Thursday, May 29, 2014

Book Review- The Girl You Left behind by JoJo Moyes

Good news about this book. I actually finished it about a week ago. And I wrote this post on the weekend, so it’s all fresh in my mind. And let me tell you, it was a great book. My preferred type of book is historical fiction. The title of this book does sound like it’s a love story (and there are some lovey-dovey parts in there), but it’s a lot more interesting than that. Personally, I like books with a little bit of mystery in it. I like it when you get the big reveal at the end (which is why I like some decorating shows, don’t tell my mom). This book traces the roots of a painting that was lost at some point during WWII. Fast forward to modern times, and the painting is sitting in Liv Halston’s apartment. She has no clue how it came to be in her possession, until someone she does not expect wants to take it away. The narration jumps from WWII to modern times, but it is still easy to follow. Here are the memorable quotes:

1.       And as Monsieur Lefèvre worked, glancing to and fro from his easel, barely speaking, it slowly dawned on me that I did not feel admired and important, as I had secretly thought I might but as if he saw straight through me. I had, it seemed, become a thing, an object, of no more significance than the green bottle or the apples in the still-life canvas by the door (43) .
This is a huge moment for Sophie (WWII girl). She has broken down a barrier by allowing a stranger to paint her, and she feels so vulnerable. It may seem so breaching, but within the story, I found this quote to hold so much power.

2.       Instead I had held on to this ridiculous notion that that by allowing myself to become a thing, a vessel, I was somehow I was lessening my infidelity (115).
I am in the boat where I believe that a cheater is always a cheater. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, or if they truly will never do it again, I don’t think it can be justified in any sense. So after this character (no naming names for this one), they feel the pressure and they understand just how awful it. They pain that they have to live with presses on their personal life.

3.       Do you know how I long to watch you laughing on the other side of the table and know that I am the cause of your happiness (117)?
To me, this is love. This man is apart from his wife in times of war, and writes to her of his pain of missing their life together (hence the italics). I thought this was beautiful. It is so simple, yet so powerful. I think it is wonderful to know that a laugh means that they are happy with you. It doesn’t take huge romantic gestures to show intimacy or to prove love.

4.       “Lust for life, my darling!” he would exclaim. “Passion! If you have none you’re a dead thing (135).”
In sociology (there’s my first year of university sneaking out), there are theories that say if people aren’t connected to their society, then they are more likely to become deviant members of it. Now I believe that finding your passion in life is similar to finding your purpose. I found my purpose through my passion. Passions help people find a personal reason to live. Living for other people is wonderful, but if you don’t find one thing that is only your own, then I don’t believe that you can be 100% happy.

5.       “I’ll be back at three o’clock and I’ll call in sick to the restaurant and we can swear a lot and think up medieval punishments for fuckwit men who blow hot and cold. I’ve got some modeling clay upstairs that I use for voodoo dolls. Can you get some cocktail sticks ready? Or some skewers? I’m all out (195).”
Sometimes, you can find a friend in unlikely spaces. Liv Halston finds herself with an acquaintance from the past that ends up being the breath of fresh air, and the friend, she needs. I laughed, and then smiled, at this quote. This could be the perfect way to get back at nasty men with your best friend.

6.       But it is also, he notices now, expressionless, as if she has grown used to hiding her feelings. Or perhaps it’s Botox (286).
Emotionless robot? Or Botox? One can never be too sure these days. Isn’t that sad? I don’t know a lot about Botox, but does enough really erase emotions from your face? I don’t know, but I laughed at this.

7.       “Nobody listens anymore. Everyone knows what they want to hear, but nobody actually listens (347).”
It’s the classic wise quote from the random old person. It’s true though. When is the last time you sat down with a good friend, or you significant other, or your mom and just had a real conversation? Not just about your day, but about everything. Including them. When is the last time you learned something new about the most important person in your life?

This book was actually great. Historical fiction, mystery, a little bit of romance, easy to read, and easy to follow. I give this book 4/5 stars (1 being boring and not understandable, and 5 being life changing and jaw dropping-ly brilliant). It has many heartwarming sections, and I think this book goes really well with a winter setting and getting all cozy by the fire.

