I'm Irish but don't kiss me

Growing up, me and my brother always thought we were mostly Irish and Russian. It wasn't until my mom got really into genealogy and tracing our family tree several years ago that things started shifting.. now it seems like we're mostly British and Welsh on my mom's side, with an ever dwindling percentage of Irish (still almost entirely Russian on my dad's side, although Eastern European ancestry is way harder to trace online than Western.)

I grew up with certain traditions --colcannon and Irish soda bread every year on March 17, I got my first claddagh ring when I was like 10, my aunt made a pilgrimage to our ancestral home of County Cork, my brother has the Irish flag tattooed on his arm! -- and even though I'm not quite as Irish as I originally thought, I can't let those traditions go. I feel unlucky if I take off my claddagh (I wear one as a necklace now instead of a ring) for even a second. My mom still quotes Irish sayings that were passed down from her father. And I'm still celebrating the heck out of St. Patrick's Day each year! :)

shirt - threadless | skirt - topshop

my top five: books I've read recently

1. So Here's the Thing by Alyssa Mastromonaco - This is Alyssa Mastromonaco's follow up book to "Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?" which was one of my favorite reads in 2017. She's brilliant and hilarious and for someone who was a Deputy Chief of Staff in the Obama White House she is incredibly relatable. As someone who suffers from a bowel disorder, her anecdotes about her struggles with IBS are at once painful to read about (because, BEEN THERE!) and reassuring. It's weirdly comforting when you know that other people suffer the same problems that you have and manage to lead a productive, awesome life in spite of it. She is literally one of the most awesome people on this planet and I highly recommend both of her books (plus every appearance she makes on podcasts, plus her twitter, plus her book events. Anything and everything Alyssa.)

Sidenote: She's also a very dedicated cat lady. I went to her book event last Tuesday which happened to coincide with Arrietty's birthday. When I was having my book signed I shared that excessive Crazy Cat Lady factoid with her. Her reaction was "F*ck yes!!" She made the book out to me and Arrietty and wrote "happy bday!" and told me that she makes cupcakes for her own cats on their birthdays! *dies* I was so excited to meet her and she exceeded my expectations.  I think I awkwardly said "I love you" when I left but I REALLY DO LOVE HER.

2. Saved on Sunday, Dead on Monday by Andy Ross - This is a short mystery novella filled with intrigue and nods to classic television, set in the world of a pimento cheese spread empire. This was a super quick read but I enjoyed it so much that I've been pestering the author on twitter to try to get him to write a sequel!

3. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James - One of my favorite genres of fiction is "people stranded in space" and this is probably tied with The Martian as my favorite in the genre. It's about a young girl who is the last surviving member of a space mission. This is the very definition of a page-turner. I couldn't put it down! I also loved that it was science fiction set in a realistic world. When I read space fiction I don't actually like when there's too much world-building, so this was right up my alley.

4. The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes - I was trying not to make this list too Obama-memoir heavy, but looking over my 2019 reads so far, it really is mostly comprised of books by Obama staffers. I just love reading about behind the scenes and being transported back to an era that I honestly didn't appreciate enough while I was living in it. The World As It Is is the most policy-heavy memoir I've read thus far, but it was completely engrossing. I usually have this weird mental block when it comes to understanding foreign policy (specifically Middle East policy, it just seems so complicated to me) but Rhodes explained everything in such an accessible way that I suddenly found myself regaling my family with anecdotes about lifting the Cuban embargo over dinner. Rhodes book was also the first one that I've read that shows President Obama being frustrated sometimes, or moody. I am guilty of idolizing him and in a way it's almost a relief to know that he's only human.

5. Come As You Are by Walker Gibson - It's been a long time since I read a book of poetry, but when I stumbled upon this one at the Princeton Library book sale I couldn't resist. Most of the poems are fun and light, about subjects like outer space or Monte Carlo casinos. But there was one poem (actually it's the last verse of a longer poem) that really grabbed me and I've been a little obsessed with it ever since I read it. I memorized it and keep reciting it to myself to make sure it's still being properly stored in my mind.

Some people feel alone and lonely
To think this world's perhaps the only
Possible place where mankind clings --
They yearn for more unworldly things,
But if in all the universe
We're quite alone we could do worse
Than claim our own miraculous birth
On this elysian planet, Earth,
Where woods are green and warm and wet
With trumpet vine and violet:
The dew shines on the grass at dawn,
A rabbit bounds across the lawn,
And we can thank that lucky star
That makes this heaven where we are."

ps. I don't usually post reviews on goodreads, but if you just want to see what I'm reading, I do keep a running list of current reads/books I've completed on my account, here.

Video: Disney tag!

I'm going to try really hard to get some more videos up on my youtube channel this year. I feel like I'm closer to feeling comfortable in front of the camera. It helps that I'm very excited about the topic of this video, which is DISNEY! I decided to do a tag that I found on one of my favorite youtubers' channels. I embedded my video below but if you like it be sure to hop over to my channel to like and subscribe! :)

If you want to do this tag too, here are the questions:

1. A scene in any Disney movie that you wish you could experience.
2. An unforgettable experience/moment you've had at the parks.
3. What non-Disney song(s) reminds you of Disney and/or the parks?
4. When was the first time you went to a Disney park?
5. If you could choose any Disney character to be your best friend, who would you choose?
6. Who are your favorite Disney princesses (or heroines)?
7. Name a scene or moment in a Disney movie that never fails to make you cry.
8. What is the first Disney movie you remember seeing?
9. What is your favorite Disney movie?
10. Who is your favorite Disney villain?
11. What is your least favorite Disney movie?
12. What is your favorite Disney song?
13. What Disney character has your personality or has your dream personality?
14. If you could change any scene in a Disney movie, what would it be and why?
15. If you had to get stuck on a ride in any Disney park for more than 30 minutes, what would you want it to be?

happy pi day!

It's one of my favorite days of the year - Pi Day! I'm going to celebrate by playing Yippi! and trying to make a vegan version of apple pie (I haven't attempted dairy-free crust yet so I hope it works out!) I'm also wearing one of my cutie pi pins, of course, and some items from Retrolicious' math themed line! They asked me to model some of the designs for their website and (as of the time I'm writing this -- it might change by the time I hit publish --) my images are on the homepage! That might make this my favorite Pi Day ever! :D

Also be sure to check out my mom's recipe for apple pie and my Pi Day playlist!

wishlist wednesday

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