Monday, September 30, 2013

In October, Why Don't You...

list, October, Clue Party, Dracula, Library, baked bread, rake, donate,
Host a Clue Party (Watch the movie, play the game, get dressed up and try not to die!)

Carve a pumpkin

Read the epistle novel Dracula

Finish up a meal with a round of wine and cheese

Donate blood or plasma

Pay off any fines on your library card

Rake your lawn

Paint a frame an unexpected color

Fill your house with the scent of freshly baked bread

Read the editorial page of your local paper

Friday, September 27, 2013

Month in Review: September 2013

September has always felt like a new beginning for me. I grew up with two teachers for parents and nothing has changed since I now am a teacher myself! Forget January; bring me bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils because September is really the start of the new year. True to that spirit, Never Fully Dressed has been brimming with ways to lead a full (and fulfilling) life.

Outfits for a Full Life

Movies for a Full Life

Getting people to watch classic films is not always easy, sadly. Here are three films your man will love though! Get adventure on the high seas with Mutiny on the Bounty (with a side of dashing Clark Gable!). Remind him that gritty Midnight Cowboy was released with an X-rating and  enjoy the ultimate Sci-Fi flick with 2001: A Space Odyssey!

Mail for a Full Life

We looked at different Subscription Boxes for Men to try out, as well as an in-depth review of Popbasic's latest box!  On a more serious note, we also looked at how to write Get Well cards and how to put those skills to use by writing Get Well Cards to seriously ill children.
Popbasic Lost Microcollection

Plans for a Full Life

 This feeling of a New Start has definitely been reflected in some of the posts around here! I shared a list of things you could do in September, as well as a list of 101 goals to do in 1001 days. This month Q+A posts also shared ways to get a Full Life, answering the questions "What Five Books Should Every Woman Own?" and "What is Your Favorite Lifehack?" This past week, I've also gotten into the school spirit by attending Alt for Everyone. Can't wait to share more about it with you! I also got to share how to get some style inspiration from films when posting about Annie Hall on October Rebel's blog. Don't worry though, we did get some time to relax; our picnic in the mountains earlier this month s proof of that! Even better- from our dogs point of view anyway- has been more frequent trips to the dog park now that the weather has cooled off.

Finds for a Full Life

New Van Gogh Painting Found (P.S. If you like art, read John Harris' The Lost Painting)

101 Fashion and Style Tips

Salonah of Vintage Vixen looks as enchanting as Snow White! Also enchanting is Ashley of Southern California Belle with some maternity style and Elana of Room 334 in a cat print!

She's perfecting her vintage collection

10 obsolete words that we should bring back.

Yes; this is why I love cinema (Plus, my favorite Audrey Hepburn film!) 

Who doesn't want Frida Kahlo on a their tea cup? 

These are Practically Perfect!

Diane Keaton started a fashion trend in Annie Hall. Years later, she's still showing off her individual style. 

What do you think  of this belt on Winnipeg Style?

Wadjda is the first film made in Saudi Arabia- and it is directed by a Saudi woman and is about Saudi women. Watch it. Just do.

Don't you love this everyday steampunk look? 

Shakespeare as Shakespeare would have read it! 

21 Habits of Happy People

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Popbasic Lost Review

Popbasic is a company I've been- no other word for it- fangirling lately. I've reviewed their products before, but in case you have never heard of this company here's what they are all about: delivering basic and trend (or "pop") items to women's closet by selling monthly "micro collections." A micro collection includes three women's fashion items; each will include at least one women's clothing item (occasionally it has been two), as well as women's accessories (such as jewelry or bags). There is also a "surprise" item that usually is a beauty product sample of some sort. Micro collections come out once a month, and are generally priced between $50 and $100 dollars.  It is not a subscription in the traditional sense because you must sign up each month. Also, you will always know ahead of time what is in each micro collection, but you must buy all three items together; they do not currently sell them separately. Got it? Good; then let's dive right into things!

Popbasic, Lost, Microcollection, necklace, bracelet, shirt, review,

September's Micro Collection was entitled Lost, and I'd been eyeing it several months, ever since promo pictures for it were first introduced on the company's social media sites. It included their Sofia Boyfriend Shirt, their Dreamer Amethyst Necklace and their Pink Silk Cord Bracelet. The box was priced at $85, but the items in the box had a combined retail price of $132. Granted, Popbasic makes these items exclusively for their micro collections and you cannot get them anywhere else, so I'm not sure where these items' retail price is coming from. But let me just say, where quality is concerned, you are getting your money's worth!

The Sofia Boyfriend Shirt is a "trapeze cut," meaning the waist will be bigger than the chest area, giving it a very relaxed, almost tomboyish fit. (See how I wore it here and here). The stripes are a soft grey, though they look almost blue from further away and is a pattern likely to go with anything- a basic closet staple if ever their was one! It is one of the best-made items in my closet for sure, with thick, sturdy material and well made button holes (button holes are truly a sign of whether an item has been well-made or not in my opinion.)

The Dreamer Amethyst Necklace was the item I was most excited about, and it did not disappoint! It is stunning and what I love about it is- it is not something you see everyday, either in color of style of necklace- yet it is the type of jewelry that works on women in their twenties and women in their forties and fifties equally well. The gold-colored metal only rings the chunk of semi-precious stone; there is not metal back to the necklace. This surprised me. Instead, the back of the stone is coated in a clear, strong substance. After wearing it however, I can see why this might have been done; even if the necklace gets turned around (as happens from time to time with a pendant on a long chain) you can still see the gorgeous colors of the stone.

