the monday inspiration.

I love a game of Would You Rather. If you had to choose, would you pick smelling terrible for the rest of your life or having both your legs amputated? Would you rather have the main character in every movie replaced by Nicholas Cage or every song sung by Nickelback? Would you rather have 12 kids or zero? Would you rather have the ugliest house in a fancy neighborhood or the most beautiful one in an average one? Would you rather a year of travel or a $100,000 check?

One of the fallback prompts that I’ve found to be a telling insight into a person is the following: Would you rather live an average life, die, and be largely forgotten, or would you rather be Van Gogh’d– ridiculed and impoverished during your earthly days and then remembered as a genius forever forward? I think I’d go with the tame and average life (and look at how dutifully I’m walking that talk, ha), but the idea of having people refer to others who have been influenced by HRCK the Herald and its lasting legacy is pretty tempting.

I was reminded of that would you rather when I came across this post– 11 Early Scathing Reviews of Works Now Considered Masterpieces. Here are a few from the list:

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813)

Early Reaction: …Charlotte Brontë (of Jane Eyre fame) wasn’t buying the hype: “Anything like warmth or enthusiasm, anything energetic, poignant, heartfelt, is utterly out of place in commending these works: all such demonstrations the authoress would have met with a well-bred sneer, would have calmly scorned as outré or extravagant…”

Fred Astaire (1899 – 1987)

Early Reaction: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” –MGM Testing Director’s response to Astaire’s first screen test

Ulysses, by James Joyce (1918)

Early Reaction: “In Ireland they try to make a cat clean by rubbing its nose in its own filth. Mr. Joyce has tried the same treatment on the human subject” –George Bernard Shaw

Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman (first pub. 1855)

Early Reaction: Upon reading the newly published Leaves, Whitman’s boss at the Department of the Interior took offense—and gave his underling the axe.

*Fellow poet John Greenleaf Whittier supposedly hurled his 1855 edition into the fire.
*“A mass of stupid filth” -Rufus Wilmot Griswold, The Criterion, November 10, 1855
*“It is no discredit to Walt Whitman that he wrote Leaves of Grass, only that he did not burn it afterwards.” –Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The Atlantic, “Literature as an Art,” 1867
*“… the book cannot attain to any very wide influence.” –The Atlantic, January 1882

So, to reduce all this to a nice little message,

Go do your thang.



the pop’s pictures.

These are adorable. Wedding photographer Jason Lee decided to turn the camera from the brides and grooms to his two daughters, and apparently the girls aren’t quite old enough yet to refuse all parental requests.  The photos are creative, the girls are so cute (and compliant!), and I’m a sucker for sweet Dad/Daughter stuff.

Hope the girls are getting a few extra bucks in their weekly allowance for being such ready models.


the would you rather.

Would you rather be floating in the ocean off Thailand watching your favorite flick here (thanks, Julie!):

Or stargazing on a warm summer night  in your backyard here:

Or making s’mores on this cool guy here?As much as I like s’mores, I think I’d go for 1 or 2, and if push came to shove, I’d pick 1.

(1,2, 3)

the explanation for mormon mommy mania.

I’ve featured Naomi of Rockstar Diaries here and Natalie of Nat the Fat Rat here. They’re both hugely popular, though in terms of page hits and loyal following, they might come behind Sydney of The Daybook. Sydney, like Naomi and Natalie, posts happy things, wears bright outfits, and has a raging sweet tooth. Also similar? She’s another big name in the world of Mormon Mommy Blogs.

Based somewhere around DC, Sydney is married to Tyson and has a baby boy named Everett. She writes well, she’s likeable, and she’s got awesome style that flips from sleek 9-5 looks like this

to more Pinterest-y splashy styles like this

to feminine nerdy chic like so

What’s most interested me on her blog so far, however, is her explicit discussion of the Mormon Mommy Blog fascination. Here’s her explanation for why the blogs have become so popular.

For starters, the LDS Church has 13 Articles of Faith {short descriptions that explain our foundational beliefs}. The last of which states: “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” A diligent effort to be put toward seeking after the beautiful things in life is an applicable and encouraging thought, whether you’re religious or not. I’ve always had a soft spot for aesthetics in my own life. Back when I was a little girl I had a ridiculous penchant for dramatic ringlets and red nails. In high school I tried my hand at interiors and went on a chalkboard-paint frenzy in my bedroom and then gave Thanksgiving place-settings a go-round. In college I explored my personal style further, chose to study Graphic Design and gained a greater appreciation of the arts. Until recently, I had never questioned whether this had anything to do with being raised in the Mormon faith. But then came this question from the email: 

So, what are your thoughts on the nature of the relationship between your faith and your church upbringing and the way you engage culture, the world, style, fashion, design, etc?

So much of modern day media, world views and culture can be used to tear down and distract from the lovely things in life like family and relationships, or in my case, creating {or trying!} something beautiful through design, style, etc. But the encouragement from LDS church leaders to engage ourselves in ways that enlarge our capacity for happiness {and seek out those things that are “virtuous and lovely”}, has I’m sure, inherently influenced my decisions when it comes to becoming involved in the world of design and style.

