I absolutely cannot believe summer break is almost over and that I begin my final semester of my undergraduate degree on Wednesday. I’ve been up to some really exciting things over the past few weeks in terms of working, studying for the GRE, attempting to sort out my post-grad plans (yikes!), and enjoying my summer, all of which has left me with little time to write blog posts or take photos. As usual, I’ve been listening to music nonstop, so I thought I’d write up a quick little post to share the songs, old and new, I’ve been loving recently.


Fountain of Youth | Local Natives

Heart It Races | Dr. Dog

pink skies | LANY

This Empty Northern Hemisphere | Gregory Alan Isakov

Miracle Aligner | The Last Shadow Puppets

Cold | Mating Ritual

Upswing | Prinze George

Wild | Beach House

Garden View | Hales Corner

My Cousin Greg | Houndmouth


What are you listening to?

– Lauren



A word. A picture. A sound.

I’ve found I like to collect places the same way I would collect seashells on a beach – not unlike this one – on the coast of Florida when I was seven years old. I have this place that once was mine where five o’clock settles in slow, that built much of me out of cricket songs and Dogwood trees, and I didn’t realize it until I left it behind for someone else. I keep coming back, though I’m made of more places now. I’m looking for something worthwhile and always find it in the heart of a saltwater cure.

Upswing – Prinze George

– Lauren


Listen | Summer


Thieves | The Beach

The Vine | Gold Spectacles

Brainwash | Cillie Barnes

Victor | Prinze George

Wildfire | Scavenger Hunt

Swim | Fickle Friends

Bad, Bad, Bad | LANY

NoLo | Grace Mitchell

Swoon | Beach Weather

I Wear Glasses | Mating Ritual


What are you listening to?

– Lauren

Canterbury and Dover

IMG_5986Hey there!

One weekend during my stay in England, I took a trip to Canterbury and Dover, and of course, the literature student in me was incredibly excited to see two places of such literary significance. I took a bus from Oxford to Canterbury, which arrived in time for me to spend the afternoon exploring the town and attending an evensong service at the cathedral. The next morning, I took a formal tour. Canterbury Cathedral was my favorite church I saw throughout my entire time in England for multiple reasons, among which is its connection to The Canterbury Tales. Of course, its beauty had a lot to do with that as well. I cannot believe that a building like this one could have been built without modern technology. I highly recommend taking a tour.
IMG_5995IMG_6054IMG_6037IMG_6082As soon as my tour ended, I grabbed a quick lunch and got back on a bus, this time to Dover. Dover is on the coast, and on a clear day, you can see France from the shore. I was excited to see Dover purely because it is the setting of Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach,” but it is also home to the secret war time tunnels.

The first thing I did once arriving in Dover was drag my friends around in search of the best spot to see the cliffs. As the bus dropped us off near the tunnels and the castle, we couldn’t actually stand on the cliffs, but we were close enough to see them and take pictures, and that was good enough for me. Then we climbed to the top of Dover Castle. Finally, we went on a tour of the war tunnels after waiting an hour to get through the line and almost missing our bus back to Oxford. Personally, I didn’t find the tour of the tunnels incredibly interesting. My favorite part of the afternoon was simply walking around with my friends.IMG_6086IMG_6092IMG_6098IMG_6128
IMG_6165IMG_6131Overall, I enjoyed my visits to both places and am glad I had the opportunity to cross them off of my list. However, I do have some tips for travelers. As for Canterbury, I found it a very uncomfortable place to be at night. During the day, the streets are lively and feel completely safe, but at night, it felt a little sketchy. Whereas in Oxford, I felt that I could walk around alone at night (I didn’t, Mom. Don’t worry), I went out of my way to make sure a male friend could walk me back to the hotel in Canterbury. That could have been the specific area I was in, but I would recommend going out in groups and staying at a hotel in a central location. As for Dover, the wind is ridiculous. Ladies, go ahead and put your hair up and don’t wear a dress.

Stay tuned for more study abroad posts!


Savannah, Georgia


Hey there!

In addition to the Tybee Island trip I mentioned in my last post, I spent a good deal of my fall break exploring downtown Savannah and the Isle of Hope. The weekend we were in town was the weekend of the Savannah College of Art and Design Film Festival, which our full schedule prevented us from attending, despite our best intentions.

