About Me

Musings of a hopeful wanderer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review: Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games"

This was my first foray into young adult literature and I'm totally hooked. I LOVED this book (along with anyone who read it, ever). 

The first book in an eponymous trilogy, The Hunger Games tells the story of a horrifying future in which the former United States (now Panem) is forced to "sacrifice" one 12-18 year old boy and girl from each of the 12 districts of Panem.  Once chosen, the 24 young adults must compete in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death competition in which only one may survive. 

For me, the real reason to get behind this book is Katniss Everdeen. The first-person protagonist, Katniss, is a refreshingly complex female character. Rarely does a young woman get portrayed with such complexity--void of cliches or stereotypes, Katniss is exactly the kind of heroine I would've loved as a young adult. She is easy to identify with because she's complicated--not quite strong, certainly not weak; not girly, sexy, innocent, or tough; indeed, she's all of these things throughout the course of the novel, at times simultaneously.

Collins writes with little gusto--as a first-person novel, Katniss' thoughts are brief and to the point.  Yet the story she weaves is poetic and once you start, you cannot put it down.   This book is recommended for everyone! Specifically, though, any woman who is craving a female character who is as conflicted and complex as themselves.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Date night

On Friday, Ed surprised me by announcing he had made reservations for the two of us at a semi-fancy restaurant nearby.  Ed is probably the least romantic person I know.  (Ok, in all fairness, he's just romantic in his own way.  A way that is usually very cheap.)  He even followed it up by taking me to the second-highest point in Austin to watch the sunset.  We came home and watched "Alien," his favorite movie.  That Ed, sometimes.

We agreed to do a mutual no-spend month for April on account of a million reasons, mostly that we've overshot our budget the last couple of months.  So I think this all-out $70+ dinner was our one last hurrah.  Also, it takes no convincing to give me an excuse to get all dolled up.

I'm looking longingly at my shoes.  They're new (overspending!) and I seriously am in love with them.  I catch myself staring at them constantly.  Ed was a little bit of an intruder on mine and my shoe's date night.

Skirt: Tulle
Blouse: H&M
Shoes: Steve Madden "Daydreem"
Loving look: My shoe's little laces and cut-outs and yessss

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To-do lists

Do y'all make to-do lists?  Of course you do, they are totally reasonable.  Everyone who doesn't make to-do lists, wants to, I'm sure of it.

My to-do list is about 47 items long today.  I'm having the hardest time re-adjusting to a school schedule (and my new job starts next week, so I better re-adjust quickly).  The thing is, I spent all of spring break napping and reading.  Napping and reading!  Life's two greatest pleasures.  Now I have to learn JavaScript?  I have to run errands?  I have applications for things? Exercise?!  No, thank you.  I'd rather nap.

This outfit is from a date night.  We saw "Paul" with a couple of friends.  I don't normally see comedies at theaters because I'm grumpy and rarely find them funny, but this one was!  Simon Pegg and Nick Frost write "smart" comedies--the writing is great and they make a lot of references to Sci-Fi movies (a particular favorite of mine).  So, um, go see it!

Dress: boutique in Chicago
Blouse: boutique in San Marcos, TX of all places
Shoes: UO
80 degrees and windy: a normal spring day in Texas

Monday, March 21, 2011


Whew, spring break is over!

I don't really mean to be excited about that--I spent my days reading and napping.  I finished a nonfiction book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and a large graphic novel, Y: The Last Man.  Both were excellent.

Rather, I'm excited that stupid South by Southwest is over.  I know that makes me uncool.  But I hate crowds and traffic and youngsters.  Yes I am 24 going on 50.

Anyway, I know that spring has just hit most of the country, but it's been spring here in central Texas for at least all of March.  I can prove it:

Those are bare arms and legs, people. BARE ARMS.  I know I'm getting ahead of myself, what with wearing summery clothing in March.  What the hell am I going to do come July?  But its hard to resist baring some skin when the weather is just so nice.  So, my non-Texas friends, be jealous.  But only for a bit, the 90-degree days are just around the corner.

Oh yeah, are we friends on Twitter?  We ought to be, you know.

Tank and shoes: Urban Outfitters
Skirt: second hand via Elaine
Belt: thrifted
Front bangs: wonderful people at Birds Barbershop

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lazy days

I'm loving Spring Break, y'all.  This morning, after returning from my daily workout, I drank an entire pot of coffee and read a book for nearly two straight hours.  Then I took my dog on a walk.  Then I napped.  Then I made myself a club sandwich.
This is not exactly what I wore (I wore this last week, as evidenced by my side bangs) but I'm wearing something very similar!  Even on lazy days, I still have to look cute.
Hey did you know that I'm on Twitter?  I am.  Also, Good Reads, if you're into that sort of thing.

Shirt: gift from my mother
Skirt and belt and shoes: thrifted 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Zombie chase

When watching apocylptic movies (and I do frequently), I'm always surprised by how appropriately dressed everyone is.  Comfortable pants, layers on top, shoes conducive to running.  Often at the end of the day I think to myself "good thing a zombie outbreak didn't happen today, I'm totally inappropriately dressed for long-distance running." 

