July 25, 2017

Thomas Jefferson and His Books

"I cannot live without a book" is just one of many famous quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson. The only record of him ever saying such a thing is found in a letter he penned to John Addams on June 10th, 1815. He wrote, "I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." This wasn't just something Jefferson believed to be true, he lived by those words. He refused to live or work without books. He viewed books as tools and absolute essentials. He read books to expand his mind, obtain new skills, and learn about various topics.

When Jefferson's birthplace and family home, Shadwell, burned to the ground in 1770, he lost all of his books in the fire. This grieved Jefferson, however, within three short years his library at Monticello contained more than 1,200 newly acquired books from his travels. He had an incredible dedication to scholarship. It's been estimated that he owned between 9,000 to 10,000 books in his lifetime. In his day, Jefferson had the largest and most extensive private library in America. In 1814, after British troops set fire to the Library of Congress which contained roughly 3,000 books, Thomas Jefferson offered the books in his library as a replacement. In 1815, Jefferson sold his 6,487 books to Congress for $23,950. He, of course, began to buy books for his new library soon after.

Mark Dimmunation, the Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, had this to say about Jefferson: "His love of books and bibliography, his travels and his worldly learnedness, and his ample means provided him the unique opportunity to build a private library that was truly unrivaled in America. He was not buying first editions, the best editions, or the best copies. He wanted working texts, ordinary books for the 18th century. He was not building a gentleman's library for show. He was building a scholar's library to meet his needs as a philosopher, statesman, diplomat, scientist, planter, architect, musician, and scholar. He truly is the American enlightenment. He embodied the philosophy of the entire 18th century. He believed concerted rational thought focused on a problem would produce a reasonable solution. He studied the classics in order to construct his understanding of democracy and the republic in very much the same way he would approach a problem with his crops or a scientific question."

After the second fire in 1851 at the Library of Congress, two-thirds of Jefferson's books perished. Now the quest to find copies of his books and rebuild his library continues. If you look closely at the photographs I've shared of Thomas Jefferson's book collection, each one contains a ribbon within its pages. The dark green ribbon indicates that the book physically belonged to Jefferson, he owned it. The golden ribbon indicates that it's an exact copy: same edition and printing press. A black box with a title indicates that the book is still missing.

reference: 1, 2, 3, 4 /// photographs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

July 4, 2017

What's in My Bag + Chloé Drew Mini Review

If you know me, you probably already know how much I love little bags. I currently own five, I know that's a lot, but they're all different colors and styles. I have always gravitated more towards smaller bags as they are much more convenient and carefree. I just don't have that much to carry with me most days.

I purchased the Chloé Drew Mini about two months ago. The color I chose is called "Cement Pink" and it comes with gold hardware. It is more of a light blush beige and it's the perfect color for spring and summer. It is by far my most feminine bag. I really love that it fits all of my daily essentials, including my Kindle Paperwhite which is the next best thing when a bag is too small to fit a book. I believe this will be a timeless bag with its golden chain, round shape, color, and flap style. Before I purchased this bag, I read and watched a lot of reviews in which people compared it to the styles of the 1970s with boho influences. I disagree. I think the style of this bag aligns more with 1920s art deco especially when you consider its size, shape, and the vertical gold hardware in the front. That's just my opinion. I will touch on a couple of negatives about this bag. The first is that the hardware does scratch almost immediately since it is so prominent, but that is to be expected with most bags. The second is that getting in and out of the bag isn't the fastest and it can sometimes be a bit of a hassle.

What's in my bag?
Card holder.
iPhone 7.
Lip balm.
Mini mascara.
Fragrance oil.
Feminine products.
Hand sanitizer.
A Little pack of almonds.
Mini hand cream.

June 24, 2017

Rainstorms and Wandering in Sarasota

Last Sunday Jessica (Wonder Riot) and I drove down to Sarasota where we spent much of the morning and afternoon. Despite the forecast warning us of the scattered rainstorms, we preceded with our plans. Our road trip music consisted mostly of the soundtrack from Wonder Woman, which by the way, is currently my favorite film.

When we arrived in Sarasota, Jessica handed me my late birthday gifts; a candle, a pretty mug, a box of tea, and a Starbucks gift card. The first place we accidentally stumbled upon was a bookshop that was on my list of places to visit during our stay. Bookstore1Sarasota just so happened to be nearby Buddy Brew Coffee, which is where we intended to go to first. Naturally, we wandered into the sea of books and browsed for a good while. I purchased one book that had been on my wish list for quite some time: Peter Ackroyd's The Death of King Arthur: The Immortal Legend. It was a quaint little bookshop with a nice selection of classics and new books. I only wish that their history section had been broader.

We eventually found our way to Buddy Brew Coffee after realizing that we were confidently walking in the wrong direction for a few minutes. Not our brightest moment. We drank our lattes with biscottis that I brought from my house. It was at the coffee shop that I learned that my camera's memory card was full. Luckily there was a BestBuy nearby and I was able to purchase a 64GB memory card on sale. Taking photographs and filming recommenced.

At this point, we were starving and so we headed over to First Watch. I had never been there before, but Jessica promised me that the food was good. She was right, plus they had plenty of vegetarian options. I ate a veggie sandwich and a salad with a green juice on the side. The rain came down hard in this area as we ate our lunch inside, but it was actually perfect timing. After we finished eating nature gave us just enough hours to explore Main Street and Palm Avenue, visit the shops at St. Armand's Key, and go to Lido Key Beach.

As soon as we got back to my car from our walk back from the beach, the thunderstorm that was predicted made its appearance. The rain was so thick during our drive back to Tampa that we had trouble seeing the road in front of us. Rain or shine, I knew that I would enjoy a day out with a good friend. The day before I almost canceled our trip. Waves of anxiety almost drowned me. I was miserable and in a dark place, but I learned long ago that no matter how I feel, I will usually get better if I go out and do the things I love rather than stay in and let my thoughts consume me.

When I got home I realized that I had much more footage than I anticipated; approximately 30 minutes for my vlog. Jessica helped with the video recording while I was driving. I do like how the video turned out, but I know I have to slow down and practice more. I want to buy better video editor, like the Final Cut Pro X that Apple offers. The only thing stopping me from purchasing it is the price. I'm currently saving for a new camera and I just want to wait it out to see how often I will be making videos.

Well, that's enough rambling for now. You can view our vlog at the end of this post. I hope you enjoy!

-- The Vlog --

June 11, 2017

May 2017 · Book Haul

Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer

Authority by Jeff Vandermeer

A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The Bone Clock by David Mitchell

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll