Ten Blogs Someone Should Start Right Now

Dear P and other potential blog-starters,

1. A blog devoted to videos that were supposed to be pictures

2. A blog devoted to babies and puppies being friends

 

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3. A collection of people looking at their phones who are about to get into disastrous situations

4. A blog of the first and last sentences of books, real and made-up

5. A blog about the life of Lemony Snicket, the alias of author Daniel Handler. Snicket has his own intriguing backstory in “A Series of Unfortunate Events” that was never really fleshed out. The internet would be an excellent place to do this.

 

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6. A blog of obscure kitchen ingredients and their whereabouts. Filé powder was supposed to go into the gumbo A and I wanted to make one time. That gumbo never came to fruition because of that one spice.

7. A blog devoted solely to awesome Halloween costumes and how to create them. During the parts of the year that aren’t October 31st, the costumes could be put to good use at parties and other shenanigans.

8. A blog devoted to taking pictures of normal people like they are celebrities. It can be called “Paparazzi”.

9. A blog made by people who make amazing sand castles giving me advice. Lots of photos of their sand castles included. See two posts ago for elaboration.

10. A blog of street caricatures and their artists.

 

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Happy blogging!

E

Let the Summer Reading Commence!

 

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Dear P,

First of all, I have read this interview with Emma Watson about four times. It is my favorite post ever on RookieMag. I hope your journey home to Texas was smooth and that the hometown is just as flat as you remember.  Send my love to your family and our friends for me. If you feel like dropping by Grandad’s house he’d probably give you some watermelon.

I wanted to take today to review my summer reading list:

Read so far:

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami- I wish I could read this book with a class. I feel like I picked up about a tenth of the symbolism, but the dark imagery still made for an interesting read. I suppose I’ll just have to read it ten more times.

The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan- A charming collection of stories. It would be great bedtime read for kids.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan- Abandoned halfway through due to boredom. This book lacks McEwan’s luscious gothic style found in Atonement and The Daydreamer.

WomanCode by Alisa Vitti- Changed my life. Watch Vitti’s TED talk here.

Currently Reading:

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee- I’m only a few pages in, but I’m completely enraptured by this book. Mukherjee is a brilliant science writer.

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan- JFV borrowed this and read it on the plane to Vienna (I had barely started and was preoccupied with other books). He gave it the thumbs-up and Michael Pollan is one of my loves. I can’t wait to read it.

To-read:

So many, P. This is just scratching the surface.

The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin- I first read about Grandin in one of my favorite books of all time, An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. She is the anthropologist. Since that book, I have read a few articles by Grandin and I can’t wait to read this book.

The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley- The most interesting-souding of the four or five business books James Altrucher recommends. I aim to read at least one business book a summer. Last summer it was The World is Flat, which completely revolutionized my worldview.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed- Dear Sugar broke my heart in ten thousand exquisite ways. Strayed is one of my favorite writers.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid- The novel everybody’s talking about.

The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks- I still haven’t read everything by my hero, Oliver Sacks. He is so prolific.

Frida by Barbara Mujica- Frida Kahlo has fascinated me since we learned about Diego Rivera in Acadeca. It was a difficult and interesting time to be an artist and a woman, and Frida thrived.

The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo- Another interesting-sounding biography.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and Bossypants by Tina Fey- These both sound brilliant.

Happy reading!

E

Making Summer Sunny

P’s Quote: “She loved life, so life loved her back.”

Things I Love This Week: Wow there just feels like I have so many things to be grateful for and to be happy about. Here I go. I love the fact that finals are over, the fact that I’ve finished my freshman year at MIT, how I’ve made so many amazing friends this year that I feel like I’ve known for years, going to Boston Calling Music Festival and getting to watch awesome artists like Matt and Kim, The Shins, Marina and the Diamonds and Fun, moving into my sorority house with my best friends, living right in the middle of Kenmore Square, getting a B in physics (this is an achievement, I swear), walking down Newbury street without a care in the world, Memorial Day Weekend and how lucky we are to live in a country like the USA, my passionate peach smoothie I’m currently drinking, this kickass pair of sandals I just bought, and the fact that I’m going to be reunited with my friends and families in t minus 3 hours.

Things to Make This Week Sunny:

Enjoy summer

Hang out with my friends and family as much as possible

Here are some pics summing up my last two weeks

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Baker Formal with my besties

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Aphi formal with some of the best people I know

Also, look at the boys

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Too good, right?

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K’s Birthday

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Our last night at Baker, which consisted of confessions, the most epic game of catch phrase on the planet, pad thai, hilarious drinking games, crazy bonding and cheers to all the awesome moments of freshman year.

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The rain at Boston Calling couldn’t bring us down.

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Matt and Kim

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Don’t we look cute?

