Tuesday, May 28, 2013

gone girl

I just finished reading the most intense thriller/mystery/crime book called Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It's about Amy and Nick Dunne and Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. The entire story is about the search for Amy told through Nick's point of view and Amy's diary entries. I brought this book camping and could have easily finished it in a day, but forced myself to take my time for fear I would have nothing to do while everyone else chopped wood and threw rocks. Gillian Flynn is a master storyteller and I couldn't put the book down. This book is for fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Dexter, serial killers and other psycho crime stories. Actually, I was very much reminded of Dragon Tat because I remember being so enthralled by Stieg Larsson's writing and not being able to stop reading it, as well as my overall sense of shock and wonder at the gruesomeness of it. This book is twisted and the ending left me in awe. Additionally, it is a great commentary on the selfishness, narcissism and overall phoniness of our generation. I feel like I've been saying this a lot lately, but this really has been one of my favorite books I've read this summer and definitely of the year.  I can't wait for this to become a movie because it will probably still make me pee my pants even though I know the ending. Here is a long, but exceptionally good excerpt: 

It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can’t recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn’t immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blase: Seeeen it. I’ve literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can’t anymore. I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

proof of heaven

I just finished reading this 15 minutes ago and it has been one of my favorite books I've read this year. I attribute my appreciation for this largely to my religion and my firm, already-existing belief in an afterlife, but I think anyone would find Dr. Alexander's story uplifting and fascinating. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife is Dr. Eben Alexander's account of his personal near-death-experience (NDE) and the miracle his body and mind underwent during his week-long coma. Dr. Alexander's recovery is a miracle in itself, but this was not even the most amazing part of his story. As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Alexander led his life as a staunch believer in science and medicine. He frequently heard stories from patients of their NDEs and other-worldly experiences, and politely acknowledged them, but completely discounted their credibility, knowing full-well there was no way these individuals actually experienced and saw the things they did. What I loved most about this book was the incredible transformation Dr. Alexander underwent after his coma. He makes beautiful statements about the reality of God and His love for each of His children, which are simple truths I've grown up believing, but when you see an extremely intelligent, grown man come to knowledge of these things, you realize the perfection of God. My heart was full reading this and it only increased my testimony of the Savior and Heavenly Father. 

Here is one of my favorite excerpts from the book:
Ultimately, none of us are orphans...None of us are unloved. Each and every one of us is deeply known and cared for by a Creator who cherishes us beyond any ability we have to comprehend. That knowledge must not longer remain a secret.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

home is wherever i'm with you

the crafty one // spray paint // only animals i like // neuro shi // lungs, chest, invitation, penguin books, brains, penguin book // prettiest frame

A few months ago, Preston and I came to the realization that neither of us have any sort of home decorations. Lately we have been scouring Tumblr and eBay for ideas and items for our future walls. Last week we wandered into Restoration Hardware and (I) cried over how beautiful everything was. We left with a million more ideas for our little home. I hate crafts. If I can find a way to have someone else do it for me, or buy it, I will. Obviously I love the idea of a well decorated home and someday want one, but I think part of me sincerely believes it will happen on its own. Luckily, Preston is much more in tune with reality and has started accumulating and creating a great collection of things.
We are both obsessed with gold frames. It's gotten to the point where we go into a museum or watch a TV show and completely disregard a piece of art and comment on how gorgeous a frame is. We take frequent visits to DI and in addition to the book section, we hit up the picture frames. We've come back with a bunch, each under $4 or $5. My favorite find is the last picture and where we've decided to frame one of our wedding invitations. We envision an entire wall of different gold and white frames with prints and pictures special to us. I love the human body so I printed off some cool textbook diagrams and Preston "aged" them aka soaked them in coffee and baked them. We want to do the same with maps, architectural drawings and sheet music. I think framed dried flowers are so pretty and simple, so we're in the process of drying and flattening some to frame. Finally, we love antlers/taxidermy/dead animals. Preston found a great set of little antlers on KSL and recently purchased shark jaws on eBay. 

I gotta give most of the credit to my sweet fiance for our growing collection of decorations. I'm lucky to be marrying someone with such attention to detail and great deals. It makes me excited to think of decorating our own little place someday, wherever it may be.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

fast food corrections

fast food nation by eric schlosser // the corrections by jonathan franzen
My book hangover has been cured! I recently finished both of these and thought they were excellent. Both completely different genres and styles, but kept my attention from the first page to the last.

Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation studied the positive and negative aspects of the American fast food meal. He featured all kinds of fast food places- McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, In-N-Out, Little Caesar's etc. What I enjoyed about this book was Schlosser's look at both sides of fast food- the good and bad. Here's the thing. I love fast food. I love McDonald's and In-N-Out is legitimately one of my favorite places to eat. Some nasty stories about undercooked meat in Colorado is not going to deter me from a $2.50 cheeseburger. Sorry. But, it was fascinating to learn about the origins of fast food and how they started as little food stands in southern California and can now be found in every corner of the world. What truly amazes me about the fast food industry is the universalization of it. A McDonald's Happy Meal varies very little whether it is bought in North Dakota or New Delhi. My favorite facts I learned were about none other than the delicious In-N-Out Burger. Did you know In-N-Out pays the highest wages in the fast food industry, managers stay with the chain an average of 13 years and full-time employees receive benefits packages including medical, dental, vision and life insurance? You would think these details would produce lower-quality food, but there are no freezers, heat lamps or microwaves in any In-N-Out restaurants. I always thought Californians/West Coasters were snobs when they talked about how much better In-N-Out was than any other burger, but I have to agree. This book is humorous, informative and entertaining- three rare qualities of nonfiction work.
Preston bought The Corrections from a used book website and in the front cover there was a lengthy handwritten note from the previous owner begging future readers to choose another book. It reminded me of the first chapter in every Lemony Snicket book. The previous owner went on and on about how depressing it was and the Lambert family was so negative and ungrateful and blah blah blah. I can't lie; the previous owner was absolutely right. This book was very depressing and frustrating and by the end, you hate every character. Like I previously mentioned, The Corrections was voted #1 on GQ's 21 Books From the 21st Century list, which was the main reason I chose to read it. Jonathan Franzen is an exceptional writer. He writes from the viewpoint of each family member and his combination of character banter and thought processes are too good and almost make up for the fact that his characters represent the worst of society. This book was smart, witty, funny, disturbing and probably accurately portrays a common American family dynamic. I predict this will be made into a movie starring Hollywood's finest and probably Meryl Streep as Enid Lambert.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

anchors aweigh

nautical inspired // QT pie // grady the sailor // grady + boat // sick tat // utah lake
This weekend I fulfilled one of my longtime dreams of going sailing. My infatuation with the sport stems from the clothes. Sperrys are my favorite shoes and I love all things nautical inspired. I can't get enough of the striped shirts and little printed sailboats and anchors. I was excited to legitimately sport my anchor suit while sitting on a sailboat. Grady bought it this winter and grew up sailing, so this weekend he took us out to Utah Lake to test it out. Preston also has some sailing experience, so I basically stood around and watched them put everything together. There's a whole lot that goes into setting sail and a different language associated with it. There wasn't much wind, but it was so nice to just float on the water while the sun browned us. I'm looking forward to going a few more times these last few weeks before I go home.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

summer reading series

book club // favorite ever // lavished // dreamy // re: stacks // 24/7

Today the Twilight Concert Series was announced. Such a sick lineup this year. I am most excited about The National! But almost every week looks excellent. In lieu of the Twilight announcement, today I want to announce my summer reading series. Sorry that connection was so lame but I just needed you to know I am both hipster and literate.

Ender's Game- Orson Scott Card
The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho
The Corrections- Jonathan Franzen
Fast Food Nation- Eric Schlosser
Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife- Eben Alexander
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me- Mindy Kaling
Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle- Haruki Murakami
Diary of an Oxygen Thief- Anonymous
After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story- Michael Hainey
Midnight's Children- Salman Rushdie
Breakfast of Champions- Kurt Vonnegut

I know it looks pretty ambitious, but let's remember I am unemployed and graduated. I feel like I've been stuck with a book hangover after The Marriage Plot. Does that ever happen to you? You finish a great book and can't really get over it so everything you read after is kind of blah? Except I think I'm getting out of it with The Corrections. It was listed as #1 in GQ's 21 Books From the 21st Century Every Man Should Read and so far it is excellent, but depressing as hell. I hate every character. I'll probably write a review about it shortly.

2 days until Great Gatsby!! I re-read it at work last week and am so excited to see the modern-day interpretation. The soundtrack is awesome. What are y'all reading this summer? Any recommendations? Oh and if you don't have it already, you need to get a Goodreads account and use it. It has been so helpful in keeping track of everything I've read, seeing what my friends have read and deciding what to read next. Please get it and friend me. It's so cool I swear.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

chaos to couture

burberry // marc jacobs and commes des garcon // marchesa // gucci premiere // anthony vaccarello // balmain // michael kors // prabal gurung // donna karan // kenzo
Last night was the 2013 Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala welcoming the new exhibit Punk: Chaos to Couture. The Met Gala is one of my favorite events because I like to see how the guests try and incorporate the new exhibit into their outfits. This year there was lots of heavy eye makeup and spikes. Punk is one of those things I have very little to say about, except for I like some Ramones songs. It's a style I've never dabbled in or really embraced except for studded accessories, however, I can definitely see how an entire exhibit can be dedicated to displaying its influence in fashion. I chose some of of my favorite looks from last night and what I thought about them.
Sienna Miller: What does Sienna Miller do besides wear chic clothes and traipse around London with Jude Law? Is that still a thing? I don't know but she looked awesome in Burberry. The jacket and headband totally embraced the exhibit.
Sofia Coppola & Marc Jacobs: I just like that Sofia wore pajamas and Marc wore polka dots.
Ashley Greene: Ashley Greene is one of those women I would hook up with. Not really at all, but she is so incredibly sexy/beautiful to me, it's painful. I feel like she's really underrated too. I think her Marchesa gown is not the most flattering, but she looks so stunning in it, I couldn't ignore her. 
Blake Lively: Making women feel inadequate since her role as Bridget in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Blake Lively is the perfect all-American beauty and she looked ravishing in Gucci Premiere. 
Anja Rubik: I think she and Sienna are tied for punkiest looks of the night. What's more punk than a red leather minidress?
Kate Bosworth: I love me a long sleeved mini dress and that love doubles if it's Balmain. 
Miranda Kerr: OMG my biggest crush. Seriously.  Miranda is my favorite VS model and has the most killer body. Like you couldn't pick a more perfect figure to work that Michael Kors. And did you know she's married to Orlando Bloom and has a baby and still does VS and is the perfect combination of sexy and cute???
Emma Watson: Also making women feel inadequate since going through puberty via Harry Potter films, but making them feel inadequate while also making them want to be best friends with her. It's hard to hate on Emma because she really is as beautiful, talented and smart as she appears. I've heard. Yay Prabal Gurung. I think I blogged about this dress.
Hailee Steinfeld: There's nothing incredibly special about this Donna Karan except I think Hailee deserves praise for looking age appropriate, ladylike and glam.
Solange: Not crazy about the dress, but seriously how beautiful is Solange?

Monday, May 6, 2013

may day

favorite treat // avocado toast // winner winner chicken dinner // all hummus everything

New month new month one month closer to wedding month! This is my hunger games update. I cannot lie, it's been hard as hell And I have messed up lots of times. But, I do feel as though I have made significant progress. My body feels stronger and cleaner. I'm very aware of what I put into my mouth and now I look at food as minutes on the elliptical. Here are my goals I set in April and how I'm doing with them:

1) No treats. Ok so I eat treats. Not as many as I used to, but I would be a  liar if I said I didn't partake of the candy jar sitting on my desk at work. But Preston discovered the most amazing treat substitute. They are Carbmaster yogurts made by Kroger. They come in the most bizarre treat-like flavors like banana cream pie (favorite), cinnamon roll, key lime pie and caramel spice cake. And they are only 60 calories. SIXTY. That is like. 7 minutes on the elliptical. And they're yummy and sweet. I always have these at the end of the day when I want to make myself a pazookie.
2) No food after 8 pm. Yeah no. The cutoff has been 9:30, 10ish recently. However, if I do consume after 8, I try to eat protein and nothing too "meal-like." Mostly snacks and yogurt.
3) Minimal carbs. I'm doing pretty well with this. I have protein-y cereal for breakfast and lots of eggs or chicken with vegetables throughout the day. I also have hummus with everything, which probably has carbs. But at 70 calories for 2 tbsp, I'm like whatever. Every so often I have quinoa, which I think is perfectly acceptable. I also let myself have avocado on toast because it's so delicious and filling. Cutting out carbs completely only makes me feel weak, hungry and grumpy. 
4) 30 min. cardio minimum daily. Hell yeah. This is probably the goal I have best kept. I have upped my cardio to 60-120 minutes a day. I recently discovered I can use the elliptical now, (before it was putting too much pressure on my stress fractured foot) which burns twice as many calories as the bike. Nothing feels better than getting in a solid hour or more of "running." I hope by the middle or end of this month I will be back on the treadmill. In addition to cardio, I do 15-20 minutes of lifting or ab exercises.  
5) Keep a food/exercise log. The bane of my existence is pictured below. The Myfitnesspal app is the best and worst thing to ever grace my iPhone screen. At the beginning you put in your current weight and how much you want to weigh and it devises a plan for you. Mine has been 1200 calories a day and I definitely consume that much or more, but you can add in your cardio and it cancels out what you eat. There is nothing more satisfying than entering in a day's food intake, having 50 calories left and then entering an hour and half of cardio. I love this app because it's made me so aware of all of the things I put into my mouth. My only complaint is that there is no way to calculate weight or strength training, which definitely burns calories. So when I have a bad day, I always keep it in the back of my head that I burned even more than what I recorded.
6) Healthy snacks. My purse always has almonds or a granola bar and when I'm at work, I usually pack a bunch of snacks ranging from celery and peanut butter, fruit and yogurt to get me through my shift.
7) Drink more water. I could do better with this. Some days I drink tons and other days, only when I'm thirsty. Overall though, I have been consuming more water.
8) Take the stairs. Oh hell yeah. This sucks. The other day I had to bring something to the first floor. I work on the seventh. Myfitnesspal also doesn't have how many calories stairs burn. Ugggh.
Since school has ended, I have been working 4.5 hours a day and this is my last week at my Dean's Office job. It makes me sad to leave my little desk, but this time next week I will have literally all day to work out, tan and read until I go home June 9. I'm really pleased with the progress I have made and look forward to this next month of even more intense work outs and dieting. That's a lie, I'm not looking forward to the dieting in the least. But at least I will have all day to burn off whatever I eat. 46 days!!!!!