Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fashion + Art

Due to the aforementioned sleep (or more accurately lack of sleep) issue, I'm relying heavily on pictures today. I'm not so good at the forming words thing right now...

I especially love these shots inspired by Jacqueline Picasso from the August Elle. All that artful styling -- I'd move right into those spaces. And the model is lovely too, no?

Book Update - The Lace Reader

I received The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry from The Book Club Girl and immensely enjoyed the book. I think I finished it in about two days. It is the perfect summer read in that it deals with family, friendship, mystery, love...the classic themes.

I have to say I loved the opening lines to the book:

"My name is Towner Whitney. No, that’s not exactly true. My real first name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time. I am a crazy woman. That last part is true."

Great, huh? Even my husband laughed and agreed that was pretty good...and he's pretty hard to impress.

Anyway, so I will try and summarize the plot which was just imaginative...dashed with a mystery, plot twists, and a bit of magic.

Towner Whitney has come back to Salem, Massachusetts after being in self-imposed exile in California for many years. She comes back due to the disappearance of her Great Aunt Eva. The Whitney women are all lace readers....meaning they not only create lace but can "read" the future for people in the pieces as well. Towner does not do this anymore. --Remember that the setting is in of the famous 1600's Witch Trials. The author notes that while there were no actual witches back during those infamous Salem has become a hub for witches.

While Salem, the witches, and the lace reading all give the story a great magical backdrop...the real story is of Towner Whitney and her family. Towner Whitney has never been the same since her twin sister Lindley committed suicide when they were 17 years old. Towner went off the deep-end after it happened and is missing much of her memory. May, Towner's mother but not her sister's mother (confusing right?), has become a recluse in her island home and has dedicated her life to helping abused women. Other characters include Towner's Aunt Emma (Lindley's mom), her brother Beezer, her old flame Jack, Salem's Detective Rafferty, and Cal (estranged and abusive father of Lindley).

I was quite confused at the beginning (and for a while after) about Towner's family tree. Who was who's mother, sister, aunt, all got convoluted. But that's the point...keep reading. What I loved was the author's depiction of Salem and the almost normality of the magical-ness of it all. And I loved going along with Towner's memories while her damaged mind tries to figure everything out. It was a great and unusual perspective.

You might out-guess the twists and turns in the book...but that is ok. The book is about waiting for the characters to figure it all out.

Check out the author's website here and you can enter a contest to try and win a trip to Salem.

Since I like book covers, here's an alternate cover...I like my version's cover better though:

For those of you who've read the book: do you remember anyone actually reading lace during the story? Hmmm...

Also reviewed by (if I've missed yours let me know!):
In the Shadow of Mt TBR
Ticket to Anywhere
So Many Book, So Little Time...
Devourer of Books
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore
Booking Mama
Adventures in Reading
Fizzy Thoughts
A Bookish Way of Life

Can I Read That?

I was sitting on the subway on my way to work this morning, listening to my iPod and reading as usual. I like to balance my iPod, purse, book, mug-o-coffee, and sometimes other odds and ends all on my lap. It's a talent I'm perfecting. Anyway...a nice lady sat down next to me, balancing her backpack on her lap and started writing in her journal.

After a while I noticed that she had stopped writing and was reading my book along with me. I actually don't mind people reading "over my shoulder" so to speak. After about five pages and getting close to my stop to get off, I took off my earphones and let her see the cover. She was all smiles, wrote down the title in her journal, said, "Thank you, I'll have to read that book". That kind of made my day.

In case you're curious, the book was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and I had just started reading it this morning.

Question: Where do you get ideas of books you want to read?

Sleeping is So Overrated

image via vitra

Can you tell I'm trying to make myself feel better??

Between watching Project Runway, getting completely sucked into the Vitra site, (both totally my fault, but the Vitra site is pretty amazing) + the fact that my sweet Millie apparently hates to sleep, (not my fault at all...) I was up way, way too late last night... In fact, I'm not sure I ever actually went to bed.

Coffee, please.

