Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Stages of Musical Taste

Don't worry, guys! No more playlist posts! At least, until I can't stand it any longer, and am forced to do it via uncontrollable genetic programming. (You should probably tell me if I should restrain myself)

But you know that moment when you're looking through old YouTube playlists, and you find one that you totally forgot about? Or an old station on Pandora? And so you listen to it, and you think it's going to be all fun and games and nostalgia, and IT IS NOT. Your magnificent forgotten music taste eats you up and sucks into the VOID OF SONGS YOU FORGOT EXISTED. AND ITS JUST A GREAT TIME. 

I had totally forgotten that I had listened to a song called Majesty of Decay by The Burns Unit FOUR HUNDRED TIMES. I had forgotten that the lyrics had been tattooed onto my ear drums. Or that band The Mountain Goats that no one had heard of before John Green made them mildly more popular, not really? I had forgotten how obsessed I had been about their song Love Love Love; the one where they describe Kurt Cobain killing himself so nicely, in such a way that I had wanted to make it my valedictorian speech? By God, I had even forgotten about the band Eddie From Ohio. 

I've been listening to these songs for two days straight, and let me tell you, this is the one time when I am not ashamed of my past self. 

I can even remember how I found out about all these great artists. I had watched the movie He's Just Not That Into You (you know, the one with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Afleck, Drew Barrymore, EVERY OTHER PERSON IN HOLLYWOOD, and ScarJo before she was Black Widow? You know the one), and I had loved the soundtrack so much. So, naturally, I went to the library and burned the CD to my iPod. The song Madly by Tristan Prettyman was my favourite, so I decided to make a station on Pandora to find songs similar to it without actually doing any work. 

I sculpted this beautiful playlist over months, and pretty soon, it knew me better than my own family. 

Then I just completely forgot about it. 

UNTIL NOW. 

You know, I cannot even explain how many phases of music I have went through. When I was little, as in 2-9, I would only listen to Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar, and Disney Princess songs. Then, I went through this phase where I.....ok wait, that phase actually lasted a lot longer than I thought. But anyways, there was like a two year bit where I was only exposed to American Idol songs, so I still have those in my old MP3 player and cringe when I look at it. Then, the phase where I only listened to the Hairspray and HSM soundtracks. I'm still a bit in that phase, though, to be honest. But aren't we all??

Then my God-awful country phase. But at least I wasn't alone in that one. You know who you are, old friend. (This also includes the Taylor Swift phase, who we all now know as the Queen of internalized misogyny ^u^)

Then the Blurred Years, where I had no idea who I was. I don't even know, man. I don't even know. What even is Owl City.

And now, I have at LEAST 20+ genres in me. I like Lady Gaga and One Direction (I'm comfortable with who I am), but I also like Sleeping With Sirens and Awolnation, and also Mumford & Sons, and also bands no one knows about like Last Tuesday Weld and Port O'Brien, and of course Florence + the Machine, Owl City, and Lorde, and who can forget classical music and the punk songs from ballets like Swan Lake or FREAKING MUSICALS LIKE HAIRSPRAY AND ALSO HAIRSPRAY AND I GUESS PHANTOM OF THE OPERA OR PERHAPS LES MISÉRABLES and then there's P!nk or the trippy stuff like Foster the People or the downright psychedelic like St. Vincent, and Bastille is on my mind all the freaking time, and Disney songs are still my favourite, and you know, I will always have a Stevie Nicks poster from 1986 on my wall, and Love is a Battlefield is still the most metal song ever. 

But no country. 

NO COUNTRY. 

Although, I would have to say, my favourite song ever? EVAR???!?!


YEAH!!!!!!!

 (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧   


Friday, December 6, 2013

Books. And Winter. But Mostly Winter Books.

Hello lovelies!

I have been really excited to post this, because, yes, I am one of those diabolical people that re-reads books every holiday season. I get tangled up in books because they make me all warm and fuzzy, and sometimes, there are special books that I read in the winter that I just can't stay away from no matter how many times I read it. I hope you get as much out of these books as I do; but if you don't, well then. It's okay to have your wrong opinion.

1. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan


This book came out in 2009 (???) and I've read it every year since. I've read it about seven times, though, because one year, I was snowed in and ended up reading it about three times because why not? It's about these two highschoolers in New York during Christmas, who have never met each other; the only thing they have in common is their favourite bookstore, the Strand. One day, Dash is browsing the bookshelf, and finds a red moleskin journal. In it, the first page simply reads: 
"I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”


Lily is one of my FAVOURITE book characters OF ALL TIME. She loves Christmas, and wears really crazy socks, and wears really fabulous outfits, and gets too attached to animals. I feel her struggle on a spiritual level. They say that you get more attached to books where the characters are most like you, and let me tell you, I have actually never felt more like a character than Lily. Lily is everything. Dash, is, ah, an acquired taste. He's quite the hipster. And if you have read David's other works, you will find this atypical anti-society hipster hero in all of them (Him and Cohn also collabed in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist).They throw out words like "Bolshevik" and talk like a character in Macbeth, and think family is SO last season. Pretentious, this one definitely is. But he grows on you, I think. 

But what I really like about this book is its imagery, and the overall feelings it gives you as you read it. You want to snuggle up in a bookstore (though your living room will do) and sip hot chocolate from a wineglass or something. I don't know. You know what I mean? 

"I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. Cozy couples lazily meandered the streets and children trudged sleds and chased snowballs. No one seemed to be in a rush to experience anything other than the glory of the day, with each other, whenever and however it happened

2. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauran Myracle.


A lot of people don't like collections of stories, but what I like about this one is how they all take place in the same town, on the same night, in the same blizzard. All the three tales are interconnected by a Waffle House, and the stories all weave together nicely. I like how these stories have that sweet, ABCFamily special feel, which I normally don't like, but quirker and funnier, as well as more genuine. I found the first story to be especially adorable which began the blizzard and trek to the Waffle House haven (written by Maureen Johnson). 

