Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Conquering Anna.

Like most bookworms, I have an extensive list of books to read in my lifetime. I'm guessing that in addition to this we likely each have a few books that are sort of the big kahunas. You know, the ones that are really intimidating, often thick and you've over-seen them being read by people you thought really cool or brainy... well for me one of the biggest was Anna Karenina.

I remember seeing it probably for the first time when I was about 14. I was at a friend's house, in this super cool library type loft that had tons of books, floor pillows, candles, maps.. the whole nine yards. I picked up the book and was mesmerized by the gorgeous cover photo. I had heard of the name before and never realized how huge it was. I told her that I really wanted to read it, and she explained that her older brother would be impressed and probably let me borrow it. Woah, that's a lot for a not-actually-that-literary-reader, not to mention boy-crazy 14 year-old to handle! Needless to say, I put it back on the shelf, quickly brushed it off saying "oh, that's ok. I probably won't have time to read it for a while anyway."

I finally purchased a copy for myself on a walking trip from our (now old) apartment to the nearby bookstore. I bought a used copy and was very excited. Purchasing it was a really big step, I never imagined that I would read it before I turned 40 let alone while within the year I bought it!

I had heard that a movie version was being made that had both Kiera Knightly and Jude Law in it. I was pretty excited about it and took it as a challenge to start reading it in time for the movie. Where we live, we get independent/foreign/non box office-y movies for a very limited period of time and only two at a time. I began the book despite the fact that I was about to finish my senior year as an undergraduate.

Once I picked up the novel, I could barely set it down. I made a goal to read just 2 chapters per day, and when I would get behind I would catch up as much as possible within a day where I wasn't so busy. This strategy kept me interested and also from forgetting what was going on in the plot. As I read, I came to find that this whale-of-a-book was actually quite accessible and much more quickly paced than I had expected.

During my reading, I found myself reflecting on some of the over-arching topics quite a bit. For one, I just felt extremely grateful that my husband and my "Mister" (?), lover, are one-and-the-same. I just feel so terribly for anyone involved in an affair. After that I found myself (surprisingly!) sympathetic for Anna's character. How awful to live in a society where you have very little to no control over your relationships. She had no options when it came her relationships. How awful not to have any options especially not to divorce. In this case I felt that and her husband (in my interpretation) was pretty absent and not meeting her needs. To be fair, it was very possibly completely unknown to him. But his affection for her wasn't really noticeable in the book.

Beyond those those thoughts, I found myself wanting to learn more about the history and culture of that time and period in Russia. I think that it would be extremely interesting, so if any of you history buffs out there have a recommendation.. send it my way! :)

Once I got into the book, it really didn't take too long to finish.. considering how long it is. (817 pgs!) The night that I finished it we went to see the evening showing of the movie. I had not really done any research and didn't realize how theatrical it would be... but I was glad to have seen it. I thought that it was really well done. I love a good artistically shot film! The costumes and sets were so intricate and gorgeous!

However, I had 3 thoughts on what I expected to be different in the film:

1) the depth of Anna's struggle was MUCH more drawn out in the book, even if you rationalize the varying lengths. I was hoping to get a bit more of a look into what drove her to her decision. It almost came across like a girlish whim. Which gives the whole plot and character a very different feel. 

2) Vronsky's mustache (period accurate or not) was not attractive at all. It caused a whole lot of grimacing on my part, especially during one of the love scenes.

3) This kind of goes with 1, but in the end Anna's actions seemed a little overly dramatic considering the quickness of the movie and the lack of explanation of her marital relationship.

KC on the other hand didn't find it that way as a non-reader-viewer. So it could be just me!

Have you read Anna Karenina? What did you think of the book or movie versions? What is one of the "big kahunas" on your reading list?

Currently reading: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
(a gorgeous 1935 copy that was a $2 steal at a local bookstore!) 
Read my thoughts after reading it, here.

All for now,


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Rivet and Sway Way, Part II

Ok, so I finally ordered my Rivet and Sway try-on kit!

If you need caught up, see my first post here.

How cute is the packaging?!? Plus, it's pretty darn green. You save the box that they come in and it seals back up for when you send them back! They also re-use the individual glasses boxes! I love the eco-initiative Rivet and Sway! :)

After much debating, I decided on these 3 pairs to try: first, Core Strength in "Confetti", in the middle, Rizzo in "Crushed Velvet" and on the bottom Spitfire in "Galapagos Green".

Photo Credit: Rivet & Sway
Now for the try on:

First, Core Strength in "Confetti"....

I thought that this pair was pretty cute, but overall just ok. The frames are a little small for me, and the coloring is pretty much the same as the pair that I already own.

Second, Rizzo in "Crushed Velvet"...

I really liked this pair! They are a gorgeous burgundy color and light pink on the inside. They fit pretty well and the remind me of Lorelai Gilmore's glasses. What do you think?

But maybe, hers are more of a mix of the rizzo and the spitfire...?

My last pair is Spitfire in "Galapagos Green"...

These are quite a bit bigger and quite a bit different. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I love them, and I sort of want to try them in Black. Kyle likes these best, and most of my family members and friends that I polled liked these best as well. I like the cat eye for sure, but I can't decide if they are too big..

And, I'm still wondering about the Punchline in "Neapolitan"

Photo Credit: Rivet & Sway

What are do you guys think?!?! Votes please!

See my Fall 2013 try-on kit here!

All for now,


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Snapshots of Garland, Texas // Spring Break // March 2013

Remember that whole spring break thing? That happened almost a month and a half ago.. well.. here is the last post. Finally.

In the car on the way down to Arizona, I saw that Bethany Dillon tweeted about a show she was doing in Garland on the last day of our trip. We checked out the map and decided that we couldn't pass it up, tickets were only $12 and I never thought that I would get to see her play live.

For those of you who don't know who Bethany Dillon is, she's a fantastic Christian singer. I first heard her music when I was a teenager, but have continued to love it more and more over the years. She started in her early teens and received a Dove award!

In 2008 Bethany married Shane Barnard of Shane and Shane and soon after they started their family. Now she is a full time mom, look how cute her kids are!! So, since her recording was becoming less frequent, and she was mostly playing local (Texas) shows, I just figured that I would never get the chance to see her live. So glad that I was wrong!

Whether or not you typically like Christian music, I think that you will find her voice beautiful. She even plays guitar and writes her own songs, which you can't say for everyone! I especially love her acoustic tracks.

Bethany has 6 studio albums and 1 EP. The EP, For Those Who Wait, is her most recent release. I am really loving it!

I still think that my favorite album is Stop and Listen. It's relatively upbeat and the lyrics are really relatable. Give it a listen on iTunes or YouTube!

Before the concert, we stopped at a little place called Generator Coffee Shop, and I had the best time relaxing and enjoying the place! 

We were so at home that we didn't even leave for dinner! The atmosphere is really nice and cozy. There are lots of windows and comfortable wooden chairs. We got iced coffees (good!) and talked about life and how much we'd learned so far on our trip. Then we grabbed travel Blokus from the car and played that for a while. 

We ordered dinner, Kyle got the Cuban panini (good) and I got the Chicken Stew (also good!). We relaxed, played our game and talked for a while and then some live music started. The music was actually pretty good and we listened while we played until it was time to walk across the street to the Plaza Theater. I should also note that we got some brownies for my sister's b-friend and he said that they were AMAZING!

The concert was really great. The opening bands were entertaining and the music was pretty good. One thing that I always love about Christian concerts is that the performers always talk about things that are going on in their lives. One couple told stories about funny things they have had to say to their kids, it was hilarious! "I see no reason that you need to take nun chucks to bed with you." "We don't pee on our hands on purpose." and "Get your penis off the table!" It had the whole audience laughing pretty hard.  

Bethany came on with her husband Shane. He played with her and did some background vocals. They told some really cute stories about their kids too.

They played some of my favorites and it was nice to hear the stories behind her songs. I felt like I could relate to them more with the explanations!

If you live in Texas, keep a lookout on Twitter to see if she will be doing any other shows in her area.

I keep thinking about Generator, I had the most peaceful time there. I found myself wishing it was local to where I live! Sometimes you happen upon places that are just right! 

After this we drove to Oklahoma and stayed the night somewhere. There was a blizzard that night and we made the slow trek back home the next day. Luckily we didn't have to rough of a go! But boy, was it slow and boring! :S

Have you ever changed your travel plans for a last-minute event? Did it work out? Or found a place so perfect that you wanted to haul it back to your own town?

All for now,


First two images are not my own, and were found on Google.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Honest Life Book Review

A while back I had heard that Jessica Alba was launching an eco-friendly line of hygiene and baby products, I had forgotten about it until I saw her new book The Honest Life at the bookstore. 

I read the back and flipped through it, quickly finding that she is serious about going natural, and not just when it's glamorous! It was filled with gorgeous photos of her and her family, her daughters are absolutely adorable!

The book covered many topics ranging from cosmetics and hygiene to recipes and baby-care. As soon as I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.. and I have read quite a bit on eco-friendly living! I learned so much about topics currently relevant to me and even more about baby/kid stuff that I will be so happy I learned somewhere down the road.

I now have some great tips and resources for finding chemical free makeup, candles and home improvement materials. I also learned some scary things that I want to tell everyone I know, like how "tear-free" baby shampoo has a chemical in it that numbs your baby's eyes so it doesn't sting! (Can you believe that?!) And that baby diapers contain a chemical that has been outlawed in tampons! YIKES! 
But it's definitely not all scary facts. It contains a lot of brand recommendation for products that Alba herself has tried. She also includes some of her own healthy but delicious recipes as well as tips for entertaining. My favorite part is that she has done so much research that she knows where you can find the no VOC paint in CUTE colors, where the best organic lipsticks can be found and how to purchase healthy art supplies for your kiddos. She's not settling into being boring and beige to be green and healthy! I love that she is so boldly taking on this stereotype! 

I really admire Alba's dedication to making her home and her products safe for her family, her self an the world. She did such an amazing thing by writing this extremely accessible book. I think that readers will thoroughly enjoy what she has written and learn a lot from it.

It also inspired me to check out her company's line of products. Most of the items are geared toward babies, children and mothers, but there are some that anyone could use. I think that I will order the hand soap, lip balm, sunscreen and naturally fragranced  soy candles next time I need one of those things! Check out her website here.

Have you read The Honest Life? What did you think?

All for now,


For my eco-friendly posts check my #green tab above!

Monday, May 20, 2013

So We're Moving Again...

I hate moving.

As a student (or recent one) that's pretty much all you do. You move in in August and out in May, for 4 years. But for me it was 5 because Kyle and I were living in married student housing. Now that he's graduated we are moving off campus for the last time! Hopefully next time we move it will be a little more permanent! 

We've moved in with Kyle's parents for the summer months, 1) No rent payments! woohoo! 2) We haven't found any apartments we like yet! So this will work out well for such a short period of time!

With graduation this past weekend, we really just got the most basic things done. Our furniture we will be using is all up in our bedroom, and all of the things that need unpacked or stored long-term are in either the garage or a spare room. We are making progress bit by bit. 

But it is definitely hard trying to fit an apartment's worth of stuff into one little room! :) Oh, well it will be an adventure! I am already having fun seeing what it is like to have our furniture and things in a new space! It looks nothing like it did in our apartment, and the room looks completely different than it did when it was just Kyle's in high school! It's very fun!

My goal this week is to get our upstairs room done. All the furniture and items that we are going to use in a place where we can use them for the summer. In addition, I want to make sure that all of the things that are boxed are ready to move again in August, and neatly out of the way in his family's house. 

With that in mind you might wonder why I'm blogging... you know, instead of moving things. I really just needed a little break, and I wanted to let you all in on why I have been MIA recently. 

Hoping to blog about something more interesting soon. 

All for now,

the eternal nomad