Monday, June 30, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

I want you to promise me something. If you love someone, you tell them. Even if you’re scared that it’s not the right thing. Even if you’re scared that it’ll cause problems. Even if you’re scared that it will burn your life to the ground. You say it, and you say it loud. And then you go from there. —   Mark Sloan to Jackson Avery
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Your new favorite suspense author, Gillian Flynn

First things first... she (Gillian Flynn) went to my alma mater, the University of Kansas. Second, she grew up in the same area I did. I found this out after fawning over her writing, so these revelations are in no way causing a bias in my review of her books. Only extreme pride. Excessive fangirling. And excitement that the Kansas City area is now a bit more on people's radars, if even just the slightest bit.

Last year I first read Gone Girl. I was skeptical, as I am not much of a crime/thriller/suspense fan when it comes to my choice of reading. But... it was part of the buy-two-get-one-free deal at the bookstore I was wandering around in London. I was visiting my friends for New Year's, a quick jaunt from Munich, and spent much of my time perusing while they were at work. I knew I needed to load up on English books, my mind having become mush in the past six months from having read so many German books. It doesn't matter how fluent you are in a language, your active translating, 24/7, takes its toll. It's mentally exhausting...

Anyway... I grabbed Gone Girl and two other books (you guys, I'm far too embarrassed to admit what they were. Let's just say they were not worth toting back to the States when I moved home. And that's saying a lot, considering books are like my children).

I began reading it on my flight back to Munich, then on the subway, then raced back to my apartment, hardly throwing off my bags, definitely not taking off my winter layers, and I sat on my couch and finished that puppy by morning.

I couldn't not read it. I had to know. Right then. Sleep was for the weak. 

This book had taken control. I won't delve into the details of the plot, you can find reviews of that and the like anywhere online, trust me. I just want to suggest you go out and grab a copy now. It's phenomenally written with a remarkably hard to predict plot. (And I'm notorious for guessing the ending of movies, books, plays, you name it. I owe that ability to my years and years of watching TV, paid off!)

But here are some quotes to give you a little taste of both the writing and the plot. Consider this your appeteaser (see what I did there, heh.) and go ahead and order the chef special. Someone you know has a copy, trust me. In fact, mine's currently making the rounds in my family. ;) 

I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

Love makes you want to be a better man. But maybe love, real love, also gives you permission to just be the man you are.

Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But also who kinda likes my bullshit.) And yet: Don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re always pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and “playfully” scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about. Those awful if only relationships: This marriage would be great if only…and you sense the if only list is a lot longer than either of them realizes.

Because you can’t be as in love as we were and not have it invade your bone marrow. Our kind of love can go into remission, but it’s always waiting to return. Like the world’s sweetest cancer

’My gosh, why are you so wonderful to me?’
He was supposed to say: ‘You deserve it. I love you.’
But he said,’Because I feel sorry for you.’
‘Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.’

Ironic people always dissolve when confronted with earnestness, it’s their kryptonite.” 

Because isn’t that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood? He gets me. She gets me. Isn’t that the simple magic phrase?

It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.

Men always say that as the defining compliment: the Cool Girl. She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means that I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.
Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see these men - friends, coworkers, strangers - giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much - no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version - maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: ‘I like strong women.’ If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because ‘I like strong women’ is code for ‘I hate strong women.’)

I waited patiently - years - for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to like cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, Yeah, he’s a Cool Guy.

But it never happened. Instead, women across the nation colluded in our degradation! Pretty soon Cool Girl became the standard girl. Men believed she existed - she wasn’t just a dreamgirl one in a million. Every girl was supposed to be this girl, and if you weren’t, then there was something wrong with you.


Also, Gone Girl is becoming a movie. It has a trailer and everything. It's going to be good. I feel it in my bones. 

And Gillian Flynn did a Reddit Ask Me Anything. Flavorwire did a recap of her best answers.

Just finished the second two of her novels, both qually intriguing. Definitely recommend. Will write more on that matter later, though...
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pinned it; Loved it.

