Friday, 7 September 2012

It's like walking a tightrope

This evening's (it is evening where I am) quotation come from the television show "Modern Family." If you read my last post, you may be able to guess that I'm using the simile to reference my forecasted experience with the Italian language this year: something for which you need a piece of rope, a long stick, and a willing carnie. Just kidding. But humour is a useful tool for dealing with stressful situations sometimes, so heck, why not?!

Anyway, included in this post is my first day back to class OOTD. It doesn't comprise anything I haven't worn before in a post, but I figured I put up pictures anyway because, #1 everyone likes to look at pictures, and #2 it'll get me into a routine of OOTDing during school.
Top seen here; skirt seen here
Hair cut: brand new! Not available in stores.

-C

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Ventisei pagine? Grazie mille...

Today's title is not a quotation at all, but rather an attempt at Italian sarcasm. I had my first classes of the year this afternoon, Italian being "il primo." I was assigned 26 (ventisei) pages of homework. Let's all just try to wrap our minds around that for a second. Ok. Moving on.
How I feel about my 26 pages of homework.
On the bright side, my hair behaved itself nicely thanks to my getting it cut last weekend, and it only took me thirty minutes to bus home (it usually takes 50, which is ridiculous because you can drive the distance in 10-15 depending on traffic)!!

Hair cut!
Went for some peach, pink, and gold today...
Did anyone else start back at school today/this week? How's it going so far?

-C
P.S. I'll put my OOTD up tomorrow.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Biiicycle, BIIICYCLE

Now reread the title with Queen playing in your head and you'll understand what I was thinking when I wrote it with so many extra vowels. I went to see "Premium Rush" last night, compelled by my love of unique action-y movies, the maze of city streets that is NYC, and my awe and adoration of JGL. Yeah, yeah, yeah, how many times have I tossed his name around? Well, here and here for a start. Anyway, here's a quick review, accompanied by my FOTD when I went to see it.

As far as this particular film, I thought it was extremely well done. My friend and I went into it with the realization that a movie with this premise would either suck, or be completely awesome. I was reassured by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's presence on the cast list; he may do odd movies sometimes, but I find that, all in all, he's made pretty amazing choices so far.

Without giving away the plot, I'll tell you two things I really enjoyed about this film. First of all, one feature was reminiscent of the Robert Downey Jr. "Sherlock Holmes" movies; which I can't stand, by the way. Luckily, this particular production choice is not the reason for my dislike of them. If you've seen the Holmes films, you should recall the slow motion sequences in which the world's most skilled detective shifts into ass-kicking mode and plots out his attack on his opponent move by move. In "Premium Rush," when Wilee (played by JGL) encounters a difficult situation on the street, time slows down and his brain begins its spacial gymnastics in much the same way. There's a great use of what I'm guess are GPS-inspired street views and mapping of possible escape routes.

That brings us nicely into the other aspect I enjoyed with this film. Not only were paths signalled in individual situations, but overlaid on a bird's eye view grid of NYC as a whole as cyclist pedalled at break-neck speeds to their destinations. It reinforced the extreme difficulty of their job as they literally raced from one borough to another, dozens upon dozens of blocks away. It also helped the audience stay focussed and grounded in such a fast-paced film, giving you at least one stable element to latch onto. A little bit of organization in a great deal of chaos.

As a parting summary, I will tell you that "Premium Rush" was extraordinarily fast-moving, no pun intended. Seriously though, if you see it, do not get up to go to the bathroom, do not look away from the screen, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

-C
P.S. Hair cut this weekend! I'm still undecided as to what I should do with it. . . pictures up on Monday hopefully!!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Elvis and Jim Morrison are bringing chips

Today's quotation is an excerpt from the speech Lorelai gives Rory on what to expect from the over-the-top birthday party her grandmother is going to throw her (from, of course, the television show "Gilmore Girls"). My birthday will not be nearly as exciting as this; who can really compete with raising dead music legends and saddling them with the bringing of snack foods? However, my birthday is coming up next month, so it's been on my mind all the same. I've been spending my spare time looking up weird and wonderful items online in the hopes that I can magically convince my nearest and dearest to purchase them for me. Depending on the item, some of these chances are slimmer than others.