As usual, let me know if you have any book suggestions!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Be a Rebel

Life as a young adult is hard. As I mentioned before in my post about today's youth, I find that we are told who to be before we get a chance to find out for ourselves. I apologize for this, but I can only tell you how I feel about this as "fat" girl, and I am not the ideal person compared to what we are told to look like. This is the same for images of men. Anyone who does not look like (or doesn’t try to look like) the god and goddess-like illusions in the media are targeted.
a female, and I can share my speculations for how it is living as a male in this world. All I know for sure is that is affects body image alike. Our society is obsessed with beauty and perfection. I have shared my own struggles as a

Have you seen the movie Beastly (find the trailer here)? It is a modern take on Beauty and the Beast, but the twist is that it takes out the most popular guy in school who depends on his good looks and charm to get his way. I thought about this and I realized that this is true in the real world. The most beautiful people get the most beautiful things. Happiness and a fulfilling life is not necessarily a guarantee here, but the average people are lusting after their beautiful life. Are we not all obsessed with the lives of celebrities? Does MTV not have a show that’s dedicated to looking inside the homes of said celebrities? And where does that leave the rest of us? Not everyone can be a celebrity. We’re stuck watching the lives of other people, and because of all this media, people become unhappy with the life they are leading.

This unhappiness can also be the same for relationships. We’ve all heard love stories and little quotes that go something like “when you get married, you get old and looks will be gone. If looks was all you depended on, what will be left?” Is there truth in that? Are people really looking for relationships based on looks? My experience says yes. But there is no validity in looking perfect. However, we are all still obsessed with this. Girls get all waxed up and go on diets and get breast implants to try to be the perfect female. Guys spend hours at the gym and become all tough and chase after girls to try to be the perfect male. Here’s the kicker: this does not apply to everyone. And it doesn’t have to.

Here’s the sad truth in this world: we reward submission and all the rebels are targeted. That is the truth. Why else would we care about the Kardashians? And that is why the most popular people in school (in my opinion), happen to be considered the most beautiful by what media deems beautiful. Everyone has their insecurities, and this situation is helping no one. The males who choose to not go to the gym and choose to be a gentleman are targets. The females who prefer not to wear makeup and choose not to shave their legs are targets. This is why body image is such a huge issue these days.

My solution? Be you! Be a rebel! You rock those unshaved legs or lanky body! You don’t need to listen to anyone else telling you you’re not perfect. If YOU are happy, and YOU choose to be this way, there is no need to be ashamed. Beautiful does not have to mean perfect. Make a new definition. Beautiful can mean happiness. Society may be dominant, but it sure can be wrong sometimes.


P.S. I had some computer issues on Monday. So now you get three posts in a row!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pinterest Challenge- DIY Knotted T-Shirt Headband

Look at this! Three posts in one week! And guess what! This is going to be a regular thing. I know, good for me. Let me tell you; when I got my weekly Bloglovin’ stats back and it told me I had -1 new followers, that hit a soft spot. I was losing followers per week. My page views are going down, and I’m not getting comments anymore. So I sat down and I figured out exactly what I want to do and when I want to do it. Now I’m just crossing my fingers hoping that I get some support back.

Part of my new thing is these weekly Pinterest challenge posts! I have been looking all over Pinterest (not that that’s the challenge) for new activities or recipes or crafts to try out. And I am not crafty. Despite this fact, I decided to try a craftier activity. I have recently started to reorganize my closet and clothes, so I had a whole bunch of old t-shirts that I didn’t have room for. It’s a little difficult to donate t-shirts with names of people you don’t even talk to on the back. So I took to Pinterest for a solution. I found this idea to make headbands out of the shirts on Sugar Bee Crafts. The result is super cute headbands, and I ended up making a whole bunch. It was a great solution, and it helped me practice my sewing. Also, I made use of this collage thing I found. Clearly. It’s relatively easy to follow and I have step by step pictures for you!

