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My MMD 2018 Reading Challenge Picks

February 1, 2018
MMD 2018 Reading List

As I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now, I am a sucker for reading lists. I enjoy putting together my seasonal reading lists and now, thanks to Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy, I am working on a year long reading list. Anne has curated a wonderful set of prompts for a twelve book 2018 Reading Challenge. Twelve books means I could read one for each month, but it’s already February and I haven’t touched  any of the books of my list! Don’t worry, I read fast!

I have chosen my books for all but two of my categories of my 2018 Reading Challenge. The two categories still to be determined are:

-A book nominated for an award in 2018 

-A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller

The first category is obvious, because not a lot of award nominations have gone on yet, so I can’t possible choose. The second category means I might actually have to talk to a librarian or indie bookseller, so I’m going to bench that for a while. I’m contemplating going down to The Wild Detectives in the Bishop Arts District for my recommendation, but I haven’t decided. 

For the rest of the categories, I have made my decisions and I am excited to share them. Of course, If you have other ideas for the categories, I’d love to hear them. Good recommendations are always appreciated.

Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge

A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read:

MMD 2018 Reading List - A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

The options for this category are fairly daunting, to say the least. I thought about reading Frankenstein, because I’ve never actually read it all the way through. I still might. However, I was was more excited by the idea of reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. Somehow I missed reading this book as a child. I think perhaps it was labelled as some form of Not for Christian Children reading, but I’m really not sure. I just know that I’m late to the game. Even The Hubs has read this book before me(This is shocking.). It’s being made into a movie that will come out later this year, so I want to read it before I get to many preconceived ideas about it. I just got the email that my hold is in at the library for it, so maybe I’ll even start this one today!

A Book Recommended by Someone with Great Taste:

MMD 2018 Reading List - Little Files Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This might be cheating, since the recommendation didn’t come personally. However, Shauna Niequist posted on Facebook about how much she appreciated Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and I thought to myself…she has good taste. I’ve seen this book recommended by others as well. In fact, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy listed it as an honorable mention in her favorite books of 2017 blog post. She has pretty good taste too, so I think that I can use her and Shauna combined for this category. I have no reference point going into this book, but I’m excited to try it.

A Book in Translation:

MMD 2018 Reading List - A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I was confused by this category at first so I had to ask. Apparently, A Book in Translation means a book that has been translated from it’s original language. Thankfully, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman fell into this category. But honestly, I’m really reading this because Bobbi at Knit Night can’t stop singing it’s praises. She also falls into the Someone with Great Taste category, and she has recommended A Man Called Ove so warmly that I knew I’d have to read it at some point this year. 

A Book of Poetry, A Play, or an Essay Collection

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Am I late to the party here? All the sudden it seems like everyone knows who Rupi Kaur is and I don’t. I see her little books everywhere. They must be popular, because I feel like I’ve been on my library’s hold list for MONTHS waiting for this book. I could read it for free through their digital loans, but I don’t want to. Poetry books rely so much on structure and line spacing and sometimes Kindle books mess that up. Nope, I need to read this one in print, so maybe in July when it’s finally on hold for me I’ll let you know how it goes.

A Book You Can Read in A Day

MMD 2018 Reading List - We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Not to boast, but this is a very broad category for me. I’ve always been an extremely fast reader, even growing up. My father didn’t believe me. He thought I was skimming. He would make me read a page I’d never read before, time me, and quiz me about it’s contents. I won. So I just picked a shorter seeming book and put it in this slot. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart was recommended to my by two people on facebook, one of which was my old elementary school librarian/babysitter. Girlfriend doesn’t mess around, so I knew I could count on this book to be not only quick, but entertaining.

A Book That’s More than 500 Pages

MMD 2018 Reading List - East of Eden

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

This is also a bit of a classic. I’m getting real literary here. I’ve read Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck like just about every American high schooler, but I’ve never looked at his other works. I am, of course, aware of the Grapes of Wrath (I’ve seen Veggies Tales, I mean, come on). But I never would have chosen to read East of Eden without a recommendation. One of my very closest friends growing up recommended this to me. She was my literary buddy in high school, the person who could talk about Pride and Prejudice with me and also John Green books. So when she recommends a book, I listen. I’m suspecting Steinway will be depressing, but not like Hemingway depressing. I may save it for a summer read.

A Book By a Favorite Author

MMD 2018 Reading List - Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I mentioned him earlier, but I absolutely love John Green’s writing. His characters talk like real teens. His books are witty and funny and painful and deep. When The Hubs was trying to woo me, he read John Green books just to talk about them with me. I have had a copy of Turtles All the Way Down since Christmas, but I’m afraid to start it because I want to be in the right head space for it. I don’t want to be distracted and frazzled and read it in snippets. I want to go through it slowly and savor it. So I’m holding onto it for a little bit longer, and when the time is right, I’ll read it.

