Friday, November 29, 2013

The Rap Sheet: The Procrastinator's Edition

So Black Friday shopping kind of wiped us out. A lot. Forgive us. Here's the Rap Sheet. Better late than never:)!!

Dress like a twenty-first century Jane Eyre, from Polyvore. 
Great gifts for the Alice in Wonderland lover.
This antique ca. 1880 Cameo with Skull and Cross Bones motif, being auctioned on ebay next week. Watch it. 
I made this Salted Caramel Apple Pie from Pies and Plots this week. It. was. amazing. You must make it yourself. 
The Book-List Challenge: Are You Well Read? Prove it! From Brain Test I've read 66 out of 100. Many of which I was forced to read. But, hey, I read them. 
This version of "L'il Red Riding Hood" ... I love it. 
While we're on bad-boy songs, Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire." This song, I could listen to it 9 million times, and it would never get old. 
This book was haunting. This poster is as well. 
In case you missed my post this week about how Shel Silverstein's poems devoured my imagination
While we're at it, some Maleficent makeup. Pair it with your Jane Eyre attire for conversation's sake. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day (unless you are a turkey, that is). A/J

I'm only being slightly sarcastic here. Happy Thanksgiving! Via

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Light in My Attic: Shel Silverstein and the Dark Imagination

The title page of Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic (I have always been drawn to that stark lightbulb). My inscription to Maggie, on her seventh Christmas, "P.S. This is one of the books that turned the light on in my attic. I hope it does the same in yours. Love ~ Mama."
I don't recall the first time I came across Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic. I must have been around the age my oldest daughter is now, because I remember the same awkwardness in my body she seems to be experiencing, a crossing of the border between little girlhood and the early stages of adolescence. I do recall that once I found the book, I read it and read it and read it until the pages were dirty and rough around the edges. Silverstein's were the first poems I remember devouring, aside from the nursery rhymes that I found a deep pleasure in when I was very young.

In them, as in the nursery rhymes I held dear ("Rock-a-Bye Baby," "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater," "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod," "Ring around the Rosie"), there is a dark sensibility that draws me in like a moth to a flame. There's Mrs. McTwitter the babysitter who sits on and smothers her charges. The Selfish Child who prays that, if he dies before he wakes, all of his toys will break "So none of the other kids can use 'em." The rather suicidal youngster who keeps meeting the right monsters at the wrong moments: "I met a ghost, but he didn't want my head, He only wanted to know the way to Denver. I met a devil, but he didn't want my soul, He only wanted to borrow my bike awhile. [...] I keep meeting all the right people - At all the wrong times." And let's not forget the Razor-Tooth Sline who's been invited to dinner. Perhaps the thing I loved most about these poems was their darkly comedic nature, at once terrifying and funny.

Reading Shel Silverstein's poems was an important step in my awakening to the darkness within me. It let the weird light inside my head shine on something that was kin. The poem that opens the collection perhaps describes it best:

There's a light on in the attic.
Though the house is dark and shuttered, [...]
There's a light on in the attic.
I can see it from the outside,
And I know you're on the inside ... lookin' out.

So, Shel Silverstein, thanks, from the bottom of this madwoman's heart, for letting me out of the attic ... out of my own head. A/J

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Whimsical Jewelry

There is nothing I love more than kitschy jewelry. I refuse to wear anything that doesn't speak to me. These pieces do. Enjoy! A/J

Pinwheel Earrings from Uncovet
This octopus ring from Fab
My heart is under lock and key, also from Uncovet
Say Je t'aime with jewelmint
Antique amethyst ring from Eragem. This one deserves a large view. 
I love charms that are ... well ... charms. I already have a horseshoe, a wishbone, and a cross. Next up, this evil eye from Vault. 
O.M.G. There are no words. Python Ring, Ileana Makri
Moon and Star Earrings from Shoptique
I adore this. From Andrew Hamilton
Last, but not least, yet another from Uncovet - their Tangle Ball Necklace. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Tale of the Messed-Up Talent Show

Today's book blast is for Melissa Perry Moraja's book The Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show, which won a Mom's Choice Award and has been named among the best in family-friendly media, products, and services. A great idea for those new Christmas Kindles, Nooks, and iPads:). A/J 

About the Book

The Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show

Title: Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show (Madison and GA - My Guardian Angel)
Author: Melissa Perry Moraja
Publication Date: November 15, 2013
Publisher: Independent - Melissa Productions Inc. Number of pages: 156 Recommended age: 6-12    


Madison Wunderkind is a sweet, honest girl, who always seems to find herself in trouble with the principal. But this time she's not alone. It all started three days earlier, when Sophia, the most popular fifth-grade girl at Gator Elementary, asked Madison to hang out and plan this year's talent show. Instantly, Madison had become Little Miss Popular. But what Madison soon discovered was that being Little Miss Popular wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Her best friends were ignoring her. Her brothers were angry at her. And her guardian angel, GA, was irritated by her snobbish attitude. And if things couldn't get more messed up for Madison, everything that could go wrong at the talent show did, sparking Principal Dimples to find out why! Find out what happens at Gator Elementary's Talent Show. Will GA be able to help Madison? Or will Madison become Little Miss Lonely? Also, try and find one of GA's feathers in each picture!


