Image Attribution

(Owlet header image found via a Google Image search, and came from Etsy artist Bestiary Ink)

31 August 2011

Screwed - The Movie

Very excited for and (always) proud of the talented Julie McNiven! Keep your eyes peeled for Screwed, coming soon!

30 August 2011

vini, Midi, vici

I came, I wore a sassy, mid-length skirt, and I conquered. Something like that.

Anyway, I'm totally digging this midi skirt trend - et tu, Brute?

(recently pinned... side note: I'm also really feeling these warm burnt oranges and browns lately)

It's just a great in-between length, which is actually quite flattering (believe me, I'm as surprised you, but I swear I don't look like an old timey librarian (NF: I promise I am referring to "old timey" not "new, modern, awesome timey" librarians) in this length!). It also helps it transition between all seasons. Seriously, with a tank and sandals, it's breezy and summery; with short or ballet-length sleeves, tights, and booties, it's great for fall; throw on a cute cardigan and swap your booties for boots and you're set for winter; and then back to your tucked-in t-shirt and some flats for spring. But it's got to hit you just right in order to be just right. Know what I'm sayin'? I mean, it can't land mid-calf. It's gotta go to somewhere between the very top of your knee or just below it to basically skimming the top of your calf. Nowhere else. Then it's perfect. Trust me, I know these things. <I don't know most things.>

Here are some good (and budget-friendlyish) ones (with links!):

(Four Seasons Pleated Skirt by Ruche - I recently bought this one, and it's great, but runs small, FYI ~$40)
(Spotted Moth Bandit Skirt - $55)
(A-line Panel Skirt @ Gap - $60 - rad shoes, too)
(Floral skirt by Old Navy - $33)
(Forever 21 Zig Zag Skirt - $20)
(INC International Concepts pencil midi at Macy's - $70)
(Top Shop - price in $ = ? but I'll look for it when the new location opens in Chicago in September!)

I promise I'll branch out color-wise when I go shopping for real.

What do you think? Do you like this length? Any other fall trends calling your name?

29 August 2011

Party!

Do not mistake this for any sort of product endorsement. I know nothing of this (or any) car, really. That said, these freaking hamsters in the Kia Soul commercials are the best thing ever, and the new 2012 ad rules. It's awesomeness in a (boob) tube, if you ask me! Seriously - if you're having a bad, or even a not-great, day, this is about to turn that frown upside down, and also it might force you to get up and dance in your cube or office (or living room, if that's where you are... in which case, I'm mad at you.). Whee!


26 August 2011

The Hand.Written.Letter.Project

What a cool project! (via here)


Obviously I'm excited about this discovery. The Hand.Written.Letter.Project came about after a conversation regarding the incredibly wonderful personal nature of a letter, a fact, as the project's site states, "that is currently drowning in a tide of de-personalisation, with junk mail and automated correspondence. There is always something nice about receiving a letter, especially these days when email, text, status updates, and tweets, dominate our communication..." A project after my own heart! Here are some snapshots... more here.





Neat, huh? Want to contribute? You can! Or keep it on a smaller scale, and just send a quick note via post (!) to your best friend... Happy weekend!

The Classics?

So, this morning I was riding the bus to work. Sitting beside me was a youngish professional man, who at first checked his blackberry pretty obsessively, but finally pulled out a book to read. I like seeing male commuters reading novels. I'm not sure why I like it so much, but I do. It delights me, frankly. I mean, I'm always reading something, and I like to sneak peeks at what other riders are reading (I've gotten some good "recommendations" from fellow riders who didn't even know they were adding to my to-read pile!), but let's be frank: it's usually women. Also, I'm increasingly seeing electronic readers taking over, which I get for commuting/traveling, but I still love it when someone pulls out a book-book. And for some reason, especially when it's a man.

Anywhose... So, he pulls out his book, and I can tell from my peripheral vision that it's a novel, and not a business book, or a text book, or some other way-less-interesting-and-exciting(-to-me)-book. I don't know how I can tell, but I can. Can't you? As I'm mostly busy reading my own book, I can only sneak side- and shifty-eyed glances to figure out what it is. But finally, I do. And it surprised me. He was reading Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms.

