Tue, July 15, 2014

Shopping My Own Shelves

Friends, I need your help! I realized there are some books that have just been sitting on my shelves for ages and I need to straight up decide: Read or give away?

So I’m hoping you can help me. From the pile below, would you recommend any of these?

photo-3

What do you think? Have you tried any of these? Thanks in advance for your help!

xoxo2-1

Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me
35

Wed, June 25, 2014

Visit Me on Ginger’s Blog Today

Sunset

Today, I’m posting over on my friend Ginger’s blog GReads! as part of her “Sweet Summertime Reads Roadtrip” series. She asked me to share one of my favorite rest/relaxation/recreation and most of all READING retreats and play tour guide for the area near my family’s cottage in Wisconsin.

Check it out!

xoxo2-1

Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me
3

Tue, June 24, 2014

A Reading Room Update

Things a really starting to come together for me in the design of my Reading Room, and I wanted to share the progress!

The biggest addition is a birthday present I got from my mom over the weekend: She made me gorgeous curtains out the fabric she used for the table runners at our wedding. I think it makes a huge difference and brings a lot of color to the room.

Here’s a little tour:

photo 1 copy 2

This is the entrance from my husband’s office — I love that I can close it off from the rest of the house to truly get some silence.

photo 2 copy

These are the new curtains for the window surrounding my “to-read” shelf.

photo 1

This is the view of my couch that has my silly fake deer head, which I showed you for the last update.

photo 2

In this corner, I am thinking of hanging a chandelier, like this blue one from Pottery Barn:

Light

I also need to consider what throw pillows to get for the couch. The ones you see there now are just temporary and WAY too much of the same fabric. Not sure what color I should get? Just white? The “A” pillow here is cute.

photo 2 copy 2

Over in the other corner, I’ve got my workout gear and jewelry box set up.

photo 5

I just hung this old mirror I had from my very-first apartment so I can see how my jewelry looks before I head out for the day. I was thinking of putting a chair over here, but worry it might look too cluttered?

photo 3 copy

For the shelves themselves, I’ve finally got them alphabetized by author which is LIFE CHANGING.

photo 4

And I’ve got a bunch of cute little personal items interspersed, like this candle Ginger just got me that is “Trashy Romance Novel”-scented!

photo 3

Last but not least, this is my desk stand-in, which basically houses my laptop and all the new books I get or my to-read pile.

So! What do you think? I would love your thoughts on lighting, pillows, whether I should have a chair — and more! Any ideas are welcome!

xoxo2-1

Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me
21

Fri, June 20, 2014

Not-So-Young Adult

Ten years ago tonight, I was celebrating my last night as a teenager.

At 11:57 p.m. on June 20, 2004, surrounded by my best friends, I blasted “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus as we sang along on the top of our lungs, dancing around our apartment.

I remember shouting: “This is the last time I can sing this and really MEAN it!”

I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby…

Music was huge part of my life as a young adult. I used to fall asleep with my DiscMan on and religiously read the lyrics in the liner notes. My weekends were all about which “shows” my friends and I were going to see.

So I guess it makes sense that when I started to reflect on being a decade removed from teenage-dom, music is what came to mind. Specifically, Jimmy Eat World’s “Bleed American.”

The album came out in 2001, when I was 17. I discovered the band thanks to a staff recommendation posted in my local record store (back when that was a place where kids would hang out) and immediately fell in love with “The Middle.” I still love it now.

It’s interesting: Its lyrics represent not only the advice I’d give my teenage self looking back, but also some lessons I still need to be reminded of now. That’s sort of why I still love YA: Some things never change.

“The Middle”

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.

It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be all right (all right).

Hey, you know they’re all the same.
You know you’re doing better on your own, so don’t buy in.
Live right now.
Yeah, just be yourself.
It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else.

It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be all right (all right).
It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be all right (all right).

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet.
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just do your best, do everything you can.
And don’t you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say.

It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be all right (all right).
It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be all right (all right).

Today: So long, 20s.

Tomorrow: Hello, 30s. Whatever they bring, everything, everything will be all right.

In the meantime, a playlist dedicated to my teenage self, highlighting all my faves, ages 14-19. Enjoy.

xoxo2-1

Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me
38

Sat, May 17, 2014

Art Appreciation

I can “appreciate” art, sure.

I’ve seen the Sistine Chapel, and was stunned by the amount of back-breaking labor that went into it.

I’ve seen the Mona Lisa, too. It’s startling how such a physically small piece could have attracted so much attention over so many years.

But none of it moved me.

I have a hard time appreciating the artists’ influences, their mediums and their brushstrokes, their color choices. I get so caught up in the not “getting” it that I just feel…nothing.

It’s similar with me for music, though that affects me more in that the moment I hear a banjo, a fiddle or a harmonica, I can’t not think about my dad. Or how, no matter my age, when a certain song comes on the radio I always feel 16 years old again, riding shotgun in my best friend’s car, windows down.

Alas, I’m utterly, hopelessly tone deaf, so I’ll never fully appreciate a musician’s key change or how sharp or flat they’re singing. It’s lost on me.

Every so often, though, a book comes along that halts me in my tracks.

An author combines words in an order I’ve never seen before, and yet somehow it manages to encapsulate something I’ve thought and felt for years but have never been able to put into words. A story opens me up to a new world, a new way of thinking, a new experience I’d never have on my own and my heart feels full and the world feels smaller and bigger all at the same time.

And I think to myself, “Oh, so this is art.”

I just read the last page of a book and was completely overcome with appreciation. Not just of the work that went into it — the author, the agent, the editors, the designers, the publicists — but how that all combined so beautifully to make my spine tingle and my heart race and my eyes skip ahead to get to the next part because I was just so enjoyably wrapped up in someone else’s head that I just had to know her every feeling, thought and outcome. I loved that these people worked so hard to give me that experience.

I felt appreciation, too, for everything that had to happen to get this book into my hands at this exact moment to make me feel this way. I’d overlooked it when it first came out, but then Estelle told Ginger to read it and Ginger told me to read it and a librarian found it for me and carefully placed it on a special shelf with my name on it just so this book could get into my hands and for a few brief hours my mind could be swept away. I so appreciate them for that.

Which made me think a thought that made me smile: Could this blog have introduced some of you to a book that made you feel this way? If so, all the work this blog takes is truly worth it.

So, today I can’t help but think all this is what “art appreciation” is really all about. With books, I finally get it.

xoxo2-1

PS: That book, by the way? Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler. Her beautiful word choices inspired this post. Thank you, Sarah.

Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me
28