Notes on my Hatred for Reading Snobs, from a Lit Major

So, here’s my first post about books, because a conversation with my grandparents the other day got me thinking about reading, and the way that people tend to place the reading of certain books (e.g. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which I’ve read) over the reading of others (e.g. corny fantasy novels, which I’ve also read). Now, to begin, I am indeed an English Lit major and a huge book geek. I fully understand and respect the academic and literary merit of books that people would call literature over the Harry Potter Series (SERIOUSLY NO HATRED TOWARDS HP; I’VE READ THE ENTIRE SERIES LITERALLY 15 TIMES), or a Nicholas Sparks novel (also great). I am not saying that there’s no reason to grant merit to the actual books for being socially and academically significant–there obviously is. We wouldn’t still be reading The Great Gatsby today without reason.

I am not talking about books here, I am talking about READING, and the fact that we live in a world where people aren’t doing enough of it. Us people who read should probably go ahead and stop sticking our noses up at the mystery fanatics, or the people who rarely venture out of the romance section, or those who don’t really enjoy a story without a nice dragon. Reading, no matter the genre, benefits us intellectually and increases our understanding of the world. Period.

Until I was fifteen, I rarely picked up a book with any literary merit at all (and even then, I was typically reading them for a school assignment), with the exception of Watership Down in the sixth grade (I was pretty much the nerdiest 11 year old to grace the halls of my middle school), Tom Sawyer (which I was OBSESSED WITH), and The Secret Garden (I still have the same copy of that book, and the pages are falling out.) Between the ages of 6 and 14, I read for pleasure, and nearly everything I read was about either talking animals, Camelot, witches and warlocks, or a combination of all of the above. From 14 to 18, I fell into the whole young-adult “realistic” fiction genre, which were basically a bunch of goofy romance and friendship stories that held perhaps even less merit than the fantasy novels I devoured in middle school.

In spite of my seemingly “poor” taste in books for the majority of my life thus far, doing all of that reading ended up putting me at a collegiate reading level by the time I was 13. I am certain that doing so much non-academic reading throughout my life contributed to my good standardized test scores, my 4.0 gpa in high school, and my current success as an undergraduate literature major interpreting much more difficult literary works with historical, social and critical contexts. And guys, I got to this point by reading the Redwall series at 12 (which, if you know a fantasy-geek 14 year old who hasn’t read those books, you need to buy them one, like, yesterday.)

Now, in college, I’ve been known to pick up books like On the Road, Frankenstein and anything by F. Scott to read just because I want to read them. But that doesn’t mean I have stopped reading some of my favorite books of all time–I reread them because they have moved me in some way, academic or not. To sum up!

My point is this: do yourself a favor and don’t be a reading snob. People hate reading snobs, and you could be missing out on some really great fellow book nerds, and some equally great BOOKS, just because you think you are above them. Appreciate other people who love the written word as much as you do, and you won’t regret it.

So! Some of my most favorite books ever (not in any particular order of likelihood to find them in an English syllabus). I’ll review a few of these at a later date:

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redwall

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frankenstein

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None of the book cover photos included in this post are my own. That’s all I’ve got on books (for today). Peace all. Keep reading!

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Style Stars: SJP, Carrie Bradshaw

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Sorry guys, I couldn’t resist. Besides living by a few life and style mantras that I absolutely adore/relate to, Carrie Bradshaw combines high fashion with a unique personal style to create something luxe, over-the-top and genuinely Carrie. There is nothing that I appreciate more than someone who isn’t afraid to look ridiculous, but never does–because the greatest style secret of all is simple: confidence can make the wildest look a wearable one. So! Without further ado, a few favorite looks and quotes from the iconic star of Sex and the City. None of the photos included are my own; all were found on Pinterest.

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“When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep on walking.”

Sometimes the most fabulous people fall the most (heels perhaps contributing), but Carrie is far from being a quitter. One of the things I love so much about this first look is the simplicity of it. Carrie is known to rock elaborate costumey ensembles, but this rad lbd shows off her great bod and the more relaxed side of her fashion sense. It’s one of my favorites:

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“I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet.”

Recently house-sitting, I stayed in and had a Sex and the City marathon. One of the things that has stuck in my mind since said marathon is Carrie’s awesome ability to accessorize the casual with dressy, and vice versa. After seeing this stacked pearl look, I’ve added vintage pearl costume jewelry to my list of must-haves:

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“The universe may not always play fair, but at least it’s got a hell of a sense of humor.”

One of my favorite personality pieces that Carrie Bradshaw wears throughout the course of SATC is unexpected–the tutu. Now, I am not saying that I personally would don one of these for a date with the likes of Mr. Big, nor for wandering the streets of any city I’ve ever been to. However, Sarah Jessica Parker looks AWESOME in a tutu. This blue one is beautiful on her–further evidencing the importance of wearing things that say something about who you are, and not always being a slave to trends:

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Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”

Rather than putting all of the focus on Carrie’s clothing alone, I feel as though I have to comment on one of my favorite hairstyles of any television character ever: that crazy bob. I am in love with Carrie’s crazy curls and waves (perhaps because I struggle with waves of my own). Isn’t this a gorge haircut?

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“They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.”

This next look is absolutely and totally impractical for daily life, and I am not suggesting that we all go out and purchase massive ballgowns to wear with an imaginary French artist lover our first night in Paris. But! This dress is magical and infinitely glamorous, and I couldn’t do a fashion post about Carrie Bradshaw without including it:

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“After all, seasons change, so do cities; people come into your life and people go. But it’s comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you’re very lucky, a plane ride away.”

Perhaps I am biased about this next season 6 look because I am obsessed with black leather boots, and own a pair very similar to these. This outfit is also very trendy, even a few years later, and shows perhaps a more sophisticated side of Carrie than is seen in earlier seasons. In spite of the understated nature of this look, the coat and touch of pink show that the character never strays too far from her distinctive personal style:

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“Shopping is my cardio.”

Finally, beret and all, I just had to include this fabulous picture and quote from Pinterest:

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That’s all I’ve got for today about Ms. Bradshaw (God knows I could put a thousand more outfits on here). Peace all.

 

Thrifted: a few of my favorite finds.

As promised, here are photos of some of my most treasured thrifted and vintage finds; all photos included are my own:

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This little black shift dress was purchased for less than five dollars at a thrift store in Naperville, IL. The necklace is Forever 21.

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This real leather bag was bought for around twelve dollars at a resale shop in Geneva, IL.

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I picked up this painted silk scarf for less than a dollar at an antique store in Grand Haven, Michigan.

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This over-sized wool sweater was also bought in Naperville. The scarf is Dry Goods.

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I got this binoculars case, used as a purse, from Goodwill.

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This tweed and leather jacket was purchased at an upscale resale shop, also in Naperville.

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I found this crystal and bullet shell bronze necklace at a vintage store in Evanston, IL.

People who I think are pretty much the greatest ever – Rant #1: Lissie

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Lissie is great. Her music is awesome and super unique, she cultivates a down-to-earth image that is actually real (I would know because I met her and it was amazing) and she has a super cool (albeit grungy) style that she rocks shamelessly. And so! Without further ado, here is a picture I took from the day I met her (alas, there is no photo evidence for the meet so you guys will have to take my word for it), and a video for quite possibly my favorite cover of any song ever.

Things I love, Episode 1.

Okay, so this is supposed to be a fashion blog. Soon, I’ll start posting pics of outfits, thrift finds and celeb inspirations. Today, however, I want to talk about 2 things: trends, and silver jewelry. To begin, I am completely with the attitude that everyone’s closets should be filled with classic items, trendy items, and also personality items. By personality items, I mean clothes/jewelry/accessories that aren’t necessarily completely on trend, but that hold a special story, are exceptionally flattering and/or say something about your personal style. For me, funky jewelry tends to act as the personality item in each of my outfits. I am a huge fan of vintage or antique jewelry, of both the silver and gold variety, although I wear these silver pieces more:

silver jewelryNotice that they are all relatively tarnished, and that the feather ring is missing some stones. This is because the necklace was actually a very inexpensive find at American Eagle Outfitters. The feather ring was my grandmother’s, and some of the Marcasite stones have fallen out. The black Onyx ring was a gift from my mother, and the swirly steel thumb ring belonged to my brother when he was very young. I also usually wear a dainty antique silver cuff from the 60’s, which isn’t pictured. I love jewelry that has a story, and especially when it comes to these rings, each are important to me for various reasons. Together, the jewelry forms sort of a bohemian rif-raff that won’t necessarily be trendy forever. Notice, for example, that the necklace isn’t a chunky statement collar necklace (which are super on trend right now, but completely hopeless for top heavy people). The long chained pendant style is much more flattering on me.

So! The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to wear things because they say something about YOU beyond an uncanny ability to flawlessly follow trends. Also, vintage jewelry rules.

A shameless music promotion

…for my boyfriend Trevor Sensor. BUT WAIT! Before you run away, scoffing at the indecency of it all, and assuming that I am only sharing his music because he takes me on dates sometimes and calls me pretty, give it a listen. I am a huge alternative and folk music junkie (evidenced by my 3,000 song iTunes library) and he is stupid-good. Because you all are new to my lingo, stupid-good essentially translates into insanely rad and pretty much the best thing ever! But seriously. He writes songs with amazing lyrics (we share that writing bug) and has a chilling voice. But don’t take my word for it! Check him out by clicking his photo below! Specifically I advise that you listen to “Without Some Direction,” “This House” and “The Birds and Planes.” If you regret it…well, you won’t.

Peace all. Sleep well.

Trevor Sensor on SoundCloud