On the day I wore this, though, I think I'd be ok.  It's a dress, sure, but I'm wearing a linen shirt up top!  I feel like linen is always going to be a good way to go, it being so strong and all.

Also, my shoes have laces.  While laced shoes are not a Zombieland rule of survival, I think it would make a big difference.

Also, I know I'm late to the tied-shirt-over-a-dress party, but better late than never!

Shirt: Brooks Brothers, thrifted
Dress: thrifted
Shoes: Target
Outfit: Zombie-ready

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review: Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom"

Freedom is the second of Franzen's novels and the second that I've read.  He has a knack for showing the intimacies of a family--more often than not, uncomfortably so--and no one is ever as they appear to be.

Freedom follows the turbulence of a traditional four-person nuclear family from St. Paul, Minnesota.  In true Franzian style, the narrative follows the perspective of many people and the main plot points are revealed slowly over 500+ pages.  Perhaps autobiographical, he really cuts deep into layers of family life, particularly how the people we love are the ones against whom our transgressions are greatest.  Franzen really challenges notions of "good" and "bad;" "right" and "wrong."  The ones I first sympathized with in the beginning, I wanted to strangle in the end (and vice versa, for the most part).  The story was hilarious, tragic, raw, and delicate (and, nearing 500 pages, I wouldn't expect much less).

It seems to me, though, that Franzen doesn't much like women.  In both Freedom and The Corrections, the female characters are obnoxious; they're selfish, manipulative, self-indulgent, and fairly uni-dimensional.  The majority of the plot of Freedom follows the actions and consequences of the wife and mother, Patty, though at times she seemed to be little else than a prop.  Without many real motivations outside of competition and pursuit of instant gratification, it was hard to know whether to hate her or pity her.  Perhaps, though, that is the point.

Freedom is a totally enjoyable and surprisingly quick read.  I recommend it to anyone who isn't afraid to look back on their own mistakes to make meaning (and maybe even something beautiful) of them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New job!

Brief post here, I'm feeling too good to sit in front of a computer screen.

I've been whispering here and there about a potential new job and today, it's official.  I'm one of the newest interns for the Austin Public Library youth and teen department!

Am I going to get paid for doing work in a library?  Yes.  Am I going to get paid to promote information and technology literacy among low-income youth? You bet.  Am I pumped? OH YEAH BABY.

Ok, whew, I got carried away there for a second.

Anyhow, I wore this outfit last week.  It came together in the last few minutes before I had to run out the door to catch my bus for class.  I think it came together rather well, wouldn't you say so?
I'm feeling grateful for a lot of other things today (among them, sunshine and my live-in bubby (that's like hubby, but boyfriend)) but I'll save that for another day.

Top (it's actually a dress, so clever I am): H&M
Belt: H&M
Skirt: Gap
Socks: Target
Boots: via DSW

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I dare you to tell me we aren't the cutest ever.

Double-dog dare.

Jacket and dress: thrifted
Shoes: Urban Outfitters

Shirt: American Eagle, thrifted
Pants: Gap, mega mega sale
Shoes: thrifted

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Foodie in Training

It's no secret that I love to eat.  In the last year or so, Ed and I have tried to be really conscientious about making our own food and really reducing anything processed.  Every week we make a menu for ourselves that includes all three meals, and every Sunday we go shopping for those items.  We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but we feel more nourished, healthy, and its something we enjoy doing together.

I'm still a pretty strict recipe follower, at least the first time I make something.  I'd like to get to the point where I can just throw things together, but at this point I'm just pleased if what I put on the table resembles the picture in the recipe.  It's the process, not perfection.

I get recipes from  few different places, but my consistent go-tos are Cheap Healthy Good and Real Simple.  They are guaranteed tasty, take less than a half hour to prepare, and most of the time the ingredients are well within our budget.

Tonight's dinner came from Real Simple, and while the chorizo isn't terribly good for you, it was tasty.

Sorry for the lighting here, I forgot to check my white balance.
For this, all we need is a pound of chorizo, a potato, a few radishes, half a red onion, cumin, cilantro, lime juice and (not pictured) black beans.

Chop up the onion into small peices, about a quarter inch and cook it with the chorizo, until the potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes.)
While that tastiness is cooking, dice the radish and onion.  Mix the beans (it calls for a 15 oz can, but we only buy dried beans.  We ended up using about a cup dried, because when they rehydrate, they about double in size.) with the radish and onion, add lemon juice, cumin, cilantro, salt, pepper, and a smidge of olive oil.
Once the meat is cooked and the potatoes are tender, serve everything together on a tortilla!  We added avocado slices, a dollop of sour cream, and hot sauce (because we could subsist on hot sauce alone).
Because we use dried beans, the whole process from start to finish took about an hour and a half.  But if you used canned beans, it would only take as long as the meat and potatoes needed to cook, about 15 minutes.  How simple!

It was tasty and there is more than enough leftovers for a couple of lunches.  Perfection.