Just Read: The Teenage Brain + 10 more

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book recap and it’s long overdue. I try to ping-pong back and forth between fiction and non-fiction, just to break up my intake. The year started off impressively with All The Light We Cannot See and you can add me to the long list of people who loved this book. If you haven’t read it yet, you can believe the hype.

Scanning the list of books below, you might gather that my non-fiction reading has been hijacked by parenting topics. Maybe this is what happens when one’s child is leaving the cozy nest of elementary school and about to enter the wilds of middle school. It’s my first time, so don’t laugh too hard.

books read in 2015

2015 Books

Since we’re traveling to Amsterdam, Berlin and Iceland this summer, I added Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Iceland: Land of the Sagas by David Roberts & Jon Krakauer to my reading list. After finishing Anne Frank, I passed it along to our daughter to read and will be very interested in her thoughts on it. She knows how the story ends already — I felt like I need to tell her that from the get-go.

Quick Reviews:

  1. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper. (Darkly funny, dysfunctional family, death + divorce, made into a movie)
  2. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer. (WWII historical fiction, told through two characters, a German soldier and a blind French girl)
  3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. (foster care system, a flower whisperer and the chance to heal old wounds)
  4. The Teenage Brain by Frances Jensen (what kids do during these years has a lasting impact on their brains, i.e. alcohol, drugs, technology habits and sports concussions)
  5. The Myth of the Spoiled Child by Alfie Kohn. (Are modern parenting practices really making a generation of spoiled kids? The evidence says NO.)
  6. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller. (Great book for setting boundaries around digital creep. Excellent reminder and strategies for carving out time for renewal. Spiritual/Religious but not overly so.)
  7. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. (Powerful and incredibly well-written.)
  8. The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato. (Armchair travel to Venice with semi-interesting love story + historic intrigue)
  9. Iceland: Land of the Sagas by David Roberts. (A younger John Krakauer supplies the photography for this book. Part history, part travelogue. Just so-so)
  10. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. (10 years on this book seems very relevant to today’s news. Perfect for music lovers. A slow burn.)
  11. The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart with Money by Ron Lieber. (Excellent book with thoughtful ideas on how to help kids navigate money, responsibility and sense of self in the broader world.)

My favorites of all of these was All the Light We Cannot See, The Opposite of Spoiled, and Sabbath. The rest were plain good, except for The Glassblower of Murano. That one just didn’t do it for me at all.

Lastly, if you have any recommendations (books, sights, restaurants) for Amsterdam, Berlin, and/or Iceland, please let me know! I would love to hear them.

x Laura

More Likely: Perforated

runway Michael Kors eyelet skirt

Michael Kors Spring 2015

Another spring look from Michael Kors 2015 runway this week that hits one of fashion’s current trends — perforated. I like the way this perforated skirt is reminiscent of eyelet without the extra dose of sweetness. You’ll also see this trend on handbags, tops, sleeves and shoes.

Elliot Lucca bucket bag

Elliot Lucca bucket bag $98

Just yesterday the Nordstrom catalog landed in the mail showing this yellow Elliot Lucca bucket bag ($98). This perforated little number ticks two trends in one bag, because the drawstring bucket bag is everywhere right now. If you have the slightest weakness for this shape, this is your season to grab one. I had one years ago (probably 20+ years) in tan that I adored and wore all the time until a pen leaked in the bottom and ruined it. Clearly I’m still a bit traumatized over it.

But, back to the matter at hand. Here are some more outfit ideas that incorporate the modern perforated look.

Natalie Off Duty

Natalie Off Duty

Lady Addict perforated sweater

Lady Addict

perforated skirt with woven clutch

Via Pinterest

I’ve already purchased a perforated grey belt and am likely to grab a pair of flats for this summer. What do you think of the trend? Are you more likely to skip or shop something perforated this season?

x Laura

“Sweet life continues in the breeze, in the golden fields.” ― Jack Kerouac

 

More Likely: Gingham

All of a sudden it doesn’t seem like such a fantasy to think about spring outfits. As collective survivors of the seemingly longest, most dismal winter of memory (extra survival points to those in epic weather areas), I think it is safe to begin dreaming of open-toed shoes, bare-legged skirts and days without winter coats.

As I was perusing my Spring 2015 designer runway pins, I spotted this lovely Michael Kors outfit. Gingham is one of those prints we’ll be seeing more of this spring/summer and it’s got great graphic appeal. It evokes picnics, warm weather strolls and eating gelato.

gingham print MK

Michael Kors Spring 2015

While the off shoulder top and midi skirt works straight off the runway, I found another equally cool gingham outfit, below. In my world, the button-down shirt and white jeans are more likely to get pulled for week-to-week rotation. I also really like her choice of lighter brown accents with the printed shirt. You’ll notice that both the runway and street style outfits do brown belts and bags with the black print. Uh huh, nothing gets by me.

gingham spring outfit

Lovely Pepa by Alexandra via Pinterest

Happily both outfit inspirations work for a variety of age groups (minus the cropped top for my 40+ self, but that’s easily remedied).

Here’s to warmer weather!

x Laura

“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

More like this:

 

Next Level Food

theflavorbible

This book has changed the way I cook. As my daughter was researching a school project on food flavor combination, we came across The Flavor Bible, which was published in 2008. It lists nearly every edible food and all the foods and herbs that complement it. So, if I randomly opened the book up to…Honeydew, the flavor pairing are listed as:

Basil, blackberries, cardamom, Champagne, chiles, coconut milk, coriander, cream, cumin, figs, ginger, grapefruit, honey, lemon juice, lemon basil, lime, cantaloupe, mint, nectarines, peaches, red pepper flakes, pepper, prosciutto, ricotta cheese, salt, scallions, strawberries, sugar, tarragon, wine (sweet), yogurt.

Some of these pairs I knew from experience, but I didn’t know about chiles, cardamom or Champagne. I’m such a recipe follower and never really learned how to make up my own creations. Now with this amazing book, I am experimenting like never before.

The first 35 pages are filled with advice and musings from the world’s top chefs on how to experiment, prepare and get the most flavor out of your food. The next 340 pages are all flavor pairings and I find it fascinating and eye-opening. One thing I learned is to always season your food right from the start of cooking. If you only salt & pepper at the end, you’ve lost the chance to infuse deeper flavor into food. Wonderful!

This is not a book for learning how to cook. Instead, it’s more for cooks and aspiring chefs interested in taking their food to the next level. Now, when my daughter and I cook together, we consult the food bible to see what flavors we’ll add in today. Not only is that good for the food, but it’s even better that she and I are experimenting together.

Bon Appetit!

x Laura

Conflict

This blog has always tracked global street style, because I find other cities and people around the world so fascinating. I read books on Geo-political topics for pleasure and it’s my habit to read national news first and then jump over to the BBC news page for a broader world view. There are so many news items that the US papers don’t even cover. Over the past year, I’ve been keeping up on the conflict in the Ukraine and it’s disintegrating quickly and violently.

After reading All The Light We Cannot See at the beginning of the year, it crystallized for me that wars and conflicts are singularly political, and that the people, families and communities always lose, no matter which side they are on.

I wanted to feature street style from Kiev, Ukraine today because it’s important to put a face to places. Conflict touches regular people — these people and their loved ones. I’m not sure what the next political move is by the international community, but I am watching and I care.

Anya (photo: Style in Kyiv)

Anya (photo: Style in Kyiv)

Diana (photo: Style in Kyiv)

Diana (photo: Style in Kyiv)

Diana - (photo: Style in Kyiv)

Diana – (photo: Style in Kyiv)

Yana - (photo: Style in Kyiv)

Yana – (photo: Style in Kyiv)

Be sure to check out more from Style in Kyiv and see street fashion and beautiful faces from Kiev, Ukraine.

We are all one.

x Laura

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See