Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Read: Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey is J.D. Salinger's third book, published in 1961 but set in 1955. The book focuses on two of the Glass children, Franny and Zooey. Franny is 20 years old and undergoing a breakdown fueled by spiritual unsureness, while Zooey is 25 and jaded beyond belief. All of the Glass children were radio stars in their youth, with Zooey being especially charismatic, which may have lead to his future career as an actor. Due to their unique education by their older siblings, both Zooey and Franny have issues socializing and view most other people as benighted.
Below are a few pictures, some capture the essence of the main characters and others artistically show things from the book.

Franny to a tee! via The Thinking Tank.

Epitome of Zooey via The Thinking Tank.
Franny via Culturazzi.
Franny Asleep, infamous Zooey quote via BookRule.
I really enjoyed the book.  It's not a plot driven story, more conversational and cerebral, which could be slightly dry at times, but the characters and dialogue were interesting. It's the story of a spiritual journey, but also relationships with family members.  Here are my two favorite quotes:
"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's."

"It's everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so--I don't know--not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid, necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless--and sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much as everybody else, only in a different way." The book made me want to be super well read, smoke like a pro, and dress like a Royal Tenenbaum.  I highly recommend the book. 
The book made me want to be super well read, smoke like a pro, and dress like a Royal Tenenbaum.  I highly recommend the book.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Paris, Je T'Aime

I'm off to spend 4 glorious days with 3 other lovely ladies who I haven't seen since we parted ways at our apartment at 22 Rue Lomblardi, Paris.
Ahh, Je manque cette appartement and ca ville. Et aussi, je mangue l'abilite de parle francais, parce que je suis tres mauvais maintenant.

Vintage Book Computer Case

Like the new template? Blogger in Draft has a great new template maker, which I believe makes it look much more professional. You can actually edit all the colors. This template originally had a cream background and the accent color was olive green, and I changed it to pale blue with a few darker blue low lights.

I saw this FABULOUS laptop case through a blog (cup of jo perhaps? I never remember...). It's a hardcase so it protects the computer really well, and is extremely well disguised as a cool old book, so if you leave it in your car for a few minutes it doesn't instantly say "I'm worth over $1,500!!". They run for about $80 for the laptop my size, so I'll be holding off on this purchase for a long long time, but it goes on my "wish list" for now!

I just got back from a fantastic 4 days in Santa Barbara with my boyfriend, going to a fun bar, watching the original Star Trek movies, hanging out with hilarious and intelligent SB people, eating amazing breakfast burritos, and doing an awesome hike.
I'm looking forward to seeing some amazing girls who I haven't seen since our Paris Ete 2007!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Recipe: Banana and Chocolate Chip Upside Down Cake

So I've made this recipe TWICE in the last week, and let me tell you, it's a big hit.
Here's what you need to know:
* It's bananas and chocolate, the best combo in the world (tied with strawberries and chocolate of course).
* It's low fat!

It's called Banana and Chocolate Chip Upside Down Cake and it was created by David Lebovitz, and that link is to his amazing blog. He lives in Paris, which makes him extra cool.

The prep time takes awhile (or maybe I'm just really slow...), but I found it took about an hour to get it in the oven. And the first step about using either water or butter with the brown sugar? DEFINITELY use water!! I used butter the first and water the second, the first time was pretty much total fail, whereas the water actually made the brown sugar spread out and make this amazing melted sugar layer, it was perfect.
 (all pictures are from the blog of David Lebovitz)
You should most assuredly try this recipe at home, it is delish!
That's all for now, I have lots and lots of work and homework to do!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Photos of a Drive

I mentioned awhile ago that I would upload my pictures from when I drove up I-5 to attend jury duty. The drive was absolutely beautiful, it had rained the day before so the air was super clear, and it seriously looked like Middle Earth in parts of it. At one point there was a herd of cows meandering over to this pasture, I later saw sheep and even donkeys on the drive back! (I obviously passed horses in Gilroy area but by then it was too dark to see.) Either way it reminded me a bit of Scotland but with less sheep and an automatic vehicle. So nice. Unfortunately I didn't charge my camera battery for the drive down and it couldn't take any pictures. Although if you ever do the drive I recommend stopping at the Starbucks at Kettleman City, definitely the most "coffee-shop" feeling Starbucks I've ever been to {ie. big plush chairs, a wall of different, ornately framed mirrors}. So the pics are a bit blurry because I was, you know... driving about 70mph while taking them, my apologies.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Inspirational Photo Friday : Balloons of Color

Today's inspirations photo friday post is all about bright colors with a little bit of whimsy.  Sorry the formatting is all weird, Blogger was going CRAZY with the photos, I'm lucky to have them all on here!  I love the image of the couple with their tandem bike, how completely adorable is that? I wish I could master the bike-riding while wearing a skirt thing, so classy!  Anyways, enjoy the pictures, I have a house to clean for our soiree this evening!

All the pictures are from weheartit
Have an amazing weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Awesome Screensaver!

So I was perusing over Design*Sponge today and saw a cute little before and after of these people who redid this desk area and a shelving unit.  They took both pieces from total 70's drab to modern (with a slight throwback) fab.  Here's the before and after of the desk, just so you have an idea:  (The shelving unit redo was way better in my opinion, check out that second link to see it.)
But you want to know what I took away from these pictures?  "That is a fantastic screensaver!"  (I wasn't really feeling the hexagonal drawer pulls...)  Sure enough I wasn't the only person who thought so!  Buried in the comments for the post was both someone asking about it, and someone telling us where we could find it!  I love when that happens. :)  I quickly scurried over, downloaded it, and then spent awhile figuring out if I was doing it wrong and if it would work on my mac. Luckily it does and I eventually realized what I was doing wrong!  Now I have a darling screensaver whenever I neglect my computer for a few minutes.Here's an image of what the clock looks like, see the little AM and PM that move? and the tiles really flip over, it's pretty cool. Here's the link to the website, and it's the one on the far left, "FLIQLO".

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Interior Decorating : Brooklyn Brownstone

Picture 1, with my favorites!
Design Sponge has an amazing house tour of this couple with a brownstone in Brooklyn.  The first time I went through the pictures I thought the house was much bigger than it actually is, I only just realized that the sitting room and kitchen and dining room are pretty much the same room!  But you want to know my three favorite things about this house, which you can actually see in the first picture...?
1. That amazing built-in bookshelf in the dining room that displays not just books but mirrors and rocks and stuff.  So neat!  And the fact that it's white makes everything really stand out!
2.  That guest loft with the ladder above the dining room, but also the fact that the ladder can be used for the bookshelves right next door! So crafty.
3.  Those lights that are facing the kitchen area that were rescued off a ship in India.  Really cool looking.

 This picture on the left gives another great look at that amazing bookshelf!  See the track for the ladder, as well as the museum-like display of masks?  Really creative.  That dining room table is really neat too, I think the husband made it.  He's a woodworker and made a lot of the wooden objects in the house, like the 4 posters of their bed in the picture below!  I also love that big mirror propped against the wall in their room, as well as that phenomenal original fireplace in their room!

The picture on the left is a sitting room that doubles as even MORE guest sleeping quarters if need be. See those "couches" with all the pillows?  They're actually mattresses! (Glad to know we aren't the only ones who do that!)  But the real reason I included this picture, aside from their adorable puppy, is that I LOVE those tables that are tree trunks, seriously, super fantastic.  Of course the husband made the tables, as well as the legs for the mattresses, and those wooden things in the window. 
That's it for the house tour, if you want to see more pictures visit the Design Sponge post, it's amazing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Judging books by their covers

I admit it, I'm completely guilty of judging books by their covers.  It really isn't the authors fault if the cover artist makes a boring cover, so I know I shouldn't, but I've always been drawn to neat covers.  Which is why the New York Times Book Design Review Blog was a dream come true, until they stopped posting.  Luckily there are 5 years of posts to satiate me for awhile.  Check it out, you won't regret it.

But what spawned this topic was the fact that I saw this cover on the blog OKGreat and I just had to mention it because its one of my favorite books ever.  The book is "The Raw Shark Texts" by Steven Hall, and it's completely unique and visual and just amazing.  (People sometimes compare it to Mark Z. Danielewski's "House of Leaves".  There are similarities, but  HoL is much much creepier and scary whereas this ((despite the creepy cover)) is more adventure story.)