A Banned Book

MMD 2018 Reading List - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I actually got this book through a paperback book exchange at a party. I was a little bit leery of it, because books about Native Americans have a tendency to go so terribly wrong. When I was in college, I spent a lot of time studying pre-American Revolution Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and talking to several Mohawk artists. One of the things I studied was how their history gets twisted for American storytelling purposes(the Indian Princess trope and things like that), so I try to be really sensitive about how they’re portrayed in film and literature. So until I found out that Sherman Alexie was Native American himself, I wasn’t sure I was going to read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Now that I’ve done a little research on it, I’m more excited to give it a try.

A Memoir, Biography or Book of Creative Non-Fiction

MMD 2018 Reading List - Torn

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate by Justin Lee

This is probably my biggest departure from my regular reading style on my 2018 reading challenge. I could have done the easy thing and put Hamilton’s biography into this section. Instead, we are going to tackle the Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate by Justin Lee. I’ve seen Justin Lee through a couple post-evangelical bloggers I read. He is well spoken and able to navigate the complexities of both Christianity and Homosexuality. I have never ready anything of his, though. I suspect it will be difficult, but worth slogging through.

A Book By an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion than Your Own

MMD 2018 Reading List - Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

I love this category. This is what makes the reading challenge more of a challenge. It forces you to pick outside your comfort zone.  For this category, I chose Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. This was another Modern Mrs. Darcy recommendation. I thought it would be good to read a book by an Indian author as well (even though she was born in London and raised in the US). I have worked for the past 2 years with Indians and for Indian clients. I know some of their quirks but very little of their culture (though, much like American Indians, they are too geographically diverse to really sum up as one culture). I thought this book might help on that point, and besides, I’ve heard it’s excellent.

Are you doing any reading challenges this year? Think I should have picked something different for my categories? Let me know! I love adding new books to my want-to-read list!

 

 

Holidays Lifestyle Seasonal Uncategorized

A Fantastic Halloween and How to Make it

November 2, 2017

Oh my goodness, it’s November already. October was such a whirlwind. I spent a lot of time putting together our fantastic Halloween costumes and trunk for my church’s annual Trunk or Treat, so October flew by. I’ve been super excited to share with you everything that we did for Halloween. With getting married last November,  I didn’t have a lot of time to think about Halloween last year. I was glad to get back to it again.

This year’s Halloween theme was from the  movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. If you haven’t seen the movie, you totally should. It’s not as good as Harry Potter (because what is?) but it’s still delightful and charming and cute. The Hubs immediately took to Newt Scamander, because he is a fellow Softie Towards Animals, and also because his clothes were cool. So we just took the theme and ran with it! 

Newt Scamander’s Costume

Fantastic Halloween 1

The Hub’s costume is made up of a LOT of parts, and we even skipped a few. In total, the costume included:

You have already seen the Hufflepuff Scarf, so you know that I made that. I also made the vest using the Butterick B6502 Pattern.  I say that I made it, but really my mom provided a lot of help. We simplified the pattern by not making real pockets, and we only did 4 button holes rather than 6 to give The Hubs a little wiggle room. The coat and bow tie are both by elope, which you can find either on Amazon or Ebay. The tweed pants were bought off Poshmark, and hemmed. The wand was also from Amazon. The suitcase was a gift from my Grandpa and I have been using it to store yarn. It made a great candy holder on Halloween

I mentioned skipping some parts of the costume, and that mainly refers to the suit jacket that Newt wears under his coat. Some fine sleuths online had discovered that the jacket is in fact NOT the same material as the pants(though still tweed) and we were worried that it would be too bulky under the coat. I also skipped a few embellishments on the vest, due to time constraints.

Porpentina Goldstein’s CostumeFantastic Halloween 2

My costume was much simpler to deal with. I chose to use Tina’s flapper look. To do so, I used:

The dress is an  Adrianna Papell beaded dress off Ebay. I added the signature strappy bits myself using a sequenced elastic that I folded in half and hot glued (because I’m classy light that!). The shoes were on sale at Payless a few weeks ago (and they’re 3 1’2″! Yikes!). The wig is the Skyelar Classic wig from Arda Wigs in Deep Brown. I paid one of my friends who used to be a hairdresser to trim the wig for me. The wand is make from a clearance knitting needle, clay and acrylic paint

The Trunk

Fantastic Halloween 3

Oh gosh the trunk. This is where my crazy really comes out. The trunk actually came out looking pretty close to my vision, and meshed elements of Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter. I spent about a month collecting paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make my floating candles a la this tutorial. They were a little precarious as first, but we found that taping the invisible thread to the sides of the candles helped to stabilize it. I was glad we had our candles, because as the night got darker, they helped us to see the balls for our little quiddich game.

Most Trunk or Treats recommend that you have a game for kids to play at your trunk. This is mostly to:

  1. entertain the children; and
  2.  slow the stream of candy.

We chose to make little quiddich hoops for the kids to throw balls into. I bought a three pack of bug nets and cut the nets off. We stuck the nets into tin flower pots filled with concrete. This worked out really well, since the bug nets could still telescope and we could vary the heights of the hoops. It would also work great for quiddich pong, which I’ve definitely never played. And yeah, we totally used ping pong balls for this game. They can be found at Dollar Tree.