Lost from Popbasic on Vimeo.

The last item in the micro collection was the Pink Silk Cord Bracelet. Honestly, this was the piece I was the least excited about, but might be the one I ended up liking the most. Now, I don't normally wear bracelets since they alway seem to hit things when I type of the computer or am working. This one though, doesn't bother me a bit on! It has a small extender chain, so you can adjust how tightly it is on, even if you have a smaller or larger wrist, keeping it out of your way. The color is also beautiful. It is subtle, yet feminine. Now I just wish I'd gotten the August box where they had similar bracelets too! Ah well! I shall just continue to love my own. Interestingly, this is not the first time a Popbasic item I didn't initially think I'd like has ended up a staple in my looks; both the necklaces in my last Popbasic order (the first Popbasic Micro Collection, actually) are also like this.

I'd also like to take a moment to add two other things I noticed while getting this box. First, when ordering, I had a question about sizing and sent a message via twitter. The reply was quick, and friendly. Later, when a friend decided to purchase one and had a question, a twitter conversation cleared things up and was again quick, and friendly! This is a company that knows the power of social media! Popbasic genuinely seems interested in developing relationships with their customers, and gaining input from them on future items as well. Each micro collection, they also invite customers to show how they would style the items, allowing different styling and remixing ideas to flow. You can see mine below here, but it is also featured on the site! 
Styling, Popbasic, Lost, Collection, shirt,

This particular box was a (much loved!) birthday present, as it happens, but I'm keeping an eye on Popbasic; they will be getting more of my custom in the future too. Would you try a Popbasic Micro Collection? What would be in your ideal micro collection of three trend and basic items?

EDIT: I just wanted to add that this shirt shrunk ( I suspect it ended up in the Dryer when it shouldn't have). But that Popbasic replaced it. They did not need to. I'd had it months and several wears after all. But they are clearly a company that cares about its customers. One more reason to love'em.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What I Wore: Tomboy Style

What I Wore: Shirt (Popbasic), Necklaces (Vintage; similar here and here), Jeans (GAP), Shoes (hand-me-down; similar)

Some days, I'm not only in a dress, I'm in a petticoat. Other days, I just want to play with the idea of femininity. A button-up with your hair in a messy updo? Jeans and costume jewelry? Tomboy Style, the "feminine edge of androgyny," a gamine look-whatever you call it, I am rocking it.  Because there's just something so easy about it. And easy is good since I was fighting a cold all weekend long.

Despite the ease (or maybe things were easy because), both the jeans and the shirt are new. The shirt is Popbasic's latest, which you can hear more about here. The jeans, from Gap, are something I've been looking for for ages now. Well, they've been on the list anyway. I actually hate jean shopping ,so it has been put off. With the crisp slant the morning light has taken lately though, I could put it off no longer. Seriously, am I the only one to whom jeans all look virtually the same sitting on the shelf? And until you find The One, they all are depressing to try on too. Oh well. I got a pair;o all's well that end's well.

What about you? Do like to play with a more boyish look?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Q+A: Lifehacks

Lately, while doing those mundane sorts of tasks like folding laundry or some such, I've been on Netflix. It has collected together a whole series of TED Talks and I've become addicted. They're all about lifehacks and who isn't all about those? Ways to make life simpler, easier, more joyful. They expose such curious and simple things. But you don't have to be on a TED Talks to know some great secrets to life. So thought I'd turn to some of my fellow bloggers with another round of Q+A and ask them- what is a great lifehack you'd like to share?

Read on to find out what they said, and share some of your own best secrets in the comments. Can't wait to see what you share. In the meantime, here's some advice from four lovely ladies: 


Being a busy mommy to two little guys always has me searching for ways to simplify life and make it a tad healthier in the process.  This past summer I came across my favorite life hack yet which is making ice cream from one healthy ingredient.  Any guesses?  Yes, bananas!  My three year old has been blessed with the same sweet tooth as his mama, so naturally this was one hack that not only saved time for me when it came to serving up a delicious after dinner treat but was actually something that I would not feel guilty eating or giving to my kiddo 10 minutes after hoovering it down. 

The method for making this "ice cream" is as follows:  
Freeze your ripened bananas (I cut mine up and put them into a plastic freezer bag to always keep on hand)  
Toss them into a food processor and after a minute or two they will begin to get creamy - just like ice cream.  