Savannah, though it’s known for its history, ghost tours, and oak trees, is a city full of details. There’s art everywhere you look, random cobblestone streets interspersed throughout downtown, and the most amazing buildings. _MG_6891One of my favorite places we visited was the Wormsloe Estate, because the trees are an actual work of art. The estate is a popular tourist destination and is also featured in several movies. The photo doesn’t do it justice. I spent a lot of time messing with all the settings on my camera, thinking that if I could get them right, the photo would turn out as incredible as the trees themselves, but I eventually accepted that no matter what I did, it wasn’t going to happen. _MG_6976

As it was Halloween, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit a cemetery. I went to Bonaventure Cemetery the last time I was in Savannah, so that’s where we ended up. The cemetery is huge, so we weren’t able to see all of it. We only stayed for about half an hour before deciding to head to the beach, but it made for some good photos. _MG_6979_MG_6984_MG_6987_MG_6994_MG_7002

All in all, road trips are fun. Road trips with friends are even better. And road trips with friends in beautiful places are the best. I’m so glad fall is here, and that in it, I can find some of my favorite days.


Listen | October 2015

Brakeman | Nathaniel Rateliff

Forgetting is Believing | Nathaniel Rateliff

We Never Win | Nathaniel Rateliff

Child’s Play feat. Chance the Rapper | SZA

The Fire | Kina Grannis

Please & Thank You | Wildcat! Wildcat!

The Chief | Wildcat! Wildcat!

End of the World Everyday | Wildcat! Wildcat!

Paint | The Paper Kites

Bitter Water | The Oh Hellos

For Once in My Life | Stevie Wonder

Mission Bell | Le Trouble

An Act of Mercy | The Mercy Beat

Gold | Sir Sly

Boys | Bryan John Appleby

The Devil Is All Around | Shovels & Rope

Read | August and September 2015


As usual, I’ve been reading quite a bit these days. I love all of my classes this semester, and the reading lists for most of them are phenomenal and include some books outside the sphere of what I would typically choose. The books and short stories I’ve listed below are my favorite reads of the past two months, and I highly recommend all of them, particularly Pale Fire and Maus. Enjoy!


  1. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. Because of my slight Sherlock obsession, A Study in Scarlet was a reread for me. I’m taking a class on detective fiction, and to begin the course, we read two authors who paved the genre: Poe and Conan Doyle. This novella serves as the introduction to the Holmes adventures, but it differs from all the stories that follow it. It is split up into two sections that don’t seem at all cohesive until the very end. One minute you’re reading about Holmes and the next minute you’re reading about Mormons. It almost seems like two completely separate short stories until you start recognizing the names from the first section. It seems weird, but it works in my opinion.
  2. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov. Holy. Moly. Everyone, stop what you’re doing, and read this book. Pale Fire is, by far, my favorite thing I read all month. I read Lolita last year, so I knew that Nabokov is brilliant, but Pale Fire blew me away. The time and thought he put into this novel is glaring. I can’t even understand how he managed to pull it off. The novel pretends to be a scholarly edition of a poem written by the narrator’s next-door neighbor. It opens with a forward by Charles Kinbote, the unreliable narrator, and is followed by the poem by John Shade and the commentary by Kinbote. Throughout the novel, Nabokov weaves together several different narratives threads: Kinbote’s, John Shade’s, a king’s, a killer’s. By intertwining these narrative strands, Nabokov challenges the conventions of narrative and leaves the reader uncertain of the reality of the narrative (but in a good way). It’s one of those books you have to read over and over again, because you uncover something new each time. For instance, the nature of the narrative suggests that Kinbote, the editor of the poem, is also the author-narrator of the commentary. But when I finished reading, I wasn’t convinced that he was either. I think it’s safe to say that Pale Fire’s made it on my list of all-time favorites, and I highly, highly recommend it.
  3. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. In my detective fiction class, I’ve been reading a lot of hard-boiled, noir novels. Red Harvest is your typical 1920s gangster novel. It follows the Continental Op who comes to Poisonville to clean up the corruption. This type of detective fiction differs from the classical detective fiction by Conan Doyle or Poe. Instead of the classical detective such as Holmes or Dupin, the idiosyncratic genius who is largely removed from the crime and solves it by noticing and piecing together what the police overlook, the hardboiled detective like the Op is involved in the action. He is not absurdly smart or unflinchingly moral. Rather, he is portrayed as an ordinary person whose morality and motivations are often called into question. Overall, it is an entertaining and socially aware novel that addresses the anxieties of the late 1920s/early 1930s.

