In an effort to be more diligent about writing, I am practicing several [new] rituals. One of them is to update this site more regularly. In the next few days I will publish a short essay, but for now I’m going to share five images from my week that I particularly enjoyed. My hope is that they will bring you positive vibes, and maybe a little reflection, as well. virginie wisteria

Tokyo, image courtesy of @virginimouzat


my domain scandi home

Photographed by Adam Helbaoui; image courtesy of @scandinavianhomes


simplicity jcrew 91

J.Crew 90s catalog; image courtesy of @simplicitycity


tim & marc chalamet

Laura Dern with the Chalamets (Timothée, Marc, and Nicole) at the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscars Party; photograph by Justin Bishop; image courtesy of Vanity Fair


cami annabells mango

Camille Charriere in collaboration with Mango; photograph by Aurelien Caoudal; image courtesy of @camillecharriere


I have recently become obsessed with HBO’s Girls. If that doesn’t ring a bell, maybe the name Lena Dunham – belonging to the show’s creator, writer, producer, director and lead actress – will. Within the last few months her popularity has surged dramatically. I wasn’t aware of her existence until this year’s Golden Globes, at which the show won best television series. This spurred my interest enough to purchase season 1 on iTunes, which i devoured in two days. Now, I have [successfully] converted nearly all of my friends into fans.

I could go on explaining different theories behind the show’s success, but I will leave it at this: it is relatable. It’s a show about young ladies (aged 21-25) navigating life at a time that is simultaneously crucial, awkward, and impossible. People of my generation are going through this period of our lives; the older folk reminisce of that period… and praise a higher power that it is over.

Girls follows the lives of recent college graduates (and roommates) Hannah Horvath and Marnie Michaels, college student Shoshanna Shapiro, and resident bohemian Jessa Johansson. The first episode struck an intimate chord with me as I, like Hannah, rely almost completely on my parents in a financial sense. As the episode and the season progresses, i can certainly see characteristics of myself in each character, but only one has stuck with me past Sunday at 9:30.

This clip is my favorite blip from the pilot, but it is here because Shoshanna and I both wear “hats.”

Marnie is a beautiful, driven career-woman, and the only problems she has are ones she seems to create. This plagues her entirely too frequently in season 1, and the audience unfairly doesn’t get to see her in a positive light. Her insecurities are bright and on display and overshadow all of her early success (e.g. doting boyfriend, uber-cool job at an art gallery, financial independence on a Bachelor’s degree). It isn’t until season 2 where her life begins to crumble around her that Marnie is allowed to become a two-dimensional character.

I have loved Marnie from the beginning. Where Hannah was too self-involved (as all of the girls are, but she – unlike the other three – is oblivious), Jessa tried to hard by not trying at all, and Shoshanna only served to make me LOL, Marnie was the only girl who seemed to have it together, and that is wildly encouraging at this point in my life. My love for Marnie comes largely from our similarities that i (and some friends) have noticed. Unfortunately, our shared characteristics are only the negative ones. At least that is how they are portrayed.

What I hate about myself I see in Marnie and she seems to hate as well. As she tells Jessa in multiple episodes, she is not as uptight as she seems.

“That isn’t fun for me. Do you realize that? Being the uptight girl? I hate it. Charlie had to find someone else to go to Rome with. No one ever asks me to get, like, friendship tattoos or whatever. Sometimes being inside my own head is so exhausting that it makes me want to cry.”

While I love that as “grown-up” as Marnie thinks she is, she still uses speech-fillers, her touching monologue brings something else to light. Marnie is aggressive in what she wants and what she thinks, while she is not so forthcoming with feelings. Her way of showing she cares is controlling the situation where her friends are, at the very least, informed of the consequences even if she cannot control their actions.

And Marnie touches on something that I deal with far too often. She comes from a place of love, but her actions are interpreted by those around her as aggressive, uptight, and bitchy. To which I have to ask, when did wanting the best for yourself and others become dishonorable? Why should she feel guilty for upholding standards and pushing friends to their potential?

This is something Marnie struggles with even more throughout season 2, and culminates beautifully in the finale. I don’t want to give anything away for the slew of Girls-aholics that will inevitably result from this post, but trust me. Even as we see problems actually arise and create cracks in Marnie’s previously wonderful life, she evolves into a happier and satisfied young woman. Has she reached the end of this journey? Of course not, but as she accurately puts it, “i’m on a journey. it’s my journey, and i am okay.”


As easy as it would be to argue that Marnie is regressing (or “flailing” as it is frequently put on the show), she is the only character to reach any emotional maturity and find satisfaction in a highly unstable time in her life. That should count for something. And in comparison to the other “girls,” she is doing really good, even if “being really good all the time feels really bad.”

Thank you, Marnie, for your fictional presence. For being the resident bitch. For having a rough year, but not completely losing it like your counterparts (I’m looking at you, Jessa and Hannah). For giving me a little bit of validation. And, most importantly, for being happy. With season 3 currently in the works, I can only hope you are enjoying yourself.


*All quotes are from the character of Marnie.



In case you haven’t noticed, New York City is my absolute favorite place to be with my bed pulling a close second. Since the 2011-2012 year has been a big one for our family, we decided to celebrate by heading up to the Big Apple© for a long weekend. It was certainly a trip of firsts for us, as we made a conscious effort to do less touristy (yet still touristy) things. To start, we flew Delta instead of Spirit – a change I hope to keep – and stayed the furthest away from Times Square we ever have (!).

I loved all of these changes, but my parents may have felt differently. We arrived at La Guardia at 8 am Friday morning and headed to Central Park immediately after checking in at our hotel. Our journey, however, was sidetracked as we were famished after walking 20 blocks, so we stopped at Shake Shack. Cheesy? Yes. Delicious? Of course! This was mine and my mother’s second experience at Shake Shack, but my dad’s first! He was sold.


A couple of street shots taken whilst on our lunch break.

We headed to the Delacorte Theatre in CP to wait in line for tickets to see the Public Theater’s summer production of Into the Woods (this being 85% of the reason for our trip). Alas, we were one person away from tickets! We returned Saturday morning and had better luck, but before then…. Our time consisted mostly of food.


From left: artsy lake shot in CP; a small chunk of the line to get into the woods.

That evening I experienced the best margarita of my life at Rosa Mexicano, and also visited the biggest candy store I’ve seen to date – Dylan’s Candy Bar. It was so overwhelming that I did not, in fact, purchase anything.

Saturday morning we returned to CP and received three tickets to that evening’s performance of Into the Woods. We had a few hours to kill before the show, so we visited Chelsea. I was sold the minute we exited the subway, but each additional minute only fostered more love between us. We ate lunch at the Chelsea Market and sat on the High Line, also a first.

An apartment building I was enamored with en route to the market.

Typical High Line shot.

Charleston-style housing, no? No. Okay then…

We took a scenic tour through Chelsea en route to SoHo, bought entirely too many cupcakes from my favorite bakery – Georgetown Cupcake – and headed back to the hotel.

Into the Woods was absolutely amazing. I was in a junior production of the show with the community theater five years ago and did not enjoy it. The only reason I wanted  to see it in CP was because Amy Adams is starring as the Baker’s Wife. I was pleasantly surprised again and again after each number how much I enjoyed it. It was fast-paced, witty, and innovative. If you have the opportunity to see it before it closes on September 1, I would highly recommend it; it is certainly worth the five-hour wait.

On Sunday we spent all of our time in the Theatre District perusing the local street festival, where I bought some fun canine-themed NY prints.


The two prints I bought miniatures of. Images courtesy of Pinky Pilots.

We caught the matinée of The Lion King, which my family thoroughly enjoyed. A Broadway classic, if there ever was one. First time picking a Broadway show? You will always be safe with a Disney production. I have seen four musicals now, and each of them has been pure joy to watch, and  has encompassed the magical quality that only Disney can provide.