"Debbie had to get up and slice me a thick piece of cake before she could answer. And I do mean thick. Harry Potter volume seven thick. I could have knocked out a burglar with this piece of cake. Once I tasted it, though, it seemed just the right size.” 

3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield


This is one of those books specially made for bibliophiles, and it's imagery is wonderful. It isn't Christmas-related, but it's filled with grand mansions and old books and fireplaces, set in the backdrop of a twisted English family. A woman, Margaret, who runs a bookstore with her father gets a letter from famous novelist, Vida Winter, who wants her to write down her life story before she dies. Vida is most famous for publishing a strange book of twelve dark tales, called "Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation". The whole world has been thirsting after the missing thirteenth tale ever since she published it decades ago, and over the course of the novel, she tells it to Margaret. She shares with Margaret the dark secrets her family had had for years, including the insane Charles, the feral twins Adeline and Emmaline, and a tragic fire. It recalls a lot of elements from Jane Eyre, so if you like the Brontë sisters, then do check out this book? This book is definitely haunting and probably one the most compelling mysteries I have ever read. Everytime I read it, I find something new that just makes the end make even more sense, and I want to just throw a pillow at how CLEVER IT IS. GOD.  

But silence is not a natural environment for stories. They need words. Without them they grow pale, sicken and die. And then they haunt you.” 

4. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis


Okay, I'm 99% sure all of you know the synopsis of this book, so I won't bother you with my horrible attempt to summarize this amazing book. (I feel really horrible at summarizing books I love; it's like, the better the book, the more I have to try to cram all these good things about it into a few sentences while also not spoiling anything. You know? YOU KNOW?!) Anyway, this is such a magical book to read, especially during the wintertime. It seems like this is the book people always reread this time of year, and it think it goes back to visiting that amazing other world on the other side of a wardrobe that you always searched for when getting your clothes ready in the morning. When I was really little and lived in another houses than I do now, I had this huge mahogany wardrobe that I had my little cute toddler clothes in, and I would always crawl inside and wait. Like, "COME ON ASLAN GET YOUR CRAP TOGETHER. I AM WAITING."

But anyway. Yes. Narnia. Love it. 

"I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis.”

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien 


I don't know about you guys, but this was literally my childhood. My dad is a HUGE J.R.R Tolkien fan, so I grew up wearing the VHS versions of The Lord of the Rings out. I was even a nazgul for Halloween when I was seven. Like. It was ridiculous. I loved Frodo and Sam, but my favourite character was Bilbo. I loved The Hobbit best out of all the books, because I identified with him. I would have totally resisted too, if this whole pod of stinky dwarves showed up and barged in and started singing in my living room without even asking me. Are you kidding? And I loved the scene when Bilbo first encounters Smaug; I loved that scene most, to be honest. It was right up there with the first chapter. I wanted to live in a hobbit hole soooo bad! Didn't you?? 

I love the whimsical way he words things, and everytime I read it, I feel like I'm part of Thorin's Company. I'm one with these great adventures and slaying dragons and tricking Gollum and going into the goblin kingdom. What's extra special is rereading it from the book my dad has owned for like thirty years. It's worn and faded and about to fall apart, and I lurv it.

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
————————————
"I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air, I am he that walks unseen.

I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number.

I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me.

I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.” 


And that's the end of the list! I probably should have opened the list to just "Books I Like", but I wanted it to be holiday-themed, and I thought the books I reread would be a much shorter list. I have a lot of homework to do, can you blame me?! 

Now, go read these books! I'll be doing the same ^^



Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Very Winter-y Playlist

Hello, everyone! My friend was talking about putting a winter playlist on his blog Snorkeling in a Bathtub sometime soon, and so I thought I might try my hand in it ^^ I listen to a lot of various songs from a whole range of genres, so for that reason, organizing them would have been a task too great for little old me. However, I HAVE separated songs that are directly related to the holiday season below the main playlist, which just includes songs I'm listening to right now/remind me of winter. Enjoy! (Oh, and I have linked the playlists on YouTube for the Winter Playlist and the Holiday Playlist at the end of each section!)

Bubblegum Bitch // Marina and the Diamonds

Thistle & Weeds // Mumford & Sons

Winter Winds // Mumford & Sons

Little Lion Man // Mumford & Sons

White Blank Page // Mumford & Sons

Almost Lover // A Fine Frenzy

The Village Green Preservation Society // Kate Rusby

Ottoman // Vampire Weekend

Bad Blood // Bastille

Icarus // Bastille

These Streets // Bastille

Carmen // Lana Del Rey

Blue Jeans // Lana Del Rey

Bottom of the River // Delta Rae

Snow Mazes of Norway // Jenny Dalton 

The District Sleeps Alone at Night // Birdy

Young Blood // Birdy

Terrible Love // Birdy

Ice Wine // Lia Ices

I Just Wanna Run // the Downtown Fiction

Speeding Cars // Imogen Heap

Home // Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

Let Her Go // Passenger

Mouthwash // Kate Nash

Riverside // Agnes Obel

Girl From the North Country // Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

Icarus // White Hinterland

Once Upon Another Time // Sara Bareilles

Were-Owl // S.J Tucker

What the Water Gave Me // Florence + the Machine

You Really Got a Hold On Me // She & Him

You're So Vain // Carly Simon

Pot Kettle Black // Tilly and the Wall

Aphrodisiac // Bow Wow Wow

Nerdfighterlike // Hank Green

Misty // Johnny Mathis

Winter Playlist Clicky Link Thing

Actual Holiday Music

Winter Song // Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson 

Winter Wonderland // Ella Fitzgerald

Happy Xmas (War is Over) // Vanessa Carlton

Carol of the Bells // Celtic Woman

The Christmas Song // the Raveonettes 

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas // Bing Crosby

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas // Frank Sinatra

The whole album A very She & Him Christmas by She & Him 

The whole album Under the Mistletoe by Good Lovelies (which is not available on YouTube, so I have the whole album linked below the playlist link if you want to check it out. Which you should.)