Accessories:

#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
  1. Modcloth's "Urban Adventure Bag": How cute is this bag?! I seriously love it. I think that in general, people will either prefer silver or gold in accessories, and I'm definitely a gold girl. I adore the shiny, over sized studs, and of course, it's coral.
  2. Modcloth's "Quote Couture Earrings": Again, shiny, gold, I'm sold. That was a completely inadvertent rhyme. I guess it's suitable in this case though, since I picked these earrings out of obscurity (not really) because they appealed to the English major in me.
  3. Figure8Knits' "Nevermore Raven Pendant": This is something quite a bit more graphic and heavy than the fairly feminine jewellery I normally go for, but it's just way too freaking cool for me not to want it. Plus, Poe is amazing.
  4. Prefectly Random Designs' "Queen Silhouette": Still heavy, but decidedly more feminine; it is the queen after all. To me, this piece represents power, intellect, and a taste for vintage music. Wait, what? It's because the designer creates her items from recycled records.
  5. Spiffing Jewelry's "Sleeping Beauty Bracelet": From graphic to girly now, I love this bracelet stamped with a line from my favourite Disney film. There's also a "Beauty and the Beast" bracelet by the same designer that I think is adorable as well.
  6. Anne Curasi's Curious Curios' "Sleeping Beauty Earrings": Still on the Disney train for another minute, I think these earrings are the cutest things ever. I love the original, sketched style of the top two pairs and would definitely be wearing these everyday if I owned them.
  7. Meadow on the Ledge's "Wire Kite Earrings": I think these are really sweet and whimsical. They would definitely work really well if I got my hair cut short again. Hmm. . . decisions, decisions. . .
I'm going to save clothing and shoes and anything else I come across for another post. Let me know if you liked this one in a comment please!

-C

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Liebster Award & Nominations

"The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. What is a Liebster? The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome."
I've been nominated by Oanh at Indefinite Style for the Liebster Award. 

The rules are:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!

Here are 11 things about me:
1. Right now I speak only English fluently, but am learning Italian. After that, I'd like to go back and polish up my French and learn Spanish as well.
2. I've only left North America once, on a trip to Italy.
3. Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday because my whole family on my mom's side gets together.
4. I'm pretty sure the first day of autumn used to be on my birthday (September 21st), but has since migrated to the 22nd. This really cheeses me off.
5. I adore mystery novels and am excited to have recently discovered the neo-noir film genre.
6. I love television shows which demand the contestants/actors display some sort of natural skill, e.g. "So You Think You Can Dance" and "The Glee Project."
7. My father is an artist and graphic designer which has given me very specific tastes in aesthetics. For example, I adored the art deco-inspired posters for the film "Black Swan."
8. Although not a natural-born comic book nerd, I do love Captain America. One of my friends often teases me by sending me .gif images of Steve Rogers' (a.k.a. Chris Evans') backside from the opening boxing scene in "The Avengers."
9. Florence + the Machine is my favourite band, and I am longing for the day I get to see them in concert.
10. As a child, I wished for red hair. I'm pretty much the opposite of Anne Shirley.
11. The most enjoyable sports I've ever gotten to try are fencing, boxing, and archery.

