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Summer ahoy!

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One of my recently-adopted podcasts (and new obsessions) is the Joy the Baker Podcast– I love it because Joy the Baker and Tracy from Shutterbean talk to each other in exactly the same way that my friends and I talk to each other, only with a few more “abbrevs” (dude, watch Happy Endings, it is wonderful). At any rate, something raised in one of their recent episodes was the Summer Bucket List. While I cannot bear to call it a “bucket list,” as something about the word “bucket” does not sit right with me, I am all about creating one. And so, in celebration of this first actual day of summer, here’s mine (some items are more vague than others, but I think they’ll figure themselves out):

Go to the beach at least twice (and avoid getting sunburned)
Funnel cake and/or garlic fries on the Boardwalk
Maxi skirts and dresses (I don’t wear shorts, so these are basically as breezy as my summer attire gets)
Summer Pops concerts at SJSU (free music, yay!)
Picnic in the Rose Garden (such a short walk from home!)
Braids for-ev-er
San Jose Giants games (cheaper than a movie)
Make jam, pickles, popsicles (we have some fruit ripening in our yard– has anyone ever pickled an apricot?)
Olympics! No lie, I love the Olympics.
Gone with the Wind (Hello, I still haven’t read this. I’m sorry.)
Bike rides

You don’t have to call it a bucket list, either, but tell me– what will you be up to this summer?


Shop It to Me Tuesday: The Good, the Bad, and the Sunburned

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After a lovely four-day weekend, the last thing I wanted to do was head back to work. Not only did it mean an end to a nice streak of afternoon naps, but there was also the medium-sized issue of the nearly fifteen-degree temperature disparity between home and the town in which my internship is located. Microclimates, why you got to be like that? Unacceptable. Ah well, on to the coveting! Here’s what I’m loving today…

A sassy little Tory Burch dress– simple, breezy, just all-around lovely. On sale for $255. Should have started saving in February.

I promise I didn’t do this on purpose, but here’s another Tory Burch item— I love the jewel tone and the dip dye! If I weren’t experiencing a Level Four Arm Chub Situation and had $200 lying around, this top would be mine.

This SitM Tuesday isn’t going to be all about the loves, though, friends! Here are some abominations that I have to warn the internets about– sorry if you’re sporting any of them. We can probably still be friends, but I can’t promise there won’t be some mockery.

Sorry Marc Jacobs. If I’m going to be wearing a fricking jumpsuit, I’d better either be four years old or changing someone’s oil. Just to get this straight– does one not have to be nearly nude to go to the bathroom in one of these, or do they have a trapdoor?

Guys. Are these or are these not the footwear equivalent of front-pocket sticking out, trashy, Britney Spears-circa-2007 cutoff jeans? I cannot get behind this.

Oh, and the Sunburned. The SUNBURNED. I had a big fashion win at H&M when I found the Breton-esque striped top I had been dreaming of for about $10, but it was totally sullied today by a ridiculous back/neck sunburn obtained during a particularly grueling mini-golf outing. See, this is what color my skin usually is…

And this is what color, humiliatingly, the back of my neck and the uppermost part of my back is…

Shameful. You may not be able to really tell, and this is definitely not the worst sunburn ever, but still. SPF-containing body moisturizer FAIL.

Summer reading

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Yes, this is a segment of one of my (adorable, built-in) bookshelves. Judge if you must.

I’ve made an effort to keep track of what I read this year, in an oh-so-scientific list kept in the back of my cute little Moleskine planner, updated every time I finish another book or two.  So far, I’ve read…

