November 29, 2011

As for a breath

I kind of need to take a breath. It's finals week. These are the grades that are going to be sent with my college application - you can't even fathom the pressure. This is the last step - if I fail, I will be devastated. After all this time...I can't screw this up. I just had a mocha. It's a mocha kind of day. Actually, it's a mocha kind of week. I had copious amounts of chocolate last night.

I have been listening to the soundtrack from An Education nonstop still. This song is my new favorite discovery.

A Sunday Kind of Love - Beth Rowley

November 26, 2011

As for some little things

I did have a lovely time reading Belinda in the sunroom today - cuddled up in one of those big rocking chairs...that was fleetingly nice.

Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese, was truly a spectacle. A beautiful love letter to the fantastical, to the imagination, to adventure. I just loved it. I particularly loved Isabelle, with her precocious vocabulary and love for literature (even Jules Verne!)....and her style.

And a treat for all of you....I adore this.
The Ballad of Love and Hate - The Avett Brothers

November 24, 2011

As for lonely nights

Tonight was just one of those nights. Spending the day with family was nice and all - dinner was  great, I love seeing my cousins and doing all of our traditions and such. Apples to Apples as always, and we had pumpkin cake with maple ice cream - keeping it classy! Near the end I got pretty claustrophobic, but that's ok, I just needed to escape to my room for a bit.

But yeah, just feeling kinda bummed. Then I wallowed in my bummedness. Then I listened to this song and danced around my room. Literally. Teenage girl style, all out (sans hairbrush microphone). Except, of course, I do not dance around to trashy pop music, I dance around to...

Eyes - Peter Bjorn and John

November 22, 2011

As for identity

We are all a conundrum of definitions.

5 feet tall. 100 pounds. Jewish. Upper-middle class. Student. White. Hourglass. Eastern European. 17. Brunette. Hazel. Bad eyesight. Straight teeth.

...and then, me.

I don't know about you guys, but I've always felt somewhat detached from my external self.

November 21, 2011

As for location, location, location

All these years of high school I've always thought about where I was exactly a year ago, and where I might be a year from that moment. After sophomore year, it really hit me how much a person can change in a year, and it kind of baffled me that once I was a junior, then a senior, I would have different attitudes and morals and experiences and opinions. That's pretty cool. But one thing that was always constant and predictable was my external situation; whereas internal was volatile, external was always the same. But now when I look to next year...I could be in Chicago, California, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, or Maine. Now that baffles me.

November 20, 2011

As for validation

It's a good morning, isn't it? I'm buckling down on some college supplements, but in a motivated and excited way (not in an anxious and rushed way). This is good. I'm stressing a bit about some tests on Tuesday, but...let's not talk about those.

This past week there has been a lot of press on a program that I work on (I won't discuss it in detail here because then this would turn into a blog entirely about that activity. Long story short: I've been working on it since ninth grade, it's been a huge growing experience, and I love it.) and lots of the adults in my life and that my parents know have been giving us lots of compliments and being very 'adulty proud,' etc. A big part of me dismisses the compliments. I know this sounds ridiculous and conceited, but ever since elementary school I've been overachieving and 'making adults proud.' Their fawning is nice, but I really do not get an ego boost out of it or feel more proud at all. I've always overachieved for myself. Kind of like a need to prove to myself my own worth (we're about to get psychological: watch out). I've never been the prettiest or the most popular; I got bullied a lot in elementary school and it took me a while to find really close friends (which I have now - hey guys, I really appreciate you). Overachieving is under my control. I can succeed in it and every day I feel validated by my successes. I suppose that's why the college process is especially scary for me - everyone is nervous about getting in to where they want, I understand that. But for me it feels like my acceptance or rejection answers the question "Was it all worth it?" Was all my work enough? Am I enough? I never had a "bad semester" or lull of achievement; I don't feel like my application has to make up for any imperfections. It is simply me at my best. And I need to know that my best is enough.

