I’m mid-viewing of There Will Be Blood and mid-studying after a kind of abortive trip to Paris. Never trust weather.com when it predicts no precipitation. Always bring your umbrella. Because if you don’t it will rain in the morning and snow in the afternoon.
- The top Welsh names in Wales. There’s something intriguing about Welsh names- from the enigmatic (to me) spelling and pronunciation to the Lord of the Rings- vibes. Not to mention names like Angharad and Gwilym- characters from one of my favorite films, How Green Was My Valley.
- Speaking of movies- an enjoyably extra idea for creating memorable movie nights for the family- themed invitations and menus.
- Remembering Hubert de Givenchy, a brilliant couturier and the designer most associated with Audrey Hepburn‘s rise as a sartorial star.
- This movie looks insane-in-a-good-way. Also excited to see Lakeith Stanfield in another role post-Get Out.
- I would watch a Jared Kushner musical.
- A visually beautiful article about the production of roses for Chanel No. 5. Via my Mom. (Also, I’ve been to Pegomas just this year!)
- Am I the only person who’s thought about what I want done with my body when I eventually and inevitably kick the bucket? This natural burial ground in Tennessee is actually closest to what I’ve imagined. Except god forbid my final resting place be Tennessee.
- Surprise surprise: A huge MIT study finds that fake news stories are much more likely to spread and go ‘viral’ than real news stories on Twitter. Kind of expected but no less scary for that.
- Having never been married and having no children of my own, I can’t realistically vouch for any of this advice- but I do like it.
- The mysteriously adorable allure of maternity overalls.
- Are intimately subtle, barely there perfumes having a renaissance?
- Taking down the single versus spoken for binary. “Does the idea that people have to “love” — or simply feel any specific way about being single — give the concept of romantic attachment too much power?”
- This French food waste law is changing how grocery stores approach excess food.
Having shared a story recently about the hallmarks of ’90s and ’00s preteen bedrooms, I’ve been feeling a touch of nostalgia for my own (which I’ve since remade into the lovely and peaceful place it is today.)
In list form, the defining characteristics of my room, circa 2000-2008.
- The most noticeable thing about my ‘old’ room, and the one that feels the most personally relevant to me today, was the wall paint. My room was light blue, lighter toward the floor and slightly darker toward the ceiling, with lifelike clouds that may Dad and I (but mostly my Dad) painted. I’m pretty sure that this was his idea, but I loved it very much and hope I didn’t break his heart too much when I suggested repainting my room around the time I was going to start high school.
Home improvement projects with my dad are some of my happiest memories, and just as I remember painting our kitchen cabinets with him 4 or 5 years ago, so I remember painting the clouds long before that. In my worn out Tweety Bird slide on sandals, putting a touch of gray paint toward the bottom to give that three dimensional feeling.
Bonus: When I first moved into my ‘grown up’ room from my ‘baby room’ (which is now Mom’s ‘sewing room’), My Dad painted stars on the ceiling with glow in the dark paint. They’re only visible at night and look like the night sky during the summer, the season in which I was born. My clouds may be gone but the constellations have hardly dimmed. It’s something I want to do, if and when I have a child. So that means maybe we have at least one more father-daughter project. And I hope many more than that.
- The inescapable bead curtains. I credit my bead curtains with being my original instructor in the color spectrum. The strands were each different colors of the rainbow with small beads and larger beads in the shape of stars, suns, and crescent moons. The order of the colors- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, light blue, and purple. I would sing them to myself ad can still list them in my head to the same tune- one that I unfortunately have no idea how to transmit via blog post. And of course it’s only a short step from that to ROYGBIV, which we all know is of the utmost practical importance so far as preparation for life as an adult.
Of course, the only problem is that sometimes the bead curtains fall down, especially if it’s in the doorway and a stampede of preteen girls are running through it during a birthday party, playing veterinarian (when time really is of the essence because those stuffed animals have to be SAVED, DAMN IT).
- Speaking of stuffed animals, I had a couch full of them. It was an old couch that we eventually replaced, and when we did replace it, it came up to my room and was covered with a white throw blanket sort of thing. I had a completely obscene number of stuffed animals- a number that kind of shames me when I think back on it now. But I would love to spend time arranging them on that couch, frequently in a giant pyramid, with attention paid to relative size, comfort, and which stuffed animal friends would make the most serendipitous neighbors.
- Last but not least, I had a white gauze canopy over my bed (#IKEA) with a sensuously curved paper lantern (also #IKEA) hanging from the center. Also a bolster pillow which I believe was upholstered in a blue and black zebra fur cover. I still have it but the cover is now white.
