Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Club: Memoir Edition

As an English major, I have very little time during the school year to read for pleasure. (Right now The Saga of the Volsungs and Gulliver's Travels are staring guiltily at me. Every spare moment of my day, I feel like I should be reading for class.)

Still, I've been trying to make extra time this year to read more. I've recently finished two books that I'm absolutely obsessed with. Funnily enough, they're both memoirs. Normally I'm more of a novel person, but these memoirs were both amazing, for completely different reasons.

Mindy Kaling is Hollywood's new "It Girl," and for good reason. She is brilliant, sharp-witted, and stylish; she's a talented writer and actor, in addition to being gorgeous and hilarious. Basically, I want her as my BFF. Who doesn't? She seems like she has it all.

Her memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), was the best book I've read in a long time. Nearly every page, I was stopping to read a line out loud to my roommate. Kaling is just so funny. I'm not exaggerating when I say the book had me laughing out loud page after page. Plus, unlike other celebrities, Mindy Kaling just seems easy to relate to. This is a really fast read, so if you have any spare time in your life I really recommend this book.

The second memoir I read is completely different. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, is the tale of remarkable courage and strength in the face of staggering difficulties. Cheryl lost her mother to cancer very suddenly at a young age and suddenly, her world was flipped upside down. Her marriage crumpled, her siblings scattered, and she turned to drugs for escape. Just when she thought she hit rock bottom, she discovered the Pacific Crest Trail, a hiking trail stretching from Mexico north all along the west coast. She decides, abruptly and with no true hiking experience, to hike the PCT alone in an attempt to regain control of her life

Losing and finding herself along the trail, Cheryl perseveres through sweltering heat, blankets of snow, blisters and torn toenails and a backpack so huge she names it "Monster." Facing the elements, Cheryl struggles in the wild, but ultimately learns to adapt to the great outdoors. She meets fellow hikers on the trail, but it's in her moments of solitude that she finds her greatest strength.

I'm not an outdoorsy person by any means, but this book makes me want to scale a mountain and lose myself in the wilderness. It's inspirational in ways I can't even describe and makes me feel like, if Cheryl succeeded on her own in the wild, I can do anything. I definitely recommend reading this emotional and motivational memoir! What sort of books have you been reading lately?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Favorite Fashion Bloggers

I love fashion. Shopping, browsing Pinterest, and reading fashion blogs are some of my favorite hobbies. Sometimes my size intimidates me and keeps me from wearing what I'd really like to wear (I'm not plus-sized, but I'm not model-skinny, either. I'm that ambiguous gray area that's really hard to dress because I don't fall to either extreme). Still, I think fashion and style are so much fun to play around with!

Back in high school, I discovered the magical world of fashion blogging, and since then my interest has only grown. Here are some of the sites that help inspire me and my own personal style:

1. Delightfully Tacky: I've been obsessed with Elizabeth's blog probably since I discovered what blogging was. In my early high school years, when I was deep in the throes of my hippie phase, Elizabeth's earthy, bohemian style was so refreshing to see amid all the preppy style blogs I saw. She keeps it so real in all her posts and makes me want to move to Washington or hop in an RV and travel the country. (Plus I really want her hair.)

2. Unfancy: I'm really, really bad at minimalism. If I had to name a deadly sin for myself it would probably be gluttony. But Caroline's blog makes me want to streamline not only my wardrobe, but all the excessive parts of my life. Plus her capsule wardrobe means her style is clean, classic, and easily recreated.

3. Kendi Everyday: Kendi's style is truly enviable, but what really made me fall in love with her blog was her easygoing tone and her sense of humor. I didn't feel like I was reading a blog; I truly felt like I was just having a conversation with her. That's exactly the kind of tone I aim for in my writing - never stuffy, never preachy, just casual and fun. (She's also my inspiration for colorful outfits.)

4. What Would a Nerd Wear: Sadly, this blog is no longer active, and hasn't been for a few years now. Still, it was my favorite blog for the longest time. Tania, a self-proclaimed nerd, felt like kin to me somehow. A fellow book-lover, her outfits never felt too overdone or stuffy. As a high school student reading her blog, I could easily imitate her sense of style.

I love fashion blogging because no two fashion bloggers, or their styles, are alike. The four women above all have very different styles, but they always look amazing because they exude confidence in their photos. Are you inspired by any particular fashion bloggers?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Inspiration Strikes

On Saturday, I went home for the first time all semester to spend the night at my house, get some work done, and pick up a few things I needed from home. I've really started to love driving on the highway, especially by myself, and I was in such a good mood driving back to campus on Sunday. There was no traffic on the roads, I was listening to Vance Joy, it was snowing out, and I was suddenly struck by the idea that I needed to do something with my life.

This is nothing new. I have this sort of epiphany - this sudden sense of wanderlust, this ambitious desire to plunge headfirst into something - pretty often. But for some reason, cruising down Route 1 in the snow singing along to Riptide, the urge to change my life suddenly felt really, really real. Even though the weather was less than ideal, the fact that it was March 1 really made me think of spring and upcoming adventures in store for me as the weather gets warmer. It inspired me to make a post of, well, things that are currently inspiring me, to keep my spirits up until the warm weather gets here for good! 

This is probably the best picture I've ever taken
The High Line: I can't wait to get back to New York City over spring break. The last few city trips I've taken have been freezing, so I'm looking forward to sunny, mild weather. Wandering through Chelsea Market and strolling along the High Line are some of my favorite city activities when it's nice out. How amazing is that artwork up there? 
Archaic Torso of Apollo: This is one of those poems that always gets me right in the feels, even though every time I read it I'm not entirely sure I've grasped its meaning. Rainer Maria Rilke is a literary genius, though, and this is one of my favorite poems. The final line just gets me every time I read it: You must change your life. 
Wild: I am so into Cheryl Strayed's memoir. It's a remarkably inspirational tale of one woman's impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, alone, with no previous hiking experience. Her courage, not only on the trail, but in all facets of her life, is truly uplifting. This book makes me want to drive off to some mountain somewhere in the hopes of rediscovering myself. 

Hopefully I'll be able to direct some of this blind ambition toward accomplishing something important this spring! What's currently inspiring you?