Thursday, March 24, 2011
Book Review: "Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood"
Sunday, March 20, 2011
|Image from Mental Floss's newsletter|
So just how did this video game, which manages to combine geekdom in its purest forms (retro video games and classic literature)? The game's website claims that someone found the game in a yard sale. The site also includes a picture of the cartridge, as well as scans from the supposed original manual. However, it turns out that the game is actually the brainchild of two people who love old NES games (and, apparently, classic books). You can read all about it in articles from The Economist and The Washington Post blog.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Epicurious (free) - I'm very surprised that so many people have given this app one star in iTunes, because it is one of my go-to resources when I am looking for something new to cook. While it does have a lot of advertising, which seems to be the reviewers' main issue with it, it is a free app that is a wealth of information. It also has some great features that (in my mind) more than make up for the ads. One of my favorite features is the sections that correspond to the seasons (like Spring Breakfasts or Holiday Recipes), and the search feature gives you a lot of options to find a particular type of recipe. For instance, you can search by main ingredient, meal/course, cuisine, dietary consideration, and/or season. I've found a number of excellent recipes by virtue of random searches. My two favorite finds are strawberry citrus salad and lemon-glazed butter cake.
How to Cook Everything (full version $4.99, essentials version is free) - I am a Mark Bittman fangirl, so it isn't surprising that I find this app so useful. While I typically use the actual cookbook when I am cooking, this app is perfect to reference while in the grocery store (or on the subway) when I need to go shopping or when I need some inspiration for dinner. This app also was a lifesaver when I found myself in the role of the reluctant chef for a dinner party at my mom's last year. If I ever have to make hollandaise sauce ever again, I hope I have this app and Bittman's common-sense approach to guide me.
Evernote (free) - I know that this technically is not a food app, but I tend to use Evernote to clip recipes from my favorite cooking websites. Not only is it an easy way to collect these recipes, I can also categorize them using the tags and notebook feature. What more could I ask for?
What great cooking app did I miss? Please feel free to offer suggestions in the comments section!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Before we get to the review, a quick disclaimer/explanation: I've been playing with the idea of adding some makeup and beauty product reviews to this site just to keep things lively. However, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Please let me know what you think in the comments!
Today's been surprisingly busy yet incredibly unproductive. Besides critiquing student work and setting appointments that will (with any luck) help me get some participants, I have also managed to bake some homemade bread, do some laundry, and listen to "Loser Like Me" from last night's Glee episode approximately 30 times.
Luckily, this craziness and the rainy, damp weather gave me the perfect chance to try out some products in Benefit's Stay Put Set. Available only at Sephora, this set is like a tasting menu of some of Benefit's eye products. It includes diminutive versions of Stay Don't Stray (an eye makeup primer), Erase Paste (a brightening concealer), and Creaseless Cream Shadow in RSVP.
As someone who has problems with eye makeup staying put, I was very excited to get this set. Since it only cost $10, it seemed like the perfect chance to try some new products and to add to my Creaseless Cream Shadow collection. For those of you not familiar with Benefit's Creaseless Cream line, these cream shadows/eyeliners have very good staying power (even on my oily lids) and come in a range of colors. For an excellent overview as well as some beautiful swatches, check out one of Karen's recent posts on the Makeup and Beauty Blog.
RSVP is a light pink with some definite sparkle. Like the other Creaseless Cream Shadows, it blends beautifully and easily, and alone, it makes a pretty and understated look for daytime. At night, I might try it as a base/highlighter color for a darker shadow.
As luck would have it, I was suffering from some unfortunate dark circles today, so it was an ideal chance to try out the Erase Paste. The kit comes with the medium shade, which is almost a tad too light for me, particularly during the summer. For now, it makes a good undereye concealer as long as I blend. The texture is definitely on the sticky side, and it requires some major blending in order to get it smooth and natural looking on my skin. That said, it stayed in place and did a nice job masking my dark circles. I've heard that some people have problems with this product caking, but I didn't have this issue (perhaps the layer of eye cream I put on helped guard against this).
Given that the Creaseless Cream Shadows stay without any problem for me on their own, I didn't use Stay Don't Stray today. However, based on my prior experience with the product, I can say that it is a basic eye makeup primer. It helped my powder shadow stay in place without any problems, but I don't know if I would buy the full-size product ($24) over another eye primer.
