go for broke


If I attempted to purchase all these lovelies, I would literally be going for broke; but there’s something about all these bold colors that reflects my current state of mind. The order that holds this jumble of electric accessories and home decor in place is what I’m searching for. I want to harness my creative energies and pursue all kinds of endeavors. As I near life in the “real world,” I want to take advantage of my inspiration at this moment and channel it, from knocking out some kick-ass writing to crafting a portfolio of visual and design work to enlivening my wardrobe and making fashion fun again. I have a good feeling about this (almost halfway done) year. Things are happening.

(Clockwise, from top left: YSL La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer in Beige Leger / YSL Saharienne Nail Lacquer in Jaune Babouche / YSL Belle de Jour La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer in Nuit Blanche / Chloe Lauren Scalloped Ballet Flat / Kate Spade New York Small Square Stud Earrings in Beryl Green and Pink / Burberry Ombré Check Wool & Silk Scarf / MAC Eyeshadow in Freshwater / Jonathan Adler Utopia Cat Mug / Alexander McQueen Two-Tone Cat Eye Sunglasses / Kate Spade New York Idiom Heart of Gold Bangle / Rosanna L’Alphabet Porcelain Tray)

read this, read that


Welcome to “Read This, Read That,” where I invite friends, bloggers, and bibliophiles of all sorts to share some of their favorite books or writing with Mode and the Like. From novels and poems to cookbooks and art tomes, you’ll find here a diverse selection of recommended reading in this monthly feature.


Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples
recommended by Lisa

At its core, Saga is that age-old Romeo and Juliet story: two people from opposing sides of a conflict fall in love. Unlike Shakespeare’s version, however, Saga follows the couple through their ongoing struggle to be together in a warring universe—and raise their child.

This comic series is the perfect example of ideal science fiction. It explores the human condition using a fanaticized setting to underscore the points it’s making. This is no shitty pulp fantasy novel. Set in a futuristic fantasy world, not a single aesthetic decision is superfluous, and all of the conventions work on two levels (for example, the robot people are called “bluebloods,” both because of the color of their blood and their standing in society).

The series starts in the middle of a war between the winged people of Landfall and the horned people of Wreath, Landfall’s moon. Alana and Marko, our main protagonists (though far from our only storyline) have had a child, one that neither side is terribly enthusiastic about. We follow them through their ups and downs, their triumphs and defeats. And yet, as we find out more about satellite characters, we can’t help but root for them, too—which can be confusing when their interests go against Alana and Marko’s. This is truly a story with no antagonist.

The plot is compelling and the world creation thoughtful, yet for me it is indeed the characters that put this series head and shoulders above much of the sci-fi/fantasy out today. Saga has one of the most diverse casts I have ever seen, and my heart goes out to characters on both sides of the conflict equally. Alana is the ultimate “strong female character,” including her flaws and three-dimensionality, and at one point is the provider for her little family. The journalists investigating the rumors of a mixed child are a gay couple, and the bounty hunters are an equivocally badass crew regardless of gender or age. And all of these characters feel truly human. There are no stereotypes in Saga, no crude caricatures meant to fulfill some quota. Just people trying to find their way in a messed up world, and really, is that so fantastical?


Lisa Ellis is studying Creative Writing at the University of San Francisco. She spends her time making up names for hypothetical pets and blogging about her ongoing struggle to keep herself not starving.

Would you like to contribute to “Read This, Read That”? Send me an e-mail.

monday mood / apr. 13th


Listening to…
Death Cab for Cutie’s Kintsugi, Marina and the Diamonds’s Froot, James Davis’s “Better Than You Are” and “Co-Pilot”

Mrs. Dalloway 
by Virginia Woolf

Check out…
Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on elusive creative genius / an article on Michelle Obama’s fashion choices and feminism / the movie While We’re Young, and this Flavorwire article about it / the N+7 Machine, which follows a procedure invented by Jean Lescure that takes a text and replaces each noun with the seventh noun following it in the dictionary / three poems by Melissa Barrett: “A French Interior,” “The Voice of Trauma,” and “The French Interior as The Voice of Trauma”


Over the weekend, I visited Minneapolis (for the first time) to attend the AWP Conference (again, for the first time). Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists played in the Lyft that chauffeured my friend Lisa and I to our hotel from the airport. It snowed two mornings in a row, and I stopped every time I saw the flakes melting gracefully into slush. At the conference I listened to writers and talked to editors and hoarded free pins like my life depended on it. I discovered literary magazines I’d never heard of and felt the spark of creativity flare up in my fingers. I was surrounded by the unfamiliarity of the Midwest and the literary community and it felt like home.