December 14, 2017

Best & Favorites of 2017

I thought I make a list of posts that readers may not have the chance to read or missed somehow. You're probably wondering why I'm posting this list now when the year is not even over. Let's just say I rather post this now then later when I won't even remember what I posted. Of course, this list is completely bias as I am talking about what I've created/written. So I guess this is what you would call 'self promoting'?

The Best of 2017

01/ Maroon
— art >> Link

02/ Korean dramas & honest taglines — I watch a lot of Korean (& Chinese) dramas & these are some of my favorites with my very-silly-but-honest taglines >> Link

03/ Seven silly & strange questions 
—  just some questions you may or may not want to answer >> Link

04/ The beast's library
— art  >> Link

05/ Mystery Blogger Award
— q&a of sorts >> Link

06/ Some blogging confessions
— just some honest talks and perhaps a little too much oversharing  >> Link

07/ Top ten items on my bucket list
— haven't done a single of these things yet >> Link

My Favorites of 2017:

01/ How to be good
— a somewhat sarcastic, almost real, almost practical, randomly chosen, honestly presented & foolishly believed list >> Link

02/ Fireworks, stars and dragons
— fiction >> Link

03/ Miss Dot-Dot
— art >> Link

04/ Hello, is this me?
— a little reflection on self image >> Link

05/ Favorite 'Beauty & The Beast' Retellings
— for now anyway >> Link

06/ Bear Meets Lion
— fiction >> Link

07/  What 'personal blog' means to me
— a little too much thinking >> Link

What's your favorite/best posts from your blog?

December 12, 2017

Favorite Books of 2017

Over at The Broke and the Bookish, this week's Top Ten Tuesday is your favorite books of 2017.  Since I usually read books years after they are published, this list is mostly of books I read this year. Here's my list in no particular order.

Barefoot on the wind by Zoë Marriott
01/ Barefoot on the wind by Zoë Marriott
Favorite Quote: "His silence and stillness felt like a chasm yawning between us now. And I found that I was sorry – and I wanted somehow to bridge the silence. Not to ask all the questions that burned inside me, to discover just what he meant – how could anyone forget their own name? – or where this strange home of his was, or what had happened to bring me here. Not even to attempt to placate him for my own safety. I had hurt him and I wanted to soothe the wound."

North Child by Edith Pattou
02/ North Child by Edith Pattou (also known by the previous title 'East')
Favorite Quote: "...The steps of things are where life is truly found, in doing the day-to-day tasks. Caught up in the world of enchantment as I had been at the castle, it had been the routine things I had missed most, which was why I had set up that laundry room and insisted on doing my own washing. But I had missed so much. Sitting at the table back home and peeling potatoes with my mother and sisters in companionable silence. Feeding the chickens, their urgent feathery bodies crowding my legs, and looking up to see Neddy coming back from the fields. Going on one of my long exploring walks, having a blister come up on my heel but at the same time stumbling upon a fox den and catching a brief glimpse of a mother fox nursing a brand-new litter of kits. And though I might have wished away the blister, slowing down to favour the pain in my heel was part of how I came to see the kits."
Hunted by Megan Spooner
03/ Hunted by Megan Spooner
Favorite Quote: "She had always been Beauty when they hunted together, always Beauty when he tucked her in at night. He called her Yeva now, because she was to be a fine lady someday, and her proper name was the one society knew. And yet there was always a half second's pause before he said that name, a tiny catch in his voice that was all that remained of who she'd been before."

Futhermore by Tahereh Mafi
04/ Futhermore by Tahereh Mafi
Favorite quote: "Alice was an odd girl, even for Ferenwood, where the sun occasionally rained and the colors were brighter than usual and magic was as common as a frowning parent. Her oddness was evident even in the simplest things she did, though most especially in her inability to walk home in a straight line. She stopped too many times, wandering off the main path, catching deep breathes and holding them, too selfish to let them go."

The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel by Natasha Lowe
05/ The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel by Natasha Lowe
Favorite Quote: "...don't you get the shivers just looking at all that space, wondering what's up there? I want to invent a broomstick to fly to the moon."