Holiday Playlist Clicky Link Thing

Good Lovelies Album

And in case this wasn't enough, here is the Christmas radio link I usually listen to this time of year on Pandora:

Holiday Radio

Happy listening, sweeties! I'll be getting around very soon with another winter related post soon (perhaps my favourite books to read in the winter?), but till then:









<<< Look at this slightly disturbing picture of a winter baby I found on Google Images. Rejoice in it. Worship it. Fear it.












Friday, September 13, 2013

How to enjoy school (more) as an introvert!

Oh god. It's been quite a long time since I have posted, hasn't it?

Well, now that school has started, I've gotten some fuel again for a post! Well, not exactly 'fuel', but running on enthusiasm has gotten me this far, right? Anyway, I thought I would post another installation of "an an introvert!", school edition. 

Before you get excited, no, this isn't a tutorial on how to get out of group projects. I know, I know. I feel your little hearts hoping even now, but alas, I cannot. I still have no clue as to how to do such a thing. If you ever figure it out, DON'T EVEN DO ANYTHING ELSE. CONTACT ME. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.

Also, there will be no advice on how to get out of PE. Away from the baking sun. On the hot track. In the desert. With only lukewarm water to keep you alive. (Which doesn't work; it has made me dead inside.) 

Instead, this is going to be more of a list of things to do to help you through your school year. Some of them are going to specifically apply to those who prefer not to talk, and some will just apply to every little soul out there, introvert or social butterfly. 

1. Get Organized. I know, I know. You don't want to hear this any more. But just hear me out; being organized with your school work really does help you avoid awkward situations in the long run. For one, you never lose things, which means no Walk of Shame over to the teacher to quietly ask for another copy, and the subsequent look of disdain. Secondly, being organized also means you know exactly where to put things, and this means no longer being the last one out of class! Am I the only one that would rather hack through fellow students with a machete than be the last one out of the room? Don't lie to yourself. 

2. Plan out your weekend in advance. And I do not mean with things to do with the outside world. I mean, something as simple as a checklist of things to do, like: 

Watch Supernatural
Watch Ouran High School Host Club
Do math homework
Pet kittens
Drink tea
Knit new scarf

So on and so forth. Why does this help, and why should you even bother? Well, for one, it helps you be more organized (see above section), but beyond that, it helps feel the void of feeling like you didn't do anything all weekend. I, personally, feel very fulfilled when I check off *scroll through Tumblr* from my list, and it makes me feel like I actually DID something (though, lets be honest; Tumblr is never off our list). It makes you feel happier, and makes you feel more accomplished, and most of all, makes you feel more in control of your life, which is always a good thing to have in the stressful school year ^^

3. Treat yourself. Everytime you finish a group project, or everytime you have to work with a partner you don't feel comfortable with, or basically everytime you have to interact with 'undesireables', reward yourself. The bigger the problem was for you, and the more of a struggle it was to do it, the bigger the reward should be. Say it's eleven o'clock at night, and you just finished the entire group paper everyone was SUPPOSED to chip in with, and you feel like crying. Make a brownie-in-a-mug (Recipe will be posted below!), or perhaps a marathon of Fruits Basket the next day? Something to help make it all worth while will make the work or interaction seem easier to do, and will motivate you. And if the reward is good enough, maybe eventually, those tasks that were hard to do will slowly become easier without you noticing (distraction is the best short-term remedy for anxiety; I should know ^^)

4. Raise your hand for questions you KNOW. DON'T KILL ME WITH YOUR EYES THROUGH THE INTERNET. okay, I have tried this, and it really works. The teachers usually call on the people who never talk, and with our luck, we always get called on for the question we have no idea how to answer. But the kids that actually volunteer more often, rarely get victimised. Therefore, if you're ever confident in an answer, why not raise your hand, and see if it works! Of course, this is one that you have to consider. Some people are fine with raising their hand, and for others, they just don't feel comfortable. That's okay! I'm just saying that if you're comfortable with it, and its just a matter of preferring not to, try and experiment: raise your hand once or twice in one class you're particularly good at for a bit, and see how often they call on you after. Unless you have an idiot teacher, in which case, I am so sorry. 

5. Humanize your teacher. This is both good for you and your teacher, because you get to maybe see your teacher in a more 3D light. Basically, I mean that you should see your teacher as an actual human for once. Sometimes this doesn't work, because let's be honest: some people are just awful, and teachers are no exception. But sometimes, seeing their faults and their quirks make them more relatable, and can make the whole experience more enjoyable. I always hate it when kids act really mean to teachers, because for some kids (not you darlings, but some), they somehow see that it's only in teenage-hood that you can experience hardships, and depression, and cutting, and disorders. They abuse their teachers that try to help, or try to understand, because they are so absorbed in their own problems that they fail to see how they're making another's even worse. How do you know that when your teacher goes home, that she doesn't get beat by her boyfriend? How do you know if her brother didn't just pass away, and she's trying to deal with it? What if your teacher's daughter has cancer, or that his wife is leaving him? How do you know that they don't go home and cry every single night? Who said that cutting is automatically cured when you get your teaching degree, or when you become an adult? And most of all, no one ever gave those kids the right to make their teachers' lives more difficult, because they really don't know each others lives at all. I remember once, that this one kid kept being difficult and made fun of our teacher in 10th grade, and suddenly she broke down crying, and had to leave the room. How horrible is that? To actually tease someone so bad that they break down crying in front of 30 people, and have to leave the room? And I think that when teenagers realise that, they can begin to see their teachers as less the enemy, than just another human struggling to get through the world. 

There you go! I hope you liked this little list, because I enjoyed making it! I also hope that these tips, as general and cliché as they may sound, actually do help. If they don't, then I am so sorry. But! At least, you got a brownie recipe out of it all! ^^

http://www.number-2-pencil.com/2013/02/21/microwave-brownie-in-a-cup/

(Tip: microwave for about 35 seconds as opposed to 45 for more gooiness) 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Regret and being a slave to my dog.

I am a person who does things on a whim.

