An Abundance of Katherines

by John Green

"I'm washed up, I'm former. Formerly the boyfriend of Katherine XIX. Formerly a prodigy."

Colin Singleton was a child prodigy.  He speaks no less than ten languages.  He can anagram words and phrases in seconds. He reads and studies for hours a day, practices irregular Latin verbs, and works on his theorem.  And he dates girls named Katherine.  Actually, he dates and gets dumped by girls named Katherine.  

After Colin's breakup with Katherine 19, he and his one friend, Hassan, set off on a road-trip to forget her.  Colin uses this time to work on his theorem - he wants to be able to mathematically predict when a breakup is going to happen, who the dumper and dumpee will be, and graph it as an arch.  Wise-cracking Hassan and heart-broken Colin find themselves stopped in Gunshot, Tennessee for an extended stay during their road-trip.  Here, they learn about themselves, about stereotypes, about community, and about moving forward.

This book was unexpectedly enjoyable.  While I liked Green's other book that I read, I was concerned that this story was going to be too similar - a quest because of a girl.  I was wrong though.  This book tells Colin's story, in his own special way.  He peppers the narrative with footnotes, giving fun ("Not interesting" according to Hassan) facts, and math formulae. He tells the stories of all the Katherines, and how they shaped him, through the narrative.  And he tells the story of Gunshot, Tennessee, hunting a wild boar, and meeting a girl named Lindsey.

An Abundance of Katherines is a good coming-of-age story.  And, if you know me (or know from reading zee blog) I love a coming of age tale.

♥ Meg xoxo


I heart* murals

I woke up this morning, tossed on a summer dress and shades, rolled my hair into a sock bun, and was on my way.  I came across this sweet mural today on my travels.  I think I'll make it my mission to find more cool wall art this summer.

Dress: Lauren Conrad at Kohl's // Sandals: Target // Sunnies: Target // 

This dress has little bicycles, flowers, and hearts printed on it.  I'm not the best cyclist; I'm not so good at the balance part.  But, I do love a good bicycle print on a dress :)

Dress: Lauren Conrad at Kohl's // Sandals: Target // Sunnies: Target // 

Just look at that mural.  Isn't it grand?  When I was posing here, I was wondering what the difference is between a mural and graffiti.  I guess permission, right? Maybe I'll add looking for cool graffiti to my things to do, as well.

Dress: Lauren Conrad at Kohl's // Sandals: Target //

I couldn't say no to the thick gold and silver glitter on these beauties from Target.  (Or TargĂ©, as I like to call it.)

Does your part of town have any cool murals? 
♥ Meg xoxo


Out of Control

So, this summer's gotten a bit out of control.  My online course is taking up all of the time I usually spend reading, and posting here.  Whenever I'm done posting for my course, I slam my laptop shut and flee to the outdoors to do some sort of sweet summer activity, neglecting my poor little blog. My apologies.

Tank top: Michael's and diy // Shorts: Forever XXI // Flip flops: Old Navy //
Tank top: Michael's and diy // Shorts: Forever XXI // Flip flops: Old Navy // Headband: diy //

My town is having a heat wave.  Like, it feels like 40C here in the shade.  So - when I'm not wearing my bikini or a flowy dress - shorts and tank tops are my pick for summer.  Oh, and short jean shorts are my number one choice for shorts.  My students wear them of all May and June, and I'm totally jealous.  I mean, I send my students to put on longer shorts, but secretly I'm wishing that I'm wearing them too.

Tank top: Michael's and diy // 

I heart* this top times a million.  I made it last summer with some vinyl letters and a spray bottle with equal parts bleach and water.  I snipped off the sleeves of the t-shirt, and voilĂ : my masterpiece.  I think it sums up summer quite nicely. :)

Flip flops: Old Navy // Nail polish: "Pinkie" and "Royal Wink" from Claire's //

M was confused by my mismatched toesies.  He asked, "Why's that one pink one over there?"  He's cute sometimes. 

Off to return to my out of control summer, 
♥ Meg xoxo


The Virgin Suicides

by Jeffrey Eugenides

"In the end, the tortures tearing the Lisbon girls pointed to a simple reasoned refusal to accept the world as it was handed down to them, so full of flaws."

The Virgin Suicides is an unforgettable, vivid account of five sisters and their untimely demises.  This novel tells the story of five beautiful and ethereal sisters, from the point of view of their neighbours - a group of boys who worships them from a far.  The boys collect items that the girls have left behind in class, they cling to fragments of conversations they have with the girls, and revel in seeing the girls from their tree house perch.

The Lisbon sisters - Cecilia, Lux, Bonnie, Mary and Therese - are different from the other girls in their high school. Their parents won't let them go out with boys.  They gather together at lunch and break, and only talk to each other.  They wear dresses made by their mother.  No boys are allowed into their house. The downward spiral of these girls lives begins when the youngest, Cecilia, attempts and later succeeds in her suicide. They girls become even more removed from the world.  Lux reacts with promiscuity.  Then, the girls seem to get better.  They grieve together and move forward.  Or so the neighbourhood boys seem to think.

