Monday, May 23, 2016

Film Flick: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird, both book and film, are American icons, a snapshot of racial issues from the earlier half of the 20th century, while also being a story about growing older. A young tomboy, Scout (played by Mary Bedham),  learns about doing the right thing as she watches her father (Gregory Peck) take on a racially charged case in a southern town in the 1930s. A young black man (Brock Peters) has been accursed of rape, and it is Atticus Finch who agrees to represent him. Over the course of a year and half, the case and its fall out become the backdrop of her life, even as the six year old's more innocent concerns about school, friends, and the neighborhood recluse (Robert Duvell) also unfold. 

The Pulitzer Prize winning novel was published in 1960, as the American Civil Rights movement was beginning. A mere two years later, it was put to the screen, and would be nominated for Best Picture. It would go on to win Best Adapted Screenplay;  Best Art Direction; and Best Actor for Gregory Peck in what some would consider his most definitive role as father Atticus Finch. The book's author, Harper Lee, later recalled, “When I learned that Gregory Peck would play Atticus Finch ... I was of course delighted: here was a fine actor who had made great films–  what more could a writer ask for? … years later told me his secret. When he played Atticus Finch, he had played himself, and time has told all of us something more: when he played himself, he touched the world.” Peck also remembered the role fondly, and shared in an interview, "Hardly a day passes that I don’t think how lucky I was to be cast in that film...I recently sat at a dinner next to a woman who saw it when she was 14 years old, and she said it changed her life.” Peck was not the only one who found this a landmark film to be involved in. Brock Peters, who played Tom Robinson, the man accursed of rape, has stated, “It certainly is one of my proudest achievements in life, one of the happiest participations in film or theater I have experienced.” He remained friends with Peck and young Bedham for the rest of his life. Additionally, To Kill a Mockingbird was the film debut of Robert Duvall, William Windom, and Alice Ghostley.

But, though both the film and book are famous and each well done in their own right, they are not synonymous; the story changes as the medium does. Most notably, when Harper Lee wrote the vaguely autobiographical novel, she told the story through the very limited narration of a six year old; all is seen through her eyes. A film cannot do that and so must take on a 3rd person narrative. The Atticus a young child sees is the book is perhaps, not the whole picture; all children idolize their fathers. However, that distinction was not brought to the screen. Arguably, Peck's Atticus is too good, too perfect to be quite real within the story, no matter how much Peck is playing himself. Critic Roger Eberts takes it a step farther, stating that "[the film is] a time capsule. It expresses the liberal pieties of a more innocent time, the early 1960s, and it goes very easy on the realities of small-town Alabama in the 1930s." This is never more obvious than when a lynch mob is dispelled by a child's innocent ramblings, or the way all the colored audience members stand when Atticus walks out of the courtroom. 

Still, one can argue that though the full extent of racial tensions are not seen or fairly portrayed, To Kill a Mockingbird helped to further a conversation America needed to have, and that it still furthers that conversation today. That alone makes it worth watching and remembering, a fact the the United States National Film Registry agreed with when it added the movie to the Library of Congress in 1995. So, go ahead, watch, and find out why it is a sin To Kill a Mockingbird.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What I Wore: A New Chapter

diamond pattern, seventies, flare jeans, retro outfit, white belt, orange shirt,
diamond pattern, seventies, flare jeans, retro outfit, white belt, orange shirt, blogger outfit,
diamond pattern, seventies, flare jeans, retro outfit, white belt, orange shirt,

What I Wore: Shirt (Le Tote), Jeans (Gap), Boots (Crown Vintage), Bracelet (Le Tote), Trench Coat (ASOS), Scarf (Similar Here)

A new chapter in so, so many ways. First off- my first outfit shoot in months! And no more white backgrounds; we're back to Cody's big, beautiful outdoors. Turns out, even though they are more of a hassle, the outdoors are definitely more motivating for us. It was rather funny though, didn't think you could be out of practice for having your photo taken- you basically are just standing there- but turns out, you can be. Of course. Of course. 

The bright side of getting back into outfit photos is, naturally, getting to show off the clothes ! I bit the bullet and hopped on the flare jean trend. According to Pinterest, flares should make your legs leaner and longer, and Pinterest knows all (.... right?)  This outfit was going for a cool-girl, seventies vibe, but I think it may have missed and gone a bit more....early oughts than intended. That was when I was a high school and then college girl. Those were dark sartorial times, my friends.  With that in mind, have you tried flare jeans? Are you considering trying them out? 