That being said, I am also a person who never likes to throw things away, because 'I might need it later'. And to top that off, I buy a lot of stuff. Do you understand what a BAD COMBINATION those things are??  

Step one. Go to mall.

Step two. BUY ALL THE LOTIONS AND NAIL POLISHES.

Step three. Put them away after stroking them lovingly.

Step four. Never use them.

Step five. RAGE AT THE LACK OF SPACE AND I DON'T NEED THIS MAKEUP AND NAIL POLISH I HAVEN TOUCHED MAKEUP IN TWO YEARS THROW OUT ALLLLLLLLLL THE THINGS.

Step six. Ooh, an invitation to a soirée! I shall wear mascara!

Step seven...............Who I am hates who I have been.

And my rages usually come about when I get this great idea to paint my nails, just as a once a month treat thing, and I'm just so happy, then this happens: 

............
.......
.....
...
..
.
.
Then this:



Then I go upstairs and throw all my nail polishes away because I WILL NEVER EVER USE THEM EVER AGAIN. 

Then, of course, three weeks later, I want to paint my nails black, and I can't. 

Because I threw it all away.

And while I'm complaining, let me JUST TELL YOU how my night went: I was just getting ready to put my iPad on my nightstand after watching some Black Butler and go to sleep, when I turned and MY DOG WAS UNDER THE COVERS AND SLEEPING ON MY PILLOW. So naturally, I did what any girl would do: I laid half on the mattress and slept on the pathetic little bit of the pillow cover that goes past the edge of the pillow. 

Speaking of my dog, do you know what our morning routine is? The one we have been doing for years? I slowly get out of bed so as not to disturb her (did I mention she sleeps under the covers beside me with her own pillow? That's why I bought a king, because she needed more room.), do my morning routine, then as I'm ready to go downstairs I go back in and gently wake her up and then we go downstairs together. 

But not before I trip on her teddy bear she places at the top of the staircase EVERY. MORNING. And afterwards, while lying there bleeding, I hand it to her as she jumps over my broken body.

                       


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review: Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, by Caroline Weber

                                              

I will admit, I don't usually do book reviews. At least, on here. I'll talk about my addiction to goodreads.com in another time, another post. I LOVE YOU GOODREADS!!! *pants*

....anyway. I decided last night (a bad time to make definite decisions, for the record) that I was going to finally do a book review on here, and I was surprised at how easily I picked my choice. I quickly ruled out Book Thief by Markus Zusak, because then this post would be way too long for even a saint to read, and I would give out too many spoilers. I also ruled out The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield for similar reasons (though I may do Thirteenth Tale anyway, just for grins and giggles). 

So obviously, I had to do the biography of Marie Antoinette.

Let me explain: in school, at the beginning of second semester, we were assigned a project in my World Literature block. It was a three month assignment to research anything under the sun and make a final essay. Or should I say thesis, since it was long enough, and had the trademark blood, sweat, and tear stains on the final copy?? But anyway, I did mine on how fashion reflected Marie Antoinette's life and how it ultimately caused her downfall. And one of the books I read for it is the one I am to review for you now. Now, let me just write down a warning: this book became my life for those months; it never left my side, and it basically became the centre of my universe. I became so obsessed with Marie Antoinette, that all I would read or watch were biographies/ documentaries about her, and my parents were glad when the assignment ended so they could stop worrying about my precarious sanity balancing on a guillotine blade. 

So let us begin, shall we?

The book goes chronologically, beginning at when Marie left Austria for France at fourteen to marry Louis Auguste (Louis XVI), and ends with her execution in 1793 to debut the Reign of Terror. It explains how her fashion was intertwined inherently with how her life would end, and her life in general. 

Weber does an amazing job in giving a side of Marie Antoinette's life history shuts off, simply because she is the person people love to hate. Humans all need a person to hate, and at that period, it was the Queen. Some things I learned in this book include, but are not limited to: ripping her away from her homeland forever; not allowing her to take her beloved dog over to France with her ("she could have as many French dogs as she pleased"); seeing her best friend's head stuck on a pike and paraded in front of her window without mercy; taking her toddler son away from her in jail, and neglecting him so that he died of malnutrition; and finally, not allowing her husband to say goodbye to her before they cut off his head. 

I love this book because it offers a strong opinion, and gives you the rest of the book to have no choice but agree. But Weber cites every fact and quote she gives, to the point that the citation section at the end of the book makes up a solid half inch of the pages. She offers both her opinion and the facts, but uses the facts to her advantage without bending them, which many writers struggle with. 

Weber also makes this seem less a biography, than a novel which ascends genre. It has so many different genre elements, so that it reads like fictional book, has the facts of a textbook, the plot of a nonfiction, the character of a biography, the lyrical writing of a poem, and the ability to stir your sympathy like that of a particularly tragic obituary. 

When I turned the final page, my emotions can only be described by John Green: "sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird, evangelical zeal and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless all living humans READ THE BOOK."

I can see why my parents got a little worried about me.

The main reason I loved it, though, is because it proves a point far beyond the French Revolution: that fashion is an integral part of the history of humankind. In places such as ancient China, there were laws which allowed only certain classes to wear certain colours and fabrics; in Scotland, every family had its own clan colours, which they alone could wear. Fashion was a source of power and a sign of status, and even now, it is used as a medium of expression and a way to mark ourselves as different from every other man or woman. 

Weber conveyed that by using Marie Antoinette, because who else could you write an entire book about their clothes alone? Well, maybe Empress Cixi, but let us not get into that can of worms quite yet.

Because of this book, I think I'll always have a special place in my heart just for Marie Antoinette, and will never tire of lecturing others when they call her a spoiled little queen with a shopping problem.

If you, too, would like to read the book (which you should, because it will make you more smarticalz), you can buy it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. However, if you need more convincing about how amazing this book is, you can go to Goodreads for more reviews and information.

If you do not read le livre, you will be judged.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Period.

Yeah, this is about periods. I figure it's only fate that a female blogger posts at least once about her period, because it takes up 1/4 of our month. Odd to think about, really. Such a waste of time.

