Book It: OCD, the Dude & Me

OCD-the-Dude-and-MeI think I’ve made it pretty clear, here. I like books.



I’ve always loved books and escaping into them. I love to judge them by their covers and stand in the aisle at a bookstore or library and read the first few lines to see if I’m captured. If I’m taken away by that first thought, feeling or action.

So, it’s a bit unusual that my career as a librarian has, thus far, involved very little contact with books. I could bore you to death with chat about how the role of libraries, and therefore librarians, has changed. But I mostly want to talk about the book in the post title.

OCD, the Dude & Me is told in one of my favorite formats: diary style. I loved it while reading Bridget Jones and Georgia Nicholson and Adrian Mole and this work makes it extra special by including essays, letters and emails. Veerry Cool!

The story centers around Danielle, who, it will come as no shock (I mean, it’s in the title), suffers from OCD.  Learning about disorders and the way the mind works absolutely fascinates me, but that is not really what this book is about. It’s about the life of a troubled girl, her daily struggles to get shit right and her slow transformation back into the person she once was. It’s equal parts sad and heartbreaking and funny and real.

It’s a beautifully unique coming of age tale with a Dude based story line. How could I NOT love that?!?!

I won’t ruin the plot (HATE THAT) but I will tell you that Danielle learns to “abide” and thrive and feel hope where there was once none. If you like YA books, grab this one (from your local library. GO GET A CARD!) and read it on the train so you can snort and get dirty looks from your fellow strap hangers :D

Also, watch this awesome celebration of ladies who like to read!!

Thanks for sharing this vid with me, Mari!!

Summer in the Wintertime

Summer in the Wintertime

Top :: Old Navy (from a zillion years ago)
Skirt :: Handmade
Tights :: F21
Boots :: Target
New Lipstick :: Revlon Super Lustrous in Black Cherry
New Blush :: e.l.f. All Over Color Stick in Pink Lemonade

I think of this skirt as a summer look. It certainly should be worn with bare legs, as it wanted to climb up my body even with a slip on. Even so, I was pretty comfy for the day.

Summer in the Wintertime

I’ve been all into Black fashion history, lately. I checked out two amazing works from the library. Both, unfortunately, deal with aspects of our history that are painful and difficult to read. Our major struggles (slavery, racism, oppression) but also relatively minor ones, too. Those that deal with expressing ourselves, succeeding and triumphing through all things. But, the books also hold many very positive messages and stories about self expression in spite enslavement/oppression/resistance and really celebrate and validate the right to express, and take pride in, our personal style and beauty.

There is this amazing new short film titled “The Door” from Miu Miu that brought black fashion history to the forefront of my thoughts. It’s directed by an incredible Black woman, Ava DuVernay, and stars Black women (Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Adepero Oduye, and singer-songwriter Goapele) wearing AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL clothes!

From Miu Miu:

The Door, by Ava DuVernay, the fifth Miu Miu Women’s Tale, is a celebration of the transformative power of feminine bonds, and a symbolic story of life change. The symbolic centre of The Door is the front entrance of the protagonist’s home. As she opens it to greet a friend in the powerfully framed opening scenes, she is shrouded in an oblique sadness. “In the film, characters arrive at the door of a friend in need, bringing something of themselves,” explains director DuVernay. “Eventually, we witness our heroine ready to walk through the door on her own. The door in the film represents a pathway to who we are.” Clothing is also a symbol of renewal, each change of costume charting our heroine’s emergence from a chrysalis of sadness. In the final scenes, she takes off her ring, pulls on long, black leather gloves, and walks, transformed by the emotive power of the clothing, through the door.

The existence of this film is in direct relation to the topics discussed in Black and Beautiful: How Women of Color Changed the Fashion Industry. It is still uncommon enough to have anything fashion related feature so many BROWN women that  watching this film feels like a victory. Ms. DuVernay has created a world as visually appealing as the clothing featured in it.

Those beautiful women look wonderful in those clothes.
They look beautiful on film.
They look at home in their luxurious surroundings.
They sell the clothing as capably as women of any color.
The number of women on the set of this film, contributing to its beauty, is a triumph for all women.

Cheers to Miu Miu for celebrating that.

Check out the other Miu Miu Women’s Tale stories here.

In the Club

Book club, that is.

As I seem incapable of NOT joining in with things lately, I thought,
why not add books to the list!?!?

Clutch Mag's Reading Challenge

Clutch, an online magazine that I read daily, asked their twitter followers for their “must reads”. Before long, the list morphed into an online book club/reading challenge!

