Wednesday, September 24, 2014

REVIEW--Life As We Knew It

Happy Wednesday, readers and fashionistas!  Halfway through the week!!

Today's post is a book review on Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  I originally picked it up as a backup plan in case a book I wanted to use in class was too edgy for parents' permission.  But I was surprised at how quickly I finished the book and how much I enjoyed reading it.  So let's jump on in!

  • Dystopian
  • First book in the Last Survivors series
The Gist:
Miranda is just a normal teenager living a normal life.  She lives with her mother and younger brother; her father is remarried and living in another city and her older brother is away at college.  When everyone hears that scientists have predicted that an asteroid will hit the moon (and not cause any damage), they are pretty excited about it and even stay up late to watch it happen live from their front yards.  But the scientists were wrong--when the asteroid hits, it IS a big deal and knocks the moon off its orbital course.  Which means tsunamis, volcano eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. And life as Miranda and her family have known it is all about to change in a fight for their lives.

What I Loved:
  • This book is really clean.  Yes, I know I'm an educator so that means something more to me than the average Joe, but I was just impressed by how appropriate it was for students of all ages to read.
  • The book is very thought-provoking.  And I really believe that if the moon was knocked out of its orbit, what is described in this book would actually happen.  Which is pretty terrifying to think about.
  • This book considers all aspects of being in a survival situation--physical needs, emotional stress, fears and uncertainty, confusion on how to live, etc.
  • Additionally, I liked that as a reader I got to see more than just inside Miranda's home.  I got to see around the town and hear about what else was happening in the world.  
What I Didn't Love:
  • There was practically no resolution with Miranda's father and step-mother, which bugged me a bit.  Did she have the baby?!
My favorite quote:
"I guess all the animals have left town." 
"I hope Kansas lets them in."

A very solid read for me, so I will probably continue with the series.

 I'll be back soon with an outfit perfect for Miranda's situation--an outfit that can be worn over and over in new ways (since Miranda won't be shopping any time soon).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Starting our Ashfall Decorations

This December I'm having Mike Mullin, author of the Ashfall trilogy, visit our library.  Needless to say, I am so stoked.  I can't wait to watch my students, who have MUCH to say about Ashfall, interact with him.  I told Mike that we would probably have some things in our library that he hasn't seen before (because I LOVE to think-outside-the-box when it comes to our library decorations), and he reminded me that he's been in hundreds of libraries and seen A LOT.  So now it's my mission to show Mike inspired, creative projects related completely to Ashfall.

About a month ago, my students did a writing activity for me, and one student wrote "We are at the mercy of Mother Earth" in response to my prompt.  I stopped when I read that statement, because I think that is one of the themes of Ashfall.  So I decided we had to have that quote displayed somewhere for Mike's visit.  Here's how I did that:

We have this Jackson Pollock print hanging in the's been there forever (yeah, it's upside-down in the photo).  It blended into the cream walls so much that the students never really gave it a second glance.  But the chaos of the art was perfect for the unexpected, craziness of Mother Nature.  So I decided to use this as our background.
My assistant and I cut out the letters from the quote and attached it to the artwork with this tacky spray.  Don't worry--the artwork is within the frame and will be reusable once this project is over!

 After the words were glued to the art, I spray painted the rest of the frame with gray.  I chose gray because the majority of the book Ashfall is dull and dismal.

We then peeled off the letters and rubbed off any leftover glue.  And now we have our quote!  This will hang in a corner of the library with all the other Ashfall decor.  

What do you think?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Decorating the Library: Divergent-Themed Blocks

I love decorating the library with more contemporary book art (as I recently discussed when I showed off some Harry Potter posters).  So I was excited when I found Risa Rodil's fandom artwork.  She takes character names, quotes, and titles and turns them into such clever designs.

