“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.” – Holly Black 🖤
The Cruel Prince ☆☆☆☆☆/5
It has happened. Holly Black has become one of my favorite authors. I think Leigh Bardugo said it best when reviewing this book. “Lush, dangerous, a dark jewel of a book.” Even when I thought I knew what was going to happen to a character in this book, I ended up pleasant surprised and shocked! This is the story of Jude, a mortal living in the High Court of Faerie. She is set on being a knight, even though it is clear the faerie folk she lives amongst do not approve (although there are quite a few surprise with these folk!). When a knew king is crowned, the court is due for change and Jude is trying to make her way and prove her strength in their world. And the magical members of her family have their own struggles and battles that they are dealing with as well. Jude does her best to navigate her way through enemies, lovers, and family members. This book does a fantastic job of keeping you on your toes and questioning everyone’s loyalties. There were so many parts of this book that I did NOT see coming. Holly Black does a beautiful job of writing a fantasy world that is vivid and opulent while being gritty and horrific. Her descriptions are excellent. The characters are complex and flawed while remaining intriguing and even appealing. There are some slow burns for romance in this and enemies-to-lovers which I usually dislike…but not this time. The story is addictive and I think it’s fair to warn that if you start reading this, you will not be able to put it down!
Question for everyone: Do you prefer full-fantasy worlds, or ones where our reality also exists? I like when the human world plays a part in magical stories.
I wanted to take a moment to write down my thoughts about Instagram, social media, and all sharing online. One of my favorite things to do is take pictures. I love staging photos in my room for Instagram, Tumblr, and my blog here. I also love taking photos of my outfits. I love taking photos of my friends, of places that I travel to, and of my coffee at little cafes.
The downsides of social media are apparent. Just like everyone else, when I’m feeling sad and I browse Instagram, I feel left out and lame. On so many occasions I have told my friends that I didn’t follow someone else because I was embarrassed about my Instagram and what someone would think of me. Every single time, my friends were shocked. They think my Instagram is beautiful! So why do I feel this way? We’ve saturated the internet with our feelings and photos and ideas. But hey, it isn’t always bad.
Sometimes when I look back on my past blog posts or my popular Tumblr posts or my Instagram feed, I feel a sense of happiness from all the good times that I documented. I can’t always keep all my photos stored on my phone, and it comforts me that they all live somewhere, and that I can look back on them when I want to. I can keep forever my trips to Maine in the summer, my travels to Europe with my family, my day trips to the coast with my friends. These things are valuable, don’t get me wrong.
But there are times when I am tired of documenting. There are days when I want to put my phone down. Sometimes I want to experience life without the pressure of capturing it perfectly.
Today I spent a very long (and wonderful) day celebrating my friend’s birthday in Boston with a few of our other friends. And while there were some hiccups (missing buses, almost missing trains, spilling my lemonade all over the Panera floor) I had a wonderful time. I read on the train, walked around Newbury street, ate at a French gelato place, shopped for spring clothes, spent the day with my friend and people that we love dearly, etc. And while I snapped a few pictures here and there of my day, I did not feel like putting any photos on social media at all.
There are days that I spend with friends where I’m in the mood and I update on my Instagram story, or I take my camera to photograph our trip for my blog. Or I’ll bring a film camera and try to get interesting photos of our adventures. But other days, I want to live the day without the need to document. It scares me that there are beautiful moments in my life that when I don’t get a good photo, I ask myself if it was even worth living. Because I wasn’t able to share it with the world, because I wasn’t able to show off that I’d experienced it. That is not a healthy or authentic way to live.
In no way is this bashing social media. It is the bridge of communications that allows our personal expression to connect with those all around the world. It lets us make new friends, contact favorite authors, feel closer to our favorite musicians. But this post is a way to remind myself that even though I didn’t get a photo of my entire day, I still lived it, and it was beautiful. The real parts of life, the happiness of being with friends, the stress of missing a bus, the thrill of spending too much money on new clothes, the sadness of seeing the streets that I walked with someone I once loved, the longing to reach out to strangers in the city. When I took the train back to my car, it was late and the sky was black, and I sat alone while I watched the twinkling of lights through the windows, and I tried to force myself to remember that this is real life, it is not on a screen. All of it was irreplaceable, and that is how I will remember it.
