Thursday, 28 June 2012

Another look in the mirror

Today's title refers to the most recent film I've seen: "Snow White and the Huntsman." After seeing it the other night, I'd like to share a few of my thoughts with you. To keep things organized, I've decided to list them and give a (relatively) short explanation under each one. Feel free to debate and add your opinion!
    Doesn't look like much of a castle-stormer to me!
  1. Kristen Stewart as Snow White: I know that this casting choice presented a major obstacle for many movie-goers. Between the "Oh please, that emotionless Twilight girl?" and the "Who do they think will find HER prettier than Charlize Theron," there was a fair amount of negativity surrounding Stewart's position as the title character. I myself am not a huge fan of Twilight. I mildly appreciate the movies, but to be honest, it's because of the filming style and excellect, excellent scores and soundtracks. However, I feel like Stewart really turned it out for this film. She was a whole new model for Snow White, and although she didn't exactly take my breath away with her sheer talent, she did display much more feeling than in the Twilight series. She brought a tougher modern vibe to the film (à la her role as Joan Jett in "The Runaways"), which certainly helped make it more believable for me when she later donned a suit of armour, stormed a castle, and helped to battle the Evil Queen's army.
  2.  The inclusion of Christianity:When Kristen Stewart's Snow White began her fervent recitation of the Lord's Prayer in her opening scene in the tower, it threw me for a minute. Before I go any further, I just want to make it clear that I mean no offense to anyone's religious beliefs, I'm simply examining this topic as an interesting film interpretation. As a scene, I think it completely makes sense that Snow White would be praying for herself and/or her deceased parents. It shows a demonstration of faith, devotion, and mild mannered kindness, several of which qualities we would expect from a heroine. However, many of such traditional fairy tales (the most popular version of Snow White comes from the German Brothers Grimm) are markedly pagan, for example in the practice of dark magic and witchcraft. I feel that it might not quite have made sense to superimpose Christianity over such an old and oft-told tale of which it had never previously been an element. The film also appeared to contridict itself as after setting Snow White up as a Christian, they introduced the magical white deer with tree branches for antlers. The awe displayed before this apparently never-before-seen animal struck me as though the deer must be intended to be, on some level, godlike. So, either "Snow White and the Huntsman" is breaking new ground by attempting to reconcile or consolidate paganism and Christianity, or the audience is meant to view the deer as a kind of rare manifestation of God for the purpose of blessing the Christian heroine on her journey. The second option does clearly recall for me the literary tradition of the Christian epic (see Paradise Lost or  The Faerie Queene), but I think you could make a case for either.
  3. What was missing: As much as I can appreciate "Snow White and the Huntsman" as a "main movie theatre attraction for summer 2012", I can't help but also compare it to the Snow White story I know and love. I am not getting into the Brothers Grimm here; I can respect them as authors, but I've never found any of their works particularly warm and fuzzy or well suited to the modern, unharassed, mentally stable child. This comparison is based off of straight up Disney. First of all, Kristen Stewart's Snow White was frequently strong willed with an occasional splash of badass, which totally worked for her own edgy persona. However, it also made me long for the good old Snow White. You know, tying her hair back in a bow, singing into the wishing well, giggling with the forest critters, the whole bit. Snow White is the uber-femme when it comes to heroines. I'm all for her growing a bit of a backbone, but moments when Stewart's character did this seemed a little patchy and inconsistent. I'm just saying, if you're going to be a proto-feminist, don't only go halfway. If you're not up to this, fill in those spaces with some classic Snow White gentleness and kind-hearted behaviour; unless you're giving us something we really need (a hardcore feminist Snow White might have been fun, right?), please don't reinvent the wheel.
    • Also, why didn't they show the apple after she bit it in that dramatic winter-wonderland-turned-seedy-seduction scene? This is not as big of a deal as Snow White needing to figure out where she stands as a model of femininity, but I remember (again, we're talking Disney here) the apple roling out of that poor girl's hand as the most shocking and tragic moment of the movie. I wasn't thrilled when Stewart's poisoned apple turned into the facsimile of a woodland dust bunny when it could have instead been cast away by her with the last ounce of her strength before she died. Seriously.
    • Finally, I found it strange that no one really inquired as to how Snow White came back from the dead. It's obvious to us (plus we were expecting it) that it was the huntsman's kiss of true love that broke the spell (I found this so-called affection came cross very weakly in the film, but I won't get into that), but in the film, he doesn't seem to ever become aware of this. William knows he couldn't bring her back, the huntsman was drunk and in despair when he kissed her (not to mention that he didn't stick around to watch the magic trick, or the "prestige"[term appropriated from the film of the same name]), and Snow White just woke up alone in a huge chamber so there's no way SHE knew what was going on. The moment sort of lost its romantic potential for me and the huntsman continued to seem like more of a guardian/big brother figure to our heroine because he was distanced from it.
Back with a vengence?
Well, that went on for considerably longer than I thought it would! If you've read it all, please let me know what you think. I really love seeing your opinions!