(via Google)
Why was this surprising to me, you ask? I asked myself the same question, and here's what I think. I think you don't see people just picking up the old classics like that very often for "free" or "fun" reading. While many of *those* books fall into my favorite, or at least into my much-appreciated/English major lists, I'm not sure they always (or ever?) land in my "fun" reading lists. I read the Hemingway I read for school, whether high school or college. Same with Hawthorne, and Fitzgerald, and Steinbeck, and Conrad, and Cather, and many others. This is the kind of book that I would categorize under "Books I feel I should have read already." Granted, I loved many of these works, but you know what I mean? These are the books that have yellow "USED" labels on their spines on my bookshelves!

It got me to thinking about why I don't read more classics, or why, I (boldly) think, many of us don't. Do we get them "out of the way" in school and then associate them with forced introspection on nuances and themes and other insights, so much so that we can't link them to casual reading? These are great books! Are they so lumped into that "I should have already read this" group that we can't necessarily think about moving them out of that group, whether we actually did read them or not? And there's something so different about reading a book on your own, because you want to, and reading it for assignment, isn't there? I wager I'll get something totally different out of the books in this group if I picked them up now, not only because I'm older and wiser (!), but because I'm reading them to read them, just for me.

What do you think? Have you read any of the classic "classics" out of the classroom? Would you? Are there books in that group that you haven't read and feel you should, or should have? Would you tackle those now? Maybe I should find one of those should-have-read-but-haven'ts and add it to the list for my virtual book club, Reading Without Borders? Any RWB members reading this have any thoughts on that?

Anyway, just an observation for the day. Something lighter later, I promise. But I wondered...

25 August 2011

Love, Hunger, Foolishness

A little inspiration (re-inspiration?) to keep handy (thanks to AH for the link-reminder today!). Since my own commencement speaker was not so motivating (I believe the only words I can recall from his speech, which he repeated throughout its entirety, are "If you remember anything I say today, remember these five words:" -- that's where my recollection ends.), I am grateful for the advent of technology to provide me with these words, reminders, calls to action.

So here are 15 worthwhile minutes with the man of the hour, Steve Jobs.

Sweet Memories

Thinking about my old friends JM and KGO this morning like crazy... last time we were together it was joyous and magical...



Miss and love you both.

(photos: my own)


24 August 2011

Be Good to the Animals

First of all, duh. Animals are the best. Especially my Lanie.

Yesterday there was an earthquake on the east coast, epicenter somewhere near Richmond, Virginia. We all heard about this. And if you didn't, check out this summative round-up of the damage it left behind. I don't mean to jest, I apologize.

But seriously, according to a press release sent out by the Communications Office at the National Zoo in Washington, some of the animals *knew* the quake (or something, anyway) was a-comin'! This is just one more reason you need to a) keep animals around you at all times, and b) give them proper care and attention so that you can get the Lassie-style memo before any danger abounds!

Anyway, animal care staff at the zoo noted changes in some of the animals' behavior... Here are a few examples:
(an orangutan at the National Zoo)

"About five to ten seconds before the quake, many of the apes, including Kyle (an orangutan) and Kojo (a Western lowland gorilla), abandoned their food and climbed to the top of the tree-like structure in the exhibit."

"The red ruffed lemurs sounded an alarm call about 15 minutes before the quake and then again just after it occurred."

"All the snakes began writhing during the quake (copperheads, cotton mouth, false water cobra, etc.). Normally, they remain inactive during the day... [and] Murphy, the Zoo’s Komodo dragon, sought shelter inside."

"Keepers were feeding the beavers and hooded mergansers (a species of duck) when the earthquake hit. The ducks immediately jumped into the pool. The beavers stopped eating, stood on their hind legs and looked around, then got into the water, too."

"The lion pride was outside. They all stood still and faced the building, which rattled during the quake."

"The Zoo has a flock of 64 flamingos. Just before the quake, the birds rushed about and grouped themselves together. They remained huddled during the quake."

"Immediately after the quake the female Eld's deer herd began alarm calling (a high staccato barking sound) until they were called by their keeper and subsequently all congregated in the corner of the pasture nearest the keeper for a short time."


