Wednesday, September 30, 2015

More Music for the Playlist
It's the last day of September, it's very rainy, and the sky has been a rather dark shade of grey since about Saturday.  But grey skies don't have to make us sad--they're beautiful, too, just in a different way!  What else is beautiful? This music!

Caught a Ghost: "You Send Me" (Cover of Sam Cooke)

Phosporescent: "Song for Zula"

CHVRCHES: "Clearest Blue"

Damien Rice: "My Favourite Faded Fantasy"

<3 Frances 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Supermoon Eclipse Tomorrow

Hi, Fellow Earthlings!  I hope everyone's Saturday has been nice.  I'm excited because tomorrow night will be a special one for the moon.  It's going to be a "supermoon," meaning it will look larger and brighter than it normally does, and then it will disappear into an eclipse for about an hour.  This won't happen again until 2033 (2033!!!), so, if you get the opportunity to look up at the sky tomorrow night, take it!  The eclipse will start at about 8:00 PM Eastern U.S. Time, peak at 10:00 PM, and be over by midnight.  You can also watch it online if you want to, too, via NASA or Slooh. 

Canterbury Times

 Happy star-gazing!
<3 Frances

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Piglet is Steampunk

Having been raised by a teacher, I consider myself something of an expert on the characters of Winnie the Pooh.  That said, though, I'd never known all that much about the inspiration behind the characters until yesterday.  I knew they were based on actual stuffed animals, but I hadn't seen them before, and I was SO EXCITED when my mum sent me the link to the Winnie the Pooh exhibit at the New York Public Library.  The exhibit houses the original dolls, which came from London's famed Harrods store in the 1920s.  Being almost 100 years old, they're worn and in some places a bit threadbare, but their antiquity only makes them all the more awesome--and cool (they've got a bit of a Tim Burton-esque look to them now).
My favorite part?  Piglet is totally steampunk!

<3 Frances 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Day of Fall

There was a certain crispiness to the air this morning, and, even though it'll be warm today, the temperatures are still much cooler than they were during the summer.  And some of the leaves are starting to change colors, too, signaling a transition in the seasons.  It's amazing when you think that we're already into the second-to-last season of 2015.  Sometimes I think time just goes by so fast. We're too distracted thinking that everything's moving slowly to realize how quickly it's going, and then it's over, and we wonder what happened.  This season, maybe we should try to be less distracted and focus more on what's around us as it's happening.  I have a bad habit of spiraling into my own thoughts, but I'm working on doing that less so I can put energy towards the things that are actually important.  #zen
In honor of the new season, here's an entirely necessary Snoopy pic (because what's more seasonal than Snoopy?):

What are you all excited for this season?  It lasts until December, so we better makes friends with it. I know I'm totally thrilled to get my wisdom teeth out, LOL.  Okay, maybe not so much. But I am excited for pumpkins and leaves and the little moments that make harder times less difficult. Sweaters and knee socks are good things about the fall, too.  

I'm sending the force for everyone's day today!
<3 Frances

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday Soundtrack (and Other Languages)

Martes.  Tuesday.  Mardi.  Вторник.  星期二 (xīng qī èr).  However you say it or spell it, I hope today's the best day that it can be.  Here's a little music to get you started....

XTC: "We're All Light"

The Smashing Pumpkins: "Today"

Mumford & Sons: "I Will Wait"

Counting Crows: "Hanginaround"
<3 Frances

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nature Rx

I think we spend so much time inside staring at screens that we don't ever take enough time to appreciate the world outside the blue glow of the Internet.  The few moments we do spend outdoors are wasted thinking about other things, and we never realize all that's around us and just how beautiful it is.  Nature is this wondrous life force that is beneficial for our minds, bodies, and souls, yet it doesn't get the focus that it deserves, and today's the day to change that.  GO outside.  EXPERIENCE nature.  I'm very nearsighted (my vision is genetically predisposed to not be all that great), but, when I stare at the tree line or look at the clouds, the blurriness feels less obtrusive.  I see better. I breathe better. I feel better.

