Saturday, March 19, 2011

I just finished an absolute gem of a book called Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. I'm not especially interested in science and knew nothing about the Curies before reading this book, but nevertheless I highly recommend it. Part work of art, part picture book for adults, every page was a joy to linger over. If you're looking for a hard hitting biography with loads of intimate details or a truly scientific primer, this is not the book for you. If, however, you appreciate creative expression, want to read something completely unlike other biographies out there, and treasure the books in your personal library - then I urge you to pick up this book.

Through it's picture book format, you'll learn a lot about the Curie's research on radiation, their discoveries of radium and polonium, and the effects of radiation on the human body (given the heartbreaking recent events in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that cut power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant causing increased radiation levels in the area - it is an interesting time to have read this book). You'll also learn much about the Curie's personal lives and the tabloid-worthy affairs of Marie - it's juicy! Even the typeface used throughout the book was created by the author an has a very interesting history (explained at the very end of the book), and the book itself glows in the dark (an homage to radium)! This is one piece of literary work that really has it all. Just check out some of these pages:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lazy Sunday: Museum Retreat

Lazy Sunday: Museum
This Sunday I retreated to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for a heaping dose of culture and a double shot of inspiration. The new Art of the Americas wing was great, and they had several rotating exhibitions I was excited to see (Japanese woodblock prints and the Art of Tea, to name a couple) which did not disappoint. I find venturing off to museums on my own to be so enjoyable - it can be really nice to take things at your own pace, not worry about whether anyone else is enjoying themselves, and skip the rooms you are simply not interested in.

A few important factors to keep in mind for ANY museum visit:
  • Wear comfortable shoes - After about 5 minutes the floors become terribly hard on your feet, and you don't want sore tootsies keeping you from enjoying your day. Opt for some cute sneakers with serious cushioning.
  • Bring a notepad - Jot down the names of artists (or scientists, archeological sites, what have you) whose work you want to learn more about. You'll see so much in one museum it's impossible to recall all of the items you wanted to do some more research on, so go prepared with a little notebook.
  • Take a pen - Of course you'll need something to write on your notepad with, but I recommend taking a pen for another reason as well... to write on the museum map! The glossy pamphlets they typically provide at museums are hard to write on with a pencil, so take a pen with you to mark on the map as you go. Star the exhibits you absolutely must see, cross out rooms as you go along, make notes of where you found a surprising treasure you want to recommend to a friend, even draw arrows to plan out your attack.
  • Rest frequently - Museum going can be exhausting. Most of us aren't used to standing on such hard floors all day in the low lighting, and all the intellectual stimulation can be downright fatiguing if you don't take things at a slow enough pace. Be sure to sit down at regular intervals, and scope out a cozy corner where you can relax between exhibits to jot down your thoughts about what you've seen. You'll be happy to have a record of your trip afterward, and you'll have more stamina to enjoy the rest of the museum.
  • Eat - Take healthy snacks with you to power your visit. Trail mix, like raisins and almonds, always packs well and the combination of natural sugar and protein is a great combination for short-term and long-term energy. Many museums offer dining options should your visit span over a meal time, but bringing a sandwich can be a good way to cut the cost of your trip dramatically ($12 salads from a box or a $6 PB&J? Supply and demand, I guess).
  • Take a layer - You never know how cool or warm it will be in museums, and it tends to vary from one room to the next, so dress in layers. You'll be glad to have a cozy cardigan tucked in your bag in the drafty European portraiture hall, and equally as glad to peel it off when you reach the small contemporary collage room filled with people putting off body heat.

Metropolitan Hair

Last night I watched the 1990 movie Metropolitan and fell in love with Carolyn Farina's character, Audrey. If I had darker hair, I think I would chop it into Audrey's cute cropped 'do. I couldn't find many photos from the film where it didn't look all debutanted up (I think it looks better when it's a bit more tousled) but adorable regardless. If you're interested in the film, there's a great review here. It's a quirky comedic look at a group of Manhattan preppies during deb season focused around their after parties where they talk social mobility and deal with Westsider Tom who accidentally falls into their crowd.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baking Fun

Green tea pistachio cupcakes! I was in a baking mood this weekend so I whipped up some of these very St. Patrick's Day appropriate cupcakes from the fabulous Color Me Vegan cookbook (which I highly recommend). I also made a batch of delicious gluten-free almond flour breakfast bars from Elana's Pantry. A great alternative to store-bought processed protein bars or granola bars, they're filled with whole foods including sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, raisins and pumpkin seeds. Seriously yummy stuff! Note, if you make the breakfast bars, be sure to let them cool fully before cutting them up or they'll get really crumbly. It will be hard though... they smell SO good out of the oven.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lazy Sunday: Simple Brunch

Lazy Sunday: Brunch

Things are finally starting to warm up and now that we're able to shed some of those extra layers (goodbye knit scarves!) I'm in the mood for very pared down style. Simple, relaxed ensembles with a slightly nautical theme are most appealing - ideal for meeting up with a friend for brunch! I think brunch has to be the best meal of all; you can go savory or sweet and mimosas are always on the menu. What's not to love?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekend Cinema

If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, I highly recommend going to your local independent cinema to see this year's Oscar shorts nominees. Last night my boyfriend and I braved the frigid temps to see the animated shorts at a local Landmark theater (they have vegan cookies at the concession stand!). I had no idea what we were in for but it seemed like something different to do, and I'm so glad we went. Each short (they ranged from 6 to 27 minutes in length) had a completely different animation style, pace, storyline (they're not all "kids movies" as some might mistakenly think) and feel.

Bonus - If you're like me and didn't see any of the Oscars and have no idea who won, you can debate which film you thought was best without any outside factors influencing your pick. I won't ruin the surprise for you, but it turns out my favorite was the winner. The cool thing about seeing these shorts is that there's no media frenzy surrounding them, and since you probably haven't seen trailers for any of them you have no idea what's coming next! It's a totally different theater experience. Also great for people with somewhat short attention spans who find themselves a little distracted by the time "feature" length films get started.

Here's a few shots from this year's nominees to whet your appetite...