7 Quick Takes: 108 degree edition

— 1 —

I realize that to people in many other parts of the country, 100+ degrees isn’t that remarkable.  Here, though, it’s 20 degrees above average, and I’m pretty much ready for rain.

— 2 —

Thanks to my handy soaker hose, my garden is still doing well.  A little too well, perhaps, since it’s too hot for me to want to weed it.  To water, all I have to do is crack the back door open, hot gingerly from tuft to tuft of grass, and crank the faucet on.  Weeding would require being outside for a duration, and let’s face it, I’ve never been one to sweat willingly.

— 3 —

I was intrigued to read Calah’s endorsement of the easiest hair-curling technique ever, so I decided to try it last week.  In a word: amazing.  It literally takes about a minute and a half, and the results are awesome.  It also has the added benefits of getting my hair out of the way during the sweltering nights we’ve had lately (yesterday’s weather reports referred to the low temp as “muggy.”  That’s just not right.), as well as making my awkwardly-lengthed hair look good.  No before or during pictures for you, but here’s an after:

— 4 —

Unfortunately for the above take, that wasn’t really intended to be a hair picture, but one of the fabric flowers I experimented with making the other day.

They were so ridiculously easy that even the simplest tutorial would be overkill.  Step one: cut circles out of cheap polyester fabric.  Step two: melt them over a candle.  Step three: stack them and put a few stitches through the middle.  I tried it out as a potential wedding element, and I have to say, I’m being swayed by how easy they were and how far ahead of time I could get them done.

— 5 —

Another interesting wedding idea I came across this week is Little Borrowed Dress.  For $50 each, your bridesmaids can rent matchy dresses and then just stick them in the mail the next day (or buy them new for $150).  If they had my color, I might consider it, but even so, it’s a cool concept.

— 6 —

Since finishing my letter-writing book marathon, I’ve sent a few notes.  Okay, one was on a post-it note attached to a piece of mail I just forwarded, and one was an insurance payment.  But there were two real ones, too!  Now I’m out of stamps, so I have to decided which design to go with now.  Gotta say, I still like the Reagan ones.  I may just pick up another sheet of those if they’re still available.

— 7 —

On the schedule for this weekend:

  • Go to the farmers market, marvel at the offerings, and ponder how much better my life would be if I was a farmers market seller.
  • Buy sunscreen, SPF 1500, so that I can go to the pool.
  • Put on new swimsuit.
  • Realize that a swimsuit is the perfect amount of clothing to wear inside, so it’s clearly too much for outside and besides, I can’t swim anyway so I’d just end up sitting next to the pool, which is dumb because it’s 108 degrees outside and a new sunburn would just add insult to injury.
  • Look for a good hot-weather movie.  Realize that I watched White Christmas and Fargo last weekend (talk about an interesting juxtaposition).  Any other suggestions?

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Looking at Letters, three ways

I was recently bitten by the letter-writing bug. I suppose it was brought on by the fact that the next year will bring a higher concentration of letter-writing (thank yous, technically) than any other time of my life. A friend who is much more postally inclined also sent a group email last week asking for mailing addresses so that she can mail some summer letters. Inspired to do some writing of my own, I did the next logical thing…checked out some books about it from the library. Here are my brief reviews, presented in the random order in which I read the books.

The Art of the Handwritten Note: a guide to reclaiming civilized communication by Margaret Shepherd

This was a really delightful little book – a small volume perfect to slip into one’s purse and read over lunch, feeling quite sophisticated all the while. More about the whys than the specific hows, Shepherd manages to convince the reader that handwritten notes may indeed save the world (or at least, culture). On the subject of condolence letters, she writes with little concern for your excuses,

You deserve that black cloud over your head when you don’t write, because your silence has made someone think you don’t care.

Well then.  I also want to get my hands on a copy of her companion book The Art of the Personal Letter, but that one seems to be a little harder to find in libraries.

For the Love of Letters: a 21st century guide to the art of letter writing by Samara O’Shea

This one was considerably different from the last.  O’Shea, who runs a letter-writing-for-hire website, has compiled famous letters, personal correspondence, and hypothetical situations, and presents them here.  There are several rather obscure-but-possible scenarios here (such as how to respond to an email from a nice guy who happens to have gotten your name wrong), and overall, it was an entertaining read.  For each type of letter, O’Shea provides recommendations for the delivery medium, importance of grammar (which she downplayed too much for my taste), etc.  Her reliance on reproducing actual personal correspondence gives this an air of memoir.  Except for an…ahem…explicit section near the beginning (which one Amazon reviewer recommends stapling shut), I would recommend it.

The Art of Letter Writing: how to address every occasion by Georgina Harris

Meh.  I read this one last, and that’s probably fine.  It was the only one of the three that was in color, which I appreciated, but I found myself skimming it pretty quickly.  I had several wedding etiquette-related quibbles with it, and as that was the first chapter, I think it made me discount the rest of the volume.  Come on, though – no one should really be advocating the inclusion of registry information on an invitation.

Mixed bag though they were, I’ve been inspired to pull out my stationery collection and start some correspondence!