Did you know about this Jane Austen tale? I didn't, until a friend recently let me borrow her dvd of the BBC version (thanks!). I was taken up with the movie just as I have been with all other Jane Austen films (excepting an awful 80s version of Northanger Abbey - picture late 18th century costume and storyline mixed with 80s hair influence and full-on 80s music). All films are wonderful and all have happy endings. Nothing like Tess of the D'Urbervilles or Wuthering Heights, thank goodness. What's strange is, and here's a confession of sorts, while I've read both of these sad stories, I have never read a Jane Austen novel. It may just be time to begin.


Elevator Usage

The elevator is a great invention. It facilitates people movement in very tall buildings; helps us move heavy/large/fragile items easily; and assists those of us who are in wheelchairs, using crutches, or suffering from arthritis or other joint malady. However, if you aren't taking part in any of the aforementioned activities or previously discussed situations, I think you should be taking the stairs.

At work, I find myself passing individuals waiting for the elevator on the 1st floor only to beat them to the 3rd floor by taking the stairs. Some persons I give the benefit of the doubt to, remembering certain activities or situations, but others I'm pretty sure could use those quadriceps and carry themselves up a few flights. The worst is when I spot a young 20-something waiting for the elevator with a tray full of food from the 1st floor cafeteria. I take a gander at his/her lunch choices: french fries, a diet soda, frozen yogurt. That meal practically mandates stair usage!

On the other hand, I see several regulars taking advantage of the stairs at work (There's even one woman who does her exercises every afternoon by walking up and down them for about 30 minutes). If they're carrying food, I've got to satisfy my curiosity, and I look at what they've chosen from the cafeteria menu: minestrone soup, breadsticks, and a fruit cup.

It's alarming how often lousy vs. healthy meal choices accompany elevator vs. stair usage. Do you think if I went to the cafeteria and watched what people bought I could tell whether or not they were going to take the elevator? Quite possibly.


Fresh Produce Gone Bad

My husband and I just can't seem to eat our fresh veggie produce fast enough (eating fruits, on the other hand, is quite easy)! It's not that I'm buying a ton of vegetables, it's just that we forget to eat them and I haven't got good ideas for making veggies a part of a meal. We like to pull out a carrot and enjoy it raw, but what should I do if the carrots are bitter? My first inclination is to boil the orange roots, but then they'll lose all of their vitamin A. And spinach, I buy it fresh and we eat some salads, but then the leftovers go bad (aka slimy).

Don't get me wrong, we actually enjoy eating vegetables (or at least I thought we did), but even our frozen broccoli is getting freezer burnt and that isn't a good sign. Does anyone have any good ideas of good, quick, veggie presentations? Or is this a case of, "Hey, it's really not that difficult. Just make sure you eat them"? I hope it's not the latter, but the longer this post gets, the more I think it may be that way.


The Kite Runner: A Review

Definitely don't judge this book by it's cover or by it's name. Maybe I'm one of only a few people who mistakenly thought The Kite Runner was a sweet story about boyhood friends; but come on, a small boy on the front, the thought of flying kites, what are these book cover designers trying to pull on me?

While this book is a story about boyhood friends, it certainly isn't sweet. In fact, this book is far from sweet. It is very intense. That's the best word I can use to describe it. I read it in three days partly because I wanted to stop thinking about it, put some closure to it. The other reason I read it so quickly was because this book is high throttle; new events were being thrown at me before I could really digest them (maybe that's for the best) , and I wanted to find out what happened in the end. The intensity never stops. You can never rest and possibly, that may be the point.

This story centers around two boys growing up in Afghanistan and follows them as they grow to adulthood. While they are best friends, they are complete opposites. In religion, in social class, in physical look, in faith and beliefs, and in what is emphasized most, character. What results is a narrative that's bound to be emotional, even for the stiffest of individuals. I'd suggest only reading it if you're up for a severe story.


Style - Layering

It started in high school and I've liked doing it ever since. That is, layering. One morning I went to school with a navy blue t-shirt, a fresh plaid button up, and a red sweater. A friend said to me, as if pointing out an obvious blunder, "You've got three shirts on!" That was the point. In college I didn't like wearing a coat, even on the chilliest of days, because I'd rather layer. Thin t-shirt, long sleeve tee, corduroy button up, sweater, and then a zip up sweatshirt. I was never cold walking to campus. And when I did get hot in class, I'd shed a layer and place it in my backpack, no huge parka to lug around for a day or stuff under my seat.

After college I've continued to layer, but I haven't been coming up with as many new combinations, seeing as I don't purchase clothes that often (insert sentence about cheapness and laziness to look through all of the sales racks here), and layering just isn't as fun as it used to be (although I still do it, sometimes looking just like I did in high school!).

This is where The Sartorialist comes in. Have you heard of it? Probably, I hear it's pretty big. However, I just came upon it while perusing through this blogosphere. I won't describe it because you can take a look for yourself, but let's just say it's put the joy back into layering for me (just in time for fall). The sartorial blog serves me much like my sister's old J. Crew catalogs did back in high school. Lots of photos of neat style ideas and cues, all of which are brought to you by everyday people (well, mostly everyday people, but some are bigwigs and smallwigs in the fashion world). Plus, the blogger can talk about a pocket square and what a south paw is all in one post. A catalog never does that.

photo from j.crew.com