Fantastic Halloween 4

Other trunk additions included in our trunk was a plush niffler on a pile of gold, and some silver occamy eggs.  I also made a bowtruckle using floral wire and tape (also from the dollar tree). The tutorial can be found here. Finally, I included a Monster Book of Monsters, which is more Harry Potter than Fanstastic Beasts, but it was fun to make. There’s lots of tutorials out there, but I used this one.  Most of the other embellishments to my trunk were printed from the internet. 

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5 Things Blowing My Mind this Week

May 18, 2017
5 Things Blowing My Mind This Week

 

Hello Everybody! I wanted to share with you some of the things that have been filling my head this week. It’s been a deep thinking week. My 25th birthday looms ahead in June and I’ve been spending a lot of time pondering what I want out of life and who I want to be. It’s still a little weird to have that husband boxed checked off on my list of life goals. Here are some things that have gotten me excited, thoughtful or motivated this week!

The Handmaid’s Tale

I’ve been wanting to slow down recently . You know, read more books and less Facebook and ya’ll.  This book. First of all, The Handmaid’s Tale is free to Amazon Prime users, so if you qualify, you don’t even have to pay for it. If you’re like me, you keep hearing references to this book and is accompanying Hulu series. Also if you are like me, you probably wondered what at the fuss was about.

I’ve been curious about The Handmaid’s tale for a while, but I never knew what it was about. When I found out that it was free on Prime, I decided to take the leap. 3 days later, I’ve raced through the book and feel like I need to reread it just to process it. It is dark. It is difficult. It is so right about the way we can slowly become accustomed to injustice.  I’m surprised I never read it in college. Even though it was written in 1986, it is still troublingly relevant. I am curious about the Hulu series, but I’m not sure if I can handle it. From the sounds of it, it seems to be pretty intense. I’m sure it’s good, but I’m also sure it would put me in a funk. Anyone else seen it? What’s your take on the series?

 

Vale - Brooklyn Tweed

Vale

If you’ve notices from my Instagram, I’ve hit a bit of a knitting dry spell. I just wasn’t feeling super inspired or motivated, but that’s about to change because Brooklyn Tweed released a new yarn this week and boy, is it pretty! It’s called Vale and it’s made from Rambouillet fleece that’s supposed to be their softest yet! I’m a huge fan of all of Brooklyn Tweed’s yarns, if you haven’t noticed, so there’s no was I wasn’t going to get my hands on some of this. It was only released yesterday, so I’m still eagerly awaiting my package. I ordered some of the arabesque colorway, which is the most beautiful muted pink. It was really difficult deciding on what color I wanted, but I had to go with arabesque because of…

Gully - Brooklyn Tweed

Gully

As soon as I saw the pattern for Gully, I fell in love. The whole thing looked sooo soft and that pink fulfilled all my minimalist millenial dreams. Plus, it’s brioche, so you know it’s going to be super squishy! I’ve been wanting to hone my brioche skills, too. Want to know the best part? Gully is free with the purchase of one or more skeins of Vale! I’m hoping to hold on to these for the knit-along that Brooklyn Tweed is hosting in July, but I’m going to have a hard time keeping myself away! If you’re doing the knit-along too I’d love to know what you picked!

Modern Market - Richardson

Modern Market

As I’ve made obnoxiously clear by now; I am doing Whole 30 (for the second time). The Hubs and I went off Whole 30 and completely derailed. It was bad for my skin. It was bad for my muscles. Enter Whole 30. Enter Modern Market.

Modern Market is a chain restaurant located throughout Dallas that specializes in fresh food. I already loved them for their blueberry pesto sandwich, but I love them even more now because… They list all their ingredients online! Why is this important? Because Whole 30 severely limits the places that we can eat out without feeling really super annoying (“Um, can you tell me if the bacon was packed in sugar?”). Modern Market is totally transparent about their recipes and we can totally eat there on Whole 30!  Both their chicken and steak are Whole 30 compliant, and the sauce that goes with them is compliant too! Do you realize how rare that is? The only side that is Whole 30 compliant is the mashed sweet potatoes, so double up on those. Or go for one of the soups, the chicken chili is compliant too!

Anyone else looking for Whole 30 places to eat? What have you found?

 

Style Uniform

Style Uniforms

Ever go through one of those phases where you just feel blah about your appearance? That’s me all the time right now. Especially when it comes to work week, a lot of the time I feel like a kid playing at being an adult. Renata Briggman has gained attention for wearing the exact same outfit to work every day, and looking great while doing it. Together, she and a stylist put together a look that made her look and feel confident, and she’s been wearing that outfit ever since. It’s not the same exact clothes every day(that could get weird). Like a cartoon character, she has multiples of the same outfit. Apparently it makes getting ready in the morning super quick and easy.

I’ve been drawn to the style uniform/capsule wardrobe for a while. I don’t know that it’s in the budget to totally overhaul my closet, but I could definitely set my favorite work outfits on a weekly schedule to cut out the “nothing-to-wear” morning slowdown. That is, provided I do my laundry regularly….hmm….

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe? Did you stick with it? Should I try it? Let me know what you think. 

That’s what’s been on my mind this week! We’ve got an exciting weekend coming up and I can hardly wait. I’ll be sure you keep you updated about my various yarn and food adventures!