Friday, March 3, 2017

'Ello, 'ello: Facemask Friday

'Ello, 'ello all! It's been a while. Lately I've been swamped with uni assignments, junior year buckling down, the storm before the calm of Spring Break--you get the idea. So how does a Library Science student relax? Facemask Friday! This tea-scented beauty was a surprise gift from my good friend Martha. Cannot wait to decompress tonight and channel my inner anglophile. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. :)

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Books to Beat the Winter Blues

*Shelfie in Progress*

Hi, everyone! Yes, I am aware that winter will be over in a matter of weeks. However, I wanted to make this post because I've read a few books lately that have been nothing short of heartwarming as we await spring's slow but much-welcomed arrival, and I wanted to share them with you. Let's begin.

Taherah Mafi's Furthermore:

This whimsical middle-grade story follows Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, a girl searching for her father who suddenly vanished one day into the land of Furthermore with nothing but a ruler in his pocket. Bursting with magic and color, Furthermore will surely make you forget the bleak midwinter for a while.

A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh:

In honor of Milne's belated birthday (1/18/1882). The Winnie-the-Pooh collection was inspired by a teddy bear given to Milne's son, Christopher Robin, and the stories Milne made up about Christopher Robin's and Winnie-the-Pooh's adventures in the Hundred Acre Woods. Cozy, clever, and comforting, Winnie the Pooh is a children's classic to perk up your day and any bookshelf. (Also, don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting a "smackeral of something" around 11 o' clock.) 

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter

Surprise! No? Not really? Okay...
No, but seriously, I tend to always associate this wonderful series with the later half/beginning of the year; especially the more wintry and springtime scenes that take place at locations like Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and the beloved Burrow. The new illustrated editions (two of which have been published so far) have only further enhanced Rowling's writing to really captivate the life and magic found in these books. 

How about you? What are your go-to books to beat the winter blues?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer **Contains Minor Spoilers**

“A heart, once stolen, can never be taken back.” 

As you're all aware, I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and most retellings. So when Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles--a sci-fi/dystopian series based on old fairy tales--wrote her own take on the story, it was at the top of my Christmas wishlist. (Thanks, mom and dad!)

Heartless tells of Cath, a girl who only wants two things in life: To open a bakery with her best friend, Mary Ann, and be recognized as the best tart maker in all of Hearts. The problem is, she is the daughter of a Marquess and Marchioness, who both believe entering the business world is unladylike and ultimately impossible.

“You’re the daughter of a marquess. Look around. Look at the things you have, the life you’re accustomed to. You don’t know what it’s like to work every day so you can feed yourself and keep a roof over your head. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. To be a servant.”

To make matters worse, Cath attends a royal ball and finds out that she has won the favor of the King of Hearts, and he is about to propose marriage in front of her and everyone she has ever known in her life. Cath cannot imagine anything worse and thinks all her dreams are about to come crashing down when a certain Cheshire appears, and she convinces him to cause a distraction while she escapes.

She gets as far as the castle's rose garden before encountering Jest, the new court joker who has lemon-yellow eyes and speaks in riddles. Thus begins an adventure that starts with newfound romance and ends in...well, anyone who's familiar with the Queen of Hearts knows what Heartless must become.

Marissa Meyer took great lengths to make her book as historically accurate as possible, filled with recognizable characters, clever literary references, and word play, all in the hopes that readers will want to jump into the original world created by Lewis Carroll. I admire this, as well as her wisdom in character development. Cath's transformation from heroine-to-villain wasn't the happily-ever-after I was expecting, but a beautiful, cautionary tale that left me in a thoughtful state of mind hours later.

You can find Heartless here

P.S. If you're curious about the cute little jester-on-a-stick in the photo, stay tuned for an upcoming 'Ello, 'Ello post. :) 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

'Ello, 'Ello: Literary Candles

'Ello, 'ello!

Here's a fun fact: If there's anything else I'm addicted to besides books, it's candles. Particularly candles that are inspired by books, which have become very popular in the past few years. Now we are no longer limited to the usual scents like "Tropical Breeze" or "New Car," but we have options that make us think of Hogwarts (sigh), Jay Gatsby's parties (swoon), and money (wut?).

Thanks to the wonders of Instagram, I stumbled upon a website called The Melting Library, based in Brooklyn, NY. This particular candle shop sells hand-poured creations inspired by young adult books, series', and other big hits in pop culture.

Due to the holidays, most of the products were sold out and I had to wait to be notified of the next restock, which was scheduled for early January. This meant several days of watching my Instagram like a hawk for any updates.

Then one Sunday night while playing my Xbox, I happened to be checking Instagram every five minutes  when at last:

"The Melting Library has been restocked!"


I dropped my controller and bolted upstairs to my laptop like the fates were after me, and managed to snag the candle, Queen of Tarts, shown in the picture above. Thank goodness, too. That candle and many others were sold out within mere hours.