The one issue I had with this set of products is the size. The amount of product you actually get is pretty generous. For instance, the sample size of the shadow is .11 oz, which is only a tiny bit smaller than the regular size (.16 oz). Accordingly, they have downsized the packaging, which can lead to some problems. As you can see in the picture, the packaging is around 30% smaller than the full-size jar. This can make getting the product out of the jar a little challenging if you are using your fingers.
In terms of value, this is actually a pretty good kit. While the products seem so tiny I feel like a giant when applying them, this is to be expected given the low price. Furthermore, I can definitely see the Erase Paste and Creaseless Cream Shadow lasting quite a while. If you aren't familiar with Benefit but you want to give the brand a whirl, this might be the perfect kit for you.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood - I received this from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I have a complex (to say the least) view of Gone With the Wind, but I am enjoying it so far. Besides being engaging, the book seems to be incredibly well researched, given the number of references to Mitchell's personal correspondence and the amount of detail included. I'm only a third of the way through, but I hope to finish this book within the next week or two. Look for the review by the end of the month (fingers crossed).
Spunk and Bite: A Writer's Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language and Style - I started this book last year, but it got shelved due to other commitments. However, I've returned to it, and I am enjoying it much more than I thought I would. In addition to the practical advice, such as what the rules are and when you can break them, the book also contains helpful illustrative examples. I've been reading a lot about writing, so I hope to do a post on my favorite books on writing.
I'm enjoying these two books, but I am looking forward to adding them to my "read in 2011" pile in LibraryThing. This list already includes:
- Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris - Given how much I enjoyed I Like You, I wish I liked this book more than I did. Unfortunately, this book wasn't nearly as informative or as amusing as its predecessor. Even though it had the same wacky humor and irreverence, it is missing the juxtaposition of zaniness with solid information that made I Like You so enjoyable (and useful).
- Little Women and Werewolves by Louisa May Alcott and Porter Grand - If you are thinking about reading this book (and you love the original story), my only advice to you is "A world of No."
- Singing a New Tune: The Rebirth of the Modern Film Musical from Evita to De-Lovely and Beyond by John Kenneth Muir
- Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark - This is an excellent book on writing (even if the fact that the author has three first names is a little distracting at first :)
- Take the Cannoli and Radio On: A Listener's Diary by Sarah Vowell - Late last year, I started reading Sarah Vowell and was instantly taken with her mix of wry humor, insightful, and intelligent insights. Take the Cannoli and Radio On are her two earliest books. While I loved Take the Cannoli, I had to force myself to finish Radio On. The nicest thing I can say about Radio On is that it really shows how far Vowell has come in terms of her writing.
Have you read anything good this year? Please feel free to leave suggestions, comments, or ideas below!
Friday, March 11, 2011
After months of anticipation, Saus opened earlier this month near Faneuil Hall. It is a small cafe dedicated to serving Belgian street food, which translates to frites and liege waffles. While this might not sound super-exciting at first, I really like this restaurant. The service is super-friendly, and the frites and waffles are both very good. The frites have a crisp exterior without being greasy, and they are served showered with a sprinkling of flaky salt. The waffles, which use pearl sugar, are also delicious. While a meal of frites and waffles is not terribly nutritious (or figure-friendly), you should definitely stop by this cafe before wandering around the Quincy Market/aquarium/North End area.
On the other end of spectrum is Marshall's Fenway Farm Stand. This little store, which specializes in gourmet food and produce, is a great alternative to the produce aisle in the supermarket. In the summer and fall, the store has local produce, and it also carries local products, such as ice cream and breads, all year round. However, avoid this place during Red Sox games (or anything else that is happening in the Fenway area) if traffic and seas of pedestrians make you crazy.
I don't typically like sandwiches, but Cutty's in Brookline is the exception to this rule. This tiny sandwich shop offers a glimpse of sandwich nirvana. While others rave about the pork rabe and pork fennel (both available only on Saturdays), my personal favorite is the roast beef 1000, a sandwich that combines crispy shallots, 1000 island dressing, cheddar and roast beef.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
That said, things have been busy (as usual). Between work and work (both the TA job and the other job have been crazy), I've also been having long, sad (sort of) meetings with my committee at school. To make a long story short, I'm just plugging along on the dissertation.
I promise I'll be better. My goal is to post at least two more times this month and to post at least once a week during April (National Poetry Month). I have a break (from school) coming up, and while I will be spending most of my free time in my cage at the school library, the break will give me the chance to catch up on blogging.
at Wednesday, March 09, 2011