Every day that I wake up I can feel us creeping closer to spring, and I personally feel that there is room in my life now for growth and change. There are many things that I’ve wanted to do that I’ve put aside for a long time, but spring feels like the time for these new adventures to come to fruition.
I am not the only one who has had a hard time lately, and it seems like this past winter really kicked all of our butts. Instead of staying in the safety of my hibernative state by sitting on the couch and never doing anything, I’m excited (and a little intimidated) about taking action. Here are some of my goals for this spring….
1 / Write every day, even if it’s just in my journal.
2 / Practice drawing & illustrating regularly.
3 / Shoot more in film, especially when I’m out with friends.
4 / Spend more time with friends exploring places like museums, coffee shops and bookstores.
5 / Start an Instagram and Etsy shop for my artwork.
6 / Organize my room and workspace to have a more meditative place to write and illustrate.
These are just a few things that I’ve been meaning to do lately and I think it’s reasonable to believe I can do all of them this spring. I have been so inspired lately by writers, artists, music and film and I’m optimistic about starting my own projects and finishing a few that I’ve been working on for awhile. Time will tell if we see these advancements soon! Talk soon…
The second that I read the summary for This Little Art by Kate Briggs I knew I had to read it. This is all about the art of translating and the importance of language in literature.
Kate Briggs writes in such a striking way that every sentence matters, and I found myself hanging on every single word. She uses metaphors and examples for those of us who aren’t fluent in multiple languages (me) so that we can comprehend the minute details that go along with translating and interpreting stories. I found each new section of the book refreshingly witty. For example, you can see here that this portion is called “Don’t Do Translations.” The power behind her ideas stems from varied pieces of work, writers and translators to broaden the world of literature and the way stories in their native tongue are told.
P.S. This book reads very academic, but it is worth the concentration. I highly recommend this book for something different than normal fiction that is beautifully articulate and eye-opening.
“In this sense, literary translation, as a labour of changing words, and changing the orders of words, is always and from the outset wrong: its wrongness is a way of indirectly stressing and restressing the rightness of the original words in their right and original order.” -Kate Briggs
Knits layered with lace and crescent moon accents. Long and comfortable cardigans to keep out the winter chill. Tall leather boots and accessories like safari hats for morning walks through the wood. Shaggy knits and textiles that keep in the warmth while you light a fire in the arctic evenings. And lots of patterns.
I have noticed the Winter Bohemian trend for a little while now and was incredibly inspired by it. I made myself a mixed media piece with a fashion illustration that I did based on what I was seeing in stores and online. Why do I love this trend so much? Winter can easily be focused on tailored jackets and more classic pieces (which I love) but I am enjoying the more organic side of this seasonal fashion. Bohemia has been an overlapping trend for a few years now, and I have adapted it into my wardrobe for every season so far except winter. I wasn’t really sure how! Then I saw the mixture of texture, pattern and embellishments and finally I understood.
One of my favorite stores is Free People, and for awhile they were selling a Jacquard Blocked Coat. As soon as I saw it I fell in love with this trend.
The layering of textiles (sheer, heavy velvet, suede boots) added with the mixture of patterns establishes an eccentric but cultured tone. Laid-back while remaining refined is hard to do, but Free People makes it look easy. This promotional shot also sets the tone with a colorless landscape. No snow, but no colors. There is no visual fall foliage, greenery or blooms. The desaturation compliments the clothing while letting the patterns speak for themselves.
Another piece of inspiration for me is stumbling upon Winter Bohemian weddings. Boho styles for wedding and events has been gaining momentum for years, and I always enjoyed the natural elements. Winter is my favorite season, so seeing people style rustic botanicals, vintage and tarnished pieces and lace accents mixed with a wintry landscape is striking and beautiful. Glamour and Grace Blog did a fantastic shoot with some talented stylists and photographers. You can see some of the images here:
The scattered letters on a wooden table stopped me first. Let me just say this right here: I like messy. I see the quality in imperfect things. Almost everything that appeals to me has an eccentric element to it, and with eccentricity comes disorder. This can be done in such tasteful way! And I loved the use of single candlesticks and mismatched vintage elements. The flowers included a lot of wildflowers and feathers, bringing the beauty of nature right into the bouquet.
Nature has crept into my personal style as far as clothing and interior styling. Most of my photos include a natural element, whether it is fresh or dried florals, pine cones, or event illustrations of fungi that I love to create. Nature is an inevitable part of bohemia. But there is another element that is sometimes overlooked: Refinement.
