Saturday, May 30, 2015

I'm never moving again.

This weekend has been stressful and tiresome, so here are some flowers.

IMG_0036

--Emily
currently listening to: human by Christina Perri

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Home


It's a strange thing, to move out of the place you were raised in. I suppose I was extracted from it gently--I spent two years living away while at college. Back then, my dorm room was not my home; it was the place I lived. I still came home about once a month, and also during summer and Christmas break.

Deacon and I both grew up on the same street, though admittedly a fair distance apart. When we got married, we both moved to an apartment in Rolla, where we have been going to school (him for his Bachelor's, me for my Master's). We've been living here for almost a year now.

IMG_9951

The house that I grew up in has since become "my parents' house." My old bedroom, though it still has all of my decorations and furniture in it, is not really my bedroom anymore. It's the room that the cats go to sleep in during the day.

We have been back in our hometown visiting everyone for the past several days. Today, we returned back to our apartment in Rolla. But which do I say: we went home for the weekend, or we returned home today.

IMG_9940

The lease on this apartment ends in a few days. We are moving a few blocks down, to a three-bedroom house. Will that be our home, then? Or simply another residence? Is this apartment currently our home? Is it possible for a place to be your home at one point in time, but not in another? Or is home simply where your family is?

--Emily
currently listening to: Open Hands (feat. Trent Dabbs) by Ingrid Michaelson

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cuteness Overload (with videos of kittens)

IMG_0130

I still don't have the hang of filming or using this lens yet, but please enjoy:

--Emily
currently listening to: Ditmas by Mumford & Sons

Monday, May 25, 2015

in which I flail about new camera lens, then cats // Part Two

So I posted part one of these photos last night, so if you missed them, you can check them out here

These photos were taken a day later, when the kittens were a bit more active. They're still pretty shy, but curious and playful and adorable. They fall over a lot.

These three are about four weeks old, but there are four more black kittens that are a little younger. I haven't gotten a good look at those yet, though. Their momma keeps them pretty tucked away. 

IMG_9869
IMG_9877
IMG_9884
IMG_9888
IMG_9892
IMG_9904
IMG_9913
IMG_9918
IMG_9965
~~~

Also, Happy Memorial Day / Towel Day!

--Emily

Sunday, May 24, 2015

in which I flail about new camera lens, then cats // Part One

I got a beautiful new camera lens for my birthday, which I was finally to pick up from my parents' house this weekend and of course I had to take a billion photos. =)

It's a 85mm f/1.8 something something camera speak hard to decipher, but basically it's a lot different from what I normally use. I'm still trying to get the hang of it. I'm not used to having to worry about the aperture settings so much. It's going to be glorious once I get it down, though. The lens lets in so much more light and it's wonderful.
  *CUE ALL THE BLURRY BACKGROUNDS* 
I'm in awe, you guys. I'm unworthy of its greatness.

ALSO two of the cats at my parents' house had THE CUTESTEST kittens, so expect many more photos. =)

P.S. Sorry for some unfocused photos...like I said, I'm still getting the hang of it!

IMG_9850
IMG_9818
IMG_9826
IMG_9816
IMG_9800
IMG_9802
IMG_9808
IMG_9841
IMG_9853
IMG_9858
IMG_9732

--Emily
currently listening to: Snake Eyes by Mumford & Sons

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Remains of the Day and The Promise // Book Reviews

I've been able to read a bit more now that school is out. I wasn't going to write a review over either of these, though, because I didn't think many people would be interested. But then I thought about it again and figured I might as well do a mini-review over them.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
I had high expectations for this book because it's by the same author that wrote Never Let Me Go. This book is a little older, published in 1989, and it won the Booker Prize and was made into a movie starring Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins. 

That said, I had never heard anything about it.

I liked it quite a bit, and even though it was relatively short, I think it would bore some readers, especially fans of YA, fantasy, or adventure novels. There's really not much of a plot to the story; instead, it centers around the memories of the MC. 

It was beautifully written. There were little idiosyncratic details about the characters that Kazuo writes in a way that I've never seen another author do. He captures human nature, what it's like to be awkward or not know what to say, or get to the end of your life and realize that you missed your chance in something.

It also made me start watching Downton Abbey.

I will say the first half went a little bit faster than the last half, but the ending was perfect and beautiful and heartbreaking and insightful all in one. So yes, I really enjoyed it. But if you asked me whether you should read this or Never Let Me Go, I would tell you Never Let Me Go.

