Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Alooooha! Two things are painfully evident after this round of WIWW pictures:
1. I am in dire need of new sandals. I still haven't fixed my black ones that bit the dust several weeks ago, and my brown flip-flops are on their last leg. (There has to be some kind of clever pun there but I just can't think of it!)
2. I also really need a new brown purse. Mine, which is over five years old, is literally falling apart. And since I don't have any black sandals to wear, I keep having to use my brown purse!

I think this calls for a shopping quest!

As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to share my outfits and get fashion inspiration from other WIWWers. Speaking of fashion inspiration, I have a new favorite fashion blog, which I discovered on WIWW: Putting Me Together. Check it out!

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I hated this outfit while I was wearing it -- the shirt fabric is kinda clingy and I felt like I had to suck in my tummy the entire day. And then I went out to eat and to a movie, and -- after a cheesesteak and margarita at Dave and Buster's -- the belt was literally cutting off my circulation. That said, after looking at the pictures I think it was probably my best outfit of the week!

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 This outfit looked a little better in person; I had just worked for eight hours so I don't look so hot, and the sun was mostly set so the lighting wasn't so hot. But you get the idea!

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This is the outfit I was wearing when I bought my awesome new Harry Potter Lego keychain!

pleated poppy

In Case You Doubted My Dorkiness...

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I bought this Harry Potter keychain at the Lego Store this weekend -- and let me tell you, it made my week! I practically squealed with joy when I saw the bin full of Lego Harrys! So, just in case you were unsure, here's proof that I'm a proud Harry-Potter-keychain-toting book-a-holic!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I *Heart* Bubble Tea

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Have you tried a bubble tea yet? Bubble tea (a.k.a boba tea) is super popular here in Hawaii -- it's an Asian drink, and Hawaii has an abundance of Asian culture (like the Thai restaurnants on every corner -- yum!).

The "bubbles" are huge tapioca pearls, hence the gargantuan straw needed to suck them up! Bubble tea comes in all sorts of flavors that range from the most basic milk tea to mango, coconut, watermelon, chocolate, coffee and beyond. I decided to be adventurous yesterday and got the purple yam/coconut flavor. (Purple -- or Okinawan -- yams are another Hawaii thing.) It was reeeeally good and I was proud of myself for choosing something so exotic-sounding.

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It seems like bubble tea is catching on back on the Mainland -- in fact, I actually had my first bubble tea when I went home to Colorado for a visit. For a long time, I thought the "bubbles" referred to carbonation, not yummy tapioca pearls, and when my brother finally convinced me to try it I was disappointed that I'd missed out on it for so long! It's a unique drink, but after a few sips you'll probably be just as addicted as I am!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Furry Friday

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I know Easter was almost two weeks ago, but I really wanted to share this picture of Conan Cottontail. He's become such a good sport when it comes to wearing humiliating costumes while Mom giggles and snorts and take dozens of photos. (Maybe he knows he'll be handsomely rewarded in treats afterward!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review: "ttyl"

"ttyl" by Lauren Myracle
First published in 2004
My rating: 4 out of 5
(image source)

A couple weeks ago, I read a news article announcing that "The Hunger Games" was toward the top of the American Library Association's list of challenged books for 2011, which includes books that were banned or that people sought to have pulled from school and library shelves. That wasn't particularly surprising, but what really caught my interest was the brief mention that Lauren Myracle -- who's apparently always on the list and who has a really cool name -- was back at the top. I was intrigued to see what has parents so freaked out about Myracle's writing, so I decided to check out the first book in her controversial "Internet Girls" series.

And just as I suspected, it's obvious that the people (presumably parents) demanding its removal are either 100 percent oblivious to what goes on in a high school, didn't actually read the book and/or weren't able to look past the occasional profanity, drinking and talk about sex to see the real value in Myracle's novel.

Written entirely in instant messages (the forerunner to texting), "ttyl" introduces us to three best friends just starting their sophomore year of high school: happy-go-lucky, boy-crazy Angela; moody, witty and no-nonsense Maddie; and straight-A good girl Zoe. We read over their shoulders as they IM with each other about -- and have the occasional tiff over -- issues like an overly flirtatious teacher, drinking, boys, sex, parents, religion, driving, the high school popularity contest and other various teenage issues.

