September 30, 2010

Black Walls

Today while browing design/decor blogs I came across the room below and love the black walls with the animal prints and the cackling fire beneath the ornate mantle.  Black walls are sort of en vogue at the moment, although I remember the first time I ever saw this in a home; a family friend had just moved into a new home and painted the dining room a flat black.  I remember thinking it was so unique at the time (I was in high school), since I remember a lot of beige from the 90s and early 2000s. 

September 27, 2010

100 Best Opening Lines

The American Book Review has listed its top 100 best opening lines from novels.  When writing a novel, an  autobiography, an essay, an article, the first line is the most difficult to create; you want to grab readers' attention, you want to sound interesting, and you want the opening to be memorable.  There are some great openers below, and Mississippi's own William Faulkner made the list twice.  There are a few that were lower down on the list that I think deserve greater credit (e.g., number 38, number 53); you can find the remaining 84 best opening lines here (I took this list to 16 because, well, look at number 16).

100 Best First Lines from Novels

1. Call me Ishmael. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)


3. A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. —Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)


7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. —James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)


8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)


9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)


10. I am an invisible man. —Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

11. The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard. —Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)

12. You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. —Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)


13. Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. —Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925; trans. Breon Mitchell)


14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. —Italo Calvino, If on a winter's night a traveler (1979; trans. William Weaver)


15. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)


16. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. —J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

September 22, 2010

Autumnal Equinox

Today is officially the first day of fall, even though in DC we've been having cooler temperatures of late.  By cooler I mean in the high 70s and sometimes high 80s, but anything is better than the 90+ days we've been having.  (I know, I know, I'm from Mississippi where it's NBD to hit summer temperatures of 105 or higher, before you add in the heat index.  Still.)  Most of DC takes a break during the summer, but work and other activities start back up in September; I'm looking forward to the coming season since I know it will fly by as it always does!

This time of year is one of my absolute favorites; watching football with friends, pulling out fall clothes from storage, shopping for cozy sweaters and leather boots, bundling up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good book, pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks (they should pay me), Halloween and pumpkins, upcoming Thanksgiving plans with family, and early Christmas shopping.  Growing up in Mississippi and living on a lake, the Canadian geese would always begin their flights further south around this time, "hooooooooooonnnnnnking" so loud you could hear it inside with the TV turned on.  I grew up loving warm apple cider and now I like mine with a bit of spice... whisky warms it up a notch.

The one and only Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

I could drink these year-round.

cozy and warm

My dogs loved "chasing" the geese in our backyard.

apple cider...

... with a kick.


As for Thanksgiving, I will spending the week in the happiest place on earth, Seaside, Florida.  My family and I have been going to Seaside at least once per year since I was about 6 years old... two decades.  It's a special place for us and since we're a bit spread out now, Thanksgiving is one of the best times for us to travel together.  Now that my younger is sister is of legal drinking age, we'll probably be spending some quality time at the Red Bar.  I can't think of a better way to spend a week.

September 14, 2010

Wall Decals

I have one long, white wall in my apartment that has been screaming out for some attention since I moved in over a year go; it's in a hallway so it hasn't been a priority until now.  I'm thinking of wall decals, so I've been doing some online research and have found quite a few that I like.  While not all of these are "me," they are all pretty creative in their own way.  Enjoy!

The above graphics are taken from Blik's selection of wall decals.

September 11, 2010

Never Forget

I was in my first period Biology class in my senior year of high school.  Lindsey was sitting to my left, Sarah was sitting to my right.  Our teacher, Coach Jones, tried to quiet us down since everyone was chattering about the news. He didn't discourage us from discussing what happened, but he did tell us that we needed to focus on reviewing for our test that week.  Coach Carnes stopped by a few minutes after class started to say that another plane had hit the Pentagon.  Throughout the day, there was a hushed sense of foreboding in the hallways.  No one yet knew who was behind the horrendous acts of terrorism that morning, although rumors were rampant.  In my 5th period government class with Mr. Hughes, we watched the CNN coverage of the towers falling; the footage ran on repeat over and over.

I will never forget that day, and words cannot express how thankful I am to live in a country where freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to pursue my own happiness is not only legal, but encouraged.  There has been recent news coverage of a narrow-minded pastor in Florida who wants to burn the Koran, the holy book of the Muslim faith, in protest of the tragedies that occurred nine years ago on this date.  I pray that God opens his heart, and the hearts of each of us, to see that hatred only begets more hatred.

September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do.

The fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.

I hope your holiday weekend was just as lovely and relaxing as mine was.

September 4, 2010

More "Mad Men" Goodness

The Emmy Awards were this past Sunday night and "Mad Men", AMC's television show about the world of advertising in the tumultuous 1960s America, deservedly won the Emmy for Best Drama Series.  Now, I'm not a big fan of awards shows, other than looking at pretty dresses on the red carpet, but I have to agree that "Mad Men" is the best drama on television.  A few posts back, I posted an interview with Christina Hendricks, who plays the indomitable Joan Holloway on the show.  This month's issue of Rolling Stone has some behind-the-scenes photos of the cast and crew, and some of my favorites are below. 

September 3, 2010

I Pledge to Read the Printed Word

... and maybe hang it on my walls, too.  If you've read this blog, you know that I really, really enjoy a good book, even the classics.  As such, I love these posters depicting memorable scenes created the from the actual text of novels, perfect for hanging right on your wall.  They're reasonably priced and perfect for book lovers.  Postertext says that you can expect new posters each week, so keep checking back for more.

Pride and Prejudice
Alice in Wonderland
Moby Dick
Peter Pan

Aviator Chairs

These aviator chairs from Restoration Hardware are unique and would look great in a modern loft or bachelor pad.

September 2, 2010


Today's date is synonymous with an Emmy-robbed television show of the same name.  I mean, really, who in the 90s didn't want to walk the halls of West Beverly High with Brenda and Brandon, Donna and Dylan, Kelly and Steve, and sometimes David Silver.  I don't think anyone really want to hang out with Andrea (not even Brandon).

My favorite of the four seasons is autumn, and although it's still hot and humid here in the mid-Atlantic, I know that falling leaves are just around the corner.  Even Starbucks has brought back the pumpkin spice latte, one of my all time favorites.  Growing up, August signalled the return to classes, and I remember the excitement of buying back-to-school clothes and supplies (who knew how excited kids would get over pencil cases and brightly-colored erasers).  John Updike's "September" evokes that same feeling for me.

by John Updike

The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel–

Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Drying grass,
New books and blackboards
Chalk in class.

The bee, his hive
Well-honey, hums
While Mother cuts

Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.