Industry News, Poetry Review

Update: Ephemeral Elegies

Well, winter feels well underway here in Ohio. The leaves are fading from their brilliant hues and falling faster and faster. And as the seasons change and the sunlight seems more fleeting, I’m forced to spend more time indoors. This time of reflection seems the perfect chance to focus once again on poetry, so I wanted to share an update regarding my big passion project, the poetry-themed literary journal Ephemeral Elegies.

We are nearing the end of our second year of publication! I want to give a big shout out to our 663 subscribers and nearly 13,000 visitors. I love seeing poets and readers from around the world comment and encourage one another on the posts! Truly, the online poetry community is one the warmest, most inclusive, best places to be and I’m honored for the opportunity to play a small role.

Submissions for 2022 are open! I’m thrilled to finally be caught up on my email, and now I’m ready for some more. So, if you’re a seasoned, emerging, or brand new poet, please hop on over to our Submissions Page and consider sending us something. I especially love supporting new voices.

Ephemeral Elegies is subtitled “The Poetry of Emotion” because we often focus on the raw exploration of trauma and the grittier parts of life. I know the ongoing global pandemic has impacted everyone, and we’d especially love to see new poems about this experience.

Thanks for reading and considering being part of this thriving poetry community!

-Tiffany

painting

Autumn in the Woods

I have been loving the cooler weather here in Cincinnati. The leaves are changing in some areas but I’ve also noticed a lot of trees that lost their leaves early this year. Every spare moment, I’ve been trying to soak up as much sunshine as possible before the winter inevitably comes. It’s inspired a lot of my writing and painting, and I wanted to share my latest abstract landscape.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tiffany

Update

New Published Poem!

I have exciting news to share! The journal Grand Little Things was kind enough to publish my poem “Prelude to the Frost” today. This is a great space for poetry, and I encourage you to check them out if you enjoy reading or writing poetry. Thanks to Patrick at Grand Little Things for the opportunity to be featured today.

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com
Book Review

30 Years of Reading

Yesterday was my 30th birthday, and to celebrate, I wanted to share my top 5 favorite books of all time with you!

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First up is The Elegence of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I love this part of the description on Goodreads: “A moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.” That definitely sums it up. I loved the explorations of art and philosophy in this book as well as the unlikely friendships and beautiful descriptions.

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Next is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This is absolutely my favorite classic. Jane is my favorite literary heroine. Even though I read this one differently than I did when I was younger (Mr. Rochester no longer feels like a romantic hero to me), I still love Jane and her fearlessness and recklessness as she forges her own path in the world and overcomes the odds stacked against her.

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Third is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, described by some as the adult version of Twilight. When I first read this book, I had some issues with it (Matthew’s possessiveness), but it became clear that I couldn’t stop talking about it. Since then, I’ve probably read it five more times and have fallen in love with this story of witches and vampires. I love the science and history described in the series – it really sets this apart from the rest of the romantic fantasy out there.

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Next is Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. When I first read this one, I couldn’t put it down. I was obsessed with the exploration of motherhood and the way the mystery unfolded. To this day, it’s one of the books I recommend most when I’m working at the library. It’s fast-paced and easy to discuss, which makes it perfect for book clubs. I’ve read all of Moriarty’s books and this is hands down my favorite.

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And lastly, there is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The descriptions of nature in this book are truly unparalleled, but I was also instantly drawn into the story about Kya. I loved the way the story unfolded, and I constantly recommend this one at the library as well. This was the rare book where I felt sad when it was over because I’d never be able to read it for the first time again. Still, I’ve enjoyed many subsequent readings.

What are some books that have stayed with you over the years? I would love to know! Feel free to send me recommendations in the comments section!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Personal, Update

What I’ve Been Up to in 2021

I have not done a great job at blogging in 2021. It’s honestly always been a struggle. I thrive more behind the scenes, writing and creating in private. But I still want to update occasionally so that I can stay accountable and build connections with other writers and artists.

Below is an abstract sunset landscape that I recently painted. Painting is a passion of mine, but even though I’ve sold some work and was featured in a gallery last year, it’s also something I’m deeply insecure about. I know art is subjective, and I know that it’s something I love to do, but it’s also something I long to keep hidden from the world out of fear of rejection. So, posting this and the other paintings on my website cause me anxiety, but it feels important to continue trying to share. I’m also excited about participating in another Inktober on Instagram in October, so I’ve been practicing more ink sketches.

This year has been more about poetry than prose. I’ve felt very inspired by nature and have spent a lot of time hiking and reflecting, and these themes have factored into my painting and poetry a lot. While I’m still working on novel #2, a poetry collection may be debuting sooner rather than later. And speaking of poetry, Ephemeral Elegies is still going strong with over 33,000 views in under 2 years. I’ve loved connecting with other poets and providing a platform for new and emerging voices. We’re always looking for new submissions too!