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The chariot that bears a human soul

Today's quotation is actually part of the Emily Dickinson poem "There is no frigate like a book." I've never used poetry as a title before, so I guess today's a little something new. As you may be aware, I'm a student of English literature, so the times when I am NOT reading something or other are pretty rare. My love for the written word extends back beyond the bounds of my own memory. When I was a little girl, my mom bought me a book of poetry from each of Robert Browning, Edgar Allen Poe, and the aforementioned Emily Dickinson; the poem I've quoted was in fact my favourite of the collection (despite initially have no idea whatsoever what a frigate was).

Given my past and present attachment to literature of all shapes and forms, it won't come as a surprise that today I'm grasping yet another opportunity to talk about some of my favourite printed art. I am an avid follower of the blog Sprinkle of Glitter. I find that Louise's cheerful tone and colourful subject matter always bring a smile to my face. Today, I'm extremely pleased to be able to join her in her Wednesday LOTD: Book.
My favourite novel is Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, which I finished reading (for the 3rd time) yesterday. To me, this is an absolutely breathtaking novel. There is honestly something in this story for everyone. Niffenegger tackles the subject of time travel in a very approachable way for us readers; she doesn't make light of it as a fantastical ability but instead transfigures it into a tangible (when the character isn't travelling!) genetic disease, the implications of which constantly shape and reshape the lives of Clare Abshire and Henry DeTamble.

The heart of this tale is the unconventional love story of Henry and Clare. We watch them struggle through coping with loss, separation, joy, uncertainty, and a truly incredible amount of devotion. Even if the time travelling aspect doesn't hook you, you MUST READ THIS NOVEL if for the love story alone; it is the most powerful I have ever read, and that is saying something. The Time Traveler's Wife is also appealing on a psychological level as it battles the issue of free will. Henry's voyages back and forth through time may at first seem magical and exciting, but he is also constantly reminded of the fact that outside of his present (when he's not travelling), he has no agency. He frequently meets with events he wants to change, but lacks the ability to do so. Nothing can be altered because in Henry's past (which is where he mainly ends up), everything has already happened. Things will go the way they will go because they have already done so. Confused yet? It's understandable if you are. The novel explains all of this better than I can, plus each section lets you know what the date is and Henry's age (or ages, sometimes he exists twice in the same trip) at the time.

The bottom line is, this is an astoundingly beautiful story of the steadfast constancy of love through both space and time.


Monday, 25 June 2012

Like making a bed

Happy Monday, all. I haven't posted anything for the last few days, and I'm sorry about that. I had some important stuff going on this weekend so blogging had to take the back seat. I know that I probably could have tried to push myself to do it anyways, but if I did I suspected that my writing would turn out subpar, which isn't especially enjoyable for either you or I. Also, I'm very much a perfectionist with my writing. Generally, I can be confidently and correctly categorized as a type-B personality. However, when it comes to any sort of work I have to do, be responsible for, and live with the effects of afterwards, I'm type-A through and through.

Things, to put it mildly, have been pretty super-fantastic with me over the past little while. Lots on my mind, but in a good way rather than a bad. I've had a lot of time for thinking lately and have found myself up late frequently doing just that. That and writing. Not blog writing, unfortunately, just writing writing. I occasionally go through phases where almost every night I have a million little ideas running through my head and I absolutely have to record them. . . or at least attempt to. These things come to me as I'm ready to fall asleep and if I can repeat them to myself often enough, I will attempt to actually roll over, switch on my bedside light, dig out my journal, and write down a close enough approximation to whatever I was thinking/feeling/remembering in a way that I feel is original and pleasing enough satisfy me as to the fact that it was worth jotting down and that I can now go to sleep, unburdened of said phrase my brain has been arranging. It sounds rather horrible, doesn't it? It's a very comfortable feeling though, being able to create something, even a line, that I just love, and then having the will power to refuse to let it slip my mind until I have tucked it away for the night. I put it to bed with black pen. It can rest on my lined paper as though between its own cotton sheets.

Normally I think of the title of each post before I begin to type. That way, I give myself a starting place and allow myself to consider the quotation as I write; expanding and exploring it, probing at it, looping it in and through my ideas until I am satisfied. Today I didn't have anything definite to put up in that little "Post title" rectangle, but now I do. Right now I'm reading Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife for possibly the third or fourth time (I've mentioned more than once that this is my favourite novel). My own description at the end of my last paragraph has reminded me of a line in this novel that I find particularly comforting: "Turning each page is like making a bed, an enormous expanse of paper slowly rises up and over." A good friend of mine has told me more than once that folding one's laundry is cathartic because it mimics putting one's life in order. Writing itself can be like this for me; like making a bed, it is relaxing and orderly.