It is also a new chapter, as the school year begins its wind down. Last week was a whirl wind as I had a different open house event for (almost) every class! All the gifted kids from a grade will come to my classroom one day a week, and each of these classes did something to showcase their work. One had a "movie premiere" where we showed the coded animations they had made through Scratch. We also had "Maker Showcases" where students showed projects they had made (these kids did such fun stuff too- Hogwart Sorting Hats that really worked; 3D printing; sewing;  stop motion animation, graphic novels; masks; and so much more!) as well as their robotic projects! So fun, but so tiring. Now it is cleaning up the classroom and, already, looking towards the next school year. No rest for the wicked, I guess! 


Monday, May 16, 2016

Dog Eared Page: Rose in Bloom




"Do you know she looks like you? Hair tied up in a knot, and a spiritual sort of face. Don't you see it?" asked Mac, turning the graceful little figure toward her.

"Not a bit of it. I wonder whom I shall resemble next! I've been compared to a Fra Angelico angel, Saint Agnes, and now 'Syke,' as Annabel once called her."

"You'd see what I mean, if you'd ever watched your own face when you were listening to music, talking earnestly, or much moved, then your soul gets into your eyes and you are like Psyche."

"Tell me the next time you see me in a 'soulful' state, and I'll look in the glass, for I'd like to see if it is becoming," said Rose merrily.

- Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rec Five: Blogs about Minimalist Style

I read somewhere that the average woman owns over a hundred items in her wardrobe. Now, that's uncited and could be totally untrue, but clearly the popularity of capsule wardrobes seems to indicate at least some people are seeing this is true and trying to change that in their own lives. I was a bit on the fence about capsule wardrobes till I noticed that I maaaaaay already sort of have a capsule wardrobe just by living life (more on that soon), but if you too are unsure, here are five great blogs to get a bit of information from!

Unfancy- This blog originally documented the blogger's transition to her 37 piece capsule wardrobe, which was updated every three months for the changing seasons. She rather famously quit at the height of her success and walked away from the blog for six months (a great interview about that decision can be found on The Lively Show). Now she's back, albeit with a far more slow and unstructured framework- both in terms of how she is approaching her capsule wardrobe (less about the rules and changes, more on the sustainability and not needing to think about clothing as much) and blogging in general. Still a great to follow whenever she posts though. Plus, she's partnered with a company that helps you make capsule wardrobes. Would you try that?



Into Mind- Though this blog does touch on the writer's own wardrobe, the real focus on on helping the readers to create their own capsule wardrobes. She has a lot of great posts as a resource, plus a downloadable workbook too! These resources really help you break down what your lifestyle needs from a wardrobe, helps you focus on color palettes and silhouettes to better understand your closet.


Fashion Pas-  Rita is a friend I "met" though blogging, so it was with interest I watched and red the changes that took place in her blog over the past few months. Now captioned "Notes from a Mindful Style Journey", her blog really delves into her journey to have a capsule wardrobe and to have a wardrobe that was composed of good quality clothing from sustainable, ethical  sources. Her approach to this was very different from the first two blogs I mentioned, though she did use some of their resources. I personally really appreciated that she had a job that required professional clothing, to see how that affected a capsule wardrobe, and she also shared the process as she went through it. We saw the initial work she put in from color palettes to shopping and we also continue to see as she looks at what works and what does with her process.



Minimalist Beauty- The issue of diversity has been cropping up in the news a lot recently, which led me to realize how little diversity I see in blogging some days. This blogger is beyond gorgeous and helps widen the scope of beauty seen in media. More importantly, she writes intelligently about capsule wardrobes, digging deeper than just "fewer clothes." Her capsule is almost completely thrifted, and many posts focus on how to create a capsule from thrifting, as well as how to care for clothing in ways to make them last longer.  She's even tried to make her own clothing, something I think many would like to try and are nervous to. Her posts touch on beauty care and home decor as well, with an emphasis on natural and ethically-sourced products.  There's a little bit of everything on this blog, all tied together by a honest, forthwith voice and clear dedication to a lifestyle.