(see the full press release here)

So all of this just to say that animals are amazing. And also usually adorable. But also amazing.

(via)

Kindred

I've shared this story with a few friends already today, but I figured it's such a good one it deserves posting anyway, so I apologize if this is a repeat for you...

Yesterday I got home from work and had to make a Target run. I needed dog food and a birthday present for my best friend's daughter and some other random things, along with whatever else would undoubtedly catch my eye because, come on, it’s Target--you know I’m not walking out with less than $100 worth of goodies, right? Right.

Anyway, so I come home with five Target bags and a giant bag of dog food (because the giant bags were on super sale, so… obviously), and I get in the elevator, and there’s this teeny tiny super old, hunched-over, swollen-ankled lady in the elevator. She’s basically as old-school (er—old-world, maybe—my building’s full of eastern Europeans) as it comes. Thick dark beige panty hose, calf-length thick brown summer wool skirt, blouse tucked in, cardigan, hair done. She’s easily in her mid-80s, I’d say. And very sweet. And so old (you'll understand my fixation on her aged-ness in a moment). And, side bar, I love when old women still “dress for the day,” right?! I mean, it was 7:00p.m. and she was still dressed for the day. I hope I'm that lady one day. Anyway, she asks for my floor and I tell her. And then, as we’re riding up in polite silence with occasional polite smiles at each other, I realize she has something very big in her hands. I sneak a peek, and what is it? What could it be? What could this sweet old eastern European lady in my building be carrying up at 7:00p.m. on a Tuesday evening?

...
...

...

...



The Fall Fashion issue of Vogue, that's what. And now I’m in love with her. (Per my friend A's suggestion, I'm going to attempt to befriend this woman so that I can go through what I anticipate is an amazing collection of vintage Vogues, which I assume she keeps in chronological order on the massive bookshelves lining her living room walls... just imagine!)


23 August 2011

Gifts for the Home... Yours or Someone Else's

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to gifting because I love giving, but when I need to get one, I can never think of the perfect gift. That ever happen to you? It always happens to me. And since Pinterest is the answer to my I-can't-keep-track-of-all-of-my-amazing-ideas problem, it seemed only logical to start storing away some good gifting nuggets for use in the future. (Full disclosure: since I covet many of the things I've pinned, not all are pinned exclusively to the "Gifting" board, but also to the "Home" board, because a girl can dream and hope and save...) Here are some of my favorite for-the-home gift ideas I've pinned so far (p.s., follow me on Pinterest by clicking that "Follow Me on Pinterest" button on the right):

(paper mâché bowls by up in the air somewhere - about whom I've posted before)
(beautiful napkins by Knife In the Water)
(dandelion tea light holders from wapa)
(porcelain yoghurt bottle vases at LEIF, via Design*Sponge)
(off-center mod frames from Room & Board)
(and I am straight-up obsessed with these wall pots by tw pottery)
That's enough for now... what do you like to give as a home gift? What's the best homey gift you ever received?

A New Book Already

I highly recommend The Motel Life which I read in less than 24 hours. A real story, with real characters, and a pace of writing that was like a lighter-mooded Bukowski (read: easier to swallow). Very masculine, but very lyrical at the same time. It was a great change of pace, very entertaining, and while not upbeat in the least, sprinkled with true comedy and charm and whit.

So, I finished that and am on to the next.


Do you use Goodreads? It's basically Facebook for book nerds (so obviously I'm an active "member"). In January I decided, for the first time, to give myself a reading challenge for 2011. I am a good reader, but I often find at the end of the calendar year that I haven't read *as many* books as I thought I did. So via Goodreads I signed myself up for the 2011 Reading Challenge, and set the goal of reading 20 books in the calendar year. According to my tracker, I'm 5 books ahead of schedule! (NERD!)

I recommend Goodreads highly. It's a great way to find books to read, connect with other like-minded readers, track your own reading, record your reading thoughts... I use the "review" option after finishing a book to write something that will help me remember why I liked what I read when I read it. You know how you often remember you loved a book, but can't quite call up the story itself after some time has gone by? You just know you really liked it. This is helpful. Anyway, that's me.