Graphic Novels

  1. Maus by Art Spiegelman. Up until about a month ago, I had never read a graphic novel, but by a happy accident I unknowingly signed up for a graphic novel class for my creative writing minor. Previously, I had always associated graphic novels with superheroes or manga, neither of which are my cup of tea, but this class has proven me wrong. I recently read Maus, which is incredibly famous and renowned (it won a Pulitzer). Art Spiegelman is essentially telling the story of his father’s life in Nazi Poland, his experience in a prisoner of war camp,  hiding from the police, and eventually being sent to Auschwitz. Spiegelman makes himself a character in the story. We see him having conversations with his father and writing down the stories he hears with the intention of putting them into a novel. What is really interesting about the book is that though all of the characters are drawn as animals, Spiegelman manages to humanize the Holocaust. The Jews are mice; the Poles are pigs; the Nazis are cats; the Americans are dogs. Regardless, we are acutely aware that Vladeck was a real person. The animals remove the reader a degree from fully sympathizing with him, which allows us to individualize the Holocaust rather than seeing it as a blanket experience.

Short Stories

  1. How to Tell a True War Story by Tim O’Brien. How to Tell a True War Story is a chapter from Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried. This chapter comments on the line between fiction and nonfiction in prose, specifically prose about war. The short story is framed as a first-person narrative, but despite the fact that O’Brien is a Vietnam veteran, it is unclear whether or not he is the narrator. Throughout the piece, the narrator instructs the reader on how to tell a true war story or how to tell if a war story is true. In doing so he tells stories from his experiences in a war, witnessing death and being in such psychologically straining experiences. It is unclear whether or not these stories actually happened, but it doesn’t matter. Over and over again the narrator says, “This is true,” however, at the end of the short story, O’Brien-as-the-author says, “None of it happened. None of it.” He blurs the lines between truth and fiction, separates us into readers and hearers of stories, and makes an argument on how truth plays into it all.

What did you read this month?


Fall Fancies // 01


Well, hey there!

I disappeared for a hot second. Life has been kicking my butt lately. I’m taking my last few classes for my major and doing two internships, all of which have left me little time for blogging (or eating). But I’m home for the weekend and plan on stocking up on some blog posts, so I can post more regularly in the upcoming weeks.

The rain has brought with it some cooler weather for the time being, and I plan on taking advantage of it and breaking out the sweaters and jeans before it warms up again next week. I’m so ready for fall weather, but it seems to be taking its time settling in. Regardless, I thought  now would be as good a time as any to kick off a fall series on my blog.

So without further ado, here’s what I wore for a day at the museum.


Read | Summer 2015


Today marks the first day of fall classes at my university, which inevitably means I will soon be overwhelmed by the extensive reading list that accompanies upper level English courses. I literally have thirty-five required books for the semester. Thirty-five. But don’t get me wrong, I’m exceptionally excited for my classes this semester. I’m taking British Literature from 1900-1945, Narrative Theory, American Detective Fiction, Chapbook Publishing, and The Illustrated Narrative. With lots of required reading in my future, I thought I would take this time to talk about some of my favorite reads from the summer.


  1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This book is probably one of my favorite things I read this summer. It takes place in the aftermath of an epidemic that wipes out most of the world’s population and forces society to revert to a more primitive style of living. The story follows a traveling Shakespearean acting troupe that has an unfortunate run-in with a misguided religious fanatic. What originally drew me to this book was the Shakespearean acting troupe, but what kept me drawn into the novel was the style of narrative. The narration is nonlinear and told from multiple perspectives, which forces the reader into a role of constructing the  plot.
  2. The Dinner by Herman Koch. The Dinner is another novel whose narration really captured me. This book was on a list of recommended reads for my narrative theory class. Again, the plot is nonlinear and told largely through flashbacks. The present in the novel takes place at a restaurant, and what I found really interesting about the text is that its progression corresponds with the courses of the meal. In other words, instead of being divided into parts or books, the text is divided up by course. The plot follows two families and a conversation they are having over dinner about their children. Like Station Eleven, the nontraditional narrative style of The Dinner forces the reader to piece everything together and discover the tragedy that has occurred. The novel also has somewhat of a psychological aspect as well in its morally ambiguous characters and ominous undertones Koch evokes before the reader is even aware of the novel’s conflict.

Short Stories

  1. The First Forty-Nine Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway. About a year ago, one of my friends came across a collection of some of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories while she was browsing a used book store, and knowing how much I love Hemingway, picked it up for me. This summer, I finally got around to reading it. I really enjoy Hemingway’s writing style and how he can say so much in so few words. Also, though there are 49 short stories in this particular collection, they aren’t entirely separate entities. There are certain characters, places, and events that carry over into other stories. I tend to prefer short stories that feel like snapshots of fleeting moments that could have been taken from a larger work, which I believe Hemingway does extremely well, particularly in this collection.