What are you reading at the moment? I am genuinely interested to know as well how you construct your blog posts. Some of mine involve OOTDs, etc. and so I simply take the pictures and mould the rest around that visual story. For those that don't, as I've mentioned in this post already, I just find a pleasing quotation and then am off and running with it until I reach what feels like the end of my thought or the bottom of this bottomless, virtual typing box.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

I'll shout the name back to you

Good evening/morning/afternoon to you all! Today's quotation comes from the film "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," which is really quite a mouthful to say after being used to just calling it "Pirates." I really love the series, and the part I've taken this line from is the argument between Captains Jack and Barbossa in which Jack plans to leave Barbossa stranded on an island in possession of not so much as his own name. Strangely, this bizarre little exchange does hold some relevance for my post. I recently asked you to recommend a few new nail colours for me (preferably for summer, possibly pink). Well, I haven't been out to buy any yet, though I did get a few lovely suggestions, and I decided I'd better just paint my nails something different in the meantime. This came in the form of an absolutely gorgeous red OPI nail polish, which I unfortunately don't know the name of since it's just a mini one my mother gave me a couple of years back. If any of you can recognize it (if you do, you are a nail polish wizard) please feel free to do like Captain Jack and shout the name back to me! Or, you know, leave a comment. Whatever works!

I'm just enamored with this red, which is strange for me because I'm not usually a fan of red. I bought a nice red shirt last month, but other than that, I have no red items in my possession. I'm sure that shirt will turn up in an OOTD eventually, so keep a look out for that! I have quite fair skin (apart from the plethora of freckles) with pink undertones, and I find that a nice warm red works best for me (more yellow-red than blue-red, if you know what I mean?). Anyway, this red has become very near and dear to my heart for actually looking good on me. To make the application of this colour even nicer, I did my nails in between watching the film "Pretty Woman" (I couldn't do it while watching because I hate missing even a little of a movie I love so much). If you want more info as to why this would be such a great experience for me, please check out my last blog post.
A little blurry, but ooooh! Pretty!
A sharper image, but as you can see, not as true to the warmth of the colour.
If you have any more nail colour suggestions, or maybe even a specific colour and movie combo (why shouldn't such a thing exist?!), please leave a comment for me to read!


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Be still like vegetables

Today's quotation is from one of my favourite films and also a pretty good representation of what I'll be doing this afternoon: absolutely nothing. This line is spoken by Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward in "Pretty Woman" when she suggests to her host (Richard Gere's Edward Lewis) that he should spend some time relaxing in front of the TV. I didn't just appropriate this quotation to complain about the paralysing heat here (yet again), but to facilitate a post that will hopefully help you learn a little bit more about me. 

In the world of international and timeless style icons, many people select Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, or Sophia Loren as their biggest role models (obviously there are many, many more to chose from, I'm just reaching for the most common). Well, I am not fortunate enough to possess perfectly curled blonde locks, a face for oversized cat eye sunglasses (I have small features, so any large shades absolutely dwarf me), or for exotic cat eye makeup for that matter. The look that I find myself turning to time and time again is instead the aforementioned character of Vivian Ward. Just to be clear, we're talking after the blonde wig and safety-pinned boots. For me, Vivian is just so incredibly classy in a way that very few woman (characters included) have been, and that even fewer women are now. Her style is timeless and simple, and she always, always, always has the right accessories. I realize, of course, how much easier putting together such a wardrobe becomes when you have a wealthy professional on hand to bankroll the entire shopping excursion. Don't you just love it when Mr. Hollister inquires as to the amount Edward will be dropping in his store and he replies "Really offensive"? I would love for someone to spend that specific quality of cash on me!
So many clothes!!
Another big attraction for me about Vivian is actually one about Julia as well: her hair. I've been lucky enough in my life to always feel pretty comfortable with the way I look. The only thing I've ever wished for that I didn't have, in terms of physical attributes, was red hair. I longed for red hair as a child, and when I watch "Pretty Woman" I can't help but be reminded. Even with all that class (what an ironically noneloquent phrasing), Vivian's hair helped her original feisty personality shine through. She may look like a lady, but she's also vivacious and savvy enough to keep looking out for #1; I like to think this is a trait Vivian and I share. My favourite look in terms of her hair in this film was during the bar scene ("You're late" "You're stunning" "You're forgiven". . . you know the one). I remember wanting my hair done just like it for one of my high school semi-formals but didn't end up having this up-do because I couldn't find a good enough picture, or my hair wasn't long enough, or some other triviality.
"You're late."
I can't say I have quite enough style, patience, or money to dress like Vivian Ward every day (sometimes I do end up with similar looks coincidentally though), but if I did, I'm sure I would like it "better than Pirates of Penzance"!
"If they love it, they will always love it."

Monday, 18 June 2012

De nails

My, my, my, this post's title looks almost normal, doesn't it? That's because you're missing the necessary audio accompaniment. This very short quotation is derived, again, from Shakespeare's Henry V. In the scene from which it comes, the French princess, Catherine, is attempting to learn some basic English terms in case of a British takeover. Naturally, she opts for the most useful of words: naming the hand, the fingers, the nails, etc. Obviously I'm kidding about the practicality of studying the names of only a few physical attributes during a major military attack, but I thought that the focus on purely aesthetic qualities wasn't a terrible fit for a blog often centred around clothing and makeup. The real humour of the scene I've described is in Catherine's rough pronunciation of the English words she's taught. . . hence "de nails" instead of "the nails" (in both the Olivier and Branagh film versions of the play, "nails" is also said more like "niles"). Likely not the most politically correct interpretation of the French, but the whole point of the play was to make them look foolish and portray the English as the deserving victors. You can also tell that I'm not trying to insult anyone by proxy since Catherine's English likely sounds equally poor as my Italian when I speak it to my professor in class. I'm sure anyone who has taken grade 9 French can relate.