Either way I thought this cover design by Jesse Walker was pretty cool.  Notice how when  it's open it becomes like the full typewriter? Pretty cool....  Also if you look at the picture below when you open the book you see what looks like a photo negative of the typewriter, right?  Apparently for every chapter in the book the author Steven Hall has "negatives" of the chapters available to the world.  I haven't read any yet, but it seems as if they're supplements, things you don't know from the book.  Some are on the internet, and not all of them have been found yet, but that could be why the artist chose the negative image.  And how cool is that?  That there's even more to the book than the book!  Like a treasure hunt!  But it also reminded me that I really want to reread the Raw Shark Texts so I can do a review of it on here.  (I last read it Summer 2007. I bought it at an English bookstore on Rue de Rivoli, read it on the Chunnel to London, on the train to Brighton, back on the train from Brighton to London which was like 4 times longer than necessary because of "flooding on the tracks in New Crichton", and then while waiting for my bf to arrive from Italy while at our hostel in London.  So it took 2 travel days to read.  The day I finished was also the day the Deathly Hallows came out at midnight in England.  While I was reading it on the Chunnel I met a charming man who was German, living in Paris, but going to London to interview for a job at Burberry.  I always wondered if he got the job. I hope he did, he seemed like a great guy.  Sorry that was the longest aside... Needless to say I haven't read it in over 2 1/2 years and want to!)

Musical Musings 1

(picture from weheartit. aren't they adorable?)

I love music, like... a lot. So I thought I might share with you some new music that I've found and enjoy greatly. This song is a free download that is available through the amazing Said The Gramophone for a short time. If you click the link it will play in your iTunes, or you can right click and save it to your desktop and keep it forevers!
So this is Troubles Will Be Gone by The Tallest Man on Earth. TTMoE (it's easier this way...) also does a song I love called "A Field of Birds". It's rather folky and Bob Dylan-ish, which is surprising because he's Finnish or something. Either way give the song a whirl, I think it's fantastic.

The rest of the downloads are from the blog Music For Ants, which you should definitely add to your blog reader because they consistently have awesome music and great downloads.

The first song is by Jónsi, who was in Sigur Ros, another freaking amazing band. Unfortunately Sigur Ros are on permanent hiatus, which is such a loss for the music world. If you're interested check out their song Gobbledigook. LOVE IT.
But the free download is called Go Do by Jónsi. (Once again click link to hear it, or right click to save it.) If you go to Music For Ants they also have another Jónsi song called Tornados.

Another great band discovered from Music For Ants is Local Natives. Music For Ants compares them a bit to Fleet Foxes (who I love) but with more spontanaity. Gotta love that. Here is a download to their song Wide Eyes, but there's also a download on Music for Ants of their cover of The Talkings Heads' Warning Sign, which is amazing.

So thats a rundown of some of the awesome free downloads of new/rising bands available right now in the blogosphere. (Keep in mind that sometimes artists contact the blogs asking for them to remove the songs, and the blogs usually remove them after a certain time period anyways, so those links will only be good for a short time!)

In other music news I'm still blasting Cloud Cult, Mountaingoats, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Andrew Bird like it's going to save my life. The other band, which I believe I heard of through Music for Ants (big surprise, huh?) almost a year ago is Slow Club, who are amazing. Here's a vid just to prove it: (yeah I just pulled out Battle School slang... top that.)

I hope my fellow Californians enjoyed their deliciously warm weather today (85 degrees F in MARCH!), I'm looking forward to day 3 of this heat wave tomorrow!
Have a lovely evening.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Read: Le Petit Prince

Ok so I read it in English so it should rightly be "The Little Prince" but it sounds so much better to say "le peu-ti praaaance".  I've owed you this book review for months now.  I finished it on Jan. 17 for heaven's sake!  [Book Review Update: I've also finished "Reading Lolita in Tehran" "The Stranger" and "Franny and Zooey" since then... so more book reviews to come!]

But Le Petit Prince is a classic, it's one of the highest selling books (80 million--I just checked wikipedia) of all time!  The story is told from the perspective of an aviator who has crashed in the desert.  Though it switches from first to third person, which is a bit odd.  I was surprised that the story was told from an adults perspective, as I had assumed it was from the perspective of the prince himself.  How wrong I was.  The story revolves mainly around the aviator trying to get the little prince to tell him his story, which is difficult as the prince does not like answering questions.  Saint-Exupery, the author, was actually an aviator himself and he and a friend crashed in the Sahara one time.  They had 1 days worth of liquid, which they ran through in a day, and by the third day they stopped sweating entirely because their bodies had no more liquid.  Supposedly on the fourth day a Bedouin traveler found them and administered some sort of native rehydration trick that saved their lives.  Many think that the story of the The Little Prince was drawn from this experience.  (My source on that is wikipedia, which I think in this case can be trusted.)

