Friday, February 28, 2014

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Farewell

After much thought, I've decided to retire the BOOLEAN portion of this blog. While I enjoyed sharing all the fun tights and awesome legwear, it's time to turn my focus back to books and libraries. The BOOLEAN archives will still be available for perusal, but this will be the last post of that nature.

The Friday post will now focus on a fun bookish find. Those posts will start next week. To transition, here is our last Friday Fashion Find... a bookish pair of tights.

I found these on Etsy.

While BOOLEAN may be done, I encourage the continued wearing of awesome legwear.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Variations on a Theme: Buildings

Sometimes I enjoy reading books about the history of things. (I share that with my dad.) Some of the most interesting things out there happen to be buildings. Architecturally buildings are beautiful to behold. When you through in stories about their design, creation, and builders, they come alive. Books about buildings are not boring and they are this month's feature on Variations on a Theme.

Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal - Building St. Peter's
R.A. Scotti

Out of the clash of genius and the caprice of popes came the most glorious monument of the Renaissance. It was the splendor-and the scandal-of the age. In 1506, the ferociously ambitious Renaissance Pope Julius II tore down the most sacred shrine in Europe-the millennium old St. Peter's Basilica built by the Emperor Constantine over the apostle's grave-to build a better basilica. Construction of the new St. Peter's spanned two centuries, embroiled twenty-seven popes, and consumed the genius of the greatest artists of the age-Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael, and Bernini. As the basilica rose, modern Rome rose with it as glorious as the city of the Caesars. But the cost was unimaginable. The new basilica provoked the Protestant Reformation, dividing the Christian world for all time. [My review]

Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
Ross King

Brunelleschi's Dome is the story of how a Renaissance genius bent men, materials, and the very forces of nature to build an architectural wonder we continue to marvel at today. Denounced at first as a madman, Brunelleschi was celebrated at the end as a genius. He engineered the perfect placement of brick and stone, built ingenious hoists and cranes (among some of the most renowned machines of the Renaissance) to carry an estimated 70 million pounds hundreds of feet into the air, and designed the workers' platforms and routines so carefully that only one man died during the decades of construction—all the while defying those who said the dome would surely collapse and his own personal obstacles that at times threatened to overwhelm him. This drama was played out amid plagues, wars, political feuds, and the intellectual ferments of Renaissance Florence— events Ross King weaves into the story to great effect, from Brunelleschi's bitter, ongoing rivalry with the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti to the near catpure of Florence by the Duke of Milan. King also offers a wealth of fascinating detail that opens windows onto fifteenth-century life: the celebrated traditions of the brickmaker's art, the daily routine of the artisans laboring hundreds of feet above the ground as the dome grew ever higher, the problems of transportation, the power of the guilds.

Sam Roberts

In the winter of 1913, Grand Central Station was officially opened and immediately became one of the most beautiful and recognizable Manhattan landmarks. In this celebration of the one hundred year old terminal, Sam Roberts of The New York Times looks back at Grand Central's conception, amazing history, and the far-reaching cultural effects of the station that continues to amaze tourists and shuttle busy commuters. Along the way, Roberts will explore how the Manhattan transit hub truly foreshadowed the evolution of suburban expansion in the country, and fostered the nation's westward expansion and growth via the railroad. Featuring quirky anecdotes and behind-the-scenes information, this book will allow readers to peek into the secret and unseen areas of Grand Central -- from the tunnels, to the command center, to the hidden passageways. With stories about everything from the famous movies that have used Grand Central as a location to the celestial ceiling in the main lobby (including its stunning mistake) to the homeless denizens who reside in the building's catacombs, this is a fascinating and, exciting look at a true American institution.

