spent twenty minutes crying in the airport bathroom, but as I read the back of the book and read about Gretchen Rubin's epiphany how the days are long but the years are short, I knew that her account of devoting a year to being more happy would also be uplifting for me too.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This book has been on my bookshelf for the longest time, and I figured what better time to read it than during February, the society-declared month of love.  I'm pretty sure this book is going to be an emotional roller-coaster, but I'm excited to read it nonetheless.

What are you planning on reading this month?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

365: Week 5


29/365: Bumps and ridges and knitting texture.

30/365: Taking a study break and crocheting my first "granny square."

31/365: A chocolate croissant and a cuppa tea.

32/365: Whiskey tasting.

33/365: My new phone background.

34/365: I can't resist Starburst.

35/365: Dried flowers and the Word.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)


This past week, while procrastinating doing homework, I indulged myself in a little bit of crochet because I've been lax in my yarn usage these past few weeks (in case you noticed me missing the past two weeks of the Yarn Along). Indie Lovely posted a wonderful tutorial on her blog on how to make this lovely hexagon flower, and it was so easy to follow along with. It was the first "granny square" that I have ever crocheted, and I think it might inspire a new blanket project for me! For now I'm just using it as a coaster :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuesday Tea: A Tale of Two Cities

While reading A Tale of Two Cities, I was particularly moved by this passage. I read it at least three times before turning the page. It made me think about the loved ones in my life.


So, the time came for him to bid Lucie good night, and they separated. But, in the stillness of the third hour of the morning, Lucie came downstairs again, and stole into his room; not free from unshaped fears, beforehand.

All things, however, were in their places; all was quiet; and he lay asleep, his white hair picturesque on the untroubled pillow, and his hands lying quiet on the coverlet. She put her needless candle in the shadow at a distance, crept up to his bed, and put her lips to his; then, leaned over him, and looked at him.  

Into his handsome face, the bitter waters of captivity had worn; but, he covered up their tracks with a determination so strong, that he held the mastery of them even in his sleep. A more remarkable face in its quiet, resolute, and guarded struggle with an unseen assailant, was not to be beheld in all the wide dominions of sleep, that night.

She timidly laid her hand on his dear breast, and put up a prayer that she might ever be as true to him as her love aspired to be, and as his sorrows deserved. Then, she withdrew her hand, and kissed his lips once more, and went away. So, the sunrise came, and the shadows of the leaves of the plane-tree moved upon his face, as softly as her lips had moved in praying for him.

Monday, February 3, 2014

6 Things I Can't Live Without



Kristin from My Life As A Teacup wrote a post of six things that she can't live without, and I pretty much agreed 100% with her list. My list repeats some of her items, but it also has some of my own.

1. Rubber bands or a jaw clip or a hair bow or some form of accessory to keep my hair out of my face. I'll usually start the day with my hair down but it inevitably gets put up at some point before the end of the evening.

2. Lip stuff. I keep Burt's Bees by my bed, I keep tinted lip balm in my purse, and I carry Vaseline Lip Therapy around to class with me. What can I say, I don't like chapped lips.

3. Yarn. I believe in the philosophy of making time for yarn everyday. A little bit of crafting a day can go a long way for a person's mood.

4. Tea. I'd go crazy without a daily, usually twice daily, cup of tea.  It warms my soul and reminds me to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment every once in a while.

5. My Kindle. It is one of my favorite things that I own. I love being able to take it everywhere with me and have all those books at my convenience.

6. A cardigan.  I've made the mistake too many times of not wearing a sweater or a jacket to the grocery store, and I regret it every time.