But anyway, I knew this period would come for me someday. Because this isn't a normal period; it is special, because it marks the end of my golden age. See, I was always that girl that shrugged and went "aw, it's not THAT bad!". Now, I am one of those girls that rips the previous girl apart in frustration. To compare, I'm like a woman in her late sixties who is slowly becoming incontinent. Soon, she will have to wear diapers like the rest of them, BUT SHE IS IN DENIAL. And like her, I too feel my old way of life slipping away. No longer can I just pop in a tampon and frolick about in the pool all day. No longer can I change my pad every four hours. 

No.

Now, I must overdose on Midol, and lay on the floor all day, wracked with exhaustion and pain. Now, I must avoid sugar and any good tasting food all day, for fear of making my PMS worse; now, it is nothing but eggs, turkey, spinach, mushrooms, and bitter chocolate. 

And whenever I see a tampon commercial, I wish to rip their jaws off and watch them squirm. HOW DARE THEY SAY "Have a happy period"! No, YOU have a happy period all by yourself, you skinny b*tch. Go off and limbo the night away in a white string bikini. How cocky do you think you can be?? A bikini itself is pushing it, but a white one? You aren't God. 


I would love to see her fail. I'm sorry, but I guarantee you, men, every girl who watches that commerical wants nothing more than to see her have a bloody accident mid-limbo. 

And once, I heard that it was a scientific fact that you actually bleed only about two tablespoons your entire period. Ha. Ha. Ha. NO. I don't know what kind of girls they tested on, but I bet my left arm I could at least fill half a milk jug. 

But anyway, in short, my periods are getting worse each time. I don't know how long this is going to last until I reach my maximum occupancy load of pain, but I hope it's soon. Because at this rate, I'll have to wear a diaper. And not to sacrifice what dignity I have left, but wearing a diaper doesn't seem like a half-bad idea. I mean, it would surely be safer? 

God, what am I thinking. 

Most girls: Gee, I would like to get those special pads made for thongs! So I can wear my sexy underwear no matter my time of the month!

Me: Huh. An adult diaper seems nice. 

But be honest, how many of you actually get action on your period? How many of you even want it? Unless you're a vampire, blood isn't exactly a turn on. So why the thong?? Why would you even suffer through the constant worrying of wearing a flimsy THONG when you're BLEEDING OUT YOUR VAGINA? I mean, if you're out on the third date wearing a tube dress, and you've been playing footsie under the table all night, a thong might be a good idea. But sitting alone wearing a robe and covered in heating pads, a thong seems asinine. However, apparently now, they have underwear specially designed to look cute and to also keep leakage from getting out, with adorable period-related designs, like a unicorn covered in blood. Okay, maybe not 'adorable' per se, but relevant. (They're called Harebrained Period Panties)


And why do we need SO MANY different brands of pads and tampons? Walking into the feminine hygiene isle is like walking into a totally different world. No wonder men seem so lost and intimidated in that isle; I am too, and I've been going there since I was eleven. One thing I and my friends know well? The store brands are awful. You would do better with a wad of toilet paper and duct tape. Seriously.

Oh, and going to the pool when you're on your period? Seems like a good idea, but not; like communism. However, it's doable. Just make sure to take these things: tampons, Midol, a dark bathing suit, chocolate, and shame. So, so much shame.





Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Playlist

I don't know about you, but I have different sets of songs I listen to based upon the season. A lot of them transfer through, but a few are very distinct to the weather. Which makes a lot of sense because everyone subconsciously switches song based on the weather or what is happening in their own lives. For example, I tend to listen to slower, melancholy, classical piano songs when it's grey and rainy out. Now here, I will just list some songs I tend to listen to during the summer months. MUSIC TIME!

The Dark Streets of London// the Pogues

Pale Blue Eyes// Velvet Underground

Forever Yours// Alex Day

Neptune// S. J. Tucker

Mordred's Lullaby// Heather Dale

Cheshire Kitten// S. J. Tucker

Do It Anyway// Ben Folds Five

Crazy Love// Mindy Gledhill

A Song About Love// Charlie McDonnell

Kiss With A Fist// Florence + the Machine

Concerning Hobbits// Howard Shore

Plant Life// Owl City

Good Morning Sunshine// Alex Day

Little Talks// of Monsters and Men

Faerie Queen// Blackmore's Night

The Great Escape// Amelia

Under the Sea// Samuel E. Wright

Dúlaman// Celtic Woman

Green the Whole Year 'Round// Celtic Woman

Observation// Eddie From Ohio

Chariot// Gavin DeGraw

Navy Taxi// Kate Nash

Le Festin// Camille

By Your Side// the Black Crowes

I'd Like To// Corinne Bailey Rae

Nights in White Satin// Moody Blues

Folding Chair// Regina Spektor

Fairy tale// Sara Bareilles

Waiting on the Sun// Sixpence None the Richer

Ottoman// Vampire Weekend

Brand New Shoes// She & Him

La Vie en Rose// Edith Piaf

The Foggy Dew// the Chieftians

Hong Kong Garden// Souixie and the Banshees

Fools Rush In// Bow Wow Wow

All Cats Are Grey// The Cure

The Melody of a Fallen Tree// Windsor for the Derby

Cold Coffee// Ed Sheeran

The A Team// Ed Sheeran

Hold On// Wilson Phillips

A Little Fall of Rain// Les Misérables cast

The Game is On (Sherlock)// David Arnold and Michael price

Moon Trance// Lindsey Stirling

Dragonborn Comes// Malukah

Honor to Us All// Mulan cast

Ravens in the Library// S. J. Tucker

Were-Owl// S. J. Tucker

Rabbit Heart// Florence + the Machine

Radioactive// Imagine Dragons

Zelda Rap// Smosh

Poison// Carrie Hope Fletcher


Whew, that took longer than anticipated. I may post another of these when summer fades into fall, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it ^_^. 

Either that, or a post about the menstrual cycle. Because that seems like a trending topic that has stayed popular since the dawn of time.



Sunday, June 9, 2013

The difference between Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast!