Now that we've wandered a sufficient distance down the Shakespeare trail, let me get back to the real topic of this post. Nail polish. We love to put it on, we hate to take it off, we pretty much want to maim or seriously injure (phrase cred to Dobby the house elf) anyone who causes it to come to any harm. I've had a love-hate relationship with my nails. They're strong and they grow very fast, which many people of lesser strength, short nails, will no doubt be envious of. The issue for me is that this rapid growth (that sounds a bit gross, actually) makes it difficult to text, play the piano, or accomplish other tasks for which the use of the actual finger pad is required. My solution has always been to just cut my nails as short as I could (without inflicting pain), but I also like to paint them and once they're cut that short, it becomes quite a trial. Getting nail polish all over the ends of your fingers is not a very fun time. Plus, you then have to get the polish remover out to fix everything up and the whole process ends up taking twice as long as you'd planned!

In an attempt to sidestep my previous issues with the clipping/painting of my nails, I've been letting them stay long for a little while, and I'm actually enjoying the change. The only thing now is that I've realized I need new polish. It's not that mine is incredibly old or anything, but I find that I tend to go back to my three favourite colours (Sephora by OPI's "Special Request" and "Opening Night," and China Glaze's "Midnight Kiss") time and again, and I'd really like to try something different. Below are a few of the polishes I'm currently considering. Have you tried any of these? Are there any colours you've been loving that you'd like to recommend (especially if you know of a nice light pink)?
Essie's "Flawless"
Essie's "A Shine of the Times"
Essie's "Mademoiselle"
OPI's "Italian Love Affair"

OPI's "Gouda Gouda Two Shoes"

Julep's "Hayden"
Butter London's "Knackered"

Saturday, 16 June 2012

We band of boaters

My title has been appropriated from one of the most famous speeches penned by William Shakespeare: dear Harry's "band of brothers" oration from Henry V. However, this post is not about royalty, nor war, nor even men. I went to an event today which I never could have predicted myself going to. For several years, I've had a vague idea that my city held dragon boat races every year, but had really no need to think any further about them than that brief recognition of their existence. Well, this year my mother decided to get involved and join a team and so my family experienced our first dragon boat event (my mom was the only one actually racing though). Only one person in my mom's boat had ever done this sort of thing before, apart from the two practice sessions the boat club sets up for each team prior to race day. Even though they weren't the top team in the water, they still managed to beat six other groups, making them champions of their division. This "band of boaters," as I'm calling them, stuck it out in a fantastic display of teamwork and motivation. I'm honestly so proud of my mom for finding something new to try and really giving it her all.

To further adapt the quotation I've chosen, I'd like to back-track further up the line to "We few, we happy few." In terms of today's event, it was something more along the lines of "We many, we sweaty, sunburnt many." I feel like I do perhaps say too much about the heat, but I've already told you in my last post that I managed to acquire a lovely red burn yesterday, so being out by the lake today was not so pleasant on my skin. As for the many, I am so not kidding when I said that. I had no idea how many teams entered into a competition like this, or how many others came to watch it! There were easily a thousand people present. All this means is that, in terms of this blog, I didn't take any pictures of myself there. I'm still new to this being in front of the camera thing and I was sure I'd attract more stares than I'd have been comfortable with if I started snapping pictures of myself at the event, so I took them at home afterwards instead.

I'm completely in love with the shirt I wore (that sounds quite self-indulgent, but if I hadn't loved it, I wouldn't have bought it, right?). This outfit ended up pleasing me so much for looking a sort of mix of retro/classy/comfortable, that by the end of the afternoon I had myself pretty nearly talked into believing I was a modern Vivian Ward, only watching boats race rather than horses. If only I had a sweet little pair of white gloves to go with it. . . those are going straight on the top of my list!

Also, seeing as tomorrow is Father's Day, I likely won't have a post for you. I'll be away at a big family BBQ, but I hope you all enjoy your day!
Hat: Forever 21; Top: Monteau via TJMaxx; Shorts: Jacob; Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren via TJMaxx; Watch&Bag: Fossil; Shoes: Enzo Angiolini also via TJMaxx
Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward in "Pretty Woman"
Maybe a little similarity? I wish I'd realized it before and done a cute hat-holding pose like Julia. Darn!

Friday, 15 June 2012

My little. . . unwalled section of the world?