1. Must Read — Ten Things I've Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler || Little Things & Curiosities
2. Inspiration for Fringe Garland || Laura Blythman
3. Boss Mama Drew Barrymore || Prêt à Pregnant
4. Beautiful, Truthful Reminder || Ella Frances Sanders
5. Free, Vintage French Cross Stitch Patterns || Sentimental Baby

More of my pins can be found here.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Your worth is not determined by someone else, and other thoughts.

Three of my dear friends are currently in the throes of bitter heartbreaks. And, more than anything, it makes me weep for their ever thinking it has anything to do with their worth

What a ludicrous idea! 

These are three of the kindest, most brilliant, loving people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. The fact that they are hurting kills me. I wish I could take their hurt and make it mine. They don't deserve such sorrow. 

And the truth is, their exes never deserved them, full-stop. 

In a way, what a favor their exes did, letting these beautiful souls go, allowing them to venture on to the loves they deserve. 

But the cost is what can almost blind us all. 

When you're mid-battle of heartbreak warfare, you think of giving up time and time again. You question the point, feel as though you'll never find peace again. Recovery seems like a mythical place you only hear of people reaching.

But you have to keep on, keeping on. Not to prove to everyone that you can (because you can). Not to prove to your ex that they will miss you and regret their ways (because they will). And not because you feel the need to show your worth (you're already worth more than rubies, dear one). 

But because you are going to come out on the other side. Thriving.

You'll find a love that never makes you question your worth. Only one that reminds you of it daily. 

Someone breaking up with you does not diminish your worth.

It never does. 

In fact, sometimes it can prove that your worth was merely too much for someone to handle. 

Did you ever think of that? 

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Words from Wise Women: Katharine Hepburn

Another book I read last summer was Katharine Hepburn's autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life. (Highly recommend it!) It was on sale at my go-to English bookstore in Munich, and it jumped out at me immediately (sale price aside!). Katharine Hepburn is just one of those women you grow up admiring. She's a heroine in her own right, and her story only proves as such. She's an American classic, a beautiful woman, inside and out, one you'd wish was more of an inspiration to girls in today's world.

And, quite honestly, in my book, she's the one true Kate the Great.

“I was brought up by two extremely intelligent people who gave me the greatest gift that man can give anyone, and that is freedom from fear.”

“Children need boundaries, so they can know how far they have to go to get beyond them.”

“The thing about life is that you must survive. Life is going to be difficult, and dreadful things will happen. What you do is move along, get on with it, and be tough. Not in the sense of being mean to others, but being tough with yourself and making a deadly effort not to be defeated.”

“I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man…I’ve just done what I damn well wanted to and I made enough money to support myself. And I ain’t afraid of being alone.” Barbara Walters: “Is that why also you wear pants?” Hepburn: “No, I just wore pants because they’re comfortable.” Walters: “Do you ever wear a skirt, by the way?” Hepburn: “I have one.” Walters: “You have one.” Hepburn: “I’ll wear it to your funeral.”

“Life can be wildly tragic at times, and I’ve had my share. But whatever happens to you, you have to keep a slightly comic attitude. In the final analysis, you have got not to forget to laugh.”

“It’s life isn’t it? You plow ahead and make a hit. And you plow on and someone passes you. Then someone passes them. Time levels.”

“You can’t change the music of your soul.”

“I have many regrets, and I'm sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret...if you have any sense....And if you don't regret them, maybe you're stupid.”

“Everyone thought I was bold and fearless and even arrogant, but inside I was always quaking.”

“The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower—suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.”

“Now how can anybody look at that and not believe in God? I mean, how can anybody look at this and not believe there is some higher power, some divine force at work in the universe greater than Man, some god that created it, that created all this, that created us?”

“Life is to be lived.if you have to support yourself,you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting.And you don't do that by sitting around.”

“I have loved and been in love. There's a big difference.”

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only what you are expecting to give — which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and cannot help giving.” 