So, I've always been mildly irritated whenever someone assumes that Irish Breakfast and English Breakfast are the same thing. Because they are not; that's why they aren't the same tea! And Earl Grey always gets confused with English Breakfast, and it's just this huge mass of confusion that I thought people should just have a solid reference. So today, I will be talking about the key differences between Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast, because I have no life outside of my house. In its simplest terms, it is this:

So basically, they all are made with the same base ingredients, but it is what is added and how it is made that makes the flavor intensity fluctuate, producing different flavors for different times of day. 

  • Earl Grey. Earl Grey is the first on the chart because it is the lightest in flavor, and was traditionally favored by the British Prime Minister, Earl Grey. It uses a variety of black teas from China and India, blended with natural Oil of Bergamot from Italy (which gives it its slightly exotic flavor). It became 'the' tea to drink it the upper echelons of aristocracy, and was by far the most common tea to find in fancy European drawing rooms during tea time. The ladies of the time liked Earl Grey because of its flavorful, yet not really 'strong' taste. It was not overwhelming to the senses, which made it very enjoyable. And in the modern era, Earl Grey is still enjoyed as a great afternoon tea to refresh you, like an alternative to lemonade. Earl Grey can be enjoyed a number of ways, with or without milk, with or without sweetener (very versatile).  To better make you understand, if Earl Grey were a type of fabric, it would be a light muslin. Enough to feel and appreciate to soft texture, but light enough not to weigh you down.

  • English Breakfast. Ah, the Tea For All Men. Unlike Earl Grey, English Breakfast was celebrated later on as a tea for all classes, while even today Earl Grey is seen as a delicate, refined tea. English Breakfast is also much simpler; it is just China black tea (100% Keemun), and a nice simple way to begin the day. Or end the day. Of whenever! English Breakfast is enjoyed no matter when, and has a nice toasty aroma, with just a hint of a honey taste that is naturally within the Keemun leaves. English Breakfast can be flavored with ANYTHING. Milk, sugar, honey, lemon, cinnamon, just plain, whatever! Add ice cream; I don't care. Whatever floats your boat. Also to compare English Breakfast to a fabric, English Breakfast would be a warm fleece blanket; snuggly enough to keep you comforted and warm, yet not too heavy to make you uncomfortable on spring days. 

  • Irish Breakfast. Finally, our heady tea. This tea was extremely popular in Ireland (obviously) for its ability to warm you up quickly after spending all day out on the clammy, foggy moors. Farmers and fishermen used it to wake them up in the early morning when they had to begin work, but they also enjoyed it at the end of the day to soothe them and bring a flush to their cheeks. Simple like English Breakfast, it is made with 100% Assam leaves, which gives it such a 'spicy' flavor. Irish Breakfast is usually fixed with milk and sugar, since the flavors harmonize well and also because it would be much too stout for the typical pallet. There is subtle taste of roast malt, giving it a great alternative for coffee drinkers who are taking a break from the hardcore stuff, and also because of the similar amount of caffeine. To compare it to a fabric, it is a heavy wool tartan; great for chilly mornings, and to keep the blistering cold from cutting right through you, and not for the faint of heart.


There we go darlings! Was that as simple as I had anticipated, or did you get totally lost? Now, even if you dislike tea, there was still a benefit to reading this; you can show up people who have no idea what they're talking about. And that, is ALWAYS a plus.











Friday, June 7, 2013

The A to Z of Me, and also Knitting Revival!

This is probably going to be a short post, because reasons. But anyway, I thought I would do an A to Z list so you may get to know me on an intimate level *uninentional wink*. So let us get started, shall we?

A is for alpacas/ Adventure Time/ Addams family

B is for Big Bang Theory

C is for chamomile

D is for dragons

E is for eggplant (both the color and the vegetable)

F is for French

G is for Gandalf

H is for Howl's Moving Castle

I is for Ireland

J is for Jake from Adventure Time

K is for kawaii

L is for Lilliputian

M is for Medieval

N is for Niffle (my favourite made up word. It means cold. "It is so niffley out!")

O is for old books

P is for poisonous plants/ pachyderms

Q is for Queen of England

R is for raspberries

S is for Studio Ghibli/ Sherlock/ Soul Eater anime

T is for TEA

U is for uranography

V is for viola ( go Jake!)

W is for Wiccan music/ winter/ werewolf

X is for xenops (a small tropical rainforest bird)

Y is for Yule/ yaks

Z is for zoos (my favourite place)

Alright, I feel as though we got to know each other a bit better! Even though you didn't share anything with me.....you awful creature. Anyway, I also recently began to get back into the groove of knitting! During the school year, I didn't have much time for anything non-academic, but now that it is summer, I'm finally getting around to finishing up my two scarves that have been sitting in my bag for a embarrassingly long amount of time. It was really my best friend who gave me the inspiration again by giving me a fantastical pin that has a piece of knitting pictured above the word "wit". Get it? Knit wit! HAHAHA!!! I love it. So yeah, that pin was more inspiring than any inspirational poster.  


So yeah, KNITTING MACHINE RAAAWWRRR!!! 

Also, this is what an xenops looks like:


Oh and one more thing: my next post is most likely going to be a horribly boring rambling about tea.

                    
  











Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Studio...Ghibli!

I'm in the mood to be a critic tonight, and I was going to wait and save this for a more boring day, but I thought today was as good as any to do a giant write up of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies. If you don't know what that is, here is the summary: a Japanese animation film studio located it Tokyo, famous for it's anime feature films. So basically, the Japanese equivalent of american Disney, with Hayao Miyazaki being the Japanese Walt Disney. Princess Mononoke was pretty much my childhood, so I have a deep love for all things Studio Ghibli. I hope you will love these films as much as I do, and I hope you go out and watch them immediately if you already have not!