There you have it.  Your ice cream is made.  If you want to get super creative with this concoction - you can add anything from peanut butter, to honey, to chocolate chips, to other kinds of fruit.  I promise you two things - it's 100% fool proof and positively yummy

I'm super excited to share one of the most incredible life hacks that changed the way I shop for shoes today! Some of my favorite fall shoes are lace-ups. I am a huge fan of combat boots, which I will admit to having a few too many pairs of. They're perfect for the rainy Seattle Fall, where they're toe-covering and waterproof (super important!) but don't have the weight of most rain boots. So, enough rambling about why I love combat boots. I'm a bit of a clumsy person and I used to trip over shoelaces all the time whenever they would come undone. To be honest, I wouldn't even notice when they came undone, which is a huge reason why I would face-plant on the sidewalks randomly during morning strolls. Super embarrassing! This TED Talk on tying shoelaces so that they don't come undone changed my life! Hope you guys find it as useful as I did! :)

If you're like me you're not particularly a morning person. Worse than that, before I've ingested the right amount of caffeine I am a mumbling, grumbling zombie like version of myself, someone not to be trifled with. Mornings are my nemesis in that I'm always running late, become easily irritable and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. This is the case mostly when I'm going to school and have to catch the bus by a very specific time. Years at post secondary institutions has mostly taught me some tricks about how to make it through the morning smoothly:
-make your lunch before you go to bed. Or at least as much of it as you can make.
-print off any notes needed the evening before, have everything organized and ready to go (preferable by the door)
-plan outfits out in advance. This one is my top one because it would take me forever to get dressed in the morning in my state of zombitude. It's also nice because If you can plan your outfits a week at a time you can make sure everything's clean!! 

A trick that I use whenever I cut any sort of bread or rolled dessert is to use floss to cut the item, instead of a knife. This way there are no crumbs and it is cut completely straight! I learned this from my mom, who is an excellent baker, many years ago. 

Whenever my candle wick is too short to light with a lighter, and I have no matches handy, I use a stick of spaghetti to light the wick with. It's so thin, it's perfect! 

Go take a trip to the dollar store frequently. You will so be surprised with what you find. In the past, maybe people saw dollar stores as some sort of place you'd almost be "embarrassed" to go to, but I honestly buy all of my craft supplies, home cleaners, candles, basic spices, and hair goods from here. 

Use a planner and write "to-do" lists daily. This will keep your daily tasks organized, and just your life in general. Making "to-do" lists for each day, the number one is the most important (and so on), helps keep your tasks in order of what you need to complete the most. Also, use a highlighter in your planner for "what has to be done" in that day, or week.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Film Flick: 2001: A Space Odyssey

It was alternatively hailed as the epitome of science fiction films, and condemned as a "shaggy god story;" described as "somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring," and lauded as "an unforgettable endeavor." 2001: A Space Odyssey was nothing like what movie-going audiences had ever seen before. Stan Kubrick's only Academy award-winner (for special effects) left deeply divided opinions in its wake- Daring or dribble, it was one or the other. Time has since decreed it to be a film worth remembering, but the question is: will you?

2001: A Space Odyssey is a movie exploring the themes of evolution, space exploration, other intelligent life, and time travel. We start looking at how a black monolith changes the lives of humanoid creatures, and then fast forward to the year 2001, when a mysterious find on the moon prompts a daunting journey to Jupiter. Whether the mission will ever reach its destination, and what it will find if does, is surprising to say the least.

Dialogue is sparse, only 45 minutes in an over two hour film, and most of that is the purposely mundane small talk that litters everyday life. Despite this though, the film boasts one of the most quoted movie lines ever: "Open the pod doors, Hal." In place of dialogue, the soundtrack, filled with the beeps, creaks and grinds of technology, really stretched how storytelling could be done.

Personally, I really wanted to like this film. I did. With its iconic moment featuring the black monolith, and its conflicted initial reception, how could one not? Others love it; I wante dto love it too.  However, for me, this definitely leaned more toward the "immensely boring" than anything else. I found the plot plodding, the characters unlikable, and the final ending hard to understand. Still, the use of the soundtrack- as well as many other aspects of the film- were inventive and, if nothing else, though 2001 did not look as originally envisioned, the film redefined a genre.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What I Wore: In Nature

Autumn, Fall, plaid shirt, nature, black pants, black flats, trench coat, outfit, never fully dressed, without a style, withoutastyle,
Autumn, Fall, plaid shirt, nature, black pants, black flats, trench coat, outfit, never fully dressed, without a style, withoutastyle,
Autumn, Fall, plaid shirt, nature, black pants, black flats, trench coat, outfit, never fully dressed, without a style, withoutastyle,
Autumn, Fall, plaid shirt, nature, black pants, black flats, trench coat, outfit, never fully dressed, without a style, withoutastyle,
Autumn, Fall, plaid shirt, nature, black pants, black flats, trench coat, outfit, never fully dressed, without a style, withoutastyle,
Autumn, Fall, plaid shirt, nature, black pants, black flats, trench coat, outfit, never fully dressed, without a style, withoutastyle,

What I Wore: Trench Coat (ASOS), Tank Top and Shoes (Old Navy), Shirt (Target), Pants (59th Street via; similar here) 

A few years ago, I earned my certification to Teach English as a Foreign Language* in Prague in the Czech Republic. One of the things I loved about teaching English in other countries was that you got to know the people in a way you don't when simply visiting. One of the things I and other teachers noticed was that the Czech people (or at least those we taught) seemed BIG on nature. When asked where they most like to go, what they are doing this weekend or... oh, any number of things, it was not unusual for this sort of a response: 

"We go into the Nature"

"I like the Green"

"We have a place, you know, out of  city."

Just to be clear- we taught mostly beginner language learners, taking classes for leisure as opposed to getting ready for any testing. And if I was asked to say where I wanted to go that weekend and had to respond in Czech, I would not be nearly so articulate. I could maybe communicate that I would take the train, or I could say "Castle" very emphatically till my point was made that I was going to a castle. Anything else and- no dice. But I loved the way they said that- Into the Nature. Into the Green. It seemed like a whole concept made succinct. So- 

This is me, going into nature, into the green. 