Closet London is a UK brand that makes women’s clothes. I came across a promotional video that they created called Bohemian Refine: Winter Collection 2018 which stunned me. There is a blend of rich cultural elements like gem tones and velvet textiles. Feathers, smoky eyes, rings on every finger. Lush roses that match a just-bitten color on the lips. Oriental rugs and talisman-style necklaces hanging low on the body. And the setting: Low lighting, dusty streams of sunlight coming from a far window with patterns painted onto the walls. This is the heart of bohemia that is sometimes forgotten because of the trendy tall boots and shaggy sweater combination. Dig deeper. There’s more, and the heart of this trend is an endless pool of inspiration.
Here is a digital moldboard I put together for this style. Once the holidays pass and what we’re left with is the desolation of winter, these kinds of styles pull me through. They feel timeless and elegant without trying too hard. And not to mention, with all those shaggy textures, I’m sure to stay way.
Let me know your thoughts on this style. I’m interested in doing these style posts every once in a while when I see something that really hits me. Please visit all of the sites that I’ve linked here for inspiration, they are all so valuable and excellent pieces of work.
I had the hankering to do a wearable makeup look that was inspired by Queenie from Fantastic Beasts with a little bit more spunk (basically the berry lip). I didn’t want to create anything over-the-top, just something a little fancier than my normal makeup that would still look natural going to work or going out with friends. This was extra sparkly on the eyes, and the lip certainly is bold, so it works well for a nighttime look too. Onto the products!
For the most part, I used my Urban Decay Naked Palette (throwback) because it has a great array of matte and glitter shadows. I tried to keep the tone glittery while still having warmth. I did my whole face makeup first and then went on to the next steps.
Step 1: Fill in brows (I used a brown crayon to get fine lines
Step 2: Apply light shimmery shadow all over lids and in corners of eyes
Step 3: Apply a beige matte color to entire lid (pictured below)
Step 4: Apply light matte brown to the entire lid (the previous colors lighten and even out the eyelid for a base)
Step 5: Apply a glittery shadow to the center of lid, inside corners, and under the eye towards the inner corners. Any neutral glitter shade will do, but I used Sidecar in the Naked Palette (my favorite shade)
Step 6: Apple a matte warm brown shadow to your crease (pictured below) and use a thin liner brush to apply it under the eye in the outer corners. Blend everything with a clean brush
Step 7: Apply liquid liner in a modest wing
Step 8: Apply mascara to top AND bottom lashes
Step 9: Apply fake freckles across nose and cheeks (pictured below) by using any light brown color. I used my eyebrow crayon which is very thin
Step 10: Add lipstick of your choice. This depends on where you’ll be wearing your look, but I thought this pop of color was nice against the otherwise nude and shimmery eye makeup
Step 11: The last thing I did was press just a little bit of gold glitter onto the center of my lid to add some warmth, but I didn’t add too much so that the gold was very pigmented and obvious
Here is the finished look! Nothing too special, but it was inspired by the idea of witches and wizards in the 1920’s. I had a lot of fun putting this together!
Winter has crept into our homes, and while there was not much snow on the ground where we live this year, we had our own wonderland inside the home. When I awoke, soft and delicate flakes were falling to the ground, just enough to be magical. That was the first real moment that I felt extreme excitement for this Christmas season. I’m sharing today some of our decor that we set up, which had a lot of woodland themes, but was still kept simple and classic. This is the perfect setup for you if you love Scandinavian-inspired minimalism, but still want those charming touches of the forest.
My parents lived in Europe for years before they had my brother and I, so there are many fun touches that are nods to their time there. We had these adorable crackers that had decorations for The Twelve Days of Christmas, and inside were novelty items, jokes, and paper crowns for us to wear.
Everything that we put candles in were glass to streamline the look, but also to give the evening a more elegant touch.
The entire table was kept white to emulate the snow outside that we wished that we had. We used silver and gold together easily as there wasn’t much color anywhere to clash with anything. A garland of fresh evergreen was placed in the center of the table with eucalyptus, which made the room smell absolutely wonderful.
All of our holiday themes start with inspiration. All throughout the season, we loved the simple theme of different shades of white layered with woodland accents like little animals and fresh greens. Once we started putting things together for the table settings and overall home decor, we couldn’t stop putting these things together!
I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays this year 🙂