Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Venomous Villains

MAC Cosmetics launched a new line of makeup this week: Venomous Villains.  I'm super excited!  Ever since I found out about this stuff back in the early summer - I couldn't wait.  And now, I don't have to.  I just have to get myself to the MAC counter and see Rhonda (she's my super cool MAC artist - if you're ever at Chesterfield Mall in St. Louis - go to Macy's and see her).

I'm totally in love with this concept.  The hard part is going to be choosing which items I have to have - I mean which Disney super villain would you want to be: Cruella De Vil; Evil Queen (a personal favorite); Maleficent (winning the most venomous award by MAC - and my favorite evil villain); or Dr. Facilier?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

10 Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week

Source: The New York Times

Pictured: The vault-like room in the Brooklyn Public Library.
Held annually during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of intellectual freedom and draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States, including books commonly taught in secondary schools.

Here are ideas for celebrating Banned Books Week –- with your students, your children and anyone who believes in having “the freedom to read.”

1. Classic Challenges: Books commonly taught in secondary schools show up again and again on the American Library Association’s most frequently challenged list. Why are some books challenged year after year? Find out why and then “adopt” a banned book like “The Catcher in the Rye” or “To Kill a Mockingbird” by investigating its history of challenges. (For example, a site search for “Huckleberry Finn” on reveals the 1885 editorial “Trashy and Vicious,” republished from The Springfield Republican, on the Concord Library’s ban of the book. You’ll also find a 1902 letter from Mark Twain on the Omaha Public Library’s ban.) Then promote a “read-in” of one or more challenged or banned books in your school library.

2.  Don’t Read This!: Scan this list. What do these books have in common? Are you surprised to see that they are the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books for 2000-2009? Use Anna Quindlen’s Op-Ed from 1994 as the model for an essay about personal experiences reading banned books and thoughts about book banning in general. We also invite you to answer our Student Opinion question, “Are There Books That Should Be Banned From Your School Library?”

3.  Big Name Bans: Did you know that “Harry Potter” topped the library association’s list of most challenged books in the year 2000? Other recent frequently challenged books include the “Twilight” series and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Learn more about recent challenges and then create posters to promote intellectual freedom using some of the titles. One idea: Create a collage of book jackets of some of the most famous banned books. Another: Create a map of challenges, to demonstrate that book bans and challenges are not isolated phenomena, even in the United States. Ask to hang the posters in the school or local library.

4.  Join the Club: Create book clubs around banned books. To investigate titles for your club to read, you might use the Books section, including the drop-down menus for finding book reviews and coverage of featured authors. Then hold book “pitches” and form club reading schedules. As you read, respond to the texts, and then execute a final project, either individually or as a group.

5.  Blog All About It: Read this article featuring a New Jersey family that blogs together about books and encourages support of Banned Books Week. Choose a banned title to read as a family. Discuss it over dinner and/or online together. Include far-flung extended family by blogging or writing literary letters.

6.  ‘Speak’ or Not?: This week, a university professor, Wesley Scroggins, attacked Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak” as “soft pornography” in The Springfield News-Leader of Missouri. Ms. Halse Anderson responded on her blog, as did the teacher and blogger Donalyn Miller on The Book Whisperer Blog. Read the blog posts and discuss both positions. What is “soft pornography”? Should teenagers, as novelist and Harvard student Isabel Kaplan argues in her Huffington Post post, read books with such content? Adapt this 2006 lesson on a book ban in the Miami-Dade school system to study the controversy and write letters to The News-Leader expressing your opinion about the issues raised in the debate. Decide whether or not you want to read “Speak” yourself.

7.  Librarians for Liberty: Have you ever been caught reading under the covers? So was the late Judith Krug, the librarian who created Banned Books Week –- and her mother’s reaction to what she was reading taught her a lesson about having the freedom to read that later translated into her passion for the First Amendment and intellectual freedom. Learn more about Ms. Krug and consider the role of libraries in our democracy. What are the implications of book banning? What role do librarians and libraries play – even in the digital age –- in protecting intellectual freedom? Work with school or local librarians to plan a Banned Books Week event -– perhaps a read-a-thon or book festival, featuring banned books, with proceeds to benefit the library. Be sure to thank your librarians for the important work they do.

8.  Protective Policies: See how librarians at the Brooklyn Public Library handle challenges to books and other creative works in their collection, and read some sample requests for reconsideration and responses. Consider the fact that different people find different books “detestable,” and that in the name of freedom the Brooklyn library stocks books that offend or disturb many people, like “Mein Kampf.” Interview your local or school librarian about the library’s policies and guidelines about what books to stock and how to handle challenges. Then draft a policy that takes into consideration First Amendment freedoms and tolerance for a range of beliefs and values.

9.  Spotlight Censorship: Read about a 2008 traveling exhibition called “Censorship in Public Schools and Libraries,” sponsored by the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship. Research issues of censorship in your area or on a certain theme (like journalism) and build an exhibit of artifacts to represent the history you discover. Write exhibition tags explaining each piece, and invite the community to visit. The American Library Association offers additional display ideas to mark Banned Books Week.

10.  Go Global: The Times often covers books and other works that have been censored internationally, like in China and Iraq (as well as, occasionally, by the United States). Read about the role of books in other countries and the implications of book banning abroad and explore Web sites commonly blocked in countries like China and Saudi Arabia. Consider why these governments want to block the content in question, and how national history, culture and politics come into play during such episodes. What does a country’s censorship history tell us about what its government and citizens value? Create a timeline or narrative history of one country’s relationship with censorship, including, if possible, interviews with people who have direct experience.

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week?

The words above are not mine.  But they fully express how I feel about books, and Banned Books.  I wrote a post last year - one of the first ones I wrote on this blog (Happy Birthday Thummprints).  I work in the book industry and I find that people are often shocked that books are still banned in this great country of ours, and they are even more shocked when they find out what some of the books are.  Classics.  Children's books.  Current blockbuster movies that were originally books. 

It saddens me to think that books can not only be banned, but that there are people for whatever reason - fear or ignornace - that think banning a book is good for their children.  For our country.  But that's the beaurty of living in this country - we have the freedom to choose.

Celebrate your freedom to read this week - pick up a Banned Book and read.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coming Soon...

An actual food post.  With a recipe and everything.  As soon as I find my camera - computer connector cable thingy.

It's not lost.  It's just hiding.

As is my spare.

But, I will prevail.  I am woman.  Therefore I "loose" things all the time.  And find them as soon as I stop looking for them.  Why is that?

Other lost things that I am currently hunting for:  my external disk drive, my ability to "sleep in" past 7am, my super cool parrot eraser/pencil sharpener (it looks like this):

Isn't this the cutest thing ever?
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

These Are Some of My Favorite Things . . .

I have to thank my cubbymate for introducing me to this.  She was wearing some and I commented on how great she smelled.  Like clean laundry.  And who doesn't love that smell?  It's one of my favorites.  Right up there with Edna Mae's House (ie Grammy) and chlorine.

I once read somewhere that having a signature scent, or a go to perfume was like having the perfect accessory.  But if you're like me - perfume makes you sneeze and gives you headaches.  It's bad.  It's just not attractive to be sniffing, sneezing and have red, watery eyes.  Nope. Not sexy at all.  So for the most part - I avoid putting anything smelly on.  So when I get the complement that I smell good . . . it really is me.

Until today.

Today I smell of Warm Cotton.

Then . . . there are these little delights:

There aren't enough words: Yum.  Delicious.  Wunderbar.  OMG.  They're like eating summer in a tiny morsel.  Chocolate covered goodness.  Not to mention that for the most part, they're Green and White.  My inner Kappa Delta sings at this.  Coconut M&M's are yet another reason I need to stay away from Quick Trip.

The other being the fact that I love adding cherry flavoring to my sodas.  Not something easily done at every gas station around The Lou.  Thankfully I don't live near a QT - I have to travel a circuitous route to get there.  Not to say that I won't.  Cause I will.  I just won't do it every day.

On a side note:  I saw Easy A this weekend.  Thought it was hilarious.  Did any of you out there in the blogosphere see anything good this weekend?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Greek Fest

Here is the over do post on one of my other Labor Day Weekend activities.  Greek Fest is put on every year by St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - and boy oh boy is it worth the trip to mid-town and the nightmare parking.  You can check out their own site dedicated to Greek Fest - voted the Best Local Festival by St. Louis Magazine.  I have to agree.  It's pretty darn cool.  There's more than just food (just case you are wondering from my post); there's dancing, shopping and church tours (which some year I would like to go on). Take a look at the delicious food that my family and I partook in eating:

Tiropites and Spanakopites (filo dough filled goodness). This is my mother's favorite thing in the whole wide world.  Well that and "real" Greek Salad.  She travelled to Greece this year and ever since has been eating cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and sometimes peppers tossed in a light vinaigrette.  It makes her happy.

Greek Salad.  I dream about this salad dressing.  Literally.  You can purchase it in the Taverna (aka the shopping room).  We've been out at my house for over a year.  It was very sad.  Depressing even.  I bought three bottles this year - and you better believe it will be rationed.  My mother and I always split this salad - it's large enough to do that.  And I don't like Feta enough to eat a whole bunch of this salad on my own.

Mmmm . . . Pastitsio (my favorite thing to eat at Greek Fest), and a grilled a kabob.  You can get almost any classic "Greek" dish at the festival.  Lambshank & Rice Pilaf.  Moussaka.  Greek Herbed Chicken.  It's all there.  The hardest part is picking what you want - and then hopefully it's different from what the others you go with get.  Sharing is a must.

My plate of Greek Cookies and Pastries... ohmygoodness are they good.  All of them.  If you don't like honey and nuts I would suggest you stay away from the "gooey" pastries.  I used to by a box and haul it back to college with me every year, and never ever share them with anyone. I wasn't the nicest roommate where cookies were concerned - but cookies are my weakness.


Have you seen the super cute giveaway from Tipsy Skipper over on College Prep's blog?  You can find all the pertinents by following this link.  I for one will be entering - I think Tipsy Skipper's stuff is ab-fab!  As you all know by now - I LOVE color, and there is plenty of that in all of the things created by the artist.

A little blurb about Tipsy Skipper from her website:

"Ahoy, and welcome aboard TipsySkipper! Everyone knows that fresh sea breezes, good friends and tasty libations are the makings of great times and wonderful memories. But they are also the inspiration for great designs that buoy the spirit and enliven the senses!

As a descendant of the famous pirate, Captain Morgan - and a pretty fearless graphic designer (BFA, Rhode Island School of Design) - it’s probably not surprising that my cleverest notions are born at sea, under sail. I hope you’ll find that my bold colors and patterns evoke a sense of refreshing, adventurous and rejuvenating exploits – like a climb along the rocky New England coastline or a plunge into Block Island Sound.

Many experiences and creative people have influenced my work, but I owe a debt of thanks to the talented folks at Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer who, through amazing internships, have enhanced my understanding of commercial design and inspired me to embark on this fantastic voyage.

So, hop in and join me on TipsySkipper – it’s perfectly safe and tons of fun to rock the boat as we set sail through the salty spray in pursuit of treasures ahead! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!"

So head over to College Prep and enter today.  I mean how can you not love someone who can work the phrase "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!" into their blog bio?

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices

So over Labor Day Weekend I spent my Friday night at the library.  Why?  Because Cassandra Clare was gracing us with her lovely self.  I was so excited when I found out she was coming, I almost squeed myself.  It's true.

Lady V (my dear friend and co-worker at the bookstore) and one of her twin kiddos met me there.  I turned Lady V (who turned her twins) onto The Mortal Instruments last year - and she, like me, devoured the books in short order. It's hard not to - they're fantastic!

Everyone else was all hyped up on The Twilight Saga - and well, I never got into that whole thing very much.  I tried.  Really and truly I tried - they just never took.  I've even traveled to Forks, Washington.  Not because I'm a die-hard fan - but because I was curious (and I was already on the Kitsap Peninsula at the time).  Cute town.  Totally run over by Twilight.  Freakishly so.  You can see some pictures from my trip to Forks here.

But . . . back to Ms . Clare and her wonderful books.  I can't wait to read Clockwork Angel - but first I think I need to go back and re-read The Mortal Instruments because as I understand it (and as Ms. Clare explained) everything is interconnected.  And I would really hate for something to go over my head because it's been a while since I've read the other books

And I have to show you a picture of two girls at the signing.  They went all out and I think they look great!  I really, really like the girl on the right.  Her shirt sums up pretty much how I feel about the whole thing.  Ha!  But, seriously, how creative are they:

So if you need me . . . and you can't locate me, assume that I am curled up somewhere and have my nose in one of these books, and will be that way for some time.

PS - if you haven't read them I highly recommend you read The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.  Stat!  You can purchase any of her books (or anthologies) here. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Nursery Rhyme Grows Up

When I saw this I had to smile.  My favorite children's rhyme when I was itty bitty and oh so tiny was "Hey Diddle, Diddle."  My mother has a full set of fourteen Childcraft Books from 1949 (they were hers growing up and someday they'll hold a place of honor on my bookshelf) and I have memories of staring at the pages and looking at the pictures while she read to me.