~~~


Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise
 My problem with this book is that I read The Search first. The Promise was written first and the events take place before The Search.

It was not bad. But it was not as seamless as The Search. The artwork was great, but not as utterly breathtaking as in The Search. The story was good, but there were a lot of little pointless subplots that I did not care for.

That said, it had Toph, which was something that was desperately missing from The Search. Everyone loves Toph! And we get to see her start her metalbending academy!

And though the story wasn't as exciting, it was interesting, especially in terms of seeing how Republic City from Legend of Korra came into existence. In the original series, the two nations are very divided and prejudiced against each other, but most of these boundaries are faded by the time we see The Legend of Korra. The Promise helps bridge that gap. It was fun to explore the first mixed nation family, how an Earthbender could still be a member of the Fire nation. 

Overall, it was good, but would only be really interesting for a hardcore Avatar/Korra fan. You would not miss a whole lot if you skipped this and went straight to The Search. But if you are going to read it, read it before any of the others.

Also, it turned me into a Suki/Zuko shipper.

~~~

Reading Next: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

--Emily
currently listening to: Waiting For Love by Avicii

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Late-May Updates


events:
--The semester ended! I wrote SO MANY PAPERS and graded SO MANY PAPERS and had to write a letter of recommendation for the first time and I brought my students cookies on the day of their final and it was all kind of bittersweet. I also blogged about my teaching experience.


--We signed the lease for a new place, which is actually a three-bedroom house! I'm so excited for the extra space. Also excited that it is right across the street from the park. 

--AND WE CAN NOW GET A DOG YOU GUYS.

--My mom and sister bought me a BEAUTIFUL camera lens for my birthday, which I don't get to play with until I go to visit this weekend. The anticipation is killing me!

thoughts:
--EVOLUTION. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. And although I still believe in creationism, my views about evolution have changed. I know it's a bit of a taboo subject, but I think that's part of the problem. Science and Christianity do not cancel each other out. In many ways, they complement each other.

--I might participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this summer for the first time. =) Let me know if you are participating, too!

tv shows:
finished getting caught up on Switched at Birth. Can't wait until it starts back up.
Ancient Aliens
rewatching Legend of Korra books 3 and 4 with commentary
just started Downton Abbey (and love it)

movies:
Avengers: Age of Ultron (liked it)
The Boy Next Door (terrible)
Birdman (didn't finish it)
Legally Blonde (I hadn't watched this in FOREVER)
Ex Machina (liked it)

books:
finally finished Paper Towns
almost done with The Remains of the Day

-books bought given to me for my birthday-
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
The Martian by Andy Weir
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift
~~~

How has YOUR May been?

--Emily

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Covers of Books I've Read

This Tuesday is a freebie, so I thought I'd follow up on a post I did a few weeks ago about covers I wished I could redesign. Some of the books on that list were really, really good. This week, I wanted to talk about my favorite covers of books that I have read--a few of them which were hiding some pretty awful books.

Looking back, these two posts drive home the point don't judge a book by its cover, though I typically do. I will totally buy and read a book based on its cover. But this doesn't always mean that I'll enjoy it.

  41865

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
This book probably has the most beautiful cover in all the land, and definitely the most beautiful cover of any book that I have read. That said, I hated this book. I was so disappointed! I haven't read anything by Stiefvater since then...which I hear probably isn't the best move, since she has a lot of fans in this corner of blogland.

Paper Towns by John Green
I read this recently--you can catch my review here. I wasn't blown away by this book, but I really love this cover, more so than the other versions of it. I like how it's symmetrical and the background is blurred. I like the colors. The only thing I don't like is the font used for the author's name and title, and how "Paper Towns" is shaped, and how John Green's name is just as big as the title. But I can overlook those things.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Again, I love this symmetry. I also love the symbolism. I love the pale, veiny vampire arms. I love the red and black. I love the swirly serif font of the title. This cover just looks so interesting. It pulls you in. And honestly, I really enjoyed this book--more so in high school than when I reread it last year, but still. I loved it a lot back in the day, probably partially due to my love of this cover.


