Monday, September 8, 2014

IM ALIVE! (sort of....).



hi? Can we still be friends?

I'm sorry that I have been gone for so long!
I just can't seem to "blog" about anything lately.
I don't want to take outfit pictures...
(mostly because I have run out of outfits).
I don't want to make some posts about makeup, shopping,
etsy, cheese, cats, photography, book reviews, squids

I'm just not in the mood to blog lately, and that kind of
makes me sad.

I was so excited to get into blogging, and I was determined that
I was going to commit myself to this blog once and for all
(after many failed attempts if you look through my archives!). ]

But here I am.......

I feel like blogging just isn't fun for me right now.

I am prone to feeling extremely inferior.  I am not at all
a competitive person, but i find that often i am extremely
intimidated by other people and their seemingly
badass blogs (and life!)! i know that it isn't a competition, and that i
should still be happy with my blog, and where I'm at but i can't
help but constantly feel inferior.

i think that i have been focusing too much on other people.
and it seems like i have let the fear
of not being as good as them ruin blogging for me.
not feeling good enough is something
that haunts my entire life in every aspect, and
i want a safe place where i try and be free from that feeling.

so here's to feeling better.
here's to feeling okay with being erica.

erica is messy, insecure, weird, awkward,
impulsive, and sometimes sketchy.

but she's also creative, passionate,
empathetic, loving, funny, unique, and smart.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Rating: 4/5


"When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly’s story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. 

Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation"


My opinion:

I am trying to grow as a book reviewer, and not just review things on "oh i liked it. it was cute".  BUT that is really hard to do!  I do not have a masters degree in literature (or any degree in literature...) so my ability to give a deeper and more literary review is a bit difficult! So for now please bare with me while I say: "I liked this was cute.".  I realize that cute might be a strange adjective to describe a book, but it is probably the most accurate one to describe my current feels.

This book kind of gave me this odd "petting puppies" kind of feeling.  The whole time I felt myself rooting for the main character, and squealing for her when things were going well.  I wanted to high five her, and give her a squeeze, and buy her orange soda.   For whatever reason I just felt this strange kinship with her.  I feel kind of weird about that because our life circumstances are completely different.  But, maybe at some level our lives aren't that different.  I grew up feeling like such an outsider, and like I wasn't nearly at the level (intellectually, financially, emotionally, etc) than other kids around me.  Of course I haven't faced the incredible adversity that Kimberley had been through,  but I definitely felt a connection on some level.

One thing that I found slightly off-putting about this book was the time span.  The book covers from the time that the main character first moves to America (when she is about 11 years I believe) to the time that she is a successful career woman (around the age of 30).  That is a really long time span to fit into a 300 page book.  I really enjoyed reading the part about 11-15 year old Kimberly, but after that things became very rushed.  For that reason I didn't enjoy the latter part of the book as much.   I felt like I really understood the voice of the younger Kimberly, and once she grew older I didn't know her as well.  I definitely felt saddened by the fact that her voice was lost towards the middle, and ending.

There is a main plot that involves romantic relationships in this book as well (we just can't seem to avoid them I almost felt like the romance wasn't even necessary in this story. I know that may seem odd because a lot of people would really enjoy that aspect of any book.  However, I just found that Kimberly, and her life were so incredible that the romance was not even the main interest to me.  I was more interested in how Kimberly was growing as a person, and facing these obstacles around her.  The girl goes from hardly speaking any English to being accepted into Yale and becoming a doctor.  I also enjoyed the detail about her schooling, her mother, and the factory.  That's interesting.  That's amazing.

But, I definitely understand that some people may not have enjoyed the book without the romance piece so I am respectful of why the author wrote the romance into it.  Overall, it was an incredibly enjoyable book.  Although like any book there were flaws, it was still a great story and I am happy that I read it!

P.S. If you want to add me as a friend on goodreads please feel free! I always love making new friends who are also intereted in books, so feel free to message me as well or send me recommendations!

my goodreads: here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dress: Modcloth.
Shoes: Target. 

It has been really difficult for me to take outfit pictures.  It has been either windy, rainy, or both.  I snapped these photos a few weeks ago, and I was thankful that I found a somewhat decent day to take advantage of.  This is one of the dresses that I found at modcloth when they had their amazing 50% off sale! I love this dress, and it's super comfy (and cute...duh lol).

Monday, August 4, 2014

Studio Inspiration!

I moved back with my parents at the end of May, and I am definitely all settled in by now.  However, I still want to tweak things a little bit to fit my style and needs.  Although I don't have my own studio space (i wish!), I have been tweaking my room to try and give myself plenty of space for my desk, art supplies, and books.   I personally love to look at photos of how other people style their desk/workspace areas.   Since my living arrangements are just temporary it is hard to completely go to the lengths that I want to in order to make it look just right.  However, I think I can definitely make my workspace look good (and function well!) despite that! 