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Fun

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We Are Young by Fun

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Marina and the Diamonds

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My makeup before we went down Newbury, I really liked it for some reason (:

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Summer is here! Love you and miss you,

P

People are Interesting Creatures

Dear E,

I am currently sitting at DFW airport, waiting to board my flight to Lubbock. I’ve got about an hour and a half til boarding starts. There is nothing like people watching at an airport. Here are some of the things I’ve seen:

A father so tall he has to bend over to hold hands with his little daughter.

Two white males holding hands with a black toddler.

A woman wearing the spikiest, hottest pink heels I have ever seen.

A very hot man in uniform.

A father and a son with matching green army duffels.

A little girl wearing part of a batman costume.

A woman in a sari.

A pilot (I think) with dreads.

A girl my age wearing a shirt that says, “You can’t sit with us.”

A man who pushed on a pull door for literally like 20 seconds.

A little girl with a pink boa.

What seems to be a real live cowboy.

A man with really intense tattoo sleeves and tattoos on his neck.

^Those were the best ones thus far.

I think other than looking at little kids, I like looking at married couples the best. It’s funny seeing how they interact and seeing couples together you would never expect and imagining how they all met each other.

People watching is great.

Love, love, love,

P

I Want to Build the Perfect Sandcastle

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Dear P,

Yesterday, my cousins and I visited a small creek near their house. I built this “sandcastle”:

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It’s so ugly. It it so ugly. So. Ugly. I can’t even call it a sandcastle without putting quotation marks.

On a school orchestra trip in 2007, I watched the movie “Nancy Drew”. In the movie, as in the books, Nancy Drew has a wide variety of interesting talents. One of these is the ability to build the perfect sandcastle. Since I saw this movie, my own dungy sandcastles have filled me with disappointment. I think it would be an excellent party trick to be able to built an exquisite sandcastle from nothing but water and sand.

I’ve found a couple of examples from tumblr:

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I like the idea of dying the roof and filling the castle with lights.

I have also researched some tips from the interwebs. This eHow article recommends building quickly with fine, wet sand. It also says to build patties on top of one another to promote stability. One you have created your foundation, you can carve out details using a fork or a stick. The technique of constantly patting your sandcastle down to make it easier to carve out is also highly lauded.

I think the problem with my sand castle is that the sand found near a creek is too grainy. The next time I am at a beach, I will put my new sandcastle-building techniques to use.

Wishing you sunshine,

E

I Have a Hoarding Problem

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(These plants from the botanical gardens this morning really weren’t that remarkable. Why did I take this picture?)

Dear P,

I’m sitting on my aunt’s back porch, munching on my third box of Kirkland’s Winter Roasted Seaweed today and reading Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore”. I just put my cousin down for his nap and the Georgia sunshine is perfection. In other words, I’ve reached a peaceful point in my existence, an excellent point from which to examine my many character flaws.

One particular problem has been bothering me lately. Since I have been using the app Snapchat, it has become clear to me that I am a picture hoarder. I have become an expert in taking a screenshot in the two-second window the average snapchat provides. It causes me an untold amount of anxiety that, if I did not archive it, the picture would drift onward into the great beyond, leaving that precious moment of my friend’s existence un-remembered.

It’s a short jump to the realization that I have a similar compulsion to record my own life. With my iPhone camera so easily available, I can snap a picture of every precious moment. Right now, I have 2,154 pictures on my phone. When will I have the time or desire to look through and savor each of these 2,154 individual moments?

Never.

My iPhone album is only the beginning. We share a tumblr. You hardly ever like things, so I know I am responsible for the 9,684 liked posts from over the course of this year. I feel a little ill admitting this to myself. I have wasted enough time on tumblr to like nearly ten thousand posts. The only reason I like things is because, at some point, I have a vague plan to go back and re-laugh, re-exclaim, re-enjoy the post. I have no inclination to go back and look at the pictures on my iPhone. I have even less inclination to go back and look at pieces of the Internet I have already wasted time looking at. The hoarding goes on. I have 843 items in my catch-all “Awesome Pictures” folder. I have 590 items in my “Favorite Quotes” folder.

Why do I have this compulsion to document, to archive, to unceasingly record for my future self? My future self doesn’t have time for this nonsense. Do I subconsciously believe that, by documenting every single second of my life, I can stop time from passing? That I can deny my own mortality?

I don’t have a solution to this problem, so I will continue to photograph, journal, blog and “like”. I will try to live in the moment but probably wish the moment would expand so that I could relish it indefinitely. But time doesn’t work like that.

Yours truly,

E

P. S.- I’m so glad you put up the Jacqueline Kennedy- P flashin’ fashion. It’s one of my favorites. I also hope that the finals fairies sprinkle fairly dust all over your brain. It’s only a month before the best weekend of your life- when you will come see me and we will have your nineteen-and-one-month birthday and everything will be merry and nothing will be sad or stressful.

