Sunday, July 31, 2011

Get Lit: NEW TO THE BOOKSHELF!


Yesterday afternoon, I ran some of my usual errands. I went to the bank, bought some wine and then stopped at Borders. I'm really sad that Borders is closing. It's one of the last book stores in my area (and I live in a large city). As someone who spent a lot of her childhood in libraries, it pains me to see that there aren't many places left to buy books. I suppose that it's a sign of the times. The internet is changing the way brick and mortar stores are operating. I question how any stores are surviving these days. Between online retailers and the economy, I wonder how much longer traditional malls will survive. But back to the books...

I spent a couple hours inside the store. The sales weren't that great but I wanted to enjoy the experience of just browsing. Being inside a book store is one of my favorite things to do. It's very relaxing to let your mind wander. My favorite section is Metaphysical Studies. As a total weirdo, I love all things New Age. While in my little niche of the store, there was a guy whose phone rang with my favorite ringtone; Jack Horkheimer's Star Gazer theme song (Arabesque No. 1 by Isao Tomita)! It made me smile to be around like-minded individuals but also sad to think that these types of encounters would be far and few between when I'm stuck ordering from Amazon. When Jack Horkheimer passed away last year, I tried for days to try and find that ringtone! I contemplated asking the man where he found the tune but I was too immersed in Coast to Coast Ghosts by Leslie Rule.

There were so many things I wanted but I only picked up a few of the books & magazines that I knew I'd get around to reading right away.

1. Rider Tarot Deck
One of my best friends, Valerie, and I both love tarot. She gave me a check for my 25th birthday to go towards a new deck. I finally got around to getting it!

2. Sydney Omarr's Aquarius (Day-by-Day Astrological Guide for 2012)
For the past few years, I've bought this book. It's a nice little day-by-day guide to the stars. I highly recommend picking up a copy of your sign's forecast.

3. She Walks in Beauty (A Woman's Journey Through Poems) by Caroline Kennedy
The title jumped out at me because I thought it sounded poetic... turns out I was right. It's an interesting book that includes various poems that correspond to a woman's life. I think it's always good to read about other people's life experiences. With age comes wisdom. Caroline Kennedy surely has lived a life worth reading about.

4. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Hair Cut by Rob Sheffield
I love memoirs. It's probably my favorite genre of literature. A book that talks about life and interweaves music into its core is something I will always give a shot. I haven't read Sheffield's first book yet (I probably should have) but I'm sure this will be good.

5. Harvard Review
This magazine/book is full of interesting thoughts from some of the most gifted people in the country. I enjoy reading into the minds of the highly intellectual. Call me an elitist.

6. Life by Keith Richards
I've heard great things about this book. As I mentioned before, I love a good memoir and who better to read about than someone who has seen it all? Fame is such an unnatural thing. Many people want it but if you step back and realize what it implies, I don't think it's something to aspire towards. A little recognition and notoriety are great but fame on such a grand level seems like a very daunting existence. To not know who is interested in you for "the right reasons" and to have no privacy at all sounds like a death sentence to me.

7. Christie's International Real Estate
If you read my blog regularly, you have probably noticed that I'm into architecture and homes. Maybe it's materialistic but I am intrigued by the lifestyles of the uber wealthy (and conversely people who have nothing). It's fascinating to see how people choose to decorate and how it relates back to their personalities and self-expression.

8. Wine Spectator
I love a good bottle of vino. As I get older, I'm trying to be a better cook. It's nice to know what to serve with what at dinner parties. A magazine is a lot easier (and cheaper) than enrolling in a random "extended learning" course.