Cutting out the back of your t-shirt.

I used the entire back of my t-shirt. I suggest start with the whole back, right up to the collar as seen here, because you can always cut it shorter after you make the knot.

Making “t-shirt yarn.”

1.      Cut the back of the t-shirt into six strips. The strips can be thick or thin. I started by measuring ¾ in., but I ended up just using my discretion by the end.
2.       Tightly pull the ends of the strips.
3.       The edges of the strip should curl in.

Tying the knot.

1.       Separate the strips into two groups of three and start by putting one group of three strips in a ribbon shape.
2.       Place the other group of three strips in a smiley shape on top of the ribbon shape.
3.       Bring the right part of the ribbon underneath the smiley shape.
4.       Bring the left side of the smiley underneath the loop so you can see it.
5.       Cross the right part of the smiley underneath the piece that is in the middle of the loop.
6.       You should end up with a loopy cross pattern.
7.       Gather all the ends together.
8.       Pull the ends and adjust the knot if necessary.
9.       The final knot should look like this.
*if the pictures or words don’t do it for you, you can find the video tutorial here*

Sewing the loose ends.

1.       The ends of the headband may by uneven.
2.       Snip the ends so they are even.
3.       Grab the adjoining ends of two strips.
4.       Sew the adjoining ends an inch from the end of the headband.
5.       Continue up and down all the rest of strips so all the strips are sewed together.

Connecting the ends.

1.      Sew the ends of the headband together. It does not need to be pretty. Just make sure there is nothing sticking out, and it will actually hold together.
2.       Cut the sleeve off of the t-shirt.
3.       Cut the sleeve so it becomes one large strip.
4.       Cut a chunk of the sleeve large enough to cover the ends of the headband.
5.       Place one edge of the chunk around the back and sew it down.
6.       Wrap the rest of the chunk around the back and sew it all around the edges.
*yes, the t-shirt colour switched, the white one didn’t work out the same way*

And there you have it! I loved this project. It took me about an hour to make a whole headband.  Which means I spent five hours to make all of my headbands. It was just too much fun! You could easily switch up the colours of the strips to make some multi-coloured headbands, or make them patriotic! It did take some time to figure it out. My first attempt was a fail, and way too small for my head! The aftermath was also disastrous. My room was a complete mess. So many scraps all over the place! And I don’t think the t-shirts fuzzies will ever come out of my blanket. I do NOT suggest doing this on a bed.
Remember that you can find all of my Pinterest completed challenges on my board. Please let me know if you make this, and send me a picture of the ones you make!


P.S. Shoutout to my sister Brianne for taking pictures for me! She’s a great photographer, so check her out on Instagram: bri_poloni

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review- Where’d You go Bernadette by Maria Semple

I have not posted a book review for a while. I honestly finished this book a long time ago too. I also started a book and then I stopped because I had no time to read and by the time I could actually sit down for a while, I couldn’t remember anything about the book. When I had time, I finally finished another one, and so I have another book review to write. And after I write that maybe I’ll actually be on time with my reviews this summer. I can write it when I actually finish it so it won’t be difficult to remember.

So. This book was really interesting. At first, it’s a little crazy with what’s going on. It is a series of memos, emails, and notes mixed with the actual story. Eventually, I ignored it because I got interested in the plot. And don’t let the deter you, it was a great book. It makes sense halfway through, and the humour is just perfect. This book follows Bee’s hunt to look for clues to discover the mysterious disappearance of her mother, Bernadette. Bernadette as a character is quirky, and she is the source of a vast majority of the smiles. As usual, I will give you the quotes that stood out to me.

1.       Because they’re annoying, but not so annoying that you actually want to spend valuable energy on them (23).
I laughed so hard at this. Who hasn’t run into people like this? One will always come across the people that you simply have to brush off and yeah, maybe scare them by almost running into them with your car (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER). I wouldn’t actually do that, but I wanted to give you a taste of the events that make this book a page-turner. Like I said, the humour in this book is perfection. It’s so easy to follow, and easy to relate to.

2.       “You’re bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be” (43-44).
This quote is from Bernadette herself. I completely agree with it. She says it to her daughter and a friend when they are young, and it resonates with Bee throughout her years. And it should! We have all heard the saying “a team is only as strong as its weakest link,” and if we change that to “your life is only as exciting as your boring choices,” then we have ourselves a philosophy to live by! Make life exhilarating, dare yourself to push past your own boundaries, and live with choices you are proud of.

3.       No, the sun didn’t come out, but Mom opened up like the sun breaking through the clouds (81).
I can just imagine this moment. I love watching this happen to people. That moment when you first see all their fears melting away, and it’s like their soul is left bare for you. And it really is the sun breaking through the clouds for the first time in a long time (something I’ve been waiting for where I live). It’s magical. It’s beautiful. It’s like you’ve never felt the sun before. That’s what it feels like when someone finally opens up to you.

4.       Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place (199).
I am religious, and I am proud to say it. I believe in God, and I trust in Him, just like this quote says. To me, this is what religion is. I know the big question is “how do you really know?” Well, I don’t. I have no clue if there is a God. Blind trust? Yeah! Easy? No way! But I don’t need for it to be explained to me. I hate how the simplest things, like love, now have to be explained by science. Sometimes, things need to be experienced and felt, and not explained.

5.       I raced back down the concrete ramp, faster than I ever had before, so fast I could have fallen, but I didn’t fall, because Mom was in the world (267).
I just smiled so much when I read this. I think this is what mother and daughter love should be all about, particularly at young ages. Bee has no idea what kind of life her mother leads, only knowing that she leads it with difficulty, and she loves her mother so much regardless. Her love for her mother fills her with hope and happiness and pure joy. What a wonderful relationship!

6.       It was just me and time (268).
I love it when a sentence so simple makes me stop and reread it. This is patience. You and time. For some reason, it makes me feel calm. It reminds me that life will always keep going, even if I want to stop. It feels like time will always be there when other things won’t. It also reminds me that with time, things will get better. Things will change with time.

7.       She had to carry all my weight in her arms because I had just given up (306).
This is comfort to me. This is support, and love, and what it means to be there for someone. This is the person that you are comfortable to break down around, and you know they will catch you because you forgot the freaking glue to put yourself back together. My heart is all fuzzy from this quote.
So there you go. This book is certainly an easy read. It is lighthearted, and mysterious, and funny, and I finished it rather quickly. The fact that I can recall all the details after this long means it was even better than I originally thought! So I give this book a 4.4/5 (1 being boring and not understandable, and 5 being life changing and jaw dropping-ly brilliant). I am very clearly picky about my fives. I suggest this book for the summer! If you have any book suggestions, let me know!


Monday, May 19, 2014

The Lost Ones

When I look at today’s youth, I am appalled at what I see. Granted, I’m not old in any sense, but I am still in awe at the world we have created for our youngsters. The shift from innocence to experience is starting at a younger age year after year. A child is hardly able to say their name when they are bombarded with all the negative images that media has created in this era. I find that maturity is also becoming a rare thing. You hardly find young people, particularly in high school, with maturity that overrides that of their peers. And of course, I must mention self-consciousness. I just recently heard a girl in grade three saying she will kill herself because she couldn’t complete her goal. After I talked to her about it, I wondered where she picked up that notion. Tying that to self-consciousness, I wonder how young kids are able to look at themselves and hate what they see before they get a chance to discover who they are, and what gifts besides looks they have to offer the world.

Arthur is a show that took up my childhood.
I was inspired on the shift from innocence to experience from a lecture my English prof was doing on William Blake’s Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence (beautiful poetry if you ever get a chance to read it). Back in old time London England, children had to grow up fast based on the economic circumstances. Nowadays, children in first world countries have it easy. Things are practically handed to them. They hardly need to work, and they have more time to do children’s things. But they are not. These children are plopped down in front of a TV whenever they get a chance. They waste their days on the computer and playing video games. As much as we all roll our eyes at the parental “when I was a kid, we used to play outside until the streetlights came on” speeches, our parents do have a point. What are children really getting out of watching hours and hours of television? Sure, there are some fantastic educational things on there, but I don’t think children really understand it all. There are more and more mindless shows where comedy is young teens dealing with not so real life problems, and they make dumb seem cool. No wonder girls think being dumb is the way to get guys.