True, just a ramble, nothing more (good since this is clearly not a Camping Gear outfit), but into nature nonetheless. Are there places near you that you can escape into nature, however briefly? 

* There is no one certification program, but many places like one to have a certificate. I went to TEFL Worldwide in Prague. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Subscription Boxes for Men

Who doesn't love a subscription box- it is like a care package just for you, only instead of Mom sending you stuff while away at summer camp, it is professional companies sending seriously cool swag. You can see some of the best there is on offer with this list and this list of subscription box services. And while  there ARE some companies on my previous lists that cater towards men (most notably the unbelievable cool Bespoke Post's Box of Awesome, as well as those like Quarterly Co. which will please any gender), it can sometimes seem that men get left out of the subscription service fun. So here is a list to help you send some mail love to your male love, with a list of Subscription Boxes for Men:

This subscription service sends out quarterly (seasonal) boxes with cool gear and accessories for men. At sixty dollars a box, this can seem pricey, but you get multiple items (this season's box has four items) and all look quite top quality, made well and from the best materials. Beware though- they can run out and you might end up on a waiting list, so if this sounds like something your man might want, get on it!

For a more "manly" pantry, you can get this box for $75. For that price, you will get 5-6 full sized packages of different, artisan food items. Boxes come every month. Each box seems to be "themed," and also comes with easy to follow recipes and a whole lot of personality!  Gonna be honest- man or woman, I'm not sure it matters. This is mouth-wateringly yummy looking! Plus, it supports small, local, American businesses.

And if you're from the UK or other European countries get on the list to hear updates about the soon-to-be Mantry UK! 

This box is perfect for professional men- especially if they do not like shopping. For $150, you will receive three men's dress shirts per box. The first box always starts subscribers off with the "classics," and you will  receive a white, blue and striped shirt. Your other boxes will consist of different shirts, depending on the month's short-run styles, but, according to the business   most often will have two classic patterns and a "trending" one. Subscribers can choose to get one box every 3, 4 or six months. Men can pick whether to have a slim fit, an athletic fit or a classic fit of shirt, and can choose sizes based on a sizing chart, which is provided for all three shirt styles. Shirts can also be returned in order to get a better fit, should the need arise. According to the company founders, their shirts are designer quality; Hall & Madden chose to find the same fabric sources as many designers to make their shirts out of. However, they claim to be able to sell them at a much lower cost, for a variety of reasons including smaller runs, and going directly to wholesalers. The quality certainly seems fantastic, and the price is not bad. They do seem to make most of their shirts in China though, where the founders both previously worked in the business sector; this might make a difference to some shoppers. 

This subscription box helps men get style with minimum effort on their part! You sign up for monthly boxes, and take a survey, mostly about your size, body type and what brands you like. Then, a personal stylist will pick out items just for you; and for any tech-lovers out there get this- when picking out items they also use  an algorithm that factors in not only your survey, but also  a man's social media to get a more holistic look at that man's style! After the items have been picked, subscribers get an email to preview what was picked! If they don't like what they see, they just need to shoot back an email within two days (you can either ask for a different pick essentially swapping out items or you can skip that month's box altogether);  if it all looks good they don't need to do anything at all and the items are sent to them. After the box arrives at your doorstep, you have ten days to try stuff on and decide whether you like it. If you don't, or something doesn't fit, Bombfell provides a free return bag. You are only charged for the items you keep, so the price point is variable. There is no charge for getting a box; only for the products you keep.  Most items are at least $69; some are more. The company uses popular brands so expect fits similar to what you get in stores. 

Sign up, fill out a "groom style survey" and let this company find the perfect grooming products for your hair, skin and shaving needs. Each quarter, this box will send 3-5 samples of products they think will work best for you. If you like a product, you can buy a full sized version on their web site and even sign up for "auto replenish" and the company will send you  that same product every month or two months to replenish your stock of it. At only $17.95, this box is a fun way to find the perfect goods for male grooming needs. 

This affordable subscription box will provide the recipient with a little bit of everything- grooming product samples, neat apps, games or tools; energy drinks; snacks; even gift cards! Based on what items have been sent out in previous boxes, much of it looks geared towards more active men, especially those who like to camp, work out or play sports; however, I think any man would enjoy this box. Certainly anyone will enjoy the prices. For a single month is it only $14.95, for three months (and three boxes) it is $39, and for six months of boxes it is $72. It should also be noted that though you only get product sample sizes/individual snack sizes, quite often you get more than one sample of each item. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What I Wore: In a Little Fall of Rain

fall, Wool Skirt, equestrian boots, tweed jacket, autumn, rain, withoutastyle, Never Fully Dressed, Without a Style,
fall, Wool Skirt, equestrian boots, tweed jacket, autumn, rain, withoutastyle, Never Fully Dressed, Without a Style,
fall, Wool Skirt, equestrian boots, tweed jacket, autumn, rain, withoutastyle, Never Fully Dressed, Without a Style,
fall, Wool Skirt, equestrian boots, tweed jacket, autumn, rain, withoutastyle, Never Fully Dressed, Without a Style,
fall, Wool Skirt, equestrian boots, tweed jacket, autumn, rain, withoutastyle, Never Fully Dressed, Without a Style,

What I Wore: Shirt (Old; Similar Here), Tweed Jacket (H&M; old. Similar Here), Skirt (moving sale; Similar Here), Boots (gift; Similar Here), Necklace (Vintage; Similar Here)

I thought the title was sooo clever. A pun on both the unusual weather that has visited us over the past weekend, and how it brought a feeling of autumn with it. But instead all I hear is Les Miserables lyrics on repeat in my head. Oops.

Honestly, I am not much of a rain person. Lucky, since where I live is an arid desert. Living on the Washington border my freshman year of college, though it became so infuriating with classmates rushing about to get yet another Starbucks (there were four places on the campus alone along that sold them!) while sighing about how "atmospheric" the rain was, as if it hadn't been drizzling for a week straight. Funny thing is- they were right. It is atmospheric in small doses, especially out in nature where the colors seem so much more vibrant. The browns take on rich tones that contrast to greens so pure they almost glow. And everything smells so fresh you'd swear God just got done saying "Let there be-"

Or at least, that's how it felt this morning: Cold and cozy and smelling fresh. Exactly the sort of weather that inspires you to pull out those autumn staples you haven't seen for so many months now. It is ironic to realize nearly all of the items that make up the outfit are old when I haven't gotten to put them on in so long. The skirt is the only thing that is new; it was a purchase from a sale where a vintage seller was moving abroad. I already had a black skirt, but this one's made of wool. It has a wonderful sense of movement with the added weight of that heavy fabric. I swish as I walk, and while it may be a mite itchy, I love the tiny dots of color woven in. Yes, this outfit will definitely see many more fall mornings for sure.

What about you?  Are you ready for autumn, or already longing for more sun? What favorite pieces are you excited to pull back out of your closet for the colder weather and shorter days?

Monday, September 16, 2013

101 Things to Do in 1001

Have you heard of the Day Zero Project, also sometimes called a 101 list? The idea is to make a list of 101 Things to Do in 1001 days. I came across this challenge while in college and have now gone through two sets of 1001 days and two lists! My last one finished up in May, so I set about on making a new one, with the countdown set to start on June 22 (our wedding day); a whole new set of goals seemed like a great way to start off this new chapter of my life.

1001 days is just a little under three years. You might be thinking it was an arbitrary amount of time set because it sounds cool, but there's a reason to it! Goal setting can be tricky; 1001 days gives you time to do things that might take a while, allowing you to plan ahead. But it is not so long that you won't be kept accountable to getting things done. 101 is also a rather large number- it can be hard coming up with that many goals! But while some are serious, life-altering goals, others are focussed on hobbies or are even silly things to have fun. The one rule I have about my goals though is they all have to be measurable.

Below is my current list of 101 things to do in 1001 days:

I'll be real honest in regards to last two 101 lists I did; I didn't finish everything on them. And you know what? That's okay! Things change and you change (the last list i did I wrote on a train going from Budapest when I had zero idea of what continent I would even be living on, let alone what job I would have or even want in three years!). In the past I've also adjusted and changed out goals as it became apparent one goal wasn't important to me, but maybe something else was. A few goals have carried over from previous lists, some because I enjoyed doing them so much I wanted to do them again (for example # 40 "Travel to 1 new place a month for a year") and others because I still find them worthwhile goals even if I haven't completed them yet (hello, #2 "Watch all the movies on AFI's Top 100 Films list. I will conquer you yet!)

As I mentioned before, this current list/countdown was actually started way back in June and I've already made quite a bit of progress with 8% of the list already complete and several more tasks underway. This list will probably change and morph more as time goes on. But the reason I wanted to post it here was two-fold. It helps to keep myself accountable(you can follow along by clicking the link in my sidebar), and I also want to see- would any of you do this or something like it? Are you in the middle of completed a list of stated goals or have you done something like it before? How do you identify and try to achieve your goals?


Friday, September 13, 2013

Film Flick: Midnight Cowboy

A little trivia question for you- what was the only X-rated film to ever win the Oscar for Best Picture? With its then-very-frank display of sex, rape, homosexuals, poverty, and prostitution, Midnight Cowboy caused preview audiences to leave the theatre in droves, but raked in cash and critical acclaim once it hit the box office.  

The film starts in a dinky Texas town, where we meet Joe Buck (Jon Voight) all gussied up in new cowboy clothes and quitting his job at the local diner. He's heading east to New York City. As he puts it, he's not a real cowboy  but "one helluva a stud." Once he hits the streets of (the then quite grimy) Manhattan, making pay as a hustler isn't so easy.  He's offered some help from a local, Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo. What develops between them is an unlikely relationship as they work to survive the streets. 

