Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Late Arrival of Winter

Hello, everyone!

Boy what a few days we have had here! As you all know by now, I live in Maryland. What you might not know is that Maryland is not known for its snowy winters. Afterall, it was nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas Day.

Well, we just got slammed by Winter Storm Jonas, who delivered nearly 30 inches of snow to our region! This is record-setting. The storm happened from Friday evening into Saturday night. I was supposed to have class on Monday, but now we don't go back until Thursday! I'm definitely not complaining; this gives me more time to go on adventures and share them with all of my wonderful readers!

Here are some of the pictures I took:

It has been really difficult to shovel all of this snow! Since we aren't used to having this much snow, Maryland also is not properly equipped for cleaning all of it up. I haven't been able to go anywhere for the past two days because the government is advising people to stay off of the roads so that they can clean them all up! Thus, I am itching to leave my house as soon as possible. Hopefully I will do something fun tomorrow or the next day!

To close, let's finish with some fun vintage winter pictures!

Source: The New York Times

Were you impacted by this storm? How has winter been so far for you? Cheers. x

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Revlon's Super Lustrous Crème Lipstick

Hi everyone,

Today I am going to review one of my favorite lipsticks: Revlon's Super Lustrous Creme formula. The color I am reviewing is called "Wine with Everything."

The first thing to note is that this particular lipstick has been around forever (since at least the 1950s, maybe the late 40's too). Thus, wearing this formula automatically makes me feel more glamorous. The shade "Wine with Everything" hasn't been around for nearly as long as some of the other colors, but I find that it is a suitable red for almost any occasion. It's often my go to shade at school. As a side note, the black and gold packaging is also quite lovely, simple yet elegant.

As you can see in the picture above, this creme formula certainly is not matte. It has a slight shine to it which I do enjoy. The lipstick itself is very moisturizing, which gives it an edge in my book. Regarding the color, it is a deeper orange-red. One might not think it would be this color just by hearing the name "Wine with Everything."

Applying the lipstick is very easy, as it goes on very smoothly. I would recommend using a red lip liner, but if you are in a pinch, by no means is it a requirement.

I like the versatility of this lipstick. You can wear less of it and smooth it out so it appears like a lip stain. You can also mattify it by using a napkin and some powder; I like to do this sometimes because I like it when lipstick appears matte without some of the drying effects of a true matte lipstick.

You do have to reapply this lipstick after eating, and it does fade a bit after a few hours. However, the fade is not significant, and one additional coat usually does the trick.

I highly recommend this lipstick if you are looking for something moisturizing but not too shiny. I have this formula in about 10 different shades, all of which I love dearly. For a more cherry red, try the shade "Certainly Red" which was released in 1951. Below I have included a chart with some of the older shades in the collection. Some of the shades no longer exist, but the others are worth checking out.

Completely off topic, but here in Maryland we are being hit with a blizzard this weekend! I hope that everyone on the USA East Coast is staying safe out there! I will be sure to take lots of pictures of the beautiful snow once everything is settled. 

Have you tried this lipstick before? What do you think of it? Cheers. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Photographs 3

Good morning, everyone!

I feel as though I haven't been on the blog in forever. That's the odd part about taking a trip somewhere, it really is like putting your life on pause at home as you operate in a different realm.

Having said that, Lancaster was beautiful. The town itself is very quaint, and it was nice to be able to just relax before the hustle and bustle of school resuming on Monday. Unfortunately, I didn't take any real pictures as I found myself completely engrossed in everything that I was experiencing.

Thus, I needed to post something on here, and I realized that I haven't posted any photos that I have been inspired by lately. So here we go:

This photograph is by Willy Ronis; it was taken in the late 1950's. Something about that silhouette on the bridge really speaks volumes to me. 

This photograph is by Erwin Blumenfeld. I love this photograph because the focus is all on the compact; it's interesting that he didn't have to completely fade out the rest of the woman for this focus to occur.

This picture was taken by Robert Doisneau; it is called Bouquet of Daffodils. I find this photo beautiful because of the expression on the woman's face. She looks so in love and full of pure bliss.

I find this photo of Ingrid Bergman by Gordon Parks to be incredibly fascinating. At the time that the photo was taken, Bergman was under an incredible amount of scrutiny due to her affair with Roberto Rossellini. The way that the women in the background are looking at her and the strain that Bergman has on her face express two different sides of the human condition: curiosity and stress. The photograph captures a sort of rawness that you often don't see from stars like Bergman.

 To end on a light note, I have included a fun picture by Tom Palumbo. We are supposed to get a lot of snow Friday evening into Saturday, so I am going to be wearing my snowflake brooch and sweater a lot for the duration of the week! 