We can’t talk about TV without talking about the breaks in the show. Yes, the commercials. I have been analyzing ads for quite some time now, and it has become apparent to me just how preposterous those things can be. It affects women and men alike, but what about the children? If their eyes and brains are taking in these images at a young age, then that means that self-consciousness comes into play at an early stage. That is so sad. I have heard stories of little girls truly believing that they are fat. Not to mention the girl I mentioned above. Where are they coming up with this stuff? It hurts me to think about the corruption of the minds of our little ones. And I believe that comes from the things they are viewing on TV or the internet.

As for the maturity issue, I believe this stems from the young age at which they are experiencing corruption. If children are not able to have fun and be youthful when they can, then how can they develop maturity? Maturity comes from living life and learning from all of your experiences. The media has a way of shooting them down before they get up, so to speak. How can they figure out a sense of self if the media is trying to tell them who to be? Children don’t know how to fight against them. Are we really a source of safety and comfort for our youth, or are we creating generations of lost little ones?
A classic quote from a classic book.

Do I have a solution for this? Not really. I’ll have to wait until I have kids to determine the best way to instill their sense of self-importance before the media gets to them. This is simply an issue I am heavy hearted about. I don’t want kids to develop eating disorders, or feel embarrassed about the way they look, or even the have the No-No commercial memorized (true story). I want kids to accept and love themselves as well as others. I want them to smile and have fun and PLAY their days away. I want kids to enjoy their golden years, before these years turn black. 


Friday, May 16, 2014

Pinterest Challenge- Hawaiian Smoothie

I know it has been a while. To be honest, I didn’t realize how long it has been until I sat down to write this. I’m not going to sit here and give you my excuses and explanations. All I can say is that I took the time to figure out where I want this blog, and the rest of my life, to be. So now I am ready to commit and I cannot be more excited! To start off, another addition to my Pinterest challenge. Instead of the typical pin and put aside activity, I have been challenged by my friend Marlee to actually do some of these totally ingenious things! It has been a blast so far, and I know I have done only foodie things (check out my board here), but I just cleaned out my wardrobe, and I have Pinterest plans for some of my old stuff. Trust me, you will be looking forward to Fridays now! Also, I learned how to make collages for my pictures. Technology . . . who knew? Aaaaaand, thanks to Marlee once again, all my pictures will be Pin-able from this day forward.

I made this smoothie on a particularly hot day a couple weeks ago. The weather has been so bipolar lately, that I do warm weather activities before it’s too late! This “Sunny Hawaiin Smoothie” is originally from What2Cook. I love a good blender drink, so this caught my eye on Pinterest.  It was made only for me, so I divided the original recipe by two. It was really easy to make, and I added the grenadine to make it a lil’ bit fancy.

Hawaiian Smoothie
·         1 cup of ice (or more if you like a thicker smoothie)
·         ½ cup of orange juice
·         ½  cup of pineapple juice
·         ½ cup of Greek yogurt
·         1 banana
·         Splash of grenadine (optional)

1.       Add the ice to a blender
2.       Add the orange juice.
3.       Add the pineapple juice.
4.       Add the Greek yogurt.
5.       Add the banana and blend.
6.       Add a splash of grenadine to the bottom of the cup you’re using.
7.       Pour the smoothie into your cup.
8.       The grenadine adds a swirly pink pattern to the smoothie.
9.       A very pretty Hawaiian smoothie!

This smoothie was delicious; a wonderful thirst quencher for a hot day. I will be trying this again once the weather decids to stay warm. Let me know if you try this out! You can check out my previous results here and here. Both of them are on my Pinterest Challenge board , but I will start adding my own original pictures as of today.  Have a sunny day everyone!