Happy reading!

22 August 2011

48 Things

I usually like these little questionnaires when they get forwarded around, enough so that in the oft-included question about "who is most likely to respond to this" -- most people who know me type in my name. Whatever, to me these are a fun little insight into my head in that moment. So when I saw this on pretty. little. world. this morning, I decided to play along, too! So enjoy my 48 things, and feel free to link me to yours if you choose to repost!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:15 am

2. How do you like your steak? medium well

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema: Crazy Stupid Love

4. What is your favourite TV show? One favorite?! Do you even know me?! Um... the first thing that popped into my head was Intervention, which is a disturbing response, so I'll go with Modern Family but for the record I cannot possibly pick A. favorite.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Again, I'm not sure I can pick one place... Somewhere peaceful and near water.

6. What did you have for breakfast? cereal

7. What is your favorite food? cookies and ice cream. hands down.

8. Foods you dislike? asparagus

9. Favorite place to eat? on my balcony

10. Favorite dressing? I'm meh on dressing in general.

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? an Acura TL inherited from my grandparents

12. What are your favorite clothes? jeans and a t-shirt

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? My first instinct is Bora Bora, but that's only thanks to last night's Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which is a hilarious source of influence if you ask me. Basically, I want to go too many places to pick just one.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Most of the time 1/2 full

15. Where would you want to retire? Somewhere quiet and generally warm

16. Favorite time of day? morning

17. Where were you born? Jerusalem

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? soccer and baseball

19. What is your favorite fragrance? fresh flowers and the smell of the water. But if we're talking perfume, I've been enjoying Coco by Chanel for a while.

20. What is your favorite face cream? blerg to this question. I guess the one I'm using now... by Aveeno?

21. Favorite baby/kids products? no kids = not sure how to answer this one

22. People watcher? oh yes.

23. Are you a morning or night person? morning

24. Do you have any pets? Only the best sweetest kindest dog on the planet, Penny Lane (Lanie)

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? New carpets going in at our house today! (that's the most exciting news?! Sad... Anyway, updates at Home Sweet Schwab later)

26. What did you want to be when you were little? a writer

27. What is your favorite memory? Again, so indecisive... I can't pick just one! Um... when Dave proposed.

28. Are you a cat or dog person? animal person

29. Are you married? yep, to the handsomest man I know

30. Always wear your seat belt? fo' sho'!

31. Been in a car accident? unfortunately, yes. but nothing too terrible, thank goodness.

32. Any pet peeves? when people don't say excuse me

33. Favorite pizza toppings? oh, pretty much anything will do

34. Favorite flower? tulips, snapdragons, peonies, hydrangea...

35. Favorite ice cream? ALL! (see #7 above)... I'll go with... cookies and cream for now

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? not such a fast food fan, proudly. but you can't beat McDonald's fries!

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? none!

38. From whom did you get your last email? non-work-related? the fabulous Kate H.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? oh.my.gawd.brain.exploding.at.possibilities. since we're so invested in fixing our home right now, I'll be responsible and pick West Elm.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? ugh, no.

41. Like your job? not so much

42. Broccoli? yep... grilled... mmm...

43. What was your favorite vacation? our honeymoon

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? my husband

45. What are you listening to right now? sirens passing by my office on the street below

46. What is your favorite color? most blues, orange, poppy

47. How many tattoos do you have? one for now

48. coffee drinker? oh, yes indeedy

What I'm Reading Now... August 22, 2011


Started this yesterday... will likely finish tonight. It's a good one.

(more here and here and here)

18 August 2011

Bar Cart Fixation: Part 2

A while ago I posted about how I was searching for a vintage bar cart, or something like a vintage bar cart, for our dining room. 'Member? So, that's been swirling around in my head for a while, and I've been keeping my eyes peeled and ears perked. I'm in no rush, you see. Just thinking and planning.

Whilst thinking and planning, guess what popped up yesterday in my Google Reader?! This did. Kimberlee of Brown Button has apparently been hoping and waiting for the same kind of thing. And her excitement over the opening of Society Social is both warranted and appreciated, as far as I'm concerned.


(The Stanton)
This online shop is built on the belief that "life is a grand celebration, that means every day... It is this contagious joie de vivre and our tremendous love for a shared celebration that inspires every piece we create. We hope our handcrafted line from the colorful cocktail carts to our playful haute hostess attire induce frolic and merriment from our home to yours." Um... Yes, please. How fun is this?!

Now, I'm still holding out hope for a sweet little vintage find (in fact, I'm planning to attend this kooky and awesome annual overnight flea market over the weekend where some little vestige of swingin' times gone by might be waiting for me), but should she not fall into my lap anytime soon, you bet your sweet bubbly I'm bookmarking this site for future reference and purchase! Delightful, spirited, fun--who doesn't want that in their life?! AND a glass of something fizzy and boozy to toast it with! And therefore, don't you need somewhere to store and display aforementioned glass and fizzy/boozy something? You do. Like one of these puppies:

(The Madison Mixer)


17 August 2011

This Top is Basically Rocking my World

On a lighter note... so, is anyone else about to go bananas on Old Navy because of their absolutely ridiculous and exceptionally annoying commercials of late? Stop Old Navy-fying the lyrics to some of the best songs of the late 80s and early 90s. For serious. I hate them.

But I don't hate this top. Not remotely. In fact, I kind of really love it and I'm borderline obsessed with it. In spite of its distinctive cut and shape, I may just have to buy it in the other colors. Also, it's on sale right now ($17.50), which rules. Because the top rules.

(this is the color, "dumpling," that I bought)

(this is the back - and how great is this poppy red-orange?!)
It is classic, yet sexy, sophisticated, and versatile. For work I'm wearing it with cropped pants and gold wedge sandals, but I tried it on with jeans and it was just as fantastic. The fit is great, too -- loose and even slightly baggy/off-shoulder-potential, but not shapeless in the least.

I would write a song about it to the melody of Candy Rain, but then I'd have to hire Barbie-faced dancers to fake-sing it and dance around in my living room, and I just don't have the budget for that.

Regarding Overuse of Photoshop in the Media

The matter of overly-Photoshopped images in the media isn't a new one, but a few recent instances garnered enough of a widespread reaction that I think it's worth discussing, from both an ethical and an artistic perspective. Today, Go Fug Yourself posted a (stupendous!) rant chastising Vogue magazine for over-"fixing" a supposed group shot of the cast of Glee for the sake of photographic styling perfection. Here's the result:

(here's the post)
Among GFY's criticisms is this well-crafted point: "Look, I get that coordinating a shoot like this is probably a logistical clusterf…er, fiasco, but I also would just like to suggest that Vogue would be well-advised to be sensitive to the fact that they aren’t exactly known for featuring women of color and it might be in their best interests to make an effort to highlight the diversity of Glee‘s cast. Especially because Vogue is becoming increasingly obsolete for the sort of woman who used to read it regularly: AKA people who like outfits in general but who aren’t Eating-Breathing-Sleeping Fashion."

Furthermore, criticism of excessive photo editing has long-warned of the potential influence such images have on many young people. Considering how much of magazines' consumer base is made up of young women in the 15-25 age bracket, how dangerous is it to present an image of idealized unattainable perfection that doesn't actually exist. The flaws and faults and mistakes of fashion photography -- or really, of photography in general -- could be what makes an image actually amazing and inspiring. And it could be what makes a little girl realize that her big nose or her asymmetrical ears or her curves are the most beautiful thing about her.

At the end of July, the UK was in the news for banning advertisements that have been deceptively over-edited. Notably, L'Oréal's Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington ads (for Lancôme and Maybelline respectively) were refused face-time for being excessively air-brushed.

(Julia Roberts' ad campaign for L'Oréal's Lancôme, via The Guardian)
Yes, advertisers have routinely touched-up models' images for ads, but how far is too far? Britain's Advertising Standards Authority called the ads "misleading" and an "exaggeration."

I, for one, believe we've lost some perspective here. As I already said, I believe there is extraordinary beauty in the flaws and the mistakes--both the ones we are born with or develop due to life, and the ones that occur by chance because a photograph captures what happened. Often, with photography, my very favorite elements in an image are those "moments" around the subject - the what-just-happened-to-occur-or-be-there.

