zaterdag 29 januari 2011

Kidnapping Ideas 2: The Emma Edition

Soon I Will Be Invincible
Ok, I know I’ve tweeted about this already, but I just can’t not mention it. I’ve read Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman and it was great! I bought the book because I had read The Magicians by Lev Grossman (they’re brothers) which I loved and counting on the writing gene to run in the family, I gave it a try. Soon I will be Invincible is a book about a world where superheroes and super villains are a ‘common’ thing. It’s a sort deconstruction of the superhero/comic genre, written in witty prose and funny remarks. The book is well written and just so much fun to read. I listened to The Sound of Young America Podcast with Austin Grossman (I know, I’m such a geek) and he made a really cool point about how he could explore different things in his ‘comic-novel’ that he wouldn’t be able to do with a real comic book. In a novel you get to spend so much more time in the main characters head, so you can explore the things that are taken for granted in comics, like why they wear the costumes they wear, what it feels like to have a body that is half made of metal and what the difficulties are of wearing a really heavy velvet cape. It’s really interesting to see how they deal with all these crazy things, which adds a more human aspect to the godlike feeling most superheroes/-villains usually have.

Before this, I hadn’t read a book in a while, because I was going through an insatiable craving for magazines. I rediscovered the fun of buying and reading them not too long ago and it took up most of my free time. My interest in magazines has wavered a bit, which is a good thing, because now it won’t get to the point where I have to eat dry bread because I can’t afford a simple slice of cheese. I would love to write a superhero story one day. I love the epicness of the battles, the drama of being different and the great love stories. It’s a shame I can’t even draw a simple stickfigure, but otherwise I would’ve definitely gone into the comic business.

Emma Forrest
This month’s British Elle contained an article from Emma Forrest (I love her name!) about how it feels to leave your twenties. Emma herself was 15 when her first article was published and 16 when she got a column in the Sunday Times. In the article she writes about what it was like to grow up in the limelight and how much better she felt after turning 25. It ended with an anecdote about herself and her friend Kat Dennings (which you might know from the movie Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) attending an Oscar-seasoned party where Emma ran into an old ex-boyfriend.

‘As I talked to him, I processed that some things do not change at all as you get older. Heartbreak now was just like the heartbreak I’s felt when I was 19, then 25; and now I was 30 and it was the same heart, the same ache. Really, my heart felt like vinyl that  had been scratched so it would always jump in that song. Kat sensed the awful, quivering moment when I was about to lose it. She marched me to the bathroom under the pretext of needing to tell me something, and before we made it past the swing door I was crying. She handed me a stiff drink. She dug a false eyelash from my cleavage when it skied there on my tears. But I couldn’t stop. ‘I’m just too old for this,’ I wailed. Then someone walked in and the evening took a strange and beautiful turn. ‘You don’t remember?’Kat asked the next morning.
‘Oh my god…’
‘Yes. And then Demi Moore hugged you.’ Neither of us had ever met her before or since. ‘She clutched you to her bosom and stroked your hair.’
‘Oh God, Kat! She did!’
‘And she kept saying, “Everything’s going to be fine, everything is going to be fine.”
And it is.

I was having a bad day while I read this, and for some reason this anecdote was so reassuring that I felt better in an instant. I’d wish we all had a Demi Moore walking around to give us a hug when we feel bad!
Her latest book is a memoir called It’s Your Voice in My Head and if it contains more of these reassuring stories, I’ll definitely love it.

Get back in your book
The last ‘idea’ I want to share with you are some really pretty pictures I found on But, Honestly, a blog by Emma Fourie (I guess I have a theme, with these Emma’s). She posted some pictures from Lissy Elle which are really impressive. I started browsing her Flickr Page and found a collection of pictures called ‘Get back in your book’. They are about ‘a collection of characters who strive to stay in the real world’. I’m a sucker for anything literary so I couldn’t help but like them! Be sure to look around on her page, there is a lot more to see.

