Friday, October 24, 2014

{On Repeat}...Caroline Smith

My friend recently introduced me to a Minnesota-native artist, Caroline Smith. I'm hooked and it feels like the perfect playlist for autumn right now. What I like about her music is its adaptability. It's simultaneously romantic, melancholic, spunky––it fits every mood.

Her voice is delicately strong; her music sounds like those cool girls who are quietly confident. Listen to her album Half About Being a Woman here.

If I must choose, my favorite tracks are: "The One Thing," "Child of Moving On," and "Buy Me Something," all of which are infectious.

Photo by Reginald P.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Upcoming Movies

I rarely go to the theater, because I can't justify spending a fourth of my grocery bill on movie tickets. However, I've come across several trailers that pique my interest. I'll admit that I don't have refined, artistic taste, so some are pulpy and trendy. Regardless, these are what I'm looking forward to.

The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne stole my heart in Les Miserables and now this. I'm aware of the potential sappiness with this, but I think it will be touching and heartfelt. 

Dear White People
This satirical film is getting so much buzz and being celebrated as a culturally relevant for everyone. It deals with identity, acceptance versus tolerance, and raises some pressing questions of contemporary American prejudice.

Gone Girl

The book is totally pulpy, but has been getting a lot of attention as a surprisingly gripping novel. The film has gotten mixed reactions from critics, but I still want to give it a try. I typically like Ben Affleck and I've been a fan of Rosamund Pike since she was in Pride and Prejudice.

Matthew McConaughey is on a career high and Anne Hathaway has come out of performance hiding. I was never a huge fan (and she is the epitome of my childhood in The Princess Diaries), but after such cruelty with the "Hathahaters" she deserves a moment to shine again in a great movie.

I'm also taking this opportunity to say that Boyhood is aptly placed in Oscar lists. (I will forever adore the precious treatment of time in that film.) Do you have any recommendations for me? I'd love your suggestions!

Photo public domain via Commons

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Currently Reading: The Goldfinch

I just finished reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch and it was astounding. My sister's boyfriend, Alex, bought me two great reads for my birthday in June and I finally found the time to sit down and devour this 700-plus pages.

The enormous novel was intimidating at first (the commitment seemed astronomical!) and I was slightly concerned that it would seem I was part of this global book club––it's the novel of the summer and kind of a chit-chat point like TV shows. However, I'm always game for a book about art featuring a Russian supporting character.

The Goldfinch is what you would call a bildungsroman (a story about growing up, usually through a "journey"), so Tartt writes in the voice of a boy spanning at least ten years and both American coasts (and continents!). His travels, battles & triumphs intersect and spiral into the lives of other diverse characters that creates a multidimensional life for Theo and the reader.

While it took me weeks––I'm a slow reader, I'll admit (you can see my progress on Instagram from beginning, middle, and end)––I was melancholic when I finished. I felt some serious pride and also sadness, because it has passages that are just so breathtakingly beautiful. I haven't read something this  popular & lovely in a while.

Donna Tartt only publishes a novel what seems like every decade, and I can see why. The Goldfinch is perfection. I highly recommend carving out a chunk of time to read this stunning novel.

P.S. I heard it's going to be a movie?!?!; here's the actual Fabritius Goldfinch

Saturday, July 26, 2014

J.Crew Wishlist

Readers, you may already know this but . . . J.Crew is an all-time love and classic. I'm here to remind you of two great things:

WISHLIST: J.Crew has an amazing wishlist feature that not only allows you to save products you love for later, but also categorizes them smartly and beautifully. (We all know J.Crew reigns supreme in online shopping curation.)

It categorizes by in-stock, on sale, only a few left (!!), and also by importance. So if you have twelve items in there, it's probably like this: there's one item you need and if you don't get it you might cry/die (that's at the top), four are beautiful but you can't get yourself to buy them just yet, followed by six that you randomly added because you wanted to distract yourself from real work by online window-browsing, and the last one––because you couldn't stand having two rows of four with one row of three.

My wishlist looks like this:

Row 1: Necklace / Shirt / Bag / Shoe
Row 2: Sweater / Rain boot / Cuff

SALE: Seriously and awesome sale is going on right now with an additional 40% off of final sale items. If you know your size well for the majority of the store, you'll be fine (as final sale is non-returnable). Shipping rates are also reduced right now for a limited time. Now is the time to buy!!

Top photos via J.Crew

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Hilarious Read/See

For my birthday, Abby's sweet boyfriend, Alex, bought me two books (he knows me too well!). I just finished the first; a comic, fast read, This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, is truly enjoyable and a book you want to pass to your best friend the minute you close the cover.

At a little over 300 pages, the book goes quickly as the first person narrator moves deftly from present tense to memories to lucid dreaming to nightmares. While dealing with infidelity and bereavement, This Is Where I Leave You stays lighthearted and witty.

To top things off, it's been produced as a family dramedy for the summer. (It looks great!) It stars some of the top rom-com players including Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, and Tina Fey. I wanted to read it before I see it, will you do both?

Photo via

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Girl Talk: On Reticence

I was part of the University's English Undergraduate Conference at the end of spring semester, and I had a really thought-provoking conversation with one of our faculty that keeps being relevant every day since. . . .

After attending several sessions throughout the day, Judith and a colleague mentioned the prevalence of modest apologies coming from the women. Without fail, the women presenting prefaced their papers with apologies for language and content. Even if quoting directly as support for their papers, women felt the need to apologize for swearing, use of "crude language," or discussing sex and violence. 

Meanwhile, the men (and I must admit, we attract far less men in the English department) confidently went forth with coarse language and content. There was no obligation, whether real or perceived, to justify what they said. 

Judith said after, "I was stunned by the compulsion to apologize for presenting intellectually provoking idea. And then I realized that they were all women. It's 2014 here; what's the issue?"

And really, what is the issue? I completely understand practicing modesty, and I think being a "class-act" is rarified these days (do I sound old or what?). However, I continually find myself frustrated that women feel as though they must comply to a different set of social/behavioral standards; and on the flip side, I'm appalled that men think they are exempt from polite behavior. 

It would be so nice to see a social setting in which both men and women were playing by the same rules. It would also be quite shocking, no? What do you think you would see that was different? I'd love your thoughts!

Photo via

Friday, May 30, 2014

T-Minus 18 Hours

Tomorrow evening, my flight for Berlin will take off (yikes!) and I'm tingling in anticipation. While I've flown many times before in my life––I've already traveled abroad with a high school class––this will be the first time I travel on my own. That's right, I'll have to go through security, boarding, baggage claim solo, and it's making my heart-beat quicken.

I feel extremely prepared, which is helping, and everyone has been immeasurably helpful and supportive as my departure nears, but I told my mom this evening that I keep worrying about the little, insignificant things like:

What if my baggage weighs 52 pounds?
Will my hair and make-up get gross on the flight?
Do I need compression socks or does the twenty-something-year-old magic apply to international flights, too?

See––little things . . . My time abroad is a quick three weeks, so I already know it will be a whirlwind kind of trip. During my stay, here's what I'm most looking forward to:

Staying with a family so I can experience "real life" in Berlin.
Going to museums and internet cafes when I feel touristy.
Eating chocolate and mentos as I read on the plane.
Listening to music on trains.
Seeing the Brandenburg Gate again––it's just so stunning.