Monday, December 30, 2013

A Year in Review and New Years Resolutions

Dear Readers, it has been quite the year. And to be honest, I'm quite glad that it's over and done with, because I am worn down. Exhausted, mentally and physically after 2013. I spent four months living in another country (France!), took the LSAT twice, and had to deal with the most hellishly complicated and strenuous semester I've ever had.

Here were some of the highlights of my year:

  • Studying abroad, in Paris, France. France is an amazing and beautiful country, and I'm so glad that I studied abroad for a semester. Yes, it was incredibly lonely at times, and yes, the times I was happiest were when I was with my close friends or family, but it was absolutely worth it. I got to travel (see list below), see museums and works thousands of years old, eat good food, wear cute clothing, and even tried a new sport! My French improved exponentially, and I miss being able to speak French every day! 
    • France: Avignon, the Camargue, various parts of the Loire Valley, Marie-de-la-Mer, Paris, and Provence (to name a few)
    • England: London
    • Italy: Rome (never again), Vatican City (yes, I know V.C. is it's own country, I'm just being lazy)
    • Germany: Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Stuttgart
    • Poland: Krakow, Krosno (to visit my grandmother, aunt, and cousins,) and Auschwitz-Birkenau
  • Turning 21
  • Managing a four-class plus thesis/necessary research course load, in addition to a job, studying for the LSATs, being an active member of my school's IGC as a rep for my sorority, being a member of my sorority, leadership role on my rugby team, and maintaining the barest semblance of a social life (ha! I'm surprised my friends still recognized me by the end of the semester, I was so rarely around), all to get all "A's" for this semester.
  • Starting a blog and actually keeping with it.
  • Taking the LSAT twice. It was not fun, not in the least, but it was certainly a big aspect of my year.
So with all that under my belt for 2013, it's time to make some resolutions for 2014. I have quite a few, so I'm going to categorize them by "subject."

Academic New Years Goals
  • Finish my law school apps and get into a great law school
  • Finish both of my theses this upcoming semester with plenty of time to spare and get "A's" on them both.
  • Graduate with honours.
  • Go to law school.
Arts and Craft/Costuming Goals
  • Finish my Black Swan costume
  • Make my steampunk jacket/costume
  • Turn my lace dress into shirt/skirt separates
  • Figure out how to use my sewing machine without it jamming.
  • Make an underbust corset with steel boning.
  • Always find ways to be creative with things
  • Make a circle skirt
Fashion Goals
  • Find leopard-print accessories and a skirt
  • Find cute low high heels with a thick heel. Something like a ballroom dance shoe, perhaps
  • Wear more skirts
  • Find colourful high-rise jeans. I love my red ones, but they're so low-rise that they keep falling off my body and are a rather unflattering cut
  • Find cute ankle boots
  • Find some kick-*** black knee-high boots that aren't high heels. Or motorcycle boots. Or both.
  • Wear more hats, whether they're fedoras, derbies, or floppy '70s style hats. 
  • Expand my wardrobe to fit my tastes and style
  • Get rid of my old tshirts that I don't wear
Personal Goals
  • Keep exercising/stay in shape
  • Figure out how to get my sorority nationally recognized
  • Be more organized
  • Work on my time-management skills
  • Remember to take a breath and relax once in a while
  • Grow a plant; not kill it within the first month and a half
  • Continue reading for fun
Happy New Years, Readers! I hope that 2014 brings great things to you.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book (Series) Review: The Parasol Protectorate; Also, I have a shiny corset

Hello Dear Readers!

I have finished the last of my final papers (ignoring my thesis chapter, for the time being) and have decided to finally update this blog with a Book Review!!

Today, I will be reviewing The Parasol Protectorate series, by the amazing Gail Carriger, who has two blogs: her author blog and her fabulous fashion blog called "RetroRack" (for the well-endowed woman).

The Parasol Protectorate is a steampunk/Victoriana urban fantasy series that's targeted for adults. There are five books: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless. I bought the boxed set on and ended up reading the series in an entire weekend a couple of months ago.
The Parasol Protectorate Series, on Sale, here!

I was hooked. And loved it. I'm an avid fan of steampunk literature and fashion, so this series was a delight to read... now onto the review!

Plot Summary: This is a whole series, so I won't summarize all of the books, but rather, recap the intention of the series. Alexia Tarabotti is not your typical Victorian woman: she is intelligent, well-read, clever, and lacking in a soul. Her soulless state is unusual, but not unheard of, in a world where vampires and werewolves are some of the highest ranking members of British society. The series follows her adventures with a loyal set of friends and her husband, the irascible and charmingly Scottish Lord Maccon. I know this is a horridly vague summary, but the series is so delightful, and all of the books are related, so I really don't want to give anything away.

Thoughts: As you can guess, Dear Readers, I love this series. I love how whimsical it is, I love how Carriger blends the steampunk aesthetic with urban vampire fantasy (which is a not-so-secret literary weakness of mine). The writing style is easy to read, not overly complicated, and the characters are wonderful.  I will mention that the characters Lord Akledama, an effete and charming vampire lord, the Professor Lyall, the Beta wolf to Lord Maccon's Alpha, and the dramatic Ivy Hisselpenny, with her fabulous array of hats, are some of the most entertaining characters I have ever read on a page. While Ms. Carriger's writing is not the most sophisticated, nor complex, she makes no pretensions to have her series be other than what it is: a fun read, that engages the readers, and maybe inspires their love of steampunk fashion and literature.

Ms. Carriger has mentioned a few times that the series is a "comedy of manners." It certainly is that. Her research into the mannerisms and behaviours of the Victorian world is impeccable, and she even gets the details of certain aspects of Victorian life, like British imperialism, to be so accurate, that the reader can actually believe that the story truly is taking place in the late 1800s.

