Little Trinkets: The Spoon Ring

13 Aug

I don’t think enough people realize just how awesome spoon rings are. They’re actual rings, made from actual spoons that are welded into a circular shape so that they can wrap around your finger. While the ring is by far the most popular piece of jewelry to be made in this way (and many jewellers will use only the handle of the spoon to avoid unnecessary bulk), there is no shortage of different rings, bracelets, necklaces, and even earrings that can be made with ordinary household cutlery. Isn’t that cool?

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But the sad thing is, most people aren’t all that impressed even when they are first introduced to the spoon ring. Wearing the above-pictures spoon ring always makes me want to show it off to others with a slight ta-da! flourish, but the comments I will usually receive range from a polite, but uninterested Oh? Cool. to a more brutally honest So what? It’s just a ring made out of a spoon

 

But it’s a ring made out of a spoon! I don’t know why I find this concept so fascinating, but I do. I was first introduced to spoon rings by a street jewelry vendor in front of the St. Giles’ Cathedral in  Edinburgh last fall and quickly snagged one for myself. Of course, this was a period of my life when I was doing a lot of travelling and proceeded to promptly lose it. After coming home to Vancouver in the winter, I found what looked like some very similar spoon rings in a boutique in Vancouver’s Yaletown (but felt that at $80 each, they were ludicrously expensive). I also found them online (here and here), but delayed ordering one because for some reason that is unknown even to myself, I wanted to come across my next spoon ring in person. And lo and behold, I did!

photo 1When I was road tripping across Oregon in July, I once again came across some spoon rings in the window display of a trinket boutique in a very small town. I asked if the rings in the window were indeed made from real spoons, practically screamed when the store owner said yes, bought one in a size smaller than I would normally get, and now take great pains not to lose it again.

Books I’ve Read and Liked: Hemingway, Kerouac and Austen

8 Aug

This summer is whizzing by at an ever-alarming rate and I am still intent on remaining blissfully delusional of the fact that, in less than a month, I will once again be knee-deep in transitioning from a part-time to a full-time job, finishing my English degree, and continuing to not lose myself in all the minutiae that make up the bulk of day-to-day living. That said, another book post has been long overdue. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer (and listening, since I’ve recently started becoming more and more intrigued by audiobooks), so I have another list of book recommendations to suggest.

The Old Man and the Sea

I’ve been on a bit of a Hemingway kick this summer (three books and counting thus far), but The Old Man and the Sea is the one I’d recommend to someone who would like an introduction to the author. (As a side note, I should probably mention that I somehow escaped reading it in high school and nearly four years of university, so I have granted myself the right to treat it as this ‘new’ discovery.) It is, after all, not often than an author succeeds in saying so much about life in so few pages. This book can be read in a day, which, along with the deep exploration of human tenacity in the face of all mental and physical odds, is one of the things I really like about it. 

Emma

As disliked as Emma Woodhouse is to so many readers, she is a heroine that I can, in some sense, relate to. Emma is a little self-centred, a little spoiled, and more than a little obsessed with meddling in the romantic lives of others because of the lack of excitement in her own. She also often says the wrong thing at the wrong time, but also knows how to bounce back from rejection and . Austen books aren’t for everyone, but if you’re of the type to enjoy plunging into the love tangles and mannerisms of characters in Georgian England, this is the book for you. (Actually, writing about Emma has made me feel ashamed about the fact that I still haven’t written a post about my visit to the Jane Austen museum when I was in Bath last fall.)

On the Road

Since for many people, summer is the time to take a trip or go places under the guise of having more free time and good weather, you will likely also need something great to read on a few of those trips. On the Road is a great book for you to throw into the backseat of your car and start reading at a gas station on your next trip to the beach, mountains or lake. I mean, it doesn’t have to be that specific, but this semi-autobiographical novel about three beatnik pals who travel across the U.S. and get into numerous scrapes along the way should be read on the move. It is perfect reading material for those of us with passion for wandering with or without a purpose.

