Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Cool Book

Style by Shannon Fricke

Black & Spiro

OMG I so want to go here!!


Have decided I really love white kitchens, although more generally I guess I could say I just love white. I love the cleanness of it, the pops of colors, how it all feels rather antique. Gosh, I can't wait to have a house. Does one ever really have a house that feels a part of them? I wonder. I bet some people do. Sometimes I worry about this love of *things* but then, it isn't really all about the things, is it? it's about feeling at peace, or joy, when you walk in the door. Even if no one is there, you're just glad to be home.

Another white kitchen, a bit older looking than the first. Still lots of color, and personality. And I put the last picture in because I really like the idea of having a couch in the kitchen. My grandparents used to have a couch in their old kitchen (and actually, how the lakehouse is set up now, the kitchen and the living area are the same room, so I guess this still applies), which was just really awesome because you could sit and relax while someone cooked dinner and chat away and have fun. If I wasn't playing with my cousins downstairs, I liked to sit on the couch and look out at the backyard (the couch faced the window, its back to the kitchen like the one in the photo), smelling the rich aromas of meat and potato family meals. Anyway, I want to try and incorporate this into a home.

Cutest Card

So, I think these were made for Easter time, but I am in love with these cards for any and all letter writing occasions (from blossom creations). I'm just bummed they're so expensive, and coming all the way from Australia! It's just another sign that I need to visit this continent, the other three being that 1) I really want to scuba dive in the great barrier reef, 2) I want to hold a koala, and 3) I want to visit black & spiro, Anna's beautiful shop in brisbane. *sigh* if only...

Flower Season

Dahlias and roses on top, swamp mahogany flowers on the bottom from absolutely beautiful things on the bottom. I would have never thought to use that sort of jar as a vase! As it happens, in addition to my love kitchen table and chairs, I also inherited quite a few dishes from my grandparents, including lots of blue and white ceramics. Will have to put those to better use!

Chicago, and Other Photos

The whole time I've been writing this post I've had "Let's Go Fly a Kite" from Mary Poppins stuck in my head. These are saved from the Chicagoist, or my new favorite thing, Smashing Magazine.

I love the composition of this one:

Eventually these will be my wedding colors--I like the moss in there with the pomegranate red and peacock blue...mmmm :)

Ladybugs! And summer :)

Oh Love

from the new movie, my blueberry nights

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Out in the Real World

Some days I really love still being in school, and other times I just itch to be out starting a career, having time (and money) to do fun things like going to see plays, travel to see friends or new cities, paint the house, etc. I think this must be natural because apparently my mom and poppa were talking the other day about how they were glad I was able to resist the temptation of working now, even though it's something I so badly want to do. It's hard not to look at friends who have jobs, houses, even families! and think, man, I am behind. Even though it's only two years, it still feels like I'm missing out--not so much on the things, but experiences I haven't had yet. I'm sure next year i'll laugh at all this craziness, because seriously, one year has already flown by. I'm sure now that I actually LOVE my classes, the next one will go by even faster. *sigh* but that still doesn't mean I don't envy being able to do certain things. I'm in savesavesave mode, and I really will try to be responsible. Hold out, Jess!

Also, somewhat related, I've now had three separate conversations with "older 20-somethings" about the big differences between younger 20s, and older 20s. According to them, it's easy to see how we young ones are different, haven't grown up yet, and that we haven't learned to be jaded, haven't learned that some dreams aren't possible. Maybe I'm just going along with my younger 20 self when I say I hope I'm never jaded. I feel like over the years I'm becoming LESS jaded, and I hope that trend continues. There's so much happiness in the world just waiting to be appreciated...and we really are so blessed; why ruin it? But, conveniently, apparently we young 20s wouldn't know what the difference is between the two groups, we aren't able to see how the older ones are different, wiser, which, as I say, is just convenient. It's not that i bitterly hope in 4 years i'm still the same, that I believe the same things. Of course I want to grow and learn, of course I want to know myself and my place in the world more fully and accurately. But does that necessarily entail becoming so responsible that one forgets about her dreams? This is one of my worst fears, and I refuse to ride along on that path. Well, I guess that's the fun part about blogs. If in 4 years this thing is still going, maybe I'll pop back to this post and see just how naive I was. Oh, life!