Now Playing: "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" by Led Zeppelin

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reading Between the Lines

I've been interested in palmistry since about the fourth grade. I remember I bought a book at a little magic store that talked about the meanings behind each line. I took it to school with me. During recess, I gave my classmates "readings" with the ten minutes of experience that I had to back it up. Being a Catholic school, I'm sure some of the more conservative teachers didn't appreciate my swift leap into the world of New Age philosophies. Religious fanaticism aside, to the best of my knowledge, there's no scientific evidence to support palmistry either; but it's something that's fun to think about. I'm far from an expert, so if palm reading peaks your interest, there's a lot of information out there :)








Now Playing: "Change Your Mind" by Sunlounger

Friday, July 29, 2011

Luxe Living: BARBI'S DREAM HOUSE

Former Playboy playmate and ex-girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, Barbi Benton, is one of my favorite people. She's very odd. I like people who are naturally eccentric. Her Aspen, Colorado home is so interesting. It reminds me of something you'd find in another galaxy.  If memory serves (...recalling an old epsiode of The Girls Next Door), the interior is even more bizarre than the exterior.

Ironically enough, Barbi's husband, George Gradow, made his money developing trailer parks. The couple lovingly refer to their "Copper Palace" as the "double, double-wide". At just under 30,000 square feet and nestled on 40 acres of land, that's quite an understatement. I'd love to spend hours getting lost inside this place!








 


Now Playing: "Celestica" by Crystal Castles

Flashback Friday

"Crash Into Me" by Dave Matthews Band (1997)

I compare my love for Dave Matthews Band to UGG boots. I don't care how many suburban douche bags are wearing them, I liked them first and will continue to sport them long after they are deemed uncool (sidenote: As far as either go, I think that happened a few years ago, anyway).

I've liked DMB since I heard "Crash Into Me" on the radio in 1997. I was on the way home from the mall with my parents. I distinctly remember where we were and telling my Dad to turn the volume up. I thought the lyrics were so beautiful and the way Dave sang was purely sexy. It instantly became one of my favorite songs of all time.

My interest in DMB grew in unison with my penchant for file sharing sites like Napster and Morpheus. (Calm down. I bought the CDs as well.) Dave was one of my favorite bands in grade school and high school. So many of his songs take me back to parties, concerts or drives to and from school. Today, I've somewhat outgrown it but just as my UGGs might be worn out, they'll both be there for me when I need something warm and comfortable.

Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock and sweet you roll
Lost for you, I'm so lost for you...



*I like this extended, live version! "...Down in Dixie Land"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

100 Random Things About Yours Truly

I saw a really interesting '100 Random Things About Me' list on a blog that I stumbled upon. Here's my version:

1. I was born on a Saturday afternoon (4:01 pm EST)... Ready to get the party started! Saturdays are my favorite day. I think I deliberately chose this entrance time.

2. When I was little, I was scared of pinecones. Yes, pinecones. I'm fine now (decorate with 'em at Christmas even) but I used to be terrified. I didn't understand their purpose and thought they were alive. Very random, huh?!

3. I'm the only redhead in my entire family.

4. I was a Catholic school girl from K-12. Plaid skirts. Polos & oxford shirts. Knee socks. It's amazing I can put an outfit together as an adult. I didn't really have a full wardrobe until I went to college but I always loved fashion.

5. I've read Vogue & other fashion magazines since I was in elementary school.

6. In eighth grade, I was voted most likely to be a lawyer, model or fashion designer.

7. My senior superlative in high school was "Most School Spirit". I was a cheerleader for over 10 years. I loved it.

8. I love music but didn't go to my first real concert until high school- Matchbox Twenty. "You Won't Be Mine" was a favorite song.

9. I used to do 1,000 crunches every night before sleep. I should probably try that again.

10. I had a small rock collection when I was younger. I ofcourse cherished Amethyst the most (my birthstone).

11. The first CD I ever bought was Janet Jackson's Janet, 1993. I still play some of those songs. I loved my Walkman!

12. My first kiss was on the playground in pre-school (Justin) but my first REAL kiss didn't come 'til my 13th birthday party. It was a very random boy that a family friend's son brought. Never saw him again.

13. I had a huge crush on Devon Sawa (Little Giants, Casper, Now and Then). When I read his tweets, I feel like I'm 9-years-old again.

14. I really liked to draw when I was in grade school.

15. I wrote a random "poem" called "A Pittsburgh Girl" about five years ago. I threw it it together in under 10 minutes, sent it to 3 of my friend's facebook walls and it has since been posted all over the internet. No one believes that I wrote it.

