• Nail Art: Keith Haring

  • Book Review: The Easter Parade by Richard Yates

  • Book Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

  • Book Review: The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

  • Book Review: The Secret Place by Tana French

  • Bright Block Mani

  • Book Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

  • Book Review: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

  • Book Review: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

  • Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

  • Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Keith Haring Nail Art

Hello lovelies!

Not only am I back, but with some nail art that I am so excited about! Today I have these Keith Haring nails came to me in the middle of the day, and although I had just painted my nails, I  had to try this out. 

If you don't know, Keith Haring was an American artist who became popular in New York around the 1980s. His work was inspired by street art, and his lines and movement show that fluidity. His art was and is very political; it often deals with death, sexuality, and war. He was a social activist whose imagery became a language in the 20th century. If you want to learn more about him and his work visit:  http://www.haring.com/

I was scrolling through Instagram and China Glaze had re-posted a photo from @Nailstorming of their new Lite Brites collection. This inspiration sparked me to try to recreate the famous Keith Haring image that is in the background.

If you are interested in the colors that I used for this look: White base - Essie: Blanc | Red - Julep: January | Green - China Glaze: Def Defying | Yellow - China Glaze: Happy-Go-Lucky | Blue - Julep: Gunta | Pink/Purple - mix of Essie: Blanc and Sinful Colors: Dream On

Thanks for stopping by and I hope for more cool nail art to come!!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Book Review: The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers By Henry James

The Turn of the Screw had me turning page after page the entire time. (and I didn't finish The Aspern Papers because I fell behind the reading in school so I will not be reviewing it until I finish it)

The Turn of the Screw is about a governess sent to watch over two children, Miles - who had just been kicked out of school for something we do not know - and Flora. This early ghost story is a mental game. We are told the governess' story through the unnamed narrator leaving it to be unreliable for more than just the apparent unstable mind of the governess.

James' tale deals with a couple things, sexual oppression, the supernatural, social hierarchy etc. The governess is saying she had seen the ghosts of the governess and butler that came before her and while this may seem crazy, the kids in this story don't seem innocent...

I loved the mystery of who was playing who, this story went by a lot faster than Portrait as all horror stories should. James does a great job of playing the reader, making us question whether there really is a ghost or whether the governess is mentally ill. I would say it's pretty up there with The Yellow Wallpaper in mental illness novellas.

I felt bad for the woman throughout this novel and could see the struggles she was facing; in raising the kids, and in the power dynamic that was created amongst the upper-class children being bossed around by someone who was, or is, lower class than they are. The governess seems to be infatuated with Miles, and he feels very uncomfortable in her hands.

This novella is sufficiently creepy and James leave many things unanswered making it perfect for cold fall or winter nights.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James 
I never thought that I would be picking up so much of Henry James' work these past few months, but I ended up taking a "Secrets, Lies and Henry James" fiction class here at Northwestern, so for the next couple posts I will be reviewing and discussing the novels and short stories that we read in that class. 

Our first novel was The Portrait of a Lady, James' first work. This story centers around Isabel Archer, a poor American girl who is taken to Europe (London) by her aunt. 

There in London, friendships are formed, people fall in love, people die and they visit Italy, but that is all there really is to this book. This was my first James novel and the style definitely took me a couple chapters to get into. This is considered one of the first American novels to deal with the "inner life" or social and psychological lives.

---spoilers below---

In The Portrait of a Lady, we get long pages of inner dialogue, inner thoughts, and indecision. It's a lot of Isabel thinking of which decisions she will make, who will she marry? Does she have money? Should she go up to her room? Yet, there isn't a lot of acting on these questions. For a character that prides herself so much on being independent - she was orphaned - she really depends on Ralph her cousin and his family, as well as the men trying to win her love.

Ralph is his own story, he was probably my favorite character, Isabel's cousin who is sick and dying. he loves Isabel but knows his time is coming near so he tries to lead her in the right direction men wise, and has his father leave her money when he dies so that she can be "independent" like she says she wants to be. Because Ralph is dying, he is an outsider really in their social world making it possible for him to have this overarching view.

A theme I found in James' stories is that there is a lot of hype and talk about these great people, but he doesn't show us what everyone is in love with. Here Isabel is supposedly this amazing being, yet we never really see her do anything great or noble.

This book was definitely not my favorite book, and I didn't even like Isabel that much and she makes a stupid decision in the end that tricks her into living a life trapped in a marriage where the man is in love with the woman who tricked her.

That being said, this is still really well written and although James is not an easy writer to read, he put his whole self into his work and they truly are classics for good reason.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Book Review: Easter Parade by Richard Yates

Easter Parade by Richerd Yates

Easter Parade takes place in the 20th century United States, it is about two sisters struggling through problems that face may people in the US. We follow these sisters, Emily and Sarah, for four decades, through all of their ups-and-downs.

This was the first Richard Yates novel that I read, mostly because of one of my favorite Booktubers Ange from Beyond the Pages. I saw that she read quite a few Yates, along with a bunch of other Booktubers that I watch and knew that while I was here in Europe I had to buy this book in the Vintage Red Spine edition.

Although this book was surrounded by bleak circumstances, I loved it and very much connected to many of the things taking place in the book.

I absolutely fell in love with Yates writing in this book, I deeply connected with Emily and found everything to be so real, so raw and beautifully depressing in truthful way. Yates does such a great job developing these characters to be so realistic, from their inner thoughts to the dialogue between siblings and lovers - if you don't relate to any of the characters in this book, even for just a scene or two, you are truly living a blessed life.

Yates was incredible at capturing the feelings of these two women and how it is so common for people to go through life accepting their unhappy lives. His writing is so impeccable that I cannot wait to jump into the short story collection my friends got me for my birthday.

Book Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

I picked up this book because a friend of mine brought it abroad to Greece and basically my entire program took turns reading it.

This was a nonfiction book I've wanted to read for a while but just haven't gotten around to it.

In Cold Blood is about the cold-blooded murder of the Clutter family in Kansas, and Truman Capote goes through the events from both the family's point of view, the killers, the police, and the towns people.

It really took me a while to get into this book, and the ending was an absolute drag. However, this story is extremely interesting and I loved the whole middle part of the book.

I'm torn on how to rate this book because te middle was so good, but the beginning and end just were so hard for me to get through. Capote was a journalist, as am I, and you could really tell that from the detail in the "reporting" that he was able to get at the time. This did hinder the creative writing style (in my opinion) especially at the end while the murderers are on trial.

I loved how Capote was able to intertwine the information from all the people that the Clutter's seemed to touch in their town, the only think I wished for was some dialogue or conversation with the older members of the Clutter family, and what they were going through.

Overall, it was worth it for me to read especially because I truly enjoy true crime books but the way in which this one was written made it very difficult for me to absolutly love.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Since these Little Penguin Black Classics are only available in Europe and not in the US, I've picked up quite a few so be expecting some reviews!

I first read this short story in the 7th grade. It is a story about the slow mental descent of a woman who's name is never mentioned (or is named Jane after some online research, I've forgotten). I'm sure you've heard of this story before; the ugly, disgusting wallpaper that drives the woman crazy, the trapped woman she sees in its pattern.

This book is dark, and disturbing. I followed the woman as she went from "ill" to crazy. The narrator is clearly unreliable towards the end of her road to madness, but we begin feeling bad for her being locked away all day. It's hard to believe that Gilman was able to fit so much beautiful writing and madness into so few pages with so much meaning.

This book is so beautifully written, and I loved it even more than I did as a pre-teen. This book only took me a couple of hours read and that's only because I read it on a boat ride from Athens to Tinos and got a little sea sick. If you're not sure if you like 20th-century creepy reads, there are many Little Penguin Black Classics that can help you test the waters, and for 1, I couldn't pass it up.

It also contained "The Rocking-Chair" which was just as creepy, perfect for reading around Halloween.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book Review: The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place is a murder mystery about a boy named Chris who is killed on the grounds of an all girls school in Dublin.

The book follows the perspective of Detective Moran and his big shot at joining the homicide unit. An old witness Holly brings him a big clue to the unsolved murder of Chris and this is where the novel really picks up. Every other chapter is the perspective of Holly and her three best friends leading up to Chris's murder.

I won't go into much detail, but this book was a very fast read for me. I really got into this while taking a vacation and finished it up on another vacation. This was a slow beginning for me but really picked up through the middle and end, and was so beautifully written it was a breeze to get through.

I really loved the back and forth of the timeline in this book. I was excited to change up the story form before to after every chapter and I think it made it go by very quickly. I really cared about all of these characters and wanted to know about their lives and what happened that fateful night.

Although this book is about trying to solve the murder I think it's more about the characters and their metamorphosis through the book. Holly and her friends growing apart as many friend groups do towards the end of high school, Detective Moran learning his place in the force and his partner on the case Detective Conway fighting to be a woman in the force.

There were some things I didn't get or like about this book, there are some magical or paranormal elements that are completely not explained and just get thrown into the storyline. While I am perfectly okay with the idea of a paranormal element, I needed some explanation. Were the girls not curious to figure out how these powers came to be?!

Overall a very entertaining read and I'm looking forward to reading the other Tana French book I have waiting for me back home in America!