February is a short month, but that doesn’t mean it lacked excitement. I started an embroidery project, went back to my office, and got to visit one of my very best friends!

The top five posts with the most views in February were

Some snapshots from the month.rosesnailscoffeechiliscards

Don’t forget there’s one month left to read Middlesex for family book club. Now on to the next one!

a little neon

Sometimes, in the dead of winter when I’m dreaming of beach vacation, it helps me to wear a little pop of color. Or, well, a lot.

neon office look

Dress from H&M, sweater from Uniqlo (and inspired by my friend Anna who had a cardigan in a similar color that I was obsessed with), Hue tights and shoes from Penneys. Belt is one that came with another skirt.

Wearing bright colors in winter was one part an effort to pretend I didn’t have a cold, one part a way to convince me it was warmer than it actually was, and one part just plain fun. Try it! It’s a guaranteed pick-me-up on gray days. When you’re ready to ditch work and head to fun, dress it up a little differently. Like this.

neon casual

I undid the belt, threw on some leopard flats from Target and donned a silk scarf as a headband. When it warms up I’ll ditch the tights and the sweater and have a whole new look. Don’t let anyone tell you that a hot pink dress isn’t versatile.

there are other worlds than these (embroidery no. 3)

gunslinger embroidery with kindle

“Go then. There are other worlds than these.” These words echo over and over throughout the Dark Tower series, and first appear in the first book The Gunslinger (Kindle version here). I read Stephen King’s series for the first time last year and fell in love. I love the characters, I love the crazy plot twists, and I love how much fun these books are to read. I’ve written a lot about them and have enjoyed all seven books up through the surprise ending.

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back to work

back to work outfit

I went back to my office last week for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. It was like the Twilight Zone. I had notes on my desk about reports we did three months ago. My calendar was open to October. I found a box of pop tarts in my drawer–they were still good.

I tend to wear more skirts than pants, but I felt good in this outfit. Pants from the Gap, shoes from Target, blazer from Penneys, top from the Loft. I like how the polka dots in the shirt pick up the same colors as the leopard print in my shoes. It gave me just enough pep in my step as I walked around the office for the first time in almost four months.

odd thomas

odd thomas

Odd Thomas! How I loved your quirky characters, your heart, your ghosts, and your central mystery.

But let’s talk about your girlfriend. You know, Stormy? Your soul mate, your feisty partner who knows her way around a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. You have matching birthmarks and you’re ready to marry her after years of being amazed by her strength and her love.

So how do you show you love her, trust her, and respect her? You hide from her, Odd, and I don’t understand it.

Odd Thomas can see the dead. He speaks to them (though they don’t talk back), and he tries to help them so they can move on. This has often led him into dangerous situations and into a tricky relationship with the chief of police because many ghosts who find him in Pico Mundo are trying to uncover their murderers, who are very much still alive.

And in this first adventure with Odd in Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel by Dean Koontz (Kindle version here), he gets into some dangerous situations indeed. But Odd chooses to hide his extracurricular activities from Stormy. He doesn’t want to put her in danger, so he lies to her and tells her he’s fine, omits that his friend has been shot and that a killer (or killers) are on the loose. And I believe that in doing so, he put her in more danger than she would have been than if she were well informed and prepared.

I get not wanting to put your loved ones in danger–I am a human with a heart. But Stormy is not his child, or his dog. Stormy is a real life human who Odd is supposed to be an equal with in a loving relationship. And in hiding these truths from Stormy, Odd does her and their relationship a disservice.

He says he trust her and believes in her, but his actions don’t say that at all. He doesn’t trust her to make wise choices and be ready to face danger with him, so he keeps her out of the loop and out of his life.

We see this a lot in fiction, and maybe in real life too. Edward lies to Bella to get her out of danger when a rival vampire comes into town (yeah, it’s Twilight–stick with me). In the Fifty Shades trilogy, Christian lies to Ana to keep news of a bribe and kidnapping from her. Both of these men are lauded for their strength and protection of their women (bleh).

This is often held up as an ideal–that men are protecting women and that’s what you should look for in a perfect partner. But if my boyfriend/husband/best friend/anyone kept these things from me, I would feel betrayed and hurt. Together we should be able to find a way to handle the situation. I’m not saying send me to the front lines here (But yay! Women can do that now!) but I am saying women should be treated with respect–always, but especially in romantic relationships. We are not flowers who can’t hear dirty words, we are not weaklings who shrink from life, we are not passive participants in our relationships. I hope.

Where have we seen some really kick-ass women in modern stories? Katniss was pretty badass. Let’s see how it would go if Peeta was on the run and didn’t talk to Katniss about it. I daresay he’d have more to worry about if Katniss found out than from the murderers themselves.

Hermione, oh Hermione. She’s right there with Harry and Ron making plans and taking punches. They love her, and so of course they want her to be safe, but they respect her skills and her brains. They couldn’t have made it without Hermione, and they know it. (Not to mention Ginny, Luna, Mrs. Weasley, and Professor McGonagall.) (Interesting fact: the authors of Twilight, Fifty Shades, HP, and The Hunger Games are all women.)

And Stormy is (supposedly) one of the strong ones. She is outspoken, never shies away from Odd’s peculiar gift, and even helps him out of a sticky situation like a pro. And there’s other strong women and good relationships in Odd Thomas. The chief of police’s wife is right there by her husband’s side, discussing who’s on the loose, and she’s in his inner circle when he needs to talk about work, or probably anything else.

So I just don’t get it when it comes to Odd and Stormy. But I did love everything else about Odd Thomas. The characters are wonderfully weird and Odd is great in every other instance. It was a fun ride and a good mystery, and I will be reading more Odd Thomas for sure. Thanks to my sister for telling me to check it out!

I also wrote about Odd Thomas here during a screen-printing craft.

(I bought this book on my own and am not being paid to write about it. But I am a part of the Amazon Affiliates program, so if you buy it through my links, I’ll receive a little bit of money for it.) 

mary poppins bag (or my travel carry on)

I had such a great time traveling this past weekend. I got to spend time with my friend Jewels (of Oven Lovin) and meet a lot of really great people in her life. I was going to do this post about what to wear while traveling but over the weekend I realized my most important accessory was my carry-on bag.

carry on tote bag

My cousin gave me this bag. It’s the perfect color, goes with everything, is sturdy and sleek enough to be somewhat fancy, but can also go with casual things. And the best part is that it can fit everything I need to take with me on a plane AND zip all the way. Here’s what I had in it:

what's in your bag

The book I’m reading for book club, last week’s New York, my wallet, gloves, ear muffs, an umbrella, air plane snacks, my computer, headphones, a notebook, pens, toothpaste, Advil, sunglasses, regular glasses, my phone, my camera and a giant water bottle (last few items not pictured). What more could a girl need?

What do you carry when you travel? I probably overpacked, but since it all fit and zipped up, I couldn’t help myself. I felt so prepared.

cold weather gear

look of the day

As you might have heard, the Northeast got quite a blizzard last weekend. New York got some snow but definitely not as much as other places. I spent most of the weekend inside and crafting, but when I did run out, I made sure I was bundled up and waterproof. Mostly.

I’m wearing rain boots from Banana Republic, and a coat and scarf from Penneys. The rest is basic leggings, black top, black skirt from an assortment of places, none of which I can remember. I stayed warm and my feet stayed dry.

Have a great long weekend if you have one! I’m heading out of town, so I’ll see you Tuesday.