Indefinite Style's Questions:
1. What's your most worn item at the moment? This is between a white ballet leotard-style t-shirt (which goes with everything), and my coral striped shirt from Hollister (I love the fit, colour, everything).
2. Name one place you want to visit.
It's hard to pick just one, but a place I'm definitely already planning to visit is Venice, or Venezia in Italian. I'll be travelling back to Italy once I've got my degree and would like to spend some time in the more northern cities, as the last time I went I hit mainly central Italy. Other than that, the Harry Potter theme park, hands down.
3. Favourite store/online store?
Forever 21 is definitely the store I most consistently buy clothing from. MAC is the store I'm most excited to be in (I could honestly live in there). Anthropologie is the online store I most frequently browse through, but I've never bought anything from them because I have no money :)
4. Best purchase of the month. My burgundy cords from Joe Fresh. They fit amazingly and were only $19 (Canadian). So exciting!
5. What is one blog that you check religiously? Definitely Cee's blog Coco and Vera. She is one of the classiest dressers I've ever seen, while still having a style which is not unrealistic for the average woman.
6. What is your go-to outfit when you don't know what to wear? Either a nice pair of jeans and a t-shirt with some sort of interesting detail and a bright colour, or the same kind of top with any white bottoms. I've always got to be wearing some sort of rich colour. 
7. What is the newest beauty item you've tried?
At the moment, my Sonia Kashuk blush in "Flamingo," which I picked up after reading rave reviews. For a beautiful colour at a really good price ($8 American maybe), it definitely doesn't disappoint.
8. What is your dream job? I would love to work either in public relations or at a publishing house. I love to read, write, and speak in front of people. Being surrounded by literature would be a dream.
9. Name an item you can't live without?
I might have to be really arrogant here and say there's really no material thing I couldn't do without. I'm not at all addicted to modern technology, so I guess. . . soap? That's pretty essential, right?
10. What is your favourite season? Why? Definitely autumn, because it's when all the best things happen. School starts (yay English!), it's when I persist in thinking my birthday is (see #4 of things about me), there are fall fairs, crunchy leaves, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and lovely sweaters.
11. What is one thing you wish people knew about you? I think there are very few things that can't be achieved with respect and honesty. I will always act and make decisions based on these two qualities. Also, I once had a fish named Zeus.

My Questions:
1. If you had the chance to style any celebrity, who would it be?
2. What are your favourite physical and personality traits in yourself?
3. Name one distinct phase you went through clothing-wise (e.g. constantly wearing the same shirt, being all about tie-dye [please don't answer that one!]).
4. What is one goal you have for your blog?
5. What is the first thing you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
6. Do you have any odd talents?
7. What is one item you wear (makeup, clothing, or accessory) that one of your family members, friends, or significant other can't stand?
8. In a group of individuals representing cliches, which one would most suit you: the sweet one, the smart one, the funny one, the shy one, the center of attention, the tomboy, the clumsy one, the artist, or the [insert other more applicable cliche here]?
9. Is there a fictional world (either film or book) you would like to be a part of? Which one, and why?
10. Which individual or band (alive or dead, or split up) would you kill (not literally) to get tickets to see?
11. Name one thing that you would love to have in your wardrobe/makeup collection that is totally impractical (due to the limited number of times or places you could wear it, due to price, due to it belonging to a celebrity [helloooo "Thriller" jacket!] etc.).

Nominations:
11. Betsy Boat 

Thanks again to Indefinite Style!

-C

Monday, 20 August 2012

Call me male-ish

Today's title is a mixed up, me-trying-to-be-clever quotation derived from the first (and oh so famous) line of my current read: Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The real line of course runs "Call me Ishmael." This sentence, and novel as a whole, are well suited to today's OOTD post as my outfit is quite nautical themed. If this isn't really your thing, fair enough, but I happened to love this shirt as soon as I laid eyes on it. These coraly-red canvas boat shoes also happen to be my favourite shoes ever. I tend to dress fairly casually, while still trying to look nice, and these shoes have always suited my needs while being extremely comfortable at the same time.
Skirt & Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger
Relating to the shoes, and my being casual in general, you might have noticed that, unlike the majority of fashion bloggers I've seen, I've never had an OOTD with heels. It's just personal preference really; I've always found the shoes I gravitated towards are fairly flat, but interesting. Luckily, this less typically feminine preference also allowed me to play around with my quotation today, so I'm happy all around!
Top: Joe Fresh; Earrings: Le Chateau
Also, you might be wondering what's going on with my hair in these pictures. It is in fact tied back in a very small pony tail. I'm debating whether or not I want to cut it all off, which is how I used to have it before starting this blog. I've been letting it grow out for many months now (since March or April), but super short hair still holds such an appeal for me. It means using less shampoo, not having to straighten it almost every day, more time for doing makeup in the morning. . . but we'll see how it goes.