  1. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. I read this play for a class I took this summer called The Uncomfortable Shakespeare, which explored the aspects of Shakespeare’s plays which were perfectly acceptable in Early Modern society but that a modern audience finds to be troublesome. The Merchant of Venice contains primarily issues of race and religion. When analyzing the plays through the lens of the uncomfortable, one must question whether Shakespeare was drastically ahead of the thinking of his time or simply playing devil’s advocate. He humanizes the “othered” characters to a degree that was virtually nonexistent among his contemporaries. Check out the “Hath not a Jew eyes?” speech, and you’ll see what I mean. Although the play is called The Merchant of Venice, I tend to sympathize most with Shylock, the outsider, the “undesirable.” Throughout the play, Shakespeare explores the concepts of justice and mercy and who is allowed to experience those things. The icing on the cake for me was being able to see this play performed in Stratford by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was performed in modern dress with a completely bare stage, except for a giant pendulum in the background. I could go on and on about the production, but I will suffice it to say that it was one of my favorite stage performances I’ve ever seen.
  2. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen is known as the father of modern drama and a major founder of realism and Modernism in drama. In one of my classes last semester, we briefly discussed Ibsen and his impact on works written for the stage. Furthermore, one of my favorite novels makes several allusions to Ibsen, so I decided I should check him out. A Doll’s House is his most famous work, so that’s the one I went with. It explores gender roles and freedom in marriage. At the time, the ending was critiqued as scandalous and antithetical to what society believed at the time to be a woman’s disposition. Overall, it is an interesting commentary on femininity and masculinity, their relationship to one another, and the roles that accompany each one.

What did you read this summer?


Why We Should All Be Tourists


Something I’ve noticed in my day-to-day life, but particularly during my time in England, is the negative attitude regarding tourists that, personally, I feel is a little uncalled for. I have friends who won’t take photographs on vacations because they don’t want to look like tourists. Several shopkeepers have sighed at me while I struggled to count out the correct amount of a currency that is unfamiliar to me. And multiple times as I was meandering through the streets of London, several people pushed past me on the sidewalk, annoyed with my pace.

Though I understand it can be frustrating for a native when visitors in your country interfere with your daily routine or prevent you from catching your train because they have no idea what they’re doing, those instances shouldn’t outshine or overpower the many valuable aspects of tourism.

I think back to a conversation I had with the boy who served me ice cream on my first day in Oxford. I expressed my delight at the beauty and history of the city, and he said, “You get bored with it after a while.” As an outsider, I could not fathom ever being bored with the incredible architecture, cobblestone streets, and cute little shops on winding side roads. But the more I thought about it, I realized that I do the same thing with my own hometown. It’s so easy to become desensitized to your everyday norms.

A tourist is defined as “a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.” Essentially, a person who delights in being in a new place and observing everything it has to offer: its food, history, architecture, and culture. Aside from the obvious economical aspects of tourism, that is its advantage.

Sure, tourism does a lot for the economies of certain places, but the value of being a tourist goes beyond that. Tourists aren’t numb to the gems around them in the way that many locals are. They allow themselves to be enthusiastic about things like architecture or the fact that the tax is already included in the price listed on the menu. They have no qualms about marching up to a red phone booth and posing for a picture, while the locals walk by and roll their eyes. They are willing to try something new at every restaurant instead of settling into a rut. Tourists know how to experience more fully the time that they have within a place. They can see its value and want to soak up every bit of it that they can.

Shouldn’t that be the way we always seek to live? As a friend recently told me “to live deep and suck the marrow out of life”? Tourists understand something that most natives do not, and that is that moments are precious and that every place in the world has something to offer us. Those moments and lessons and offerings should be wrung out as though from a sponge until you’ve gotten every little bit out of it that you possibly can.

So, no, ice cream guy. I don’t think I could ever get tired of the way the sun sets over the spires of the Oxford colleges or the fact that there is a tea room on every street corner. The mild summer weather and waiting for pizza from the truck outside Christchurch will never not be wonderful, and playing Taboo and laughing with friends in a pub will always make my heart happy. And if I’m going to trip as I walk down the street, I’m glad that it’s on cobblestone. I’m happy to be a tourist if it means that I experience life every single day as fully as I can, that I live it and wear it out like a favorite sweater or a beloved pair of socks.

Here are some shots of me being a tourist during my first weekend in London.