Posts Tagged ‘i win!’

31st May
2011
written by Steph
While it's no longer really knitwear season here in Nashville (yesterday was a SCORCHER), I can't help but continue obsessively creating things. I've finally graduated from hats and scarves and mitts to non-accessory items of clothing... Here's picture proof of my achievement, in the form of my very first handmade cardigan!

I used the Miette pattern designed by Andi Satterlund, which was a breeze to knit (although I admit that the concept of negative ease did my head in at first so I actually knit this sweater twice... once in a size L, which was ginormous on me, and then again in a size M, which fits much better as you can see)! As a first sweater project, this was ideal because it's knit all in one piece, so there's no seaming required and you can try it on as you go.

I love the retro feel of this cardigan, and I decided to add to its personality by sewing on bright green buttons. You may be surprised to learn this, but I actually had to follow instructions on how to sew on these buttons as I've never sewn on a button in my life! But with this newly acquired skill, I am clearly well on my way to becoming the ultimate domestic goddess, no?

Being a rather busty lady, I don't have many button-up articles of clothing that I actually can button-up comfortably, but one of the joys of custom-making one's own clothing is the ability to make sure it fits! Of course, the cardigan is still really cute when unbuttoned, and I look forward to pairing it with many an ensemble!

3rd February
2011
written by Steph

Flowers from my sweetie to celebrate my birthday!

Today I am 28!

But tomorrow is when the festivities are really taking place... I'll have the full report (including my super awesome present!) for you guys in a few days!

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20th July
2010
written by Steph