Monday, April 28, 2008

xkcd: one funny comic

Sooooo this is pretty awesome--iIve actually kind of fallen in love with this "webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language." Here are some of my favorites:

Monday, Monday

Well, already at a bad start to the day, and now it's raining. Hopefully this day will get better--ha! Actually Melanie just called, so maybe someone is listening after all :) Well, off to greet life, even if it is a bit moist!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Buyer's Remorse, and Potential Buys

So, the other week I went to IKEA to get some seat cushions, a new pan for Colleen since I burnt a nice HOLE through the nonstick coating of her old one, and some of those pliable cutting boards. Anyway, I ended up buying some rather plain navy blue cushions to set on our rather uncomfortable but lovable antique kitchen chairs I inherited from my grandmother. I brought them home and--success! I could now bear sitting on the chairs for more than five minutes without being entirely uncomfortable with a sore back and bottom. But THEN I made the mistake of going to IKEA's website and searching through all of their cushions because I came upon these two that I like way better than the ones I bought. Too late to bring back the ones I bought, as I already ripped off the tags, and even though economics tells me they're a sunk cost and I should make the same decision now as I would have before I bought them, it just seems like a waste to buy new ones, even if they were only like $5. Anyway, I thought I'd share the source of my pain...they're so cute, right?!

Also on the horizon for future purchases are this orchid/guzmania combo plant (from proflowers, my favorite place to get flowers--they're always fresh and look great...and they're pretty affordable and you can usually score a free vase) and this reusable grocery bag, from Baggu. First off, I really need a plant to look at and take care of in my apartment. I think it'd bring a lot of life and satisfaction to my living space, and would break up all the lovely modern straight lines of our place. Second, I've been going back and forth about whether to get some resuable bags for a while now. I haven't yet because I don't know that I'd remember to use them, but I want to because they're really DARN cheap, and they do a lot of good. Baggu's website estimates that one bag would eliminate the use of 700 plastic bags annually, most of which end up in landfills, and can take up to 1000 years to decompose. So...we'll see. I really should take advantage of these easy ways of "being green."

Let's All Go to Chicago

So, it should be no real surprise that I love vintage-y looking posters, hence I REALLY love this one! I'm fully embracing living in Chicago these days, and I feel my spirits buoying. Such a wonderful place, with so many things to offer! It's a wonder it's taken me this long to figure it out/remember. Duh, Chicago's awesome.

Someone posted this on the Chicagoist, and I thought it was pretty so I'm re-posting. Yay pretty flowers.

Of the Home

GREEN: love this green bedroom with the black, silver, and light blue accents. Eventually I will have a polished room like this, even if it kills me. Also love the backsplash in this kitchen, and lovelovelove the little rack below the cabinets for the spices! Such a cute idea and looks very clean and tidy :)

Also love these pieces from Pottery Barn, especially the couch(? bench? what does one call that?) on the bottom. what a cute idea for the foyer area--or really any area the leads to dead space? Yay furniture :)

Other Dresses

Love these two dresses. I've decided I do like square necklines after all, as long as there's a fun print and sleeves to make it less boxy looking. And pretty much I'm obsessed with anything resembling a border print, and belted anythings! Also, I love yellow, and 60s-inspired clothing, so dress #2 and I are destined to be together. Both from Nordstrom.

Also, this is the direction I'd love to see Nike go in. They have such a loyal customer base for their athletic gear, it'd be nice to give "athletic girls" some clothing options for off the field, or court, or whatever. I think all girls really do like to feel pretty, but some have higher comfort requirements than others. But we should not despair! Cute jersey tank dresses with attention to detail such that they don't look like tennis uniforms are entirely within the realm of possibility! Bravo Lacoste!

And then, there's this fun one. Casual, flirty, feminine--I am in love.

White Dresses

I love the idea of a simple wedding dress, like these two. Especially if you were having an afternoon wedding, it'd be awesome to twirl around in these little numbers. Large gowns, for me, are overrated. Give me a lacy, close fitting bodice, and a full flowy skirt any day. *sigh*

Until I get married, I guess I could content myself with this dress from Ralph Lauren. Every once in a while RL surprises me by being interesting, and this is one of those occasions. I would love to walk around in the sun wearing this, some gold sandals, and my awesome shades, letting my hair fly loosely in the wind. *deep sigh*

A Return to the Light and Happy

My past couple of posts have been rather serious, if not blatantly depressing. So here are the latest pics to hog my desktop space:

I love these desks!

The Awakening

I just finished reading The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, for the first time. Somehow I missed the boat in high school when everyone read this in 20th Century Literature, or American Fiction, or one of those classes that's rather mandatory. I guess I had a different teacher who didn't deem The Awakening to be important in the melding of our young minds. I'm actually glad I didn't read it until now--I probably wouldn't have understood it. I probably would have hated it along with everybody else, either because a) I didn't end up reading it and thus could not successfully defend a minority view, or b) it would seem to me then a ranty, feminist novel that didn't know what it was talking about.

Reading it now, it did affect me in a few ways. First, regardless of the context in which the novel was originally written, I related pretty deeply to Mrs. Pontellier's inner monologue, to her longing to know herself in relation to the world, to be free. It's funny, though there were several different scenes that alluded to her "awakening," I don't feel like Edna ever awoke. She realized her discontentment in a marriage that wasn't based on love (whatever her definition of love is, I'm still not sure), and sought to free herself of its ties, of its rituals, of its customs, of its responsibilities, but she never completely frees herself. Or at least she doesn't ever find a suitable alternative to this arrangement. She quite unknowingly befriends Robert, and eventually cultivates a passion for him throughout the summer, but once she goes home and he travels to Mexico, the sexual tension just languors between them, growing more obsessive the longer they are apart. In his absence is Arobin, who is little more than a distraction, even though they spend so much time together.