My students took a few of her Divergent designs and made larger images of them so that we could decorate a cement block post.  *Since we're using this for fun, personal use and not for sales, copyright is being followed here.  This has made the post colorful and more teen-appealing, and in my opinion it's just a lot more fun.  Check out a few of our favorites:

 One of my favorite designs because the books were so intricate.

 Tobias's design is really clever, too.  

 Tris's bird tattoos...what would your tattoo be?

 Poor Edward.  Kind of glad they left this scene out of the movie.

 And poor Albert.  Poor, poor Albert.

 Marcus and his infamous belt.  Jerk.

 Is it school-appropriate to put a gun on the wall?  Oh, well.  Poor Will.  And poor Tris.
I loved this design.  So sharp.

Have you decorated with Divergent in your library?  How is your library stylin'?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Testing-Inspired Outfit

Hi, readers and fashionistas!  

Last week I reviewed The Testing by Joelle Charboneau, a book that unfortunately I think I read too late in the dystopian fandom.  Meaning I've read so many dystopian books by this point that it just seemed like a combination of other well-known dystopian books.  Even the cover reminds me of a mockingjay/Catching Fire clock, which is just a shame.

But Cia was an interesting protagonist, and we really get to see what she's made of in the final round of the Testing.  She's trekking across the country, avoiding possible enemies that are posing as alliances and watching out for deadly traps.  So I was definitely inspired by her character for an outfit.  I knew I wanted it to be rugged with a bit of practicality and yet still girly.  And here's what I designed:

Let's break it down:

  • Notice that there are no bright colors here.  Cia is not bubbly, super smiley, or just out loud.  So her colors needed to be muted and even a little natural.
  • I paired black skinny jeans with a leopard print tank top.  The print isn't too in-your-face and emphasizes Cia's ability to use nature wisely.  An olive cardigan over top is practical and dulls down the brightness in the top.
  • Black slouch boots are totally what I picture someone wearing while trying to survive.
  • The gold bracelet is just to add in a little femininity.  Keeps the outfit from looking too plain.
So what do you think?  An appropriate outfit for someone who's trying to stay safe in a dangerous situtation?

Skinny Jeans--Michael Kors  
Sleeveless Blouse--Keira Mischeivous
Boots--Diva Lounge 
Bracelets--Wet Seal

Tomorrow I'll be showing off some more library artwork--come back to check it out!

*I am not associated with any companies/products mentioned.

Monday, September 15, 2014

How NOT to Look Like a Librarian: Party on the Runway!

Hey, readers and fashionistas!  So I love posting Outfit of the Day (OOTD) posts and I've had a lot of people tell me how much they enjoy reading them.  And I've realized that these are all outfits that hopefully don't make me look like a stereotypical librarian.  Hence they will now be called How NOT to Look like a Librarian posts!

We recently had family photos taken by my friend Ariel (for those of you in the Indy area, go check her out at Ariel Eldridge Photography!) and we had so much fun!  Our boys really cheesed it up for her in our old downtown area, but my favorites were actually the couple shots she took of me and the hubby at our local airport.  Luke is a part-time pilot, so anything pilot-related is sentimental and even a little romantic for us.

So what do you wear on an airport runway?  And how could I dress to NOT look like a librarian?  Why a big gray tutu, of course!

When I saw this tutu at the store Windsor, my mom said "Julia, you CAN NOT wear that to school."  And I thought "Why not?!  This is so fun!"  So I snuck back later by myself and bought it (surprise, Mom!).  Here's what my outfit looked like:

I paired the tutu with a simple black T-shirt from Old Navy that says "Forever After" on it.  I thought that was a nice romantic touch.  Then I added a bright pink necklace I bought on vacation, black Steve Madden heels, and a gifted black bangle bracelet.

 Oh you know, just sitting on a runway.

 I love this shot, but don't let me fool you--Ariel and I were giggling between shots.

So what do you think?  Would YOU wear this outfit on a runway?

I think this would be a fun outfit to wear to a party or out on a's fun and light-hearted with some soft touches.

I am not associated with any of the clothing companies mentioned (although Ariel Eldridge Photography is one of my bestest of friends!).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

REVIEW--The Testing

Good morning, readers and fashionistas!  Today's post is a review on the book The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau.  Yep, it's a dystopian book with a female protagonist in a world controlled by the government.  Oh, and it's the first in a series.  That seems to be the trend nowadays, huh?  So let's jump into my thoughts on the book!

  • First book in The Testing series
  • Dystopian
The Gist:
After the Seven Stages War, our planet is basically a charred wasteland.  So citizens must now colonize and rebuild an acceptable society.  But only the elite are chosen to enter the university to specialize in an area and hold the responsibilities of this rebuilding.  And these elite must first pass the Testing, a rigorous program of challenges and tests that result in fewer survivors than graduates.  Cia Vale is surprised yet honored when she is chosen to enter The Testing.  She is following in her father's legacy as a Testing candidate and desperately wants a college education.  But the Testing will push her farther emotionally, mentally, and physically than she has ever gone.  And she quickly learns that allies and enemies may be synonymous...

What I Loved:
  •  The ending was the perfect way to hook me into the second book.  I want to continue with Cia's story and see what decisions she makes next.
  • There was definitely unpredictability in who could be trusted.  Cia's fellow Testing candidates, the Testing officials, and the strange man that's watching Cia in the final test are all suspicious, and the fact that some are trustworthy and others aren't kept the book interesting.
What I Didn't Love:
  • Like I alluded in the beginning of this post, this is a little over-done.  In fact, at times I felt like I was reading The Hunger Games.  Especially during Cia's final test, when she's basically in an arena with her life on the just seemed a little late for its time.  I think I would've loved it more if I had read it two years ago.
  • I wasn't in love with the characters that Cia liked, especially Tomas.  I was too skeptical of him to care enough for him or appreciate him.  He didn't become the "Peeta" or "Gale" that I would have wanted.  Maybe it was because Cia kept giving away secrets to him (despite her father's warnings), but I kept thinking he'd turn on her at any moment.
  • Speaking of Tomas, the romance between him and Cia felt a little unnatural.  Maybe there wasn't enough character-building for me to really invest in them.
An enjoyable read, but one that just seemed a little too familiar for me.  I just couldn't fall in love with it--it was a good read, but I know as soon as I booktalk it, students are going to raise their hands and say "isn't it like ____ book?" 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Yaqui Delgado-Inspired Outfit

Hi, readers and fashionistas!  Last week I reviewed Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, and needless to say, I loved this book.  It was so much better than I expected, and I was rooting for protagonist Piddy the whole way through.

Today's outfit is based on Piddy and her new school.  It's an urban school where Piddy has found herself in the middle of unwanted drama.  So much drama, in fact, that Piddy doesn't want to go to school for fear of being attacked.  So when I designed today's outfit, I created a "tough" outfit, clothes that give a "don't mess with me" message.  Because poor Piddy could use all the help she can get in keeping away Yaqui and her crew.  So here's the outift:

A tough look but girly nonetheless.

  • Skinny jeans are all the rage, but these particular jeans are a little ripped to give it that edgy look.
  • The tank top has girly colors--pinks, yellows, etc--in the design of a large skull.  Gotta be tough if you want to wear a skull, right?
  • Accessories are edgy but feminine--pink high tops (a very urban shoe), black nail polish, and a spike bracelet.
A tough look that isn't overdone; in fact, the accessories are few but complement the clothing well.

So would you wear something like this?  Would you feel tough?

I'll be back with a "How NOT to Look like a Librarian" post and a review of the book The Testing (a great choice for dystopian fans!).  See you then!

Jeans--Pull & Bear
High Tops--Aldo
Nail Polish--Essie
Bracelet--CC Skye

*I am not associated with any companies/products mentioned.