The LEGO Beijing Olympics

A team of LEGO and sports enthusiasts presented a LEGO model of some of the buildings built by the Chinese for the 2008 Olympic Games. The model was presented in Hong Kong and includes small scale replicas of buildings such as Bird’s Nest stadium, Water Cube swimming center and the Olympic Village.

The LEGO Beijing Olympics were created by members of the Hong Kong LEGO users group and took more than 100 hours to complete. Great effort, the model looks amazing.

Sport Village

Residence Buildings

Swimming Cube


Singapore Airlines A380

This is called travelling “in Royal style”.

The first Air Bus A380 aircraft was delivered to Singapore Airlines months ago and their maiden flight was from Singapore to Sydney, Australia and the ticket was $10,000. All 455 tickets were sold in no time and all proceeds from it went to charity.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Highlights from SF – Rose and Radish (+ my final SF post… I promise)

Visiting gallery/shop Rose and Radish topped my list of things to do in SF, so after our noodle bowls, Amy and I went on a little pilgrimage to check the place out...

The space is really lovely and unique (and very, very tiny), with a theme-driven exhibit downstairs and a more permanent collection of merchandise upstairs. Their current show, "Fete", focuses on garden party items and whimsical accessories like bird mobiles, gorgeous textiles and little melon candles displayed atop faux boxwood hedges. + Cassandra who was manning the downstairs space was incredibly kind, which for me instantly takes a shop from good to great.

I picked up a cute felt silhouette card by something's hiding in here that I'm planning to frame for Millie's room.


So I recently got a request from a lovely blogger named Bree at The Things We Read to post more photos, etc. from when I lived in Alaska. And I guess more of NYC. I've definitely enjoyed and am enjoying living in both these places.

So I was busy scanning some photos from back in the day when I waded in the Arctic Ocean...and then it happened. My computer got drunk. Ok. That's sort of a lie. Amanda being the lovely klutz that she is decided to pour a whole glass of wine over her computer. The computer still has a hang-over. So hopefully soon the computer will recover from this head-ache...possibly with a little help from AA (or Best Buy) and will be back on its feet in no time.

Until then, please enjoy this photo of me and The Bear (a.k.a. Anna Bear) in Chugach State Park near Anchorage, Alaska.

Birds at the Airport


Over the past few years, Curt Caslavka and I have occasionally discussed birds that nest in the fields of Middleton Municipal Airport. Biking or birding from the sidewalk along Airport Road, I often spotted Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows, Dickcissels and other grassland species. To our dismay, the fields were often mowed before the end of breeding season. But this year Curt took the initiative to contact airport personnel and eventually obtained permission to conduct a birding survey on the entire property. At his suggestion, they even said they would try to delay the mowing for as long as they could. Curt called me after he conducted his first survey and we were both pretty surprised by the numbers!

Date: July 9th, 2008

Areas Surveyed: Eastern portion, northern portion along grass runway, and central area north of buildings.

Song sparrow (19)
Grasshopper sparrow (10)
Savannah sparrow (64)
Bobolink (24)
Eastern Meadowlark (48)
Red-winged Blackbird (104)
Northern Flicker (1)
Barn Swallow (23)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (2)
Common Yellowthroat (8)
Sedge Wren (15)
Red-tailed Hawk (2)
Sandhill Cranes (4)
Dickcissel (1)
Killdeer (6)

Date: July 17th, 2008

Area Surveyed: Far west side beyond runway.

Song Sparrows (4)
Savannah Sparrows (22)
Eastern Meadowlark (10)
Bobolink (11)
Common Yellowthroat (2)
Barn Swallow (10)
Tree Swallow (11)
Red-winged Blackbird (24)
Sedge Wren (2)
Eastern Kingbird (2)
Willow Flycatcher (1)
Killdeer (2)
American Goldfinch (1)
Gray Catbird (3)
American Crow (2)
American Robin (1)

Bobolink © 2008 Mike McDowell

30 Great Examples of Creative Ads

These amazing ads make you almost instantly believe that the product is worth a shot. From a razor blades to the almighty people, we’ve gathered some of the most creative ads that recently hit the internets.