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Friday, February 27, 2015

Random Thoughts Friday: National Strawberry Day


     To all my summer-loving, juice-drinking, strawberry-eating, I-can't-stand-all-this-cold-weather friends, family, and beloved readers out there,

     Happy National Strawberry Day! May summer be closer than ever to your heart on this wintry day. The red richness of strawberries will be with you even in the frost.

     Peace out, strawberry friends.

~Madeline

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why I Haven't Read The Hunger Games


     "It's really popular right now!" is not a phrase that appeals to me. It will not entice me to read the book, see the movie, visit the place, eat the food, or do just about anything.

     I guess you could say I'm counter-cultural, or a rebel, or weird.

     And I do participate in some things that happen to be "popular," but I am not doing them solely because they are "the thing" that's "in."

     "Everyone's read it but you," is not a phrase that will cajole me into what's mainstream. If so many people have read it, it's either really good, or they were caving to the peer pressure whether or not it is a book I would like.

     I will read, watch, or do something if it has rave reviews from people I trust.

     But even then, there is sometimes no allure for me. I like to hear about things a ton before I dive into them (which means I am sometimes late to the "party" so to speak.)

     I like to hear reviews from trustworthy sources which include...

     Books: My cousin Mallory, blogger Modern Mrs. Darcy, and close friends

     Movies: Plugged In Online (which is the #1 resource I can ever recommend), my parents, and a sweet, wise adult friend Carissa

     Music: Parents, A-Z Lyrics

     Other categories: Parents (usually)

     I refuse to do anything solely because it's "the thing" to do. If there are several good reasons to see it, read it, listen to it, or do it, I will.

     But if it's popular, and that's all it has going for it, no thank you. If it's popular, and it has some negative elements that I am not comfortable with, all the moreso.

     It's not that I think any of these things are wrong, but I rejected them for their popularity (and in some cases, more than that against them):
  • The Hunger Games (Haters gonna hate. :))
  • Divergent
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • Harry Potter
  • Eleanor and Park

     Please note that I don't reject things because of their popularity all the time. I jumped on these trains (and, in some cases, did so before they actually became movies or became popular):
  • The Giver
  • The Maze Runner
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Downton Abbey

     See? I'm not completely countercultural. I'm just choosy, and I like to think I'm choosy in a good way.

     This isn't to say "those books are bad and these books are good." It's to start conversation, so we can get to the bottom of what really drives us to start something new, whether it's a new craft, new hobby, new book series, or new tv show.

     I've shared the sources that compel me. Now what compels you?

~Madeline

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

8 Activities That Stimulate My Creativity


     In need of a fantastic idea for a blog post, essay topic, or book title?

     During the day-to-day monotony, I come up with ideas. Typically, all my best thinking happens while I am participating in one of these activities:

     1. Doing the dishes. ~ I'm focusing on the dishes, but really my mind is a blank slate for any words that my brain comes up with. Blog posts, book ideas, you name it!

     2. Showering. ~ But I bet you already knew that one, am I right?

     3. Doing school. ~ Yeah. I have a stack of paper next to me right this minute with ideas I need to type up because I scribbled them down during school. So much more interesting than writing an essay.

     4. Riding my bike. ~ I came home from my last ride with an entire novel idea. No joke. And that was just a quick trip to the library!

     5. Going for a walk. ~ Your mind is clear, soaking in nature and the fresh air. Ideas flood you just as quickly.

     6. Reading a book. ~ If it's a good book, I instantly am plotting my own, inspired by the big vocabulary words or exciting plot or to-die-for heroes.

     7. Going to sleep. ~ This one can be rough because you have to get out of bed to write it down. Which includes turning on a bright lamp. Which includes getting out of bed. Which includes realizing you forgot to set your alarm. Which includes you thinking about school tomorrow. Which altogether shuts down your creativity. Which makes you sad. Which means you are suddenly nowhere near falling asleep. :) You're welcome.

     8. Eating. ~ Your subconscious is generating ideas based off of the colors of the food you are eating, the way you chew, and the conversations around you. (Note: This statement has not been scientifically confirmed by anyone ever.) :)

     Whenever it is least convenient, I will find myself running through the house like a mad woman and repeating the idea to myself while simultaneously saying "Make way!" and "Pen! Paper!"

     In all of these, I am focusing on a simple, mindless task that allows my right brain to go wild and shuffle through zillions of ideas until I can put words to certain ones.

     Examples of ideas that hit me at these times:
  •      "Why Taylor Swift's Song is Saving My Life (blank space in decorating)" is a blog post idea that came to me while eating I think...or doing the dishes. (Comment to let me know if you want me to actually write that post. I was thinking of trashing the idea so as not to endorse her song.)
  • "Brown curls cascading, local heart-throb, had his choice of dozens of girls" is a character description I came up with while falling asleep.
  • Circle in the Forest is the novel idea that popped up while I was walking. Romantic, no?
     All ideas are copyright 2014 Madeline Osigian. :)

     What activities stimulate your creativity? I'd love to know if there are any you go to that I don't know about. Let's chat in the comments!

~Madeline

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cinderella & All the Feels!


     Who is excited for Cinderella? Whoop whoop!

     Honestly, I am drinking in each new trailer and clip with increasing anticipation. Hurry up, March 13th!

     I painted this rendition of the poster over the Christmas/New Year's break, and I can't believe I am just now sharing it. Here's the original poster for those of you not looking forward to it like I am.


     Love, love, love it! The costumes, the script, the everything! Ah! If you've ever seen Ever After with Drew Barrymore, you know how sweet and beautiful these movie producers can make even the simplest and most generic fairytale.

     And yes, that painting is on my wall because I liked it so much! Here's a trailer, so you will want to go to the movie theater the day it comes out too. (Don't say I didn't warn you!)


     Just look at it! All the feels! And all the magic! Want more? Ok. (If not, you can stop reading/watching here.) :)


     "I will protect the prince from you...no matter what becomes of me." ~Cinderella, played by Lily James

     *Sob*

     Also performing in it: Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, and Sophie McShera (Daisy from Downton Abbey)

     Note: I was not planning on promoting the movie at the beginning of this post. I was just going to share my art, but I am so excited about the movie. And when I have words, they must be written. :)

~Madeline

Snow Means Slow

 
     The roads are icy. The windowpanes are frosty. The rooftops are powdery.

     Even though I don't get school off, I am glad we've gone through the storm. Because it makes us slow. We slow down from rushing everywhere. We take the day off.

     Because winter is rustling her white leaves. She's shaking her head in laughter. And we take the moment to make cookies and hot cocoa.


     And then, with a drip-drip-drip, spring steps up to warm us with her smiling face.

     But may we never forget the slow. The ice is dangerous, so we stay inside. We sleep in. And the slow is a blessing beyond compare.

     May your drip-drip-drip and defrosting be as slow and meaningful as your frigid cold.

~Madeline

Friday, February 20, 2015

6 Ways to Live Like a Jane Austen Heroine


     Actual Austen books and several spinoffs, sequels, and movies have captured my fancy. It makes me want my modern life to reflect the lives of Lizzy Bennett, Elinor Dashwood, Catherine Morland, and all those Jane Austen heroines.

     Here are some practical things that we as ladies can do to take back some of the simple and beautiful traditions of the Regency time period.

Fashion
1. Wear white dresses and nightgowns (with empire waists!)

Hobbies
2. Spend long parts of each day walking outside.
3. Take dance lessons.
4. Read good books.

Mouth and Mindset
5. Only open your mouth if you have something witty or wise to say.
6. Don't be vain (like the Bingley sisters) or boy-crazy (like the youngest Bennett sisters.)

     In fashion, the goal is to be simple and elegant. In hobbies, the goal is to be full of fresh air, vivacity, and knowledge. In mouth and mindset, the goal is to be reserved and gentle.

     And you can be a heroine too!

     If you enjoyed today's post, please share it on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or forward it to a friend you know would like it. Sharing is caring! :)

~Madeline

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm Doing Something I've Never Done Before

     Must. read. all the books!!!!!!!!!!!

     Those were my thoughts as I closed Pride and Prejudice for the second time. I've also read Northanger Abbey and loved it even more than P & P. I've watched two movie versions each of Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. I've watched one version of Northanger Abbey and one version of Persuasion. Mansfield Park is the only one that's a complete stranger to me, except that I know the heroine's name: Fanny Price.

     You could say I'm in my first "phase" ever. I never went through the horse phase, or the superhero phase, or the girly-girl phase, the Lord of the Rings phase, or the "what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up" phase.

     I just didn't really do phases as a kid. Sure, I had a favorite animal and color as a kid...(blue and panda bear). And I have a favorite animal and color now...(yellow and bunny).

     But I was never obsessive. About anything.


     Until now. I've come to a glorious state of wanting to watch the movies and read the actual Austen books (and several spin-offs) which have captured my fancy.

     This is going to flow into my writing as naturally as it has my Pinterest boards, Goodreads shelves, and conversations. So, as my first JA post...(insert triumphant fanfare)...

6 Ways to Live Like a Jane Austen Heroine
 
     Coming to an email inbox near you on 2.20.15. (That's tomorrow!) If you're not signed up for my emails, you can do that here: //Subscribe//
 
     Did you go through phases as a kid? Why am I just now loving one thing so much?
 
~Madeline