Thursday, November 17, 2011

True Rules

True Rules are "an idiosyncratic collection of principles for making decisions and setting priorities." (According to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project)

In other words: rules that you've picked up, somewhere along the way, that you turn to (consciously or unconsciously) when making decisions. They are not necessarily widely recognized, and are--more often than not--learned from your parents.

After reading the book, I began to pay more attention to some of the True Rules that I have come to live by:
  • Write thank you notes within 1 week of receiving a gift
  • Respond to a dinner invitation with "What can I bring?"
  • Never show up empty-handed
  • There's no such thing as a budget when you're on vacation
  • Two is always the right portion-size when it comes to cookies
  • When forced to choose between two things, ask yourself: "Which is a once-in-a-lifetime event?" and choose that one
  • If you're bored, read a book
  • The best way to cure a headache is to eat some protein
  • Don't sit down until your house is clean
  • Clean your toilet before people come over
  • Soda is not a breakfast beverage, unless you're eating French Toast
  • Sponges are filled with bacteria and should never be used to wipe a counter
What are some True Rules that you adhere to?

Monday, November 14, 2011

In My Mind's Eye

As I was reading my new book this morning, (The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman) I realized that I was picturing this woman writing her letter from an office building that overlooked the McDonald's on Rockfield (by the 5 freeway in Lake Forest).

I drove past the McDonald's today, after having lunch with my mom. I thought, "I was here this morning..." and then realized: nope, only in my imagination.

I began to think through the other books that are set in Lake Forest (in my head) and through the magic of Google, I can show you precisely where they take place.

The McDonald's from The Visible Man. (Rockfield and Lake Forest Drive)

This is the neighborhood in which young Gatsby says goodbye to Daisy before he goes off to war. (Muirlands and El Toro Road)

About ten people were murdered at this gas station in Intensity by Dean Koontz. (Easily, the scariest book I've ever read--also the book that made me love reading.) I would rather run out of gas--alone. at night. than stop at this gas station after what I picture happening here. (El Toro Road and Moulton)

The Cullens live back here. In the homes across from El Toro High School and behind La Madera Elementary. (Toledo and Ridge Route)

Oh, and the moors--where Catherine and Heathcliff find love and wage war--are in between the 200 and 300 building at El Toro High School. Every. Time.

My childhood city is so often the backdrop for novels, though I'm not entirely sure why...maybe I should investigate the psychology behind it.

What about you?
Any strange locations in your nightly reading?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another Online Round-Up

Here are some recent pages I have bookmarked...
Thought you might like to have a look.

Rad wedding invitations. (You know how I flip for good typography.)

On the subject of lettering, check out these cool little cups.

I'm not one for houseplants, but would consider owning one simply for this display.

This year, my Christmas gifts will be packaged with love.

My heart is rooting for rain next week...if only for one more reason to make mac and cheese.

Having witnessed the excitement of Kenyans receiving a photo of themselves, I'm pretty in to Help-Portrait's project. Especially after reading the stories on this blog post.

I giggled through this entire video.

Your turn: have you seen anything on the world.wide.web that I might have missed?

Monday, November 07, 2011

I Really Wish I Had A Clever Title For This Post.

A few highlights from this week:
  • I began writing a novel for NaNoWriMo (it is much more difficult--but, thankfully, also more fun--than I had anticipated)
  • My phone completely died. I went large portions of time this week without a phone. (It reminded me of Shannon's post about phone loss and its accompanying fears.) After many hours of "restoration", I threw in the towel and picked up a replacement. I don't think I'd realized how nice it is to have a fully functioning phone.
  • I attended a Hootenanny on Saturday. There was great music and were quite a few interesting people: I met one girl who writes and directs documentaries that depict the injustices facing children around the world and another who studied theology at Oxford.
  • I started reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The author, Jonathan Safran Foer, is married to Nicole Krauss, author of A History of Love (one of my all-time favorite books). So far, it is beautiful.
"I like to see people reunited, maybe that's a silly thing, but what can I say, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can't tell fast enough, the ears that aren't big enough, the eyes that can't take in all the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone[...]"
What are you reading right now? Are you enjoying it?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Floridian Va-kate-tion

In January of 2008, my friend Katie and I took a vacation to New York City. You can read about our adventures here.

A few months later, I moved to Kenya, turned 26 and made a list of 30 Things which included #4 Go on another vacation with Katie.

As my 29th birthday approached, we crossed that item off the list with a trip to Orlando, Florida.

We left really, really early on the morning of my birthday (Monday, the 24th).
When we landed in Florida and checked in to our hotel, we headed out to dinner at Macaroni Grill. (We hadn't eaten in about twelve hours...a chain restaurant would have to do.)

As we were waiting for our check, the lights went out. Not just flickered-on-and-off and then came back on...actually shut off. And not just that one restaurant...the entire block...and both sides of the street.

Katie said it created a little birthday ambiance.The next morning we were at Universal Studios when they opened.
Oh, have I mentioned that we went to Florida to see the Harry Potter Land at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure? Well, that's what drew us to Florida.

I knew that there were very few people in my life that would allow me to walk through this park at my desired pace...and Katie is, most definitely, one of them.

As we walked under the Welcome to Hogsmeade sign,
we saw it: The Hogwarts Express.


We wandered from shop to shop...




As soon as we saw The Three Broomsticks, we knew that's where we'd have lunch.
Kicked off the morning with a little Butterbeer.


And stood in line (in the queue) to be fit for a wand at Ollivander's Wand Shop.

The window displays were so detailed:
Quidditch supplies and World Cup paraphernalia.

Gilderoy Lockhart books and (moving) photographs.
And then we entered Ollivander's...
So many wands to choose from!
Including those of each main character.
We had to test them out, of course.
I chose Sirius' wand, since he's my favorite.
Katie fell in love with the Gryffindor robes

The Monster Book of Monsters
Stopped for photos with the school choir

Finally, we made it to Hogwarts.
Before taking the tour (and riding the ride), we decided to grab some lunch back in The Three Broomsticks.


The Hog's Head (next door)

After lunch (fish and chips and roasted chicken), we made our way back to Hogwarts.


Hall of (talking) portraits
Dumbledore's office
DumbledoreDragon skeleton
Harry, Ron and Hermione greeting the guests
The Fat Lady
Notice Board & Daily Prophet
Marauder's Map
We walked back from the castle, decided to take a break from the park to see the 7th movie (again)...

A few hours later, we did one more park walk-through.
Sirius' wanted poster
We spent the following day at Epcot enjoying the Food and Wine Festival: taster-sized servings of food from around the world--Ireland's Fisherman's Pie was the best! And finished the evening with a FREE BoyzIIMen concert. (Such a delight!)

Our trip was short, but really fun.
I love traveling with Katie.
We've already begun conversations about our 20-year Friendiversary Trip (which is only about three years away!)