Friday, April 10, 2015

This Weekend's Playlist

This Friday night, I'm going to see Guster, my favorite band since a friend gave me Keep It Together for my sixteenth birthday. They always put on a great show, plus a couple of friends are joining Eric and me, so it will be a great night.

In the past year, I've noticed that Guster makes up a large portion of the music I know, and I haven't changed up what I listen to significantly in a few years. My friends in college would recommend bands and share albums, but as a history major I spent most of my time reading and writing. If I listened to music, it was either soothing instrumentals (often the Io Non Ho Paura soundtrack, with its haunting string quartets) or high-energy pop music (I wrote a large chunk of my thesis to the Glee version of "Teenage Dream," no shame) so I could mostly ignore it and focus on my work.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Women, work, and what I've been reading lately

Today at work, a colleague sent me this article by Alice Zielinski about being a young, blonde engineer at MIT. It's a fascinating look at the thousands of little cuts that can convince someone that they don't belong in a top-tier STEM program.

Perhaps more disturbing is the follow-up piece the author wrote to address a lot of the criticism she received, which ranged from, "You think you're hot, but your picture isn't that hot" to "You're at MIT, so you're fine. Do you realize how many worse problems there are in the world?"

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Laura's Favorite Things

I was joking with a friend recently that someday I'll be like Oprah and give out my favorite things to everyone I know. Since I do love gift guides this time of year, here is a year-end/I-didn't-get-it-together-before-the-holidays/maybe-you've-given-a-bunch-of-gifts-and-now-you-want-a-treat guide to some of my favorite things from 2014.

MarketSpice Cinnamon-Orange Tea
My aunt and uncle in Seattle gave us this tea as a wedding gift this May, and it has become my absolute favorite. This tea has a great, bright flavor that has been perfect on chilly days (like today, as I write). I will definitely be ordering more when I run out!

Clancy's Fancy Hot Sauce
Made in Ann Arbor, this hot sauce is flavorful without being overwhelming. Eric and I tried it at Zingerman's one afternoon and bought a bottle immediately. It goes well on just about everything and is now a staple in our pantry.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Scary Stories

I'm late on this, but happy Halloween! I've spent the weekend reading Jezebel's scary story contest and getting chills. Our apartment windows rattle loudly in the wind and our radiators clank at random intervals, so I may not have picked the best environment in which to read these.

As a kid, I loved ghost stories. I figured out their spot in the Dewey decimal system so I could read the entire collection at my school library. Eric has pointed me in the direction of some good adult ghost fiction, and I continually search for new haunting novels. Here are a few from my past that you may feel like re-reading or recommending for your niece who is definitely brave enough to read ghost stories:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Voices Calling from a Yellow Road

Recently I've started to examine my musical taste as friends have invited me to concerts and lent me albums from (new to me) bands. Considering I haven't branched out significantly since my friends got me a Guster CD when I turned sixteen, it's about time. For me, the recurring theme is good lyrics. Songs with beautiful imagery, songs that tell stories - even if it's not poetry, I need to be able to sing along.

My sister and I used to send each other song lyrics quizzes when I was in high school and she was in grad school. One particularly memorable themed quiz was all drug-related songs, because earlier that summer I had ruined some of my mom's favorite classics (specifically "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" from The Graduate soundtrack - she accused me of smearing her innocent youth).

She thought the song was about a car. Not Ben Braddock's, though.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I just finished reading Harry Dolan's Bad Things Happen, a murder mystery set in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was fantastic - well paced, realistic, and complex.

Mostly irrelevant Ann Arbor photo
It was also set in a town I deeply love, which made it that much more fun to read. I could picture the spot on Main Street where characters met for coffee. I could pick out actual houses for the various characters' homes. I could imagine the trails in the Arboretum where they walked.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Autumn Reading List

I’ve been alerted to the start of school by the crossing guard at my street corner and the waves of tiny children with neon-bright backpacks streaming past my front door. The beginning of the academic year makes me want to branch out from my usual detective fiction set in small British villages. I love spending afternoons curled up on the couch with a book, and to that end, here are a few recommendations to read with a mug of hot cider.:

The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon 

Set in London in the 1920s, this novel manages to combine mystery, family drama, and history in an effective and evocative story. Meredith and a young boy arrive on Evelyn Gifford’s doorstep one late night, claiming to be her younger brother’s fiancé and son. Evelyn’s brother was killed during WWI, and the young boy’s striking resemblance persuades her to invite them to stay with her family. Meredith's motives for seeking out the Gifford family are unclear, and possibly more damaging than they realize. Meanwhile, Evelyn has recently begun working as one of the few female lawyers in London. Her small firm takes the case of a veteran accused of killing his new wife during a picnic. The story not only gains momentum through the personal and legal mysteries Evelyn confronts, but through its thoughtful exploration of post-war England and the entire country’s sense of loss.