Monday, December 5, 2016

Once// Historically Inspired Fairytales Review

Today I am thrilled to review a book written by some bloggers I follow.
 I first heard about this project on Hayden's blog some months ago, and jumped at the chance to be an advanced reader.

written by
 Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, and Hayden Wand.
"Once" is a collection of fairytale retellings, all spun with the twist of being placed in a historical setting. These short-stories are all standalone, and each taste of the distinct interests and styles of six very different authors. From a time-traveling princess who just wants to sleep, to a lonely girl out west surrounded by wolves, each story definitely has a feel of its own. There's a mystery during the Jazz age, and some steampunk misadventure that will keep you reading until the end. A 1940's tale of heartbreak and an Italian Renaissance tale of freedom share the common themes of war, fear and love. Each story seeks to view well known fairytales through a different lens, and there are sure to be at least a few plot surprises for everyone.

-The Mountain of the Wolf  by Elisabeth Grace Foley: a western-style retelling of Little Red Riding Hood dealing with the struggle between revenge and justice, set amid old mines and wild mustangs.

-She But Sleepeth by Rachel Heffington: a retelling of Sleeping Beauty woven with time-travel, broken glass, and cunning gypsies, set in Romania at the famous Peleș Castle.

-Rumpled by J Grace Pennington: a steampunk retelling of Rumplestiltskin revolving around one rash decision, lies, artificial intelligence and slow love.

-Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke: a heart-rending retelling of The Little Match Girl, set in a WW2 era Jewish ghetto, this story explores the concept of loving even after incredible loss. 

-Death Be Not Proud by Suzannah Rowntree: a mystery-style retelling of Snow White involving jazz music, moonshine, and a quest for truth, set around glassy waters in New Zealand.

-With Blossoms Gold by Hayden Wand: a Renaissance era retelling of Rapunzel, this tale about a girl in a tower shows that not all prisons are physical, and deals with themes of courage and faith.

Historical Elements:
I was drawn to this book for it's historical backdrop, and that is exactly what made the stories special.
Some stories definitely pull more on the historical aspect than others. Also, I did learn about some neat places, namely Peles Castle in Romania, and the South Island of New Zealand. Plus the description of a maiden clothed in Renaissance garb made me happy.

The romances were kept pretty clean, with kissing and embraces between couples.
There is a start of a chapter where intimacy is implied to have taken place between a married couple.
Overall I felt like the relationships were sweet rather than steamy.

Spiritual Elements:
These are fairytale retellings all written, (from what I understand) by Christian authors.
Two of the stories have a more fantasy/magic feel, while the others do not.
The last story in particular makes mention of Christianity and the power of prayer, and in some of the others there are subtle themes of faith and honor.

Overall Thoughts:
This was a delightful read, a real treat for someone who doesn't read much fiction these days *sigh*. I couldn't put it down over my Thanksgiving holiday. There were things in each story that I did not foresee happening, which kept it fun. At first I found it hard switching from one author to another, but in the end that is exactly what I appreciated most about it. If these authors ever put together another collection, I would pounce at the chance to get a copy.

I highly recommend buying this book, it is available for purchase on kindle!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mod-Squad Outfit

                                                                       Hello friends!

                                  I went thrifting again and found some vintage-esque pieces.
                 Behold the burnt-orange 60's-style shift, featuring pockets and peter-pan collar.
I have worn this about four times this week.

 Since it is getting quite cold, I like to wear my fabulous bow sweater with it, see how nice?

I am sporting some mitts my friend Marie made for my birthday, and my new footed-leggings.
These brown "tights" are the thickness of leggings, and fleece-lined too. Very warm and super soft.

 Oh! add to my awesome squad, we got a new puppy in October....

Meet Rita. She looks innocent, but be ye not deceived.
She is quite the little rascal!
I had forgotten how much work a puppy can be. We got her for my mother as an early birthday present. She is super cute and we love her!

Anyways, I hope you all are doing well.
We got our first bit of snow the other day, but it is all gone now.
Off to fix myself a cup of tea.
(I am trying to prevent a sore throat from taking over my weekend.)

Much Love,

P.S. Has anyone ever watched that old TV show The Mod Squad? I only catch it occasionally on our re-run network, but it's pretty fun.
P.P.S. So tell me, what are you up this first week of December? Are you in full-gear Christmas mode, or just starting to ramp up to it?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lisa's Day

 On October 29th, 2016, 
our dear friend Lisa (and former house mate) and her love Josh, were married.
They said their vows in Lisa's hometown in California.

 My sister Emily and I were blessed to fly out a few days before to help prepare,
and then we enjoyed a wonderful time on the day of the ceremony.
 It was an amazing time, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, but mostly we enjoyed seeing these two beautiful hearts unite.
The ceremony was heartfelt, filled with the gospel message.
The décor rather airy and simple.
When we all saw Lisa, we could only define her with one word:
I hope you can get a little sense of this beautiful day with the photos below.



