Writing! Yay!

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Hi!

I am writing in the couple of minutes I have now when I have finished one little piece of homework (and still have more to do) before I have to jet off to someplace else. 

I thought that in this couple of minutes I would share a snapshot with you readers from recently. I am busy writing like crazy for all sorts of stuff- classes, journals, THIS BLOG… And I kinda just needed the reminder for myself to take those couple of minutes to write for fun. Because I love it. Because it helps me relax and get ideas and emotions out. Because it makes me aware and calm and able to be me. 

So I need to write more for me. And using this as a writing resource (which I love, no doubt), I thought I’d share that. Find some time to write for yourself too! I’ve heard far far too many people tell me that they hate writing, that they could never just do it for themselves and enjoy it. Yet I think they’re all wrong and just need to give it a go. If you’re one of them, please try to write! You unsuspecting writers often have some of the best voices and things to say, and I’d like to hear them. 

But for now, I have places to go and things to do and see, so I will be off. Friday Night Lights is almost finished, and the review for that, as well as the quotes for this week, will be up soon. Read (and write) a lot in the meantime!

Nicole

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Z by Therese Anne Fowler

Hi. 

I finished this book a couple weeks ago. And I’m finally following up now to write about it. This is pretty bad for me, considering that I like to write reviews soon after I finish books. 

But that’s okay. Life has been busy. I can’t tell those stories now, but they may become funny anecdotes of this “new adventure” later. 

On to Z. It is about Zelda Fitzgerald. The wife of the acclaimed novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote Gatsby, one of my favorite books, and some other short stories and novels that I’ve yet to read. They’re on my list. Back to Zelda. She was married to Scott. She was a mid-twentieth century housewife, basically, who ended up doing some writing but was lost in the shadow of her husband. 

The book starts out when Zelda is a teenager in Montgomery, AL. I think the beginning bit was my favorite- her everyday teenage life during WWI, her meeting and falling in love with Scott. Their unlikely romance. The disapproval of her father. Their marriage. That was all great, described in the right amount of detail. Plus, some things, like how Zelda and Scott met, are known facts, meaning that the beginning wasn’t too fictionalized for me. 

The rest of the book was a different story. Scott and Zelda parade around a couple cities in the U.S. and all over Europe, doing the “typical-of-the-twenties” upper class partying and overindulging. It goes on to start their lives together, husband and wife, and eventually with their daughter Scottie as well. Like an oil town, the three go through boom and bust periods- when Scott will sell stories for hundreds or thousands each, bringing a couple months of prosperity, or nothing will sell at all as he “labors away” at a new novel. (The quotes here were intentional; it is known in real life and the book that Scott has a drinking problem.)

I thought I would like this book more than I did. I had expected it to be more like creative nonfiction in the details of the novel. But it wasn’t at all. Because it was a novel, Fowler took what I believed to be a lot of creative license and used details in strange pockets. She would describe certain scenes so precisely, but then go for months of the Fitzgeralds’ lives without any detail at all. The lack of an even level disappointed me. 

I was also expecting a book that was harder to read. This wasn’t hard to read in terms of language, and it wasn’t that hard content-wise or emotionally either. I thought this book would challenge my mind and perspective, and the way that it did was so much more limited than what I had hoped. 

Overall, I’m giving this book three and a half out of five stars. The writing at the beginning is beautiful- timeless teenage angst, with an original quality to it. Teens who have to read works like This Side of Paradise or The Great Gatsby for school and like them would enjoy this book for a different perspective. Yet if you are even somewhat familiar with their lives (I did a small research project on Scott and the release of Gatsby last year) and are looking for something new and in-depth, then don’t read it or don’t set your hopes high when you do. 

Now, I have to go brunch and do homework and read H.G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights so I can post that review too. 

Happy reading!

-Nicole

Quotes of the Week- Weeks 19, 20, 21

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I can’t believe how long it’s been. Really. I think about all of these random quotes all the time in my life, talk about them in life, have a couple of favorites up on the wall. Yet I haven’t posted quotes on this blog. In three weeks. Wow. That’s a long time. A lot, and I mean a LOT has gone on in that time. 