These are photos that I have found thanks to good 'ole pinterest.  
Although it is addicting, and somewhat evil it is a great place to find inspiring photos. 
If you want to follow me on there feel free, and feel free to leave your pinterest link so that i can follow you as well! 
my pinterest

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Life Lately.

I spend every friday with my nephew, and it is usually the time that 
i look forward to the most.  i really love that we have a special bond, 
and i hope that i can always be there for him! lately he has been really
into sports, so we can often times be found around the baseball 
field, or soccer field.  he also is obsessed with the show american ninja
warrior so some fridays we go to the park and pretend like it is an 
american ninja warrior course! he is starting kindergarten in a few months, 
and i think that he is getting nervous about the change so i have been
trying to keep him positive and happy with plenty of outside fun time. 

I have been reading like a mad lady lately.  (as you can see from my 
recent book review posts!).  reading in the summer is great because
i have a lot of free time on my hands, and i absolutely love to read
outside in the sunshine! i have been trying to read from some genres 
that i wouldn't normally gravitate to which has been a fun challenge for me. 

Again reading in the sunshine...I am not as interesting as I would 
like to think that I am! 

I absolutely love hiking, and walking around any type of nature park that
i can find.  There is something so magical about getting lost in nature 
for a few hours, and I can't recommend it more to people who are looking
for some peace of mind! P.S. but make sure you bring plenty of bug spray! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Rating: 3/5

"When FBI agents knocked on her door to investigate a ten-year-old crime, Piper Kerman barely resembled the reckless young woman she was shortly after graduating Smith College. 

Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking a decade earlier.

Following a plea deal, she spent 15 months at "Club Fed", the infamous women's correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she not only gained a unique perspective on the criminal justice system, but also met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. 

In "Orange Is the New Black", Piper Kerman tells the dramatic story of those long months under lockdown, in a place with its own codes of behavior and arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fistfight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated.

Revealing, moving, and enraging, "Orange Is the New Black" is a bold and wholly original entry in the canon of prison literature"


My Opinion:

I find it a little bizarre to rate/review a memoir.  I'm not exactly sure how to evaluate somebody's life stories based on my personal book rating scale!  It reminds me of when I was younger, and my parents would take me to church. I thought that for a while when you went to heaven that god would rate your life on a 1-10 scale.  10 being the best.  I have no clue where I picked up that concept because I am almost 100% sure that it is not a regular teaching of the methodist church! But I thought that for an embarrassingly long amount of time.  And trying to judge Piper Kerman's memoir or her life in general reminds me a lot of that!

That being said I don't think I exactly enjoyed the narrator's perspective in this book.  Yes, I do love a classic fish out of water story, and this one definitely is one of those.  However,  some parts were dull, and I almost wished that we could learn about some of the other inmates.  Piper is clearly not in the same circumstances as most of these women.  Yes, she is also in prison.  But, it's not nearly the same reality as everybody else. Piper has money, a good education, privilege, a job, etc. But...of course this is obviously written as a memoir so all we get is that singular perspective.  And don't get me wrong, if I was her I would totally write a memoir too.  I would be that person asking people to repeat things that they said so that I could write them down to remember them :P  So I can appreciate that she took the opportunity to record her findings in prison, and share them with the world!

I think if you take the story for what it is (and not think too much about privilege, etc.) then it's a fairly entertaining story.  A lot of the situations that piper finds herself in are entertaining, and there were also a lot of informative parts too.  I felt like I could relate a lot to Piper, and so that made her experience that much more tangible to me.

Overall, it was a good story.  It probably was not my favorite read, but it was interesting and I feel like a lot of people would find it enjoyable.

P.S. if you enjoy the netflix show based on this book (i freaking love it!) I am sure that you will also enjoy this book. Sadly, Piper Kerman isn't very funny so it was lacking a lot of the humor that is ever present on the TV show.  But, a lot of the characters from the show are in the book which is fun!


Feel free to add me on goodreads if you want to look at what I'm reading lately!
my goodreads!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

24th Birthday!


Today is my 24th birthday!! 
To be honest, I kind of love getting older.  I realize that this not
a common trait shared by most people (or anybody but 5 year olds really...) 
but getting older is such a great thing! 

For one, I look like I'm about 12 so I love to shake things up, 
and shock people with the fact that I'm actually 24. (take that walmart 
cashier lady!). 

Plus, you just get to live more life, and experience more things...
and become wiser and smarter and weirder! 

Although it can be scary and strange, i think that it's also a gift. 

I apparently am becoming cheesier as I get older too because this
post is a bit sappy.  But, I really think that aging is something that
we should all embrace.  For now, I don't have wrinkles, or 
memory problems, cankles, old kleenex up my sleeve, 
debt, children, a mortgage, etc. 

Life is good.  I hope you guys all have a good day! (: