A few good gems

All aboard the weekend! I am celebrating with a little happy dance in my chair today because I just--as of about ten minutes ago--sent off my dissertation proposal to my committee! It represents basically all of my dissertation chapters except the data analysis and discussion. It's amazing how a project like that just constantly haunts you. I'm looking forward to a family weekend unencumbered by the taunts in the back of my brain about what I could-be, should-be doing on that thing.  

photo via Folk Fibers

photo via Folk Fibers

But first, a few of our picks for best of the net this week to send us into a restful and/or zestful (your choice) weekend:

Speaking of all aboard, you know I love a good train journey (and giving advice on train trips, too). Since we're considering taking a train journey across Australia this year before Maddy graduates (Whee! I'm seriously crossing my fingers it happens), I found this group of four train articles fascinating. 

Design Mom's honest and detailed description of how she has dealt with depression really struck a chord with me. Thanks for speaking out and being vulnerable, Gabrielle! A must read for anyone who has struggled with mental illness or knows anyone who does.

My kids aren't even close to getting married but I have to pass along this awesome post that compiles all the elements of having a literary wedding. A lot of these ideas could easily be adapted to other parties and gatherings, too.

Where I See Fashion (WISF)'s tumblr account has a cool premise. Bianca is a fashion design student in Milan and matches beautiful fashion photos with gorgeous images of art, nature, and design that have similar echoes and elements in fun and sometimes surprising pairings.

photo via  WISF

photo via WISF

On a slightly related note, 30 signs you follow too many fashion bloggers on Instagram. Too funny.

Probably the best article I read this week was this New York Times Magazine piece by Ron Suskind about reaching his son through Disney. Very powerful and moving, the article describes how Suskind and his family endeavored to reach his autistic son, Owen, and how finding a common language (in this case, through Disney movies) made all the difference. It was a keen reminder of the strength of parents' love for their children.

This step-by-step tutorial from the Painted Hive on how to customize and print free printable artwork at home was really helpful. As a result, I see lots of new framed pieces in my future...

I also appreciated her guide to free artwork online (including antique and vintage graphics, posters, maps, NYPL's digital gallery, and botanical illustrations) found at the bottom of this post. For starters, check out this flickr stream of Bibliodyssey's free images. Amazing.

Happy Pi Day! (If you haven't heard about it before, March 14 = 3.14, get it?) Celebrate by having pie for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or all three! Here are a few top picks for pies: Coconut Creme Pie (via Sommerset Hall cafe), which was a finalist for Best Slice on Good Morning America; Pioneer Woman's super easy Flat Apple pie; Chicken Pot Pies a la Paula Deen; mini Cherry Heart pies (shown below); and my family looooooved the Chocolate Cream Pie from Family Flavor cookbook.

And, with that, let's begin the weekend! May tomorrow be a perfect day, may you find love and laughter along the way... (anyone? anyone?)


  • re-reading Stegner's Angle of Repose because I love him so
  • also reading Susan Minot's Thirty Girls (I loved her others, Evening and Monkeys; we'll see how this one measures up),  
  • just finished How Writers Journey to Comfort and Fluency (by psychologist Robert Boice) on Gretchen Rubin's recommendation--about the psychology of writing and how to improve the process of writing. If you're a writer who procrastinates or flounders, I recommend it highly (see above on finishing my dissertation proposal, haha). It's like writing therapy in a book. Though it's pretty pricey!

Listening to: You & I (Local Natives), Formidable (Stromae), Lord Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace (John Rutter/St. Francis of Assisi), and Elgar's Cello Concerto (a little about the concerto here).