Fresh off his success in The Graduate, it was unsure if Dustin Hoffman could pull off such a grimy character as Ratso, though producers were considering him on the basis of stage role. To put to rest any such doubts, Hoffman asked to meet John Schlesinger, the director,  near Times Square late one night. The director waited there twenty minutes...before the bum who'd been sharing the sidewalk with him finally got up and revealed himself to the be the actor all along. Hoffman was so committed to the part he put pebbles in his shoe to create a consistent limp. He also improvised the now famous line "I'm walking here!" when he yelled it at the taxi driver who tried to run the light while they were filming a take in the street.  Not that he was the only actor that committed to his role. Jon Voight, a relative newcomer, "auditioned" for the part of naive hustler Joe Buck by pretending to be a real "midnight cowboy" right off the street, and supposedly "celebrated" getting the part by taking a in a real homeless man. Though neither man had been the first ones considered for their respective roles, both were nominated for Best Actor, but lost out to a different type of cowboy- John Wayne. 

Voight attributed at least part of the magic of the film to its time, saying, "The studio system had gotten stale. Stars were fading, films were not making money, but all these new artists were coming up at the same time, all eager to make films more real, to express what we were seeing." This seems to be true; not only were the subjects of the film "scuzzier"- and, arguably more real- than many previous films, but the style of movie is far different than anything the studio system produced. With its flashbacks and clips of dream sequences, it owes far more to the New Wave movement. And it is this artistry, more than anything that draws you in,  allows you to begin to know the characters through seeing their wants and needs in this way. 

Today, some might argue it is not any edgier or harder than any other film being made present-day. Indeed, some might even say it seems decedent or quaint. But to do so would belittle the trip it took to make the film come to life.  Schlesinger recounted that it was not always an enjoyable film to make (nor is it always enjoyable to watch), but that for everything they put in the film, they'd seen it on the street. They'd seen even worse than what was on the film. Still, what brought in the cash when they could have reasonably expected (and occasionally got) walk-out audiences, is the humanity and connection portrayed in the story that the beatnik generation- and all those since it- have been craving. 

Still not sure? Then go ahead, and find yourself a  Midnight Cowboy

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What I Wore: At the Library


What I Wore: Skirt (c/o Shabby Apple; sold out, Similar Here), Camisole  and Shoes (Old Navy), Crochet Cardigan (Forever 21/old), necklace (heirloom; great, great grandmother's)

Time and again, I'm reminded that blogging has had the unexpected side effect of making me appreciate nature more. In this case, we've been noticing the changes in the sun's movements as it shifts more southerly, rises later, and sinks earlier each day. The later sunrises can actually be some of the best light for photos (as last year's September posts prove!) It is so funny though. All summer we kept saying "such and such a place really needs to be a dawn shot for the light to work," and when a dawn shot comes along, we couldn't remember any of those places! Lesson learned- make more lists!

In the end, we stumbled on this pond. It's man-made, and actually sits next to the local library. Several years ago, county tax money was put forward for several local projects and this was one. The result is the most gorgeous library I've ever been in. Hmmmm.... I should go check out books today! There's a welcoming atmosphere, plenty of nooks to read in, a big section to browse new books, a whole wall of magazines, and a huge section of audiobooks and other media. There's also separate areas for both the children's section and a "teen room." It must be nice for those teens to have a section for themselves- not stuck with noisy children pulling out picture books, but having a place to hang away from adults. The adults have gorgeous areas too though- a "biblio-bistro," and several meeting rooms, plus a store section where the group "Friends of the Library" sells donated, used books.  The library  also apparently attracted some whose interests probably lie in other places than the bookshelves. We were greeted by several ducks and a stray cat came by for a morning drink!

As for this outfit- it has been in heavy rotation lately because I love the slight 50's vibe and its bright colors. How can one be uncheerful in such happy colors?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Letters to Sick Children

photo via @LettersofNote
 As a follow up to last week's Mail Post, Letter Writing: Get Well Cards, I thought it'd be great to share some programs that will put those skills to use! Writing cards and letters to sick children can help a child- and their family- feel some joy, some support during times when both may be in short supply. 

While you could always go to a hospital directly to ask about sending things to their children's ward, below are several sites that help to send cards in an easy way that keeps paitent's privacy intact.
Post Pals (US site UK site)
Hugs and Hope
Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness 
Send Kids The Word

Sending a card is easy and inexpensive, but it can make a big difference to the kids opening them up. Still, it can be hard writing to someone you've never met before. While each program has specific requirements for what should or should not be sent to these children, here are some basic Do's and Don'ts when writing your letters:

