Thursday, April 2, 2015

TILT: The Random Files

Today's Things I Love Thursday is full of the random. Because it's the day before a holiday (see first picture of how I will feel at 4:30 lol) and I am so ready!! What are you loving this week? Do you have a holiday too & what are you going to do on it?

I have been way into Guns N' Roses again lately and 90s rock in general. I even created a Pandora station for it! There's just this huge feeling of going home when you listen to music from your teen years. Do you feel that? Also...Slash is totally my main rockstar crush still. ;)

My kitty cat, Binky. He's going to be 16 this summer and still acts like a rotten toddler...pulling his toys out all over the living room, leaving his treats on the floor, watching Sesame Street all afternoon lol. I love him though.

The Tsum Tsum game on my phone & also the cute little stuffies. Totally addicted. My favorite on the game is Jessie.

I'm rereading the Hunger Games trilogy at work right now, for the first time. I first read them back in 2010, as the last book was coming out. I'm really enjoying it more than I thought I would!
(pic by AntonioPringles on Flickr)

I finished watching Orange is the New Black (I know, I was so far behind!) and needed something new/old to watch, so I'm trying Parks & Recreation and Weeds. I'm only 2 episodes in, but I really like Weeds so far! (No spoilers please!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: "Dawn's Big Date: The Baby-Sitters Club #50"

Dawn's Big Date: The Baby-Sitters Club #50 by Ann M Martin
4 out of 5 stars

I finally read another BSC book! I kinda suck huh? I'm going to try to get better about it, because I actually missed these perpetual teenagers' baby-sitting hijinks! So this story really deserves like a 2.5 for the actual plot (major fat-shaming going on that I'll get into later) but I just had to bump it up for the outfits. There are a plethora of outfits and Dawn is bringing her A-game in this one, folks. (Too bad she goes back to Cali-casual in the end.)

The book starts off on the day before New Year's Eve and Mary Anne & Dawn are getting ready for their epic BSC slumber party, making their grocery list. Dawn wants to make gross vegan (their words, not mine) stuff, of course, like soybean pie and tofu apple nut loaf. Mary Anne goes for the good stuff, like pigs in a blanket (she liked the name lol) and English muffin pizzas. They start talking about Logan and his cousin, Lewis. Remember him? Yeah me neither, hang on let me go look him up. Oh yeah, he shows up after that creepy pedo Travis. Okay, got it.

So apparently, Dawn & Lewis have been penpalling it for awhile now and Lewis is finally coming to Stoneybrook. Dawn is excited but super nervous and doesn't think he'll actually like her. I know this sounds like I'm totally insecure, but I'm not. People are always saying what an individual I am. You have be at least somewhat secure to be an individual. Oookay. She makes a resolution to get a boyfriend, even if it means changing herself to do that. (Hello, she already almost did that with Travis?!)

MA & Dawn are 1 minute late to the BSC meeting that afternoon and Kristy gives them the stink eye. When is she going to get over her jealousy of their relationship?? Probably right about when Dawn moves back to California. Claudia pulls out one of those popcorn tins with 3 different kinds (those were the that her Aunt Peaches sent her and the girls snack down while we get the intro story and What Claudia is Wearing... (click any of the pics to make bigger for more detail!)

She was wearing maroon leggings and ballet slippers under an oversized yellow shirt. Around her waist she wore this great belt that she made herself from three thin strips of leather tied together and decorated with ceramic beads. For the final touch, Claudia had swept her hair over to one side and tied it up with another thin leather strip that had the same kind of beads on it. She looked great - and she was just hanging around her own house!

Dawn gets a sitting gig for the family du jour, Sarah and Norman Hill. We also, surprisingly, get an update on another family: the Kormans. Apparently Bill & Melody are no longer terrified of the toilet monster. I know you're glad to hear it. So let's talk about the Hills. In Dawn's words: Norman Hill...was fat. (I don't mean to be unkind. There's just no other way to say it. He wasn't stout. He wasn't husky or stocky or pudgy. He was fat.) Okay then. It's going to be like that? On her first sitting job, Norman gorges on cupcakes in his room, eats Hershey Kisses the entire time they watch The Little Mermaid, and eats an early dinner of pb&j sandwich with Oreos and milk. The neighborhood kids call him Enormous Hill and his parents have threatened to send him to fat camp if he doesn't lose 20 pounds.