Anyone but Ivy Pocket / Somebody stop Ivy Pocket / Bring me the head of Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp & Illustrated by Barbara Cantini
06/ Anyone but Ivy Pocket / Somebody stop Ivy Pocket / Bring me the head of Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp & Illustrated by Barbara Cantini
Favorite Quote: "I am remarkably good in a crisis – for I have all the natural instincts of a five-star general – so in no time at all, I had formed a plan. I picked up my carpetbag and headed down to the lobby, replacing my anxiety with the flickering flame of hope. The streets of Paris were sure to lead to adventure and opportunity. No doubt I would stumble upon something utterly thrilling. Or I might end up a beggar, friendless and starving. Which would be terribly inconvenient. But on the bright side – how wonderfully tragic!"
– from Anyone But Ivy Pocket

The Crow-Girl by Bodil Bredsdorff translated from the Danish by Faith Ingwersen
07/ The Crow-Girl by Bodil Bredsdorff translated from the Danish by Faith Ingwersen (The first of The Children of Crow Cove series)
Favorite Quote: "Her eyes were dark blue, nearly black in the dim light. She had a large curved nose and dark, bristly hair that was very short in front where the fire had singed it."

The island at the end of everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
08/ The island at the end of everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Favorite Quote: "And now I see them clearly for what they are: the colours patterning each wing, the black bodies, some large, some small, and all of them shifting like breath across the clearing. Butterflies. Dozens, maybe hundreds of them, coasting on the air like a visible, fluttering wind."

09/Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
09/Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Favorite Quote: "Ben wished the world was organized by the Dewey decimal system. That way you'd be able to find whatever you were looking for, like the meaning of your dreams, or your dad."

Matilda by Roald Dahl with illustrations by Quentin Blake
10/ Matilda by Roald Dahl with illustrations by Quentin Blake
Favorite Quote: "Being very small and very young, the only power Matilda had over anyone in her family was brainpower. For sheer cleverness she could run rings around them all."

Find more favorite books at the The Broke and the Bookish.

What are your favorite books of 2017? 

December 10, 2017

still my favorite places to visit

is there a cat napping in the shadows there?
When I saw this post from Ness Kingsley in which she listed some of her favorite blogs that she have followed for years, it made me think about all the bloggers and blogs I have known. Sadly, many of my favorite bloggers have stopped blogging and probably will never return to blogging. They're mostly somewhere or offline.

I debated whether to post this list as it seems like I'm favoring particular bloggers but isn't having a blog means sharing and promoting not only yourself but others? The blogs on this list (in no particular order) are from bloggers that I have known almost since the day I started blogging which seems like a million years ago but who's counting?

01/ knitting the wind  > link 
Knitting the wind has been one of my favorite blog names for a long while. Sarah had switched blog address from time to time but she has returned to this address, I think recently (I haven't exactly been checking dates). Visiting Sarah's blog is like a dream. One of those good dreams full of splendid imaginary and calmness and stories from a far away place. She blogs from New Zealand which is very far from where I am but isn't it wonderful we can meet people so far from us?

02/ Christine's Blog > link
I don't have the motivation as Christine to post every day but I'm glad she does. She is certainly the most consistent blogger that I know. I always find something to be amused by with what she writes. In between posts about every day life, Christine also posts her lovely artworks.

03/ Michael MacVean Illustration > link
I find Michael's artwork very inspiring. I like his loose, easy strokes, almost the opposite of my own style as I tend to perfect my lines. I suppose that's why I find Michael's drawing style particularly likeable. This blog, 'Michael MacVean Illustration,' is not the blog I originally followed but it has been around a lot longer than most of my blogs. I still sort of prefer his previous blog name – dotty hill.

04/ Beauty Flows > link
Tammie Lee's artwork is one great reason I still follow her blog all these years. Her color choices are always perfect. I feel like a slacker when compare to how much artwork Tammie creates. She also runs a photography blog fill with wonderful nature photos over here.

05/ Carrie Loves > link
I have learned a lot about blog design and htmls and all kinds of tricks & tips from Carrie. Her blog haven't always been just about blogs and design, there are other fun things in between. And I like her spunk. And her design style - clean, organized, aesthetically pleasing. So Carrie haven't posted in a long while but there are still a lot of useful posts on her blog if you need some tips.

06/ Land of Candy Canes > link
I always have fun reading Katrin's posts. 'Never a dull thought' might be the way to describe them. I sort of think she shares the same kind of sense of humor so I suppose that's why I like reading her blog. Sadly, she have not updated her blog in a long while. Perhaps she will return to blogging someday.