And beyond the shameful modification of the art itself, the distortion of reality that has become increasingly commonplace in some advertising and even editorial media carries, as I've said, potentially dangerous implications. How about this 2009 Ralph Lauren ad campaign (left) image of model Filippa Hamilton, beside a catwalk snapshot of her "real" body:

(source)
After public outrage, the fashion house apologized for the retouching, but clearly that hasn't translated into a bigger lesson learned.


Remember when Madonna's pre-Photoshop Dolce and Gabbana campaign images were leaked last fall?

Before:


After:

(both Madonna images via here)
I worry that these are examples of a growing trend in which we've crossed over from editing into lying. And frankly, if this is the case, then I find this growing trend despicable. Not only that, but I think those responsible should be professionally embarrassed. Given the successful advancement of technological techniques and resources, how is it even possible that these professionals could believe the public wouldn't notice grotesquely obvious modifications and replacements in images. I'm an editor, and when I catch even the slightest typo post-production, I am mortified. If my name or hands are on something, then I want it to reflect the best of me, not the worst.

As one comment on the GFY post points out, "All I can see are those little spaces between Chris [Colfer]’s legs and Heather [Morris]’s legs that are a totally different colour than the rest of the background. Why are magazines getting worse at Photoshop rather than better?" How did that slip through?! Shouldn't someone get fired or at least dinged in their HR file for an oversight like that?

I know this is an unusual post for me here on Owlet, as I generally like to keep it light and even silly. But I am a lover of fashion and all things media, and I hold a Master's degree in print and multimedia journalism, and I am profoundly disturbed when I see things like this. On the other hand, I am profoundly encouraged when I see these things called out. So to the UK and to GFY and to all the others who have called these outlets and advertisers to task, I say Hear! Hear! We need to hear more of this outcry.

What do you think?

16 August 2011

Photo Project First Submission!

Hooray! Hooray! Callooh! Callay!

Virtual high fives extended to my dear dear AV, who sent me a photo of herself and her book. Bonus virtual high fives and points for reading at work, friend!



Her words: "I got this book last week and I'm just tearing through it. I'm really liking it. Wanna see the hbo series next!"

Don't you want in on this fun fun project, too! Come on! More details here and here. Now, holla at your nerd!

Headgear

I hate that I'm writing this post - just for the record. Not because of the content, per se, but because of the implications. It means I'm thinking about fall, which means I'm somehow thinking about the possibility/realization that summer won't last forever, which I consciously can't bare. BUT. It is what it is. During an extended lunch wandering through some shops last week I happened upon a fall accessory display that just made me itchy for crisp cool days necessitating stylish cozy goods. Scarves wrapped all around several times. No coats yet, but sweaters! Sweaters, people! And boots! BOOTS. And then, I saw a hat like this (the one I actually found has yet to be located online, which is comforting because that means I don't have to admit who it's by... ha!):

(via)
And suddenly I knew I'd drop everything to build my entire fall wardrobe around this single item. Isn't it fantastic?! Mine was a truer camel color, but just as magical. This might just be the beginning of a beautiful relationship between my closet and hats. Just sayin. Here are some more caps for your enjoyment:

(Nordstrom)
(Old Navy)
(Urban Outfitters)

(Also Urban Outfitters)
This season could change how I feel about the term "head gear," just sayin'. How do you feel about fall?

12 August 2011

Perseids

Tonight is the peak of the Perseids meteor shower.

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years. The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between August 9 and 14, depending on the particular location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors can reach 60 or more per hour! They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of orbit, Perseids are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere. As with all meteor showers, the rate is greatest in the pre-dawn hours, since the side of the Earth nearest to turning into the sun scoops up more meteors as the Earth moves through space.


(images and meteor shower details via Wikipedia)
Meteor shows are magical. I remember lying on the docks at the campground in Maine where we used to stay every August for a week in my childhood watching the falling stars sweep the sky and just being so in it. Being totally swept away with all that sparkle and magic myself, like I was up in the sky.

I don't know if we'll have a clear sky tonight to watch the "show" here in Chicago, but if we can, I just want to lie out on our beach in the darkness and get all swept up again.