Okay, yeah that's bad and all. But his parents kind of suck. They don't try to figure out WHY he's over-eating. They still bring in all this bad food to the house. He's 7 years old. He doesn't have any self-control. They need to do it for him. Ugh. I hated this storyline. It's almost as bad as Robin in Sweet Valley High. Claudia baby-sits him next and sort of tries to find out why he eats so much but then reads a letter he wrote to his penpal where he makes up all kinds of stories. Stacey tries a little harder, telling him about her diabetes (how many kids has she helped with that? 4 or 5?) and suggesting he talk to his parents about how they're making him feel. Of course, that actually works because the BSC are licensed psychiatrists.

Now back to Dawn & Lewis. At the NYE party, Claudia & Stacey show up in fancy outfits: Claudia had tied her hair up in a high ponytail with this silver netting around it. She was wearing wide black pants and a top with a silver moon appliqued on the front. Stacey wore a form-fitting purple dress and pink tights with black stripes. The girls have tons of fun, eat lots of snacks, and talk about boys. I've noticed lately that we talk about boys a lot more than ever before. That's because your bodies are changing, Dawn, and hormones are running rampant. The girls each call a boy at midnight, except Dawn, Jessi, & Mallory. Dawn feels like a loser and makes a second resolution to change herself, to make sure she gets that boyfriend.

She starts going thru the fashion mags and Mary Anne agrees (kind of insists) that maybe Dawn could do with a change. She slathers all this makeup on and does her hair in about 50 curlers, then tears a shirt up to make it off-the-shoulder, and takes a sexy new picture to send to Lewis. Dawn is so excited about her new look that she decides to make it permanent, along with an attitude adjustment.

"Dawn" [the teacher said] "Name two common forms of igneous rock."
"Heavy metal and pop," I answered, tossing my hair over my shoulder.

She starts tearing up all her clothes, making miniskirts out of sweatpants, more off-the-shoulder tops, and adjusting her jeans. The other girls don't like her new look and attitude, because they're jerks. MA understands though and comes up with this ironic little sentence: "Everyone should be allowed to change. I mean, we're only thirteen. None of us will stay exactly the way we are for the rest of our lives." It's finally time for Lewis to come and we get the best outfit that Dawn has ever worn:

Black ballet slippers; black lace capri leggings; a short metallic silver skirt with all this crinoliney stuff underneath that made it poof out; a stretchy, tight, black-and-white-striped top with long sleeves. I'd bought six rubber bangle bracelets, and a new pair of feather earrings that reached down to my shoulder. (I wore both earrings in the two holes in my right ear. I put a pair of small black hoops in the two holes on the left.) This time I didn't set my hair; I piled it on top of my head, then made six braids.

Of course, her new look does not mean that their first date goes well. Quite the opposite, in fact. Dawn is so busy trying to act cool that she forgets how to communicate so Mary Anne starts piling all these self-help articles on her, like "You-Directed Conversation" and "Taking Charge of Your First Date" and "Flirting with Flare". This just makes it worse, of course, so she thinks maybe she needs to push her outfits more.

A denim skirt and black turtleneck that she borrowed from MA. "I was too plain. Working quickly, I applied blush, mascara, and lots of navy blue eyeliner. The final touch was the hot pink lipstick I'd bought at the drugstore that afternoon. The next problem was my hair. I opened the [hair] clip and let the curls "flow free". I looked like a little kid with big loopy curls. Luckily I had some hair gel. I put gel on the sides, and looked a lot better. I jazzed up the outfit with a pair of black textured stockings I'd bought at Zingy's and a pair of short black boots I already owned. My skirt needed to be shorter, so I rolled it up two inches and untucked the black turtleneck. Much better...

Dawn pulls out all the stops on the date, saying Lewis' name every 5 seconds, touching his arm, making creepy eye contact, trying to hold hands in the movie theatre. They go see Gone with the Wind which is a big mistake. Dawn starts crying halfway thru and gets blue and black rivers streaking down her face. It's all a huge fail and it's all Mary Anne's fault. Duh, because it's totally not the crazy outfits.

I'd spent Sunday tie-dying a pair of white tights and some of Richard's old t-shirts. Today I was wearing the dyed tights, my new sweat skirt, and one of the t-shirts belted over a leotard. I'd spent the rest of the afternoon putting my hair in tiny braids all over my head. (Who else did this in the 90s??) Then I gelled the braids. This morning I'd unbraided my hair up to about chin-length. I left in the braids along my head. It looked cool. The top was in braids and the bottom was all crinkled and frizzy. [So sorry I couldn't find this exact hairstyle! I can picture it though, can't you?]