I was bothered by the fact that all three men (her husband, Robert, and Arobin) all fell in love with Edna, and were willing to sacrifice everything for her, while she wallowed in her own search for freedom. If she did not want love, she shouldn't have led these three on, and if she did, she should realize that love is only valuable when it is two-sided. I'm convinced she wasn't, in the end, looking for love--but she also didn't seem to be searching for understanding either, since she received this in abundance from Madame Reisz. Really, this whole "awakening," if it really took place, was merely sexual, which explains why Edna's psyche took a rather tumultuous ride as she explored her options, trying to assert her independence and then finding that being alone wasn't what she wanted. I was let down by the ending, in which she lets herself drown in the ocean. First, because it was written during the 1890s when the "women's movement" was really getting started, this offers a pretty bleak picture of female independence. While Chopin wasn't a feminist, it's obvious that we are to empathize with Edna's journey, and so it seemed like a reversal of everything that had led up to that point: by killing herself, Edna wasn't as strong, wasn't as free as she thought she was.

In the end I think Edna does realize that she doesn't, and never did, love Robert. And I think Robert realized, too, that Edna was a wandering soul, and would never be able to commit herself to him, even if she were able to get a divorce from her husband. In the end, I'm conflicted: there were some beautiful passages of hope for her restoration as a woman, of the excitement that she might have a unique purpose outside of her husband, that she was worth the capacity of a mind and heart, that she deserved to love and be loved in return. But, she never got there. Somehow, just as she had mechanically performed the orders of her husband, she now swam further and further out into the water, seemingly without thought to the consequences, until it was impossible for her to come back, to live.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Need a Time Out From Life

Have been so busy this week, and getting through today seems overwhelming. Really longing for peace and quiet and time to read, but I guess that time is not now. Onward march! Oh, but I still ordered this and this from Amazon today...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ethereal Mood Today

Well, it's one of those days where my head is stuck in the clouds. I've been listening to the Wicked soundtrack on repeat for the past 24 hours, and every time I listen to/belt out Defying Gravity, I'm Not That Girl, and For Good in the comfort of my bedroom with the sun shining through the windows, I feel like I'm having an out of body experience. There really is someone looking out for me and even when I'm feeling entirely un-extraordinary, there is someone who thinks just the opposite, which is pretty awesome. Walking to class today I was again overcome by the feeling of community as people are outside washing their cars, walking their dogs, meeting friends for lunch, enjoying the outside. Hyde Park is such an interesting place. One minute it feels cold and somewhat dangerous, and the next I am encouraged by the people I'm sharing this space with. I like the idea of having met someone, or even just meeting their eyes in a smile, could change us both "for the better," but how often do I really put this into practice? And finally, friends. I am so grateful for all the ones I have. I am especially thankful for old friends, and close friends--the ones who know you better than yourself, and who seem to genuinely want to help you discover more of yourself. That's a pretty cool role to play in someone's life, aiding in their self discovery. I am loving this great, happy weather--the sun has an obvious way of illuminating things.

Sometimes I Forget This is True...

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
-John 1:5

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Garfield Park Conservatory

So this past weekend I took a solo field trip out to Garfield Park Conservatory, which is on the west side of town...I was thinking at first I'd go to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, but then on Yelp discovered that Garfield Park was much bigger, so I went there instead. I'll probably still head out to Lincoln Park, because it seems to be more estate-like, which is always fun. Oh daydreams about living in a large mansion over sprawling hills with a natural oasis designed especially to my delight. Hmmm, maybe going off the deep end a bit...
Anyway, wow! It was really fun. There's something about greenhouses lush with beautiful trees and flowers that fills you up with tons of oxygen and happiness. Maybe the oxygen part is science, but the happiness part seems to be something more. I just get so relaxed and content whenever I am around a beautiful garden, and this was just room after room after room of heaven. And it's free! What better entertainment could you ask for? I actually didn't take most of these pictures (besides the two self portraits), but that's okay. Garfield Park specializes in palms, and they had TONS of them! Apparently there are about 2600 different species of palms (who knew? I thought there was just your basic coconut palm...), and they had over 7 dozen in their conservatory. My two favorites were the Old Man Palm (with all the "hair" on the trunk!), and the Windmill Palm (spiky!):

The rest of the pictures are from the individual rooms--this is the fern room:

This is the throne room:

Desert room!

Aroid room with Chihuli glass flower installations!

Kids Garden:

Outdoor gardens: