winter wrap-up

 

Books Read in Winter 2017

  • Heart of the Fae by Emma Hamm
  • Veins of Magic (#2) by Emma Hamm [series rating 4/5]
  • Circe by Madeline Miller [4/5]
  • Flux by Orion Vanessa [3/5]
  • The Sun & her Flowers by Rupi Kaur [5/5]
  • Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett [4/5]
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott [3/5]
  • Cry of the Firebird by Amy Kuivalainen
  • Ashes of the Firebird (#2) by Amy Kuivalainen
  • Rise of the Firebird (#3) by Amy Kuivalainen [series rating 3.5/5]
  • Shadowsong (#2) by S. Jae-Jones [3.5/5]
  • The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser [5/5]
  • Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen [3/5]
  • The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip [5/5]
  • A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson [4/5]

—All in total, I’d say winter 2017 was a decent reading season. I tried to read some books I’ve never heard of before I stumbled upon them, and even a few sequels here and there. The Faerie Queen was thrust upon me in my Renaissance Literature class, but I loved it enough (and the book is large enough) to warrant a place on this list! Flux and The Sun & Her Flowers are both poetry, while Pond is an autobiography. The rest are fiction, and I believe out of all of them I enjoyed Circe the most, no matter the 4 star rating. I hope spring brings just as many positive reads as winter did! (You can find reviews for all of these books on the homepage.)

Movies Seen

  • It, (dir.) Andy Muschietti
  • Mother! (dir.) Darren Aronofsky
  • Captain Fantastic (dir.) Matt Ross
  • The Lure (dir.) Agnieszka Smoczynska
  • Lady Bird (dir.) Greta Gerwig
  • Very Good Girls (dir.) Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal
  • Call Me by Your Name (dir.) Luca Guadagnino

—I’ve been watching reruns of my favorite show, Vikings, for the most part of winter, but in the meantime these amazing movies found their ways into my heart…especially Captain Fantastic. Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name were amazing as well, and I cried during both. I’m going to see Black Panther this weekend and I have a feeling it’ll be another winter hit to add to the list! The Lure is a Polish rock-opera type film with mermaids who work in a strip club. Yeah, you just read that.

New Favorite Music

  • gun shy / widowspeak
  • portuguese knife fight / cage the elephant
  • fountain of youth / local natives
  • sure as spring / la luz
  • in the aeroplane over the sea / neutral milk hotel
  • i’m writing a novel / father john misty
  • the spell / naomi punk
  • deer creek canyon / sera cahoone
  • always forever / cults
  • so says i / the shins
  • all apologies / nirvana
  • ancient names (part 1) / lord huron
  • sister / the black keys
  • miracle mile / cold war kids
  • congratulations / MGMT
  • tangible intangible / fly golden eagle
  • happiest man on earth / broken back
  • ruby carol / dan sartain
  • silver lining / guards
  • fire in the sky / palace
  • st.walker / young the giant
  • black beak / young blood hawke
  • so what / the mowgli’s
  • the deep end / hurricane bells

—A bunch of these are fairly old but it’s my first time really getting into the vibe of them. The rest are all recent hits that I’ve been subjected to listen to while working at Free People… and needless to say they’ve grown on me. I really love Widowspeak and Cage the Elephant. You can listen to this playlist here on my Spotify.

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October Film Recommendations

Happy first of October! We’re finally in the best month of the year. I’ve waited a whole year for this time to come again, and so far the last twelve hours have been treating me just right. Everything about this season from the food, the music, the clothing, and the television shows makes me nostalgic and longing for an eternal autumn. That being said, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite Halloween flicks and shows so you can Netflix-and-Kill all month long (please tell me at least one person snorted).

Let me know which are your favorites! And if theres any I’ve missed, I’m all for new recommendations so hit up my messages below. Enjoy!

  • Hocus Pocus (1993)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Scream (1996)
  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • The Addams Family (1991)
  • Halloweentown High (1998)
  • Corpse Bride (2005)
  • Coraline (2009)
  • The Craft (1996)
  • Monster House (2006)
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  • Saw (2004)
  • The Haunted Mansion (2003)
  • Practical Magic (1998)
  • Scary Godmother (2003)
  • Carrie (1978)
  • Twitches (2005)
  • Warm Bodies (2013)
  • Ginger Snaps (2000)
  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • Hellraiser (1987)
  • Scream Queens (2015-16)
  • It (1990, 2017)
  • The Shinning (1980)
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1997)
  • The Babadook (2014)
  • Insidious (2010)
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • The Conjuring (2013)
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • The Birds (1963)
  • Train to Busan (2016)
  • Zombieland (2009)

Warwick, NY

If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram, then you might already know how enraptured I am by autumn— a.k.a the best season of the year. Everything from the sights, the smells, the tastes, even the feel of the cold wind and the scratchy turtle-neck sweaters makes me come to life like a reverse, melancholy effect of a springtime rose. When things decay, I suppose my spirit is energized? Ironic how that works.

One day I’ll write that thousand-paged thesis about why I love the fall as much as I do, but for now I’ll keep this short and practical.

Starting with example number one: apple picking. 

Each year I would go apple-picking with my family, either around upstate New York or out east on Long Island. While the east has its own magical makings, I prefer going north where the natural environment seems to have taken over the towns like a segment from Snow White‘s the dark forest. The last two years have been fairly rough, however. My parents got divorced and I transferred to a new college, miles away from my home. I believe things happen for a reason, and the friends I’ve met within just the first three weeks at my new campus are all wonderful and kind people. So when I mentioned apple picking, they were all as excited to go explore the terrain north of our school as I was.

We went to Masker Orchard in Warwick, NY. Although many of the apples weren’t ripe for picking just yet, there were thousands to choose from. And with a view sitting atop a mountain, looking out over the farms and the houses, it felt surreal to be up there— as if we had been dropped in a different era. It helped that since we went so early in the season there were only a few other guests in attendance, which meant we were able to shoot more freely and with a wider scope!

To make things even better, originally the temperature was in the mid-sixties but a storm passed overhead as we were shooting and the cold draft and grey skies made for a perfect atmospheric photo session. Of course, as soon as it began pouring we headed into town with our bags of apples to eat with the locals.

I can’t wait to go back. With the Renaissance Faire nearby, I’m sure I’ll be headed up there within the next few weeks. //

Music Recommendation: Tiger Mountain Peasant Song by Fleet Foxes.

Dealing With Social Anxiety

Something has been eating at my mind all week and I felt the need to write it down before I pass it along as just another “paranoid thought.” I feel as though we are all always striving to meet new people, and thus make new relationships as we age, because we are all somewhat vulnerable and in need of human contact.

Personally, I feel most comfortable when I’m alone and am not obliged to hug or shake hands with others. I was often reprimanded for my “rude” behavior, when in retrospect my hesitance for physical contact was reflective of how I view myself and where I find my comfort zone. But this still didn’t change the fact that when I was home alone at night, with my brother at my father’s house and my mother with her boyfriend, I felt isolated… and not in the way I usually preferred.

I think its horribly easy to pass off a stranger as someone who is disconnected from the world if they don’t meet your eyes, aren’t willing to have physical contact, and who don’t know how to respond to certain messages. Of course, you could also deem them as being socially awkward and leave it at that. However, my fellow introverts and I have the same notions and perceptions about the world that the rest of the extroverts do. We just aren’t able to communicate these things as well as others because limited opportunities present themselves where we can feel comfortable enough to express what really is going on inside our minds.

But instead of categorizing myself and a million other people as being socially inept, I’m going to tell you about my own story and how I’ve come to deal with being known as the “quiet girl” who somehow managed to garner a massive crowd on onlookers.
So yes, I have social anxiety.

There are a few reasons as to why I hate summer. For starters, it’s too freaking hot, I constantly get sunburns even after applying proper protection, and everything is too bright for me to take my type of photography. Although, the biggest notion I hate about summer is seeing everyone I know come home from college to our small town for the next two or three months. I realize how that sounds. It seems as though I’m angry with the world, that I hate people, and that I made no friends in high school.