I know that while I like wearing oddly patterned cotton shirts, I'm going to be thrilled the day I can wake up and put on a nice big sweater. Are you as excited for autumn as I am?

-C

Thursday, 16 August 2012

That's exactly what I'd call it if I had one

Today's quotation is an adapted line from the television show "2 Broke Girls." Some of you are already aware of my quest to find a nice pink nail polish. Well, I've succeeded. I picked up Essie's "Muchi, Muchi," the only thing is, when I looked online to try to figure out which collection this colour came from, I found something odd. I think this might be the same as another Essie shade called "Guchi Muchi Puchi," at least from what I've read and images I've seen. So call it what you will, but this is one gorgeous pink!
Essie's "Muchi, Muchi"
I also received my long awaited piano book in the mail today. Thank you, UPS man! Amazon played a nasty trick on me though; yesterday they changed the status of my order to say that it wasn't going to be shipped until the end of the month or early September. On the bright side, it was that much more exciting when I got it today because it felt like it came ahead of schedule!

Thanks again for the nail colour suggestions! Any other piano players in the house?

-C
P.S. These pictures do show the polish very true to shade.

Monday, 13 August 2012

I have a sock that I refer to as my "good sock"

I don't actually have a sock like that; today's quotation comes from the show "2 Broke Girls." It's funny if you're feeling tolerant of fairly constant sexual humour, but mostly I've quoted it because I've spent the day thinking about money. Not in a greedy Ebenezer Scrooge kind of way. School is coming up on me rapidly now and it's time to start thinking about paying tuition and dealing with student loans. This process elicits from me a "yay" heavily laden with sarcasm.

I've been picking up my required texts for this year AND my copy of Moby Dick came in the mail the other day! I love getting things in the mail, even though I'm still sitting in wait for the piano book I ordered (mentioned here). The push is now on for me to finish what has become my final elective read for the summer before embarking on my school reading list. Right now I'm working my way through Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played With Fire. One thing that certainly stands out about this series, whether you've read the novels or watched the films, is the extreme amount of violence; a popular theme running throughout the novels is society's treatment of women. When I mentioned to a friend of mine recently that I was reading this novel, their reaction was surprisingly negative. I thought the reason was perhaps what I have just suggested, the mistreatment of women. I was wrong. My friend's issue with the trilogy was rather the way in which it deals with men's issues; read: sexism against men. This is an area unfortunately often overlooked by scholars and laymen alike, but bringing this point of view into consideration has really helped me have a new perspective as I continue on with the novel.

Besides my literary endeavours, I've also been picking up the odd clothing item here and there. My intention was, of course, to get some new things for fall, but I ended up buying a couple of summer pieces anyway. Hopefully you'll see some of these in OOTDs sooner rather than later. I was planning on taking pictures today as the weather looked promising, but things have clouded over here so I'll save that for another day. If you're living in Canada and looking to do some back-to-school shopping, I'd recommend checking out corduroy pants at Joe Fresh. I pretty much never buy anything from them, but was pleasantly surprised to come across these pants for $19 in a plethora of amazing autumn colours. I bought mind in a dark burgundy, but there's also mustard, dark green, cobalt blue, burnt orange, brown, and black from what I can remember.

Happy back-to-school shopping!

-C

Thursday, 9 August 2012

I have to know where you are at all times

. . . especially if you have my shoes on. That is definitely one of my favourite quotations from Gilmore Girls. I must say, I was shocked to find that I had so many new followers (four is a big deal for me, so thank you!) when I signed in today. I realize that I haven't written anything in a little while, so I thought I'd better sort something out quick before you all start revolting on me! Just kidding. That does remind me of a joke my 10th grade history teacher used to tell though; "It was the French Revolution and the peasants were revolting!" Or, almost any other time period in history can be reasonably inserted in place of the French Revolution. The point is. . . hygiene is important? The question mark there isn't me doubting the importance of hygiene, it's me having no idea if there really is a point to that joke except a decent chuckle that almost never gets old.