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova [A Christmas gift from GP. Loved it.]
Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger [I was excited to see a new book by the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I read when the movie came out. Never ended up seeing the movie, but really enjoyed both of these– unrelated to each other– books.]
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larsson [Yes, everyone and their mom is reading this series.Yes, you should read them, too. Also, you should see the awesome Swedish movie they made based on this book, and not the inevitably crappy American version, which is forthcoming.]
The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb [Remember Nearly Every Single Terrible Thing that’s happened in America in the past decade? Columbine, September 11th…? Yeah, they’re all in here. This book made me cry nearly all the way through.]
The Girl Who Played with Fire, Steig Larsson [Maybe even better than the first book. Loved it.]
Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Jeff Lindsay [Ok, so here’s the deal: I am crazy in love with the Dexter tv series, and picked up this book in a used bookstore nearly a year ago. While I enjoyed it, I think this is one of the rare instances in which the story was told better onscreen.]
Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane [Here is a case in which I knew I didn’t want to see the movie– hello, scary bald shushing lady from the previews!– but wanted to check out the story since this guy also wrote Gone Baby, Gone and Mystic River, two stories that I really enjoyed onscreen. Oh, and the “No way, that ending would be way too obvious. He wouldn’t dare do that” assumption? Totally wrong. I called ti even before I began reading the book.]
When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead [It had its moments, but ultimately I felt like it fell pretty well short of all the comparisons to A Wrinkle in Time.]
Looking for Alaska, John Green [You know the song from A Chorus Line where the girl sings about feeling “nothing”? That is completely how I felt when the supposed-to-be tragedy in this book happened.]
Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian, Scott Douglas [Recommended to me by one of my librarian mentors, I liked this book way more than I liked Marilyn Johnson’s librarian rah-rah book— though in her defense, it may just be because I detest the term “cybrarian” and love McSweeney’s.]
The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak [A really interesting and different World War II book– especially given that it was a YA selection.]
Angelology, Danielle Trussoni [I had heard this described as “like the Da Vinci Code, but well-written,” and recommended by NPR. Certainly both of these things count as points for it, and I liked it as a “let’s not think too much about things. It’s sunny outside!” book.]
Solar, Ian McEwan [I found this wry and Very British. Is this typical McEwan? It’s the first thing of his that I’ve read, and was sort of put off from Atonement because of my loathing for Keira Knightley. Fine, that doesn’t make sense, but it’s the way things are.]
Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert [Fine, yes, this is the follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love, which I will admit I enjoyed. I don’t know that I was the target audience for this book, as I’ve never been that suspicious of marriage, and already knew about things like couverture and other scary oppressive things that can– and historically have– come with marriage. Spoiler: they get married at the end.]
The Midnight House, Alex Berenson [An NPR recommendation about secret CIA torturers, which I read on flights to and from the east coast over Memorial Day weekend. Since it was from the library, I didn’t have to deal with the small amount of guilt I feel when I end up buying books on a whim at the airport.]

All right, so…given all of the above, here’s what I have on the summer reading slate. Since it’s my last summer as a student (I graduate in December! But the part-time internship is ongoing, so it’s not as though I’m getting much of a break.), I thought I would try to get every page in that I possibly could. (Sidebar: I had created this whole wonderfully long list, which has since gone missing. Neither the cat nor GP has any knowledge of its whereabouts. I’m bummed, but have tried to recreate the list here.) Have you read any of these?

A Week in December, Sebastian Faulks [In progress. I’m liking it okay so far, but having a bit of trouble warming up to it fully.]
The Passage, Justin Cronin and Blood Oath, Christopher Farnsworth [Both recommended by NPR, both vampire novels. I figure since I made my way through all of the Twilight books, I owed it to myself to read something that had a main character I was more likely to enjoy. Yes, I hate Bella. Yes, I still read all those dang books.]
For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage, Tara Parker Pope [I like her pieces for the NYT, and it’s a book about science and marriage, which should be interesting, right?]
The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell [Recommended by coworkers as sci-fi “plus,” and I work with some pretty literate folks.]
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Steig Larsson [I have to finish the series! Also, am I crazy for thinking that it should be “Hornets’ Nest”? Does only one hornet live in a nest? I thought they were more like bees.]
Roald Dahl: a biography, Jeremy Treglown [RD is one of my favorite authors. I’ll be walking down to the library to pick this one up later today.]
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows [Recommended somewhere, and I know I’ve heard good things. Also waiting for me at the library right this second!]
The Man from Beijing, Henning Mankell [Another thriller from a Swedish author. Thanks for the heads-up, NPR!]
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [The third book in the Hunger Games series, which you need to read, right fricking now. I already have this on pre-order from Amazon.]
Imperfect Birds, Anne Lamott [I’ve read a lot of her short fiction, so feel like it’s probably a good idea to move into her longer work.]
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman  [Likely not The Golden Compass for adults, but I still really enjoy Pullman.]
something(s) by Chelsea Handler [What can I say, I like a lady with a dirty mouth.]
The Lonely Polygamist, Brady Udall [I am fascinated by LDS stuff. Also, recently read a Slate article suggesting that this might be The Great Mormon Novel, so we’ll see how that goes.]

Looking back at this list, it seems as though it is likely too long…but I’ll keep you posted.

Too early?

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Even though the weather has been sort of lame the last couple days, there have been promises of a warmer-than-usual start to May. Also, I picked up some free minor league baseball tickets yesterday at Trader Joe’s. What do these things have in common? Welllll…they’re among the reasons I’m chomping at the bit (gross expression, I know) for this semester to be over, and for summer to hurry up and get here, already. Every summer, I like to make a list of Things I Must Do, For I Can Only Do Them During the Summer– like enjoying warm weather (yes, I am extra-picky because it’s not like our weather is ever that bad) and the occasional baseball game. Other than these two, I’m looking forward to a trip up to Sonoma with the in-laws in August, and a kayak outing in Monterey for which a Groupon has been purchased but not yet booked.

What are you looking forward to doing during the summer? (Keep in mind that I am incredibly jealous if your weather is nicer than today’s cloudy bluster. Sigh.)