France postage stamp: Year of the Child
photo credit: karen horton via photopin cc
Do read the child's bio information, if one is provided. This will generally help you find something to talk about as they often list the child's age and interests. Most also  give some details about the child's illnesses and any restrictions, or limitations that child may have. 
Do send funny or happy cards! Since the goal is to provide support and joy, keeping the message of anything you send upbeat is a good rule of thumb. 
Don't send any message with phrases like "Get Well" or "Feel Better Soon." Sadly, for many of these children, their condition is terminal, and they will not "get well" or "feel better." Even for children whose prognosis is not so dire, being told to "get well" can feel more like a burden when they are struggling each day.  Instead, use phrases like "Thinking of You" or "Wishing you well" or "Hope you're having a good day."
Do feel free to send things beyond a letter. Cards, postcards, coloring pages, photos and stickers are always fun. Larger items, such as a care package,  may be sent through most of the programs. However, any items, especially  stuffed toys, should be new to avoid risk of infection. This is also where reading any provided information about the child may be important; make sure what you send can be used by the child. A coloring page is of little use to a child who cannot use their hands, and an audio message won't go over well if the child is deaf.Additionally, avoid sending flowers or edible items, as many patients, family members, or roommates may have allergies and/or may be in wards that prohibit such items being brought in.  
Don't send anything depicting or talking about religion, including biblical or other sacred text quotations, sentiments like "praying for you," or any zodiac references. These programs send to children of many different religious backgrounds, and regardless of the sincerity of any such sentiments you express, seeing these may be upsetting to the child or family. 
Do feel free to write about your family, or tell a story, or share a joke.
Don't expect a reply. While some of the above sites may ask for some sort of contact information (usually an email) in case parents want to say thanks, there is only a minimal chance of getting a reply. Dealing with serious illness is time consuming and stressful. Not needing to reply relieves both the child and parent of a burden. 
Do consider sending mail to the patient's siblings as well as to the patient, if information about siblings is provided. Family members are also generally under a lot of stress during times of family illness and for other children in particular they may be experiencing a lot of uncertainty about the changes to their family's situations. Some children may even feel left out or forgotten when their sick brother or sister is getting a lot of mail and they are not. 
China Postage Stamp: little boy
photo credit: karen horton via photopin cc
Do respect family's privacy. Many of the programs do not share the child's last name and most use forwarding addresses, rather than home addresses. Part of this is because a child may be home one month, in a hospital another. Part of this is obviously for privacy. There should be no reason to need any other address. 
Don't share a child's story, or mailing address with others. If others want to help or you want to spread the word, please send people to the programs' homepages. There are many reasons for this, the most important being information is updated through these programs. This has impacts from big to small. A child grows older and their interests change. A twelve year old might not like Barney anymore, after all. Far more seriously, it could be very distressing to families to receive such letters after a recovery has been made- or worse, after a child has passed away. Encourage others to help AND to stay as updated on the kids they want write to as possible.

These suggestions can seem overwhelming, but it is simple. You are writing to a child. Make them smile, make them happy. A kind word, a funny story, a pretty picture- and suddenly, it's not so hard at all.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What I Wore: Going to the Dogs

Houndsooth dress, dachshund, dress, modcloth, animal print, print dress, black and white outfit,
Houndsooth dress, dachshund, dress, modcloth, animal print, print dress, black and white outfit,
Houndsooth dress, dachshund, dress, modcloth, animal print, print dress, black and white outfit,

Houndsooth dress, dachshund, dress, modcloth, animal print, print dress, black and white outfit, What I Wore: Hound Sleuth Dress (Modcloth), Cardigan (Ruche sold out; Similar Here), shoes (Old Navy), Purse (Vintage; Similar Here)

I got this for my birthday a few weeks ago and no doubt- I am in love. This dress and me, it was meant to be! I've been eying it for a while now, since we own a dachshund, Max. Everytime I wear it, I feel as if I am wearing "Many Mini, Manly Maxes" (Say that seven times fast! No, really, try it. It is what I said to Max all day long, poor dog! ) I chose to highlight the graphic patterns by going purely black and white with this look, and love the way it gives it a bit of a geek chic vibe. As a result, the most random people  called out to say they like the dress- the person checking me out at the drugstore, the lady riding her bike, the lawn man. Oh, the power of puppy-related items, right? 

The only downside is the waist is slightly high, occasionally brushing my rib cage. I'm a bit on the short waisted side anyway, but this isn't even the first time a dress has been like this- with a waistline at my ribs, I mean.  Is this a thing now? A trend? Cause while I realize not everyone is built the exact same, it seems awfully odd- not high enough on anyone to be an Empire waist, but too high to hit anyone's waist or hip.... 

Still worth it though.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Q+A: Five Books Woman Should Own

Confession time: I am a -bibliophile, addicted to books, in need of more shelving. However you want to define it, it doesn't matter. I'm guilty as a charged. But I'm also guilty of chronic rereading. All my favorites have dog eared pages, broken spines and even sections memorized. Oh, I love stories where I can sit down in a favorite chair in the front room of a beloved character's home as if it were my own. Still, one should read to grow; I want to branch out and dive into some of your favorite books. So I asked several fellow bloggers- what are five books every woman must own? My own answer (concluded only after much agonizing) might be: Le Petit Prince, Pride and Prejudice, The Harry Potter Series, Emily of Deep Valley, and the bible, or other religious book of your faith. Or Finding Darwin's God if you want to know more about evolution. Here's what they say:
 Q+A5books, books, woman, bloggers

Jen of Jennifheish:

When I was younger my mom always sent me to bed with a bowl of fruit and a stack of books as high as my head. It caused me to develop a love for reading and going on literary adventures apart from my everyday life. I'm always drawn to books that rely on the depth of the characters rather than the storyline. My Top 5 books that people must absolutely own would be (1) The Little Prince, (2) Pride and Prejudice, (3) To Kill a Mockingbird, (4) Tuesdays with Morrie, and (5) the Harry Potter books (because I have a soft spot for the series). 

Lindsey of Hello Mr. Rabbit: 

My all time favorite novel is Atonement by Ian McEwan. I believe McEwan is a mastermind at setting the scenes, finding beauty in all aspects throughout the timeline, and the film adaptation was perfection. The coffee table book, Influence by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, has inspired me throughout the years. I had quite an obsession with the twins in the past, and their interviews with Diane von Furstenberg and Karl Lagerfeld are my favorites to read. My favorite female writer is Sylvia Plath, so naturally The Bell Jar would be on my top favorites. This piece of work should be on every woman's bookshelf; it helps women identify that they are not alone and bring light to some of these issues that are currently still in society today. My childhood, and most cherished book, is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  The fact that this piece of literature shows the world that anyone can give and receive love, is meaningful enough to buy again at an older age. Last but not least, PETA'S Vegan College Cookbook has saved me so many times in the past. This cruelty-free, simple as pie, and cheap ingredients cookbook is perfect for even non-vegans and aimed for those are on a tight-budget. 

.books, five books, five, woman, should own, photo credit: green_is_in via photopin cc

I'm not as big on owning books now that I can carry them digitally, but there are a few I continue to drag around with me from place to place. JD Salinger's Franny & Zooey is excellent - it's short enough to read again and again since it's a combination of a short story and small novella. And Franny is still amazingly relevant. Next would be Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, ideally the annotated version. It's a good story, and the annotations are just ever so interesting. Everyone needs a good laugh - Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me is easy to relate to and hilarious. I'm also a manga fan - Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the best stories I've read and probably my favorite manga. If you are into that, then that's the manga I believe you must own, but if you don't like graphic novels, well then, you probably won't like a graphic novel! And this isn't a book you read, but it's definitely one you need - The Grit Cookbook.

Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo Files:

The five books that influenced me most in my life are; The Picture of Dorian Gray, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Outsiders, The Little Prince and How To Win Friends and Influence People. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray became my inspiration for all of my late teens and early twenties which could be described best by this quote,  “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” - Oscar Wilde. This became my mantra at the time. Yes they were wild and crazy times (not like today mind you...I was no Miley Cyrus!) but that is what youth is for and I don't regret any of it. 

Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance was the basis for many a long wonderful discussion about life and where it takes us. Grab a big glass of wine and prepare to stretch your brain. I've read this multiple times and each time I discover something new.

The Outsiders is just a fabulous intense page devouring read that captures the innocence of youth and loss thereof beautifully. My favourite bit is the poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay. The book is way better than the movie.

How To Win Friends and Influence People was the self help book before they were popular. My Dad gave it to me to read when I was a kid. I've read this at least three times but I should probably be reading it daily, there are so many easy practical solutions for improving your life and providing much needed perspective.

The Little Prince I read first in French with my then boyfriend and now husband some 23 years ago, so it has an extra soft spot in my heart. This book always makes me cry...but in a good way.

What about you? Share your favorite books- whether they are guilty pleasures, classics, or life altering ones- in the comments below! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What I Wore: My Heart on My Sleeve


What I Wore: Dress (old from Target; Similar Here), Cardigan (Jen of Jennifheish via Flock Together; similar here), Shoes (Rockport sold out; Similar Here)

Pssst! Did you hear, I blogged about this heart-filled look over on Flock Together. Don't forget to check it out! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Film Flick: Mutiny on the Bounty

Mutiny on the Bounty tells the true story of of mutiny in His Majesty's navy. Setting off on a two year voyage to Tahiti for breadfruit trees, the HMS Bounty is manned mostly by men who are either convicted or who were pressed into service. They are under the command of Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton)whose cruelty and violent streak is revealed almost at once when he commands a flogging on the corpse of an already-dead sailor. Second under him is Fletcher Christian (as portrayed by Clark Gable sans his famous moustache). Christian rankles at the injustice and inhumanity of Captain Bligh's discipline. Just when things are at their breaking point, the ship reaches Tahiti. Will life back on land cool some people's hot heads. Or will there be mutiny on the Bounty? In a tale about doing your duty, the ultimate fates of both those loyal to the navy and those loyal to their ideals will leave you hanging right up until the credits roll.

Just as the story depicts a trip with less than smooth sailing, so too was the filming experience filled with literal rough waters. One of the production crew actually died when a boat capsized. Others were onboard when one of the ships was accidently set adrift and lost for two days. Even beyond these sombering incidences, there were also personal issues. Tension had been deliberately stoked high by casting the openly homosexual Laughton opposite the homophobic Gable Despite all this, most enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere of the islands they shot at, and they also got some unexpected company. Fellow actor James Cagney- then on break from Warner due to a contract dispute- was sailing near the shooting location and playfully called out to see if they needed any extras. Though never credited, he can clearly be seen early on in the film as one of the sailors.

The film was high-grossing and, in 1935, the film Mutiny on the Bounty was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including getting all but one of the nominations for Best Actor. None of the cast members won though, and the category of Best Supporting Actor was created to keep such an event from happening again. But you can see why- even decades later both the acting an story remain surprisingly engaging. 

It should be clarified though, that while a mutiny on the HMS Bounty did in fact take place, the movie is actually based on a trilogy of novels, which were in turn only loosely based on the facts. Therefore, it should be remembered that the movie's portrayal of one man's tyranny is two steps removed from fact ; history shows a slightly more complicated view of Captain Bligh. Not the least significant is the fact that his ship actually had fewer floggings and lighter punishments than was common at the time. This true story turns out to be just as fascinating  if less idealistic- as the movie. Viewers will be inclined to forgive such artistic license though, as the film depicts such gripping adventures and feats of endurance. So, trim your sails and set your course for adventure with Mutiny on the Bounty! 

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