16. TV shows that I've seen every episode of: The Office, Full House, Mama's Family, Saved by the Bell, Mad Men, Daria, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Sex and the City, The Golden Girls...

17. I'm 5'4". Once in a blue moon, I wish I were a bit taller but for the most part, I like my height.

18. I'm left-handed. Only person in my family.

19. If it weren't for glasses or contacts, I would be considered legally blind. I can't see anything without my corrective lenses.

20. I briefly thought about going to Northwestern, Syracuse, Notre Dame or Missouri (Columbia) for journalism school, but in the end, I only applied to West Virginia University. My dream college!

21. My kindergarden teacher, Mrs. G, always named each of her classes. My class of '92 was called "The Peace Doves".

22. English/Language Arts was one of my favorite subjects. I loved to do book reports.

23. I'm a pretty good speller.

24. I love trivia. I watch Jeopardy! all the time and love pub trivia night at a place called Brillobox.

25. I love make-up! I have more than I could ever need but getting ready, listening to music and doing my make-up is sometimes more fun than being out.

26. I have over 200 bottles of nail polish. I almost always do my own. I can't grasp how people spend so much of their lives and money inside a nail salon.

27. I can't get a tan. I've embraced my fair skin. SPF 100+, please!

28. I love shih-tzus! My dog Ireland is my second that is mine but third in general (family).

29. I love houses. When I was younger, I would ask my older cousin to drive me to other neighborhoods so I could admire the different styles of architecture. I like to imagine the type of people who live there and what their decor might look like.

30. I'm into the shabby chic look. French cottage. Very feminine and romantic.

31. Everyone in my family has beautiful handwriting. In grade school, I taught the other kids writing techniques. My Mom and Dad eerily have the same handwriting.

32. I shared a bedroom with my older sister until my dad remodeled our house when I was about 11ish. Funny memories.

33. My Dad is a Vietnam veteran who stepped on a landmine and lost part of his leg. He's still the strongest man I know and can do more than most guys half his age. I admire his work ethic, pride and strength.

34. I'm a quadruple Aquarian (Sun, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter). I love astrology!

35. I love all things new age- tarot cards, palmistry, psychics, telepathy. You name it.

36. I'm a night owl. If I didn't have to work "normal people" hours, I'd be up 'til sunrise. I think I might be a vampire. I get all my creativity at night.

37. I used to listen to classical music when I had a big exam to study for. It helps with memorization.

38. Bubblebaths. Candlelit bubblebaths. I took them a few times a week instead of showers when I was in college. I would listen to Coast to Coast AM or classical music and unwind.

39. I love to dance. It's so much fun and the best workout!

40. I'm very liberal. I would never expect anyone to share my beliefs but I have pretty strong opinions.

41. I'm quick-witted. Don't try to talk down to me. Ever. I will stick up for myself.

42. I'm a girlie girl. I love pink, teddy bears, romance, children, animals, fashion...

43. I love sports- football (Steelers!), hockey (Penguins!), basketball (Mountaineers!)... and yeah, the Pirates. Yeahhh. I think golf can be fun as well... just not to watch.

44. One summer, I read over 50 books. These days, I'm happy to get through one or two per month.

45. I love online shopping- Gilt Groupe, Haute Look, ebay, Amazon, Shopbop...

46.  I have a thing for designer handbags. I'm not into blatant displays of logos but I love leather! I have more than I need but still want more!

47.  Right after "Genie In a Bottle" came out, I ran into Christina Aguilera in the fitting room of our Macy's. She signed an autograph for me as "The Genie" and told me she liked my hair. haha.

48. I've kissed a few different "celebrities" (insert Saved by the Bell "Whoooooo" track). Musicians love me. It's the hair. I won't embarrass myself or the victims by sharing any names.

49. I'm almost a vegetarian. Aside from the occasional piece of pepperoni, bacon or chicken, I don't eat meat. It's not some grand statement, either. The thought of it has always disgusted me. I don't mind that other people eat it but dead animals... no thanks.