Also I would just like to say that being single last year was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. Sure all year I was all why don't any boys understaaaaand me, this sucksss (in that really annoying teenagey way). But that lack of social life really allowed me to dig into my studies and pound the pavement like I never have before. Last year was a great success for me academically (and therefore, overall). There was a lot of personal growth that I'm really proud of. That year and this fall have really proven to me that when I really need to get shit done and achieve, I will. That self-validation feels pretty great.

November 18, 2011

As for my autosocial life and books

Autosocial: (adj.) Aw-toe-soe-shul A word of my creation, of vague definition. In loose terms - when one enjoys being by oneself while others participate in their active social lives. The lifestyle of an independent operator. I still haven't quite figured out what it means either.

After one-act play rehearsal today, I went to the coffee shop for dinner and to do homework. Yeah....Friday night and homework. Mostly motivated because I won't get anything done tomorrow as I'm going to New Haven for the Yale-Harvard Game with a friend (which I'm very excited for)! So there I found myself, with the more seedy types filtering in and out and in general just not feeling the calming influence it normally has on me during the daytime. So now I'm home alone, in bed, with a hot water bottle, blogging, and watching The Daily Show/Community/Grey's Anatomy and reading Crime and Punishment and The Belly of Paris. This is so calming and comforting and good for decompressing, e.g. exactly what I needed. Lovely!

I also recently discovered these old Penguin Books ad campaigns; they are all so simple, clean, and thought-provoking/witty. Some of my favorites....

(c) Penguin Books
...and these.

I've also started progress on the mini-room-redecoration - last night I found myself taking out old dark-room prints and tearing out pages from the NYTimes Design magazine and pinning them up on my bulletin board. At 12:30 am. I wake up at 6 am. Still with physics homework to do. Eh, my functionality today wasn't the best.

Also my goodreads to-read list is absurd. It's obscenely long and awesome. It's such a problem because I desparately need to read each and every one right now, but can't commit in the throes of college application  and school (for which I'm always reading 2 or 3 books for at once). I find it painfully ironic that school keeps me from reading. Especially because the books that I want to read are not teen lit or trashy adult novels, but deeply fascinating fiction and nonfiction works. This is an issue for me. (p.s. if you want to share booklists on with me, let me know! This message is not endorsed; goodreads is just awesome).

November 16, 2011

As for a delicate day

I just started reading Belinda by Maria Edgeworth for a college class I'm enrolled in - I just thought the cover art was beautiful.

I was on such an Ingrid Michaelson kick today, which is strange because I haven't really listened to her in a while. The "girl" singers (e.g. Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, etc.) acted as my musical initiators in middle school, but I have most definitely branched out. So below I offer you a mix of my  new and old, for a delicate piano-ridden day.

Giving Up - Ingrid Michaelson
You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger - Beth Rowley
Syrup & Honey - Duffy
Don't You Remember - Adele
All My Days - Alexi Murdoch
You Really Go A Hold On Me - She & Him
You and Me - Penny and The Quarters
J'ai deux amours - Madeleine Peyroux
Pictures of Success - Rilo Kiley
Blue Lips - Regina Spektor

November 13, 2011

As for Sunday

Now this is a weekend day. Much better than the weirdness of Friday. I swear going to this cafe is my therapy. They're playing cute 50s tunes right now - a perfect Sunday afternoon. I'm also analytically annotating the play I'll be producing at my school in the spring - I'm beyond excited. It speaks to everything thats interesting and in a beautiful and precisely on point fashion. "The Real Thing" by Tom Stoppard. I'm excited!

November 11, 2011

As for des achats

What is that, you may ask? WELL that could only be a Polaroid camera. In my possession! I'm ecstatic. However, I have no film. I'm working on that though; first batch will be ordered today. I'm just so head-over-heels enamored with the medium: the idea of selectivity (each shot is worth $2), timelessness, instant spontaneity, and truly capturing the moment - no photoshopping or editing these! Polaroids are true, and even though many shots can come out with someone blinking, or a fading smile, they somehow look great, warts and all. I truly can't wait to start - I'll be scanning prints as soon as I can! (In 2 or 3 weeks probably, the film takes a while to ship).