Joan Breton Connelly

In this revolutionary book, Joan Breton Connelly challenges our most basic assumptions about the Parthenon and the ancient Athenians. Beginning with the natural environment and its rich mythic associations, she re-creates the development of the Acropolis—the Sacred Rock at the heart of the city-state—from its prehistoric origins to its Periklean glory days as a constellation of temples among which the Parthenon stood supreme. In particular, she probes the Parthenon’s legendary frieze: the 525-foot-long relief sculpture that originally encircled the upper reaches before it was partially destroyed by Venetian cannon fire (in the seventeenth century) and most of what remained was shipped off to Britain (in the nineteenth century) among the Elgin marbles. The frieze’s vast enigmatic procession—a dazzling pageant of cavalrymen and elders, musicians and maidens—has for more than two hundred years been thought to represent a scene of annual civic celebration in the birthplace of democracy. But thanks to a once-lost play by Euripides (the discovery of which, in the wrappings of a Hellenistic Egyptian mummy, is only one of this book’s intriguing adventures), Connelly has uncovered a long-buried meaning, a story of human sacrifice set during the city’s mythic founding. In a society startlingly preoccupied with cult ritual, this story was at the core of what it meant to be Athenian. Connelly reveals a world that beggars our popular notions of Athens as a city of staid philosophers, rationalists, and rhetoricians, a world in which our modern secular conception of democracy would have been simply incomprehensible.

Robert Klara

In 1948, President Harry Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House’s second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room into a tea party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. A handpicked team of the country’s top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history. While the Trumans camped across the street at Blair House, Congress debated whether to bulldoze the White House completely, and the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb, starting the Cold War. Indefatigable researcher Robert Klara reveals what has, until now, been little understood about this episode: America’s most famous historic home was basically demolished, giving birth to today’s White House. Leaving only the mansion’s facade untouched, workmen gutted everything within, replacing it with a steel frame and a complex labyrinth deep below ground that soon came to include a top-secret nuclear fallout shelter. The story of Truman’s rebuilding of the White House is a snapshot of postwar America and its first Cold War leader, undertaking a job that changed the centerpiece of the country’s national heritage. The job was by no means perfect, but it was remarkable—and, until now, all but forgotten.

Catherine Merridale

The Kremlin is the heart of the Russian state, a fortress whose blood-red walls have witnessed more than eight hundred years of political drama and extraordinary violence. It has been the seat of a priestly monarchy and a worldly church; it has served as a crossroads for diplomacy, trade, and espionage; it has survived earthquakes, devastating fires, and at least three revolutions. Its very name is a byword for enduring power. From Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin, generations of Russian leaders have sought to use the Kremlin to legitimize their vision of statehood. Drawing on a dazzling array of sources from hitherto unseen archives and rare collections, renowned historian Catherine Merridale traces the full history of this enigmatic fortress. The Kremlin has inspired innumerable myths, but no invented tales could be more dramatic than the operatic successions and savage betrayals that took place within its vast compound of palaces and cathedrals. Today, its sumptuous golden crosses and huge electric red stars blaze side by side as the Kremlin fulfills its centuries-old role, linking the country’s recent history to its distant past and proclaiming the eternal continuity of the Russian state.

Other Books About Buildings
Westminster Abbey - Richard Jenkyns

Links and Stuff: February 27, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What I Read This Week: February 23, 2014

No recap post this week. I'm off gallivanting with friends on a ski holiday (although I don't ski). I got distracted by preparations and forgot to write up a post. Whoops. I'll be back next Sunday with two-weeks worth of reading... and maybe another engagement picture. We got our hands on them on Thursday.

Friday, February 21, 2014

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Confetti

I am a fan of spots. I like spots that are also colorful. These tights look like confetti. Win.

You can grab a pair from Maison Palm.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Links and Stuff: February 20, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What I Read This Week: February 16, 2014

This post covers two weeks worth of reading because I got distracted. The Fiance and I had our engagement pictures last Sunday, and I was so nervous beforehand that I forgot to write up a post. Whoops! We're still waiting for the final product, but we think the session went well. It started to snow during the last half-hour and we really, really, really, hope those images come out because we're having a winter wedding.

I'm going to have to distract myself with a lot more reading (and Olympics watching) until the pictures come back. Thank goodness our photographer posted a sneak peek on her Facebook page on Friday. You can see it on this week's Friday Fashion Find post.
  • Magazines
    • The Atlantic, December 2013 - I read this issue while commuting and almost missed my stop a few times. It was chock full of good stuff. I really enjoyed the articles on big data and work, John Kerry, and the attempts to end the flu.
    • Cooking Light, January/February 2014 - There were many tasty recipes in this issue, but I didn't pull two many. I did enjoy the piece featuring lighter dinner classics. I also found the article on social dieting to be both interesting and useful.
    • Real Simple, February 2014 - This was a much better issue that January's. The article on walking made me want to give my FitBit a better work out. This issue had an article on kids and anxiety which I making a mental note to save. Finally, the back of the issue had a lot of tasty recipes. I might have pulled most of them.
    • National Geographic, February 2014 - The cover story on brain science was just plain cool. It makes me want to get a head scan just so I can see the pretty images of my gray matter. The article on the dome of Florence was fantastic. I've already started tracking down more books about it's construction. The images in the article on the Yukon gold rush were stunning. Actually, I'm just going to come out and recommend that you read this issue from cover to cover.
  • Books
    • I finished Allegient last week. While the ending surprised me, I did not like the whole plot trajectory of the third book. I will post a full review soonish. Now I need a new book and I have no idea what I am in the mood for.
  • Other
    • Slate posted a fascinating take on why America will never have another revolution... and it all has to do with noise levels in public gathering places. Seriously, give this article a read.
    • I use Slideshare and subscribe to their weekly e-mails. Usually, I find the recommended slides to be meh, but this week, I greatly enjoyed the presentation "8 Tips for an Awesome PowerPoint
      Presentation." Yes, a lot of it was common sense, but I still think the information was worth the look.

Friday, February 14, 2014

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Be Mine

Happy Valentine's Day! I found some heart tights to share.

You can find these at Milly.

In other news... I got two unexpected surprises today. Surprise 1: A second snow day. Gotta love those extra days off. Surprise 2: Our wedding photographer posted a sneak peek of our engagement pictures on her Facebook page.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Links and Stuff: February 13, 2014

Friday, February 07, 2014

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Olympics

The Olympics open tonight (as lagged by NBC). To celebrate their arrival, here are some Olympics related tights.
Go for the gold!

I found these on Etsy.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Freezing rain. Ew.

Cableknit tights. Yeah!

Why I Love... Book Lights

As of late, The Fiance and I have been watching episodes of The Office before bed. Usually, I'm still awake when he's ready to hit the hay. I would complain about that, but that usually means I find myself with about 20 minutes of reading time before I'm sleepy.

Not wanting to disturb Sleeping Beardy, I make use of our book light (or the Kindle's glow). I get to huddle under the warm covers (flannel in the winter!), with a soft spotlight illuminating the page. The surrounding darkness makes if feel like I'm in a bubble. Reading like this seems quieter somehow. It's easy to focus on the story when everything else is black.

Sure, my eyelids might start dropping quickly, but the booklight means I've got a few minutes of uninterrupted reading. Ah, bliss.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

What I Read This Week: February 2, 2014

All hail the return of magazine reading! Despite the fact that I had my first rec league volleyball game on Tuesday and went to Swan Lake on Wednesday, I managed to plow through a large part of my magazine backlog. I've instituted a policy. I can't read any wedding magazines (which I love), until I clear out the backlog of all my other magazines. It seems to be working.

  • Magazines
    • Martha Stewart Living, December 2013 - This was the Christmas issue, and also the last issue of my subscription. While a few recipes looked tasty, I'm not sad that I will no longer be receiving this magazine.
    • Food Network, December 2013  - Gimme all the cookies! I pulled several recipes from throughout the issue - particularly from the big, easy dinners that are perfect for winter bit. I also appreciate the article listing food gifts from each state.
    • Food Network, January/February 2014 - Normally, the only strong reaction I have towards recipes is one of GIMME!, but the recipes for various seven layer dips did not look particularly appetizing. Happily, the potato bagels recipe and instructions looked quite delish. The cover article on light dinners was also scrumptious.
    • Real Simple, January 2014 - This issue was all about finding balance. Meh.
    • National Geographic, January 2014 - January was just an okay issue. I mainly enjoyed the images and the article on guest workers.
  • Books

    • Somehow, I managed to read about a third of Allegient. I might even finish before the week is over. Still not thrilled with where this book took the series... but there are still pages left to be read.