Cloud Atlas is a book that I thought I would never read. I first tried to read it about three years ago when it was selected for my real-life book club. I was really excited, but that excitement soon dissipated when I started to read the book; I just found it torture! The writing seemed overwrought and like Mitchell had looked every word up in a thesaurus only to pick the most obscure option. For those of you not in the know, Cloud Atlas is a novel composed of six interrelated stories that are broken into halves (with the exception of the sixth story which is told in its entirety in the middle of the book). I did not even make it through the first half of story number one, that is how miserably I failed at this book back in 2007. I threw it away from me in frustration at the language and vowed I would never read it because it was an awful book. It’s odd then that given past experiences I should now be writing this review, but how things change in three years! I’ve written that one of the perks of our new eReaders is the ease with which they make looking up obscure words. You just double tap on the troublesome word and voila! A little window at the bottom of the screen pops up with the definition, not at all obtrusive or disruptive, so you can clarify your meaning and head on your merry reading way. Now, I’d like to think that over the past three years of voracious reading, I have in fact become a stronger, better reader, but the ease of looking up words was still a godsend when reading Cloud Atlas this time around. Whenever I encountered words like “peregrination” or “valetudinarian”, no longer did I have to muddle on in a cloud of confusion and frustration, and I think that definitely helped. (more…)
23rd June
2010
written by Steph
This past weekend, Teresa over at Shelf Love posted a brilliant write-up on the difficulties of breaking up with books. There are some people who happily fling books away if they're not clicking, but some of us are stubborn and faithful, and once we say we're going to read a book, you practically have to pry it out of our cold, dead hands to get us to stop reading it. Even if we're not enjoying it one jot. There are plenty of reasons why one might be reluctant to give up on a book. Maybe you've read plenty of great reviews about it, and so you're convinced it has to get better. Or perhaps you have a guilt complex (and come on, I'm a grad student, so I absolutely do) and you feel like it's a book you should like or should be able to say you've read so pride keeps you going. I fully admit that not all books are easy-going, and sometimes you have to work for your rewards. Some books you struggle and grapple with, only to emerge triumphant and enlightened at the end... while others make you regret the hours you invested. And then there are of course those books that no matter how hard you try, they just fail to have that za za zu (as my friends Trisha & Abby - and also Carrie Bradshaw - would say) and you seem destined to always part with the story unfinished. Inspired by Sonya Chung's lists over at The Millions, I thought I'd bogart her idea (and headings) and humbly present my list of triumphs and successes when it comes to the ones that got away, and the ones I should have cut loose. Please share your own successes (and failures!) in the comments! (more…)
4th February
2010
written by Steph
Yesterday I celebrated my 27th birthday!  And when I say "celebrated" I mean celebrated!  Which is of course to say that I received presents and many lovely phone calls wishing me well, and had not one but TWO great meals!  Really, who doesn't feel good when the people you know say, "Hey!  Let's party, because the world is that much more awesome for having you in it!"? So, the first of the festivities involved going out for buffet lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant in Nashville, Bombay Palace.  To kick up the fun quotient, my friends Trisha and Abby joined us for lunch, and Trisha even bestowed dubious Asian candy upon me.  How dubious?  Let's just say that if you never dreamed of using the words "Kit Kat" and "V8" in the same sentence, I wouldn't have blamed you. Then, sadly I had to head back to school, but the afternoon flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to go home and begin the gift portion of the evening!  Tony was very sweet and gave me: a set of Laguiole steak knives (with neon yellow handles!), a large ceramic dutch oven, AND a pair of Ultimate Ears noise-isolating earphones (which I have been lamenting/coveting ever since I wore out my last pair of trusty UE earphones).  A wonderful combination of practical and splurge-y gifts!  You know you are getting older when you get excited about receiving steak knives for your birthday, right? 😉  But seriously, so happy with the gifts because they are all things that I wanted but wouldn't have bought for myself, and those are always the best gifts! And then, it was dinner!  We decided to try a place we'd never eaten at before but was purportedly very good (and ideal for a fancy birthday dinner): Miel.  With a name like that, you wouldn't be wrong if you suspected that the food was of the French persuasion (or, you know, honey), and yes, it was very, very good.  Click through the gallery below if you would like an in-depth photo tour (with descriptions!) of the big meal: The meal was wonderful, and I think we've found a new place we can go when in the mood for a splurge.  I think my favorite dish of the evening was actually Tony's risotto - it was so rich and creamy, and the scallops were cooked to perfection (if you don't believe me, I'll simply say that historically Tony has not loved scallops, but he was won over last night!). The portions were huge, so we took our leftovers home and will be able to relive that section of the meal again tonight! 😉 Lest you think the birthday festivities are done now that my actual birthday has passed, fear not!  The joy of having a mid-week birthday is that you're entitled to celebrate on the weekend!  So tomorrow night, Tony - with the aid of Abby & Trisha - has cooked up secret celebrations (my favorite kind, as it means I have no hand in the planning! 😉 )  Hurrah!  Long live the birthday (and me!)!
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23rd October
2009
written by Steph
