Thursday, September 18, 2014

What I Wore: Thrills Me Still

skirt, pleated, yellow, black, sweater, the giver, never fully dressed, withotuastyle,
skirt, pleated, yellow, black, sweater, the giver, never fully dressed, withotuastyle, pealrls
skirt, pleated, yellow, black, sweater, the giver, never fully dressed, withotuastyle,
What I Wore: Sweater (Similar Here), Dress (Modcloth; Similar Here), Shoes (Old Navy), Purse (Similar Here), Necklace (Similar Here)

I wore this out the night when The Boy took me out on the town. A year married and he still thrills me- and going out together is still a thrill too. Maybe a different sort because it is not that "getting to know this person" phase first dating is. Rather the "what new thing was learned" or "how did his day go?"sort of thoughts.

How about you? Would you wear this on a date? It's actually a dress, but while the dress has featured on Never Fully Dressed before, I"m not sure I'd ever worn it as a dress...

Speaking of going out- we went to the movies this past weekend, to see The Giver. The book was required reading for my middle school self- likely a lot of you too, though I get the feeling it has been overlooked more recently in the onslaught of YA novels being written as the niche's popularity rises. Which is really too bad because though it shares some similarities to many popular series today- The Giver too is a sci-fi story set in the future that deal with a world that is less perfect that what is seems (not unlike many other novels that have been made into movies recently). But it is truly closer kin to it's sci-fi roots than its YA ones...and Lois Lowry's novel has always stayed with me, in a way that is startling even for this avid reader. The Boy is just enough older than me that it wasn't written when he was in school, but I convinced him to read it through the past weekend. That was a book devoured if ever I saw one! Always nice to be proven right about books, but his reactions made me think on the book all over again. It was written (and won many awards) in 1994... for a decade or so, it's ambiguous ending has inspired many essays and heart felt thoughts. Lowey herself had made speeches refusing to reveal what she thought the ending meant... and then she in the last five years or so, wrote three more books to form a quartet. I'll be honest, the movie is horrid. The sequels are not so bad, though nothing matches the perfect ending of The Giver. If you've ever read the story, what did you think- about the film, about the ending, about the sequels (which I'm reading on my Kindle reader)? Bookworms- Unite, and share!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Letter-Writing: Aunt Agony Letters

You probably see them all the time- in newspapers, in magazines, so much so we don't really give that much thought to them. But letters to advice columns must be written by someone, and, if you have an issue you can't talk to with someone else- why not you? Letters to advice columnists- sometimes referred to as Aunt Agony Letters, or by popular advice columnist names such as Dear Prudence or Dear Abby letters- are letters every day people write, mostly anonymously, to people on the payroll of a publication. The publication will print some of those letters, as well as the columnist's response. Nowadays, these publications might be magazines, or newspapers but they are just as likely to be online. And the array of topics covered is staggering. Emily Post might tell you about etiquette, while Cosmo has advice on one's sex life. Dear Abby seems to specialize in complicated personal relationships and you'll find there are advice columnists kids write to, businessmen write to, the happy, the sad and the confused all write to.

Dear Abby, letter, writing, newspaper, never fully dressed, withoutastyle, If you have an issue troubling you, consider if an advice columnist is the right person to turn to. There may be someone in your life that has the power to help you change the situation, or who may be going through the same thing. If the situation is life threatening for you or another person, see if there are  people, or groups that can more directly be of aid. If a columnist is the right choice for you, consider which columnist fields questions with similar topics to the one you have, what types of responses they give, and how qualified they are to be giving that advice. For example, the Rolling Stones featured an "Ask Dr. Ozzy" column where people often wrote to Ozzy Ozbournre about personal and health issues. his responses are often humorous, rather than practical and he himself stresses that he is no doctor. If one wants a fun way to look at things to lighten the mood- "Dr. Ozzy" might be the way to go. If one was looking for serious medical advice, another columnist- or better yet a doctor's office- might be the better bet. Lastly, when looking at what advice column to write to, consider if you want a reply. Sometimes writing out a problem can be therapeutic enough, but if one truly desires a reply, check to make sure that the publication you considering sending in a letter to replies to all letters regardless of whether they are published or not. For example, Deirdre of the Sun always replies to letters. Dear Abby had one day a week that even boasted one day turn around, meaning if your letter got to her on a Tuesday, a reply would be in the mail the next day (if the letter arrived on another day it might take several days for her or her staff to reply, but she did). Some publications are so undulated with letters though, they are not able to reply to them all.  If the situation is very serious though, most do try to reply.