I think I must have been suffering lately from onlyblogatnight-itis. From my own experience I can report that said condition is quite hampering, but can be combatted with a remedy of perseverance mixed in equal parts with force-yourself-to-do-it. Seriously though, I feel as though I'm slacking off a bit with this blog, and I don't have a really solid explanation as to why. I'm just getting lazy perhaps; hopefully you can excuse this as I do believe it happens to the best of us.

So today has been another veritable scorcher here in my little corner of the world. I always find that a bit of a strange phrase. Why on earth (no pun intended) would someone select "corner" as a likely place to position oneself whilst living on a sphere? It only makes me think of living inside a giant box, which is not really the pleasantest of feelings. I'll leave someone else to puzzle over that for now and digress back into more present matters. As I've said, it was very hot today, and being quite a fair-skinned individual, I did manage to burn myself. In a weak attempt to defend my skincare negligence, I have to say I was sitting outside so much because I was trying to finish the novel Vanity Fair. I read all the way up to the final chapter, but I stopped there. As much as I've been wont to complain about the length and frequent wordiness of this novel, I have honestly really really enjoyed it. This book has made me laugh out loud in some places, and cry my eyes out in others. I'm going to finish reading it tonight and have the extremely satisfying experience of a final page turn.

What have you all been reading lately? Anything you find yourself coming back to again and again? I've told you that my favourite novel is The Time Traveler's Wife and I'm beginning to get the itch to pick it up off the ol' bookshelf again. There's really nothing quite as nice as finishing one great novel with an old favourite on the horizon.


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Unscrewing the stars

From a movie about death and destruction in space, to one centring around an undying Italian love, I've made a bit of a jump in terms of my film choices over the past 24 hours. Surprisingly, or maybe not since it does sound a bit fluffy, the quotation I've adapted for my title comes from the latter of the two. It's actually from a rather romantic speech in the film "La Tigre e la Neve" (or "The Tiger and the Snow" in English). Since I'm studying Italian, I've been trying to give myself some sort of practice over the summer, and I find that film and music are two of the easiest and most accessible ways to do that. 

I had mixed hopes for this particular film; I knew that it was written and directed by (and also starred) Roberto Benigni, whom you may know from the extremely moving WWII film "La Vita è Bella." However, after bringing the DVD home from the library (yes, I am that cool that I rent foreign films from the public library), I read a few reviews of the film online (something I maybe should have done as a peremptory measure) and to put it simply, none of them were positive. "Oh well," I thought, "Italian is Italian, and I need the practice." Boy, am I glad I gave this one a chance. To me, the film was everything a film should be. It was topical without smacking you over the head with irate humanitarian insistence. It was touching without giving you that nearly sick-to-your-stomach feeling a glossy Hollywood rom-com might leave you with. Finally, it was funny. That classic Benigni humour had a wonderful way of tying together the other two big characteristics. His role as Attilio de Giovanni had that sort of quirky sweetness so typical of his characters, but so fresh and genuine that it just dazzles you.

Since I'm hoping this positive review leaves us all in a good place ("spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically". . . who can resist quoting Captain Jack Sparrow?), I thought I would tack a FOTD onto this post. So, this is what my face looked like on the way to see Prometheus last night. If only I had looked so calm and happy throughout, but I rather doubt that! I feel like, for the next little while at least, I'm going to stick in the much more comfortable realm of Italian romance and dream of "unscrewing the stars" rather than travelling to them and being viciously destroyed by aliens. On that note, ciao i miei amici!
Face: MAC select SPF 15 foundation in NW15; Sonia Kashuk beautifying blush in "Flamingo"
Lips: C.O. Bigelow mentha lip tint in "Magent Mint"
Eyes: three shades from the E.L.F. everyday basics palette (sparkly white, peach, matte brown); Lancôme hypôse drama mascara in "Black"
P.S. The font size and spacing on this post seem to have shown up funny after I published it. Hopefully it doesn't bother anyone too much!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

To world enough, and time

I only have another quick post today, so my apologies. I got home from seeing "Prometheus" with my friend and I wanted to show you what I wore. I ended up going for what turned out to be a sort of nautical outfit. I really love my navy and, as you should definitely be able to tell by now, my coral. I felt that this outfit was cute, comfortable enough to sit in the theatre in for a couple of hours, and still stylish, though technically just denim and a tank top. The pants are actually capris, but I've been rolling down the cuff lately because I think they look great as cropped pants too. I'm wearing flip-flops in these pictures, but I ended up going in brown leather gladiator sandals and the brown leather Fossil bag (which I was also wearing in a previous post). These shots also give you a look at my glasses, which I don't normally wear out. I snapped these before doing my makeup just to make sure I had a few images of my clothing before my friend arrived to pick me up.

As for the movie itself, the main idea it left me with is that if ever I find myself on an alien planet, I will absolutely NOT touch anything.