(above graphic by me.)
Read more Words from Wise Women here.
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{Quote of the Week.}

You have such a big heart, you’re bound to have it bump a couple of things along the way. Never make it smaller so that your journey will be easier, because there might come a time when you will need the magnitude of your heart to help others in this life. No one wishes the sun to be smaller so that they can find their way west or the north star to find their way home. Be grateful for your big heart, for with each pump brings new life.
—  T.B. LaBerge // Go Now

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Recommended Read: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

I first read this book, The History of Love, last summer on my flight back to Munich. I finished it in the seven hour flight and was seriously bummed when I came to the last page that it was over. Nicole Krauss has a wonderful way of creating a story that makes you feel as though it's somehow connected to your own. It's such a beautiful piece of writing, providing endless lessons and perfect prose. I've seen it quoted often, for various occasions--(I love that Joanna used it on her wedding programs!).                                                

Here are a few I had underlined and dog-eared the pages in my personal copy:

“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” 

[He] slipped his hand into mine, and I thought, An average of seventy-four species become extinct every day, which was one good reason but not the only one to hold someone’s hand, and the next thing that happened was we kissed each other, and I found out I knew how, and I felt happy and sad in equal parts, because I knew that I was falling in love, but it wasn’t with him.

He ran his fingers down her spine over her thin blouse, and for a moment he forgot the danger he was in, grateful for the world which purposefully puts divisions in place so that we can overcome them, feeling the joy of getting closer, even if deep down we can never forget the sadness of our insurmountable differences.

Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost. Because it’s something to do to pass the time until she is old enough to experience the things she writes about.”  

(Then again, the oldest feeling in the world might simply have been confusion.)”  

He knew that “I love you” also means “I love you more than anyone else loves you, or has loved you, or will love you,” and also “I love you in a way that way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.” He knew that it is, by love’s definition, impossible to love two people.” 

We met each other when we were young, before we knew enough about disappointment, and once we did we found we reminded each other of it.”  

She leaned back and looked at him with something like hurt, and then he almost but didn’t say the two sentences he’d been meaning to say for years: Part of me is made of glass, and also, I love you.” 
When you are young, you think it’s going to be solved by love. But it never is. Being close — as close as you can get — to another person only makes clear that impassable distance between you.

So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves.” 

Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist, there are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact.”  

What about you? Are you happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?”
“Of course I am.”
“Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.

And if the man who once upon a time had been a boy who promised he’d never fall in love with another girl as long as he lived kept his promise it wasn’t because he was stubborn or even loyal. He couldn’t help it.” 

Really, there isn’t much to say.
He was a great writer.
He fell in love.
It was his life.


Here's what I'm reading next... what are your summer reads?

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Embracing the Painful Truths

In what seems like a mere flash, I am now twenty+five. I feel as though I blinked at the age of twenty+three and reopened my eyes right into the present. Twenty+four was a blur, but this is not a post about my inability to process the speed at which the years are passing. This is a post written I read on Thought Catalog (among many that have struck a chord in my heart) and wish I could say I had written myself. But, sadly, I did not. The lessons I wholeheartedly agree with, however, and it's wisdom I think should be spread far and wide. 

Without further adieu...

23 Painfully True Lessons You Learn By Age 23, by Sage Michaels || Thought Catalog

1. You are not your failures or rejections. You are not the boy who couldn’t love you, the job you couldn’t get, the school who wait-listed you.

2. You are, however, your passions, your convictions and the company you keep.

3. Blocking toxic people out is hard, healthy and needed. You may regret blocking people out. But you will ultimately rejoice in a toxic-free life.

4. You are unique, and your experience with people is unique. Your relationships can never be repeated, replaced; only remembered.

5. Have the courage to be yourself all the time.

6. Show your love. Especially to your parents. We are all living on borrowed time, don’t waste the moment you could have said, “I love you, Mom and Dad.”

7. Don’t be the life of a pity party. No one enjoys the tear-stained favors or melancholy attitude.

8. Trust your intuition. Period.

9. Know when to fight. More importantly, know when to walk away. And keep walking.

10. Never regret speaking your mind and respecting yourself. Even if it compromises your reputation, your relationships or “looking psycho”. Never regret loving yourself enough to call out people who don’t.