Get Back In Your Book
Alice in Wonderland
Get Back In Your Book 2
Harry Potter
Get Back In Your Book, Wendy
Wendy - Peter Pan
Get Back In Your Book, Belle
Beauty and the Beast

The concept reminded me of the first issue of Afterzine, where six style bloggers where asked to create a look based on their favorite book, character or cover. I thought it was fun how most of them picked a book by Haruki Murakami, I guess he’s just a very fashionable writer. If you don’t own Afterzine yet, I really urge you to buy it. It’s filled with amazing pictures, illustrations and stories. If only I could write for them! But if you do already own it, a little bird recently told me a second issue will appear around spring this year… Can’t wait! 

maandag 24 januari 2011

Life in Technicolor

I love watching television shows. The story is neverending and you get more and more acquainted with the characters every week. One of the first shows I really started following was off course Friends, but after that I really fell in love with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was a show with a girl who could kick ass, lots of magic and scary monsters, everything a young girl loves. It made me have great dreams of becoming something supernatural and leading a life full of danger and excitement. After that I worked my way through other shows like Battlestar Galactica, Chuck, Gilmore Girls, The O.C. and everything else that seemed a bit interesting. I just finished watching all of the available episodes of Modern Family which means I’m looking for a new series to watch again. I’m trying Torchwood and just saw the first episode of the American version of Being Human. I’m not raving about anything just yet, but you never know what’s on the horizon. When thinking about new shows, I run through a list in my head about what shows I liked and why I liked them. This way I remembered watching Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, both made by Bryan Fuller. The shows had great stories and sadly ended way to soon. Pushing Daisies, his best known series, is about a piemaker named Ned (played by the charming Lee Pace) who kills and revives people with his touch. The show had next to this great story, such wonderful imagery and the best voiceover. It had bright colours, awesome fashion worn by Anna Friel and even singing by Kristin Chenoweth (who you might know from Glee). Wikipedia describes the show as a forensic fairy tale, which is the best description I’ve ever heard. I’ll need to write a forensic fairy tale one day!

Wonderfalls was less colourful, but funnier. The show is about a Jaye, a girl who just got her degree in philosophy, works at Wonder Falls Gift Emporium next to Niagara Falls and lives in a trailer. Then one day a wax lion from the store starts talking to her, which turns her world upside down. It’s great to see how the talking figurines start to take over her life and make her do all these good deeds. I really felt like Jaye at the time, also studying philopsohy and having no clue what I wanted to do with my life. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after only four episodes. They did finish the entire first season, which leaves us with a total of 13 episodes, but you do notice the series wasn’t meant to end there.

Bryan Fuller is currently working on several projects, but nothing will be done in the near future. Which means no new show for me! But there is still one show he made, that I haven’t seen yet. The series Dead Like Me is about a girl who died and now has to work as a grim reaper. It always sounded really cool, but I was never that interested. All this talking about Bryan Fuller’s shows did make me a bit excited about it, so I think I’ve found my next show! If you have any other suggestions or just want to talk about shows you like, leave a comment!

vrijdag 21 januari 2011

Things I love Thursday - Cozy Coffee Edition

This week Starbucks shocked the world, or at least me, with the introduction of their new cup size. It's bigger than most people's stomachs and it reminds me of those Big Gulps that I could wear as a hat when I visited Chicago.
Now, of course Starbucks is still very exotic for us Dutchies (there are only 5 in the whole country!) and we still love to go there and feel like worldly citizens, but there are more coffee bars, that are arguably even more awesome.

Picture by Blushybubu

A coffeehouse or coffee shop is an establishment which primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. It shares some of the characteristics of a bar, and some of the characteristics of a restaurant, but it is different from a cafeteria. As the name suggests, coffeehouses focus on providing coffee and tea as well as light snacks. Many coffee houses in the Middle East, and in West Asian immigrant districts in the Western world, offer shisha (nargile in Turkish and Greek), flavored tobacco smoked through a hookah.
From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of social interaction: the coffeehouse provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups of 2 or 3.
Says Wikipedia 

In The Netherlands there is no word for it yet. A Dutch coffee shop is a place to buy weed and a café is a place to go to get drunk.

Coffee houses are the perfect places to just do absolutely nothing. I always felt a bit awkward going out for a drink on my own, especially when I'd just moved here and had no friends yet. Rotterdam was a new city, a totally new life. I am a small town girl and was so excited about all the new possibilities in the city. I just wanted to get out of the house to take pictures, people-watch and have a damn good cup of coffee.

What makes a coffee place a good cafe? In my opinion, this is the ultimate combination:
* It should be dark with dimmed yellow lights
* Not too noisy - make those ice coffees in the back please!
* The people who work there should be friendly and preferably good friends to each other - the people who visit must be nice too and preferably creative and silent
* There should be good coffee music; something jazzy or laid back folky
* There should be cozy clean chairs; faux leather preferably or maybe vintage soft real leather

This picture was taken by Rayan M.

* The coffee should be amazing; there must be great espressos and ristrettos but also yerba maté and mint tea and funky weird coffee with all kinds of flavours
* There should also be a variety of milk to choose from - they should at least have soy milk.
* The coffee should be sustainably farmed. It makes the coffee good for the soul too.
* The coffees and teas must have epic made up names like: Carolina Honey Breeze (Argo Tea) or Campfire Mocha (Caribou Coffee).

And it should have a nice view, like this (the photographer didn't make his photo's available for sharing, but it's definitely worth clicking)
These people agree :)

This picture was taken by Valerie
You can find Descartes at 327 N Michigan Ave in The Loop

I have travelled on my own to Toronto and to Chicago. In Chicago I had an amazing couchsurf host who showed me this awesome coffee bar. Coffee bars are safe havens for me when I travel. I spend my days outside, just walking around and getting lost, try to meet nice people and take loads of pictures - my tourist senses on full alert. After a few hours I get incredibly tired and drag my weary feet to a coffee bar to photoshop and send messages to the home front.

This was another favourite in Chicago:

The Noble Tree is my most favourite cafe to date. It's like several stories of an apartment. It's a library, living room, cafe, lookout and pastry paradise in one building - really awesome.

These pictures of the Noble Tree Coffee House were taken by Gingerbydesign
You can visit the Noble Tree at 2444 N Clark in Lincoln Park

You can visit the Coffee Company in Rotterdam at Eendrachtsplein

And this is my most favourite coffee bar in The Netherlands. It's actually the first cafe that really made me appreciate coffee. The atmosphere is cozy and there's lots of interesting people to look at. The baristas are really kind and the coffee is great.

The big boss is called Dick de Kock (which is an amazing name if you want to be succesful abroad) or coffeedick on Twitter. And the icing on the cake is the huge statue of a gnome with a buttplug standing right in front of the building.

I wouldn't want to end this post with a dirty gnome, so for more coffee inspiration you should visit this Flickr Pool - The Coffee Bar

zondag 16 januari 2011

Doodling day - featuring Pyhai, Exabute and Matthew Lyons

Every Sunday for the next few weeks I'll be making an inspiration post, featuring three artists who I think might inspire you to make pretty things yourself. This week I'd like to introduce three amazing illustrators/mixed media artists to you who really got me into drawing back in the day...  

I used to be an avid doodler. Drawing on every piece of paper I could get my hands on. I loved to draw puppet-like asian looking girls with bare boobs and bony, red knees and arms. I also loved drawing dreamy landscapes with lots of curly details in them. 

These are some of my doodles:

But then I discovered lomography and saved up money to travel and discovered taking pictures was more my thing. 
I actually used Photoshop first for drawings and later for photo editing. One of my most favourite things to do is make a big cup of coffee, put on some music to sing along to, and just photoshop for hours. 

One of my main inspirations in illustration has always been Pyhai, (or Snagt online). It's like she has a secret passage to an entire incredible fantasy world full of awkwardly cute creatures and the most beautiful night skies. Be sure to check out her website for more pictures and projects. 