Flashin’ Fashion

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Button-down: Rugby by Ralph Lauren

Shoes: I want to say DSW but I can’t really remember

Khakis: F21

Bracelet: Tory Burch

Watch: Michael Kors

Dear E,

Hope your summer has been great so far! I love all of the cute snapchats of Grant and Blake. They are SO adorable!!!! I’m busy studying for finals. Four days and it will be summer. Hopefully my brain won’t melt into a big puddle of mush before then.

Love you loads,

P

Happy Birthday, P!

Dear P,

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I love you so much. I actually cried yesterday when you called, because your voice made me miss you THAT MUCH. I sometimes don’t really know how I function without you. Spring break with you was the most crazy fun I’ve had all semester. I don’t know anyone else who can play with ideas and radiate joy and energy like you do. When you’re around, everything’s an adventure and problems are challenges rather than obstacles.

I hope your nineteenth year is full of kisses and laughter, chocolate and dreams. I hope you tighten your sails and the wind catches them fully. I hope every step you take radiates sun-sparks propelling you to your fabulous future. The world is at your feet and on your string and all that stuff.

Prepare yourself for the birthday party we’re going to have while you are in Austin. Basically, the whole weekend will be one big birthday party.

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE,

E

P. S.- My mom says “Happy birthday”, too

My Favorite Finals Snacks

Dear P,

This is going to be short and sweet (see title for explanation), but I just wanted to talk about one of my favorite subjects- snacks. “‘Nacks”, as G-baby would say.

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Yum!

1. Seaweed! A’s been sharing the Nori that she bought in bulk at Costco. Oprah has an article about the benefits of this delicious snack here! It’s an excellent replacement for potato chips.

2. Edamame. So much protein for your money.

3. Barilla pasta. It has more protein and fiber than normal pasta. I’ve been melting cheese sticks over it for a cheater macaroni ‘n cheese.

4. Raw quaker oats, Kiefer milk, and blueberries. Just like ice cream. Kind of.

5. Peanut butter M&Ms. Every time I get a practice chemistry question right, I get an M&M. Thanks, Pavlov.

6. Kale. I’ve been putting it in the microwavable soups they sell everywhere. It’s delicious.

Happy studying!

E

Making Mondays Sunny

P’s Quote

“The world will knock you down plenty. You don’t need to be doing it to yourself.” -Elizabeth Scott

Things I Love This Week

For some reason I’m having trouble thinking of the things I love this week, so I guess I’ll revert back to the things I always love in life

My family, texts from my little brothers, my best friend E, sleeping, being alone, going to the library (the Boston Public Library is absolutely beautiful), texting C all the time, yoga, free smoothies, how helpful people are here all the time, the flavor pineapple surf, and the fact that summer is almost here and school is almost freaking over, and the thought of being back home in t minus 3 weeks

Things to Make This Week Sunnier

study really really freaking hard

eat some froyo

work out as much as I did last week (I really went at it)

study some more

go to the movie theater

hang out with people I don’t usually hang out with

study study study

My birthday is coming up soon! At this current point in time I can’t say that I’m really excited for it. I’m not really looking forward to it and it’s my first birthday away from home, which is sad. It’s also on Wednesday, which is humpday, making it exponentially lamer. I guess 19 isn’t really a big one, except for that you know it’s your last year of teenagedom, which is both exhilarating and sad.

Here’s for hoping that next week is a good one.

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Surgeries in the OR

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Pics from Macklemore with K and A.

Much love,

P

Sorry, P! I got so sucked into studying yesterday that I completely forgot MMS!

E’s Quote

“What a joy it must be to be a truly great writer, even if it means a shotgun at the finish”
-Charles Bukowski
I’m sorry this is a depressing quote. I don’t believe you have to be suicidal to be a truly great writer, but lately I have been investigating the ties between mental illness and creativity. I think Bukowski sums this correlation up with his usual grit.

Things I Loved This Week

The weather in Austin. I can’t imagine anything more perfect.

Eating Indian food on top of a hill Saturday night.

My dorm had a festival Saturday. It involved a lot of bouncy contraptions, bubbles, ice cream and a climbing wall.

Making pumpkin muffins with A squared while watching “The Lion King 2”

The hunt for the perfect overalls with I. I still haven’t found them yet.

Eeyore’s Birthday.

Getting glamorous Friday night. Then traipsing home early enough to indulge in a music-sharing and freestyle fest.

Snapchats. Snapchats. Snapchats.

Quizlets, Koofers, and chai tea lattes: the three ingredients to actually studying.

I’ve just been feeling a lot of love this week, you know? I’m so grateful to have you and T and A and I. It makes me tear up to think of how lucky I am.

I wrote James Atrucher and JAMES ALTRUCHER WROTE ME BACK. It was the most exciting thing ever. We’re basically best friends now.

Things to Make Me Happy This Week:

Ace my finals

Keep following Altrucher’s “Daily Practice” (laminated for me by I’s mom)

Sending you lots of love, P! Keep on keeping on, and you’ll be home in Texas soon!

E