2016 Olympics, Here We Come!

I’m no graphic designer, but after having let the entire 25 days of the London Olympics pass by without saying a peep about them here on Nine to Phive, I knew I had to do something. Not a single fashion post inspired by USA uniforms? Not a single comment on the artistry of rhythmic or creative gymnastics (events I didn’t even know existed until this year)?

Well, I guess you could call this a promotional poster for Team USA. Such things certainly aren’t my area of expertise, but I think it’s a fitting tribute to everything that the US athletes accomplished at these 30th Olympic Games.

Can somebody say “We dominated!!”?

Because we dominated. The USA took home 104 total medals–almost 20 more than China, the nearest contender at 88 medals overall. Not only this, the United States women really brought down the house in London with gold medals being handed out to our ladies right and left–Gabby Douglas in gymnastics, Alison Felix in track & field, youngsters Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky in swimming, veterans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings in volleyball, women’s soccer featuring my fellow Rochesterian Abby Wambach–the list goes on! This great article elaborates on the US female powerhouses of the 2012 games.

All that to say, this little work of art I have whipped up for you today sums up my predictions for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

Rio is ours.

By ‘ours’ I could mean that the Games belong to the United States, or I could mean that they belong to the women of the world.

We’ll just have to see.

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European Bucket List

Whenever I have a goal or a series of goals–serious or lighthearted, it doesn’t really matter–I like to form them into lists. It helps me see the big picture when I can look at a single piece of paper or a single word document or even a single Powerpoint and instantly see everything that I want to accomplish in the near–or sometimes not so near–future.My latest habit is composing bucket list collages. If you can’t really picture what this would entail, this should help:
This page was sketched over time in my Avila notepad. I call it our European bucket list. It lists everything that I wanted Josh and I to be able to accomplish while we were in Europe. Some of them you might expect: watch a flamenco dance, eat dinner on the Riviera, eat churros . . . yeah there’s a lot about places and things that I wanted to eat. Others might seem really random: find a pet store, buy cereal, or learn a new card game. I guess these were personal challenges as well goals. I didn’t want to just sit around!

This is my new favorite format for goal-making! Since Europe, I’ve started a summer bucket list and a lifelong reading bucket list.

Wouldn’t you just love to check things off of a list as fun and quirky as this? What a great motivation to meet your goals!

Fan Art: Brooke Bundy as The Hunger Games’ Octavia

I know that The Hunger Games series is old news now that the film has been out for a month, but guess what? It just hit screens in Spain this weekend! It’s still a hot topic here! Also, no, I haven’t seen it yet because it is quite important to me that I get to watch the film in my native language. Therefore I wait.

Now, I first got into digital fan art based on literary film adaptations when I (somewhat obsessively) placed Professor Severus Snape into a digital time machine and featured the result in this post. It’s so rewarding to take an image of the actor who will be recognized by audiences everywhere as this particular character and then alter it to depict a situation that maybe was in the book but hasn’t appeared in the films.

I was amazed when I read that critical characters such as District 12 mayor’s daughter Madge Undersee and Katniss’ naively lovable prep team had been completely written out of the final film script. When I heard the news, I assumed (hoped!) that these character’s would make an appearance in future films since they become rather important to the plot of the series. After all, the casting of stylist Cinna’s team of Flavius, Venia, and Octavia has already taken place.

After finding a picture of actress Brooke Bundy who will hopefully be realizing the character of Octavia in the film versions of Catching Fire and Mockingjay, I had all I needed.

Image adapted from Bart Nagel Photography

Say hello to prep team member Octavia.

She is described in The Hunger Games novel as pretty and plump with pea-green skin and bright pink hair. The fuzzy pink butterfly brows were a personal choice ;-). I like to think that this is what she looks like without any makeup on or her hair done. As odd as she may look to us, she is very plain for a Capitol citizen in this particular picture.

In the future, I hope to make some representations of Flavius and Venia as well–not as much because I’m a huge fan as because they seem to be a fun challenge for a fan artist.

What characters from book-to-screen adaptations do you wish had made the final cut? There’s Tom Bombadil in The Fellowship of the Ring, Winky the female house elf in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire . . . I could go on, but why don’t you tell me in the comments?

Spain in the News

Photo credit

I’ve been reading the New York Times lately. I feel that’s a good hobby for an aspiring author to pick up, don’t you? Well, it just so happens that when I went to the NYT website (yeah, we’re on a nickname basis), the first post under “Travel” was about Spain, the first post under “Art” was about Spain, and the first post under “Most Popular Right Now” was about Spanish!

I figure it’s a sign. You should all read (or skim) these articles to learn about the waves that little old Spain is making in the world at large.

Prado Researcher Finds Insights Beneath Copy of Mona Lisa

The Benefits of Bilingualism

Minorca: Off the Coast of Spain is a Tranquil Biosphere Reserve

I really do love this country, but in a sense very different from how I love the US. The cultural, economical, and academic activity here is buzzing and exciting but relaxed and in no rush.

That being said, I would never live here, haha. More specifics about these sentiments after we get home.

"Tea For Two and Two for Tea" (London/Dublin)

Dear friend Kristen met up with us in Dublin after Josh and I had spent five days in London on our own. Having visited London in the past with her family, Kristen was somewhat mortified that I had not regularly indulged in the British joy that is tea and scones.

Much to both of our delights, upon visiting the beautiful seaside town of Howth (pronounced “Hooth”) on the eastern shore of Dublin, we discovered a deliciously homey tearoom at the start of the pier. I didn’t need any encouragement, but Kristen definitely wanted me to go.

In the absence of chai (sad day), we ordered a pot of simple green tea, but there was nothing simple about the scoop of dried grasses, lavender, and leaves that was scooped into our teabag. We each enjoyed two cups of the lively beverage–Kristen plain (such a purist) and me with cream and three lumps of sugar each :-). Teehee. I’m sure a scone would have been quite authentic, but who can say ‘no’ to a spiced muffin with chocolate chips?

They had rosebud tea! I’ll have to try that some time.

What was most lovely about this experience was the atmosphere of the tea room. There were comfy antique chairs and sofas and a cozy reading corner. All of the colors were warm and inviting and just asking to be photographed.

Kristen and I sat here while at least an hour passed by without us noticing. We chatted, sipped, munched, and missed our train home while Josh and some other friends hiked the cliffs surrounding Howth’s peninsula.

Scones or not, I will never forget my first real teatime just outside of Dublin, Ireland.

Title from Doris Day’s “Tea for Two.”


More tasty pictures after the jump!