February 25, 2009

J.Crew Love

Meet my new coat. I snapped him up at the J.Crew in South Coast Plaza this winter in the midst of the holiday sales extravaganza. I wasn't even in the market for a new coat, but I saw him hanging all by his lonesome in the corner of the store, and once I tried him on for size and saw that he was on sale to boot, I knew he was a keeper. The camel hair is incredibly soft to the touch and just feels heavenly to slip into. I love the hidden pink and orange detailing, too.

I adore J.Crew. They offer good quality clothes, often using the same mills as fancy European design houses, at very economical prices. I can't get enough of their tissue tees and ringspun painter tees. And this new Icon trench for spring looks like something Burberry would come up with, but at a fraction of what a Burberry trench costs. I covet. And oh my, I just noticed these lovely little ballet flats. Man, am I in trouble.

February 18, 2009

Best Valentine's Day Ever

I admit it. I'm pretty spoiled (recognition is the first step, right?). I had quite simply the best Valentine's Day ever. I'm not even a big fan of the holiday, as more often than not it tends to make people feel miserable that they're single or disappointed that their partner didn't do enough to make it ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. I think the reason Valentine's was so fabulous for me this year is because I've been very good to myself all week (i.e. filling my apartment with flowers and indulging myself with literature from Thomas Hardy and Leo Tolstoy is what I call love), while also spending some quality time with the boyfriend, who just so happens to be very thoughtful. On Friday, I received a lovely Valentine's Day bouquet at work, courtesy of said thoughtful boyfriend. Aren't they gorg? I was completely gobsmacked; I wasn't at all expecting flowers at work, which made receiving them all the more fun and wonderful.

The next day I decided to show myself a little love by treating myself to a hair cut and color. I love how bouncy my hair feels after leaving the salon. Typically, I like to make plans the night I get my hair professionally done because it so rarely happens that my hair looks nice--considering I generally put about 0% effort into it--but I had doubts about it this year since it also happened to be Valentine's Day. T insisted on taking me out to dinner, even though I argued that V-day is the WORST night to go out for a meal: it's more expensive, a set menu is typically forced upon you, and you're robbed of any originality because the place is full of couples just like you wanting to share a romantic meal together and as a result you feel like cattle. T wasn't convinced. He made dinner reservations anyway because he knows me, basically. Turns out my fears were completely unfounded: the vibe at the restaurant he picked was perfectly low-key, there was a healthy mix of couples and families, the menu consisted of plenty of options and the food was really good. We went home, our tummies full, but not full enough to forgo the chocolate chip cookies I had made earlier, sat down on the sofa and watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. If you haven't seen this film, I HIGHLY recommend you do so. Amazing (and I don't use that word lightly). The film made me feel very happy and grateful to be alive and to be able to do the things I love with the people I love most. Because that's what truly matters. As I said, best Valentine's Day ever.

February 12, 2009

Wonderful Surprise

Mary-Laure, whom I often mention here (she of the beautiful and insightful blog Aurea) recently presented me with two blog awards. As you may have guessed, this totally made my day. Even if I'm nowhere near the vicinity of "hip", it's nice to dream. Thank you, Mary-Laure!

I'm delaying awarding other blogs because I'm a bit shy about tagging/awarding people (lame, I know). I think I'll take a bit of time pondering 10 great blogs to award. Which really shouldn't be very hard, as the blog world is chock full of interesting, talented people whose creativity I drool over daily. TBA!

February 11, 2009

Freesia and Great Loves

I can't think of a better time for injecting a little romance into one's life than the week leading up to Valentine's Day. And I don't mean in the bedroom sort of romance. I'm talking about enhancing the subtle nuances of the everyday with a little glamour. For me, it's buying a lovely freesia bouquet, the color and smell of which I find just intoxicating.

It's also losing myself in the romantic entanglements and intrigues of a great love story, which sounds just about right at this time of year. I bought these books from the Penguin Great Loves series ages ago, and I can't wait to dust them off and dive into them tonight. I chose Thomas Hardy's A Mere Interlude, Leo Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata, and Forbidden Fruit from the letters of Abelard and Heloise. I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I am *OBSESSED with Penguin Classics UK. They come out with terrific editions of classic books with the most compelling covers which either aren't available in the states or are extremely hard to find. Needless to say, this only provokes my lust for them even more. If you're at all interested in how the cover designs were created for the above books, then by all means click here!

*Another reason I'm in love with Penguin: I read this Valentine's Day essay by Victoria Coren years ago and its humor and insight have longed stayed with me. Regardless if you're single or attached, it makes for a great Valentine's Day read. Doesn't hurt that the authors she writes of are Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, two of my favorites.

February 4, 2009

January Reads

One of the resolutions I've made for myself for 2009 (and for life, really) is to read more books. Particularly, a book a week. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when my typical week day (i.e. work, long commute home, gym, dinner, shower, nightly chat with T, and getting to bed at a decent hour so I can do it all again the next day--living the American dream, I am.) leaves very little time for reading. The fact that I've grown rather addicted to blogs in recent months certainly doesn't help in my quest to read more literature. Since graduating from UCLA with a reading-intensive English degree, I've been a sporadic reader at best. It's when I recently calculated that reading a book a week over the next fifty years would mean only reading 2,600 books that I started panicking. Doesn't this seem like a shockingly low number (or am I coming off as a major book dork here? Don't answer that!)? With my list of must-reads ever expanding and the time in which to read them slowly shrinking, it's quite possible that I'll never get through all the books I want to read in my life. And what's worse, I've already failed at my resolution, having only finished three books in the month of January. Still, I'm trying to focus on the bright side; I'm spending more time reading, which is always a good thing. And there's always February. So, a quick breakdown of my January reads:

Mrs. Woolf and the Servants by Allison Light. The always wonderful Mary Laure introduced me to this book, which I've also mentioned twice before. I've only dipped my toe into the captivating world of Virginia Woolf, so I'm looking forward to reading more of her biographies, novels, journals (which I own and should really crack open again), etc. If anyone has any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

No Country for Old Men
by Cormac McCarthy. I'll go ahead and say it: I preferred the film to the book. I know, I know, this almost NEVER happens, but what can I say? The Coen Brothers had me on the edge of my seat when I saw it in the theater last year. Literally. Plus, Javier Bardem chilled me to the bone. I couldn't help but picture him in that god-awful haircut while reading the book. The book itself is positively heart-thumping and still worth a read. No Country for Old Men is my first western, and I have a feeling it won't be my last.

The Amnesiac
by Sam Taylor. I randomly came across this book in a bookstore. I was totally struck by the cool graphic cover, as well as the synopsis on the back. It had me at "remnants of nineteenth-century manuscript of a murder mystery" and "part detective story, part haunting gothic tale." Done and done. Turns out that it was a pretty entertaining read and the writing was very solid.

I plan on finishing the two books I'm juggling by the end of this week. There, I've said it. Nothing like a declaration in print to make you stick to your word!