Okay, that's the last outfit because Dawn finally comes to her senses and tells Lewis why she's been dressing like this. He tells her he likes how she used to look and she runs home, washes all the cool out of her hair, throws together some granola lunch, and Lewis finally sees the real Dawn. And surprise surprise, he likes her. Gag me with a spoon. Dawn & Lewis kiss in the end. Is that her first kiss? I can't remember. And he goes back to Kentucky.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I've Added to my To-Be-Read Shelf Lately

Today's The Broke & The Bookish topic: 10 books I've added to my TBR shelf. Easy right? I count TBR as books that I physically own, so this should be even easier. Tell me what books you've added to your shelf lately! And hey, what should I read next?? Here's a quick snapshot I took of my to-read books, almost exactly 2 months ago:

1-3 a handful of free eBooks: Friends with More Benefits (Luke Young), Cinema Lumiere (Hattie Holden Edmonds), The Story of Awkward (RK Ryals)

4-7 several graphic novels: X-Men: Days of Future Past & Present (Chris Claremont), Locke & Key: Vol 6 (Joe Hill), Shadow Kiss: Vampire Academy #3 (Richelle Mead)

8 I Will Always Love You: Gossip Girl #12 (Cecily Von Ziegesar)

9-10 some old school: A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle), Izzy, Willy-Nilly (Cynthia Voigt)

And bonus: the 2 oldest books on my TBR shelf, both from 2008 eek!!: Odd Hours: Odd Thomas #4 (Dean Koontz), A Lion Among Men: The Wicked Years #3 (Gregory Maguire)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: "A Room with a View"

A Room with a View by EM Forster
3.5 out of 5 stars

You may have noticed that I ended my Classic a Month challenge in December. It was starting to feel like required school reading and I'm sure you all remember that that always sucked all the interestingness out of any book. But towards the beginning of this month, I decided I wanted to read a classic again and I picked this one. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. It was a light, fluffy read...probably considered a contemporary romance in its time. (Reminder: spoilers abound.)

Lucy Honeychurch is a young woman of "society" in a small town in England. She is on a vacation (roadtrip) with her cousin/chaperone, Charlotte, in Italy when she meets the Emersons. Mr Emerson is a strange older man who says what he is thinking and doesn't care who hears him. "My dear, I think that you are repeating what you have heard older people say. You are pretending to be touchy; but you are not really. Stop being so tiresome, and tell me...what you want to see." George, his son, is a silent young man who seems to catch Lucy's curiosity but not her eye. As a "commoner" he is obviously beneath her but she does find him interesting.

While out on her own one afternoon, Lucy witnesses a violent crime and is understandably shook up over the whole thing. George happens to be there too and helps her deal with it and the two have a "secret moment". They soon find themselves in the same group of peers, going on outings and picnics together. At one of those picnics, George gets swept up in his emotions and does the unthinkable...he kisses Lucy. *Gasp* How dare he??! Lucy is outraged and immediately asks Charlotte to take them away.

The second half of the book follows Lucy's return home and her engagement to rich, respectable Cecil. Cecil is the good choice, the smart one. So why can't Lucy stop thinking about those Emersons? It's made even worse when, thru a series of happenstances, the father & son move to town and become a part of their social circle once more. Lucy finds herself drawn to George again and again and it becomes the classic struggle: marry for money or love? I'll let you guess which she chooses in the end. ;)

"You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it. You won't marry the other man for his sake."
"It isn't possible to love and to part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal."

And now I have a confession to make: I thought the author was a woman until about halfway thru the book. I then read the forward (which always spoils the book, I don't understand that!) and found out that this was actually written by a man. And it kind of changed how I viewed the book after that. Passages like this soon had a negative connotation:

It was unladylike. Why? Why were most big things unladylike? It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves.

Written by a woman, it sounds like sarcastic wit but by a man, it's condescending. Why is that? Have you ever had your view of a book changed after finding out something about the author? I want to hear about it, so comment please!
(pictures done by me)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: "Saga: Vol 4"

Saga: Vol 4 by Brian K Vaughan
4 out of 5 stars

Seriously, I say this every time but this series just keeps getting better and better! This review will have spoilers for vol 1-3, so if you haven't read those yet, go check out my review of 1 here! (and 2 and 3)

This volume picks up with the last...a year or so down the road. And of course, we don't get caught up with everything that's happened in those months, we just get thrown into the current story. Hazel is an adorable, bouncing toddler. Marko & Alana are hiding out on a new planet, where Marko is the stay-at-home dad and Alana is acting "incognito" on the open circuit (think super trashy tv that the audience can interact with). Prince Robot's son is born, but dad is still missing or dead. King Robot makes an appearance though and he is awesome. (That's all I'll say lol.) The authorities seem to have stopped looking for the outlaws...for now. Things seem to be finally looking up for the star-crossed lovers.

