Saturday, August 30, 2008

Notes from the Underground

Finished Notes from the Underground the other day, and LOVED it. It's divided into two parts, the first which reads more like a full-on philosophy book. The second part is a story of a "bad memory" called A Propos of the Wet Snow and reads more like his other novels. The main character is a sick and spiteful man, who generally rather hates life, and more or less rants at you for the first half of the book. He is like one of those people that gives you lots of unsolicited advice that you have no intention of following because he doesn't really have his act together himself. But...the fact that he is ridiculous and knows it makes you laugh out loud in parts, and then afterwards make you think twice about what he really said in the first place. And for me, the biggest thing I got out of the first part was this man's need to set forth his ideas in print. He writes that he does not intend to have any readers of his thoughts, yet he addresses them, asks questions, apologizes to them in order to sound more imposing, to officially stamp down "this is what I believe today." I feel very similar about blogging. It is, perhaps, very silly to be so free in a public setting, and everywhere you hear cautions of "don't do anything online that you wouldn't want the whole world to see." And yes, okay, there might be some truth in that, but really, I really do wonder, what would be so bad about everyone knowing what was going on? Anyway, a really fun and short read--I would recommend that everyone read it to at least think about things. And now, my favorite quotes!

"And what is it that civilization softens in us? The only gain of civilization for mankind is the greater capacity for variety of sensations--and absolutely nothing more. [...] In any case civilization has made mankind if not more bloodthirsty, at least more vilely, more loathsomely bloodthirsty. In old days he saw justice in bloodshed and with his conscience at peace exterminated those he thought proper. Now we do think bloodshed abominable and yet we engage in this abomination, and with more energy than ever. Which is worse? Decide for yourselves." [huh]

"And why are you so firmly, so triumphantly, convinced that only the normal and the positive--in other words, only what is conducive to welfare--is for the advantage of man? Is not reason in error as regards advantage? Does not man, perhaps, love something besides well-being? Perhaps he is just as fond of suffering? Perhaps suffering is just as great a benefit to him as well-being? Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering, and that is a fact. There is no need to appeal to universal history to prove that; only ask yourself, if you are a man and have lived at all. As far as my personal opinion is concerned, to care only for well-being seems to me positively ill-bred. Whether it's good or bad, it is sometimes very pleasant , too, to smash things. I hold no brief for suffering nor for well-being either. I am standing caprice, and for its being guaranteed to me when necessary." [even though I think this is pure drivel, it's fun to think about how utility captures all of these long as one ENJOYS the suffering, well then it does increase his utility, or well-being.]

"But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind. The more decent he is, the greater the number of such things in his mind. Anyway, I have only lately determined to remember some of my early adventures. Till now I have always avoided them, even with a certain uneasiness. Now, when I am not only recalling them, but have actually decided to write an account of them, I want to try the experiment whether one can, even with oneself, be perfectly open and not take fright at the whole truth." [and I read this AFTER that post I wrote about experimenting with being intentionally more open! Dostoevsky, get out of my head!]

"Another circumstance, too, worried me in those days: that there was no one like me and I was unlike anyone else. I am alone and they are EVERYONE," I thought--and pondered. From that it is evident that I was still a youngster." [this spoke to my teenage self, when I thought I was entirely original and no one would understand me hehehe]

Fun Ways to Display Photos

Hot or Not?

I kinda like these shoes (on sale at Nordstrom) from Nike, and if they didn't have that toe and other toes divider, I would probably be wearing them. But I dunno...too weird?


I'm in the market for a table lamp and a floor lamp. I found these online at Target and IKEA...does anyone know where else I should look for stylish on the cheap? I'm thinking of stopping into CB2 pretty soon here. I'm anxious to see how low end it is...

TOO Much Design

This is an example of when a designer just can't contain themselves. Walking into this room makes me nervous and I could never sit down and ruin the symmetry of everything and really if anything else enters the room I would go crazy of busyness!!! Whew, no.

So Much Sitting on My Desktop

I apologize for the delay in updating this week... Unlike every other blogger, I seem to take the weeks off and pile all of my posts into the weekend haha!! I thought about updating a lot yesterday, since Whirlpool was off work and I was lazing around the house reading, but alas, I got much too caught up in Pride and Prejudice :) Anyway, back to the post at hand--LOTS of interiors I've come across recently. This first one I just love: (1) the gray, black, and yellow color scheme, (2) the louis XIV armchair, (3) those cute stainless steel vases I'm seeing everywhere these days...

Haha, this style was called "mod victorian" on the site...what do you think? I like the desk a lot, and the screen...prob would never have those walls though. But I kind of like the idea of defining a room with a big circular rug like that. :)

A pretty, pretty bedroom. I could definitely live here. I love all the white (lately I've become obsessed with white beds!! And you really don't need to worry that much about them getting dirty because you can always bleach them!!). But it just looks so light and crisp. I really like that color blue, and the painted stripes along the wall and ceiling are really fun... And I'm pretty much in love with shag carpets, and (velvet?) chaises. I even like that red chandelier!!! And of course who could say no to a bedroom with double doors leading out into the garden--yes please :)

I liked this looked very cozy. I especially like that striped body pillow, the brown chair, and those yellow accents in the back! I'd like to see an end table that was white and yellow instead of black...and I like the vase!

I pretty much only saved this for the mosaic table...which I actually COULD see having in my own home. But those bookshelves aren't bad either. I really need a new shelf!! My books are taking over the apartment!!!!

Cute living room. I like all the light and the curtains (prob should get some curtains for our living area...will look into that when we go to IKEA), and the white, orange, and green color scheme is really nice and relaxing.

And finally...this home is in the shape of a half circle, which I find kind of amazing. The architecture of this house is really amazing, and I love those wood and white divider wall things, and the detail on the ceiling. And that fireplace!

This is a Restaurant?


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Poor Folk

Finished Poor Folk a couple days ago on my Kindle (a birthday present that I love!!!!!). It was Dostoevsky's first novel, written in the form of letters between two second cousins twice removed, Makar and Varvara (kind of a cool name, no?). At first I didn't know they were cousins, and thought they were lovers--and certainly parts of it read like that. But more generally the story is their struggles to remain afloat despite illness and lack of work after the war. But it's also a love story, as they're always trying to take care of the other first, trying to spare what little they have for each other, and trying to delight the other as much as possible with fun money for tobacco or scraps of linen. It was desperate, flailing, and poignant--the ending rather shocked me--and the last few pages were my favorite part, when Makar describes his unwavering devotion to Varvara even after she is gone. I have always enjoyed love lost stories a la Romeo and Juliet, and this one was no exception.

Reading through it made me think about the process by which we learn to love someone, how long it takes, and what we learn about ourselves along the way. The beginning is where (I think) you learn the least, because you're just so enamored by the fact that someone wants to know you, and have you all to themselves, to band together with you and conquer the world that everything else seems to fog over. It's intense and familial as you start to cultivate that feeling that you just belong together, which is really nice. And eventually you start making choices that inevitably impact each other, sometimes not positively, and you start learning the things that aren't so nice about the other person. You may wonder if there's not someone better, though you doubt whether you are good enough to catch them even if they existed. One fear of mine is that after I get married I will get stuck on a path I didn't intend to be on, and that then I'll feel like I've made a mistake because I didn't turn out to be the person I imagine becoming in the future. But I guess that's when you need to rely on God to remain faithful by remembering that he always has your best interests at heart if you only trust and follow him. And so really learning to love another person is the natural reaction that flows out of that trust in God, which (at least for me) is a constant battle. I fully expect to get butterflies in my stomach, or feel that well known feeling of my chest tightening, when I am 80 and coming down to the breakfast table to greet my love, but I know there will also be times when I don't get those sensations. But even when those feelings aren't present, I'm looking forward to changing, as an individual, and as a couple. I think it's really neat to watch people's relationships evolve (I'm thinking now more about friends), and with time you can see that the vast majority become more honest, more supportive--which makes complete sense given that those two people have continually chosen to love each other, and that choice more fully permeates the heart. Anyway, a fun read to contemplate love, though I've completely ignored perhaps the biggest theme of poverty here, which is thought-provoking as well.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cute Comic

Hehehehe :)

So Excited to Go Home

I'm not sure why but I am really excited to go home to my apartment this weekend...I'm meeting with Caroline from Google in a little bit for some wine, then going to dinner with Grandma and Poppa at Redamak's, and then heading west! I am so looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, and to seeing how my plants are doing! Yay :)

Gap, Banana

Not really sure what Gap is up to this season...looks like they're trying to be Indie European, with weird matchups between very girly, flowy tops and dresses, with puffy woodsman jackets--NOT a fan. I'm all for mixing up the structured and unstructured, and different materials and whatnot, but come on, it's just not flattering. I did kind of like this:

But literally...that's it. I was a bit more successful at Banana Republic. Really I am a huge sucker for sweater dresses (I saw this vintage St. John sweater dress on Etsy and about still considering it), so we get right along. I'm not sure I really see the quality difference between regular Banana and BR Monogram--seems like the regular stuff only higher priced. I think I'll probably stay downstairs, especially with Alex's 30% discount!

Look at those sleeves!


I was reading Elements of Style the other day and was blown away by some of the Old Navy pieces she was featuring. I thought I'd go over there and browse a little bit, and man, they have really mixed things up. I am so pleased that they've decided to compete with stores like H&M and Target, instead of wallowing in the performance fleece-only rut. I'm definitely going to have to go over there sometime soon, especially if I can fit into their pants! It's official, that I am too small/too tall to fit into Gap pants anymore. I know, I know, cry about it, I'm small, but you know it is kind of a problem that I only have one store (Banana Republic) that actually carries pants my size for less than $100 apiece. Still, I'm a student, and I need a cheaper option for every day!

Help, I can't decide which color to get of this dress--it is $10!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

OMG, Shoes

For my birthday, Grandma and Poppa got me a pair of bright yellow patent leather flats (yay!! and pictures eventually, since I can't seem to find them online) so this morning I was feeling in the mood to window shop. Here's the best of what I found, some from summer, some for fall:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Idiot

Finished The Idiot a while back but I never posted my favorite passage. I found this one to be much happier than Crime and Punishment, with some brief pictures of true joy, though the ending was still bleak. Throughout the whole book you are rooting for the prince to be able to enjoy happiness: to be respected and admired by his peers, to be confident in himself, to be loved by Aglaya...but in the end, he seems destined for a substandard life. Is it true that lack of shrewdness is a sign of weakness? The prince is supposed to be a depiction of a wholly good man, though I didn't really find him to be so. There were certainly instances where I was downright angry at him because he clearly knew how he was impacting Aglaya's feelings and yet he still went ahead and did the hurtful thing. And surely intelligence is a sign of goodness that he was rather lacking (at least formally). But overall I again resonated with Dostoevsky's way of stealing my thoughts before I knew they existed, and portraying them in a way that makes a lot of sense to me. I like getting caught up in a world that seems exotic and utterly unlike my own, only to realize later that I've had the same thoughts, almost verbatim. Kind of neat. Anyway, here is my favorite passage :)

"Oh, you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it; you may be sure that the highest moment of his happiness was, perhaps, exactly three days before the discovery of the New World, when the mutinous crew, in despair, nearly turned the ship around, back to Europe! The New World's not what matters, though it were to fall off the face of the earth. Columbus died almost without seeing it; and, essentially, not knowing what he had discovered. It's life that matters, nothing but life--the processes of its discovery, everlasting and perpetual, and not at all the discovery itself, at all!"

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Yesterday I bought two really cute sweaters from Urban Thunder, a new store in LaPorte, Michigan. They carry a lot of Tulle there, a brand that I love but have only ever seen online and in InStyle--so that was very exciting! I went on their website last night and found lots of other cute things, but I limited myself to this dress (happy birthday to me!), which I had tried on in the store but was a bit big (they didn't have any XS in stock)...really, it's the cutest dress and the picture doesn't do it justice. I am so excited to wear it! It's really a great brand, it's not too expensive and they have great sales! They've also expanded a lot, including a men's line! I think they started out with just jackets, and that's what I bought about a year ago, and they really are cute and warm. I really wanted to buy this jacket in the teal evergreen color (I saw it at the store yesterday and it is beautiful) but I have two fall jackets and a winter coat already, so there is no need for it. But somebody should get it because it is just so cute!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

No Chicago This Weekend

Well it'll be the first weekend in a while that I don't go back to Chicago over the weekend (I don't count last weekend even though I was actually in the city, because I only spent a total of two hours in my apartment, and the rest was spent in St. Charles, IL/Buchanan, MI). I will miss it, and my apartment, but I am thankful to spend a quite weekend updating my blog, reading!!!, maybe shopping with my grandma, and gardening. Not a bad life...

Still I love these photos!

A Bit Random

A few random things that have been sitting on my laptop. First this beautiful vintage print...I really just need to have this, or make my own (I never did a painting after finals because I had to fly to Philly to drive Michael back to Michigan for my parents' this could be a fun one to copy. Hmmm, maybe I'll try that.). I just think it's so beautiful and peaceful. I really just need to replicate it, that's all there is to it. Second I really like this vest from Marc Jacobs...but OH have you seen the ads for Kohls lately? I saw one in one of my grandma's home and garden magazines, and it looked pretty stylish!!! It has been YEARS since I went into a Kohls (mostly because I kinda grew out of their juniors, but didn't quite fit in the women's stuff/I thought it was ugly) but I may have to check it out. Hmmm... Third is this cute stationary that I could see Melanie using. I need to renew my commitment to write more letters and notes by hand. I really do have a lifetime supply of stationary that my grandparents gave me, and I need to get a move on using it--lest it's still sitting around by the time I get married and I'm no longer a Sprinkel (that'll be a really sad day, actually--I like my name a lot). And finally this kinda seashell-like vase. Way out of my price range (hello IKEA), but very cute nonetheless.