Like my taking the picture above. Little camera experimentation with focus stuff. What I do when I’m surrounded by people, outside, and bored with a camera.

Things have changed. People have changed. Situations changed. I’ve changed. And while it may seem like a short time scale for that, trust me, it’s not. It has been an extremely grueling three weeks. So I am being a bit antisocial on Saturday night and indulging myself and staying in reading baking blogs and playing music from my “Writing Inspiration” playlist. 

And writing this post, because I couldn’t let another week pass by without writing. That’s insane. Four weeks. That would be a record, and I’m not ready for it yet. So here are 15 quotes for the three weeks. Some of them are food-related, because I am on a Pinterest/finding recipes from various baking blogs kick and I am itching to bake something sooooo badly. And while I usually am not one for cake mixes, there may be some angel food in my near future…

That was a side note. Here are the quotes:

1. “There is nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate.” -Linda Grayson, The Pickwick Papers

2. “Sometimes I think that the one thing I love most about being an adult is the right to buy candy whenever and wherever I want.” -Ryan Gosling

3. “All you really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” -Lucy

4. “My life did not seem so vanilla now.” Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

5. “Keep calm and eat chocolate!” 

6. “The world’s most perfect opposites (and complements)- chocolate and vanilla.”

7. “Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands- and then eat just one of the pieces.” -Judith Viorst

(Second side note: I intended to have 5-10 food quotes, not 7 all about chocolate. Just sayin’, but it happened, and I have to save my JC picture one for another time.)

8. “Stop saying I WISH. Start saying I WILL.”

9. “Think about how far you’ve come TODAY and how much farther you’ll go TOMORROW.”

10. “What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expect generally happens.” -Benjamin Disraeli

11. “Pulling someone down (including yourself) will never help you reach the top.”

12. “These are the days of our lives. Don’t waste them.”

13. “Never stop challenging yourself.”

14. “All the world is made of faith, trust, and pixie dust.” -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

And lastly, 15. “Being on top of the world doesn’t mean anything unless you know what it’s like to be at the bottom.”

I hope y’all (where did that come from?! I’m a northerner!) have a great week. Take a couple minutes to enjoy the little things, and most of all, have fun!

-Nicole

 

Top 10 Favorite Comfort Foods

Hi all!

I am writing this on my “new adventure,” which is very exciting so far. Some of you who are friends and family know what that adventure is, and for those who don’t, it’s simply “my new adventure” as a reader and writer and blogger and learner.

Anyways, everything has been going well. First week of classes! As an obsessive academic, I don’t think there could be anything better, other than the homework and assignments attached to it. I have started reading Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger, and will post the review for Z shortly.

Now, however, I have something else to talk about- comfort food. We all have those foods that just make our mouthes water when we feel homesick, or the things we want to eat when we’re busy or needing a flashback to the good ol’ times when you’d sit around consuming these things and doing various activities in the memories attached.

Here are my top 10:

1. Chicken noodle soup. I don’t think it can possibly get homier than this. I had this on the last night before I started the new adventure. My dad makes the best chicken noodle soup, and I think it may be my favorite food ever.

2. Swedish Fish. My one and only candy thing. These are my “before I have a nervous break down” food, and they were also a volleyball food, associated with the many tournaments we went to as a team. I was snacking on a couple right before I started this post 🙂

3. Chocowalla Odwalla cereal bars and Peppermint Stick Luna bars. Again, game food for volleyball, both tournaments and team games. These are power foods. Again, amazing, and some of the only bars I would take with me everywhere because they taste really good as well as give you lots of energy.

4. Shepard’s pie. This is the ultimate winter food. Just about ever. I have been slowly weaning myself onto vegetarianism, and I would break for this food (and chicken soup, of course). We have a deal at home that Mom cooks on Sunday football nights, and this is a staple. Ground beef or lamb on the bottom, with little peas and carrots mixed in. Fluffy mashed potatoes with butter and sometimes melted cheese (parmesan only) on top. Totally ah-mazing.