Until they're not. What do you expect? It wouldn't be an interesting story if everything was hunky dory all the time. There's a new political radical out there and he's determined to get some justice for the underdogs, no matter who he has to kill. (And he kills a LOT.) Alana & Marko's relationship is feeling the strain of living a double life and it isn't helped by Alana getting into party drugs at work. Marko's mother is doing well, remembering Mister Heist by reading his trashy novels. Speaking of Heist, one of his ex-wives makes an appearance in this volume and causes trouble, possibly accidentally?

It's kind of hard to discuss much more of this story without some kind of slight spoilers/surprises, so stop here of you haven't read it yet and want to be totally surprised. Did you stop? Okay, good. When Sophie & Lying Cat showed up suddenly about halfway thru the story, I was honestly shocked to see them. I had totally forgotten about my 2 favorite characters! Almost 8 yr old Sophie is adorable with her hipster cape and glasses. And LC (as Sophie calls her) ugh...I love her so much. And even Gwendolyn, their caretaker, is growing on me. Especially when you find out what she's up to. And who she's going to be working with in the future.

And let's end with my favorite page from this volume (there's always at least one that totally grabs me or in this case makes me actually laugh out loud).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

TILT: Be a Proud Nerd!

Yay, it's pre-Friday! :) I need some Things I Love Thursday today, how about you? This was a no brainer: I am totally obsessed lately with quirky/weird graphic tees. I would buy every one of these plus a dozen more if I had the money. What are you obsessed with lately? Do you have a favorite bookish tshirt? I want to see it!

(if you do not want your item featured, please contact me!)

Wha'cha Reading? Giraffe on Zazzle by Redqueenself  -He has glasses!! So cute!

Read to Me on BookRiot -love the conversation heart look.

meet me at the library by Abjectbirth -perfect for...a day at the library? I think so! :)

I'd Rather be Reading by LittleAtoms -I love the color & style of this tshirt. Bonus: it's on clearance right now, so hurry and go buy it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: "The Geography of You & Me"

 The Geography of You & Me by Jennifer E Smith
4 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! This is probably my favorite by Smith now. It's a typical young adult contemporary romance in a lot of ways, but it was really sweet too. Set in New York City, we've got upper-class, private school, penthouse Lucy and lower-class, public school, basement Owen. Both are kind of stuck in their own heads a lot of the time and barely notice the other until they get stuck in their apartment elevator during a blackout one afternoon.

They're kind of forced to look up and see each other then. As the two start to talk, out of necessity, they find that they aren't as different as they thought. Both are alone in the big city, with no friends to speak of, and nothing to do. Owen is a tad more pessimistic, with good reason...his mother died recently and his dad moved them to NYC for the apartment job. Owen doesn't like the city, the crowds, the noise, you name it. But he can't, won't leave his dad. Lucy is a city girl, kind of like Ms. Stacey McGill, but she feels abandoned as her parents go off on trips around the world and her twin brothers head off to college.

Her parents' lives had always seemed to run parallel to their children's. They weren't so much a constellation, the five of them, as a series of scattered stars. There had always been something far-flung about their family, even when they were all in the same place.

After Lucy & Owen get out of the elevator, they spend the evening together, roaming the city in the dark, getting free ice cream, watching the sea of businessmen walking home among the quiet streets, and eventually end up on the roof of their apartment. They really connect there and talk well into the night.

"If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?"

There's a nice little bit, where Lucy says she wants to go to Notre Dame and see Point Zero, and it immediately reminded me of Anna & The French Kiss. I wonder if that was intentional. Anyway, the next morning Lucy wakes up on the roof alone. Owen is gone and she doesn't hear from him again. For weeks really. The two go their separate ways, like nothing happened. They are apart for most of the book, which kind of makes for an odd romance book, if you think about it. But this isn't just another romance book, it's also about journeys. Lucy finally gets to go to Europe with her parents and learns that she doesn't always want or like to be so self-sufficient. Owen and his dad head across America, trying to find a home and a way to live as two instead of three. As they travel away from each other, Lucy & Owen keep in touch with postcards, cheesy pictures with unsentimental notes of "wish you were here". But really, they do. They have gotten closer, made a connection, without even realizing it.

If you were to draw a map of the two of them, of where they started out and where they would both end up, the lines would be shooting away from each other like magnets spun around on their poles. The map was as good as a door swing shut. And the geography of the thing - the geography of them - was completely and hopelessly wrong.

So. Do they get together again? Maybe. Does it matter? Probably not. It's all about where they end up and what they do once they get there. Who they become. And why.