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes

You can purchase the first book of the series (e-copy), Tale of the Slimy Spitball for only 99 cents until Christmas, December 25, 2013 from Amazon. Just click on the cover below!

Madison and GA The Tale of the Slimy Spitball by Melissa Perry Moraja  

About the Author: Melissa Perry Moraja

Melissa Perry Moraja, Author

Melissa Perry Moraja, Founder of Melissa Productions, Inc., is an entrepreneurial mom, a multifaceted business woman, a creative producer, and an author/illustrator of numerous modern-fantasy children's books and self-help books. Melissa also has published articles, appeared on television, been interviewed on radio, has spoken in front of hundreds of people, and held workshops at local schools, discussing creative learning, publishing and parenting. Her desire to make a difference in her four young children’s lives inspired her to leave her six-salary career at IBM in 2007 to become a full-time mom and children's author. Melissa spends her personal time coaching soccer and softball, painting, and coming up with fun art projects for her kids. She also blogs for Working Mother blog, has guest blogged for Charlotte Observer Mom's Charlotte, and has her own personal blog at Not Your Ordinary Psychic Mom. Melissa is also committed to building awareness and support for Type 1 Diabetes. Her twin daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes November 4, 2011. To learn more about Madison's type 1 diabetes disease please read Madison's Story.

Website | Blog | Facebook (Author Fan Page)

Facebook (Book Fan Page) | Twitter | Pinterest


* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner's choice) Contest runs: November 25 to December 24, 11:59 pm, 2013 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Melissa Perry Moraja and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway
MDBR Kid Lit Book Promotion Services - Button FINAL

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Day at the Ballet

Had to share this pic of my girls at the Nutcracker Ballet event today, with the dancers from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. They had such a great time watching the performances, getting their makeup done, taking part in a short dance class, and making dance-inspired art. It was magical (that is, until Sophie had a goldfish meltdown .... this kid). J/A

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Rap Sheet

Here's what we are coveting, reading, humming, and generally loving this week at the Owl's Skull. TGIF! J/A

With a few different books, this would be an awesome tattoo (From Books Rock My World)
Twin Peaks Fashion (the "Smoking in the Girls' Room" Capelet). I was obsessed with this show. So obsessed I had the weird-ass soundtrack, and I listened to it so much the tape wore out. I especially want the "Who Killed Laura Palmer" leggings.
If you missed this interview on NPR with Maurice Sendak that I posted the other day, you must must must listen to it, especially if you are a fan of children's books. 
Handcrafted Nerdy Candles from Frostbeard Studios. A bookstore candle!?!?!!???? Check. 
The full-text of Anne of Green Gables on a t-shirt, complete with braids. From Lithographs. 
This collection of contemporary fairy tales. The foreword by Gregory Maguire is alone worth the price of admission.
How to Quit Your Job, by Sherwood Anderson (shared by Brain Pickings). Come on, you know you want to;). 
And last, but not least, our waiting-for-the-school-bus song this week: "Little Red Riding Hood" by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I know it's late, I know you're weary

Because nothing says sexy like a Beatle-esque, aesthete Dracula.
Yes, yes, yes, I know it's late. I know you're tired. I know this goes against all blogging etiquette about when is the right time to post ... yadda yadda yadda. But I have been thinking, all day, in and out of grading a mountain of student essays on Dracula (ok ok, maybe not a mountain ... maybe a molehill) about why, when I was a very impressionable 16-year-old, I was extremely hot for Gary Oldman's version of Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. I mean, like, I wanted Gary Oldman's Dracula to be my boyfriend (totally).

Not this one. 
This one. Minus the Beetlejuice armor. 
First of all, let me state for the record that the fact that this film is called Bram Stoker's Dracula is thoroughly hilarious, because it is anything but. This film, although true to some dialogue ("Listen to them, the children of the night ... What sweet music they make!"), completely derails from Stoker's version. While Stoker's Dracula wants to invade England (in all its modern stupidity) and turn it into his new vampy stomping ground, Coppola's Dracula is a lovelorn, romantic man ... yes, man on the hunt for his long-lost love, his young wife, who threw herself from the castle's edge when she thought her husband had been killed by his enemies.

Coppola's film is campy in all the best ways. I mean, at one point, blood actually shoots out of every single wall in Lucy Westenra's bedroom. Several smart people I know absolutely hate this stuff, and I value their opinion. But I find that it makes the film, for me, ... well, fun. Coppola almost seems to be sending up his movie while he is making it. I absolutely love Anthony Hopkins's version of Van Helsing. Perfect.

Obviously, my young attraction to this filmic representation of the vampire is disturbing. Nonetheless, I own it. In fact, I continue to be enamored by Oldman's portrayal of this monstrous being, primarily because he does such a wonderful job capturing Dracula's monstrosity (his duality, his doubleness). I couldn't make sense, even in my young brain (I recall debating this then, in fact), why I would be attracted to an entity that destroyed one woman all while courting another. Dracula's destruction of Lucy is utterly reprehensible; everything that he does, in fact, outside of the circle of Mina's purview is disgusting, something to be reviled. If I am being perfectly honest, I see my youthful attraction to Oldman's Dracula, partly, as demonstrative of my cultural brainwashing as a young, developing female. It's like falling in love with that guy who, while he hated everyone else in the world, loved you (been there, done that). "Hey there Little Red Riding Hood, you sure are lookin' good ..." A/J

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Where the Wild Things Are: Ungerer, Sendak, and Dahl

I love the NPR app on my phone. With it, every day, I transport myself from the daily grind of my commute to a vivid world in which books, music, food, and culture are discussed with intellectual enthusiasm. This week, I heard three lovely bits (two interviews, one with Tomi Ungerer on his childhood under the Nazis and his work and another with Maurice Sendak at the end of his life, as well as a piece about Roald Dahl's Matilda, featuring his granddaughter Sophie). I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. I found myself, to be perfectly honest, crying along with Maurice Sendak this morning, his response to Terry Gross's questions about death moved me so. And now, let the Wild Rumpus start ...

Tomi Ungerer's Interview with Terry Gross
Maurice Sendak, also with Terry Gross, about his book Bumble-Ardy, and many bigger, darker things
And the last piece, on Dahl's Matilda, the Backseat Bookclub read for the month of November at NPR

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. Robert Frost
Last night, at about 1:45 in the morning, I mailed off to the publisher a writing project I have been working on for the last several months. Let me tell you a little about how normal life unravels when I am in the final stages of something like this. Every single article of clothing in the house ends up in the dirty laundry. Dishes pile into giant peaks in the sink. The kids eat ramen noodles every day for lunch and dinner, peanut-butter sandwiches for breakfast. At this very moment, there are leaves fluttering all along the entryway ... inside the house. I can't stay focused on any of the mundane, everyday tasks that make life run fairly smoothly. I stop doing anything that reeks of domesticity. And since no one else in the household picks up the slack, everything goes to hell.

Coming out of this haze, during which I feel guilty about doing anything but work on the project (including eating, sleeping, reading anything other than what I'm working on, enjoying anything ...), is like filling my lungs with the freshest air I've ever experienced (I think, really, that I even forget to breathe properly). The momentary sense of accomplishment (the thought, there .... that's done ... for now) is thrilling.

The light at the end of the tunnel, however, usually leads to another tunnel, so that moment doesn't last long. I guess that's how we get somewhere interesting. How we move mountains that seem insurmountable. A/J

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Rap Sheet

What's floating our boat at the Owl's Skull this week (with an eye to the gift-giving season right around the corner). Enjoy the weekend! We earned it:). J/A

#GiveBooks this holiday season. Make the world a brighter, more thoughtful place. 

In addition to books, I want, want, want this replica of Keith Richards's skull ring from Courts & Hackett.
On the book wishlist, after hearing this NPR interview, children's book author Tomi Ungerer's Tomi: A Childhood Under the Nazis, which "describe[s] the Nazi phenomenon up close - from a child's innocent but surprisingly discerning perspective" (Amazon overview). The interview was fascinating, and the book is highly rated. I want it. In fact, excuse me, while I click over and order it. I'll be back in a sec.
So, Husband, if you could order me this, that would be awesome. Thanks. 
If we could replace "tea" with "coffee," that would be awesome. The Novelettes almost had it right;). 
I love this, because it is so entirely true ... and so interminably annoying when dealing with 18-year-old students who decide a book is not worth reading just because the movie sucked. Thank you, Books Rock My World (oh, yeah, you should follow them. They are really great). 
If I had $275.00 to spend on myself, these witchy brown/black Salvatore Ferragamo pumps would be miii-ine. 
On the other side, I am obsessed with these jackets I pinned from luulla, but all the reports on luulla online are ... well ... not so good. I really want this jacket:(((. 
I really, really, really want to believe this will be good. A girl can dream.

Owlets from the Daily Mail. I love the different expressions in their eyes. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Literary Snowmen

In honor of the first snowfall here in Pittsburgh, we bring you literary snowmen. 

Snowlock Holmes Via
Fifty Shades Snowman Via
The Headless Snowman Via
Puff the Magic Snowman Via
Gulliver Snowman under Siege from the Lillisnowtians Via
The Invisible Snowman Via
Harry Potter Snowman Via
And on the flipside, this booky snowman from Uniquely Grace. 
Now, get out there and make your own:). A/J