One of the main reasons I’ve been reflecting a lot this year is because I’m turning 30 at the end of this month! This has been an interesting decade filled with lots of highs and lows. I’ve learned and grown; loved and lost; created and reinvented. It was a time of change, and now I’m entering this next chapter of life ready to see what’s going to happen next. But before I get there, I did set a goal for myself of doing something I never thought I’d be able to do: run a half-marathon. I’ve been doing some charity 10Ks to prepare and I’m so ready for my birthday race to benefit Autism Speaks.

I wish I had more exciting things to share, but even small victories during a global pandemic feel more meaningful right now, so hopefully this post wasn’t too boring. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share what you’ve been up to this year in the comments section!

-Tiffany

Movie Review

Happy Friday the 13th: Free Horror Crossword

One of my favorite hobbies is doing crossword puzzles. They’re a lot of fun, but they also keep the mind sharp. I’ve tried my hand at creating some crossword puzzles, and while I’m still learning a lot, I wanted to make one to celebrate Friday the 13th. I published it on Eclipse Crossword, so if you want to give it a try, it is available here! It should be pretty easy for the average horror movie lover!

Photo by Ryan Miguel Capili on Pexels.com

If you decide to give it a try, please let me know how it goes! Was it too easy? Too hard? Too niche? Feedback is more than welcome in the comments.

And now, in honor of Friday the 13th, I’d like to list all 12 Friday the 13th movies in order from greatest to worst (in my humble and possibly controversial opinion):

  • Friday the 13th Part 2
  • Friday the 13th Part III
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • Freddy vs. Jason
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
  • Friday the 13th (2009)
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
  • Jason X
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

I do feel like quite the expert since I just spent the last week binge-watching the franchise! If you’re a fan, I’d definitely recommend the documentary Crystal Lake Memories – it is long (like 6 hours and 40 minutes) but a lot of fun with tons of interviews and interesting trivia.

It makes me wonder when/if the 13th movie will emerge on the scene. I definitely have a great idea for the next movie, so maybe I’ll have to find a way to get to Paramount!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Book Review

Series Review: Ruth Galloway Mysteries

I’m absolutely a series binger when it comes to books. When I stumble upon a series that I love, I typically will read them one after the other until I either finish or tire of them. Recently, I fell in love with the Ruth Galloway Mysteries by Elly Griffiths. These books feature Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist, who frequently helps the Norfolk police solve murders (both past and present!)

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The series starts with The Crossing Places, where Ruth is tasked with helping the police in a decade-old case when a new girl goes missing in an eerily similar way. These are pretty standard detective stories. Ruth is an expert in her field, and she teams up with Detective Harry Nelson to show how the past can continue informing the present.

The plots themselves are very fresh and interesting. A lot of the details rely on forensic science, historical references, and obscure literary references. There’s a lot of danger, and while these are not overly gory or scary, they’re also definitely not cozy.

I think what I like most, though, is the personal drama. A lot of the characters make bad or dramatic decisions, and while their personal lives are not necessarily believable, they are super interesting. This aspect probably won’t appeal to everyone, but if you like balancing a tense mystery with a dash of soap opera, you might want to give this series a try!

Currently, there are 13 books in this series with another one slated to come out next year. I’ve read 12 (still waiting for my library copy of the latest one to arrive!) and I’m still excited about this series. Not all of the mysteries are winners, but the vast majority are. They don’t feel formulaic, and they’re pretty quick reads too.

Have you read this series? Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comment series!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

beauty

Best Affordable Lipstick – Almay Lip Vibes

I am a huge fan of lipstick. While I’ve been diligent about mask-wearing during the pandemic, I have really missed wearing lipstick, and I’m looking forward to being able to wear it more often again. Recently, I was at Walgreens and noticed a sale on Almay Lip Vibes. I loved the cute cardboard tubes with vibrant colors inside and out and decided to give them a try!

I bought two shades with different finishes. First off is Be Strong, a beautiful neutral mauve with a cream finish. The second is Treat Yourself, a true red with a matte finish. When not on sale, these retail for $8 a piece. While the finish was different, the experience with both shades was largely the same: they go on so easily and are both opaque from the first swipe. I was impressed by how even the color was and how easy the application was, especially for a red drugstore lipstick. Both shades felt pretty creamy, although the matte finish was noticeably less shiny than the other one. Still, while most matte lipsticks feel a bit drying, this one did not! That’s a huge plus in my book.