50. I LOVE beer. I'm drinking one now, actually.

51. Speaking of alcoholic beverages, I also love champagne and wine.

52. Whoever said high school is the best time of your life never went to college. And they sure as hell didn't go to WVU <3

53. I am a pretty good baker. I'm going to eventually teach myself to be a better cook.

54. The Steelers won one of their Super Bowls on my birthday. My parents gave me a gorgeous diamond and pearl ring that year (2009). I call it my Super Bowl ring :)

55. I love quotes.

56. I love movies.

57. I love museums.

58. Despite living in a city, I both live and work in cell phone "dead zones". Barely any reception. Very frustrating. I've grown to not really like cell phones. They take away from living in the moment. It's sad when you're out and everyone is looking down at their devices.

59. I've always been into the paranormal.

60. I love Halloween. Things I've dressed up as over the years: Poison Ivy from Batman, Queen of Hearts (The Red Queen), Dominatrix, Biker Girl, Mime, Mermaid, Dinosaur, Mother Nature, Sailor Girl (Political Costume), Porcelain Doll...

61. I prefer to spend time with people one-on-one.

62. I love getting mail... writing letters, cards. I have a pen-pal.

63. I find humor in just about everything.

64. My best friend is my sister. My other closest friends I've had for decades. I like to have a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances.

65. I'm a great listener. Many people think they are but I'm told this by all my friends. I actually care.

66. I love the internet! It's hard to imagine the way things were before. But I'm glad that I had a regular childhood. I didn't really get hard core into the internet until middle school and high school. Even then, it's nothing like it is today.

67. I love stargazing. I'm fascinated by the universe. I pay close attention to the moon cycle. "Keep looking up!"

68. I love thrift stores. They are pretty much the only types of stores my parents shop at.

69. I cry very easily.

70. I'm empathetic. If I'm around negative energy or hear a terrible story, I will experience others' emotions. It can be very draining.

71. I love to write. My dream is to be an author.

72. I like to drive by myself but if other people are in the car, I get tense.

73. I get a headache if there's no music on the radio inside a car.

74. I like to play Scrabble!

75. I'm a planner. I like to know what I'm doing in advance. If you rush me, I'd rather not go at all.

76. I have an INFJ personality type (Myers Briggs)... the rarest, ofcourse (1% of the population).

77. I've been single since 2004. One of the reasons I have time to post blogs like this.

78. I dream of traveling the world. There are so many places and things I want to see.

79. I have a weird fascination with decorative boxes. I love them.

80. I'm constantly googling things. I have a thirst for knowledge. People have told me that I'm a walking wikipedia.

81. In the fall of '04, I wrote an email to request that WVU be added to facebook's network (at the time, it was extremely exclusive). We were on the next day.

82. I give compliments out left and right... ALWAYS genuine but I can see how someone might think I'm just being nice. I usually see the good in everyone.

83. I love drinking cold beer around a warm bonfire with friends... good conversation. The best.

84. I'm afraid of bees and tractor trailers.

85. I carry pen and paper with me everywhere. I'm always writing down thoughts, ideas, songs, inspiration. I make lots of lists.

86. I love cemeteries. They are so peaceful. I enjoy reading the older epitaphs.

87. I'm really good at remembering people's birthdays. I still remember birthdays of people I knew in second grade but haven't seen since.

88. I failed my drivers license road test 3 times before passing but have yet to receive a ticket or get in an accident (knock on wood). I blame it on the fact that I'm a girl and drove a sports car.

89. I'm sarcastic. If I like you, I will definitely make fun of you. If I don't like you, I might make fun of you.

90. I'm very open but still manage to be hard to read? I like to think I surprise people.

91. I like to read about conspiracy theories and other cryptic topics.

92. By nature, I'm curious. It's one of the reasons I wanted to be a journalist. At a distance, people fascinate me.

93. I know right away if I like someone or something. Almost instantly. I'm very decisive.

94. I love children and get along really well with them.

95. Going to concerts is one of my favorite things in the world. The smaller, the better.

96. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I'm a yinzer.