I realize these perceptions, because I’ve had people tell them to my face. The reality is this: I enjoyed high school and I think plenty of the students who attended with me are really sweet and creative. But on the other hand, I always feel as though when they look at me, they’re noticing any blemishes I have, what clothes I’m wearing, if I’m not smiling big enough, and that I still can’t hold a proper conversation without misunderstanding many references about parties or alcohol.

While I know that I’m likely being paranoid, I can’t help but think these things upon seeing people I went to school with. It doesn’t help that I’m usually alone— as I prefer to often be— and they’re usually in groups of four or eight. To be fair, I know that I could just go up to them and start a polite conversation about where they’re going and what they’re studying. But the awful thing is, I still see myself in the high school stigma wherein the friend you make in middle school are the ones you will be bound to until graduation. I know this because I dealt with it. I tried to leave a toxic friend group… and ended up having nobody for months.

It was the last few months of senior year— the few months where schoolwork doesn’t seem to count, there are always parties on the weekends, and the people you were friends with were the ones you’d talk to on Facebook for the next decade until they start to get married.

In the beginning of the year I had a group of about six friends, and we were all incredibly close with one another. Everyone was so different yet we had a common ground that built our kinship over the years. And halfway through the first semester, there was a party that all of us attended. As you might be able to imagine, this was the turning point. This was where arguments that had been silently brewing for months exploded in a violent fury, and the group was divided by who was on which side of the cannon fire. I tried to remain neutral, but of course that only acted against me.

It wasn’t until the police were involved when I realized the reason I couldn’t make friends outside of my immediate circle wasn’t just due to my social anxiety, but because I was already labeled as being a part of this “pack.” And when I stepped back and saw how my friends were behaving— constantly thriving on drama, talking badly about others who they barely knew, and picking fights over the smallest of things…. I had to withdraw. I had to escape that, because that wasn’t who I was and I felt disgusted and saddened just knowing it took me that long to figure it out.

So I stopped. I stopped talking to them, sitting with them at lunch, texting, partying, seeing them on weekends. I cut off all connections. And by doing so, I completely isolated myself from everyone in the school.

My mother told me, as I was in tears and having a panic attack that I didn’t know who to go to senior prom with, that I should try talking to other students— ones that were in my favorite art or literature classes. I don’t blame her for suggesting this, but I know that our generations are programmed differently and doing as she asked would be more impossible the she had intended. Making friends so late into the school year was nearly sacrilege— people would wonder why I’m talking to them after four years, and why I wasn’t present with my “group.” They would assume the worst. And I didn’t have the physical or mental strength to go through that again.

I was at my end. Stressed, anxious, depressed… not even the next installment of my favorite series could lift me out of my slump.

But I realized something during those weeks. I’m no different than anyone else, even thought my situation may be. Everyone faces hardships, and this was just something that I caused on my own and something that I had to fix on my own. So instead of seeking friendships, I started to fix the most important one: the one I had with myself.

I read more, blogged more, starting taking better photography and positing it online. I discovered new music (like Florence Welch and Fleet Foxes) and became enraptured with this whole “aesthetic” that I had never experienced before. I decided I wanted that— to be completely within my own imagination and not give a fuck about what anyone else thought if I, for instance, decided to wear chainmail as an accessory. (Not the fancy jewelry type. I’m talking full out LARPing and cosplay chainmail.) And although I didn’t smile more, because that doesn’t mean anything in regards to my emotional being, I felt a million times happier. I was liberated, and free to wander in my creativity that had been sitting silently for me to recognize it.

After reading about these heroines who slew dragons and navigated court politics against overpowered kings, I thought to myself— why the hell can’t that be me? Sure I might not find a dragon anytime in the near future, but I can certainly navigate my way around toxic relationships and not feel sorry for myself while I celebrate my strength.