Forever Amber- One thing Amber is very clear on- she is NOT creating a capsule wardrobe.... or not quite. Two of the things I think many people struggle with when it comes to capsule wardrobes is 1) not wanting to limit oneself to a certain (very small) number of clothing and 2) a misconception that for a capsule wardrobe one must have a minimalist style. This blogger is like the exact opposite. Amber has a HUGE closet filled with many lovely, retro-inspired items. Her big personality is reflected in her colorful, fun clothing. But she noticed a lot of her clothing was going unworn because she wasn't buying items that fit her lifestyle and she lacked basics to wear with the more colorful stuff. So, while she still wears and shares cool, vintage-y outfits, she also writes about how she figured out what holes were in her closet and created a capsule wardrobe with in her larger closet composed mostly of those basics to get more wear from what she did have.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Los Angles in Instagram

This will be the second trip to L.A. that NFD has seen (see more here) all to see this lovely lady pictured below. My sister is sort of the trope that so sitcoms start out with- she's a small town girl trying to make it in the Big City! More seriously, she's also an incredibly talented freelance graphic designer, photo editor and archivist; and social media guru. So.... if you are looking for any of that, look no further!

So, here is the trip through the eye of my phone camera...

This trip took place over my school's spring break. We packed in SO MUCH during our short stay! In addition to getting to see my sister and meet her current beau, we did, among other things, have a day at the beach. We even swam. Californians may have felt cold, but we were elated to have some sun! I lounged and built the world's most epic (okay, sort of epic) sandcastle because I'm secretly eight at heart.


We also saw a ridiculous amount of films- even for staying in Hollywood! High on my list  of must-sees was getting to see a classic film in theaters. Luck for us, a Gregory Peck Tribute was showing at the Aero Theatre.We also saw Zootopia in an old movie palace- The El Capitan! They had a live show before the film, gave out treats to the kids and you got free candy! The other film we saw was Batman v. Superman in 4D, which was quite a unique experience. The chairs moved to relay the action on the screen and little bits of water would squirt out. They even would change the air conditioning to reflect the weather in the film! We also took in some film history by checking out of movies' most famous sites, including Paramount's iconic gate entrances (their studio tours are fun, though our guide kept trying to show us things on her iPad screen and that was.... less than successful),  and Griffith's Observatory from Rebel Without a Cause. Though that film trying to make us believe this site is ever not-bustling and busy seems to push the limits of believability. We arrived for a stunning sunset and a packed crowd!


For a more unique LA experience, we even attended the LA Comicon, called Wondercon. We're a bit of geeks at heart, and we grew up on comics, so it was fun. But even if you didn't know a thing about comics, I think it would still be enjoyable. So many people dressed up in the most amazing costumes! You can see I caught two Flashes and a Black Canary on camera. We saw Batman's (dead) parents, several gorgeous Ursalas, any caped crusader you could think of, all sorts of Disney Princesses and Star Wars characters galore. My very favorite though, was someone who dressed as Thumblina and her Fairy Prince! I was impressed by the stamina some of these people must have to be photographed and pointed at for hours on end, but people pointing to you and squeeing seems inevitable at Wondercon. It even happened to me as someone recognized the Pin Up Girl skirt I was wearing!


We tried to balance the crazy and silly with more cultured too.  Last time we were in L.A. we'd visited the Getty Center, but did you know there are actually two separate Getty museums in the LA area?Both free too! For this trip, we headed out to the coast to see the Getty Villa, and, like the Getty Center, this museum truly works to control your experience. You drive up steep hills to find a place of serenity hidden  behind lush trees. It felt like we'd stepped out of time and back to Roman times. In fact, the villa is an exact replica of one of the homes buried in Mt.Vesuvius ashes.  With its view of the sea and carefully planned garden's it truly feels like you are looking of the Italian coast rather than the southern Californian one.  Equally impressive was the collection, which is made up entirely of art from the antiquities. I'm not normally one for Greek or Roman statuary, but this collection! So many items were ones you'd see pictures of in history books, except these ideas are real! They were truly stunning.

Remember how I was saying I was secretly eight at heart? Well, we also spent a day at the Happiest Place on Earth, as we did before. The castle was decked out for the park's diamond jubilee, and  Star Wars was everywhere. This time, we arrived later in order to stay for fireworks. Sadly wind kept that from happening but we definitely liked that schedule much more than getting there early. We also spent more time at some of Disney's classic rides.  I fell in love with the charm of "Its a Small World" this time around. I'll have to add the cool slow motion video of it at some point!
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