Reading Material

With a longer commute these days (I went from a 10 minute walk to a 35 minute, subway & bus trek; arguably not the worst commute in the world) I’ve found myself desperate to have a book to read in the mornings and afternoons. I get so absorbed in whatever I’m reading I have ever since I was a wee little thing.  The other morning on the bus, I had my nose buried so deep I almost missed my stop! However, I’ve been lacking the time or energy to go to Barnes & Noble to buy a huge stack of new books, because I get so overwhelmed by the selection and I have no idea where to even start (I’m one of those horrible people that totally judges books by their covers).

Knowing I’d need something more substantial to read every day than my facebook newsfeed on my phone (don’t hate), I scanned my massive (IKEA!) bookshelf for hidden treasures I hadn’t read yet. I came up with these three:

Dry, by Augusten Burroughs

I bought this years and years ago with my dad on a whim. I must’ve been in early high school, and I don’t think I fully understood the premise of the book (more than likely I didn’t even read the back cover). Soon after bringing it home, I discovered it was the author’s account of his battle with hardcore alcoholism. I must’ve wrinkled my nose with displeasure, and relegated it to the bottom of my bookshelf. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t read fluffy, beach-reads all the time, but at 16 “heavy” for me meant re-reading Catcher in the Rye for the 10th time. I’m glad I held onto this book though, because it was a really incredible read. Parts of it made me really uncomfortable because it was so painfully raw and honest, and it’s one of those books where you wish it wasn’t all true. It reads like fiction and is thoroughly engrossing. I finished it in a week only reading on the bus each day.

Loving Edith, by Mary Tannen

Apparently this book is harder to find than the lost city of Atlantis (dammit, way to ruin my analogy!). I picked this up in a used book shop so long ago I don’t even remember when it was, but the book shop is long gone if that is any indication. Again, one of those books that was decidely out of my age range when I picked it up, but my dad wasn’t going to ever say no to buying me a book (0r, well, anything, to be honest), so it came home with me and sat on my bookshelf for over 10 years, moving from apartment to apartment to apartment, making the cut every time I donated a box full of books to Goodwill or the library’s used book store. And just like “Dry,” I’m really glad I kept this one. It’s quirky, it’s touching, it was easy to read. The characters were all relatable and it was a sweet story.  Plus, it’s rare! You can’t even search for it at Barnes and Noble.

 No One Belongs Here More Than You, by Miranda July

Look, I’m going to be honest with you and admit that I bought this because it was bright yellow. I’ve been in my “yellow phase” for a while, and have accumulated a collection of things in varying shades and degrees of utility: a Pantone coffee mug for the design nerd in me, a cable knit scarf, an American Apparel hoodie, an umbrella, galoshes, a vase, a lamp, a lampshade, a tray, a clock, tights, two shirts, a cardigan, a clutch, and probably a dozen other yellow things. I love me some yellow. Having heard good things about Miranda July’s writing, I picked this little number up. It’s just okay. At certain parts it just tried too hard. But it’s yellow, and for that, it is wonderful (clearly, The New Yorker book review isn’t going to be pounding down my door anytime soon).

I’m running dangerously low on decent reading material! Any suggestions, kiddos? Come on, help a book-nerd out. Bonus points if it’s yellow.

Friday Five

In a feat of spectacularly disasterous uncoordination, I managed to fall down a flight of stairs while carrying a laundry basket on Sunday night. I spent the better part of Monday in the Emergency Room, leering at other patients, comparing ailments, eating vending machine Pop-tarts, being x-rayed, recounting the embarrassing tale of my fall a million times, generally feeling sorry for myself, and ultimately being strapped into perhaps the most unnattractive orthopedic shoe of all time and hoisted into crutches (crutches!).

I suppose I should consider myself lucky, and not only because being laid up for two days meant I was home and in bed for the all day America’s Next Top Model marathon on Tuesday, but because my injury was about as small as it could get in a tumble of that magnitude: I broke my big toe. Not my wrist, not my neck, not my ankle. I fell down a flight of stairs and all I got out of it was a broken big toe, a bruised ass bone (that’s the technical term), and a deflated ego. Granted, the toe is twice the size it should be and purple and black and spends all day and night throbbing to the point that I think the nail is going to go flying off from the pressure. But it’s still the retard equivalent of getting mugged and having the assailant only steal a chapstick. Kind of worthless, when you think about it.

I briefly considered making this week’s Friday Five just a picture of 5 healthy, un-broken toes, but was pleasantly surprised with all of the free time I had in my gimp-tastic state to browse the web for something (anything) to take my mind off the insane pain. I’ll admit that sometimes hangnails make me cry, but I’ve broken both my arms before, at least 4 other little toes, and my wrist, and none of those breaks hurt nearly as much as this one. Not to mention that the inability to put weight on one of my feet is severely cutting into the amount of time I am able to Flamingo-stand for fun. That, and I had a trip to New York planned for today through Sunday, and I had to cancel everything and fight for refunds from both the hotel and the bus. Instead of wandering the MoMA’s new photography exhibit tonight as I’d been planning and looking forward to for weeks, I’ll likely spend the duration of the weekend in some sad fetal position with my right foot stacked on pillows and buried underneath an ice-pack. Lame!

Anyway, enough griping. Here are 5 things that are making me happy this week:

Lion ‘Cola’ hard candy, from Japan

I picked these up on a whim while standing in line at this amazing Asian supermarket last weekend (before my ungraceful Assride through Stairville) and they are delicious. If you’ve never been to an Asian supermarket, GO. Go now. They have everything you could ever possibly want in a grocery store (400 different types of teas in one aisle, directly across from bins of dried mini shrimp) and the prices are phenomenal. I’ll admit I took a gamble buying chicken from a place that kills fish to order, but I survived, it was delicious, and more imporantly, it was cheap. Ever wonder where all the Mochi Red Bean ice cream (<3<3<3) is hiding? In the freezer section, next to the frozen eggrolls! Oh, there’s also the extra-special bonus of being the only non-Asian person in the place. But anyway, these candies. They taste like artificial soda, are the size of chiklets, and fizz in your mouth. They also have 60 calories a piece, so go easy on them. And don’t buy them from Amazon; that is a total ripoff. I think one pack cost me under $1.

Travelcard Cushion, from Ashley Allen

My obsession with not only London, but the London Underground, is insane. I have travelcards from all of my trips, some saved as mementos, and some used as bookmarks. I love the Underground map (I have this poster hanging framed in my apartment, this tea-towel, and this card holder). This pillow, at the equivalent of $48, would round out my collection nicely. Everything is measured in centimeters overseas, and I’ve never been that good at math (maths, if you’re British) anyway, but a quick google search tells me the pillow is about 11 x 9″. Not too overbearing. I think it would look perfect nestled on my dark gray sofa.

Marcel Marongiu’s Apartment, from Marie Claire Maison via Desire to Inspire

I don’t know why I’m surprised that the french designer has a gorgeous Parisian apartment. This house tour is years old, but I’ve only just stumbled across it now. Doesn’t it just take your breath away? Can you imagine the views of Paris he must have from this place? I’m really digging on those antique shutters used as a room divider, and that small gilded mirror above the chest in the corner is making me all sorts of happy. I bet you the floor boards creak just a little bit when you walk across them. Hey, Marcel, avez-vous une petite amie? Appelez-moi!

Canon Powershot SD1300, from Amazon.com

I bought this camera a week or so ago when it was on sale for the fabulous price of $109 (it still is through Best Buy!). At 12mp, it exceeds my giant Nikon DSLR, and fits in my pocket. I bought it with the intention of taking it to New York this weekend, and adding a new, convenient little camera to my collection, but now all I take pictures of is my jacked up toe situation. I’ve been documenting the bruising every day. I took my nieces to the playground on Saturday and was able to shoot on ISO 80 with amazing results. Indoor shooting is a little difficult, because the camera seems to always need more light. So far, though, I love it. Coupled with an $11 8gb memory card, the whole thing cost me $120 (gotta love Amazon’s free shipping!).

Deux Lux ‘Decker’ satchel in Coco, from Bluefly

In a Tramadol-induced haze, I stumbled upon Bluefly the day they were having an extra 15% off handbags. I’d been lusting after this bag for a while, and the price was finally right (a lot of things are right when you are hopped up on pain killers). If it sucks in person, I can always take advantage of Bluefly’s easy returns and get mah money back. I don’t think it will have to come to that though, because I have pretty high hopes about this beauty. Not that I can use it for a while, because thanks to ye olde crutches I am relegated back to weilding a backpack like a middle-schooler (further cementing the fact that I am indeed an 11 year old boy), but knowing I have a bag that requires full ambulatory motion to carry is certainly going to serve as motivation to heal faster.

Not too much on the agenda this weekend thanks to my lame extremity, aside from pathetically hopping around, wishing I was in New York. What supercool activities do you guys have planned this weekend? Take care, kiddos!

Friday Five

Wow, apologies for the 10 day lapse in blogging. I’m sure all 3 of you were very concerned over my absence. Fear not, dear readers! I did not succumb to food poisoning by way of the dasterdly Shamrock Shake, nor let my body waver to the mystifiying powers of daylight savings (which I still contend is a crock of shit, and someone else agrees with me!). That last part is only half true. Daylight savings is fucking my shit up in the worst way.  More than the time it inspired my dad to coin the term (of endearment) “bitchmuffin” when I had to ask him a million times to explain “springing ahead”. Couple that with a new job (going well so far!) and a new commute, and I make for one sleepy specimen at the end of the day.

 Sadly, the lovely dress from Zara in this post  had to be returned; in a battle of fashion and wanting to prevent a Lindsay Lohan-esque display of my top shelf, fashion lost. It put up a good fight, though. I hung the dress on the back of my closet door, lest I ever forgot how beautiful it was, and fought with myself to wait just one more day before returning it. I hope that somewhere, there is a Medium sized woman adoring that dress the way it deserves.

 All of these things have combined forces inside of me to create a venerable Captain-Planet-like mood of suckitude, the likes of which not even old, youtube’d seasons of America’s Next Top Model could vanquish (Cycle 2!).

The only solution, of course, has been to drown my sorrows the best way I know how: mass consumerism and vapid materialism! And out of all of it, I’ve started a new blogging recurrence: The Friday Five. Let’s take a peek at 5 things that have been tickling my fancy this week:

Ordinal Dresser, from Anthropologie

Nevermind that it is a cool $1000. That dresser will be mine. It is like my soulmate, you wouldn’t understand. Plus, I know 2 people who work for the company, and after a hefty 40% employee discount, that baby could be mine for “only” $600. I wouldn’t even put clothes in it. I would just stare at it all day and sing it lullabyes at night. What? That’s not weird.

 

Collected Mirrors, from Anthropologie

Anthro you are killllliiinng meeeee. Even though I’m convinced you are on crack for thinking it is okay to charge nearly $700 for a collection of old mirrors I’m pretty sure I could find at a flea market for under $30 total if I tried hard enough. I don’t think my pale visage is even worthy of being reflected in this lovely set of mirrors though, which is inspiring  some really fun Snow White moments for me (“YOU, ERIN, YOU ARE THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL”). Actually, I want everything in that entire room.

Bud Vases, from West Elm

D’aww. How tiny and cute! It’s no secret I love pretty much everything from West Elm, but these darling and affordable little frosted glass bud vases are especially high on the list right now. I want a couple of them in the light blue, amber, and maybe gray. Of course that would mean filling them with beautiful buds, not the faux-flowers I buy from IKEA.

Shopper tote, from MrPS on Etsy

I have been in love with this bag for over two years, ever since I saw the tea towel version of it in the Museum of London giftshop on my last trip across the pond to visit my family. It’s so sweet and cheery, reminds me of London and my family, and like any good canvas tote it is perfectly utilitarian. I could take it to the market to buy groceries, or carry my laptop in it (whenever I get a new one), or use it as an everyday bag. The possibilities are endless! The only thing that is throwing me off is whether to get it with the screen printing in blue or red. Decisions, decisions. At $19 a pop, I might just have to get both.

Woodland Print Duvet Set, from Pottery Barn

I’ve been a fan of my all white duvet and sheet situation for quite a while. It’s totally relaxing, extremely peaceful, and given the small size of my studio apartment, it doesn’t clash wildly with the rest of my furniture. But this duvet set is making me forget all about that. It’s so sunny and bright! What a perfect duvet set for the spring. Of course, I might have trouble falling asleep on sheets that loud, but what is a little more sleep deprivation in the name of quality home furnishings?

Well, that’s all for this week’s Friday Five. Have a great weekend, kiddos! What are your awesome weekend plans? I’m helping a lovely lady celebrate turning 25, and seeing my fabulous little nieces off to Disney World.  And trying not to spend any money.