The LDS Church widely supports and encourages creative minds; something that I got to experience on a daily basis during my time at BYU-Idaho {a private LDS university}. Whether through seminars, galleries, out-of-class demonstrations, or just daily assignments, I was always grateful {and encouraged!} for the opportunity to learn from the work of both professional artists and students, as we each strove to perfect our craft. The design program there was challenging and rewarding and will certainly influence my endeavors as a designer down the road.

Additionally, LDS values have always encouraged a developing and sharing of personal talents. In my case, I don’t necessarily consider getting dressed or blogging to be a personal talent {we all do one or the other!}, but for me it IS a fun form of personal expression and creativity. How wonderful is it for an individual to have something that allows them to create and learn from everyday, whether their talents lie in aesthetics or car mechanics? Blogging has certainly opened up opportunities and new paths for me to pursue other talents that I had wished to develop further, like photography, graphic design, styling and interior design. All of which, I consider to fall under the category of “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.”

Because of our beliefs, we choose to abstain from participating in a few things {drinking, smoking, immodest forms of dress, swearing, etc} which does limit our participation in certain aspects of popular culture, but certainly doesn’t hinder us from seeking out the very best that culture has to offer. It just makes it a little easier for all those lovely things we seek out in life to bubble right to the top.”

Whether Mormon or not, hope you have a day of bubbling joy!


the literary ramblings.

As far as blogs go, I’m nearing saturation point on fashion/decor/food/fitness. I think I’ve read about adding “pops of color,” neon, and peplum to outfits enough. Chevron floors and lucite trays are cool, yes, but I’ve got my fill for a while. I don’t need to see blood oranges incorporated into another recipe. I know as much as I would like to know about the paleo diet. (But don’t hold me to these statements for over 24 hours. I’m sure I’ll be back to read about it all soon.)

Today’s site is a departure from these image-heavy blogs. Instead, it’s a word-weighty tumblr, and it’s called Ring Them Bells. I hope that writing blogs like these are just a currently untapped planet in the blogosphere for me because I’d like to come across many more.

Every few days, a woman named Elizabeth posts something. Sometimes it’s a funny and spontaneous musing like so:

“The problem with peach nail polish is that it often straddles a very fine line between sweet vintage and mortuary beauty school. If you can’t tell the difference you better avoid it altogether. There is nothing like sitting at your desk and wondering whether or not you look like you’ve been done up by someone who exclusively paints the dead.”

or like this:

“What is the difference between a goldfish and a slice of canned mandarin orange? Very little. And yet, when confronted with this striking textural similarity, why do people continue to eat the latter?”

or a well-articulated snapshot from her life like this:

The summer before our wedding, B spent his weekends out on the back steps building me this bookshelf—and another just like it. That’s love, isn’t it? It was months of sawdust in my tomato plants, and afternoons punctuated by the shriek of the buzz saw and then the inevitable thump of the wood against the landing. When I think of that summer, I remember only endless trips to the hardware store. The sharp smell of varnish. The constant washing of clothes.

The night we maneuvered the first shelf inside; stacked one piece atop the other until it stood just inches below the ceiling—we laughed uncontrollably. We stood back marveling at its majesty; surprised by its enormity. Afraid, maybe, that we had made a mistake. Next to it, I had never felt so dwarfed, so insignificant and wonderfully small. It took hours, and a step stool to fill it. But we did—beers in-hand, the waves of passing cars and the wind in the trees drifting in from an open window.”

And one picture for the post– under this shoe, Elizabeth imagines the likely sequence of events for the wearer.

1. Don a powdery white curled wig, sneer.
2. Convert your father’s hunting lodge into an extravagant palace. Launch four building campaigns all in the name of opulently greeting foreign dignitaries.
3. Commence a seemingly endless string of wars. Bankrupt the State.
4. Die old, shortly after legitimatizing all of your bastard children.”

It’s an interesting blog, and it’s great for when you’re tired of statement necklaces, white airy kitchens, and cake pops.

(All images and words from Ring Them Bells)

the animals you should know.

I often feel like I live under a rock. I happen upon most cultural memes late in the game. If you ask me if I’ve seen some video sensation on YouTube, the answer is probably no.

Because of this general uncoolness, I am shocked whenever I stumble upon someone who hasn’t seen something I have. For example, I thought I was the last human on earth not to see the Kristen Bell sloth video. This past weekend, however, I was at a party and it turned out that number of people hadn’t seen her adorable and hilarious meltdown on Ellen. If you haven’t seen it either, click that link.

I wasn’t going to post these next two things because I was sure that everyone and his/her mother had seen them eleven years ago, but in case the sloth video was demonstrative of the spotty nature of internet phenom dispersal, I give you two very funny sites.

Exhibit 1: Dogs Underwater. Photographer Seth Casteel takes photographs of dogs diving underwater. Fido looks a little frightening.


Exhibit 2: This one makes me laugh out loud. Again, I feel like everyone’s seen it, but juuuust in case, T Rex Trying. Poor guy, he just wasn’t made for a normal life.


Hope this post wasn’t terribly redundant for you!

(Images, Images)