Enough about Disney. Let’s (i.e. let me) write about food. I consumed mass amounts of it while in the city. Most notably, Tony’s DiNapoli. Our family stumbled upon this restaurant per a recommendation from the concierge during our 2007 trip. We have made a point to eat there every trip since then. Sunday night was no exception. We went all out: fried zucchini, sangria, chicken stuffed with all kinds of deliciousness and smothered in mushrooms, with eggplant and mozzarella pasta, and fresh bread. Ciao to my waistline! But, my, oh my, was it worth it.

Monday was our last day in the city, so we took it slow. We headed toward 5th Avenue where we, of course, ate. This occasion brought us to YoArt at the Plaza. I felt rather fancy (said in my best Eloise voice)! It was delicious. I also bought a pair of “Wellies” I’ve had my eye on for about a year at Saks, which is always an overwhelming trip for us commoners. I also grabbed lunch with one of my college friends who is working there for an internship – talk about fancy!

Photo courtesy of Laura.

If you’d like to see a photo entry of my trip, please visit my Tumblr. Just be aware that it is under construction and, therefore, will not be very aesthetically pleasing. Also, I plan on composing another post entirely about Into the Woods. I’m not finished gushing quite yet. Finally, here is a link to the Avett Brothers song that inspired this post’s title.

Because I have not blogged in quite a while, with the exception of my last post which was for a school project, I decided to post a brief entry for my readers (i.e. myself). It is the summer season here in South Carolina, and I have the lovely fortune of living mere minutes from the beach. I have only been to said beach twice in the last four weeks. Mostly, I have spent my time running errands, babysitting, and (surprisingly) (thankfully) reading. This post is going to discuss the books I’ve read, I plan to read, and am considering reading. For the last category, I would greatly appreciate your input in the comments and in the fancy poll I’ve installed.

Books I’ve read:

  1. 1984 by George Orwell. This one has been a long time coming. See here.
  2. Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisenberger.
  3. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I still have a few pages left in this one.

In our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are also those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion: the more intelligent, the less sane (Orwell 221).

This quote exemplifies one of the many reasons I loved reading 1984, even though I took eight months to finish it. The novel is written mostly like prose, frequently appearing as philosophical discourse within Winston’s (the protagonist’s) mind. Winston’s story undoubtedly enchanted me with its illegal sexual escapades and its veracity in its extremities. It is not hard to draw similarities between Orwell’s constructed (and predicted) society and modern society, but it is just as easy to understand the differences.

Before departing Orwell with an compulsory Big Brother reference, I would like to include a final quote from 1984.

Sanity is not statistical (223).

Numbers can be twisted just like words; this type of ignorance is one of my pet peeves and makes all involved sound and feel ridiculous. Ranting stops here.

Last Night at Chateau Marmont does not warrant a memorable quote because it was a particularly dull novel. I am a fan of Weisenberger’s previous works, most notably The Devil Wears Prada, Everyone Worth Knowing and Chasing Harry Winston. I found this book on the bargain table at Barnes and Noble, which should have been my first sign. But I am a faithful fan and an impulsive shopper; one cannot afford to pass up a $5 novel. Honestly, reading Chateau is akin to any of the pitiful clips of text in People magazine.

I tried in all 300 pages to find a redeeming quality in Chateau, but a saviour never came! Save your time from devouring the story about a chubby nutritionist and her rockstar husband like I did. If you are in the market, however, for chick lit invariably set in New York, may I recommend any of Weisenberger’s other works. They are equally light, charming, addictive and wonderful.

After searching extensively for the single missing box from my packed up apartment for my copy of The Great Gatsby, I temporarily gave up and picked up a random book from my mess of a bookshelf to accompany me at the pool. I purchased Into the Wild for a class I later dropped, and it, unfortunately (fortunately?), has no resale value.

The author cites Everett Ruess’s letters, drawing comparisons between his life and Chris McCandless’, at one point in the novel. One sentence stuck out to me:

I had some terrific experiences in the wilderness since I wrote you last – overpowering, overwhelming […] But then I am always being overwhelmed. I require it to sustain life (Ruess; Krakauer 91).

Is this not the case? It is certainly the truth in my life where I define living as action; consistently exercising each of my senses in order to learn, grow, and – most importantly – enjoy my youth. Nothing is more aggravating than lazy young people. I understand not wanting to work or be confined to a schedule, but there is so much to do and so little time to do it. Any experience is a good experience because it either builds character, builds pleasure, or both.

This is the spirit Krakauer captures in searching for answers to McCandless’ actions. He does not merely report facts, but attempts to understand the essence of Chris: what he believed and practiced, where he came from and where he hoped to go.

In traveling the wilderness alone, Krakauer reflects,

Because I was alone, however, even the mundane seemed charged with meaning (138).

While I agree with this statement as well, out of context it does not acknowledge the increased meaning that comes from community. I believe that Krakauer recognizes the value of community, and implicitly implies it within his account of Chris’s life.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to intellectually. Now for the books I plan to read before August 31:

  1. Catching Fire and
  2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. As much as I despise 1st person narrative, I will suffer through the Hunger Games trilogy, if only to appease my friends.
  3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Do I need a reason? No. I have several though.

I am very excited to get through this list. Past these books, I am unsure of where to go next. Obviously, come September 26, I will be absorbed in J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, but until then, these are the books I’m considering.

  1. Whatever’s on my bookshelf, including essays by Martin Luther and Ralph Waldo Emerson, some flea market finds…
  2. Some of the books on my Amazon list
    1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I am slightly conflicted about this book due in part to this article, but being told not to do something always forces me to do exactly that. What are your feelings on this?
    2. The Comedians by Graham Greene. Haitian politics, banned in Haiti. What’s not to love?
    3. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbech. After reading the inspirational story behind its publication, am I intrigued enough to read it?
    4. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.

I leave you with Chillmaster Emma.

Chillmaster Emma

And now! Here is the poll you all have been waiting for…

Campus usage.

Columbia University is not the only ivy league campus to embrace the meme phenomenon. Harvard and Yale are among the others that have gained national recognition. The following is a list of the top 20 campuses taken down by the memes.

  1. Boston University
  2. University of Tennessee
  3. Purdue University
  4. Indiana University
  5. Duke University
  6. University of California
  7. Northwestern University
  8. Arizona State University
  9. Oklahoma University
  10. Rutgers University
  11. Texas A & M
  12. University of Florida
  13. Georgia Tech
  14. Missouri University
  15. Iowa State University
  16. Georgetown University
  17. Buffalo University
  18. University of Pennsylvania
  19. New York University
  20. Baylor University

Clemson may not be on the list, but they are not far behind as they have multiple tumblrs dedicated to all things Clemson (When In Clemson and Eye of the Tiger) and an official Facebook page (Clemson Memes).

Project in review.

I began with my Prezi[tation] in which I defined what a meme was in contemporary terms, and followed the history of them, while providing examples and explanations. The inspiration behind memes and their popularity comes from pop culture and the memories of the creator/user. For example, the Ulmer meme I created will likely not travel past my blog not only because Ulmer is not culturally (and humorously) relevant to the college crowd, but because that meme is too specific to describe many other things.

Memes create a hypermedia memory palace in that they untraditionally call to memory things that are otherwise unconnected, and they also quite literally link to other places on the Web, taking the viewer’s mind on unconventional paths as designed by those responsible for the linking. This type of thinking has very few limitations as its boundaries match those of the Web itself; this is an issue Ulmer introduces and addresses.

The driving force behind memes is transmission through repetition. The sole success of the meme is its ability to circulate. This is why Condescending Wonka, What If Bill, Success Kid (and, therefore, 3rd World Success Kid), Sad Girl, and many, many others have successfully thrived on the Internet.  The only way memes gain such popularity is by being culturally relevant, or taking something dated (i.e. childhood memory) and bringing relevance to it.

I purposefully used multiple platforms to address the universality of the meme. I placed them in my Prezi illustrating, created a tumblr, which I then linked to my Pinterest and am wrapping everything up here.  The meme allows much freedom: any image with any caption. With web sites that allow users to create their own memes, the possibilities are endless. Where does such possibility lead?…

To answer your question…

On my Prezi I posed the question of whether or not memes could function as something greater than momentary comedic relief. I believe that they can, but that they have not done so yet. By this I mean, memes hold great potential that has either been unrecognized or unaddressed. Though things resembling memes have been around for quite some time, certainly since the creation of the Internet, they are still new. Users continue to figure out how to use and manipulate them, what their capabilities are, and what their future holds.

In conclusion.

Memes can be the way of the future. Or, depressingly, a short-lived trend. If users can harness the potential of memes fast enough – which seems highly likely at this point – the future is long and bright. The meme phenomenon can and should spread outside of the college world.  This platform fosters creativity and encourages experimentation, so it should not be limited to one age group. In order to determine the limits of the meme, there must be collaboration across all ages and all interests. Academia, corporations, and innovators alike should embrace this culture and learn what can be reaped from it.

(click the image)

The End.

As I contemplate what to write for my last blog for English 475, also known as “Writing for New Media,” I am at a loss for words. So far, I have written about re-makes and re-dos, which is the message that I’ve received this semester from the texts we’ve read.

First we read Left to Right by David Crow, a British author (I do love British authors), and he described the cultural shift from text to image (left brain thinking to right brain thinking). It was great to have both offbeat and mainstream examples with explanations accompanying his theories. I am truly convinced this is the case, and I do not see there being a cultural shift from image to text. If Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Brave New World, or any other generic science-fiction dystopian novel has taught us anything, it is that knowledge is power.

I am in no way implying we are unconsciously entering a totalitarian regime (I wouldn’t know, would I?), but with these technological advances comes accessibility to knowledge and, therefore, more opportunities to control the influx and output of “knowledge.” This is one of many thoughts that occurred to me while reading this first Crow book, but many of his examples utilized the image to communicate an additional or enhanced message. (For example, see my first post about book covers through the decades.)

The introduction of fonts was a major theme in Left to Right. Fonts were illustrated and more animated than your basic “Courier” and this affects the tone of the product (i.e. whatever that text is representing). The font of my blog, for example, affects the overall tone of this post and the webpage. If it were in a more masculine font, it might appear the author has internal conflicts regarding the balance between fun and business and it overflows into my virtual life in such a way I subconsciously let it seep into my blog. The bottom line is we live in an image-based culture and that is the way it has always been (in my opinion). The only difference is we learned how to embrace it – and by “embrace” I mean manipulate.

The next book we read was Visible Signs, also by my British man Crow. The content of this book was little heavier in that it introduced theories instead of focusing on one general theme (i.e. cultural shifts). One thing I really enjoyed about the Crow books is that he really invests in the visuals. This man has mastered his style. He practices what he preaches. He enables me to use clichés in reference to his writing.

He doesn’t just write about these visuals, but the layout of the book mirrors what he says. According to my senior seminar professor (and he is a VERY smart man), a master of writing can make his/her form subtly reflect the content. Writing is an art, meaning it is an acquired skill, meaning it takes time, effort and dedication to learning the rules and manipulating them to your advantage.

We also read Remediation by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, which was easily the most boring books of the semester. I am not sure if this is because it was read immediately following the intellectually and visually stimulating Crow duo or because it was written academically for use as a textbook or the content was uninspiring in general, but something about this book was not working for me.

After I got over my initial dislike and managed to keep my eyelids peeled open, I found the theories introduced informative. It definitely gave me a different lens when viewing any of the ways media surrounds us in life. The book is centralized around a theme of virtual reality, which can be as fantastical or technological as you want.

(Dull cover to match the style)

I prefer the practical application of the term rather than the versions presented in numerous films. Bolter and Grusin really work to illustrate (with black and white pictures – Crow would be ashamed) how films, television and art work to blur the line between reality and non-reality, life and imaginary portrayal. Producers do this via content, writing, shooting, location and every other detail. Their goal is to sell their product and they do this by making the product as relatable as possible.

Finally, we rounded out the semester with Visual Storytelling by Ronald J. Osgood and M. Joseph Hinshaw, a textbook about how to produce a film (which was our final project). It emphasized the importance of how to capture on film (a term I use loosely) what was needed to communicate the story on screen. The authors stressed the need for the story to be communicated. It is meaningless to have great shots and lighting if they do not move the story along.

All in all, it has been a fun semester. Twelve posts later and I’m still learning. I have had the opportunity to work with Photoshop, MovieMaker and Premiere… And I have come to the realization that technology is not my strong suit. However, I do feel much more experienced in these programs – a quality necessary to work as a journalist, which is more than my other courses have provided me. It’s been fun, but I am ready for this semester to be over and start celebrating Christmas the way it deserves to be celebrated.

(Not trying to be depressing, but definitely worth remembering as we overindulge in the luxuries this season brings.)

I recently had the opportunity to visit my favorite place in the world (kind of) – New York City – on a whim. The reason NYC is “kind of” my favorite place in the world is because my world travels are very limited, but out of my extensive travels of the east coast of the wonderful United States of America, New York is easily my favorite. The city is just so wonderful; it sincerely baffles me when people say they could never live there (common response) or they don’t like the city at all (rare, but not unheard of).

To me the city is this big island of life, and who doesn’t love life? It is the best place ever, especially if you have money to blow. If not, it’s still awesome. There is never a shortage of activities and just walking around is a rewarding experience in and of itself.

So, the reason I was in the city spans back to my Harry Potter obsession. I entered a Facebook contest to win a ticket to see the Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Daniel Radcliffe.

How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

Needless to say, I won a ticket to the Tuesday night performance (the night before my birthday, I might add), which brings us to my reason for my impromptu trip. Wednesday before my plane left to bring me back to South Carolina (I love SC, but it could never be to me what NY is), my mother and I decided to walk over 40 blocks to THE Metropolitan Museum of Art. On our last trip together (I came up another time, of course) we visited the American Museum of Natural History. It was fun, but I definitely consider myself more of an art person, at least when it comes to museums. 

We explored the museum for around four hours – that place is massive, the exterior of the building does not accurately express the interior’s capacity. There are ten wings not including the gift shop (I use that term very loosely as the shop is bigger than most Targets) or restaurant. Out of those ten wings, my mother and I whizzed through four of them intentionally and the other six out of sheer confusion.

As we were browsing through everything history has to offer, I had a couple of revelations.

  1. These pieces (particularly those of the Greek & Roman Arts wing) are old. Older than I can imagine. Thousands of years old. Old. And looking good for their age, if I may be so bold.
  2. A lot of these old pieces do not look very different from design today.

First, there is a celebrity appearance by the alien dog from The Neverending Story on some Egyptian relics.

Look closely (my zoom is not very good with phone pictures)

Clearly, these people had skill. And one can safely assume Wolfgang Peterson had an interest in ancient Egyptian art on display at the MMA.

Next, I’d like to show some historic jewelry from Africa.

African Jewelry/Art

If someone wanted to sell these, I’m pretty sure the average art collector would have some stiff competition from stylists and fashionistas.

I could go through all my pictures and say, “Look at this old junk! Doesn’t it look like the same stuff we make today?” But I think this is the point. In my classes this semester, several of the texts we’ve studied have inadvertently shown me that originality isn’t something that’s never been done before. That statement is itself a fallacy and its implications an urban legend. I tend to relate to Plato with his theory of archetypes outside of space and time for several reasons, the most obvious one being I’ve never seen otherwise.

This unintentional theme of originality that’s permeated my blogs thus far has confirmed what I already believe. The goal in making something “original” is not to make something new, but make it your own. Fashion designers, filmmakers, architects, painters and all artists alike will likely tell you the same.  To be truly groundbreaking you must first acknowledge the “ground” your “breaking” is not your creation – you’re building off of someone else’s work.

Finally, and this is my favorite, if you do not see the similarities between this ancient Greek bust and a certain film representation of a literature character, you are voluntarily deluded.

Get it? NO? Well then….