Luna by Julie Anne Peters
I bought this book at a book fair my freshman year of high school and instantly fell in love. This is the cover of my copy, but there are other versions that are used more often, though they are inferior to the glory that is this cover. The orange draws you in. The cutout of the butterfly is perfectly placed and really symbolic. The title "Luna" is actually written on the first page. Its such a simple cover, but is so gorgeous. And the book itself is fantastic.

Abarat by Clive Barker
THIS COVER. *SWOONS* The title, for one, can be read upside-down. That is right, you heard me correctly. If you look at this book upside-down, the title still reads the same way. There's probably a word for that but I'm not sure what it is. Like a visual palindrome. 
The book itself is filled with many wonderful and stunning illustrations by the author. The cover shows nine of them.AND THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL. I can't get over it. I read this book years ago and never finished its equally stunning sequel, but now I'm thinking I'll have to go back and revisit them. (P.S. I JUST FOUND OUT IT IS PART OF A QUINTET WHAT BYE.)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This cover is so unique and creepy and inviting all at once. I remember seeing it at Walmart for the longest time and always wanting to look through the photos. In fact, I think it's an interesting idea to write a story inspired by photographs. While this wasn't the most fantastic story on the planet, I did enjoy it quite a bit. But that cover is unforgettable. 

  

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I just love the simplicity of this one. 

Gossamer by Lois Lowry
K, ignore the weird dolphin logo in the corner of the photo because that's not on the actual cover. I bought this book in middle school at a book fair after I had just read The Giver. I loved (and still love) the cover. The transparency of the girl ("Littlest One"), the black background with the colorful title. Everything is placed so nicely.

  

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
I included Chamber of Secrets in my post about covers I wish I could redesign, which made me kinda feel awful because I REALLY LOVE THE ARTWORK in the American versions.Of all of them, I think Order of the Phoenix is my favorite. I love the blue and the motion of the room around Harry, with the tails of the candles trailing to the left. You really get the sense that the room is spinning. I also like the wispy letters in the title. I really like Halfblood Prince's cover, too.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
I remember the first time I saw this cover. I was at the register of a book store and had just checked out when I saw it behind the cashier. I wanted to stop and grab it, but a mixture of embarrassment and being in a hurry stopped me. A few years later I bought it and discovered that it's actually a pretty famous book...and a pretty good one. I still love this cover--how the mouse fades into the white background and the way "Flowers for Algernon" is scrawled in Charlie's handwriting.


Out of all of these, which one is your favorite? Do you agree/disagree? What is your favorite book cover? Do you judge books based on their covers? Let me know!

 P.S. I bought Dorothy Must Die and The Martian over the weekend because you all have been raving about both of them. I haven't read them yet, but they both have delicious covers and I'm so excited. =)

--Emily
currently listening to: Down in the Valley by The Head and the Heart

Monday, May 18, 2015

22


Previous birthdays:

2004, Age 11


2007, Age 14


2008, Age 15


2009, Age 16

2010, Age 17

2011, Age 18





2014, Age 21
~~~
today:
~~~

List of 22 things I want to do this year:

1) start a daily devotion (any suggestions?)
2) become a pet owner
3) finish writing a novel
4) improve and consistently practice photography
5) GET A JOB/INTERNSHIP for after graduation
6) Learn a coding language (HTML or CSS or both)
7) Enter the realm of baking
8) Exercise
9) Decorate our home
10) Keep a journal
11) Write more poetry
12) Read through Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems (as well as other poetry)
13) Upgrade my camera (or at least continue saving for future upgrade)
14) Grow my hair out ... and maybe dye it a weird color
15) Overcome procrastination
16) Be kind
17) Write an Avatar fanfiction
18) Go on a spontaneous trip
19) Get a new car
20) Buy a suit
21) Spend more time with family
22) READ ALL THE BOOKS.

--Emily