Honorable mentions: lava lamps, embroidered table runners on dressers, the tiny castle with battery powered fountain, the super annoying flower shaped electric doorbell, horse figurines all over the floor always, my framed Vincent Van Gogh sunflowers print, and one of those things where your name has been colorfully painted by a nice man in the street- I never see those anymore.
It’s been such a week so I’m just going to throw some links on here and run. Seriously, right from vacation into double killer exams. When it feel like a long week and it’s only Tuesday you know you’re in trouble.
But I bought my flight home, wheee!
- A children’s book to teach about the huge and overwhelming emotional spectrum. Hooray for raising emotionally literate and empathetic children.
- It’s Luckyscent’s 15 year anniversary- and they’re welcoming some cool store exclusives!
- This instagram account makes beautiful patterns from everyday objects. One step up from freakebana?
- My favorite Oscar speeches!- Guillermo del Toro and Frances McDormand (I just watched the latter again (for the fourth time? Still so powerful. #InclusionRider).
- I shared an essay about Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon a week or two ago- and he seems pretty charming in person. And he has a cute belly.
- Wait, are they going to make a film from Chekhov’s The Seagull? Because that would be amazing. Also, how many films is Saoirse Ronan in this year? Also Annette Bening.
- Heartwarming story of the week: A tiny little girl transfixed by the National Portrait Gallery’s portrait of Michelle Obama meets her idol.
- My favorite, sent to me by my college roommate (whose birthday was yesterday, Happy Birthday, Lily!)- the largest ever analysis of film dialogue by gender. It reminds me of how my Mom has stopped watching films exclusively about white men (she made a recent exception for Call Me By Your Name) and now finds that most films she watches are about black men. The lack of substantial female roles in the film industry is really astonishing.
Icebreakers and I have a tempestuous relationship.
Despite being something of a hot seat devotee and a major fan of random and revealing questions, my first memory of icebreakers is on the traumatic side.
It was the first day of 3rd or 4th grade. Our teacher (Probably Ms. Ellis in fourth grade, this seems like just her brand of sadism) told us we would be going on an impromptu camping trip, passed around a roll of toilet paper, and told us to take what we thought we would need for an overnight stay.
I was pretty sure something was up. I may have been eight years old but I was no fool. They needed my parents’ signatures to bus me to the Science Museum for a few hours. But still part of me was completely appalled at the threat of being spirited away for a night. And having to reveal my toilet paper needs? It was the height of humiliation.
You may have played this game before- you have to share a fact about yourself for every sheet that you take. I don’t remember what I did- probably something middle of the road like 5. Someone took one sheet and another boy (I think it was Pedro) took about half the roll.
So while I have no problem with sharing some level of personal information and even less of a problem listening to other people’s stories (when it doesn’t border on the TMI) I hate the enforced ‘getting-to-know-you’ of icebreakers, which are really only good for uniting a group against the irritating and condescending authority demanding how many bones you’ve broken.
Which is a long way of saying I found 25 fun icebreaker questions and I’m going tonsure some of them.
Please do not be inspired to use these for their purported purpose of ‘team building at work’.
- What was your first job?
My first paid job was as a barista at a Barnes & Noble Starbucks.
- Have you ever met anyone famous?
The most starstruck I have ever been was when I met one of the horses who played Shadowfax in Lord of the Rings.
- If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
So many I can’t choose: a language, hunting with falcons, parkour, an instrument…
- Seen any good movies lately you’d recommend?
Good Time wasn’t my kind of movie but it is being criminally overlooked. It came out in 2017.
- Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?
The only things coming directly to mind are both today: Clinique’s eyeliner is in fact easy and liquid, and it sounds like Black Panther is super intersectional and has strong female characters.
- Favorite band ten years ago?
I was twelve, which was about the time I got my iPod and started listening to music for the first time. Honestly it was probably Aly and AJ or Avril Lavigne. Embarrassing.
- What’s your earliest memory?
I remember sitting on the rug at preschool and thinking to myself, “I’m three”.
- Been anywhere recently for the first time?
Grasse and Nice!
- What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
The first big ticket item I bought with my own money was one of those felted cardboard cat condos. It was two floors. We still have it. It was $80 and I had saved for forever. I think I was in Elementary school. I was a high roller.
- Any phobias you’d like to break?
Nope, spiders and I are good with where our animosity is, thanks very much.
- What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
I’m such an old person, I like raisin bran. But I remember being young and loving the Cap’n Crunch I had at my cousins’ beach house. When I came home and asked my parents if we could buy it they told me it wasn’t sold in our state. Ah, the lies our parents tell us.
I turned 22.5 yesterday and today I have an exam that threatens to destroy all that I hold most dear. I’ve been studying since I woke up at 5:30 am. (Approximately five hours ago). There are about three hours left. It’s panic time.
