Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Horizons to Pursue

I feel stuck in the doldrums right now. Work has been piling up in all of my classes, and though I’m ahead of schedule on most assignments, getting ahead has meant nonstop work for the past few weeks. Normally I have a busy few days, and then a few days free for Netflix and tea and sleeping in. October hasn’t been like that, and it’s got me down in the dumps. I blame the weather, too, which turned nasty and gray and rainy yesterday. Sometimes I want to just bypass October all together and head straight into November – Thanksgiving, my birthday month, and the time of year when it becomes socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music nonstop. Once I passed the trick-or-treating age, Halloween suddenly got a lot less fun. I don’t like scary movies (or being scared at all), there’s a lot of pressure to wear a revealing costume or think of a clever one, and this year I’ve had a surprisingly difficult time even finding plans for the holiday. I’ll be a lot happier when I can spend Thanksgiving break at home with my family, eating leftovers and watching football and not thinking about school for a while. Plus, my best friend will be coming home from Alabama for the first time since she left for school in August. So exciting!
Ignore the rusty bridge - the trees and lake are beautiful in the sun

Today was the first day all week that felt like the pick-me-up I needed. Well, the surprise Halloween candy care package my parents mailed to me arrived yesterday, and that was a pick-me-up too. But today, the sun was shining, even if it was pretty cold. My friend and I took a walk to the lake on campus and crossed a small wooden bridge we usually ignore. I grabbed some beautiful pictures of the sun lighting up the autumnal trees on campus, and I was reminded of how beautiful Upstate New York must look this time of year. I always think of how close I was to going to Ithaca or Syracuse for college and wonder how things would have been different. I would have been much colder, and probably much more homesick. I’ve been lucky to have fantastic professors so far here at TCNJ and wonder if I would have missed out on those experiences somewhere else. Still, autumn always makes me wish I could spend more time out in nature, exploring lakes or hiking mountains or wandering through forests. I guess the little slice of nature TCNJ can offer me will have to do for now until I can pursue new horizons. (I may be listening to the Aladdin OBC recording as I write this post. So it goes. Who doesn’t sometimes dream about seeing A Whole New World or being A Million Miles Away?) 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Out of the Woods

Today was unusually warm for late October, with temperatures hovering around the high 60's. Of course I had to seize the opportunity and wear a skirt. I hate wearing dresses or skirts when it's so cold even a pair of tights won't keep me warm, or it's so windy I have Marilyn Monroe moments every time I step outside. Today was perfect skirt weather. I usually don't wear this shirt with skirts, but today I liked the effect of the loose top and all the neutral colors.

The trees here aren't quite as picturesque and fall-ish as I'd hoped, but the scenery allows me to borrow the title of one of my favorite songs Taylor Swift's new album 1989. My roommate/photographer had a lot of fun bossing me around in these pictures, telling me where to stand and how to pose. I was trying to break out of my typical hand-on-hip pose, since it doesn't make me look like a "real fashion blogger." My roommate and I tried to look up typical fashion blogger poses, but I really couldn't pull off the coy head-down, toes-turned-in look. And I don't like my profile in most pictures. And Tyra Banks would be ashamed of my "smizing."It turns out I'm a terrible poser for photos, so most of the time I just fidgeted in place and walked around in place and my roommate took a continuous stream of pictures. Usually I hate candids, but today most of my favorite shots were the natural, unposed ones. Go figure. 

I was so giggly in most of these pictures. My roommate is ridiculous sometimes.

In one of these pictures, I'm posing like a normal human, and in one of them I'm tap dancing. Can you tell which is which? I want to continue with more "fashion," outfit-based posts because I feel like if I know I'm going to take pictures that day, I'll make more of an effort to dress well! Makes sense, right? 

Here's a picture of me and my best Quasimodo impression (or, you know, me hunched over laughing), and an attempt at...staring off into the sunset? Something like that.

Usually I'm not a fan of the way I look in pictures, but sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself and all the strange things you can do with your body and face. And on a day as beautiful today, with a tree as beautiful as that red one behind me, it was fun just to be goofy and not worry about looking "pretty" in these photos. Being camera-shy is like having stage fright; sometimes to get over it, you have to throw yourself into it without thinking about it too hard. I can't wait to make more (shorter) posts like this in the future!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Colors of Fall

Today may have been rainy, cold, and gray, but yesterday was the ideal fall weather. The sun was shining crisply on the swiftly-changing leaves, sending reds and browns and golds bursting into focus against the cerulean sky. (Ignore how pretentious that sentence sounds - I LOVE the colors of fall SO MUCH!) While I'm hesitant to call this a "fashion post" (and even more reluctant to name an outfit this simple as my first fashion post), I really liked the way my gold shoes and burnt-orange top looked against the backdrop of the foliage on my campus. Don't you just love college campuses in the fall? There's something so picturesque and lovely about strolling through a quad and being surrounded by the colors of autumn, sipping a pumpkin spice latte, wearing sweaters and boots, and dreaming of fall holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and my birthday!) While snowstorms are cozy and summer beach trips are the height of relaxation, there's something about fall that no other season can match.