The quotation I've used for this post is from my favourite novel, Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, but originally references the poem "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell. I thought this might be appropriate for today/tonight since this entry marks the one week mark in my blog's existance! To tack on an extra meaning, which you know I can never resist doing if there's an opportunity, I could also say that the "world enough" part is how I feel after seeing "Prometheus." I can say that this film has completely put me off space travel for the time being and the Earth is looking like a pretty lovely place to be this evening.
Top: Hollister; Capris: DKNY via TJMaxx

Happy one week to my dear blog and onwards and upwards from here!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

All is vanity

Unfortunately I only have a quick post for you today. I've been trying to write something every day since I began blogging last Wednesday, but today was just one of those slow days with nothing much going on. Since I wasn't getting dressed up to go anywhere, I thought that instead I could leave you with a few cute things I've been craving recently in place of an outfit of my own. The title is a quotation from one of the novels I'm currently reading: Thackeray's Vanity Fair. I felt it was fitting because this post will be purely aesthetic and likely devoid of any extraordinary feats of wit. These two dresses are from Anthropologie; a store not in my city nor in my price range at the moment! Let's just drool over these lovely pieces together and imagine we're looking glamorous on a yacht somewhere (I'm picturing the "Money Money Money" scene in the Mamma Mia film with Meryl Streep) instead of lazing around the house and dealing with university craziness (see previous post).

Anthropologie "Elornis Shift," $168; Flamingoes are one of my favourite animals, and the colour? Hello, it's coral. Obviously I'm going to love it.
Anthropologie "Dorian Vest Dress," $268; This dress just looks so crisp and clean, I can really picture myself in it. Plus, my literary reference lobe links this fine garment to an Oscar Wilde novel. Three guesses which one!
I'm going to see Prometheus tomorrow night, so look forward to a FOTD and an OOTD in the days to come as well as my response to the film. I'm sure I'll have something to say! Have any of you seen it? What did you think?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Can I make a special request?

If you're any kind of student, university or otherwise, you know that sometimes school can really mess you around. If you've read my little description (right under my wide-eyed self-portrait), you may be able to infer that my own university experience has failed to be something that could be consistently described as "such stuff as dreams are made on." I really thought this would be a post in which I neglected to make a literary reference, but that last quotation, which I'm sure many of you will recognize, comes from Shakespeare's The Tempest. It seems that the part of my brain that feels the need to make constant literary and filmic references simply refuses to be caged; especially when we throw one of my favourite plays into the mix. Well, let's just roll with that and get into the reasons for my title today.

As my previous posts will suggest, I love wordplay. Toss me a metaphor, a parallelism, a synecdoche, etc. etc. and I'm on board! With this in mind, let us reacquaint ourselves with today's title. My desire to make a special request can first be linked back to my occasional university woes, my post-secondary pains, my higher education hindrances; the list could go on. Well, the time has come ("the walrus said, to talk of many things") to start considering which courses I'll be taking in the fall. Let's just leave Lewis Carroll here and mutually acknowledge the unlikelihood of me studying anything to do with shoes, ships, or sealing wax. To be perfectly honest though, these things may not be as far off the mark as you might think. I've nearly completed my degree and only have a few more mandatory classes to take. What this means in practical terms is that my remaining time at university will be largely occupied with the taking of electives. 

Don't get me wrong, I do love a good elective. They make first years so giddy they nearly wet themselves and have yet to fail at putting a spring in the step of upper years (such as myself) who can practically taste the sunshine-y goodness of the light at the end of the tunnel that is graduation and the wonders of the wider world. Phew, that was a lengthy line! The point is, I'm going to be taking more courses from other faculties than from my own (Arts & Humanities) and it's seeming a little ridiculous. Sure, it might be fun to have a schedule with space exploration, major anthropological finds, accounting, women's experience in the workforce from 1700-1900, and art history of the Baroque era (as my public school music teacher always said, "If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!"). Actually, that's a lie. I cannot imagine a world in which I would derive any sort of pleasure from taking accounting.

Joking aside though, I'm sure you can see how completely irrelevant it will be for an English and Italian major to pack her final time at uni with things that have no practical use in the real world. I thought that's what high school was for?! Just kidding. Stay in school kids. I would like to please make a special request to my university that they assist me in making the end of my time here both fun and functional, nifty and necessary, enjoyable and educational. I promise that's the last sentence like that for this post! In case they don't pull through though, I've turned back to the cotton candy world of beauty and pulled out my own little "Special Request."

Sephora by OPI's "Special Request"
A bit too much flash, but look how shiny!

This one's blurry, but it shows the colour the truest. It's a really lovely coral-y orange! My favourite!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Embarking on a passage to India

Before anyone gets excited, no, I'm not actually going to India. At least, not right now. My title today refers to the latest novel I've picked up: E.M. Forster's A Passage to India. I've only just started reading it, so I can't comment yet, except that I know it's meant to be quite a good film as well. I've never watched it myself, but I probably will once I've finished reading the book.

The most suitable post to accompany such a title would probably involve something interesting or exotic. Unfortunately, I haven't done anything befitting said descriptions lately, so today we're going to have to settle for "hot" as the unifying adjective between my OOTD and a novel about India. And by hot, I mean that the temperature is extremely warm so I've been keeping my clothing pretty cas (as in casual. . . I'm so lazy I even neglect to spell out a full word). Another notable aspect of my outfit is the prevalence of coral. As I mentioned in my first post, I called my blog "C of Corals" because coral has been my absolute favourite colour for several years now. I figured I ought to start living up to my name, wouldn't you say? I own so many things in this colour. . . it's actually ridiculous. Expect to see this shade again in the not so distant future!
Top: Hollister; Capris: Aeropostale; Flip-flops: Old Navy
Watch: Fossil; Bracelet: present from a friend; Bag: Fossil
What have you all been doing to keep cool? Do you have a go-to colour this season?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Flinging it off like an old shoe

I'm finding that Vanity Fair is a novel full of colourful metaphors. I almost wish I could personally thank Thackeray for the one that inspired my title today; the comparison of casting off a social aquaintance with violently flipping a worn out shoe off of your foot. I suppose that, in the dressing room of life, some days you're the shoe and some days you're the foot. Isn't one of those elements supposed to be obviously superior? You know, like the bug and the windshield. I guess in the foot-shoe relationship there are no winners. Now that I've gotten you sufficiently confused, and hopefully a little amused, let me wander back onto the track this post was meant to take.

The thing I wish that I could so easily "fling off" is having to do almost anything to my hair. I don't have straight hair, nor do I have curly hair. I have a sort of hybrid hair which is about 50% straight-ish, 50% wavy-approaching curly, and 100% thick. Combine this with the length (I'm in the process of growing out a pixie cut) and you can likely see the problem. It looks alright if I straighten it, but this must be done just as it dries, otherwise it's a big no go. Since it is summer and I don't have to make it look too polished every day, I've really been trying to give my hair's curly alter ego a fighting chance.

To do this, I've been using Mark Anthony Strictly Curls, although my hair doesn't exactly curl strictly. This product is classed as a "styling foam," and let me tell you, it feels delightful. It doesn't make my hair feel dirty or crispy, and it smells like lemon-lime. No joke. The scent alone makes me want to believe it will work for me. I've paired pictures of the effect on my hair with a quick FOTD, so if you don't like how I've done my hair, look at my makeup (and vice versa)!
Mark Anthony Strictly Curls
Face: MAC select SPF 15 foundation in NW15; Sonia Kashuk beautifying blush in "Flamingo"
Lips: C.O. Bigelow mentha lip tint in "Magenta Mint"
Eyes: three shades from the E.L.F. everyday basics palette (pale purple, pink, plum); MAC fluidline in "Macroviolet"; Lancôme hypnose drama mascara in "Black"


Friday, 8 June 2012

Sunny days and sepia suits

Today I was a bit lax with my reading schedule as I spent the day shopping instead. The "sepia suits" I speak of in my title are a reference to the most recent novel I've finished, the completion of which happened a few days ago now, but hey, I'm doing my best! This wardrobe allusion is connected to The Man in the Brown Suit, by Agatha Christie. Honestly, what person doesn't like to spend an impossibly hot summer day sitting outdoors, reading a Christie novel?! Well, potentially a lot of people, but not me. I've read so many of her stories over the years that I've actually lost track of which I've read and which ones I haven't. The Man in the Brown Suit wasn't ringing any bells, so I picked it up from the library and ended up finishing it in two days. It definitely wasn't my favourite of her novels; I found it a bit too easy to predict. When it comes to mystery novels, this can either be incredibly satisfying or a let down. I prefer to make my own guesses as I go along with one of her books, but I still look forward to being surprised at the end when I turn out to be about 99% wrong in my predictions.

Either way, Agatha Christie is always great reading material on toasty days like today. However, as I've already alluded to, I was inside shopping today instead. I'm thinking I may post some photos from my little haul, or just use the pieces in future OOTD. I'm going to leave off writing this post here, and give you the shots of my first ever blogged OOTD. Like I said, it was pretty warm today, so I went for a more casual look, almost no makeup, but still a little bit girly!


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Shaking hands with an empty glove

Today's paraphrased titular quotation comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel Tender is the Night. When I was beginning to compile a summer reading list for myself, I immediately jotted down many of those novels considered to be literary classics (which is how I saddled myself with the immensely long Vanity Fair. . . see previous post). These will not only be useful for me in my English lit courses, but are really important reads, I think, for anyone with a desire to comprehend a language, history, culture, and general style.

Tender is the Night made it onto my list straight away. You may wonder, why pick this over, say, The Great Gatsby? Well, I have to tell you, I have nothing against ol' Gatsby. In fact, I love that book very much, although this feeling of acceptance didn't come until my second time through it. I'm all for a good zeitgeisty tale of romance, parties, and a few too many silk shirts, but I was deceived by the story's shortness. It's easy, especially with a whirlwind of a story like The Great Gatsby, to be sucked in, tossed around by the wealth and the parties, and emerge at the end of the book slightly worse for wear and not knowing quite how you got there. Psychological depth is what makes Fitzgerald books tick, and moving on from my first experience with him, I was once again ready for the feelings of tension and desperation that his stories inspire.