Blackberries (the real kind) and Sylvia Plath

28 Jul

IMG_6624The blackberry is, in my opinion, the best type of berry. It tastes like candy, is chock-full of nutrients, and also freezes gloriously to suit your esculent enjoyment many months later. As there happens to be a hidden blackberry patch near my parents’ house, I decided to go blackberry picking over the weekend. The real blackberry season hasn’t started yet (it’s a berry that starts to spring up late in the summer), so I was a little sceptical about finding enough to make going there in the hot sun and risking the thorns worth it. Still, my efforts were not entirely fruitless. I managed to fill one large pail to the top and am already thinking of all the wonderful things I can do with my capture.

So far, my list has looked something like this:
1. Eat all the delicious blackberries I can get my hands on.
2. Eat all the delicious blackberries that are left after that.
3. Maybe consider putting a few of the remaining blackberries in a smoothie.
4. Eat some more blackberries.
 
But blackberries aren’t all fun and lovely strolls through the berry patch. As a not-so-irrelevant aside, I thought I’d include a poem about blackberries by Sylvia Plath that I once had to analyze it in my second year literature class and didn’t really get at the time. Although this poem is much darker than my own relationship with the berry could ever be, it also offers a glimpse into the treacherous (have you ever been pricked by a bush thorn?) yet delicious world that constitutes blackberry picking.
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Crave: The Literary T-Shirt

14 Jul

The literary t-shirt exudes an air of utter coolness that can only be replicated by very few other sartorial choices. (Just don’t wear a shirt with words from a book that you haven’t read and you’re golden.) And since I like to be utterly cool as much as the next person, I will be forever grateful to anyone who gives me any one of these t-shirts as a gift. I will also give them freshly-baked cookies as a way of expressing my gratitude.

 

This, in my opinion, is the best t-shirt in the list. (Sorry if I pretty much ruined the ending of The Great Gatsby for you!)

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 4.19.05 PMThe famous opening lines from Great Expectations are still so relevant to today’s times that we should all be wearing them on a t-shirt all the time.

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 4.45.26 PMHave something that you’d want to say to someone’s face? Just wear it on a t-shirt and let other people ponder over whether or not it applies to them.

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Remember having to stamp the paper cards inside library books with the date that you took each one out? Such cards are a bit before my time (having been born in the early 1990s, I briefly caught their last dying breaths), which is precisely why I find them so cool on t-shirts now.

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 4.17.58 PM“You have widely mistaken my character if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these.”

Some people have a crush on Mr. Darcy. Others reread Pride and Prejudice for a taste of the better table manners, elaborate vocabulary, and pretty dresses. But personally, I can most relate to the pride and sense of having something to prove to others that has driven the story along.

In the Sprit of Seafood…

10 Jul

photo 9Seafood, anyone? It’s funny because when I was a kid, I used to hate all of it. I’d eat fish and chips or some beer-battered shrimp (what kid doesn’t love all things that are oily, battered, and deep-fried?), of course, but I’d draw the line at just about everything else. But then, slowly, my tastes began to change. While I still do not like most types of red fish in anything other than sushi, I’ve come to really enjoy halibut, tuna, catfish, crab, clams, oysters, shrimp, and many other such foodstuffs from the sea. In Oregon, that’s pretty much all I ate. Stopping at one small fish shack by the water after another, we’d order a bunch of different dishes to share with the table. And so by the end of the ten days, I had enough fish tacos, clam chowder, crab cakes, crab cheese dip, fish and chips (they’ve remained a perennial favourite of mine), oyster shooters, and shrimp and prawns in all their variations to satisfy even the biggest seafood craving. The thing that stood out, most of all, though? The crab cakes in the second photo. They may look ordinary, but they taste divine.photo 11photo 4photo 3photo 2photo 1IMG_4419

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A Drive Along The Coast…

2 Jul

IMG_3618Small towns by the waterfront is where I do some of my best writing. There’s something very romantic about sitting by the beach with a notebook and pen (I’ll opt for the laptop 99% of the time, but there still is) and writing down thoughts that aren’t necessarily meant to be published while listening to the sound of the waves. The drive along the Oregon Coast is a trip I’ve been going on with my parents every couple of summers for almost ten years now. This year, we went down to see some of the California Redwood State Parks before taking a leisurely drive up the coast, stopping to spend the night in one quaint town after another. I’ve been going on lots of long walks on the beach, eating lots of seafood (but more on that later), exploring antique shops for things that I didn’t even know I needed, and taking lots of pictures of waves, cliffs and various forms of marine life. Here are some of the photos I snapped.