Makes me wish, again, that I was back on Cape Cod, lying on the sand, with the dunes as my pillow, my family all around me...

11 August 2011

Daydreaming

Physically, I have returned from vacation. Mentally, not a chance. I can't seem to focus on relocating myself to "real life" quite yet, so in the meantime, I'm just fantasizing and daydreaming about boaty, beachy, relaxing time away...





Back with more "real" posts tomorrow, but for now, let's just go back to Cape Cod...


(all photos my own)

04 August 2011

Ready for Vacation

The rest of me's been ready forever, but my toes have caught up and they're now ready for vacation:

03 August 2011

Nerdy Photo Project Attempt #2

'Member this post?

You already know I love reading and being the nerdy nerd mcnerdberg that I am. So, I'm reissuing a call to action on my Photo Project referenced in the link above. And since it elicited a whopping grand total of ZERO responses the first go-around, I have decided to at least start my own gallery o-book photos, because that first inspiring photo made me so happy. Instead of my favorite book, which I'm not sure I could nail down to just one, and none of which, anyway, do I carry in my work bag with me at all times, I have decided I will collect self-portraits of the books I'm currently reading.

If you haven't noticed, I keep a little box on the right-hand side of this blog there ---------------------------> with a log of what I'm currently reading, and a link to more info about it. So I'm going to start adding my little photos there as well. We'll see how this works! Okay, just tried it and can't figure it out, so for now I'll just post a pic each time I start a new book, and maybe eventually I'll sort that out (unless you know... do you?) Anyway, here's my first pic big-style in addition to in the box:

(photo taken on my iPhone)

Now you do it! Send me photos! hellerms[at]gmail[dot]com.

02 August 2011

Lost Art

You may recall my 2010 New Year's Resolution to write more pen-and-paper notes and letters -- and mail them. I loved this idea so much, I've made a point of keeping note cards and stamps in my desk drawer at work, so when I need a break, or when I miss a friend, I can quickly scribble a little message (or a longer one) and pop it in the mail that day. I love this. I love doing it, and I love the happiness it brings back to me when my recipient opens their mailbox to a surprise. Which brings me to the point of this post, which is that I'm most loving how this effort has inspired me to rediscover the lost art of letter writing. Not just note writing. Not just happy birthday cards, and thank you notes, or holiday greetings. But real letter writing.

I Googled "the art of letter writing" and found so many great resources and commentaries that echo my own thoughts. Here's my favorite (via The Art of Manliness):

"In the days of cell phones, email and text messages, letter writing can seem hopelessly outdated. But it’s an art worth bringing back, and not because of some misplaced sense of nostalgia either. The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you’re eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why?

Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest. The paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. The recipient handles the paper that you handled. Letters create a connection that modern, impersonal forms of communication will never approach."

One of my dear friends received a card from me last year, in my one-note-per-week attempt, and was inspired to write back. She never uttered a word about it, but then one day a hand-written envelope appeared in my mailbox, completely unexpected and wonderful. Her note was not a quick scribble, and it was not a thank you. It was a letter. It told me of her days and how they'd been spent recently, her thoughts and her feelings. And it inspired me right back. We've now exchanged several real correspondences by mail (in addition to other more modern communiques) over the past year, and each time one appears in my mailbox, I literally cannot wait to open it and hear her voice. It's a conversation. And it's magical. It evokes... Anne of Green Gables, or Little Women, or another return-to-the-past symbol. Only better. Because it's real, and it's yours, and it's between you and someone in your life who you can't just pop over to see.

So, dear friends and loved ones, I hope you know to expect more cards and letters from me, because I'm embracing the lost art of snail mail forever! Check your mailboxes. And write back!

Imagine if we all picked up a pen and paper and wrote each other each time we got a note. How connected our little world could be. Especially in a world so constantly evermore dependent on electronics, it's so easy to default to fewer actual phone calls, mail, etc. This is better. Trust me.

(here are a few places to find some inspiring note cards and stationery to get you started... sparrowsnestscript; Linda & Harriet; The Paper Source; Papyrus; Sweet Harvey; Naomi Lynn... or just pull a page off your printer.)