We Are Okay

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Hello Everyone,

I had the pleasure of reading one of the most beautiful books this past week. I’d been in a reading rut, and I couldn’t seem myself getting out of it. I kept seeing stellar reviews of this book by Nina Lacour, and I finally went off to the bookstore to buy it. I read it in two days (and I was trying to pace myself).

Here’s what I have to say about this book: I could not put it down. It was tragic and excruciatingly beautiful. There is a quote on the back that says something along the lines of “This book is so beautiful I could barely breathe.” That is 100% how I felt about it, and I would pick it up and read it again right now. If you are needing an emotional read about friendship, love, and loss, I suggest getting emerged into this book.

My one warning is that this is very sad, possibly the saddest thing that I’ve read in the last six months. But it was really relatable from an anxiety-ridden person’s standpoint, and the journeys that the characters go through in a matter of 3 days is astonishing. These characters, themes, and symbolism was hands-down perfect.

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Book Description:

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Obviously, this is a teen book, so it’s easy and pretty simple. But that does not mean it lacks any substance, and I truly mean it when I say I cried my way through the end.

Talk to you very soon!

-Heather

On the Grounds of Edith Wharton

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Today the sun was finally shining on us strong enough to warm up the air, and we took advantage of it with a little day trip.

Lenox, MA is home to many talented individuals, famous and not, and being in the area is exciting. The appeal is apparent. The woods are lush but not too dense, and the rolling hills are beautiful, even without any leaves on the trees. I was itching to get to The Mount, which is the enormous estate that the talented Edith Wharton built and lived in. The house is closed up and won’t open again until it gets warmer, but the grounds were all ours to roam.

I had been here once before, but I didn’t know who lived here, and even if I had, I doubt I would have understood the significance. The walk to the mansion was beautiful and sunny, and I imagined if Edith strolled along those roads while she pondered her latest writings. I like to think so.

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The estate is impressive, but the gardens are what interest me. And even though nothing is in bloom right now, the skeletons of all the dormant plants are beautiful. The way the gardens are laid out give the feeling of some sort of labyrinth, and the mysterious vines hang eerily over the old stone. I tip-toed under the arches and pondered what a hot summer night must be like here. I’m guessing it must be some sort of heaven.

I can’t imagine living in a place like this, but I’m sure a well-off famous author could. You might get yourself turned around, thinking you are really in some scene from Harry Potter, but a glance up at the home will remind you that you’re in the heart of New England. I felt suddenly very lucky that I get to live in this great state.

One can only imagine what this place must look like in the fall. Both times I’ve come have been off season, but they were still extremely pleasing experiences.

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Something I’ve noticed from visiting great mansions like this is that the grandness of it sometimes leads you to miss the details of things. I tried to really take in the grounds, as the next time I come here will probably in the summer when we can do a home tour. Today, I took my time and roamed amongst the large shrubs and trees. I tried to hone in on those little details, the things that we sometimes look over. Some of these little buds were stretching off the vines and I couldn’t help but reach out and touch them with the very tips of my fingers.

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Let me know if any of you frequently go to Lenox, or if you’ve been to Edith Wharton’s home. I thought it was incredibly breathtaking. I truly did not want to leave.

 

“Set wide the window. 

Let me drink the day.”

-Edith Wharton

 

Book Club: March 2nd 2017

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Reading about Georgia O’Keeffe through her letters was an incredible experience because it was so intimate and personal that you really felt as though she might be writing to you. I have limited knowledge of this great American artist before reading the book Georgia O’Keeffe Art and Letters, and now I feel that my eyes have been opened to her genius and peculiar personality. Like most of my favorite artists, she did not crave the limelight, but found herself enveloped in the process of her work and the subjects that she loved to paint.

Her relationships with people seemed to determine the way her personality appeared to each person, as some saw her in one light and others saw her in entirely another. But what I found so relatable was the sacred way she kept to herself, using privacy and aloneness as inspiration and expression.

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I really highly recommend this book, especially for art lovers out there. I will say though that it is a huge book, and reading in bed or in bathtubs might not be preferable.

Favorite quote:

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.”

If you have read this book, please let me know what you thought! I was lucky enough to see an exhibit at the MFA in Boston that had O’Keeffe’s paintings, and I was really blown away by her talent.

If you want to see what else I’m up to, catch me on Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest!

Talk to you soon,

-Heather

Bookstore Part II

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Here are some more photos from my bookstore trip a few weeks ago! Enjoy 🙂

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I am hoping that the weather will get nicer soon so that I can go on some more adventures. It’s hard to do anything when you’re tunneling through snowbanks. But spring is on its way!

To see what else I’m up to, you can check out my Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest!

Talk to you soon,

-Heather

Love Your Local Library

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Libraries, the beautiful sanctuaries that share knowledge and comfort with the general public, are starting to crumble.