97. I've been single for so long that I don't mind it but sometimes I'm afraid that I'll never meet my soul mate. I want to find true love but you can't look for it. It has to find you <3

98. I read lyrics as if it's modern day poetry.

99. I make a wish at 11:11, on the first star I see, fountains, petals...

100. You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one...





Now Playing: Wounded Rhymes by Lykke Li

The Dark Knight Rises

Christian Bale, where are you? The Dark Knight Rises is filming in my city. Pittsburgh gets pretty enthusiastic when things come to town to shoot. Here is one of the prettiest buildings in our skyline, The Highmark Building, lit up in honor of the movie!










Now Playing: "Midnight City" by M83

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Beautiful Mind





















Now Playing: "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley

Mark Ryden

I've been a fan of Mark Ryden for years. Here are two of my favorite pieces:

Allegory of the Four Elements, 2006.

Fetal Trapping in Northern California, 2006.





Now Playing: "Ecstasy" by jj

via The Drunk Yinzer

 
Last night was a beautiful one in the 'Burgh. I wish I would have been on a boat near Heinz Field... lots of people were out and about for the U2 concert. I took a few pictures on my camera phone but this one from The Drunk Yinzer is spectacular. Slainte!




 Now Playing: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2

Greyhound Station









Now Playing: "Soul Meets Body" by Death Cab for Cutie

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quoteworthy

"The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it."
-Diana Vreeland 1903-1989




Now Playing: "Quelqu'un m'a dit" by Carla Bruni

The Times New Tarot: HIGH PRIESTESS


The card that I drew for today was the HIGH PRIESTESS: A pure, exalted and gracious influence. Education, knowledge, wisdom, and esoteric teachings. The forces of nature. Intuition, foresight, and spiritual revelation of the most mysterious and arcane sort.

via aecletic:

Basic Tarot Story
Continuing his journey, the Fool comes upon a beautiful and mysterious veiled lady enthroned between two pillars and illuminated by the moon. She is the opposite of the Magician, quiet where he was loquacious, still where he was in motion, sitting while he stood, shrouded in the night where he was out in the bright of day. Sensing that she is a great seer, the Fool lays out his sword, chalice, staff and pentacle before her. "The Magician showed me these, but now I'm in a quandary. There are so many things I could do with them. I can't decide."

The High Priestess doesn't speak. Instead she hands him a pair of ancient scrolls. Seating himself at her feet, the Fool puts his decision-making on hold and reads by the light of her crescent moon.

"I did not know any of this," says the Fool. The scrolls, like a secret manual, have given him insight into his new tools. "This information helps me to narrow things down, but I'm still afraid of making a wrong decision."
The words come to him then, not from without but from within: "What do your instincts tell you?" The Fool reflects on that, and that's when he knows what he should do. Decision made, he rises to leave even though he suspects that the High Priestess has more secrets she could reveal to him--like what lies behind the pomegranate curtain. Right now, however, he is focused and ready to be on his way.

Thanking the High Priestess, he heads off. But as he leaves he hears that inner voice, rising like the waters which spring and flow from beneath her throne: "We'll meet again...when you're ready to travel the most secret path of all."

Basic Tarot Meaning
Once you have an idea, you also have decisions to make. The High Priestess holds scrolls of arcane information in her arms. In addition, the moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see about a job possibility, an investment, love, career, family, etc. But you need some alone time, some quiet time to meditate and reflect.

This is what the card is all about. Seated between two pillars as between two choices, the High Priestess is not about making a decision so much as holding decision-making at bay while you take time to listen to your inner voice. She wants you to gain knowledge before you act: instinctual knowledge, supernatural knowledge, secret knowledge, self-knowledge.

The High Priestess, however, goes beyond even that for those who seek more. Behind her throne is the curtain that leads to the deepest, most esoteric knowledge; the pomegranates that decorate it remind us of Persephone, who was taken down into the land of the dead, ate its fruit and became the only goddess allowed to travel to and from that strange land. The High Priestess is our guide to all that is mysterious and mystical.





Now Playing: "Weekend Wars" by MGMT

Monday, July 25, 2011

Word of the Week: XYSTUS

The word of the week for July 25th - 31st is...

XYSTUS n.

