My Favorite Great American Authors

With the US Independence Day coming up, I thought I would share with you my favorite authors which hail from the USA! This list includes authors of the classic Great American Novels that I love.

Ernest Hemingway

You can’t make a list of great American authors without including Hemingway. The only thing as interesting as his life is his fiction (seriously, the man went through a lot!). Many of his works are considered classics. My personal favorites include The Old Man and the Sea, “Hills Like White Elephants”, and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.

Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens, using the pseudonym Mark Twain, is another iconic American author. He’s well-known for his wit and his ability to weave distinctly American themes into his work. Coincidentally enough, Ernest Hemingway, in The Green Hills of Africa, said of Mark Twain, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m a bit torn on including F. Scott Fitzgerald on this list, through no fault of his own. Like many American students, I read The Great Gatsby in high school. I initially loved the book and found it very captivating. However (again, through no fault of the author or the novel) my English teacher hit us over the head with this book (metaphorically speaking), so now I’m a bit tired of it. That being said, if you happen to have never read it, I would highly recommend it!

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut is one of my all-time favorite authors. His stories are both ridiculous and insightful. If you like your societal satire with a healthy dose of whimsy and dark comedy, check out his books. I would specifically recommend The Sirens of Titan, Player Piano, Breakfast of Champions, and Slapstick.

Edgar Allan Poe

Rather than dark comedy, Edgar Allan Poe is known for his dark romanticism. Many are familiar with his poem “The Raven”. Other notable works include “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, and “The Masque of the Red Death”.

The Gaslight Frontier Wiki

Lately I’ve decided to get back to work filling up the wiki I created a while back for the Gaslight Frontier. What is a wiki, you ask? A wiki is a website on which users collaboratively add and modify content and structure directly from the web browser. The most well-known example is the website Wikipedia.

Pertaining to my wiki for the Gaslight Frontier, it’s a website where you can find information on the characters, places, objects, etc in the Gaslight Frontier world. If you join the wiki as a member, you can also add and modify content! (If you’ve already read Grigory’s Gadget, please feel free to add details as you see fit!)

I’m still working on adding all of the pages to cover everything that happened in Grigory’s Gadget. Currently, you can find pages for the main characters and some secondary characters, the main places and ships, and a few notable objects. Beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the book yet!

I would really love any feedback you have for my wiki, in terms of both design and content. I’m still learning the ins-and-outs of the Wikia platform, and would also love suggestions as to what details you want fleshed-out next!

And Now For Something Completely Different…My First Stitch Fix!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing my first Stitch Fix box.

Stitch Fix is a fashion subscription box. In each box (which can come every 2 weeks, monthly, or every-other-month, your choice) you get 5 articles of clothing or accessories that have been picked out just for you by a stylist. When you sign up, you fill out a style quiz that asks for things like your measurements, general style preferences, occasions you’ll be dressing for (casual, work, date night, special event, etc), what types of items you want, etc. Your quiz can be updated any time your preferences might change.

In addition to answer the style quiz, you can also give your stylist links to your social media pages. Pinterest is the most useful here, as you can make a style board which your stylist can refer to in order to better understand your tastes.

For each shipment, you’re charged a $20 Styling Fee.  This fee will be applied toward the item(s) you decide to keep in that Fix (e.g. if you decide to keep a $40 shirt, you’ve effectively already paid for half of it, and only owe an additional $20). When you receive your Fix, you have 3 days to decide what you want to keep, and what you want to return. A pre-paid USPS bag is included with your shipment, which makes returns very easy. You only pay for what you decide to keep!

I was excited to try Stitch Fix after my mom tried it and liked every item she received. My box arrived June 1st and I was pretty impressed.

As I post this, I’ve realized a glaring criticism I have of Stitch Fix: there is no way for me to see what items I received online. I received a card with the items, brands, and prices in my Stitch Fix box, but no digital version of that card exists. So, unfortunately (since I recycled that card with the box) I don’t have the prices for any of the items except the ones I kept (which I do have a receipt for).

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Item number 1 was a pair of dark skinny jeans, which unfortunately didn’t fit. They did feel like good quality jeans, though. They were also the priciest item in the box (I think $88)(On this note, you can choose price ranges as part of your Style Quiz). For those reasons, I decided not to keep the jeans. (Another note, you do have the option to exchange items if they aren’t the right size. I just chose not to for these jeans)

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Item number 2 was this really cute dark blue blazer. I went back and forth on this, because it is so cute! However, it didn’t make sense for me to buy a (somewhat pricey – $70-something if I remember) blazer when summer is about to kick off. If I received it in, say, September or October, I probably would have kept it. But it didn’t seem worth it to spend that money on something that would sit idly in the closet for months.

The next item is a bit hard to see in these photos. It’s a silver layered necklace. At $34, it was a bit more than I’d usually spend on jewelry. But, I’m pretty cheap when it comes to jewelry! I liked it a lot, so I did decide to keep it.

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Item number 4 was a lovely floral blouse. Now *this* felt appropriate for late spring! It fits nicely and is lined, so I don’t need to worry about wearing a cami underneath it (this is important for people like me, who fall behind on laundry!). I decided to keep this as well. It cost $58, which is about on-par with what I typically spend on nice blouses.

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The final piece was a bit of a disappointment. I love the idea of maxi dresses. They make you look glamorous with about 0 effort. Unfortunately, this was not the maxi dress for me. There was too much excess fabric on the top, which did funky things to my body shape. If it was more fitted on top, I would have loved it! Oh well. I believe this was also around $70ish.

Once you decide what you want to keep or return, you fill out a form on the Stitch Fix site where you indicate what you’re keeping or return, as well as what you liked or disliked about each item. That way, your stylist can more accurately curate your box next time!

Overall, I was satisfied with my Stitch Fix box, and look forward to my next one in July.

If you’re interested in using Stitch Fix, I would really appreciate it if you used my referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/12357829?sod=w&som=c&str=13803

And Now for Something Completely Different…My Updated Workout Routine

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a professional trainer or athlete or anything of the sort. I’m just a regular person trying to be healthy. If you read anything in the post that is inaccurate/misleading/etc, PLEASE let me know and I will correct it ASAP!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be discussing my updated workout routine. If you’re interested, you can read about my previous workout routine here.

 

A while back, I joined a gym and developed an effective-yet-time-efficient workout routine. However, as the seasons changed and being outside actually became pleasant, I decided I didn’t want to work out in a dank and smelly gym. I wanted to be outside!

Fortunately, I recently moved into a more quiet suburb, with lots of trees and sidewalks that are in good shape. So, I started to jog outside instead of on the treadmill. I currently walk/jog about a 1 mile loop in the neighborhood. I’m measuring my progress, and once I get comfortable with that loop I’ll start to extend it to a longer one.

After I’m done with my jog, I do a workout at home. I’ve found a useful app called Home Workouts which has a database of exercises that only require your own body weight or hand weights. You can search by muscle groups and build your own routine. With the help of this app, I’m able to work on building muscles at home, too!

Then, as I did in my old workout routine, I stretch. The total workout time is about the same as my gym routine was (about 45 minutes).

Do you see something in my gym routine that could be improved? I’m open to suggestions! I would love to hear your gym (or other workout) routines, and any tips and tricks you have to offer!