Nevertheless, I still have social anxiety. Some scars are permanent, after all. However, it has evolved into something that I have control over and am able to push aside when I put my mind to it. I’ve never felt so sure of myself, even when I still have doubts and still feel lost. The knowledge that I will always have tomorrow to fix what I’ve wrought today has helped me grow into the person I am.

When people message me on Instagram or one of my other social medias and say they were hesitant to address me because they were anxious about how I would respond, I sometimes don’t know what to think. So, I tell them the truth. Don’t be wary of me, because we’re no different from each other. Just because I run a blog doesn’t mean that I’m an extrovert with wonderful social skills.

I am who I am.

Introverted, creative, and willing to face anything life throws at me.

Everything You Need Before Reading: AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetWith the release of Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS, burning down to a little over a month’s wait, I figured now would be a wonderful time to talk a bit more about why this book has become so dear to me. Of course, before even reading the book I knew I would end up loving it because it embodied aspects which I enjoy most in any story: faeries and autumn. However, I really didn’t anticipate becoming so enraptured by this tale. I highly encourage you to pre-order this book and join me in the count down to its publication date: September 26th, 2017. And what better way to make you want to read this book than to provide you with fan-casted character inspiration and a playlist to accompany your future read?

This book has brilliant writing, imagery, diverse representation, and an empowering love that will soften the toughest of hearts. Its everything I wanted it to be and everything I needed it to be; all wrapped up in autumn foliage. You won’t forget where you are for even a second, and these characters will demand your attention at every moment. It’s equal parts dark and poetic, with humor and often tenderness that I hadn’t been expecting but welcomed with an open heart. Simply put: it blew my mind.

You can read my full review here, or on my goodreads.

Without further ado, here are my choices for a fanciest! *Note that below I quote directly from the ARC (Advanced Readers Copy). These sentences are subject to change upon the official publication. Also, I avoided incorporating anything I deemed a potential spoiler, but please read at your own risk. 

Rook— “With his head ducked before me I only saw his hair, which was unruly—wavy, not quite curly, and dark, with just the slightest red tint in the sun. Its fierce unkemptness reminded me of a hawk’s or raven’s feathers blown the wrong way in a stong wind. And like Gadfly, I could smell him: the spice of crisp dry leaves, of cool nights under a clear moon, a wildness, a longing. […] There was his flaw: the color of his eyes, a peculiar shade of amethyst, striking against his golden-brown complexion, which put me in mind of late-afternoon sunlight dappling fallen leaves.”

Model: Vito Basso

 

Isobel— “Her (Aunt Emma) eyes squinted open. They were the same dark brown, almost black, like mine—large and intense. She had the same freckles spattered across her fair skin and the same thick, wheat-colored hair.”

Model: Beth Fanshawe

 

 

Gadfly— “Gadfly appeared to be a man in his thirties. Like every example of his kind, he was tall, slim, and beautiful. His eyes were the clear crystal blue of the sky after rain has washed away the summer heat, his complexion as pale and flawless as porcelain, and his hair the radiant silver-gold of dew illuminated by sunrise.”

Model: Ton Heukels

 

Foxglove— “A woman with arresting hazel eyes emerged victorious. She adjusted her hat back into place with a queenly smile as she swept forward, placing her hand in Gadfly’s. She wore a lilac dress with a high lace collar that strangled her slender neck, and the flaw in her glamour, unnaturally sharp cheekbones, was more subtle than most. Like many of the other fair folk present, she was fair-skinned—a common spring court characteristic, whereas the autumn and summer courts tended towards richer completions like Rook’s, ever shade of sunlight-gold and acorn-brown and deep umber.”

Model: Jessica Brown Findlay 

 

Lark— “…her long blond hair flying, the many layers of her periwinkle-blue gown frothing up an down like waves. When she reached us, she startled me by seizing both my hands. Her skin was cold and flawless as china. Were she human I would have guessed her age at around fourteen.”

