Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dress Shopping in Portland

 On Sunday Christopher and I drove to Portland to pick out my wedding dress! I am happy to say that I found an absolutely lovely dress and cannot wait to wear it. Christopher went next door to Best Buy as I made my final decision, so he does not know what dress I ultimately picked.

 After dress shopping we grabbed dinner near the wharf at RĂ­ Ra Pub. The food was quit good- I had a Guinness BBQ Burger and Christopher had a Guinness Stew. There was even a musician who serenaded us with folk music.  After dinner we explored the streets, took deep breathes of the ocean air and wandered into a store or two. I always enjoy visiting Portland. I adore the brick buildings, funky coffee shops and historical district. The Portland Art Museum and Maine Historical Society are within walking distance of each other. It is always so refreshing to get out of Bangor and explore a new city. I cannot wait for my road trip this summer!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars Book Review

Image from The High Tea Cast

I am usually pretty wary of teen fiction, especially anything a Twihard would recommend. I am however a huge fan of the VlogBrothers and have always admired John Green. I decided last week to give The Fault in Our Stars a try.

Hazel is a cancer survivor who prefers staying home and reading to going out with friends.  Her mother believes she is depressed and therefore sends her to a teen cancer support group. Hazel has a very low opinion about the support group until the incredibly handsome and witty Augustus Waters arrives.

The book could easily have strayed into the territory of A Walk to Remember and focused solely upon the developing relationship between these two star-crossed lovers. John Green however depicts a much greater tale. He probes the feelings of a teenager experiencing the painful recovery process, their fears of remission and their anxieties of what happens after their eminent deaths. He examines their often strenuous relationships with their tired parents, clueless relatives, and flighty friends.

Image from Shooting Stars Mag

The Fault in Out Stars is nevertheless not a cancer book. Hazel and Augustus are challenged to infuse their lives with power and meaning. They are not merely victims- they have agency. They are given the choice to take up arms and become the epic heroes of their own tales.  John Green gives us a story not only of survival, but presents us with quest to live out the end of our days with passion and determination.

I read this book in an airport and received several glances as I laughed and cried out loud. It is a worthwhile novel and brings me hope for the future of teen fiction. Thank you, John Green.

For another excellent book review check out Paste Magazine

Spring Break and the Santa Rosa Plateau and Ecological Reserve

I spent last week with my family in California. It was really a treat to be able to spend a little time with them. This summer will be fantastic, but it will also be a whirlwind of trips, wedding planning, and visiting friends and family. This past week was the perfect quiet moment before that begins.

I introduced my siblings to one of my favorite hiking spots- the Santa Rosa Plateau and Ecological Reserve. I love this particular park because it is lovely at any time of year and it offers a wide variety of hiking trails. There was quite a bit of rain the week before I came, so the fields were covered in wild flowers. There are also vernal pools, old adobe buildings from the nineteenth century and a Native American garden which are perfect for little people field trips. 

My little brother loved it so much, we went the next day too for a special “Logan and Brittany” hike. 

Here is some advice about hiking in the area.

  1. Beware of rattlesnakes (there are three kinds! Yikes!), mountain lions in the evening and poison oak.  Stay away from these animals and make sure everyone in your hiking party recognizes poison oak. Tarantulas also come out in the autumn, but they are harmless.
  2. Bring water bottles, snacks, and sunscreen (and a camera!). Wear the right type of shoes and clothing. Make sure everyone in your party, especially young ones, do their…ummm, business before leaving your house. Although most of the trails are shaded by gorgeous, old oak trees, many of the large, main trails are not. There are a few water spigots and port-a-potty’s and maps, but these are all by the entrance. Come prepared.
  3. There is a small entrance fee of $3 per adult and $2 per child. This fee is not heavily enforced; however I would recommend dropping a few dollars, especially if your party is large. All the money goes to maintaining the ecological reserve.

Make sure to drop by the reserve, especially if you live or are visiting the Temecula/Murrieta area! Have fun and be safe!