Sunday, September 25, 2011

We Disappear

During senior week last year on our epic walk down Broadway in Chicago, my roommates and I discovered the cute little Unabridged Bookstore amongst our cupcake and hat-finding adventure.

I picked up a very very discounted copy of We Disappear by Scott Heim, with high hopes for all the "fun reading" I would surely soon be able to get to as the school year was ending. Baha, bahaha. I must have forgotten that I'd soon be receiving a pile of reading for the DPI program in the mail. Nevertheless, I kept it on the top of my pile and promised to get to it eventually.

I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "psychological thriller;" calling it "psychologically disturbing" would be accurate. I thought this book was interesting and pretty unique. I think lately there's been an accidental theme of finding oneself working across my reading choices, perhaps as a reflection of the theme most present in my life at the moment. I appreciated the way that this book took that theme to a very literal place and demonstrated how all of the characters struggled both inwardly and sometimes outwardly to find themselves in a world that seemed to often be changing all too quickly or to be getting away from them. Worth a read.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rainy Day Baking

This morning it's been raining pretty much nonstop, and it's supposed to rain all weekend. So in between sending emails about jobs and things of that nature, I decided it would be a good day to bake something yummy and comforting.

I decided to make these delicious french toast cupcakes that I adapted from a recipe I found here.

My favorite part of this recipe is that on top of the cupcake itself (underneath the frosting), there's this delicious french toast crust, made of an egg, milk, and cinnamon mixture, which really gives it that crusty french toast texture. For my version, I decided to top them with a vanilla buttercream that just a touch of cinnamon. Then I topped them with another little sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Mmm...breakfast for dessert. :)

Madness & Other Musings

I didn't really expect this to be such a quick read. But then again, I should really learn from my experiences and start to overpack books rather than underpacking them "to save space" sucks to get caught bookless on a two hour commute.

The Bell Jar shocked me in how much I was able to relate to it, which as anyone who has read my thesis might have realized, I do perhaps too often with books about madwomen. Unlike many of the "mad" women who found their way into my thesis, however, Esther's problems seemed much closer to those things that I've been dealing with on a daily basis. What am I doing with my life? Furthermore, is that what I really want to or should be doing? Am I making sure to include the right people along the way? Was that decision that I just made (whether it's what type of coffee I just purchased, how I chose to spend my weekend, or that job I applied for) really the right choice? I'm really fascinated by the way these seemingly minor decisions an stand to drive a person crazy if they pile up too high.

I think, too, that another part of The Bell Jar I found really interesting was the way that Esther seemed to fall deeper and deeper into madness as the people around her became more accusatory. It begs the question that I came to again and again in my thesis: How relative is "madness," and how can we deem someone "mad" just based on our own ideas of sanity and "normal"?

"I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo."

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Just come on home"

To both my homes! :) Heading back to both Trenton and ND for the weekend, and I couldn't be more excited. I'll get to see the ND/MSU game and my family all in one weekend (plus I'll get to switch my clothing collection for the coming weeks of job hunting--particularly awesome since it's FALL all of a sudden).

In the spirit of fall, tailgating, and seeing my beloved Snip Nose again, I made some delicious treats for game day tomorrow.

My pinterest addiction has been a little out of control lately, but it inspired me to make these amazing chocolate-covered strawberries, decorated with white chocolate to look like little footballs! On top of that, though, I wanted to do something really amazing (and Snip Nose inspired, as I said). So, not only are these chocolate covered, they're also cheesecake stuffed, with a graham cracker crumb topping holding it all together. Oh, goodness.

Goooooo Irish! Beeeeeat Spartans!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Devourer of Books

Still on a bit of a baking feels a little strange to go rifling through someone else's kitchen for ingredients and pans and what not. What that has given me ample time for (in between stressing over the job search and what not of course) is to pick my running habit back up and to read...a lot.

When I was in the city recently, gawking at the Random House office on Broadway, I noticed a gorgeous poster for Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares in their window. I did a double take, because I'm not sure how I missed this "ten years later" installment in one of my favorite young adult series. Admittedly, I'm always a bit skeptical of the whole flash forward approach to books and movies and such, but this seemed a bit different since she really seemed to just be doing a catch up with the characters.

This book was nothing like I expected, but somehow it also totally delivered everything I would have wanted in a catch-up sesh with my best friends from years ago...for better or for worse.

Friday, September 9, 2011


For the last couple of weeks, I've been...well, a variety of places. I've actually slept in five different states over the last two weeks. Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Indiana, and Pennsylvania (and that doesn't even include the states I've driven through!). It's been slow going on the job search, but at least I'm doing everything I can. It's definitely been an interesting experience, but I've certainly learned a lot. For instance, while sleeping on someone's couch isn't my preferred living situation, it definitely makes me appreciate things like beds, long[er] showers, and opportunities to do laundry. Above all, the whole experience so far has really made me look forward to a time of stability...when I can really unpack my things and have a space all my own again.

Until then, I'll be staying at my uncle's for a little while in New Jersey, which has been really nice. Some time to get to know my cousins better and an opportunity to help out a little around the house, plus a little bit of alone time during the day when everyone's at school and work to get my life together and whatnot. Plus, I found a little gem of an opportunity on my first day here that I took advantage of today...something to bake! At one point or another, the family mentioned that they loooove corn muffins--that they were a real treat. Well, this morning when the last one disappeared off the counter, I thought...

I used a recipe I found here for some sweet, more cake-like corn muffins, but instead of using cornmeal, I used real corn kernels. I hope they like them!

In other news, here's a bit about different things I've been reading along my travels.

First and foremost, I loved the narration in this book, which explains why I love this cover so much. The other cover isn't bad, but I think this one really speaks to the wonderfully unique narrator.

Excellent read, although I'm not sure I want to see the movie. I know it's gotten a lot of hype lately, and I'll probably see it at some point just to check it out, but I really loved Gruen's style, and that's generally where I get a little sad about the book/film correlation discrepancy.

Finishing it up now. Not my favorite, but a fast-paced, action-packed read that definitely kept me on my toes. I'll probably pick up The Girl Who Played with Fire at some point, but it's not my very next read or anything like that. I've got no real sense of urgency for it, and i think I might like a change of pace for a bit before I dive into my next Stieg Larsson.