Enter Tender is the Night. This is definitely one you'll keep puzzling your way through once you've put it down. Before starting this novel, I watched the 2011 film "A Dangerous Method" which depicts an early case study of Freudian psychoanalysis. Watching and reading these works at a close interval was not something I planned ahead of time, but it did provide some interesting context for Tender is the Night. I would say the central element of the story is the sanity of, not just the clinically unstable Nicole, but also of her husband Dick Diver. This is the kind of novel that helps you to see people as they present themselves in public and private and insists on keeping you wondering who they really are and how they'll get along once you leave them behind on the final page. Both Tender is the Night and "A Dangerous Method" examine doctor-patient relationships in the field of mental illness and demonstrate over and over that these are distinctions not set in stone.

To return to the title of this post, I felt that this particular quotation (and this is a pro-tip people: "quote" is only a verb, "quotation" is the term you apply to the line you're citing) was another good example of what it feels like to be a novice blogger. The character in Tender is the Night who feels that he is "shaking hands with a glove from which the hand had been withdrawn," is a man who initially refuses to conform, but seems to do so solely to annoy others and because someone ought to. He experiences this empty-gloved sensation during a party at which he attempts to foist his impertinences on others but must eventually concede that he's fighting an uphill battle. Annoying random strangers is not the point of this post, so let's not get ahead of ourselves here. I more identify with this quotation because, to me, it speaks to the difficulty one experiences when trying to get into anything new. It's a bit sloppy and awkward at first, but I keep trying to edge my hand a bit further into the glove.


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Lying on the shore where Fortune has stranded me

The title of this first and most daunting post is one I have paraphrased from the novel I'm currently reading: Vanity Fair. Blogging is something I have never before attempted, much like the reading of said novel. Let us hope that soon, both my flow of thoughts and reading experience will be going along smoothly. I'm a person who writes down the things she likes, particularly when it comes to literature. Right now (well, not RIGHT right now, it is summer holidays after all) I'm studying English lit in university, so basically every single day of the school year I find myself confronted with mountains of words and heaps of sentences through which I must sift and try my darnedest to emerge victorious with some kind of point. Fortunately for me, the discipline I've chosen and the professors I've had are both open to multiple, if not infinite, interpretations. Even so, every once in a while, it's extremely comforting to grab onto a particular sentence or even a short phrase that really makes sense/hits home/floats my boat, etc. etc. This brings me back to the title of this post.

You may have already decided to pack it in at this point, seeing as my capacity for written rambling is nearly boundless. However, if you're still hanging in there, waiting for me to turn this thing into something spectacular, then I think we're off to a good start together. In the aforementioned literary masterpiece that is Vanity Fair, the quotation I have selected is used to describe the state of a woman whose family has fallen on the hardest of hard times. In her shoes, others may have thrived, but this particular female absolutely gives herself up to the universe and struggles no further (or maybe she will, I've already said I haven't finish the book yet). This seaside prostration is a position I have come upon myself in, but I'd rather not leave things up to Fortune, or at least not just yet.

Above all things, I value honesty. I am going to be honest with you right now and tell you that I'm really not 100% certain where this blog is going. Gosh, I'm not even 100% certain where this post is going. I did write out what I thought I wanted to say in my premiere publication, but somehow none of that information has made the cut. So far, I find it's more fun this way. I can tell you a few things about myself though, which will hopefully hook you in and win you over so that you might feel motivated to check out my blog again. I'll keep it simple for now, in case one of your suggestions is that I keep these posts shorter! I've already told you that I'm in university and that I study English lit. I'm also trying to get through with at least a minor in Italian, despite the fact that I come from a family of purely Scottish descendants, making it rather difficult to actually practice the language at home. I have a real, honest-to-goodness love of literature, so I try to read as much as I can. This is considerably easier during the summer when I have the leisure to read for pleasure. The list of my favourite novels grows all the time, but my so far irreplaceable favourite is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Outside of the literary realm, I watch a fair number of movies; a habit helped along by a good friend of mine who did a double major in English and Film. I haven't watched an inordinate number of films, but I am willing to branch out. If you have any marvellous suggestions for me, please leave a comment and I'll let you know whether I've seen it, or, if I watch it, what I think. Also, related to both novels and films, I'm willing to write reviews on here, so if there's something you really want to find out about, I can promise you a thorough look at it through an honest perspective.

One final interest I'll leave you with is for fashion and beauty. I'm a member of a small, middle class family, so I don't buy loads of things constantly, but I do appreciate them! I can honestly spend hours watching my favourite vloggers on YouTube tell me what they've bought in a recent haul or how they've been finding such and such an eyeshadow. The name of my blog, "C of Corals," is inspired by this love of all things pretty as well as the literary nerd in me that relishes a good double meaning (C of Corals. . . "C" like "sea" and "Corals" as either the colour family or the aquatic plant). Also, my first name begins with C, so there is a more practical meaning in there along with my strange attempt at creativity.

Anyway, please let me know how I'm doing. Don't be too hard on me (it is my first try!), but feel free to make suggestions and ask questions.