Unlike me! I've just reminded myself that my birthday is coming up next month. I haven't really been thinking about it yet, but there's one thing I've particularly had my eye on. . .
Grabbed from Google
Or as Mr. Collins would say (in the 2005 film version of "Pride and Prejudice"), it has "captured my special attention." This is the mineralize eye shadow "Magnetic Attraction" from MAC's Heavenly Creature collection. The only issue is that it looks so amazing, I'm not sure I'll want to use it!

In other news, I went to see the film "Seeking a Friend For the End of the World" a couple of nights ago. It's an apocalyptic comedy (I'm on a role with these obscure movie genres, see another in my last post) starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. This wasn't a show I had especially high hopes for, but it was mostly decent, and a couple of parts were even in the "quite good indeed" category. One great thing about it is that it's impossible to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen it! Because it's the apocalypse. . .

Have you seen anything good lately? Have you tried any products from the Heavenly Creature collection?

-C

Sunday, 5 August 2012

We're recreating a faux pas!

Watching "Modern Family" has been fuelling me with all sorts of bizarre new quotations, which I love. Today's title is one of those. I can't say I've personally committed, let alone recreated, any faux pas recently, but I have watched a film focused around exacerbated faux pas, a.k.a. political incorrectness, a.k.a. (in this case) racism. I almost couldn't believe that it had taken me this long to get around to seeing "The Help," but then I remember what being a full-time student feels like and subsequently let myself off the hook. 

This really was a great movie, but I unfortunately feel that it may have been over-hyped, and for me failed to entirely live up to it. Don't get me wrong, I saw an interesting plot and fair to excellent acting all around, but it was missing a grit, depth, or directness that would have taken the film to the next level.

I also viewed the 2004 tennis-based rom-com (clearly a popular genre) "Wimbledon." This was another one I'd meant to watch but had simply slipped my mind. I was reminded of it, oddly enough, while watching a men's singles Olympic tennis match, and actually watched the film the same afternoon. I feel that particular day has helped me learn my tennis watching limits and have no desire to see another match for quite some time. Along that vein, did anyone catch the men's 100m sprint final today? How about women's diving? The men's 100m is definite one of the highlights of every Olympic games, but diving is my personal favourite event to watch.

I wasn't going out anywhere important yesterday, but it was hot, and out of sheer laziness I neglected to straighten my hair. My solution for this was wrapping a scarf around my head, which I have decided is not just for long-haired girls!
Scarf: purchased in Sorrento, Earrings: Mexx; Top: Old Navy
I bought this scarf on a trip to Italy; a vacation I was reminded of again today when I began reviewing the language in anticipation of classes beginning in September. You probably think this makes me extremely keen, but consider this: I am one of the few students minoring in the language who don't come from an Italian background (one of my classmates had his own mother for an Italian teacher throughout high school). This will be my third year studying a language which most of the others have been learning over the past 20-odd years of their lives. Plus, they have family and friends (and trips to Europe) to help them practice over the summer. All things considered, I don't really think I'm jumping the gun at all. Unlike Sun Yang with his false start at the men's 1500m freestyle final. Oh snap.