Definition:
1. A long, covered corridor in a gymnasium; used by the ancient Greeks and Romans during inclimate weather
2. The Greek architectural term for the covered portico of the gymnasium, in which the exercises took place during the winter or in rainy weather
3. In ancient Rome, a garden walk or terrace

Example:
During the storm, the cross country team used the xystus for training.

Origin: Latin from Greek




Now Playing: "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield

Handwritten

At work today, one of my clients submitted a bio- a handwritten description of herself. I loved it! It was such a nice break from the ordinary to read something that wasn't typed. I love nothing more than exchanging letters and cards with friends and family... even a stranger or two. Yes, I have a pen-pal.

Not only was it cool that the bio was handwritten, but take a look at what she wrote. I dig it!





Now Playing: "Fly Like an Eagle" by Steve Miller Band

Almost Heaven...



"Country Roads" by John Denver is so special to me. It's my alma mater's theme song- played during every tailgate party, after each home football game, house party, last call... etc. You can be anywhere in the country and when this song comes on, there's typically a few Mountaineers raising their glasses and belting out the words. I've witnessed it. It's a beautiful thing. Hell, Hoda Kotb even whipped out her iPod during my commencement speech and played it through the podium microphone. "Teardrops in my eye"... you know it. Add in a slick Pretty Lights remix and I have been transported into a state of nirvana. October 4th can't come soon enough. I can't wait to experience the live show.

Take me home...

A "Summer Heights" Summer

Mr. G & one of the "specials", Toby, have a unique bond. Let's listen in on a nice little conversation between the two besties:







Now Playing: "Brain Damage" by Pink Floyd

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Leftovers


Since I'm a lefty, I've always appreciated this little saying. It's actually true; ask a neurologist. I find the way our brains work to be fascinating. Psychology was one of the things I was most interested in studying. My friends and family tell me that I would have made an excellent therapist but I like to listen for free :)

For the most part, being a lefty is nice. It makes me feel a little bit more unique but there are definitely some drawbacks. In school, there were only so many "left-handed seats" (on the ends)... not always convenient when you're interested in getting to know the good-looking guy in the middle of the room. Maybe that's why I only met a few guys during class? Being left-handed can also get annoying when you're writing or drawing as your hand tends to glide over what you have just written/created. Not nice for wet ink or paint. It can also get a bit dangerous in a world where everything is designed for righties. Learning to use a mouse (right side) was a disaster for me. Scissors?!

Some facts about lefties:

About 10% of the general population is left-handed

Males are twice as likely to be left-handed than females

Over the course of history, many left-handed pupils were forced to learn to use their right hands

Of the most recent U.S. Presidents, an astounding 4 have been left-handed (Obama, Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Reagan)

Paul McCartney, Kurt Cobain & Jimi Hendrix all played their guitars with their left hands

Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt and Michelangelo's famous brush strokes came from their left hands

H.G. Wells, Lewis Carroll and Mark Twain each penned their works with their left hands

4 of the 5 designers of the original Macintosh computer were left-handed

Studies show that individuals with extremely high and conversely low IQs are more likely to be left-handed

Because the right side of the brain controls creativity, many left-handed individuals retreat to professions such as writing, art, music or theater

International Left Handers Day is August 13th... I'll be celebrating with the help of this. Any excuse ;)






Now Playing: "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star

Quoteworthy


"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
-C.S. Lewis






***"Country Roads" by John Denver is my college's theme song. I miss WVU so much... can't wait to see Pretty Lights in October!

Rita Hayworth 1918-1987

One of the most iconic beauties of the 20th century.







I love this dress! One of my favorites in Hollywood history!











Now Playing: "Take, Take, Take" by The White Stripes

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm living life in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I hold a journalism degree from West Virginia University. I have worked in television news, fashion marketing, PR, and cosmetic sales. My love for writing and sharing with the world my various passions is strong. One of my many ambitions is to be published and continue creating in the fields of digital and print media, literature and film. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, going to concerts, reading, following Pittsburgh sports and traveling as often as possible. Some of my favorite things include beauty, style, architecture, books, tarot and astrology, thrifting and my shih-tzu, Ireland. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!