I can see how some of those topics may ruffle feathers, but what those book-banners fail to see is that Myracle's novel is actually a (fun, interesting, subtle) guide on how to handle these things. The girl who goes to a college party and gets irresponsibly drunk suffers some tough consequences. The girl who's being seduced by her 24-year-old English teacher finally realizes -- just in the nick of time -- that he's a creep. They talk about sex, but they're all still virgins by the end of the book. In addition, the book casually brings up some girly growing-up issues and, in an understated way, assures readers that these things are normal.

As expected (after all, I'm a fairly non-conservative 26-year old and I can still vividly recall my high school days -- which were in many ways similar to the girls' experiences in the book) I have the opposite opinion on Myracle's writing from those who call for her books to be banned. This book (and assuredly the others in the series) tackles tough issues that most teen girls wouldn't feel comfortable talking to their parents about and -- rather than facing banning -- should be hailed as a vaulable resource.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

WIWW: Look, I Do Own Shoes!

Aloha! There's rare and unpleasant occurrence on display in my WIWW post this week -- I'm actually wearing... SHOES! One of my very favorite things about living in Hawaii is that it's perfectly acceptable to wear sandals everywhere (except work, lest I drop a book on my foot). Unfortunately, my black sandals decided they'd had enough of being trodden on and paid me back by falling apart while I was out running errands a couple weeks ago. I have a tough time finding shoes (even "slippers," as the locals call flip-flops) and I've not yet found a suitable replacement. So when I needed black footwear this week, the shoes came out!

As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to share my outfits and get inspiration from other WIWWers. Happy Wednesday!

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Top: Macy's
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind
Necklace: International Marketplace, Waikiki
Flip-flops: Target

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Top: JC Penney
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind
Clutch: made by my talented friend, LeAnn
Shoes: Target
Coin pearl earrings: craft fair
*I wore this to an advance screening of the new movie "The Lucky One," which I loved!

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I really like this outfit! (Too bad the camera gave the picture a yellowish cast, but you get the idea.) 

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pleated poppy

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: "A Walk in the Woods"

"A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson
First published in 1998
My rating: 4 out of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed Bill Bryson's account of his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail with a (rather overweight and inept) friend back in the mid-90s. Bryson is one of the only writers I've ever encountered who can impart a plethora of knowledge and make a reader laugh out loud in the same paragraph.

I learned so much, not only about hiking the AT but about the entire eastern seaboard. For instance, did you know there's a place called Centralia, Pennsylvania, now a ghost town, where an underground mine fire has been burning since the 1960s? Bryson's books tend to be lessons in science, history and personal experience, all given levity with guffaw-inducing humor.

I don't want to spoil things for you so I won't share all the interesting facts I learned and funny passages I read. But I can't resist transcribing my favorite, though I'll only share part of it. Some context: this is toward the beginning of the book, before Bryson and his friend have started their trek, and he's been reading up on bear activity along the AT.

Up until that moment it had not occurred to me that bears might prowl in parties. What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die, of course. Literally shit myself lifeless. I would blow my sphincter out my backside like one of those unrolling paper streamers you get at children's parties -- I daresay it would even give a merry toot -- and bleed to a messy death in my sleeping bag.

Well, I'd say that's just about right! And don't worry -- not all of the laughs in the book come from potty humor like this. Bryson has a distinct writing style -- conversational and almost conspiratorial, but with a constant sardonic edge.

With all that said, there is one aspect of Bryson's writing that irks me slightly -- and this is a carryover from the other book of his I read, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself." It's probably a part of the sarcastic humor I was just praising, but he seems to be overly critical of and a bit too full of insults toward some facets of America. In "A Walk in the Woods," he seems to think particularly low of Southerners. And even if it's funny (and possibly even true) it sometimes goes a bit too far.