11. She’s no you. And you aren’t her either. So stop comparing yourself, there is no comparison.

12. You can only overcome self-harm with self-love.

13. You were created to be something magnificent. Honor that.

14. Continue to be outspoken. Some will find it scary, some will find it sexy, but you will find it liberating.

15. You may not have the person you want, but you have your integrity. Hold onto it. It will get you through difficult periods with grace and poise. Don’t succumb to low levels of revenge and desperation. Continue to be dignified even when it seems unfair or unresponsive.

16. Before you do something, question your motives. We all have demons but we all have a responsibility to tame them before they turn into our monsters.

17. If you apologize, mean it.

18. Be good to the ones who are good to you.

19. God will speak to you through other people, dreams, and music. Listen.

20. We have so many different chapters in this lifetime. People are not meant to be “main characters” throughout our story. That doesn’t mean we won’t find our happy ending.

21. Some people will take you for granted. Some will emotionally abuse you. This is their problem. Unfortunately you will be casualty in someone’s personal battle, but again, this is their problem.

22. It is never too late to change and grow.

23. Forgive. Forgive your enemies and forgive yourself.
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Monday, June 16, 2014

Websites Worth Reading: The Toast.

I've found myself reevaluating my list of go-to daily reads. As I said in my last post, so many of my favorite websites and blogs have become less than inspirational. Of course there are still my forever reads, the sites I'll probably always give a chance, even when the content wavers between dull and absolutely remarkable. But they're sites that have provided me with more interesting reads than not, so I feel as though my loyalty stands with them. Occasionally dull or not. (As this blog is equally guilty of sometimes being. I'm working on changing that, though. Promise.)

The Toast is a new(ish) site that has instantly risen to the top of daily stops. It's full of original content, and can be incredibly insightful, as well as leave you with splattered tea across your screen from laughter at the most inconvenient of moments. 

I've included some of my personal favorite posts below, some funny, some insightful, some absurdly hilarious. Just a sampling of the wit and intellect you're certain to find on The Toast.

A picnic has gone horribly wrong.

You have five hundred a year. From who? Five hundred what? No one knows. No one cares. You have it. It’s yours. Every year. All five hundred of it.

You are in a garden, and you are astonished.

A woman who hates you is playing the pianoforte.


Let’s go out tonight okay
we don’t have to do anything big but I think we should go out
just for dinner or something
I think that would be a good idea

Go out, Again?-
I went Out to Mount Holyoke

for college
you went there for college thirteen years ago

 And now I must rest.

A Few of Fraulein Maria’s Favorite Things, As Ranked by Louisa Von Trapp

4. Bright Copper Kettles: I can’t say I’ve ever really given bright copper kettles much thought, but they sound pleasant enough. Nice and shiny, and like maybe someone could make me a nice pot of soup in it. It’s a little random, but then Fraulein Maria is often a little random-seeming, what with all her breaking into song at odd moments and those terrible clothes and whatnot.

12. Wild Geese that Fly with the Moon on their Wings: This sounds so nice. Majestic waterfowl in flight! In the moonlight! Great! But let’s take a closer look. First of all, geese are aggressive. They will bite their own grandmother to get at a moldy piece of bread and they would have knocked down wee Gretel as soon as look at her. Second, they are basically loudly honking machines for the production of foul green shit. Third, I grant you that the moon on their wings is a poetic touch. But if they are flying and you are looking at them, how the hell will you see the moon on their wings? You are below them, the moon is above, shining presumably on the tops of their wings. Can’t see it. Don’t care.

13. Silver White Winters that Melt into Springs: This manages to make mud sound poetic, but let’s be real, here’s what we’re talking about when we talk about snowmelt: Sodden lawns dotted with the dog shit and trash the snow has been covering all winter long.

The Fault In Our Stars’ Deleted Scenes
[A GIRL enters, coughing blood into a handkerchief]
GIRL: no
[A BOY enters, coughing blood into a handkerchief. An accordion plays.]
BOY: yes
they kiss

Like our Queen B, Millay used her hot party girl persona to get her voice on the airwaves, and then she used that access to broadcast her feminist subliminal messages. (Thanks to Jess Zimmerman for this metaphor.) I mean, imagine the “Single Ladies” dance happening while you read this:
I, that had been to you, had you remained,
But one more waking from a recurrent dream,
Cherish no less the certain stakes I gained,
And walk your memory’s halls, austere, supreme,
A ghost in marble of a girl you knew
Who would have loved you in a day or two.
Shoulda put a ring on it.

“We’re Fine Here, How Are You?” Normal Moments In Art History Where No One Is About To Get Murdered

hey guys hey come on in just come right on in i’m so glad you’re here by yourselves just the two of you 

we’re going to have such a good normal time in this cave together 

Nothing Is Wrong: Women, Mental Illness, and Medication

The stigma of privilege has a lot to do with women’s silence around meds. Affluent, educated women know that they have no right to complain about their lot in life. Indeed, to spend so much time ruminating on one’s own psyche is an indicator of ample resources and leisure. Nothing is wrong, we say. I have everything anyone could want, my problems aren’t so large, it’s not a big deal. This line of thought can be dangerous, because the person devalues their own experience. They exist as a “failed subject” in a privileged medicalized world, and should do their best if not to hide this failure, then at least not to complain about it. But if nothing is wrong, why do we need to be medicated? Am I actually crazy?  

P.S. This post I featured was from The Toast.
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{Quote of the Week.}

❝ To have the grace to accept what isn’t meant for you is cultivated by finding hope, trust and faith that you will find greater things, bigger loves and better days. Knowing that when things least look like they’re going to change, that’s usually when they do. ❞ -Brianna Wiest
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Saturday, June 14, 2014

What's in a blog: An Airing of Grievances (kind of)

I started collecting quotes I liked on around 9th grade. This was pre-tumblr, pre-blogging--or rather, my discovery of. But I loved the inspiration I gathered and filed away into neat little folders on my account. It's where I would go when wallowing in the throes of whatever highs school heartbreak I was experiencing that week. It was as though those quotes could snap me out of it; a smelling salts of reality, if you will.

Then I discovered blogging. 

I happened upon inspirational blogs during what I would argue were "the hay days" of inspirational blogs. I was immediately hooked. So many souls with similar hopes sharing their bits of wisdom and finds as if we were all on a team, cheering each other on with advice and proverbs of sorts. 

Then Tumblr came along and things shifted a bit. But this didn't affect the main blogosphere too much. The two actually coexisted brilliantly--almost complementing one another somehow.

And, of course, Pinterest. 

Which may have taken a bit away from the main blog stream, however, I'd say it created a hybrid of mediums, making it easier for people to draw inspiration from multiple sources in one spot. My mom, for instance, can't manage navigating through a blog roll. Well she can, it's not that she's incapable. She just doesn't have the patience or time to go through them, one by one. 

Understandable. Life happens. Blogging is a part of life. It is not your life. 

But I digress. 

In the last few years a shift has occurred in the blogosphere. And not one that is particularly positive. First it was the influx of sponsorships, and, when done ethically (proper acknowledgement of said sponsorship, etc.) it was seen as being a smart, savvy way to make money while running your blog--still is. Still can be.

I get it. The blog world got it. No big deal.

And then, little by little, design blogs became live advertisements for scotch tape, mommy blogs began shelling bleach pens, and salad dressings were being hocked on party planning blogs. 

And again, money. I get it.

But then affiliate links starting trickling their way into everyday posts.

I saw a post about a recently passed author which included links to some of her books. Links that, when clicked, earn the blogger money. Besides this being, in my opinion, a bit tacky, there was absolutely no disclosure to the links. 

I have seen endless bloggers "curate" gift guides only to provide an endless list of gifts with affiliate links to product after product. 90 percent of the time these links are not disclosed. 

My university's School of Journalism had extensive courses on ethics. In said courses we discussed whether or not you could accept a meal comped as a food critic and had endless debates on accepting gifts of any kind from sources. We listened for hours about the importance of proper sourcing and the importance of your credibility as a writer, editor, etc. I always thought these debates were excessive, often baffled that people couldn't draw a line between right and wrong--how conflict of interest was such a difficult concept for some, and how it could affect your reputation in media. 