The next step is writing the letter itself. Unlike most letters, an advice letter is very informal with no need for a date, just start with "Dear So-and-So..." and explain the issue that is bothering you and what you want advice on. While most publications do reserve the right to edit a letter- which they might  do in order to cut the length for publication, or to preserve privacy- try to be as clear and concise as you can. After all, these columnists and their staff receive a lot of letters each day; be respectful of their time. If you want honest feedback, be honest with yourself about what the situation is, your feelings about it, and any other critical factors. Lay out all those relevant facts. Lastly, though this is unlikely to be an issues, especially since publications do try to edit to preserve privacy, you can be proactive  if you are worried about protecting others' privacy and/or yourself against allegations of libel or defamation of character. Use initials, or fake names for people, places and other identifying details. End by asking your question and thanking the columnist for their response. lastly, you would close with a benediction. While "sincerely" is always appropriate, many letters to advice columns close using a benediction or pseudonym based on their predicament, such as "Confused, In Austin" or "Sincerely, Heart-broke Heartthrob."
aunt agony, advice, letter, writing, newspaper,

Most publications will provide an address and any relevant instruction on how to send a letter to them in their publication or online. After you send off your letter, keep an eye out for a response. Most publications do try to contact you before publishing your letter (so do write down your contact information on the envelope or even on the letter itself!). These publications will also honor the wishes of any who do not want their letter made public, so if you don't want it to be published, you can mention it when they ask, or up front in your letter.

While these columnists do often offer good advice, it is important to remember that they're in the business of selling papers (or magazines or page views as the case may be). They are meant to be entertaining. As Deirdre points out, though she and her staff all have training and aim to help their readers, "All agony aunts... wanted a story, a drama, what was the personal feeling rather than justifying a problem." So have fun, get good advice, but take it with a grain of salt!

For further reading, look here:
Advice Columns (on Wikipedia)
The Sun's Dear Deirdre Reflects on a Life in Letters in the Guardian
Words of Wisdom: Best of Dear Abby on the Daily Beast
Dear Deirdre FAQs

Letter Writing Series: Thank You Notes | Personal Correspondence | Love Letters | Sympathy Letters | Congratulatory Letters | Postcards | Letters of Appreciation | Correspondence Chess | Get Well Cards | Invitations | Holiday Letters | Letters of Recommendation | Letters to the Editor | Letters to Politicians | Penpal Letters | Letter of Complaint | Cover Letters | Fan Letters

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What I Wore: American Girl

popbasic, stripes, red stripes, black blazer, shorts, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,
popbasic, stripes, red stripes, black blazer, shorts, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,
popbasic, stripes, red stripes, black blazer, shorts, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,
What I Wore: Shirt (Popbasic), Shorts (Gap), Shoes (Old Navy), Necklace (Popbasic; Similar Here), Blazer (Similar Here), Purse (Similar Here)

There is just something so... classic, so "All American" about a red and white striped shirt, and that feeling just amplified when I paired it with this new purse. To keep things from getting too Fourth-of-July-esque, I toughened the look up with a blazer and chain necklace.

You know, it's funny, but I never feel particularly patriotic unless I'm somewhere else. Same thing with State Pride. I go somewhere else and will listen to country music- normally background noise and definitely not the first thing I turn the radio dial to- in order to be less homesick.

Still, it's the funniest thing, but you find hints of The West in the oddest places. Everywhere I've been has had them. We've found Buffalo Bill toys in toyshop in the Alps (Buffalo Bill founded my hometown), street performers dressed as cowboys in Rome, Tee-pees in Paris, a western wear shop in Prague, and in London one of the museums had photographs by Ken Blackbird, local photographer who I'd even met. Maybe that's true to everyone in this world of ever increasing globalization, and you can always spot a bit of home no matter where you travel.

Speaking of globalization, if you're reading this, where all do you call home?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dog Eared Page: Junkyard Wonders

That day, Mrs. Peterson could see that we were badly shaken. 

Gibbie finally spoke up. "Mrs. Peterson," he said, "we're all junkyard kids, even though you try to make us feel better about it. We're throwaways, junk, and everyone knows it."

"Oh, my dear, that's where you are wrong," she said wistfully. "Everyone of you is my wonder!... Don't you realize what a junkyard really is?"

"A place for things that nobody wants," Jody answered.

"Oh, it is a place of wondrous possibilities! What some see as bent and broken throwaways are actually amazing things waiting to be made into something new. Something unexpected. Something surprising."
- The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Subscription Boxes: The Reading Edition

The school year is just around the corner and whether you're heading back to hit the books or not, the nostalgia for freshly sharpened pencils and the new-book smell is contagious. Get your reading and writing fix taken care of by one of these innovative subscription services! 

subscription service, box, mail, book, reading, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,
Book Riot is a site all about books- talking about them, sharing them, loving them. And now, they are sharing that bibliophilia even more with The Riot Read. What is it? Well, in their own words, "One of the great pleasures of being a reader is stumbling across something unexpected. Something that we might not have picked up on our own, but for some reason we grabbed it….and then it grabs us. That’s what The Riot Read does. Every month, for about the price of a new hardcover from your local bookstore, we’ll send you a great book." The subscription is thirty dollars a month and will include a surprise book. Most books will be fiction, but could be from any of a wide variety of genres. The only stipulations, according to the site, is that it is a good read), a letter explaining the choice, and there's always the chance of some extra, fun goodies too. On their site they will write and record even more original content about the Book of the Month. Think things like author interviews, live chats, reviews and more!

This subscription service is a steal at only eleven dollars a box. Each month Pennie Post will send you three stationary items, such as  greeting cards, postcards, notecards and gift tags. All items are made exclusively for Pennie Post, so you won't these darling designs anywhere else. You can choose to order a one, three, six or twelve month subscription.
Subscription service, never fully dressed, withoutastyle, mail, service, letter, card,

New from the country's largest independent bookstore, Powell Books, comes a subscription box that's, well, indispensable, to a book lover. This subscription service, Indispensables, ships every six weeks, in order to send you valuable, quirky, unique books. Powell's makes a special effort to share books from independent publishers, and you can expect the books to have especially unique aspects. Things like signed first editions, original sets. and exclusive printings are common items in Indespensibles. The company tries to share their main item/book pick for each box, but you're getting more than just one book when the box ships. You can also expect exclusive author interviews and other writings about the work, as well as other items including possibly other books, edible goods and totes for carrying even more books. Basically, it is like mini-independent bookstore is being delivered to you door step for thirty-nine dollars a box; you never know what you'll find, but it is sure to intrigue.
Subscription box, service, mail, letters, cards, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,
Another subscription box for a lover of letters. Nicely Noted sends you three letterpress cards a month for twenty dollars a box. Though a little pricey for cards, Nicely Noted is curated to bring you exposure to new designers and companies in the stationary world, and make sure you always have a card on hard when you need it.
The staff at famous bookstore R.J. Julia Booksellers really want to make sure you get the book that's right for you- whether you can make it to their store or not! They provide subscription services where the books are chosen especially for you- no one size fits all. You can customize based on who the reader is from the age (adult, teen, child, and baby readers all have options) to their genre interests (Options are so varied I won't even try to list them). You can decide how often you want to get books; while each subscription lasts a full year, you can decide if you want books monthly (12 books), bimonthly (6 books) or quarterly (3 books). You can even specify if you'd prefer hardcover, paperback or a mixture. All of these factors do effect price, and since you are paying for a year's worth of books there can be some sticker shock, but in fact it is cheaper than most bookstores! Once you've made your selection about what type of subscription you want, you get to customize further with a short survey to get a better idea of the types of genres, story lines, and interests the reader enjoys. Part of the reason they do this is to make sure it is a book you love, and if you don't love the book, you can return it with a prepaid mailing package in order to exchange it for a book you will adore. Go on and take a look- you're bound to find something for a reader you know (like yourself!)

P.S. Don't see a box you like? Then check out my other lists of subscription services to try, and reviews here
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