But I do admit that Bryson -- who spent two decades living abroad before returning to America -- includes humorous passages in this book in which his decidedly American hiking companion mocks his British accent and turns of phrase. So at least he somewhat evenly distributes his regional jokes! And you've got to appreciate someone who can so masterfully use self-depracating humor.

Happy reading!

(Image Source)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Furry Friday

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I haven't posted a Furry Friday picture in ages! But lately I've been taking tons of pictures of Conan on my phone to send to Jarrod in Afghanistan, so there will be many more Furry Fridays to come. Yesterday I decided to try getting the critters in a picture with me... the easy part was getting everyone in the shot. The hard part was getting everyone looking at the camera and not making funny faces! We didn't quite have success, but it makes me laugh. It's pretty typical of the animals -- Conan's yawning (after finally giving up on licking me incessantly) and Lily's hanging there like a sack of potatoes!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My 10 Etsy Purchases

I adore Etsy, I really do, and I could empty my bank account buying handmade jewelry, art and decor. But I'm also a bit of a cheap-ass so I scrutinize and ponder nearly every purchase for days before I finally click the "buy" button. That means, though, that each and every piece I've purchased from Etsy is one that I love. And, with the purchase of a gorgeous heart-shaped necklace made out of my husband's and my fingerprints, I reached 10 Etsy purchases! So I thought I'd share all these wonderful handcrafted works of art with you.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha and happy Wednesday! As I write this post, I find myself contemplating the possibility of a pair of colored skinny jeans. I immediately discounted the idea of ever squeezing myself into a pair; I'm a strong proponent of dark denim -- it disguises all the lumps and bumps, for one thing! But yesterday I was out running errands and saw a gorgeous pair of turquoise skinnies. I'm sure you've noticed by now that turquoise and pink are my favorite fashion colors, and I think I actually let loose a small gasp when I saw them on the mannequin. Problem is, my body is not exactly shaped like a mannequin's, and figuring out what to pair them with is rather beyond my fashion qualifications!

As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to share my outfits.

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I love this outfit! I don't know why it took me so long to join the legions of waist-belters. Look what it does for my figure! Last week I went on a quest for a colored belt; I was hoping for turquoise but I ended up with this pink tassled number from Forever 21. It's actually meant for traditional belt placement, so I had to use a nail to make a new hole in it. But for the ridiculously low price, it was worth it!

I'm also very thrilled to debut my new fingerprint necklace on WIWW! I got it to keep a piece of Jarrod close to my heart while he's deployed, but I know I'll cherish and wear it forever.

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Top: Ann Taylor Loft, thrifted
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind
Sand dollar necklace: Boutiki gift shop on Pearl Harbor
Coin pearl earrings: craft fair
Bangle: Bealls Florida

pleated poppy

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: "The Dressmaker"

"The Dressmaker" by Kate Alcott
First published in 2012
My rating: 3.5 out of 5

Reading this book, which deals with the sinking of the Titanic and its aftermath on a personal level, was quite timely seeing as we're just days away from the 100th anniversary of the ship's demise. Unfortunately, I found the story to be a bit underwhelming.

The beginning of the book focuses on Tess Collins, a talented seamstress stuck working as a maid in a French household. She's spunky and spirited and tired of being forced to sew gowns for her mistress for no pay. So she quits, and hastens to the docks to see if she can get a last-minute job aboard the departing Titanic. Tess's idol -- famous dressmaker Lucile Duff Gordon -- is also at the docks preparing to board the ship, and through a lucky turn of events Tess gets herself hired as Lucile's maid for the voyage, with the promise of a potential seamstress job once on dry land.

And then, as we know, the ship goes down. All the main characters survive and life goes on, but once in New York Tess finds Lucile to be a flawed and manipulative boss. Unhappy rumors start spreading about the Duff Gordons' behavior on their lifeboat and Tess is caught in the middle of the unfolding drama. Not to mention, Tess is in a bit of a love triangle between two men she met onboard -- a wealthy Chicago busines tycoon and a kind sailor.We also meet Pinky Wade, an intrepid female New York Times reporter assigned to cover the Titanic hearings. She's determined to uncover the truth about what happened in the Duff Gordons' lifeboat, even while developing a tenuous friendship with Tess, whose striking loyalty to her floundering employer is both admirable and pitiable.