When it comes to lasting power, this is a good product. It will last for hours if you don’t eat or drink much. You’ll definitely need to reapply after a meal, but at least eating doesn’t make the lipstick move much or get messy. I would absolutely recommend these to anyone who wants an affordable lipstick! I’m thrilled with the shades I got too – I love a bold red lip that stays put without mess or drying out the lips and the mauve is both super pretty and neutral enough to go with pretty much any look. I plan to buy every shade in this collection that isn’t brownish or autumnal (since my skin tone is quite cool and would look washed out by those shades).

Have you tried these yet or do you have a go-to affordable lip product? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

XO Tiffany

Movie Review

Movie Review: Things Heard & Seen (2021)

I’m a sucker for horror movies that are polarizing audiences, so when I heard about the new Netflix movie, “Things Heard & Seen” I had to see what all the fuss was about for myself!

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First, the IMBD Description: “An artist relocates to the Hudson Valley and begins to suspect that her marriage has a sinister darkness, one that rivals her new home’s history.”

I must say, I was a little daunted by the fact that the movie is 2 hours long. Since horror and suspense are difficult things to maintain, I prefer these types of movies when they’re on the shorter side (ideally 80-90 minutes), but this one did not drag at all for me. I was fully entranced by the careful character studies in this film – no one is quite what they seem and each character (except perhaps the villain) is painted in a way that shows a lot of depth.

The setting was perfect – a haunted house that seemed to serve as a metaphor for the protagonist’s own unsettled feelings.

I wouldn’t say that this one is scary. It feels more like an artful mystery which analyzes gender roles and toxic relationships. Amanda Seyfried does a great job as the main character with understated loneliness and repression. James Norton is also fantastic at playing her husband and foil, a man whose secrets and darkness seem boundless by the end.

To avoid giving too much away, I will say that this one has a weird ending that leaves a bit to the imagination. For those who have read the novel the movie is based on (All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage) the ending is a bit different from its source material. In fact, this is a rare occasion where I think I actually enjoyed the movie more than the book!

Overall, I would definitely recommend this movie to people who like character-driven psychological suspense. Horror purists might find it a bit too mellow, and action-lovers may find it too leisurely paced.

Fashion, Personal

On Personal Style and Being Too Much

Buckle up, my friends – it’s story time! I wanted to use today’s post to touch on a topic that’s important to me (and most people): personal style! No matter if you love everything that sparkles or prefer an array of neutral shades, the most important thing about fashion is remaining authentic to who you are.

My story begins in junior high and high school when I attended a private school with a strict dress code. I was just entering the world of fashion, religiously pouring over each month’s issue of Vogue, so I found our strict uniform of blue polos and plaid skirts to be repressive. It wasn’t that I longed to be different. It’s just that I already knew I was different and wanted to embrace that. I wanted to wear things that reflected how I felt inside – and baby, that meant couture! That’s right, I was the weirdo who paired a classic school uniform with high heels, a floor-length black fur coat, and enough costume jewelry to make it appear that I was already on my third divorce.

You’re probably wondering how people responded to my sense of style. In truth, I don’t remember much because I was so busy daydreaming about what it would be like to work for Vogue and live in New York City and attend galas every night.

Now that I’m nearing age 30, a lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. I’m not Anna Wintour’s protege, but I am a freelance writer who still loves beauty and fashion. My sense of style is still dramatic, but perhaps it’s been tamed just a bit. The sparkles haven’t dulled; they’re just used more sparingly. I think the biggest difference is that I’m now more aware of other people and their opinions. I’ve noticed that I’m frequently accused of being, “too much,” in a lot of ways: too loud, too large, too sparkly, too accessorized, too talkative, too direct, too colorful, too shallow, too serious, too materialistic.

Case in point – do you see the beautifully large white bag in the picture of this post? I love this purse! I bought it on Amazon because it reminded me of a classic Hermes Birkin bag, and I know I’ll never be able to afford even a used Birkin on Poshmark. I couldn’t wait to show it off! I bought it in white because I loved how it would stand out (even though, I am very clumsy and often don’t buy white things since I’m prone to instantly spilling coffee on them – but the red wouldn’t go with as many outfits, so I picked the white!) I was casually seeing a guy at the time, and he had already accused me of being “too much.” I wasn’t relaxed enough; it was weird that I was always so put together; it was a red flag that I seemed so materialistic. Anyway, I truly didn’t think he’d have a strong opinion about the purse, but then I was told that it was nearing a line of being so ostentatious that he’d be embarrassed being seen with me. Needless to say, I picked the bag over the boy right away.

I guess I say all of this in case someone reading this has also felt their style or personality was, “too much.” I see you – and I like you! The world needs your flair for the dramatic, your bold opinions, your sky-high stilettos, the way you light up the room when you walk in. Let’s never apologize for embracing who we truly are.

Thanks for reading!

XO Tiffany