Before the day was out, I’d joined the Goodreads group formed to house the virtual discussions and away we went with choosing the first title. Well, I should say titles. We decided to offer choices. This time we have a non-fiction and fiction work to chose from.

I went with non-fiction.

Silver Sparrow

That same day, I got an invite from another group of book lovers over on The Indie Chicks. Which I joined, of course, because I can’t NOT join in, lately. Lol

Indie Chicks Book Club

I have to say, so far, so good. I was able to download the ebook version of Silver Sparrow, from the newly revamped Brooklyn Public Library catalog, within minutes. You can’t really beat that! I read through the first chapters before leaving my chair. Always a good sign!

Alright people, I’ve had a seriously long week! I went into the library for a training session today, and tomorrow I’ll be out early with the kiddies to see some college basketball. They are VERY excited. I plan to get into bed the moment I return home and stay there until Sunday morning. Look for sewing progress then.

Sweet Book Hangover

In a protest against boring textbook reading, I thrust all library science related texts to one side and did some REAL reading. During a library visit with the kiddies I spotted two books that I had previously placed on hold and never made it the branch to pick up:

Two powerful stories that could not possibly be more different from each other.

The Night Circus is very difficult to sum up. Calling it a love story seems ludicrous when the story contains so much more. But, saying that it is about magic without mentioning love seems dishonest and misleading. Little Bee is also a sort of love story. Though giving a potential reader that information alone would lead them to a great shock. Both stories are equally about loss, hopelessness and hope.

I read into the small hours with both books, which led to that hangover like feeling each morning. I couldn’t help it. I absolutely craved to know what would happen next. The writing in both stories, though very (very) different in each, is so very beautiful. Descriptive but not unnecessarily so. Musical while staying true to the story each one is striving to tell. Emotional. Clear. And unique, too.

I have to say that both began strong but seemed to lose me a bit towards the end. Maybe I was expecting too much after becoming so emotionally invested in (and damn curious about) the outcomes. I am planning to reread them both. Which is my favorite thing to do when a book challenges me or makes me fall in love with it. I prefer to know very little about a book before I read, so I will not give true summaries here in case any of you feel the same. I do heartily recommend them both.

The Night Circus to escape this world and Little Bee to wake up to it.

Have you read anything good lately? Have you read either of these beauties?

Librarian Hat On

Friends, I have already broken my “no personal reading when assigned reading is to be done” rule. I don’t know why I bother trying to limit myself. I love books and reading too much to ever stick to it.

Instead of trying to catch up on sleep last night, I was reading. I found this on a trip to the library with the kiddies. My oldest son loves the Mouse and Mole series and the branch had the rest of the books available. I will have to buy these for him, as he is already dreading taking them back.

Anyway, we were waiting for someone to finish in the restroom, which is right by the YA section. I picked up The 39 Clues Book One: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan* who also wrote the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. This book was right near it. The title and unique cover drew me in. I’m so glad I checked it out.

A Drowned Maidens Hair

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A feisty orphan is taken in by a household of mysterious ladies in this intriguing, engaging novel.

Maud Flynn is known at the orphanage for her impertinence, so when the charming Miss Hyacinth and her sister choose Maud to take home with them, the girl is as baffled as anyone. As the mystery gradually unfolds, Maud’s intelligence and daring join forces with her compassion and conscience to help her find her way in this lively, atmospheric gothic tale.

Maud will win you over! Don’t read a more thorough description of the book as it will spoil the plot entirely! If you have a soft spot for YA books and orphans who are lovable despite being sarcastic and plain, just trust me and read this book.

* I really respect and admire Mr. Riordan for both his rapid output and the vast amount of research that must go into creating them. From reading his personal blog, he also seems like an incredibly kind person.


The shop Brookish sometimes shows up in my recommended shops feed on etsy. I’ve been coveting the “I am half agony, half hope” Wentworth mug (I LOVE Wentworth, Colonel Brandon is a close second) for a while, but couldn’t justify the purchase as I have a (several, actually) perfectly good mug already.

But I could certainly justify buying this awesome shirt!

What I wore :: 9.27.11

I love it!! It really absorbed all of my sweat on this unseasonably warm and humid day, lol. I do wish even one person would have gotten the reference, but that was asking a lot in this neighborhood.