My beautiful campus (TCNJ!)

My roommate/photographer liked my "doughnut" sock bun
Feeling like a kid again, playing in the leaves

My roommate/photographer/best friend doesn't smile for pictures...

...unless she doesn't know I'm taking them, hehe ;)

I can't wait for more perfect fall weather! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Club: Gone Girl

Does the picture look ominous? Good.
I’d been hearing a lot about Gone Girl lately, mostly due to the release of the movie adaptation of the novel starring Ben Affleck. I wasn’t sure if I’d be rushing out to see the film in theaters, but I was still curious and hadn’t picked up a book (outside of all the novels I read for my two literature classes) in a really long time. So I bought Gillian Flynn’s novel, started reading it on a Thursday night, and spent the entirety of Friday on my bed, switching from reading position to reading position (leaning on my side, lying on my stomach, sitting upright with my nose nearly touching the pages) until the book was finished. I devoured it. 

The premise for the novel is fairly simple, at first. We’re introduced to Nick Dunne on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary in the opening chapter; the next chapter turns out to be a diary entry from his wife, describing the night the pair met. The narration returns to Nick, who encounters a mysterious scene at his house: The front door is wide open, the iron is on, things are overturned in the living room, and his wife is nowhere to be found.

Now the mystery really begins. Nick tells his side of the story, while his wife’s diary entries recount their experiences as husband and wife and the increasing tensions in their relationship. The search for Amy Dunne is on, and I was practically breathless as I followed the clues leading to a twist I couldn't see coming until it hit me in the face. I haven’t seen the movie, but I recommend this novel five times over. If I could erase my memory of the novel so I could read it a second time, I would. Gillian Flynn does a remarkable job of creating extremely well-developed, emotionally complex characters not only in Nick and Amy Dunne, but in their family and friends too. Grab this book and read it before it’s Gone. Ha, ha. That didn't even sound funny as I was typing it. But really, if you’re looking for a book you won’t want to put down, read Gone Girl. I was clinging on every word until the final page. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Real Talk: Rejection

Looking at my college experience so far, I could say there have been more misses than hits, so to speak. Since my first month as a freshman here, I've tried out for musicals, dance companies, poetry readings, creative writing awards, and a tutoring job, all to no avail. I entered every audition and sent out every application full of hope, only to face disappointment upon reading that rejection email. I will admit that I first handled these setbacks less than gracefully, usually crying and thinking back to my seemingly more successful high school career. Rejection is an ugly burden to deal with, as it causes us to do something most people hate doing - reflect on our own flaws. Why didn't I get that job, or get a part in the musical, or win that creative writing award? Where did I go wrong?

This year, I can say I've definitely matured to the point of being able to handle rejection. Of course it's always disappointing to lose out on something you were hoping to win. But honestly, every person is different, and so is every situation. You may be a terrific writer, but just not what the judges are looking for at that moment in time. Maybe you're a fantastic singer and there just isn't a role for you in the musical you auditioned for. I think it is important to deal with rejection every now and then, not so we criticize our weaknesses, but so that we can reevaluate our strengths and emphasize those in our next endeavors. Maybe my resume was impressive, but my interviewing skills left a little to be desired. Once you can pinpoint where you succeed and where you may fall short, you can feel more confident the next time you try something new. 

I'm about to send out an application to write for a website. I'm slightly terrified, because I know many people apply for this position and I'm less experienced than some of the other applicants will be. But I'm eager to see if I get the position and, if I don't, how I can improve my writing skills and resume for next time. Good luck if any of you are trying your hand at something new. Don't be afraid to take that risk!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Now Playing: Wish I Was Here

Anyone who knows me well knows that Zach Braff is quite honestly one of my favorite humans alive. I'm in awe of everything from his humor to his acting ability to his directorial and writing skills to his taste in music. Plus, he's a native New Jerseyan, so that immediately makes him seem even cooler to me. Like, we lived in the same state. I'm currently bursting out of my skin with excitement because I have tickets to see Braff give a lecture at my college tomorrow (!!!!!!!!!), so to get even more pumped for seeing my favorite human being in person, I decided to listen to the Wish I Was Here soundtrack. Now, I haven't had the fortune to see Wish I Was Here yet, but I knew I loved the Garden State soundtrack, so I had high hopes for this music.

All I could think upon hearing this soundtrack was, Wow. If you haven't heard any of the songs off the album yet, I suggest you listen to them right away. It features some  incredible artists (some of my favorites!), including the Shins, The Head and the Heart, The Weepies, and Bon Iver. One of the songs that absolutely caught my heart on the first listen was Wish I Was Here, a collaborative song between Cat Power and Coldplay, two more artists I deeply enjoy. I wish I could properly put into words how amazing this song, and the entire soundtrack, really is, but I think where words fail, music speaks. So give it a listen! Buy the soundtrack! Go see Wish I Was Here! And most importantly tell Zach Braff how much I love him.