I believe that libraries are gifts to our communities, gifts that have been overshadowed by the advancing technology and handheld devices that steal our attention. When I was in school in the Boston area, I would see busy young students bustling to the library with armfuls of books and pencils and it made me feel warm and fuzzy, but more importantly, it made me feel productive. After moving home, I noticed that the libraries that exist in rural areas are dwindling with their doors wide open and begging the general public to take a look at what they have to offer.

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Let’s start here: Why are libraries important?

-Free books!!! (THIS IS THE BEST PERK)

-Free NEW DVD’s (And British shows! And indie foreign films!)

-Research resources!!

-Free help for any reference questions!

-Free computer use & cheap printing!

-Quiet study space surrounded by a sea of the best writers in the world!

Why wouldn’t you spend time at a library? They are quiet beautiful spaces where you can roam freely and take out any book you can get your hands on. Sadly, less people think of turning to the library, and they don’t even consider it an option when they want to read something. It has become out-of-practice for some people to step foot into their local library.

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Now let’s talk about this: Why are libraries good for communities?

-They promote sustainability (don’t buy new books, share them!)

-You can meet like-minded individuals between the stacks of your favorite genre/author/topic. Robert Putnam said: “People may go to the library looking mainly for information, but they find each other there.”

-They spread knowledge and resources to the public that might not have access to it otherwise OR might not have known where to find it

-They celebrate diversity and learning

-College is expensive, libraries are free to use

-Book clubs offer stories that people read together that might NOT have tried to read on their own, which promotes growth and exploration of literature

-Tutoring services are available

 

I am asking anyone who reads this post and is intrigued, answer me this in the comments: What would encourage you to visit the library? What are your favorite parts of the library that you think invite people inside?

“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty

because somebody will always be in it

taking books off the shelves and staying up late

reading them.”

-Lemony Snicket

 

 

Book Club: February 9th, 2017

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As you may have gathered from my previous post, I reread The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was so magic and wonderful and a beautiful story to dive into during these cold winter days.

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This is one of my favorite books of all time, and I highly recommend that you read it if you haven’t already!

Best quote:

“Where there’s life there’s hope.”

I also think it’s one of those stories that you can return to every so often and be charmed over and over again. As for me, I’m nursing a cold and stuck inside due to the feet of snow that are piling up outside my windows. I’m thinking of something a little different for my next read. I love the snow outside, but The Hobbit got me in a spring-y mood. I’m itching for the days that it gets warm in the afternoons and we can maybe plant some new flowers.

(I’ll leave you with another quote from the book because they are all SO good.)

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

There & Back Again (A Hobbit Terrarium DIY)

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I called my brother downstairs and asked him if he could possibly help me make Bilbo’s hobbit hole from The Hobbit. I should have known that he would make something spectacular, something wildly more impressive than I could ever dream of making, and he made it all in one night. I am putting this out there, all the credit for this project goes to him, I just came up with the idea! The first thing we did was shave down a piece of foam with a floral knife to get the hill shape of the hobbit hole. This part was a lot of trial and error and shaving it down and shaping it just right. It also made a mess, so be prepared with a trash bag!

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The next think that we did (and continued to do) was fit the foam inside the terrarium. I bought this at Michael’s and had been eyeing it for some time. It’s on sale right now, so I couldn’t turn it down. It was the perfect size of a little hobbit home.

After fitting the foam inside, more shaving and shaping was done until it looked perfect. I also have to give a shout out to my brother for being so meticulous, as he wanted to make sure everything was formatted right and would sit right inside the terrarium. Depending on what shape you get, your hobbit hole might look different. We took into account that we would probably need room for moss, so we shaped it and then put moss inside to feel it out. Our little hill is a crescent semicircle that the front of the house will be put onto. The flat side is where your door will go. 

We looked up photos from the movies of what his house looked like, but I also am reading the illustrated version right now which has a gorgeous picture of Bilbo’s home. Our goal was to make it look whimsical and cozy.

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The detailing was all done with the cardboard from an old cereal box that he carved with an exacto knife.

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We glued the moss on top when done and were left with this beautiful little structure! He even draped some moss hanging over the edge the mountain, which I think is so cute.

Bilbo goes up the steps to his house, so my brother made stones out of foam by carving them and painting them perfectly!

I can definitely see Gandalf walking up to this door to trick Bilbo into an adventure. I also think it’s the cutest accessory for anyone who loves the terrarium trend but also loves literature!

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What do you think of our project? I am so excited to set this up in my room and maybe hang it from the ceiling. Maybe if this goes over well, we can make more with other books/movies/tv shows. I was so excited to share this here and showcase my brother’s talents! I love this addition to the decor in my room.

“I have found that it is the small

everyday deeds of ordinary folk

that keep the darkness at bay. 

Small acts of kindness

and love.”

-Gandalf