Here’s what’s happening online:
- Kate DiCamillo (author of Because of Winn-Dixie, and others) on why children’s books should be a little sad.
- You can smell when someone is sick. Here’s a case where a woman was able to identify Parkinson’s patients by body odor, some even before they were clinically diagnosed.
- NBA = ballet? Check out these beautiful unplanned synchronized moments.
- Hedi Slimane takes over at Celine, replacing Phoebe Philo. Not a fan of this development.
- An ode to the pre-teen bedroom, complete with bead curtain.
- Ann Curry may have a baby crush on Stephen Colbert but I have a baby crush on Ann Curry.
- First there was athleisure. Now there is bath-leisure.
- Screen Junkies casts the It sequel– the prestige, the popcorn, and the provocative versions (the latter featuring Jared Kushner).
- Full cast and vague plot details have been announced for The Incredibles II and I am salivating.
- This webcomic is my current (as of yesterday) obsession and I’m narrowly avoiding bingeing it instead of studying. It’s sold out but if you buy it in book form it comes with a plush. Here’s the author/illustrators tumblr for more info.
- Phantom Thread is the last big Oscar nominee that I haven’t seen. Here are some of the films from which director Paul Thomas Anderson drew inspiration (including Rebecca!) and an amazing short film featuring under-the-radar lead actress Vicky Krieps.
- One thing I really like about this capsule wardrobe article in particular (among the seeming billions out there, which get
a bit very repetitive) is the recognition that, because everyone’s style is different, so will everyone’s capsule wardrobe be.
- What is Scandinavian style and why is it gaining so much traction globally?
- Living for Colbert’s imitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. It starts around 2 minutes in.
- In case you’re wondering what I’m doing here in France, here’s a video featuring some of my classmates.
- And to round out this rather fashion-focused week, Kate Spade succulent sandals.
When you think of a country you haven’t visited or spent much time in, your view is kind of one-dimensional, featuring mostly the big sights, tourist destinations, and maybe the big food exports. Or at least this is what I’ve noticed for myself.
When I thought of France, I thought of Paris. And I thought of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, maybe macaroons. And if I had a spare minute, maybe music and the fragrance industry in Grasse. And Vincent Van Gogh’s mental deterioration in the south of the country.
But when you get beyond that, like when you live somewhere (or even when you make an effort to go off the beaten path on holiday) you get a much deeper idea of a place.
Here are a few fun sightings that always make me smile:
- Kids on scooters, usually going to or from school. Especially if said kids seem to be trying to run you down. (I’m convinced at this point that this is how I’m going to go).
- People carrying baguettes on the street. People carrying baguettes anywhere. One baguette, two baguette, more baguette. Sometimes you’ll see the very disheartening sight of a baguette that has accidentally been dropped and left to languish.
- People carrying straw market bags. So many people carry them, even in the winter. You can even see elderly men carrying around baskets that remind me of nothing so much as Easter Egg hunts. Sometimes they have baguettes in said baskets.
- Huge lines in front of boulangeries and patisseries.
- The general populace pulling market hampers/carriages/trollies. Especially on market Sundays.
- Advertisements for books. Like you know how you see subway ads and street ads for films and perfume? Same here, but you also see them for tea and books.
As this is my last full day in Boston and also a blizzard day (16-18″!), and as I have no books left from the library (I had to go back and cancel my extra holds yesterday 😥 ) this list isn’t going to go through any alterations before the actual end of the break tomorrow around 7 pm (at which point I will be at the airport) (unless I finish The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur SUPER QUICKLY), I can get away with posting this a bit prematurely.
I have packed my bags and read my last book.
- The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair: An excellent and really interesting book about the histories of various culturally significant colors (like Mountbatten Pink, Lead White, Cerulean, et al.) featuring odd and various anecdotes from the past. Each color discussed gets a few pages. Very far from dry, perfect for increasing your store of random information for use at parties and family gatherings, and a very aesthetically pleasing book.
- Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy: I’m a huge children’s lit reader. Possibly more so than I was as a child (and that’s saying something). Watching the author discuss and examine childhood favorites (Goodnight Moon, Peter Rabbit, Green Eggs and Ham) through an adult lens, with an attention to various social/cultural movements, is so fascinating. It doesn’t hurt that the author is really witty. I think I audibly chuckled a few times.
- The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Hyemin Sunim: Part of what inspired my very crunchy and zen resolution list (the other part being that I’m just a crunchy and zen person) (well, I try to be zen). Beautiful illustrations and lots of crunchy and chewy food for thought. So glad I stumbled on this in Shakespeare and Co. (And so glad BPL carries it!)
Contrary to my usual preferences, if was a very nonfiction-heavy vacation. But I feel edified, improved, and most importantly full of odd anecdotes to share.