New Blog!! Brief Book Reviews

Miss me?

Well... After a 3 year blogging hiatus I've started a new blog called Brief Book Reviews.

In January I set a goal to read 40 books by the end of the year; in mid February when I hit 20, I changed my goal to 65 (with the hope that I'll actually read 100), and started Brief Book Reviews. 

Take a look, and follow along on Instagram: @briefbookreviews
Happy reading!


short hair love affair

Can I just tell you how much I am loving my short bleached hair? Chopping my hair has inspired wardrobe choices as well. I'm dressing more and more for fun and attempting to veer away from boring basic, though my uniform most days is still jeans and a t-shirt. Take these overalls, above. I hesitated over buying them (on super sale), but am so glad I did. They're amazing. When I wear them with my high-top chucks I do feel a little bit like my 6th grade self, but I bet she'd high-five me for my awesome outfit.

Anyhow, back to short hair. Every day I wake up loving it all over again... until it needs to be cut, which is where I'm at now. I'm looking forward to having it reshaped and re-bleached next week. Here are some short haircuts I'm currently smitten with:

And how amazing is this lady's hair? In LOVE.

[images: pinterest]



Last night I finished Jo Baker's intensely readable and richly detailed novel Longbourn. In it, Baker elegantly refocuses the lens of Austen's Pride and Prejudice from the Bennet sisters to the plight of their maid, Sarah, and the inner workings of Longbourn. Behind the scenes at Longbourn there are are clothes to be scrubbed and mended, tea to be served, ladies to be dressed and coiffed, and chamber pots to be carried out and emptied.

I hesitated before cracking open this book, I'll admit. Too often re-imaginings of classics fall sadly short. Either the writing is horribly off, or the plot veers to sickly sweet romance or zombies. Longbourn exceeded my expectations. While honoring Austen and the world she created at Longbourn, Baker successfully airs the day-to-day drudgery and maintenance of that world without the original story ever becoming tarnished. Instead, we are privy to secrets, conversations, and facets of the Bennet household that enrich the story and amuse the reader at every turn. 

All in all a wonderful read...

NPR Q&A with Jo Baker


tara donovan's cups

Untitled, 2003
Styrofoam Cups, Hot Glue
Dimensions Variable
Ace Gallery Los Angeles, 2005


the plot is not my own

I haven't read poetry in a long time. Not because I don't love it, I do. 
Most of it.

It's more that most poetry doesn't fulfill me in the way that fiction does. It doesn't transport me so completely. And at this point, if what I'm reading doesn't transport me, doesn't transfix and insert me into the easy machinations of the story, I don't have the head space for it. I want to be transported, taken into another world, another life.

It's not that I don't love my life. I do. But at the end of the day, I want to experience something else, something fresh and unknown. Even if the story or the characters aren't fresh, they're new to me. The plot is not my own.

But tonight Djuna pulled Turneresque by Elizabeth Willis off the shelf and brought it over for me to read to her. This is her new thing. She brings me books, plonks herself in my lap, and sits still for 5, 10, 15 second stretches before she's off again, in search of the next book. (We are raising another reader for sure).

So as I flipped through pages of my old poetry teacher's book, I happened upon a poem that reminded me of being in my early twenties again. Of that feeling that I was living with all the unknown ahead of me. Every day an adventure, every book or movie or song a life I might live or emulate.

untitled by Elizabeth Willis

The day left off with a kind of singing "bang." Golden-
rod in a small sea-like air, specific and unbroken. I cannot
favor hunger or its alternatives. I cannot describe salt. In
a parallel universe does anything intersect the confused
blossoming blueness of a wall that is not sea, not golden-
rod, but the paper fastenings of you, standing against it?
I favor concrete between our rage and its mirage. Its
broken line. Catch the flying saucer but spit out its metal
mystery. Adore the big green nothing of the past, the
rationing of calm late in the century, like the arches of a
brick heart, letting go.

[image: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), The Burning of the Houses of Parliament, from Old Palace Yard, with Westminster Abbey, c. 1834; watercolor and gouache with scraping-out and stopping-out on paper, 55 x 80]


happy birthday, djuna baby

Djuna on her first birthday
A year ago, after a quick 3 hour labor, our Djuna was born. I have been thinking about that birth experience all day. After weeks of waiting and getting increasingly tired of being pregnant, I was joyful to finally be in labor. I felt powerful, so different than when I gave birth to Stella. Giving birth isn't easy, but looking back I can remember starting to push and thinking I can do this, my body is strong, I can do this...

In some ways that ease and assurance has carried over into Djuna's first year. She is very much the second child. There is less intense one-on-one time with her because our attentions are always so fractured.

I hear myself say "she'll be fine" all the time after falls, face-plants, and crying jags. It's a nonchalance that only comes when you've seen a first child survive the mishaps of the first year and beyond. "Let her figure it out," is another phrase I find myself repeating.

She's showing signs of being more independent than Stella was at one. Part of this is due to the fact that she's been walking for two months already (a full 3 months sooner than Stella).

Djuna (Djunes, Djunie, Djuna baby, Pooms) loves greeting people with a smile and a wave, watching dogs, and gazing out our front windows. She is generally pretty content, but is quick to tell us when she doesn't like or want something. She likes swinging and exploring at the park. She spits out a lot of foods, but seems to dig cherries and sausage. She loves Stella but usually wiggles away from her hugs. She blows pretty sweet kisses.

Happy birthday, Djunes!



We're back!

This photo was taken at 7:30am at the park yesterday. The girls woke us up at 3am and refused to go back to sleep, despite our many attempts. By the time we got to the park we'd already eaten breakfast, stopped for coffee and croissants (Stella must be going through another growth spurt because she is eating every 30 minutes) in the city, and dropped Jordan off at work.

This morning they woke up at 3:40am. I managed to get Djuna back to sleep, but Stella and I were up eating breakfast again at 4:30am.

Jet lag is no joke. It is going to be another LONG day.

Have a lovely weekend!


be back soon... and friday links

Kara Rosenlund's "Sea," via Cup of Jo
We are headed to the south of France and Berlin for two weeks, so the old blog will be neglected for a bit while we are away. I am excited to get away with family, and visit with dear friends we haven't seen in awhile, but I'm totally dreading the flights and traveling with a newly-walking toddler. When do vacations with kids become relaxing?

See you in a few weeks!

Pan-roasted chicken with harissa chickpeas.

My friends Melissa on SFGirlByBay!

Remember Sarah? Her site, Speed4Sarah, just launched. Consider donating to help find a cure for ALS.

One of Stella's favorite activities? Taking photos.

I'm not grossed out by armpit hair on women, are you? Truthfully, I often grow mine out, and I find it quite sexy on other women.

How Powerful Is Your Passport?

This pretty much sums up my daily uniform.

How a woman's plan to kill herself helped her family grieve.

Josey Baker Builds a Bakery

(Happy Birthday to my Dad!!)


djuna, 11 months

Djuna, 11 months
Djuna's first birthday just a month away, can you believe it?!

It's funny to look back at this post and think about those last weeks before Djuna was born, when it was still just the 3 of us.

Djuna at 11 months is walking and getting into everything. Her vocabulary consists of uh oh, Dada, and Mama, in that order. She loves seeing dogs, but seems to be allergic to them. She's still plagued by eczema on her hands and ankles, despite my heroic attempts (they have helped some) at excluding dairy, nuts, and tomatoes from my diet, and putting ointments on her throughout the day. She has 8 teeth, and an underbite to boot. She likes waving goodbye. She loves watching, toddling after, and touching Stella. She is watchful and a bit serious but has a smile that lights up the room.