The title of the book leaves nothing to the imagination.  The first line even makes reference to the "morning the last Lisbon sister took her turn at suicide."  I was still as shocked as the boys, who were constantly watching, when the suicides took place. The point of view is spectacular in this novel.  Everything is told from the point of view of the across-the-street neighbours of the Lisbon family, after the final suicide has taken place.  The boys loved these girls from afar, but never really knew them.  So, the reader only knows that which they know.  The boys make reference to photographs and "artifacts" which the reader never gets to see.  We get to revere the sisters like the boys do, and get to speculate as to what went on in their troubled minds.

A haunting and memorable read.  Recommended for those of you who miss having a required reading list, and aren't interested in a light beach read for summer.

♥ Meg xoxo


Sunshine and moccasins

Oh, hey.  Summer's all about throwing on an easy dress, or jean shorts and a tank top, and running out of the house. Since summer's short, and there are many adventures to be had, outfits need to be almost an afterthought. Almost. 

Dress: Anthropologie (pyjama department ;)) // Moccasins: Minnetonka // 

These pictures are taken at the site of an old school.  When they demolished the school in 2003, they kept up the front entrance.  Now it's a super cool and imposing entrance to a park.

Dress: Anthropologie (pyjama department ;)) // Moccasins: Minnetonka // 

So this Anthro dress might be a nightgown.  Oh well, I wear it in public nonetheless.  I love it because it's made from two totally random and disjointed pieces of material.

Moccasins: Minnetonka // 

This is part of the school's floor.  I wonder when these tiles are from... the original school was built in 1919, but I'm certain it had many renovations before its ultimate closure.

Necklace: American Eagle //

If you thought you saw a glimmer of purple in my hair in those first pictures, you weren't wrong.  I got two purple peek-a-boo streaks in my hair to celebrate summer. I tucked some hair behind my ear so you could see one of them.  I'm pretty much in love. 

What are you doing to celebrate summer?
♥ Meg xoxo

PS. Sorry the photos are a bit grainy.  It was super sunny, and I accidentally had it on the the wrong setting the whole time. Oops. 


Snail Mail My Email. Handwritten Letters in a Digital World.

by Ivan Cash

"You are my best friend and you deserve random surprises, including a message mailed by a random stranger in a non-sweatshop environment."

Snail Mail My Email is a collection of beautiful letters, set by a random stranger to another, at the request of a first random stranger.  Confusing?

In the Introduction, the author explains that he started this project after quitting his job, and vowing to live life more slowly.  He wanted other people to experience the joy of waiting for mail, and being excited to receive it.  He came up with the concept that: you could type a message to anyone, and he would hand-write them a letter and mail it away.  He got so many requests that he needed the help of volunteers to write and mail the letters.

Copies of the letters are found in this book.  Some are silly, some are cute, and others are very romantic.  Some people sent letters to their unborn child. Some sent letters to themselves. The artwork created by the volunteers is lovely, and the messages are real.

I recommend checking this book out if you like Post Secret, or if you simply like the idea of reading someone else's mail ;) Read up on the project, or find out about how to volunteer here.

♥ Meg xoxo


Flower Child

M and I went to a festival in the park in our city, on the weekend. I decided that a festival in the park is an acceptable place to wear a flower crown. One of the people working at a carnival game even called me a princess. :) 

Dress: Winner's // Purse: DIY from M's old jeans // Crown: DIY //

Maxi dresses were all over this fest.  They are perfect for a festival or outdoor summer concert; they allow for a summer breeze, and give you a lovely place to sit without carting around a blanket.

Dress: Winner's // Purse: DIY from M's old jeans // Crown: DIY //

I chose pink daisies (or gerbers/ mums, I guess) to put in my flower crown. Although I still might make one with traditional white daisies, I like the pop of colour that the pink adds to any outfit.

Flip flops: Old Navy //

Trusty flip flops are a must for any summer outfit. 

I hope you get to enjoy some festivals in your part of the world this summer. They always bring about the best food and entertainment. 

♥ Meg xoxo


Girls in White Dresses

by Jennifer Close

"You never want to be the first of your friends to get married. Most people are still single, open bars are a novelty, and no matter how elegant the wedding was planned to be, it will wind up looking like a scene from Girls Gone Wild."

This story centres around Isabella, Mary and Lauren, who are college friends. It follows them to early adulthood where they try to define themselves as real adults, get jobs, scrape by with their rent payments, and still go out drinking like college girls.  They struggle with their love lives - not knowing what they want, settling into toxic relationships, and constantly questioning themselves and each other.  Soon, they find themselves in that time of their lives where everyone seems to be getting married.  They don their pastel dresses, drink in the morning to stop from being hungover, and vow that they'll never be as crazy as the bride.  

The stories of the three main women are presented as vignettes, interspersed with stories of other women in their circle of friends. Each story is about one woman's relationship with a man, whether or not he is at the forefront.  Their stories are familiar to 20somethings like myself.  There's the friend who needs to get married first.  There's the friend who is constantly single, who everyone tries to set up.  There's the friend whose live-in boyfriend buys her a dog and not a ring. And there are the friends who get their hearts broken over and over again. 

Girls in White Dresses shows the reader both beautiful and painful glimpses into the lives of these young women.  It depicts joyous moments with friends, frustration, confusion, self-doubt and growth.  And it manages to do so in a funny and clever way.  

This is a must-read for those women who are stuck between college/ university and real life, and those who feel like they are buying off a registry or going to a shower every other weekend :)

♥ Meg xoxo