The story of the little prince contains profound insights into life, which are mainly told in the story through the fox.  He says at one point that "It is the time you have spent with your rose that makes your rose so important."  It isn't the financial worth of something that makes it important, it's the amount of time you spend on or with something or someone.  The fox also utters these famous lines (en francais, because bien sur, I am just that pretentious.)
(picture is from weheartit)
Which translates to  "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."  That is an excellent view, one that of course appeals to children, but also adults who want to let them heart guide them in their endeavors.  I fully believe that as well, that the most important things in life: love, happiness, and friendship cannot be seen, but only felt. 

The Little Prince is a childrens book, but I believe that adults can get the most out of it, as they are more likely to pause to think about the words and the underlying meaning of the book than children are.

Isn't the watercoloring on that copy absolutely stunning?? I'm not sure which language this version is, Korean?. Photo credit is weheartit.

Click the photos for credits.
That image of the book is the book I have, I think I got it at a used bookstore somewhere, I don't quite remember. It's hardcover and has the pictures, but they're only in black & white. Whereas my french copy has color photos, but I can't understand most of it. C'est domage! I actually read a bit of Le Petit Prince in highschool french class, and totally did not understand it. I think it was the fact that the flower talks, so I assumed I was confused and there was another character there besides the flower. Foreign languages are so confusing...
But that's my review of Le Petit Prince, I recommend everyone go read it immediately! It's a very fast read and a charming little story. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wedding: Eunice & Daniel

Sorry I've been MIA for the past week.  I went up to beautiful Northern California for jury duty, and for some reason could not get on the wireless at my parents house.  But I'm back, and in action!
Once I get the pics on my computer I'll post them, but the 6 hour/383 mile drive was absolutely beautiful.  Because of all the rain there was grass where everything is usually dead.  I saw sheep, and cows, and donkeys.  It looked a lot like Scotland meets Middle Earth in some of the really hilly areas.  Needless to say I was bummed I had to drive the whole time and couldn't capture my surroundings in all their glory.  (And as you'll see from the pics when I finally get them up, I attempted to capture, but they're all a bit blurry. C'est domage.) The one time I stopped for gas on the drive up I actually tried to go on this dirt road I'd seen from the highway to get some cool mountain shots, but there were all these scary signs about it being a private road so I left.

I really want to share this amazingly beautiful and FUN looking wedding with you. It's the wedding of Eunice & Daniel and it's got this awesome circus vibe to it, without seeming cheesy.  Like more carnavale than circus I guess.  I've seen posts of it on multiple blogs, but I recommend reading the entry on 100layercake to get the whole story and more pictures.  It's absolutely gorgeous!  (ps: All my pics are from 100layercake.)  The whole wedding paraded over to the wedding site with those awesome cut up animals on sticks, there were parasols provided to help keep the sun off, and at the reception after there were crowns and a cool drink called "marital bliss".  All in all it just seems like a SUPER fun time, which is what a wedding should be: a fun celebration of the joy that is the love two people have for each other, as well as the love of their family and friends.

 That's all the photos I'll post, but there are more on 100layercake, and TONS on marthastewart, I recommend checking both out, this wedding is just fantastic.
Have a good Sunday night. :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Inspirational Photo Saturday : Gypies

I've always been intrigued by gypsies.  I've always thought a nomadic lifestyle was very romantic (how naive of me, I know...), but the myths and legends that surround gypsies have captivated me as well.  Tales of fortune telling,  magical powers, their oneness with nature and deep family ties: it all pulls my heartstrings. They gypsies that surround Notre Dame in Paris begging for money have tarnished my magical persona of gypsies, but only a bit. 

These pictures are an ode to gypsies and the nomadic lifestyle: living in caravans, riding horses, and of course catching lightening bugs for light at night.  (I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I really want to see a lightening bug sometime in my life!)

I have to make a long drive tomorrow so maybe this was what brought this on... either way I think the pictures are beautiful.
(all photos are from weheartit)
I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I'll be a slave to the I-5 tomorrow, trying deperately to not get pulled over.
Have a good day. :)