Only, more often than not, she sang "Hey Diddle, Diddle" to me.  To get me to go to sleep.  To hush when I was fussy.  Calm me down when I was upset.  Warm fuzzies in a song. 

I'm getting a little misty eyed here.  Would it be wrong to call my mother at twenty-six years old and have her sing to me over the phone?  Probably.  But there's not a whole lot my mother wouldn't do for her one and only kiddo.  But singing a nursery rhyme over the phone might be pushing it - especially at my age.  If I were still a wee-little one she'd probably do it.  My dad used to make funny voices over the phone for me when he traveled when I was young.  And he's probably mortififed that I just told everyone that.  Love you Daddy!


I could see this print in my kitchen, but then I am very eclectic and almost anything goes in my world.  I already have some really neat pictures planned out to hang on a kitchen wall (some of which I'll cover in another post about Etsy prints) and this would fit in very nicely.  Not to mention that the blue matches the blue in my set of dishes perfectly. (I like lots of color - have I mentioned this?)

If you want your very own rejected, neglected, and dejected fork the print can be found on Etsy in thinkaboutrainbows's shop.  All of her prints are super adorable.  I'm really in love with the fork though - I mean look at his little face.  How could not want to take him home and save him from a life of dullness in the drawer with the butter knife? 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Birthday Treat (Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake)

Every year I make my own birthday cake . . . pie . . . treat.  And it's an agonizing decision.  So many sweet things to pick from.  This year was a particularly bad year.  I literally had a list of sweet, gooey things just waiting for me to sort through.

And it got longer by the day.

The morning that I was going to make my sweet treat I panicked.  I still hadn't picked anything.  I needed help deciding.  Major help.  I enlisted my mother's help in picking what I was going to slave over making later in the day.  So she asked the one question I hadn't asked myself, "is there something that you have been wanting to make for a long time . . . something that you've really wanted to make?"

Um . . . yea.  The cheesecake.  You know the one.  The Cappuccino Fudge dream found over on Annie's Eats?  Yup, that one.  The one that has been dancing in my dreams since Annie first blogged about it in March.  The cheesecake I had been looking for an excuse to make for months.

Happy (bleated) Birthday to me. 

And special thanks goes out to Mrs. BeanCounter (aka Mrs BC) for keeping me company, helping me measure ingredients and for quantifying what a "slight jiggle" means as far as baking cheesecakes go.  And the wine.

Can't forget the wine.

I slept very well that night.

Course it could have been the five plus hours I spent baking.  Or it could have something to do with lifting and moving my birthday treat.  Cheesecakes are heavier than I thought.  They're solid little things.

So if you have the need or the urge - trust me, you will LOVE this cake.  It's heaven.  Just don't plan on eating too large of a piece - you might slide into a sugar coma. 

Of course, that's not always a bad thing.

Vintage Virgo

The moment I saw this poster I fell in love with it.  I'm a big vintage nut.  And a huge color freak.  This poster is the embodiment of everything I love. 

Not to mention I have a small thing for my sign.  I'm not big into astrology or anything - but I have a few things that I covet.  A Sylvester / Tweety Bird Virgo Mug (one year everyone in my family got a Looney Tunes astrology mug for Christmas), a small gold charm from Germany that shows the Virgo Star Constellation on it.  A few things that are very dear to my heart. 

I'd like to add this to my collection as well . . . but I have to save up a few shekels first.  The poster is located in simbolidesign's shop on Etsy.  They have listings for other zodiac signs too.  They are all very, very cool.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Lou - My Home Town

Just a quick post.  It's been a busy weekend - several posts to follow on the wacky times that ensued over Labor Day Weekend 2010.  

It was fun.  

I'm nice and relaxed.  Ready to face the shortened work week with a smile on my face.

I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite pictures of downtown St. Louis (Peter Max is my hero).  There are a lot of iconic  places featured in this piece of art:  The Arch, The Old Courthouse, Union Station and the Mississippi River.

ps - just in case you follow me in your RSS feed and didn't visit the physical site, there have been a few things going on here.  One - I'm now and I'm playing around with the site design (yes I know there are still a few technical issues - I'm working on those).  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Take some time out of your schedules this month to tell your best girl friends how much they mean to you.  Call.  Send an email.  Go out for a meal.  Go to the spa.  Whatever strikes your fancy.  

To all my Kappa Delta sisters out there - Love & AOT.

To all my non sorority sisters out there - love you more than the color orange.

Special shout out to my Big Sis & my G'Mama.  Miss you both terribly.  


I hear that Anthony's Restaurant has a great sunset special.