Monday, March 30, 2015

March 2015 in Review

Busy Plans
Oh my stars and garters! I've been a bit sparse about posting lately. Not even sure there is a good excuse. Still have a busy schedule and busy life with school and work, but... that's been true all year. Here's to April being better about that!

However, I did love what I did manage to post, so for your reading pleasure: A remix of a button-up shirt, a spring themed stationary wishlist, How to Write Letters to Yourself, plus our latest Dog-Eared Page, Why Don't You... List,  and Cinema Style. Also, just in time for the holiday, here's a review of the film Easter Parade!

Busy Finds

Two Instagram accounts here and here you should be following for gorgeous photography

Children's films are more traumatic than ones for adults, studies show

The Soubrette Brunette has the dreamiest photo shoot with an under the sea theme

A worrisome article about how women, already under represented in this field, are leaving the tech industry in droves

Film School Reject has the best series reviewing classic films

Help others learn English with Language Hangouts

Speaking of English, here's 25 maps to help you understand the language's development

So bizarre it might be awesome- Founding Father Alexander Hamilton's life as a musical with rap

Blogger Marlen penned this thoughtful piece on who we dress for. (plus, she came out with a poetry book!)


Friday, March 27, 2015

Letter Writing Series: Letters to Yourself

A letter to yourself? That may sound hokey, but, actually, it could save your life.

Okay. Maybe that's a little melodramatic, but studies do show that writing letters to yourself actually helps you. By writing a letter to your future self- you are contemplating your future. People who consider their future, especially in context to their goals, are more likely to achieve them Also, sharing goals makes people feel more accountable, and this proves true even when you are just sharing them with yourself! People who write letters to their future selves are also more likely to make decisions now, based on how they would like their future selves to handle or feel about those decisions.Being future-oriented is also one of the most significant traits of leaders, so picking up a pen may be improving your leadership skills. Writing letters to yourself may even make you healthier!  Experiments done by James Pennebaker indicated a connection between writing about difficult personal issues and visits to the doctor.

Let me guess? You had to go back and reread that last sentence? Personal Issues? We are definitely in touchy-feely land, you might be thinking; where do personal issues come into this? To answer that, let's talk about how you write a letter to yourself, both content and form, so you can get on to getting those amazing, research-backed benefits!

Like all letters, this kind is impacted by who you are writing to. Yes, it is a letter to you obviously, which you? The year-older self? The decade older self? The just-graduated self? The new parent-self? Possibilities abound.  Many people choose to write with the idea that their letter will be opened after a specific amount of time, which could range from a few weeks to years later; others choose to have a letter that is opened in the event of a certain situation (i.e. writing to yourself on the day of your wedding.)

Once you have chosen when you want to have your letter opened, consider why you are sending it. Many people write using their letter to share important life lessons they suspect they may need reminding of. One person wrote a letter to himself about how his parents handled one of theirs descent into alzheimer's,  and how that affected their marriage.  Steps that would have helped the process were ones his mother had earlier felt were right to take, but as things progressed was too emotional to do. His letter focussed on reminding himself, should he find his own marriage in a similar situation, what he wanted done and why. He was building in a safeguard to add perspective to what could be an emotionally charged time. Other people write to offer encouragement (and perhaps reminders) of their goals. If this is the case, in your letter-  be clear in the vision of that goal, but be kind to yourself, and be flexible with what the achievement of that goal looks like. Focus on the whys of the goal over the hows. Instead of merely saying your want to be a public speaker, focus on the reason why- , in this example, perhaps to share your knowledge. You may find yourself a teacher in the future. You're still speaking in public (even if that public is six years old), but the reason why has not changed. Many others also use this letter-to-self to reflect on their past. Share what challenges you have faced, how you overcame those challenges, and what things you did that made you proud. What advice do you have? What do you want to remember? What are you looking forward to happening? There may come a day in the future you will be glad of these reminders of your strength and joys.

Above all, remember, this is a chance to be as kind to yourself as you are to others. When writing, don't focus on your flaws. Remember people change, goals change, lives change. But good advice is still good advice,  and a good laugh is still a good laugh. So go easy on yourself and focus on those things instead.

When it comes to the actual writing of the letter, go for a pen and paper. Studies have shown that we access our deeper emotions better when writing rather than typing! Keep things informal (after all, with whom do you have have a more intimate relationship with- outside of deities- than yourself?) Depending on when you are expecting to read the letter, keep things simple. As scary is it can be to contemplate, we may not have the same mental facilities in the future as we do now.  When it is all written, you can seal it in an envelope, and put in a safe place, or perhaps give it to another person to give back to you at a later date. There's even a website that will send you an email version of your letter at the correct time!

While it can be gratifying and uplifting to get later, the benefits of writing a letter to yourself can have immediate and profound impacts on your life, as first discussed. Have you ever sent a letter to yourself? If so, did you like what you had to say?

Further Reading
Love, Yourself by
Want to Improve Your Life? Write Yourself a Letter by Jessica Stilesman
How (And Why) to Write Yourself a Love Letter from Mother Nature Network
Writing a Letter to Your Future Self: Love Who You'll Become from Tiny Buddha
Writing a Letter to Yourself from


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Remix: Popbasic's "Lost" Shirt

This shirt comes from one of my favorite clothing lines, Popbasic, and it might be my favorite clothing item from them too (either that or my Sunday Silk Blouse).  I know button-ups are not everyone's cup of tea, but they seem an indispensable part of my wardrobe and this one has a very classic look which can go preppy or modern or woodsy pretty well. Not pictured are any work attire featuring this shirt, which is odd since I wear it all the time. But as you can see it is worn all the time anyway! In fact it is hung up on my mirror, part of an outfit ready to be worn tomorrow, so you might see it on the blog again soon. No promises though. The weather is a funny old thing, you know :/

Monday, March 23, 2015

Film Flick: Easter Parade

If you watch 40s musicals at all, you've heard the story before. A tried and true performer is jilted by his worldly business partner, and then swears revenge vis-a-vie becoming an even bigger success without their partner. To do this, the performer almost always gets some fresh-faced kid trained up to sing and dance in his act. It becomes a mess of love triangles until the lead gets the sense to go after his ingĂ©nue of a partner, and then there's wedding bells all around. But you don't watch Easter Parade for the story line. Rather, the storyline, while nothing new, is the sweet bit-of-nothing star power and showing-stopping numbers hang from. Easter Parade is 17 show-stopping Irving Berlin numbers performed by Hollywood's best- Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.

In 1947, The New York Easter Parade, which people strutted down 5th Avenue for, was estimated to draw over a million people. Perhaps this was what inspired Irving Berlin to first float the idea of a movie entitled "Easter Parade" to the Fox studios. MGM ended up being he backing studio though, with producer Arthur Reed's unit- famous for making fabulous, big budget musicals- in charge. According to Reed, it was the lure of getting to work with Judy Garland that got Berlin to work with MGM.

Originally, Gene Kelley was slated to star opposite of Garland, but a broken ankle from a sporting event meant they needed someone else. Kelley recommended they call up Fred Astaire. This was a bit of a long shot, for Astaire, concerned at the increasing age differences between him and his lead ladies, was nominally retired. The chance to work with Garland for the first time was enough to pull him back into show business though, and he reported for work a mere three days after Kelley broke his leg (er, ankle. Sorry, the pun was too good to resist).

Although both were big stars at the time, they'd never met in person, and Garland was too shy to beginning shooting until properly introduced! We can't blame her; the first scene they shot was of them kissing. Despite the nervous start, Garland enjoyed making the film, far more than her previous one (Pirates, which, being directed by her husband, put considerable strain on their marriage). Astaire said of his dancing partner, "She's the greatest entertainer who ever lived- who probably ever will live... it was one of the greatest thrills to get to work with her."

The cast was rounded out with Ann Miller and Peter Lawford, who each get a few numbers of their own! 

Despite the predictably story line, this film was a job to watch for the comic timing, whether in dancing such as when Astaire uses drums to bamboozle a kid out of a stuffed rabbit, or in the characters' interactions themselves. One can rarely tear your eyes from Garland's face; its so animated. There were a lot of inside jokes too. One early dance number involved Garland in a dress that shed its feather trim with every turn. It was a reference to a dress worn by another of Astaire's famous dance partners, Ginger Roger, in Top Hat. After Rogers' dress would stop shedding, Astaire had sworn there would be no more feather dresses! 
So, go on, put on your Easter Bonnet, strut down the avenue this Easter- and when you get back settle back and take in Judy Garland and Fred Astaire's charming Easter Parade.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dog Eared Page: The Little White Horse

secret of, moonacre, book, dog eared page, reading,
The carriage gave another lurch and Maria Merryweather, Miss Heliotrope and Wiggins once more fell into each other's arms, sighed, gasped, righted themselves and fixed their attention upon those objects which were for each of them at this trying moment the source of courage and strength. Maria gazed at her boots, pushing them out from under the carriage rug for that purpose. Miss Heliotrope restored her spectacles, jolted from her aquiline nose by the swaying of the carriage, to their proper position, picked up the worn brown volume of French Essays from the floor, popped a peppermint in her mouth and peered once more in the dim light at the wiggly black print on the yellowed page. Wiggins meanwhile pursued with his tongue the taste of the long-since-digested dinner that still lingered among his whiskers. Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people: those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment, and those who find comfort in food, and Miss Heliotrope, Maria, and Wiggins were typical representatives of their own sort of people.

- The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

Friday, March 13, 2015

Stationery Wishlist: Spring Stationary


1. Badge Card | 2. Phone Case | 3. Honey Bear Card | 4. Bicycle Clips | 5. Erasers | 6. Pencils

1. Badge Card - Did you know that Girl Scout Day  and Girl Scouts' week (which is this week!)  is celebrated in March?! That's when the scouts' founder, Juliette "Daisy" Gordon registered her first 18 scouts! What a better way to pay homage to the great gals in your life than by celebrating their success this month with this fun, badge-inspired card? 

2. Phone Case - Spring time means flower right? I'm already dreaming of them blooming, but you could have a little bit of spring all year 'round with this phone case! 

3. Honey Bear Card - Wild flowers and early spring picnics? Need we say more? Invite a friend along on your next mountain drive with this card. 

4. Bicycle Clips- Spruce up your spring with a bike ride- or, if you're not up to that, these bicycle paper clips. 

5. Erasers- We all make mistakes, but these erasers make us feel better about trying again! 

6. Pencils- A fun reminder of all the fun things you can do in spring (or any time at all!) 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What I Wore: Can't Slow Down

popbasic, never fully dressed,

What I Wore: Shirt (American Eagle), Pants (American Eagle), Sweater (American Eagle; Similar Here), Clutch (Popbasic), Boots (Crown Vintage), Necklace (Similar Here), Belt (Similar Here), Scarf (Similar Here)

It seems an age since my last outfit post. But things just won't seem to slow down. Part of it was the flu (don't worry; my germs couldn't get at you through the screen, even if I wasn't finally cured). But a lot of it is work. I mean, I love my work and I could (and do Just ask The Boy) talk about my work. All. Day. Long. It makes sense because, hey, you're at work all day long, and then when I come home.... well, my classes get to make robots and mummies and cool stuff like that (and learn. Obviously. We don't do anything for "just because," but learning is cool). But.... it is still only one topic.

Here's the thing though. For awhile, it seemed like everyone's lives changed at such a rapid pace. For a few years it was about college with new classes every semester, and moving, and job hunts and relationships. Things do still change and new adventures pop up now too. It is just at a different pace. Though I feel like things won't slow down (in work, anyway), things don't- and don't need to- change in our lives at a such a fast pace now. For any armchair phycologists out there, you probably know this is because I and most of  my similarly aged friends are shifting gears as we move from one of Erikson's stages of development to the next... an odd, but content situation. Let's generate, not stagnate!

 And, for all the rest of you to whom that sounded like psychobabble, don't worry. It's just a long-winded way to say "I haven't got much to say."  Anyone else like to see how you fit into the world through psychology theories? Do tell! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cinema Style: The Lady from Shangahi

You wouldn't recognize  her with her signature long, red locks shorn and dyed, but Rita Hayworth always packs a punch, no matter her hair; this is true even in The Lady from Shanghai. This Orson Welles tale centers on the sizzling allure of Hayworth. Her clothes are seductive but never trashy. If you too want to be a femme fatale fit for a noir, find out how to get the look down below!
wiggle dress

Bag, dress, bolero

Hayworth is sexy but demure in a white polka dot dress. Make it more modern by limiting the dots to a handbag; patterns to best as cheeky statements sometimes!  The black wiggle dress provides a bit of a come-hither vibe, but it is balanced with the bolero providing shoulder and arm coverage. When you marry for money, as The Lady from Shanghai obviously did, it means you can spend your days lounging around on your own private yacht. But even if the boat is out of your price range, you can capture her nautical style with an understated, retro one-piece, and wedges. Hayworth may go all out donning a captain's hat set at a jaunty angle, but if you want a bit less kitsch, keep the accessories to subtle gold studs and some rope bracelets. Get a bit boyish and make your cover-up an oversized blazers as homage to Hayworth's captain's jacket. swimwear

swimming suit, bracelets, wedges, earrings, jacket

Monday, March 2, 2015

In March, Why Don't You...

Susan B. Anthony  (LOC)

Photo of Susan B. Anthony from the Library of Congress

Celebrate International Women's day by reading a biography of a famous woman

Frame a sample of wall paper to use as art

Get a Pen Pal

Call that friend you've been meaning to catch up with

Schedule a tune-up for your car

Serve up some shish-kabobs

Visit a local monument

Snap an Instagram of you and your best friend

Visit a greenhouse 
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