-C

Thursday, 2 August 2012

It's because he's a muscular genius

Something very strange has happened recently. I know I mentioned in a previous post my general distaste for the most recent Batman series , but I watched "The Dark Knight" the other day and then went out and bought "Batman Begins." Here are my theories on the reason for enjoying them more this time around:
  1. They are best watched out of order. This time I've tackled the problem by starting with the second film.
  2. Robin was obviously the best character ever and he didn't make it into the latest franchise so I've been subconsciously boycotting them.
  3. Superhero movies are a hit and miss with me. Spiderman: miss. Iron Man: miss. Captain America: HIT! Maybe I should pursue the ones without "man" in the title?
  4. As Jay explains in "Modern Family" (which I've just started watching; see last post), Batman is a "muscular genius." I used to write Batman off because I felt that he relied too much on gadgets and not enough on sweet alien powers (although, I oddly also dislike Superman and there's one dude who's all about the alien powers), but I'm starting to get the impact of the whole life story that gets played out in this series.
  5. I will basically watch anything in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a somewhat dominant role (see review of "Brick" here). This willingness will truly be tested when I see "The Dark Knight Rises" however, due to the supreme irritation inflicted on me by watching Anne Hathaway. My love for her pretty much begins and ends with her exaggerated "Gueeess not" when Gabbana is not spelt for her over the phone in "The Devil Wears Prada." 
 Also in the category of things that are strange for me to do, I wore red yesterday. Let us scoop up our collectively dropped jaws and move on. This news should definitely rank somewhere between "J.K. Rowling is a billionaire?" and "you can almost smell the Lush store from across the mall" on the scale all things ridiculously uninformative and/or obvious. And nothing against Lush, but if I ever got a job there, I think I might be asphyxiated by the million and two scents in that small, small space. Anyway, yes, I did in fact stray towards coral's spaghetti sauce coloured cousin and I felt that this uncharacteristic dressing choice must be documented. 
Skirt: Old navy; Shoes: Guess via TJMaxx
As well, girls with short hair can do more than just wear it down! Braiding my hair has become a great option for me when I don't feel like pulling out the straightener on a hot day (and when something absolutely MUST be done with my hair because it's way too thick).
Top: Banana Republic
This post was supposed to contain my OOTD (check) and two movie reviews (neither of which was going to be Batman. . . oops) but it turns out that I was not at all at a loss for words! Have you seen "The Dark Knight Rises" yet? What are your feelings about superhero films (such a serious issue, I know)?

-C

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Please don't be the spit in my face

Today's quotation is actually a real line, not just an absurdly disgusting request. Yesterday I began attempting to get addicted to something. The something was "Modern Family." A good friend of mine absolutely loves this show and raved to me about it throughout the past school year. We live several hours apart, but I will hopefully be seeing her soon, and at that point I'd like to wow her with my knowledge and up-to-speed-ness of the show she is so crazy about. Aside from introducing me to this wonderful person of bizarre televisional tastes (and a few other things like life skills and an appreciation for higher education), my university has often become "the spit in my face" alluded to by Gloria in "Modern Family." Something always goes horribly wrong with my schedule, special requests, etc. each year like clockwork. At the moment, although I didn't get into a couple of courses I wish I could have, everything's going alright. This makes me very suspicious. It's the calm before the takeawayyourscholarshipmakeyoupaydoublefortextbooksandallyourclassesareacrosscampus storm. Kudos to you if you read that.

Nevertheless, today it has become August. It really does feel like August, too. I was in Walmart the other day and had an urge to buy strangely coloured pens and overpriced notebooks. However, I resisted the impulse since notebooks I don't need yet at all, and I'm pretty sure I always end up with way too many pens and likely still have plenty fresh ones kicking around from last year. The thing that excites me most (not surprisingly) is buying my books. For many people, a Health Sci bound friend of mine in particular, purchasing textbooks is less than thrilling, but for me, it's pretty much Christmas. This is mainly because I don't have to buy books for labs, math, engineering in any shape or form, but actual literature; most of which I will actually enjoy. Buying something new and lovely and interesting because it's MANDATORY! I love being an arts student.

Just anticipating the books in my not too distant future has got me wanting to rearrange my bookshelf. This is perhaps the nerdiest of all nerd pursuits, but I don't care at all. My books have been arranged so many ways by now: by school/non-school, by author, by spine colour, and even once by height. I'm glad that this is a marginally useful insanity as I channel by OCD tendencies into superior organizational methods. At least that's what I've been telling myself.

Tomorrow's post will contain an OOTD and two movie reviews. How is everyone's summer going? Anyone else thinking about school yet (if you're still attending)?

-C

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?


-C

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."

-C

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.


-C

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!

-C

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?

-C

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?

-C

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.

-C

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!

-C

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!

-C