This beauty is inspired by the novel Heartless, written by Marissa Meyer, and bears the fragrance of lemon curd, butter, vanilla, and pie crust. *Drool*

Stay tuned for my next post, in which I give a review of Heartless itself. In the meantime, be sure to check out The Melting Library for your book-based-candle-needs-musts. :)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pangur Bán, Pangur Bán...

Hi, all! Hope everyone is having a lovely start to the new year. Recently, a good friend of mine said she was reading my blog via mobile, and did not realize there's a poem posted on the righthand side of my blog until she viewed the blog via her computer. She suggested I share it with all of you as well.

Pangur Bán comes from a poem entitled The Scholar and His Cat. Written by an Irish monk in the 9th century, it captures the relationship between him and his white cat (Bán translating to "White" in Gaelic). Although they are "hunting" for separate things, their love of the hunt shines through every verse. As a fellow lover of words and cats, I decided to name this blog after the curious animal himself. 

Now, for those interested, here is the poem:

I and Pangur Ban my cat, 
'Tis a like task we are at: 
Hunting mice is his delight, 
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men 
'Tis to sit with book and pen; 
Pangur bears me no ill-will, 
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry task to see 
At our tasks how glad are we, 
When at home we sit and find 
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray 
In the hero Pangur's way; 
Oftentimes my keen thought set 
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye 

Full and fierce and sharp and sly; 
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I 
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den, 
O how glad is Pangur then! 
O what gladness do I prove 
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply, 
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I; 
In our arts we find our bliss, 
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made 
Pangur perfect in his trade; 
I get wisdom day and night 
Turning darkness into light.

P.S. The image above is taken from a wonderful animated film called The Secret of Kells (2009), which tells of a young boy and his adventures involving Pangur Bán, and the making of the Book of Kells. I highly recommend it. :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

"Come Together" - A Christmas Story

May I preface this by apologizing for the lack of posts lately? Due to finals, holiday prep, and other what-have-yous, I haven't had much time to truly think about what to write. Or inspiration on what to write, quite honestly.

So what do they say to do when you aren't writing? Read. Or, in this case, watch.

When it comes to visual storytelling, I believe Wes Anderson is one of the greats. Director of Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Anderson thrives on character-driven storylines, surprisingly thoughtful plotlines, and blink-and-you-miss-it humor. This has translated very well on the big screen.

So what happens when a man of such vibrant and unusual nature is asked to direct a Christmas clothing commercial? Well...let me show you.

*19 rewatches later* 

The little nuances are so wonderfully Anderson, and as I mentioned, flash by so quickly that it takes more than one viewing to catch them all. But all that aside, do you notice something in particular? It isn't about the clothes or trying to sell clothes. The clothes are just an extra detail. The commercial really focuses on a diverse group of people--all likely headed in separate directions--putting aside any unspoken differences and coming together to share in the joy and beauty that is Christmas. That is a great story if I ever heard one. Plus, who wouldn't want a steaming cup of "chocolate flavored hot beverage with whipped topping?"

In the end, during a time where we are constantly surrounded by conflict and the unknown, don't be afraid to incorporate a bit of the commercial's spirit into your own holiday plans.

Thanks for reading. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas. :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

'Ello, 'ello! Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

'Ello, 'ello, and happy Monday! Last night, my boyfriend took me to see the new movie Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, based on a companion novel to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. I'm naming this an 'ello, 'ello post because it's a half book and half movie review. 

(It also gave me a chance to show off this adorable Funko Pop of Mr. Scamander and a cool set of antlers.) Without further ado, let's jump in.

The book Fantastic Beasts, a textbook requirement for all Hogwarts students, serves as a field guide to...well, magical beasts and Newt's commentary on each of them from A-Z. Harry and his best friend Ron Weasley add some personal "annotations" and drawings to the book that may or may not be of further use.

The movie takes this quick read a whole step further. Shy, inquisitive Newt (played to perfection by Eddie Redmayne) arrives in Roaring 20's New York with a suitcase full of creatures he's found and documented during his global travels. It's only meant to be a quick stopover when he bumps into a No-Maj--the American version of a Muggle--named Jacob, and the suitcase gets misplaced in a series of comical and misfortunate events. In his quest to retrieve the case and the escaped beats. Newt meets Porpentina and Queenie Goldstein, two sisters working for the Magical Congress of the United States of America.

Yet it's not just a fun and quirky adventure. In a separate storyline, a family called the Barebones runs an anti-witchcraft group that advocates Salem Witch Trial-like tests and punishments to anyone suspected of being magical. This eventually adds to Newt's main problem of tracking down his beloved creatures before it disrupts not only the magical world but the No-Maj community as well. 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tells a clever, captivating story that introduces us to the wizarding world and tackles major real-life issues like the care of endangered animals, human bigotry, and abuse. It's not Harry Potter. It's a prequel that can hold its own. And that's one of the reasons why I loved it so much. That being said, it's not much darker than Deathly Hallows, but I still wouldn't take a very young kid to see it due to some violent scenes. 

You can find Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them here