All drawings by Pyhai

I love the combination of photography with illustration. And Exabute was one of the people I looked up to the most back in my doodling days.

Both images by Exabute

Matthew Lyons is only 22 years old, but he's a graphic design/illustration genius. His works look like they were found in a vintage storybook. 

All three drawings by Matthew Lyons

woensdag 12 januari 2011

Kidnapping Ideas

Sometimes I read something in a book or a magazine and it makes me wish I had come up with that myself or it makes me think I should use that idea somehow. My last post about collecting was something like that, but that wasn’t all I found. I decided to relay all the cool ideas I found that inspired me somehow, so that they might be able to inspire you as well!

The Pen Society
I’m reading The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami right now. It’s a collection of short stories and there was one in there that I particularly liked. The story is called a Window and it’s about a young man who works for a small company called ‘The Pen society’. His job is called ‘Pen Master’ and he has to respond to the letters send by the members of the society. The members are mostly people wanting to learn how to write letters or people wanting some company through the mail. I thought this sounded like a great job, that I would love to have. Also it's just great fun to receive letters all the time! 
The story went on from there off course, but the idea stuck with me and I think it would be a nice idea for a company. I’m just not sure if there is a market out there for something like this. It will help the mailmen so they might be willing to finance my business proposal... 

The picture comes from a project called Mail me Art where amateurs and professionals could send in their artwork through the mail. The entries were put together in a exhibition and also a book, which is another cool idea! I love how a lot of projects nowadays try to incorporate their audience. It makes for really interesting collaborations.

The Neurotic Women's club 
Oh comely magazine (which is one of my favourite magazines) had a really cool article about women living alone written by Ellie Phillips. The Neurotic Women’s club is about women suffering from the Bridget Jones fear that ‘you will die alone, and be found three weeks later half-eaten by alsatians’. Although I had no idea what Alsatians where (they’re dogs) and I do not live alone, I understand the fear because I live in a constant state of healthy paranoia. The women in the club have made the agreement to text each other every day around a certain time to let them know they are still alive. You get a sort of buddy that you'll text the word ‘Alive’ and that will text you back the word ‘Yey’ (I assume other words could also be appropriate, but I really liked the ones she described). If you don’t hear anything from that person during that time, you’ll know something has happened and you ‘go around their flat and you break the door down’. I’m not sure if I should use it with friends of family, but I like the idea of checking in with everyone, knowing they’re ok. 
These were the ideas I liked this week. If I find some more, I'll post them!

donderdag 6 januari 2011

I Collect People

I got the idea to write about collecting things from It’s Nice That's second issue. They had a feature about George Hardie who collects rulers which I thought was pretty awesome. This got me thinking, collecting things is fun, interesting and your friends will always know what to buy you for your birthday… I should start collecting something! But what? Nothing seemed cool enough or interesting enough to really start collecting. So I did what every responsible girl my age would do. I turned to the internet.

It’s a sick world out there. I’m always reminded of that when I try to look something up on the internet. This time I was looking for really cool collections, people collection kind of strange, but still nice things. What I found was disturbing… There are people collecting Navel fluff, genital casts, celebrity hair and murderabilia (works of art made by murderers). I found these crazy collections with the help of Cracked, which should have tipped me off about the insane creepiness behind these things. To find the things I was looking for I turned to a family-friendlier search-engine, namely The Guinnes book of World Records. This is what I found:
The largest collection of bookmarks: Owned by Dutchman Frank Divendal. He owns 103,009 different bookmarks at the time of his world record and even wrote a book about it. 

Gary and Nancy Doss own all 550+ Pez dispensers ever made. This one made me a bit nostalgic, because I used to really like Pez dispensers. I miss seeing them in stores and eating those kind of awful candies.

Other world records were 'won' by Queen Snovari, who ownes the largest collection of snow globes and Jean-Guy Laquerre who hoards over 25,104 Santa Claus items.
The outcome of my search for largest collection wasn’t as interesting as I hoped. Everyone likes stamps or crushed pennies, but it just didn’t get me excited. I wanted something like the rulers or something like Jonathan Safran Foer, who collects blank pages of the notebooks of famous authors (if you don't think that's awesome, one of us is wrong). 

But all of this was nowhere to be found on the internet. That’s why I decided to make up some cool collections!

How awesome would it be to collect miniature animals! I got the idea from a tweet by Julia Pott (who makes awesome art by the way). She tweeted a link about the Top 10 miniature animals from Time Magazine
I would love to have all these animals, and because they are so tiny, you can easily keep hundreds of them in and around the house!

A collection of Superman comics. I’m sure many people own this, but my lack of internet skills permitted me from finding a cool collector. I know Lotte would like to start this one, but only when Superman has a good jawline.

Collecting books by 1 specific author or just 1 specific title. I would try to get all the different versions in all kinds of languages. Looking for special editions, paperback and hardcover and that first print issue. I got this idea from Jasper Fforde who collects all the different versions of his own books, which looks really nice! If I would write a book, I would do this as well.

Maybe I could collect clothing from a specific area or year? Or maybe all the clothing from one specific designer? This does seem like a rather expensive hobby, so I have my doubts. 

Globes, how cool would it be to fill an entire room with them?! I would look so smart!

Pictures of people I don’t know. Especially old ones of polaroids. It’s like peeping into someones life!
It might be a bit creepy, but it just sounds really neat! I could hang them on the walls on an entire room and use it as weird conceptional art about how life is a fleeting moment that someone else can take over. Or just to show you how to shake it like a polaroid picture.

So many options, but what to do? I'm still not sure what I should collect. 
If you have any ideas or you collect something yourself, please leave a comment. I would love to hear all about them!

Favorite actresses

I am not going to make a year list as my fellow bloggers did. Probably because I would not be able to make one. I don’t really see the end of the year as a closure to something and I am not that good at summing things up in lists. But I do have one major goal for the next year. I will be working on being able to earn money by doing something I really love: getting involved in theater plays. I don’t know in which way yet, but that is part of the big goal: finding out what my qualities are and if they are good enough to make a profession out of it. I almost completed my bachelor study, which I could use to work behind the scenes, but I want more!
So therefore I did made a list of some sorts. It consists out of my favorite modern actresses at the moment.

1. Cate Blanchett
She can't do anything wrong in my opinion. My all time favorite is her playing Bob Dylan in 'I'm not there'. A woman playing Bob Dylan.. but I think no-one could have done it better. She's also wonderful in 'The Aviator' and in 'Heaven', for which she shaved off her hair. 

Cate as Bob Dylan
Cate as Katharine Hepburn in 'The Aviator'

2. Penelope Cruz
Penelope Cruz did make a lot of movies that, well.. sucked big time. But she's the leading actress in my favorite movie 'Volver' and that made up for all the bad ones. Liked her in 'Vicky, Christina, Barcelona' too, mostly because of her mesmerizing looks.

Vicky, Christina. Barcelona
3. Natalie Portman
Another hair-shaving girl. Shaving all your hair, it is something I always wanted tot do but never dare to do..
Back to Natalie, I saw 'Black Swan' yesterday. It is such a beautiful movie and Natalie's performance is outstanding in every way. A bit over the top, but in a good way I guess. I always found her really cool in 'Leon', 'Mars Attacks' and 'V for Vendetta'.

4. Julianne Moore
Favorite performance: 'The Big Lebowski'! And she shouts beautifully in 'Magnolia'.

Maude Lebowski in 'The Big Lebowski'
'The Big Lebowski'
Speaking of great acting performances and end of the year lists: this year I watched the two best series ever made. 'Twin Peaks' and (even better) 'Carnivale' are full off amazing characters which are played wonderfully. These series are really worthwhile to spend your time on.