My students gave me this cherry blossom brooch for International Women’s Day back in March, but I didn’t get around to wearing it until now. And wearing it reminded me of the cherry blossoms at Lake Balboa Park near my apartment in LA (not to be confused with Balboa Park in San Diego).
If there is one thing I missed about living in LA, it’s the cherry blossoms at a park near my apartment building. Every year around March, I would spend almost all of my days off there, taking photos of the clouds of pink blossoms until my camera battery died. I even remember seeing some Japanese-American families there for blossom-viewing parties. You don’t get flowers like that in Vietnam (well, we do have plum blossoms and peach blossoms here around February, but you’d have to travel to the mountain region to see them in large quantities.) Guess I’ll just have to be content with some old photos then.
It’s again my turn to pick an inspiration for SIA, and since we’ve had quite a few paintings lately, I decided to go with something a little different this time:
This is a Japanese dish of a particular type called Nabeshima ware, dated from the late 17th century. Nabeshima ware is unique in that its designs drew on Japanese traditions as opposed to Chinese, as you can see from the cherry blossoms and the criss-crosses (a fence? Some abstract element?) on this dish. At the same time, it’s very bold and graphic, and features a lot of colors appropriate for spring, which is why I think it would be a good choice for SIA.
The deadline is next Tuesday, May 8th, as usual. Have fun!
This month I only managed to read two new books because I was rereading the complete Sherlock Holmes. Why? Well, it’s like this: I just read a Lovecraftian script for work. Anything Lovecraftian reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald, which is essentially Holmes/Cthulhu fanfiction, so I reread that. And then I realized it’s been a while since I read the original A Study in Scarlet, so I reread that, and I figured, might as well reread all the Holmes stories and novels while I’m at it. And that is how a bibliophile’s mind works…
Anyway, onto the two new books I read:
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Michael Sullivan:
I’m a bibliophile (see above), so any book that has to do with bookstores or libraries or writers can catch my interest. This one is essentially a murder mystery set in a bookstore – a homeless young man kills himself in the bookstore he usually frequents, and the bookseller that knows him must confront her own dark past to unravel the mystery of his death. It’s a very quick read and the mystery itself is pretty engaging, but I find the beginning too slow and the resolution a bit too easy, and I didn’t really connect much with the main character. 3/5
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden:
This is the third fantasy books I’ve read based on Russian folklore and mythology (after the Shadow and Bone trilogy and Deathless.) I guess I’m just drawn to them because I grew up with Russian fairy tales. Anyway, the plot of this book is quite standard – Vasya, a young girl whose mother dies giving birth to her, inherits some of her mother and grandmother’s otherworldly abilities, and she uses those abilities to protect her village from a dark force. Still, the world of the story feels very authentic, and the characters are well-portrayed. My only complaint is that the ending is a little rushed (I was expecting a more epic journey, but I guess that’s for the sequels). Also, if I have to read that Vasya’s stepmother “shrilled” or “shrieked” once more, I’m going to shriek too. 4/5
Here’s my interpretation for this week’s SIA, inspired by the Hindu painting “Melancholy Courtesan“. The painting is very colorful, so I’m hoping my printed top can reflect that. Originally, I planned to wear a pair of olive-green pants to mimic the green border of the painting, but a blue shirt, green pants, and red shoes are way too much, so I toned it down with my blue jeans. It’s great that you don’t always have to be literal with SIA.
Don’t forget to check Jen’s blog on Wednesday for the full round-up of other interpretations of this painting!
Gods, it seems like a long time since I did an outfit post, doesn’t it? We’ve been having some end-of-the-season cold snaps, so here is a cold-weather outfit. It’s pretty simple, but I want to talk about these shoes for a bit. If you recognize them, that’s because they’re the same shoes I brought with me to Cuba. When I was packing for the trip, I planned on taking my Converse, but then I thought about the amount of walking I would no doubt be doing, and decided that I needed something lighter and with a bit of an arch support.
So I bought these at the last minute, and it turned out to be a great decision. They’re so soft and light that I didn’t need to break them in, and I’ve walked through the cobblestone streets and hiked through fields and jungles in them with no problems. I know this sounds like a post sponsored by the shoes company, but it’s not (I wish); the shoes are just so awesome I have to rave about them!