Rating: 5/5 Stars. I just like this series so much, that I'm willing to overlook the minor flaws that are there. It's absolutely cheesy. Yes. It's true. But I love it. A lot. If you couldn't tell.

Onto other things!

My lovely readers... I bought my first corset! It's shiny, and beautiful.

Silver and Black Floral Design

 While the curve of the corset is not quite as exaggerated as the one in the picture.... isn't it preeeetty? I bought it on sale from I had to get it a size larger than I would like, but that's because I'm not a really squishy person, and there are some things an overbust corset should just not squish into non-existence. Maybe next time I'll get an underbust....

I could talk about my papers, buuuttttt... really, who wants to read about that? In a few days I'll either post about some of the books I'm reading for my thesis, or the outfit I'm wearing to a Christmas party. Not sure which, yet. 

Ciao, my darlings.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Doctor Who Cosplay and Finals

Goodness gracious, Dear Readers.

I know I said I would post on Tuesday, and I am truly very sorry. Honestly. After my Shakespeare final, I was up to 4:30 a.m. trying to write my 30 page paper. (Eventually, at 4:30, I realized that the words I was typing were in fact not words, and as such, I decided to call it a night, at page 22.)

That being said, my Shakespeare acting final went well, and, as promised... here is my 11th Doctor/Leonato costume.

I'm sorry I don't have a picture of me wearing it, and that I didn't bother to take out the red suspenders (and I don't have a bowtie... yet). I don't have a mirror that's good enough to allow a good shot of me in the outfit, and I didn't have anyone around to take the pic for me. But, not bad, eh?

The white shirt came from Forever 21, the pants from Charlotte Rousse. The tweed blazer is a vintage Zara (I'm going to say 80s or 90s) that I found in a small thrift shop in France for 5 euro. (What a find~!! I love thrift shops!)

So what else is new with me? Just finals. So much finals. I'll be a free woman in 8 days, so after that, I'm hoping to post more and about some books!! =3

Much love,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book Review: Ayako

Hello Dear Readers,

I know I promised another post sooner, but things got carried away from me, and (horror of all horrors) I've caught a cold. It's absolutely dreadful. I haven't been sick in almost 6 months, and I'm not quite sure how to handle this, considering I have a lot of work to do, and no motivation whatsoever to do it.

Thus, I decided to do this. A book review.

Ayako, by Tezuka Osamu.

I had to read this book for a class that I'm taking ("History of the Graphic Novel").

Plot Summary:
Tenge Jiro (given name: Jiro, family name: Tenge-- in Japan, the family name comes first) is returning home to Japan after World War II ended. He is an agent for one of the shadow organizations that MacArthur brought in when occupying Japan. He is ordered to kill a man (who happens to be one of his sister's boyfriend) because of his Communist Connections, and the murder is found out by his youngest sister, Ayako. In order to preserve the family's honour, Ayako is locked in a basement for 23 years and declared dead. The work gives an in-depth look at the family's horrific nature, which includes murder, incest, and betrayal. Once Ayako is able to escape from her prison, she must find her way in post-war Japan.

To be honest, I was horrified by this book. It's incredibly well-written, don't get me wrong, but it's repugnant. Tezuka uses his work to deliver a powerful critique of post-war Japan and of traditional Japanese culture. By having such disgusting characters, Tezuka is able to use the baseness of the Tenge family in order to lambaste the corrupt, antiquated culture that halted development and refused to modernize. The rural setting of the majority of the book in contrast with Tokyo is meant to show that holding on to the past leads to a festering culture that is destroyed in the face of modernity. 

This book is incredibly graphic. There's a lot of nudity, there's incest, murder, violence, the whole shebang. The treatment of women is abysmal (another critique that Tezuka makes), and I was disgusted just reading it. But that's where its brilliance lies. Because it's horrifying, Tezuka's critiques are that much more poignant. That being said, if you're squeamish or don't like reading about these kind of things, I'd say stay away.

3.5/5 Stars
(I'm a fairly squeamish person, and the violence, incest, and rape scenes really freaked me out. It's not even the nudity, it's the violence that bothers me. I'm also not a fan of the art style...)

Future Projects
Well, I've got a lot on my plate, but I'm sure that I can do something quick over the next few days. I've got a makeshift 11th Doctor costume (gender-bent, of course) that I'm planning on using as my costume for my Shakespeare final, which I'll probably upload. (Because clearly that makes sense, right? >. >)

I've got a 30 page paper due on Wednesday, so I might blog about that at some point soon. It'll be a tad boring-- I'm sorry in advance. I also might give you some updates on my thesis within the next two weeks. 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

First Post

I have to admit, Fair Readers (if there are/will be any), that I'm not much one for blogging. But I've decided to give it a shot.

I'll start with telling you a bit about myself. My name is Nicolette Chasse, I'm a fourth year student, majoring in history and English literature. I plan on applying for law school within the next couple of months. I'm an avid reader, consummate tea drinker, and a clothing/fashion/costuming addict. Hence the point of this blog!

I'm hoping to use this blog to talk (er... write?) about some of the books that are passing my way. Since I'm writing two theses, I'll probably end up discussing many of the books I'm using. Maybe once in a while I'll add in some fun books. I'll probably discuss fashion a lot too, since I enjoy costuming. I might make updates about my cosplays/costuming as I finish or make considerable progress on them.

And of course. Tea. Because tea is wonderful.

I'll try to avoid discussing things like politics, but no guarantees. Hopefully they'll stay rational. I have an anonymous livejournal account where I rant about these things once in a blue moon. And politically minded friends who will help.

I'm a bit pressed for time today, since I still have work I need to do before class, but hopefully I will have a book review posted some time within the next 4 days. (Hopefully sooner!)