"The Dressmaker" had so much unlived-up-to potential. The story was ok (I could actually see it better as a movie, although that'll never happen because it could never compete with the ubiquitous "Titanic") but it just seemed to be lacking something. Maybe it was character development, or suspense, or a real connection with our heroine. Some very skilled authors are able to take an event to which we already know the outcome and make it seem fresh and gripping again. I'm sad to say, Kate Alcott didn't quite make it there.

Still, the book may be worth a read, especially since the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking is the story of the month. Happy reading! 

(Image Source)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Handmade Cards Add Sunshine To Your Day

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A couple weeks ago at work, I was cutting out library card applications and hold request tickets. Once done, I had a mound of yellow and orange strips of paper left over and I just couldn't bear to throw them out. I bundled them all up and brought them home with me, already envisioning some sort of sunshine art project. And this card, to be sent to my deployed husband, is what came out! All it took was my free strips of paper (of which I have about 100 left over!), a piece of cardstock, a glue stick and a Sharpie. I hope it brings a little cheer and susnhine to Jarrod's day. :)

(Here's what I started with.)
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Crafty Swap: Knitted Mitts for a Gorgeous Clutch


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Despite the fact that we haven't actually met in person, LeAnn clearly knows me well. The adorable clutch she sewed me for our crafty swap has the perfect colors, shape and style for my taste! In exchange for the clutch (and the super-cute pin cushions below) I knit LeAnn some fingerless mitts.

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LeAnn and I met several months ago when she left a wonderful comment on a blog post I wrote about my disastrous showing at the craft fair. I felt compelled to track her down and thank her for her kind words, which really picked up my spirits. LeAnn (who at the time had a blog of her own about quilting) and I hit it right off. And after discovering that we have a truly freakish number of things in common, we started corresponding (very) regularly through e-mail. A little over a month ago, we both had the same thought at the same time (surprise, surprise) -- why not swap our wares? I'd knit LeAnn something and she'd sew something for me. We both quickly set to work, and a few weeks later I happily tore into a package from LeAnn. 

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As you can see, LeAnn's very talented at her chosen craft!

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Want to hear a few of the myriad ways LeAnn and I are alike?
-We both have a dog and a cat.
-We hail from Rocky Mountain states and both followed our husbands to new locales for their careers.
-Both of our names start with "L" and both of our husbands' names start with "J."
-We avoid wearing yellow and orange.
-We LOVE to read (although -- here's a difference! -- LeAnn loves her Kindle but I refuse to try out an e-reader).
-We have similar college degrees (journalism for me, English for LeAnn) that we're not using at our current jobs.
-We both love crafting and long-winded e-mails! :)
-The list goes on... and on, believe me! I'm so thankful to have found someone who is so similar to me in random ways as well as more serious ones. Our minds seem to be on the exact same wavelength!

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

WIWW: Turquoise, Stripes, and a Turquoise Stripe

Aloha and happy Wednesday! I'm actually really in love with my outfits this week. I went shopping on Thursday and got a few new accessories from Forever 21 and two new shirts from Old Navy for just $5. Man, do I love a good bargain!

It's been a pretty good week for me! I received several packages in the mail (mail just makes my day!), got a whole bag of vintage knitting patterns from a patron at the library where I work (blog post on that jackpot to come!), went to see "The Hunger Games" (LOVED IT!), survived the first month of Jarrod's deployment (it feels so good to mark a month off the calendar!), and got time off from work to go home for my brother's high school graduation in May (Colorado, here I come!). The bad: yesterday I had to get two cavities filled at the dentist. Misery!

As always, I'm linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy to share my (very turquoise-y) outfits and glean fashion ideas from all the other WIWWers. Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. I'm totally obsessed with the song "Some Nights" by Fun. Just had to share. :)

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I bought this scarf on my shopping excursion on Thursday. It's my first scarf and I had hoped to pick out one that would match a lot of my tops. But when I saw this soft, sparkly turquoise number at Forever 21 for just $8, there was no way I could resist!

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pleated poppy
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