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On Portland, food carts, and that time that I did not become a circus acrobat

30 Jun

I like long road trips in theory, in a feel-the-wind-in-my-hair kind of way that I got out of bad country songs, remember-when stories, and Kerouac’s famous novel. In reality, spending a long time on the road (even as a passenger) can be draining. It can be especially draining when you’ve only gotten two hours of sleep because you were at little part-ay the night before and then missed the last bus home. In that case, you just stare at the highway blindly, numbly counting down the minutes until you get to your next destination. But anyway, I digress.

IMG_3395It’s summer and it’s time to pack a few bags and get out of town if even for a little bit. This time, we stopped in Portland while passing through on our way to other cool places, so we didn’t have as much time there as I would have liked. As such, my visit to this city has been a bit of a whirlwind of do-this-cool-thing-fast before moving on to the next part of the journey. Still, this wasn’t my first first visit to the city so I knew just where to go to make sure that the time that I did have here was spent well.

IMG_3377First on my list of places to visit was Powell’s City of Books, the bookstore that is about five floors of awesome. To give you a bit of an idea of just how awesome it is, I’ll just say that they hand out a map to the bookstore. A map to the bookstore so that you do not get lost amid rows and rows of just about any kind of book (and clever literary knickknack!) you can think of. It is the kind of place that will give all you English majors hope that independent bookstores are not on the verge of becoming extinct. Naturally, I felt more than a little overwhelmed and unsure of just where to begin. Check out the rare books or go into literature for some good deals? Buy a cookbook on curries or venture into the surprisingly huge section on pirates, captain’s logs, and sea exploration? That said, I still ended up walking out with the biggest spread of books that I’ve perhaps ever purchased at one time (a book on journalism to help me better understand the nature of what I want to go into, some Faulkner books that I picked up at a good price, a book on women’s fashion throughout the ages, and a book of short stories). Now I just need to find the time to read them all.

IMG_3510Portland is also known to be the unofficial city of food trucks, so I definitely made a point to try try as much of them as I could in a day and a half. In the end, I tried (not all at once, of course) a green curry on rice, an Egyptian gyro, eggplant in spicy sauce, more eggplant and vegetables with labneh (a Mediterranean yogurt dip that tastes almost like cream cheese), these delicious cheesy dumplings, and a massive grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup combo called The Cheesus. Everything that I had ranged from good to blow-your-socks-off-good and they were certainly more affordable than most of the food trucks in Vancouver.

IMG_3535And then I just walked around, snapped photos for the blog, and tried to do my best to soak in the some of the cool atmosphere of the city. While doing precisely that, I saw some people who were doing high-air flips in Pioneer Square. At first I got excited because at first I thought that this was something that you could pay to do (few things make me happier than being able to hang and do flips in the air while attached to a stretchy elastic harness), but was sadly informed that they were actual acrobats practicing routines for an actual acrobat company and my own dream of becoming an aerialist would just have to wait. I was laughed at quite  a bit for that one.

IMG_3518So that was it for Portland. As is usually the case with my travels, I never have enough time in any place I visit and always think of things that I would have still liked to do and places I would have still liked to see, if  only I had more time. I didn’t get a chance to try out Voodoo Doughnuts (the line was about an hour long each time I passed by!), for example, and I still want to catch a play at the Armory. I will be back again (Fiddler on the Roof  is playing in the fall!) and so I’m already looking into my schedule to see when I can next fit in another visit to this city.IMG_3483

 

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