5. Kale. Again, power food, except in vegetable form. It is awesome in awesome’s basic form: awe-inspiring. I love kale, especially cooked. I love cooked kale so much. That or spinach cooked goes with everything and I could eat it for dinner every night for almost forever. I know some people find it intimidating, but I hope you can muster up the nerve to just try it cooked first. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

6. Cinnamon toast, particularly on an English muffin or a mini bagel. Do you know those supermarket bagels? The mini ones that come in plastic bags that aren’t really bagels? That’s what I’m talking about. My dad is not a bagel person, so these are of rare occurrence. The same goes with English muffins recently, though their disappearance is yet to be explained… Less carbs in the house? We need to use up the old cereal for breakfast instead? No matter, cinnamon toast, just butter with a cinnamon-sugar mix on top, is a top chilly winter morning breakfast. And while it’s not quite winter yet, it gets pretty chilly in the mornings, and I’ve been thinking of this.

7. York Peppermint Patties. Okay, so I kinda lied when I said that Swedish Fish were my only sweet thing… I love these too, though I don’t keep a stash in a desk drawer like I do Swedish Fish for fear of them melting. One of the best hot weather snacks (to contrast that cinnamon toast is good in cold weather)? These. Frozen. Or even just kept in the fridge for several hours or a couple days. Soooooo good.

8. Mango-fish curry. Over the past few months, this has become my favorite takeout food. They have it at this Thai place relatively near to my house, and gosh, it is so good. The curry, the sweet mango, the little strips of red pepper and onion tossed in, the crispy fried fish on top… Insanely delectable. I should try to make my own soon.

9. Smokehouse almonds. These are a great plane snack, in case you ever want them. Along with honey-roasted peanuts for car rides, which are a different story. But these make me reminisce about Sunday afternoons, sitting and reading or doing my homework. Fantabulous munchie. Love these for the whole salty-crunchy thing which is hard to get the right balance of.

10. Chocolate chip cookies. I had to end on this. These are just so homey and warm and welcoming that they had to be saved for last. Chilly afternoon days? Pop these in the oven and soon you’ll be warm, smelling something good, and feeling all cozy again. A recipe I want to try is this off Butter Baking (because even I with my foolproof one need to experiment sometimes).

I hope all of these remind you of home somehow, and that you can find ways to have or share with me your favorites (like my dad’s was navy beans with ham and ketchup when he was a kid).  I would love to hear everything, and I promise that lots will come your way once I get into a routine in my “new adventure.”

-Nicole

A Peek

As an assignment, I am supposed to post to the internet a picture of my “new adventure” in a way that describes it. I have this whole philosophical thing written up about it, but here is my picture:

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Enjoy the way that it seems quiet and peaceful, a place you can go when you need a moment to yourself. I hope this blog can be a place like that too- where you can come in a spare minute, read a while, and discover some new books along the way. 

-Nicole

P.S. I will get to posting very soon, but as I’m insanely busy at the moment, it hasn’t happened yet. There will be the accumulation of many weeks’ quotes, a review for Z by Therese Ann Fowler, and a couple Top 10s coming soon. Thanks for reading despite lack of continuous posting right now!

New Beginnings

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Hello, everyone!

Or should I say, “Hello A Book and A Button readers on the interconnected web we term the internet!”? I don’t know. And at this point in time, I don’t really care either. 

I’m here to post very briefly a big thank-you and an advance apology. 

First: Thank you! I have shared this blog with family and friends lately and I want to thank them for checking this out. I love you guys! And I love all of you other readers too! 🙂

Second: I’m heading off for some big new things in a couple of weeks and won’t be posting as often, so don’t be surprised. However, when I get back to posting more, I promise the posts will be that much more exciting and lively!

For many good beginnings ahead, and growth like the crocuses 🙂

-Nicole