1. Princess Mononoke



Set in 14th century Japan, it depicts a mythical battle between the Animal Gods of the forest and the humans who have begun to destroy it. A young man, Ashitaka, witnesses the Wolf Goddess Moro (basically the leader of the Animal Gods) begin the battle against the human leader Lady Eboshi, who runs the giant coal factory. He also meets Mononoke, the feral human raised by the Wolf Goddess. This seems like an innocent enough premise, but this movie has more than enough grit for even a hardened adult. You see the Animal Gods dying off slowly as Lady Eboshi gains power, and the Wolf Goddess is driven permanently mad seeing all of them fall around her. The humans slaughter the children of the forest senselessly, and there is such an intense hatred burning within Princess Mononoke because she, whether she likes it or not, IS a human, as much as she wants otherwise. There is this bloody struggle between the guardians of the forest and the humans of the Iron Town who wish to consume its resources and you just get so caught up in the pain of the characters and AH! I love this movie. (Spoiler: no one wins.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHaHjriRJWY

2. Howl's Moving Castle



This has got to be one of the most of the strong, epic romances of all time, and it isn't even listed as such! But anyway, this is set in a magical universe, akin to a steampunk version of Victorian England, only with a war between wizards going on. It is centered around Sophie, a plain, quiet teenage hat maker who never thinks of herself as pretty. All the people at the shop constantly gossip about the dashing, 'soulless' eccentric wizard Howl, who lives in a moving castle in the Wastes. However, an evil witch puts a spell on her to turn her into a 90 year old woman, and she finds her way to being Howl's cleaning lady. He sees through the spell, and they teach each other extraordinary skills, her how to love herself, him how to have a soul. Amazing battles take place, and a bouncy dog is present, as well as a turnip scarecrow and a snarky fire demon named Calcifer (*SIGH*!). You know, normal Studio Ghibli fare. What makes this story so great is that Howl hides behind his good looks (and blond hair, which he later forgoes), and she thinks she IS the ugliness of her awful curse, and she discovers that only she can save him from becoming the awful monster wizards can become when they lose too much of their souls. They blossom around each other, and it's just great. This is probably one of my favorite movies EVER.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UibodUGoL4M

3. Spirited Away




This, also, was a big part of my childhood. This summary is going to sound really creepy, but it'll make sense when you watch it: it tells the story of Chihiro who, traveling to a new home, accidentally enters an alternate reality filled with ancient Japanese spirits. Her parents are immediately turned into pigs by the evil witch Yubaba, so Chihiro is forced to take a job at Yubaba's bathhouse (which caters to exhausted spirits) in order to free herself and her family and go back to her realm. This movie can get so trippy, and you can get a headache if you think too hard at things which are not supposed to make sense, but this movie has a special place in my heart. It opens your mind to the thought that maybe, just maybe, there really ARE spirits out there, and PERHAPS, there exists a special bathhouse where they can go to rest. And MAYBE, somewhere, there IS a woman named Chihiro with a husband who looks quite a bit like a dragon, and who knows a lot about how hot a Japanese forest spirit likes its bath water.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6az9wGfeSgM

4. Castle in the Sky



This is the first Studio Ghibli film made, in 1986. This, also, is a bit trippy: in times past, humans built flying cities destroyed by a mysterious catastrophe caused by greed, forcing the people to become grounded, and the cities destroyed; all except Laputa, concealed from the world by a cloud. Fast forward, and a normal boy (who oddly just LIVES ALONE) finds a strange girl in the middle of nowhere, holding a necklace of aetherium crystals formerly used to keep Laputa afloat. Long story short, a lot of people want her so she cat unlock Laputa's location, because she is discovered to be of the flying city's ancient royal line. An unusual amount of mystery is hidden in this movie, and I love that about it, although it sometime's gets too confusing for my taste; as in, there are so many loose ends that Miyazaki has trouble tying it all back up again. Still, you must watch it, because for me, every time I see a big cloud, I wonder if the ruins of Laputa are hidden within secluded away from the human race forever. Plus? AIR PIRATES.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McM0_YHDm5A

5 Kiki's Delivery Service



This is another older Ghibli film, but I LOVED it as a child, as well as now. Kiki is a young witch of 13, and according to tradition, a 13 year old witch must live on her own for a whole year and make her own way in the world, along with her trusty broom, and adorably talkative black cat Jiji. She goes to a little beachside village instead of the popular inner cities, and gets a reputation as the best delivery girl in town (via the broom). This movie sends a strong message about creativity, independence, responsibility, and finding yourself by going outside your comfort zone. Please take the time to watch this movie, and love it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piIdiZ44zzU

Please, watch ALL these movies, and try to love them as much as I do (I know you will), and fall in love with at least one of the characters! ではまた。!
















Sunday, June 2, 2013

the Boil Phenomenon!

It always concerns me slightly when girls in any developmental stage have this idea of love:


Because that insinuates that only by having a significant can you be whole. To me, there isn't some person out there who will complete you. You are not a piece of a puzzle. You're already whole. Right now, reading this, you, your soul, your heart, and your mind are all completely, 100% whole. 

I'm going to use myself as an example to get across what I'm preaching, here. Right now, as I type this, this is what my 'heart' looks like:


I have no desire at the moment to have a boyfriend. I just don't have that hole to fill at the moment. I have my books, my friends, my art, all these things that fulfill me. Later, as I grow and become even more of my own person, this will happen (I call it the Boil Phenomenon):


I will still remain the same person, whole, but all of a sudden, something will happen. Maybe someday I will be reading a romance novel, and decide that something is kind of missing. I won't lose myself, but my heart will suddenly grow and I'll have this space that will be filled by a special kind of companion (you know what I mean *wink*). Some day, I'll meet a guy, and we will talk and I'll think, "He's just the thing!" and he will fill the little growth. If something happens and we don't work out, I won't become half of a person or anything dramatic as that; i'll just go back to being 100% instead of a 110%. It will feel as though I'm not whole, but I won't be. 

Later, I will see another boy, and ZOOP, the Boil Phenomenon will happen again. If this time, we fall deliriously in love enough for me to happily become a part of the ancient patriarchal system known as marriage and become Mrs. Him, then my heart will look a little like this:


That thing which began as a boil will slowly grow over my heart and then permanently meld, over time, so that I will forever be 110%. 

A similar thing happens to men, I'm sure, but I won't get into that because I am not a man, so I can't technically fact check. However, my papa (the resident man for questions like these) says it's the same thing, only the Manly Man Heart looks like this:


For some people, the boil will never grow. That's okay. Sometimes, I look around me, and I see all these girls being in relationships and think "huh", but then I realize that, for some of them, they have the idea of being a part of a puzzle, and once you find that SPECIAL GUY, you will complete each other. It's a nice idea, I'll admit, and a little more romantic that a boil, but much less practical. It means that every moment you are single, you are only 50% whole, which isn't true. 

You aren't looking to become 100%. You already are. You're just waiting for the boil to tell you that it's time to be 110%.

And remember, you cannot force the boil. DO NOT FORCE THE BOIL. THE BOIL COMES WHEN IT WANTS. 

















Monday, May 27, 2013

How to Enjoy Summer as an Introvert

Have you ever tried to google "fun things to do in summer", and ALL OF THEM REQUIRE OTHER PEOPLE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY? I figure I must be the one to write a summer list for people who prefer to stay in the general vicinity of plumbing and away from the general vicinity of people.


  1. Experiment with your teas. Personally, I always enjoy Earl Grey with a dash of cream and swimming in sugar. But lately, I have decided to branch off, and now find myself warming to Oriental teas with honey and lemon. And Irish Breakfast is delightfully overpowering sans the cream or sugar (never both; drinking Irish Breakfast black is too hardcore for me). And, if you've never been into tea, this summer may just be the time to dip your toe in again (I only mean this metaphorically; please do not put your toe into your cup of tea!)
  2. Re-watch your favourite television shows.  I missed Sherlock, and since that rat Moffat refuses to tell about the third series, I decided to watch them all over again. Never have I made a better decision. I have watched the series over before, but there is just something about doing it in the summer, with all the time in the world, that makes your appreciate it. You get to relive the jokes; see clues you missed before; and get to drool over Benedict Cumberbatch all over again. (For my favourite shows, go to the bottom of this post!).
  3. Read all the books your studies had prevented you from in the school year. I had always wanted to read some classics I had picked up on a sale this past November, but with my classes, I had been to busy to totally focus with the kind of single-minded dedication a classic work deserves as requires. (For my Summer Read List, go to the bottom where all my lists are, dear). Now, I have endless days to read Jane Eyre underneath the shade of oaks.
  4. Become more involved into your favourite music genre. As a steadfast Celtic fan, I had always enjoyed the  music of Altan, Celtic Woman, Loreena McKennitt, etc. and branched out into the related distant cousins of Wicca music and ancient chant music. Also, I have long been a fan of the love child music of Celtic/Wicca/drinking songs, which encompasses S. J. Tucker and Tricky Pixie, as well as the more hardcore Celtic rock of Flogging Molly/Dropkick Murphys. My point? Whatever your genre, there are a thousand sub-genres just waiting to be discovered by your appreciative ears. (To see some of my favorite artists, go to bottom).
  5. Get into crafts (I use this term loosely). Please, do not feel as though you need to buy a Martha Stewart book. By crafts, I mean things you will actually use and make from scratch, such as knitting. There is nothing better than wearing a scarf you made with your own hands and two sticks. It is terribly satisfying to the soul. Other delightful crafts to get into include: planting, jewellery-making, weaving, sewing, book-binding, etc.
  6. Become more aware of other customs and religions. This is something we need to make room for any time of the year, but in summer, it's easiest to start. Doing something like reading flipping through Sabbat's Almanac or reading up on Persian mythology, the few people you DO interact with this summer with be amazed at your vast knowledge of the cultures outside your own, and you will find yourself more aware at the diversities in the world, and perhaps become a better person (little self improvement this summer, anyone?)
  7. Learn something totally new. Why not do something a bit crazy? Learn a new language (Learn Old English with me! Twinsies!), learn how to play the harp, study ball dancing, take a class on hat-making, whatever floats your boat! Hey, learn how to make a boat float. Why not? Just make sure that whatever you learn is totally useless to anyone but you. Because no one can tell you you're doing it wrong.
  8. Become more active on YouTube. Make more awesome comments (never negative; no one likes a Negative Ned/Nelly), post your own awesome videos, or, my favorite approach, find new YouTubers to become obsessed with. (For my Favorite YouTubers list, go to the lists at the bottom). Listening to them talking about their lives, and doing things, and listening to their How-Tos, is the most fun thing to do since yelling at your needy Tamagotchi.
  9. Rain-bathe. Why conform to society and sunbathe? Throw on a bathing suit when it's pouring down rain, lay out on your deck, and let the water slush over you. Yes, I actually do that. BUT! Do not do it when it's ominous out, or then it's storming; go for a nice summer downpour. Haven't you ever heard of the health benefits to bathing in pure rain water? Yeah.
  10. Give to those less fortunate! Finally, what better way to become a better person? Go to your local animal shelter; typically, all shelters could use more bleach, paper towels, Germ-X, an washable rubber toys. Volunteer if you want to be even more help! Donate to your local homeless shelter; go onto their website (they usually have one) and check on their list to see what they want, or just give money. 
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men and women. That is what love looks like.”
—St. Augustine






LISTS



Book To-Read List:


Books I Have Read, and So Should You:

Favourite Youtubers List:

  • Alex Day
  • Charlie McDonnell
  • S. J. Tucker
  • Flogging Molly
  • The Dubliners
  • The Irish Rovers
  • Heather Dale
  • Blackmore's Night
  • Hank Green
  • Florence + the Machine
  • Kellianna
Favourite Shows:

  • Sherlock
  • My Little Pony
  • Sherlock
  • Psych
  • Sherlock
  • Twilight Zone
  • Sherlock
  • Whose Line is it Anyway?
  • Sherlock
  • Adventure Time
  • Sherlock
  • Archer
  • Sherlock 
  • Sherlock
  • Sherlock