Today Tony turns... another year older! (I will leave it to him to share the not at all old number that he is turning, should he care to!)  To celebrate, we have orchestrated a weekend of extravagant proportions.  We started celebrating early last night by heading out to see a double header of Toy Story 1 & 2 in 3D at the Theater that Time Forgot (seriously, we were the ONLY people there... I get that it was a Thursday, but come on!).  We'd both seen the two movies before, but never in 3D, and having the theater all to ourselves meant we could do running commentary, which was actually a lot of fun.  We also got to see the trailer for Toy Story 3, and, well... I hope it is better than what was shown!  In my mind, Toy Story 2 is a lovely way to cap off the franchise and completes the full story arc that the movies aim to tell, but I will try to have faith in Pixar and assume they know what they're doing.  But here's the thing: remember in Toy Story 2 when Jessie is sharing her story (via the montage accompanied by Sarah McLaughlan warbling When Somebody Loved Me) about her time with her previous owner Emily and it was SO SAD? (As in, every time I see that scene, I possibly tear up!)  And the whole point there is that kids grow up and leave for college and their old toys get left behind and given away and that is sad?  But then Jessie gets saved because Andy always can do with new toys, and then we are happy!  But now in Toy Story 3, Andy is leaving for college and so the toys are given away to a day care!  Is this the story we really want to see?  OK, and even if that premise isn't somehow sad (I guess the upside is the toys are now making other children happy...), the jokes in the trailer are just not very funny, and that is a shame because generally speaking the Toy Story flicks are both heartwarming AND amusing.  See for yourself: (more…)
20th March
2009
written by Steph
Was this one really a surprise?  No.  I was amused with the format of the judging this time, mostly at how much the judge appeared to loathe Harry, Revised.  It's nice to see that I'm not the only one who sometimes has over-the-top, visceral, negative reactions to books! 😉  To share in my amusement, go here. With City of Refuge passed through to the semi-finals, I'll be intensely interested in seeing how it does against 2666.  I think that it is the one book that might have a shot at taking down the Bolañosaurus (™ ToB commentator, Kevin Guilfoile). On Monday:  Shadow Country vs. The Lazarus Project.  Crap. I still have no idea how to call either of these two books in separate matches, never mind up against one another.  I'm gonna go with The Lazarus Project, just because.
19th March
2009
written by Steph
Yessssssss!  I have never been happier to be wrong about my prediction regarding this match-up.  Judge Newton did the right thing and ousted the execrable A Partisan's Daughter and I am jumping for joy!  No tantrums!  Huzzah! That being said, the more I read about 2666, the less enthusiastic I am about eventually reading it.  In light of it winning this match-up, one of the commentators went back and revisited 2666 in an attempt to see if he could improve his impression of it.  He couldn't, and his description of the content (such as it is) sounds both mind-bogglingly dull as well as distasteful.  I have a copy of the book so I will of course give it a try, but I'll be dragging my feet! 😉  To read more, see here. Tomorrow: Round 2 continues with Harry, Revised duking it out with City of Refuge.  I feel pretty confident calling this one in favor of City of Refuge.  Check back tomorrow to see if I am proven wrong!
17th March
2009
written by Steph
Another round that I called correctly, though the judge had me sweating for a bit what with the large heapings of love he sent The Dart-League King's way.  I don't know why I feel this way, but I get the sense that if the judge had been a woman, the contest between these two books might not have been nearly as close.  TDLK just sounds so much like a guy's book to me...  I get that both commentators dug TDLK quite a lot, but the snippets I gleaned about the book throughout the match did not make me very interested in reading it (drugged up dart playing in Idaho is not so much my thing, funny or not).  It's a non-issue for me in the end though, as it's not even on order at my public library, and despite ToB's best efforts, I'm not going to run out and buy myself a copy.  I haven't read A Mercy, but I did read my first Morrison earlier this year and was suitably impressed by it, so I do intend to eventually check this one out when I can get a hold of a library copy.  I think I'm glad about this outcome.  Read the full report here. Next Up:  The final match-up in Round 1 sees Home go up against My RevolutionsMy Revolutions has the veneer of edginess that I think tends to fare well for books in this tournament, but Home was written by Marilynne Robinson, and it seems every literary person on the planet loves Marilynne Robinson (I, on the other hand, have a copy of Gilead that I've not yet read, so I cannot speak to her awesomeness). I know nothing about the judge and his reading proclivities, so this match is crazy hard to predict.  I didn't read either of these books, but Tony wasn't all that impressed with My Revolutions, so I think I'll call it in favor of Home (but I won't be surprised if it goes to My Revolutions).
13th March
2009
written by Steph
Here was a match-up I really had a hard time laying down a prediction for, but it also counts as one that I accurately called.  My premonition that the superficially light-weight vibe of Frankie would work against it turned out to be true.  To be fair, I didn't think Frankie was as nearly flawless/amazing/insightful as the commentators' raves would have you believe, but it wasn't a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and was likely a very good example of what YA literature can achieve (I am hypothesizing here, because I don't really read YA literature, and so if YA literature tends to be more on the Twilight end of things, then Frankie definitely deserves all the accolades it is receiving, and yes, one certainly could do worse than it!).  But I don't think the judge could get over it being YA, and to be honest, as true as many moments rang throughout the course of it, to me Frankie didn't transcend that boundary either.  I agree that comparing Frankie to Shadow Country is akin to the old "apples and oranges", but them's the breaks and while it might have prevailed against a title like Harry, Revised that's not how the cards were dealt.  For more details, go here. People who love Frankie are very vocal about it, so it's entirely possible that it might come back in the zombie round...  For what it's worth, it's probably the book I have enjoyed most out of the ToB contenders that I've read thus far.  Based on what I read, I'm not sure if Shadow Country is really something I'm interested in reading - the topic sounds reasonably interesting, but why so long?  (Ok, I know it's so long because it was really three books that merged into 1, but still!)  It sounds like it's more fun to read than 2666, but it may be six of one, a dozen of the other, if you see what I'm saying. On Monday: The Lazarus Project vs. The Northern Clemency.  The former, I know nothing about, and the latter has been likened to a British version of The Corrections.  I find this one hard to call, but I think I'll give it to The Northern Clemency.  Monica Ali is British, right?  That makes sense and is enough of a reason to suspect she'll vote for it, no?
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