Last night I went rock climbing at a local rock gym for the first time since sixth grade. I had gone with my camp to Devil's Lake in Wisconsin and we had done some bouldering and repelling there, as well as waking up at 5am on the last day to watch the sunset from our tents over the beach. those were the kind of experiences camp gave me that I truly appreciate; those were times of innocence and really growing into ourselves. What I wouldn't give to experience that again. Needless to say, I had a really great time. And my arms are killing me (one of the good kinds of sore!).

Brassai prints!
As the winter flirts with us New Englanders, I thought it was pertinent to actually, you know, stay warm, and have invested in a toggle coat. Now, let me tell you, I love me some toggles. They are impossibly classy. If I see a young man wearing a toggle coat, I am a lost woman. This is the one I got! In blue! Lovely!

Also, here is a proven-to-work cuddle playlist. As anyone who is human knows, cuddling is simply the best. And what's a good cuddle session without calming tunes in the background? Therefore....The Occasionally-Not-So-Quiet Cuddle Playlist. Enjoy!

Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel
Sea of Love - Cat Power
Hey, Hey - Dispatch
The Great Escape - Patrick Watson
Pacifists Anthem - Sunparlour Players
Accidental Babies - Damien Rice
Holocene - Bon Iver
Where We Land - Ed Sheeran
Fire And Rain - James Taylor
Train Song - Feist and Ben Gibbard
Lover Lay Down - Dave Matthews Band
Heretics - Andrew Bird
Keep Me Warm - Ida Maria
The Fear You Won't Fall - Joshua Radin
Skinny Love - Bon Iver
These Days - Jackson Browne

November 10, 2011

As for blankness

I'm kind of exhausted, which is odd because I'm not that stressed and I'm not that tired. I can't even feel the refreshed start-of-a-weekend feeling (no school tomorrow). I'm just kind of keyed up. I need to relax. I need to lay down in a dark space and listen to Bon Iver and the like for an extended period of time....

This morning school started at 10, so I got up early and made maple oat scones, which was enjoyable. I packaged up two of them in parchment paper bound with cooking string for a teacher I needed to thank for writing a recommendation for me - it was very classy/American/rustic. Here are some of the goods!

I was fantasizing today about taking French in college - I'm currently in the highest level of French in my school, and I can function, but I want to eventually become conversationally fluent and study abroad in France. Now this isn't to say that I want to major in French or go into translation studies; I just love the culture and I love foreign travel. 

Hm, well. I'm ready to be accepted by a college now. Unfortunately, reality is not cooperating. Domage.

November 9, 2011

As for perceptions

I kind of enjoy that my peers who I'm not close friends with see me as someone completely different than who I am. I feel like people draw conclusions from what they see you as - different stereotypes have different connotations. Someone who studies often must be straight-laced and innocent. The ones who seem shallow....must be shallow. Assholes are assholes. Every morning I put on my disguise. My glasses and my sweaters and my scarves - I feel cozy and hidden. And they seem me as that girl - the short one, the studious one, I can't guess. Only I know my indiscretions - it's like keeping a particularly juicy secret that no one else knows. It's like being under the influence in public - you don't want to get in trouble, but wouldn't it be cool if some people could tell and then maybe think you were cool? No. But still. We identify people as having ideals and histories that parallel how we perceive them, I do it, that's for sure. And it's just not true. Underneath everything we're just purely ourselves. Raw. Touched by experiences and choices - evolving. And the beauty of it is, hardly anyone sees it but ourselves. Our remaining secret.

The Great Escape - Patrick Watson

November 6, 2011

As for this 9 day weekend

It's been kind of surreal. Like a summer break in the winter. I don't know if I can mentally comprehend going back to school tomorrow. These past couple nights I've been watching some great movies - Dead Poets Society, Fight Club, The American President. Tonight I'm watching Working Girl. I've been reading a lot too, getting back into surfing poetry sites on the internet and I just started the first Harry Potter (like I promised myself I would last summer). It's been really necessary. Two weeks ago I would never have guessed this would happen! A lot of things have happened that I never would have guessed. I predicted many things entering teenage-dom, all from my pre-teen reads. Things get strange when they haven't been in the books you've read.

Across from me in the coffee shop is this gaggle of elderly people, maybe mid 60s to mid 70s. They're always so happy, and are here every Sunday morning. I want to have friends like them when I'm their age. Meanwhile, it's odd to think (as I already have my schedule for the year), that there are some teachers I'll just never have and some classes I'll never take. I remember sitting down with the course catalog the spring of 8th grade and making a huge list of all of the classes I wanted to take as an upperclassman; some I have, some I never will. It's so finite. Scary. But in the meantime, I do love sitting here with my mocha and breakfast sandwich, with all of these relationships and conversations and music surrounding me. I love the bustle of familiar life. If I went to college in New York....goodness, that would be the right environment for me. I love ducking into any old shop and knowing that in the back room, there are little communities, dozens on each block. You really can't find that anywhere else; it's exciting. I can completely imagine living there or in London or Cambridge as an adult, raising a family there... I really can.

I'm baking maple oat scones this evening for one of my teachers. I can't wait. Also, now I really want to watch the first Harry Potter movie also played the Sims yesterday. What is happening to me? I also made an apology that was a long time coming. It made me feel pretty refreshed. Phew.

There is nothing more sad than looking down in your mug to see that there's nothing left.

November 4, 2011

As for nostalgia

"Carry You" by Dispatch just came on in the coffee shop. I felt like crying.

Here is my "Weighty" playlist.

Carry You - Dispatch
Lean On Me - Bill Withers
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Who Knows Where The Time Goes - Eva Cassidy

Addendum: Y'know, sometimes I just feel like watching a political movie in bed and not talking to anyone. Jeez. 

As for pretty pictures

Lately I've developed quite the affinity for clean and classy design elements (most of which incorporate walls covered in pinned polaroids and the like). I can't wait until I have power back so I can print out multitudes of photos to pin up on the corkboard in my room, because the little postcards and snapshots I have up there now have been there much too long and are collecting dust. 'tis a waste! I also just ordered to postcard-sized prints of some Brassai photographs; let me express, I love Brassai. Here is an example, just so everyone can appreciate.

Beautiful. Also, his female nudes are literally like landscapes. He documented Parisienne nightlife mostly in the 1920s and '30s and has a lot of beautiful shots of couples, characters, ballet dancers, and the backstages of erotic clubs. No matter what aspect of a seedy underbelly he might have captured, he always did so in the most gentle and still fashion, always creating a quiet and intimate moment. These snapshots are truly little self-contained gems. Some of my absolute favorites. I also highly recommend playing the soundtrack to "An Education" as you peruse his portfolio.

Anyways, back to where I started. This is also getting me stoked to decorate my dorm room, and really take advantage of the clean white space. I can't wait to create little photo collages in every nook and cranny, and safety pin a string of photos on a piece of yarn (which is what I'm going to do in front of the window by my desk...when I get around to it). I promise I won't procrastinate this mini-project, and I'll post some pictures once it's done :) See, now that I wrote it here, I actually have to do it....

Also, I'm mildly obsessed with those apps that take pictures with vintage/polaroid effects (this is just me getting eager about getting a polaroid camera!) Here's one. I'm on a fervent craigslist hunt for a vintage one...looks like I might have some luck!


ALSO I just finished Patti Smith's biography "Just Kids" thanks to the multitudes of unplugged time due to this damn weather, and let me tell you, it was truly a revelation in its clarity and honesty. It was nearly like being uprooted and plopped down in this central location in this turning point of a time period - Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, the Chelsea Hotel...the list goes on. A very worthwhile read (especially as a pleasure read, I sure as hell needed a break!).

I can't stop listening to Eva Cassidy.

November 3, 2011

As for Snowtober

We are currently embroiled in a premature winter vacation - no school through Thursday (and most people think it'll be cancelled on Friday too!). It's positively absurd! And yet, most of us are still sans power, myself included. Last night I was curled in bed watching the seventh Harry Potter...what else would I do? It's kind of odd to for your surroundings to actually coincide with nature - my house is dark when the sun goes down. I rise when the sun rises. Out of all of my wake/sleep patterns over the past six-ish years, this surprisingly has probably been the healthiest! I've been consistently getting precisely nine hours of sleep...who'da thunk it?

Also, I hate snow. I hate winter. Fall is great because it feels like crisp new beginnings and possibilities. Spring feels like a revitalizing awakening. Summer feels like freedom and happiness. Winter feels like solitary depression. Every single winter I just get incredibly restless and bummed out. Seriously, you don't want to be around me. This is the only reason I would ever move to a warmer climate, although I do love me my foliage.

She - Ed Sheeran
I'll Be Your Mirror - The Velvet Underground
Love Me Like A River Does - Melody Gardot
Holocene - Bon Iver
I and Love and You - The Avett Brothers
On My Way Back Home - Band Of Horses
F-Stop Blues - Jack Johnson
Wonderful World (Don't Know Much) - Sam Cooke
A Hazy Shade Of Winter - Simon & Garfunkel
Where We Land - Ed Sheeran
I May Be Young - Dean Friedman
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
Winter Song - Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson

Last week we turned in our senior, this was especially challenging for me since I have an obscenely large Word document in which I've been keeping quotes I like since the seventh grade. Hi, I'm Jess, and I'm a quote obsessive. That being said, I knew that I just had to pick something that was relevant to my current 'life philosophy' if you will, and not just something I  appreciated (in which case we'd end up with some Eleanor Roosevelt quote or the like). So, here it is!

Don't pass it by - the immediate, the real, the only, the yours."   - Henry James

I'm also a little more than mildly annoyed that by now nearly everyone has power back and I don't! Humph. Well, here's to a one day school-week! 

November 1, 2011

As for my apocalypse

Last night I slept curled around a pile of foot warmers. Foot warmers in my socks. Taped on my knees. Between my hands. Under me. Why? you may ask? WELL Saturday night as blue and pink lights flashed across the sky and one foot of disgusting wet snow dumped down on every single house and tree in the surrounding area. Great. See, normally one foot of snow = pas de probleme. No sweat. But with all that nasty depressing semi-frozen water on trees who haven't lost their leaves yet? Yeah, chaos ensues. That night you could go outside and just hear snapping - trees falling over because of the weight. There are power lines trailing on the streets. Huge branches lining the streets. And this happened Saturday night (it's Tuesday!). We still have no electricity or power - hence, me camping out at the coffee shop telling y'all this. The blue and pink lights I mentioned above? An electrical transformer literally exploding a couple blocks away from me. Prime. But Sunday night I was salvaged in my oh-so-privileged fashion - I had plans on going to Boston that night anyways, so while most of my classmates were freezing, I was taking a warm bath (filled with bath salts) and reading Patti Smith's memoir. More prime! But, now I'm back, and it's our second day of cancelled school and I need to take a shower somewhere...blerg.

Also, school is cancelled Wednesday too. Awesome.

In other news, I recently mediafire-d Ed Sheeran's album "Songs I Wrote With Amy." It is completely defining my desperation for a boyfriend. But see, here we find ourselves in a catch-22. Wanting a boyfriend and having standards typically don't go well together. At least not for me. You may be thinking, well, she's probably just being too picky, she's bringing this upon herself! Nay, I tell you. My standard: I actually have to like who they are and they have to actually like who I am. WOAH, high standards! this day and age...those kind of are. Absolutely 0 of my past male experiences have lived up to that and I'm so completely sick of settling/having low self-esteem. I was so naive and I don't blame myself at all  they were all "learning experiences" - but right now I want a *gasp* "emotional experience." (by the way everyone, I am way over-caffeinated right now, which explains this spastic post).

But seriously everybody. Listen to as much Ed Sheeran as possible. Favorites: "She" and "Cold Coffee"