What I wore:
Austentatious 9.27.11

1. What I wore :: 9.27.11, 2. What I wore :: 9.27.11, 3. What I wore :: 9.27.11, 4. What I wore :: 9.27.11 Pride and Prejudice t-shirt
F21 pants (they were only $10.50!)
Old Navy Desert Booties leather bangles (Anniversary gift, my other bracelet was also an anniversary gift)
F21 leopard print belt and earrings
H&M large silver ring

Austen was already on my mind when I picked this up from the post office yesterday. My Felicity post made me curious about Keri Russell’s career and what she might be doing now. I really liked her in August Rush and I loved Waitress. It’s weird. She lives down the block from my Grandma, so I’ve actually run into her coming in and out of her house a few times.

 According to IMDB, she is currently filming a movie called Austenland which is based on a book. Being a repeat Pride and Prejudice watcher, I thought the plot sounded really interesting. As I have a particular weakness for reading the book version of anything first, I bought Austenland for my Nook and finished it over the course of the night. It was a really cute story and will make a cute movie, I’m sure.

Sheath Dress Success!

Sheath Dress Success

Sheath Dress Success

Sheath Dress Success

I absolutely could NEVER buy a dress like this in a store and have it fit properly. I never could. I was always two different sizes on the top and bottom so they never looked right. I learned to hate the sheath dress.

Even sewing one always seemed so daunting. But being afraid to ruin fabric has left me with a mounting stash and none of the clothing I imagined when I bought it. So, last week while on spring break I was determined to stop being fearful. I cut this dress out from a pattern I bought almost 8 years (and 3 children) ago, so the size I cut would have no chance of fitting my bottom half. But, it looked like the top would work…

I used the old size 6 top and cut the straight skirt from another view in size 12. And then got caught up reading (Jane Eyre, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z and Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell out of a Tree) and never started it. But two days ago, I did. And now I have a pretty wearable muslin for future sheaths!!

It’s not perfect by any means. My princess seams and front darts don’t meet perfectly (I realize now one dart is bigger than the other), and because of the difference in size, my back darts are not aligned on both sides either. The smaller size made a sway back adjustment unnecessary but left a little too much room in the upper back. These are all things someone buying this from a store would never notice, in fact any non seamstress would over look it, too. The small check sort of hides it anyway. I hope to make changes next time including a little more length in the bodice (I added 2 inches already) and a little more room overall as the next one will not be in a stretch fabric.

There things that I am proud of.
My creation

My zipper installation was easy and it look so great. No lumps at the end and it stays relatively concealed when worn. It as was a little short, so I added a hook and eye at the top. The back vent and hem look pretty great, too. I hand stitched the hem, it is virtually invisible from the outside in this fabric. I also made a little belt to cover the dart match-up mishap, though I’m not sure if I’ll wear it.

Overall, I LOVE this dress! I love that I can see the results that taking your time can achieve. But mostly I love that this fabric has gone from a folded stack to an article of clothing! I can’t wait to wear it!


Discoveries: Frida Kahlo, Painting Her Own Realty (Discoveries (Abrams))Discoveries: Frida Kahlo, Painting Her Own Realty (Discoveries by Christina Burrus

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really didn’t know much about Frida Kahlo or her work before an interest was sparked while researching well know women artists to teach my artist daughter about. I had of course heard of her and had seen her work featured many places. I picked up a copy of this book from the library yesterday and sat down to read it and kept reading until I was done. I was instantly hooked on her passion and her ability to communicate so much through her work. And I envy that release. I stayed up late watching Selma Hayek’s version of her life and I am well on my way to becoming a full on Frida admirer.
View all my reviews

As a seamstress I, of course, paid great attention to her use of color, the way she dressed and to the set and costume styling of the biopic. Frida’s dedication to her look regardless of her location around the world or the event she was going to is admirable. I think we all set out to have a signature look when we dress ourselves, whether this is a conscious or unconscious effort. We are not all as successful as she is. I have often tried to find a look that was “me” without looking like I was wearing a costume or falling back on my broke college kid look.

Lately, I think through my sewing projects and how they will fit into my current life and what might lie ahead in the future. Thanks to Frida, I now know that somewhere included in those projects and the resulting clothing will be something bright, and gold and red and embroidered and very Frida.

I am requesting more books to teach the children about her and other female artists. Look at this wonderful (new close up pics here) project done to help teach all about Frida! I HAVE to make my own! I’ve been thinking about making a Frida doll. I think it’s the chance to make the hair and eyebrows. And the clothes….there are so many possibilities. Hell, I might even paint today. Maybe even a self portrait ;o)