07/ Carver's Cards > link
I don't even remember when I started following Carver's blog, it might have been from when I started blogging but I don't remember. I like her sky & nature photography and also, she lives in such a nice place that looks like the country side which really is North Carolina. I always have a nice visit reading her blog.

08/ Selma in the city > link
Selma is a wonderful writer. I dearly love reading her essays about life. But sadly Selma has stopped blogging. She is mostly at twitter which I don't follow but I'm grateful to have discovered her blog though I really wish she hadn't stopped blogging.

09/ Alexandra MacVean Illustration > link
I got to know Alexandra through her previous blog 'Remember Paris' (or something similar as I don't recall the exact name) but I do vaguely remember being a bit sad when she closed her blog but thankfully, she started again. Alexandra's current blog with her namesake is similar but I think, more cheerful posts with adorable artworks.

10/ New kid on the cape > link
You might say Frances is my very first blog buddy. We even collaborated on a photography blog called 'the daytrippers' which is still around though no updates. Frances had been blogging a lot longer than me and I think she might even have more blogs under her belt than me. I have been following her since 'blogjem' to 'just expressing myself' and many others, and even sometimes design a header or two for her. She has so much energy and I think a lot of stories to tell. Technically, 'New kid on the cape' is a new blog but as long as she is blogging, new blogs are always welcome.

11/ La Vie Graphite > link
Abraham posts lots of profound writings, travel notes & photography and if you're especially into reading intellectual essays, then you should go visit his blog. I must admit I don't always have the patience to read the long posts or completely understood what is written, but there is something about Abraham's words that just reminds me of good days, long-forgotten thoughts & there's a little bit of dream-like feel to them too. Most of his posts are rather long but worth reading if you have the time.

There would have been a lot of more blogs on this list but most of them don't exist anymore and sadly, I don't have a list of names to search for them. If you're interested in more blogs, visit my blogroll here — all my favorite blogs are there. What blogs have you been reading/following since you've started blogging?

December 7, 2017

Top Ten Thursday: favorite art

This week's Top Ten Thursday is favorite pieces of art such as paintings, classical music, sculptures, literature, theater plays, operas, etc. As you can tell, I'm more into paintings then most type of art. Here's my list:

01/ Automat by Edward Hopper — you might have noticed my blogger icon is a recreation of this painting but not exactly, it's here if you would like to see it.

02/ Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach — I just love this song but I can't explain why I like it. I have this song in my iTunes and Yo-yo Ma is the artist. You can listen here.
Image is from here.

03/ Love Letter soundtrack by Remedios — this is the soundtrack to the 1995 Japanese film of the same name which I also love. The soundtrack is so perfect for the film and it has been one of my favorite film sountrack for a long while.  It's very dreamy and delicate and well, you just have to listen. I couldn't find a site that have samples but I did find this youtube video for the song 'frozen summer' here.

04/  Strawberry Fields in Central Park designed by Bruce Kelly & dedicated to John Lennon — when I visited Central Park, I got lost trying to find this art as I didn't have a map but I did find it and it's beautiful though I thought it would be bigger. Strawberry Fields is at West 72nd Street, NYC 10019, more info here

05/  Portrait of a Young Woman Drawing by Marie-Denise Villers — I've not known this piece for long but I do love it for it's light and shadow which is perfectly rendered especially her white gown. There is a somehow half-amused look to her face that I like very much. For more info go here.

06/ The starry starry night by Vincent van Gogh — always a favorite though I've never seen it in person
07/ Musician Angel by Rosso Fiorentino — don't know why but I like this angel and even created an art piece inspired by this piece

08/ Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard — don't you just love the folds/shadows in her sleeves/dress??

09/ The Brooklyn Bridge designed by John Augustus Roebling — I have walked the Brooklyn Bridge countless times and it always seems like I've walked it always in winter, not even sure how that happened.  More info here

10/ Jimmy Liao art — anything Jimmy Liao draws is my favorite and I want to create art like his. I actually have about twenty of his books and whenever I sort of get struck for ideas, I flip through those books.
What are your favorite art?

For more Top Ten Thursdays, visit Tamara's blog here >

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