Then I looked at, about, ten "big name" blogs. And I was flabbergasted by the numerous things so glaringly unethical. What's worse, sometimes even illegal.

Do I think the FTC will actually hold these bloggers accountable and we can soon look forward to an "Orange is the New Chevron" miniseries of said violators? No. Do I think it's still incredibly tacky and a little offensive that some bloggers think I'm dumb enough for such click bait to pad their pockets, literally? Absolutely. 

The problem with this new formula for success -- though wildly lucrative for the blogger, from what I have researched -- is the fact it dilutes the quality of content, diminishes the trust with readers. Blogs I once looked to for inspiration and new ideas have become one big advertisement.  
Is this post really endorsing X because you liked it? Or did you get $ for a quick mention and photo of your using it? 

 It's become a guessing game. 

I understand that these blogs have become self-described brands. There's no harm in branding your online presence. It's actually quite a smart move. But if you brand yourself as a business, you have to start acting like one. 

I've heard the argument many times from these bloggers that "magazines are like one big advertisement!" This is true. But magazines have to follow regulations, pay their writers legally, and are held accountable for their content. Magazines receive endless amounts of negative feedback, as any publication does. It's part of the game. If you're selling a product, your consumer will expect a product of quality. Magazines also report their earnings in their taxes. (Which I'd be surprised if many bloggers do this at all, when applicable.)

These magazines, in turn, do not flood to their proverbial twitter soapboxes and cry "bully!" when their product/content is called out. 

The difference with these blogger/brands is that they love to toe the line.

One week it's all sponsored content, because "they're a business, after all." The next week they are "just being brave putting their lives out there!" 

Unfortunately, with the internet, some negative comments are neither constructive, nor particularly eloquent. But there are a lot of constructive, poignant comments on many "brand" blogger posts that are deemed "bullying" and that is absolutely ludicrous. 

I remember my first creative writing workshop class at college. I remember the tears stinging my cheeks as my writing was ripped apart. And I'll never forget the comment scribbled in pen across the title page of my first piece: "A lawn mower manual was more exciting than this drivel." 

I also remember my friend calling my bullshit when I said I was being bullied. 

She looked at me across the lunch table and said, "Anna, get used to it. We're writers. This is what we signed up for. Do you wanna get better? Then remember the comments that stung the most next time you're writing. If it stung it must have been on to something. Was your story boring as a lawn mower manual?" 

It was. 

And, in fact, while writing this I can already feel it venturing into "lawn mower manual" material...

The point I'm trying to make is this: if you're in the business of blogging, in the literal sense, take pride in your work. Respect your readers. Don't put more value on a dollar than your reputation. And, if you are putting it out there, own it. Not everyone will like you. You will get heartless comments sometimes. You will also get comments that are constructive, learn from these.

The good news is this: not everyone has to like you.

But people will respect you a whole hell of a lot more if you respect yourself enough to have pride in what you put out there.

As the brilliant Nuala O'Faolain once stated: "Stand by it."

That's the blogging we used to see; That's the blogging that I miss. 

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

"These things are your becoming."

Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.

The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.

One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.
Say thank you.
Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Slaughterhouse 90210: The Intersection of Screen and Books.

I am not ashamed to admit that I spend probably far too much time in front of the TV and have gone one too many nights without sleep to finish just one more chapter of a book. It is then no surprise that I was absolutely ecstatic when I came across Slaughterhouse 90210, a blog that pairs television and movie scenes with quotes from literature of every genre. I love the parallels--the pairing of unlikely sources together in a way that somehow works. The intersection of screen and books; a brilliant match.