Have you been inspired by any photographs lately? Cheers.

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Birthday Festivities

Hi, everyone!

As promised, this post I am going to write about what I did on my birthday. I had a lovely day amongst some of my friends and family!

In the morning, I ate breakfast and opened some presents. Here is what my lovely mom and dad bought me:

If you didn't know, I am a huge fan of German chocolate. I love the silkiness and lightness that is not typical of American chocolates. Thus, my mom bought me "Katzenzungen" and "Schokoerdbeeren." The first chocolate translates to "cat tongues" (oh, the humour) and the second is a chocolate filled with strawberry. The minis in the front are just plain milk chocolate. Delicious!

The other present that my parents gave me is a satchel from The Cambridge Satchel Company. They make gorgeous leather bags, and I highly recommend purchasing from them. I already had a mini bag from this company in a lavender color, but I needed something richer for winter. This was the perfect gift for me! 

The last thing that I received was a heated blanket. I am always cold, so it was very fitting to give me something to keep the chills at bay. 

After I opened my presents, my friends took me hiking! I love exercising, and hiking is one of my favorite ways to do it! We went on a trail near my friend's house. It was very cold, but definitely worth it!

After hiking, we had a tea party. My best friend made all of the pastries, sandwiches and tea. She even brought out her mom's beautiful china for us to use. It was all so lovely!

To finish off the day, I had to coach. When I got home, I had some strudel that my mom ordered all the way from Germany (apple strudel is my favorite pastry)!

All in all, it was a very relaxing and pleasant birthday, though I don't feel 20 at all! I have always wondered why birthdays aren't more of a celebration of the mother too. Thus, I am again dedicating this birthday and every birthday to my gorgeous mother.

Thank you for your kind wishes! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. This weekend I am coaching in Lancaster, PA. It is a beautiful city located in what we call "Amish Country." More on that when I return. Cheers x

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fred Astaire Appreciation Post

Good Morning, lovelies!

It's my birthday today! It's hard to believe that I am twenty years old. I'll have more on what I did later this week. My birthday post is dedicated to my wonderful mother who gave birth to me twenty years ago and the wonderful Fred Astaire!

I was sitting here by candlelight last night  trying to think of something to write about when Fred Astaire singing "Isn't This a Lovely Day" popped up on my Pandora station. Then I realized I really haven't talked much about Mr. Astaire at all on this blog. And he is one of my absolute favorites!

For about a month in 2015, I was completely obsessed with Fred Astaire. I researched tap-dancing on Youtube and tried to teach myself; I re-watched all of my favorite movies with him and Ginger Rogers. I even wanted to go to the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Virginia. I don't know when, but at some point amongst my video-watching and practicing, I realized that tap dancing is really really hard. Thus, I reached a point where I was going to have to get lessons from someone or abandon the notion completely for awhile until I had more time. Sadly, you can guess which option I had to go with.

Having said that, I would love to try tap dancing again, but it would have to be during the summer or a time when I have less to do. It is a fantastic workout, and I feel so wonderfully old-fashioned when I slip on the shoes and start dancing.

Goodness, now where do I even start with talking about Fred Astaire? Let's start off with a picture!

I really do enjoy most everything about Mr. Astaire. For one, he had impeccable style. He also had a beautiful voice, which was smooth as satin. His suaveness never came off as cocky; he was just incredibly sophisticated and charming. But of first and foremost importance to me (outside of personality, of course) was Mr. Astaire's incredible way of conveying emotion through his dancing.

Here are a few of my favorite numbers:

Swing Time with Ginger Rogers


Look at how effortless both of them appear. Ginger Rogers was equally impressive, but I will probably go on and on about her in another post.

Royal Wedding Ceiling Dance

I would say that this is definitely one of Mr. Astaire's more famous numbers. Who doesn't know and love his dancing on the ceiling scene? 

Top Hat "Cheek to Cheek" Number with Ginger Rogers

Beautiful. You simply get completely absorbed watching the way that they move together. So romantic.

1970 Oscars

This clip just shows pure talent. Even when he was older, Astaire still had all the dance moves. Brilliant! I will still admit that this video really bothers me because he did not receive a standing ovation at the end of his dance; what was wrong with that audience?

I really do love Mr. Astaire and the work that he did for the entertainment industry. Do you have any favorite dance numbers of his? Any favorite movies he starred in?


Friday, January 8, 2016

Movie Review: Suite Française

Good Morning!

Today I am going to pen a quick review on the movie Suite Francaise, which I had the pleasure of discovering around two weeks ago.

Suite Francaise (the movie) is based off of the book with the same title. The story of the book's discovery is as interesting as any other story I have read lately. The book was written by a woman named Irene Nemirovsky, a French writer of Jewish descent who had planned to write five novels. Nemirovsky was arrested in 1942 and was detained at Pithiviers and later Auschwitz. She only completed two of the five novels before her death in Auschwitz. The unfinished work was kept away in a suitcase for fifty years by Nemirovsky's daughter until she finally decided to investigate its contents in the late 90's. Upon finding that it was not her mother's journal/diary but instead a novel written by her mother, Nemirovsky's daughter had the book published. It was released in 2004.

Irene Nemirovsky
The film adaptation is based off of part of the book and was released in 2014. It revolves around a young Frenchwoman (Lucille) whose husband is away fighting in World War II. Nazi soldiers enter Lucille's town and are assigned different houses to stay in. A German commander, Bruno, is assigned to her house. She tentatively begins to fall in love with him.

There are a lot of other complexities to the plot, but ultimately that is the briefest summary I can write without giving too much information away. As usual, here are some pictures so that you can understand the aesthetics of the way the movie was filmed:

Now, for my thoughts on the movie. Although a bit slow a times, I really did enjoy the plot of this movie. Often times, people feel as though World War 2 was one-fold with regards to the social relationships that formed. "The Germans were bad." Well yes, the Nazi Party stood for some very horrific ideals, but that doesn't mean that every single person in the party was innately evil. The focus of the book and movie is on basic, universal human emotions. 

This movie exploits that delicacy involved in human relationships. In this movie, the German commander (Bruno) was not all evil. And that's the catch with anything. Humans are not all evil or all good. It is a blend of both.

Having said that, the acting in this movie was fairly decent. I felt as though Michelle Williams was a little flat, but she still did an okay job. Matthias Schoenaerts was heart-stopping. Kristin Scott Thomas was very good too.

The best part of this movie was the soundtrack. It is one of the most beautiful soundtracks I have heard in the past couple of years. Rael Jones is the composer of the fabulous pieces. Here is my favorite from the movie: 

I would recommend that you watch this movie if you want something a bit slower paced but still attention-grabbing. The cinematography was very well-done, allowing this movie to keep you enthralled for the entirety of its duration. I am working on reading the book now, so I will let you know my thoughts on that as well. I will say though, that for the first time ever I actually am preferring the movie to the book due to its faster pace!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful and relaxing week! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Inspiration: Vera Lynn

Good Morning!

I have really been inspired by Dame Vera Lynn these days. She did so much for the war effort in terms of morale, and I love that she is still going strong at age 98.

I find that I draw a lot of inspiration from women of the past who I feel that I can relate to. Ms. Lynn seems like such a likeable person; I would definitely have gone up to talk to her 70 years ago. No wonder she gained the title of "The Forces Sweetheart."

My favorite part about Ms. Lynn is that she isn't hyper-glamourized or showy. She is just Dame Vera Lynn. And her singing and personality were enough boost morale for the Allies during the War.

My favorite songs that she sang in the 40's are definitely "I'll Be Seeing You", "We'll Meet Again" and "The White Cliffs of Dover." In 1952, "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" was released. That is another one of my favorite songs sung by her.

"I'll Be Seeing You"

"We'll Meet Again"

"The White Cliffs of Dover"

"Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart"

Sometimes I think about what I would have done had I been alive during the War. Would I have worked for one of the branches of the military in some form? Would I have driven ambulances? What about the Women's Land Army? 

I certainly don't have a voice like Dame Vera Lynn, but I even like to imagine that I would have been a singer like her. I definitely find her inspiring; she is a good reminder that everyone has to do his/her part. As they say, we are all cogs in this giant machine.

Have you been inspired by anyone lately? I hope everyone is having a lovely Monday! Cheers.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

2015 was a wonderful year. From completing two semesters of college to becoming president of my volleyball club at school, I learned and grew a lot. The creation of this blog has also become a wonderful and welcome addition to my life. Everyone has been so supportive, and I love reading your blogs and comments on what I have to write!

Now 2016 is here, and I have a lot to accomplish. I want to make this blog even better by developing my prose more when I write. I also plan to take a lot more pictures for the blog; I used to love photography but have grown distant from it. At school, I hope to finish this upcoming semester with a perfect GPA. In my sports world, I hope to be able to further the growth of the individuals on the team I coach, and I am looking forward to leading my school team in the best way possible. Outside of what I have already listed, I am excited to also develop my individual style further as I explore what I like aesthetically.

Last night, I spent New Year's Eve with one of my best friends from elementary school. We ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant and spent some time in Baltimore. I hope to share some pictures from that in the next few days.

To conclude, I leave you with one of my favorites:

"The Best is Yet to Come"

I hope that 2016 is the most wonderful year yet! What goals are you hoping to accomplish?