<3 Frances

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Green Tea, My Love

In my free time (of which there is much less now that school's started up again), one of my favorite things to do is read copious volumes of natural health articles.  It's sort of funny--if you look at my bookshelf, my reading material includes everything from Les Miserables to Edgar Allan Poe stories, but then if you open my desk drawer, there's a whole pile of healthy healing articles (and, admittedly, a copy of Vogue).  I think I'm one of the few people I know who reads things like "Top 10 Foods to Fight Inflammation" for fun.
With all this in mind, I of course have done some research into the amazing health benefits of green tea.  It's something I try to consume daily, and it's capable of pretty much everything short of granting the power of flight.
Here are some of the BEST things green tea can do for you, adapted from Authority Nutrition:
  • Green tea is full of wonderful polyphenols that act as antioxidants and help to get rid of free radicals, which contribute to aging and illness. It also has ECGC, which can help with cancer.
  • Caffeine and l-theanine in green tea can help make you more alert, so your brain processes things at a higher level.  Plus, the caffeine in green tea doesn't raise your heart rate and make you jittery like the caffeine in coffee does. #winning
  • Green tea makes you feel more energized and awake!  It's like a cure for Monday morning.
  • The superstar antioxidants in green tea may help prevent cancer. 
  • Catechins in green tea may lower your chances of developing Alzheimer's or other degenerative neurological diseases.
  • Green tea makes your breath better!  Catechins can kill bacteria, such as that in your mouth.  This also means green tea fights infection.
  • Green tea can help you handle blood sugar levels.
  • Green tea=antioxidants=lowered LDL cholesterol=less chance of heart disease=YES!
So, basically, green tea is freaking awesome.  Look for brands of it that don't include added sugars or sweeteners, as those reduce its amazing benefits.  Happy tea time!
<3 Frances

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Style Inspiration: Mad Men

Mad Men--that iconic show about the complicated, dark lives of Madison Avenue advertisers--took us from 1960 to 1970 in seven seasons and ended up influencing the fashion world as much as it did the TV one.  It had everything from the polished, preppy dresses of the late-1950s housewife to the bohemian bell-bottoms of the hippie girl, and today we're going to see a few of our favorite Mad Men-inspired looks:

<3 Frances 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Music

It's Monday again, and I'm hoping everyone has the best possible day today.  Here's some music to help get your morning going....

Lykke Li: "Dance Dance Dance" (feat. Bon Iver)

ABBA: "Dancing Queen"

Florence + The Machine: "Dog Days Are Over"
David Bowie: "Heroes"

<3 Frances

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cuteness Break!

There is something about looking at pictures of cute little animals that makes the world seem like a much better place.  It's like you can connect so deeply with the image of a baby albino koala that whatever else is going on in your life can't hurt you.  All there is anymore are you and that baby albino koala, together, sharing a moment.

<3 Frances 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday's Vintage Soundtrack

Time travel time!  It may be 2015, but today's soundtrack is from the decade when Andy Warhol made photography into pop art and Mary Quant became famous for the miniskirt.

Bob Dylan: "Like a Rolling Stone"

Otis Redding: "I've Been Loving You Too Long"

The Doors: "People Are Strange"

Steppenwolf: "Magic Carpet Ride"

Jimi Hendrix: "Voodoo Child"

<3 Frances

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's Knee Sock Season, and I'm Really Excited

I just checked the weather (something I do far too often), and, as it turns out, there's only about a few weeks left until it's officially cool enough outside for knee socks.  Anyone who knows me understands how excited this is making me.  Knee socks, though I bid them adieu during the sweltering summer months, are my best friends during the school year.  They keep my feet warm and their designs make my knees happy, and when I look down and see them, I forget that I have bad arches and pigeon toes because I'm too distracted by knee sock cuteness.

<3 Frances


Friday, September 4, 2015

Quotes for Friday

There's something so singularly powerful about quotes.  To get you inspired for your last day of the workweek, here are a few favorites....

<3 Frances

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fall Colors Prediction Map

The phenomenon of the seasons will never fail to fascinate me.  Somehow, within the next two months, the heavy, sweltering heat humidifying the early September air will gave way to a crisp freshness, and the deep green of the forest will pass on in an explosion of red and orange.  I always miss the leaves, but the colors at the end of their lives do them perfect justice, and I'm so excited because there's now a map that'll tell you when, exactly, the leaves in your state will be their most autumnal.  The Fall Foliage Prediction Map, made by, lets you use a sliding graph that has dates from August 29th to November 14th to see which date will be the reddest, yellowest day of your year.  It also gives a whole bunch of science information about what makes the leaves change and why, which is, it turns out, pretty freaking cool.

Young woman enjoying the fall leaves in the Smoky Mountains.

<3 Frances

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Butterfly Nebula

We have yet another reason to thank the Hubble Telescope for his amazing photography skills.  Last week, the valiant little space photographer captured photos of PN M2-9, the Twin Jets Nebula. The nebula is made up of two stars orbiting one another, and it looks like a "cosmic butterfly."  Needless to say, it's a stunning interstellar light show, like two luminous dancers engaged in a heavenly ballet. Seeing it really puts things into perspective--Earth is really such a small part of the universe.

The shimmering colors visible in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show off the complexity of the Twin Jet Nebula.
From NASA article
And, for further Hubble-butterfly awesomeness, check out this video:

<3 Frances