"We had put almost all of our possessions in storage, which was a metaphor for being twenty, as were so many things.” ― Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs
“The thing is, dating jerks—and most of us have experienced at least one—isn’t all bad. Dating jerks can help you learn who the good guys are, as long as you pay attention and stop dating jerks.” — Jen Doll, Save the Date
"Communication is truth; communication is happiness. To share is our duty; to go down boldly and bring to light those hidden thoughts which are the most diseased; to conceal nothing; to pretend nothing; if we are ignorant to say so; if we love our friends to let them know it.”― Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader: First Series
 "The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like interarching searchlights." — Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance
"This was before voice mail, recorded phone messages you can’t escape. Life was easier then. You just didn’t pick up the phone.” ― Joyce Carol Oates, Beasts
“I count too heavily on birthdays, though I know I shouldn’t. Inevitably I begin to assess my life by them, figure out how I’m doing by how many people remember; it’s like the old fantasy of attending your own funeral: You get to see who your friends are, get to see who shows up. ” ― Lorrie Moore, Anagrams
“There was an inevitability about the road towards each other which encouraged meandering along the route.” ― Zadie Smith, NW
"You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked up and felt much better." ― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
"You will always be loved, and you will always be in love with love. A grande passion is the privilege of people who have nothing to do. That is the one use of the idle classes of a country. Don’t be afraid. There are exquisite things in store for you. This is merely the beginning.”― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

 P.S. There's going to be a book made from the blog. Rad, right?!

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Monday, June 9, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

Sometimes I remind myself that I almost skipped the party, that I almost went to a different college, that the whim of a minute could have changed everything and everyone. Our lives, so settled, so specific, are built on happenstance.
-Anna Quindlen, Every Last One
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Thursday, June 5, 2014

On why the 'OCD should be CDO' joke isn't funny and other misunderstandings about OCD

When I came across the following satirical piece I wanted to climb on the nearest chair and slow clap. What a brilliant way to express what it feels like when your suffering is misunderstood, seemingly minimizing it. I wrote a piece on just that. You can read it here.

New Strain of “Super OCD” Sweeping the Nation 
By Holly Tousignant || The Toast 

Experts across the country are warning that America is in the throes of a new mental health epidemic. Over the past decade, psychologists have reported record numbers of those who suffer from being, like, suuuuper OCD – and the figures are only getting worse.

“Super OCD” is not to be confused with textbook obsessive compulsive disorder, which can be characterized by unwanted compulsive rituals and disturbing intrusive thoughts that detract from one’s quality of life. Rather, those who are super OCD report experiencing symptoms that include adherence to conventions of basic human hygiene and really liking their pencils to be sharp.

“It’s a nightmare,” said Amy Smith, whose harrowing journey to acceptance began when she took an online quiz that one time which gauged her reaction to disturbing images like crooked pictures and floor tiles that don’t match up.

“When I see something that is uneven, it kind of bugs me. Almost no one else feels this way; I am very unique,” Smith confessed. “I’m able to forget about the uneven thing as soon as I look away, but for those few seconds the mild displeasure is overwhelming.”

Jane Lee first suspected she was super OCD after she spent a leisurely afternoon alphabetizing her collection of cookbooks. Her fears were confirmed when a co-worker wore mismatched socks to the office and she felt compelled to look away.

“I’ll be out with friends and everything is going fine, and then something will happen – someone will drop a slice or pizza or spill wine down my shirt, so I’ll say ‘better clean that up.’ And everyone will just go silent,” Lee said. “It’s like the elephant in the room.”

Lee experienced the stigma associated with the illness firsthand when her cousin Jen, who has conventional obsessive compulsive disorder, suggested that Lee was not, in fact, super OCD.

“For some people mental illness means debilitating panic attacks and uncontrollable, repetitive actions, and for others it means preferring your jackets face the same way in your closet,” Lee said. “It’s a spectrum.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Frank Black studies the disorder and deems himself a pioneer in the field. According to Black, super OCD is still considered a fringe issue, with many health professionals unwilling to classify it as “something that exists.”

“Some of my colleagues would define mental illness as that which ‘interferes with people’s lives,’ but I think that’s a narrow-minded way of looking at things,” he said. “I had this one patient who would sometimes double-check that he’d locked his car. The seconds it took for him to do that are seconds he’ll never get back.”

Black has dedicated his career to developing treatment strategies for patients like Amy and Jane, and he hopes other brave sufferers will continue to come out of their immaculate closets and seek the therapy they need.

“If I can help even one person hang their blue sweaters next to their red sweaters, I know I’ll have done my job.”

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

I will not be ‘famous,’ ‘great.’ I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded. - A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf  

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