Model: Helena McKelvie

 

Aster— “She was perhaps a little less tall, but not remarkably so (than the Fair Folk). Flowers were woven into her wavy, waist-length black hair. Her skin looked starkly pale in contrast, which only accentuated her glamour’s flaw; she was inhumanly gaunt. Her collarbones and ribs protruded frothier chest above her gown’s neckline, and her shoulders looked as fragile as a bird’s bones. She watched me closely with brown eyes nearly as dark as mine.”

Model: Amelia Zadro

 


 

Another thing I love to have while reading a new book is a playlist to accompany me. Often times I’ll just listen to my favorite film scores– like Game of Thrones and even music from Skyrim— on repeat. Adrian Von Ziegler is a wonderful composer for when you’re in the mood for Celtic vibes and fairytale hymnals. Below I’ve listed all of the songs for my An Enchantment of Ravens inspired playlist, but you can also click on the links to my Spotify and 8tracks accounts to view them there!

Prologue, Keaton Henson
Billie Holiday, Warpaint
End of the Affair, Ben Howard
Brighter Than the Sun, Dustin Tebbutt
Dawn, Jeremy Soule

Sparks, Jesse Woods
Arrival of the Birds, Cinematic Orchestra
Cinder and Smoke, Iron and Wine
Death Favors No Man, James Newton Howard

The City Gates, Jeremy Soule
Dance with the Trees, Adrian Von Ziegler
What the Water Gave Me, Florence Welch
Deeper Than Shallow, Roo Panes

For the Realm, Salim Daïma
Oliver Dalston Browning, Keaton Henson
In the Wind, Lord Huron
Shades of Gold, Sea Aleena
West, Sleeping At Last
Sitting Room, Beta Radio
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, Fleet Foxes
Where’s My Love (acoustic), Syml

The Wolves and the Ravens, Rouge Valley


 

And to top everything off, you might as well enjoy a treat while reading this book. I am, by no means, a chef of any kind (unless you count occasionally baking brownies.) The recipe below is one I’ve tried a few times and found to be fairly easy to recreate! All credit goes to Amy Lee Scott! You can click here to find more of her recipes.

 

 

Feyre Archeron: Cosplay

Ever since the title for A Court of Wings and Ruin released I’ve been itching to cosplay at least one character from the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas. It only took two people to say that I looked like Feyre for me to fully accept that “challenge” (haha, but really, as a first time cosplay-er this was a lot more fun that I had expected it to be). Finding all of the gear and accessories was the fun part… walking through a public hiking trail and an arboretum wearing elf ears and a ball gown was a bit awkward to say the least.

So without any further delay, here are all of the photos we shot over the week! I definitely plan on cosplaying my favorite character this coming fall– LUCIEN. I’m already teaching myself how to properly use prosthetic makeup and apply colored eye contacts. And with a possible Lucien novella lurking just around the corner, I really can’t wait!

Ears: Geekling Creations on Etsy
Headpiece: NebulaXCrafts on Etsy
Dress: DHGate
Bow & Arrow: Bounty Bunker on Etsy
Book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookDepo
Arm Jewelry: Heartichoke (Huntington, NY)

 

Garden Party: a spring playlist.

cozy readsThis beautiful cover design is from artist Júlia Sardà.
You can check out her other pieces here

Garden Party is a combination of songs that make me want to stroll through meadows, find the sunniest patch of grass, plant flowers, eat pretty pastries like lemon bread or French food I cannot pronounce. It also makes me want to read, but honestly what doesn’t? In other words, you might have heard these songs if you’ve ever shopped in Anthropologie. Enjoy!

 

tracklist.

i. what’s a girl to do / Bat for Lashes
ii. paper bag / Fiona Apple
iii. queen of peace / Florence & the Machine
iv. wild fire / Laura Marling
v. wild horses (acoustic) / Bishop Briggs
vi. pierre / Ryn Weaver
vii. all my tears / Ane Burn
viii. all I want / Sarah Blasko
ix. metal heart / Cat Power
x. wish you were here / Florence Welch
xi. aventine / Agnes Obel
xii. 1234 / Feist

Listen on 8tracks here.