So, that was that. Lisa is off now in her own house, settling down.
The wedding, with all its prep and beauty, is over.
And we are left with two things:
happy memories, and a covenant between two hearts. 
What can be better than that?
 Much love,

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vintage Vibes//Outfits Lately

Hello friends, I have two outfits to share today with you all. 
I hope you enjoy ;)

I recently discovered a used Modcloth board (on facebook), for lovers of that online store to buy, sell and trade their items.
I was very excited and scored this red vintage-inspired dress for a great price.
You see, I have an over fondness for perter-pan collars.

I wore my lace kimono, some jeans and my lace up boots (with cute cuffs) to round it all off.

This outfit was one I wore to church a few Sundays ago, in early October when the weather was warmer.
I thrifted this wool brown skirt (vintage) and wore my brown felt hat (vintage) along with my oxfords and a mint shirt.

 My awesome friend Marie had given me some mint-hued "ruffle" socks 
that really added something special to my shoes.

And one of my Sunday School students bought me an owl necklace with her own allowance money.
Isn' that sweet?

So there you have it!
I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the quirky things I have been wearing of late.
Honestly, when it comes to cooler weather, I just try to layer my summer clothes 
for as long as possible! ;)

Thank you for all the Birthday wishes!
I had a very nice, low-key birthday in and of itself, 
but what really made it special was all the well-wishes from folks online, at work, at dance, and at church.

I know some of you are traveling or working really hard right now leading up to Christmas, so just know I love you and am thankful for you.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Birthday Hello

Today is a special day,
I am a new year older.
I was given flowers at work yesterday, a surprise party or two, and many thoughtful wishes.
I find I enjoy birthdays more as I age and they become lower key and hold deeper, quieter meaning.

Isaiah 54:10

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Much love to you all!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Blogger Recognition Award

Hello my dear people,
how are you doing?

 I am popping in today to thank dear Miss March for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition award and tag. That was super sweet my friend!
 What is this all about you ask?

Here's the deal:
-Thank the blogger who nominated you.
-Tell a little bit about how you started blogging.
-Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
-Nominate 15 other bloggers.
How it started:
 I was around 14 the day my friend's mother came over and helped me set up my first account on the now defunct site "Homeschool Blogger". 
She was (and still is) quite the writer and walked me through the process of passwords and formatting until I had my very own space to have and to hold. 
Overtime I learned bits about html coding and that day I figured out how to create my own gravatar-
 I thought I was really something special!
My best friend at the time also had her own blog, and while her passion for it died away eventually, mine firmly stuck. A few years later I took the step and switched to a blogspot account and the rest is history! 
 Advice #1:
My first piece of advice comes from someone who has been blogging for the long haul-from early teens well into adulthood:
Allow your blog to grow and change as you grow and change.
From the get-go, let this be your mindset.
Since many girls start blogging early, it stands to reason that as they grow, graduate, get married, start working or have a family, their blogs will change.
This can be scary because your readership and the circle of people you follow might change as well. 
Posting schedules and topics (even opinions) can change over time, and it can be uncomfortable for the blogger and her readership. 
I remember the dread of finding a favorite blog shut down, and the disappointment when someone's interests changed and her blog didn't feel the same. 
Granted, sometimes there is reason to be a little sad or concerned, 
but change is part of growth--and can be really beautiful when accepted.

Advice #2:
Don't bind yourself to a rigid posting schedule.
Goals are great. But here is the deal--
posting schedules are not mandatory, and we won't fire you if you miss a week.
I missed the official memo that posting schedules were a thing, and so I never really have stuck to one, and that has been one less thing to worry over in my life. 
And please remember, you do not have to apologize (unless you want to!) if you are absent from blogging for awhile.
Most of us reasonable people totally understand!
I don't know if I have 15 people to nominate, but here it goes!

If you haven't already done this, and are so inclined, have fun doing the tag.
And if I didn't tag you, and you want to-I tag YOU.

Much love,

(All the pictures in this post are from a recent trip I took with my friends, Samantha and Julie. It was such fun! Girls, take advantage of your free weekends, it the stuff life-long memories are made of!)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Creativity Lately-The Finer Things

 Hello friends,
I have two special projects to share with you all today.
These were both gifts to two fabulous people in my life.
First off is Lisa's bridal veil.
 When she asked me earlier this summer if I would sew her veil, I honestly knew very little about such things.
I agreed but was a bit skeptical about my ability to pull it off.
 This was probably for the best because I researched and planned the whole project very thoroughly before starting.
After some minor,
 panic when it came time to sew down the ribbon with clear thread, it actually turned out really well.
Especially for a first time, I feel like this project was a success.
Note: sewing with plastic thread is a pain and a bother-but the results are super pleasing.
 The veil is a slightly longer than finger-tip length and has a blusher.
I went ahead and drafted a pattern rather than trying to evenly cut it freehand.
Now I have a base pattern to use for future friends if they need my help.
And even with buying fabric samples and more ribbon than needed, it still cost under $20 to make.
I love how it drapes and I am glad I was able to bless my friend.

Secondly, and taking up the better part of a year,
I completed a counted cross stitch.
I started cross-stitching last year, and this is the hardest thing I have made.
Maybe it's the fact that the stitches are so small, or that I am new to this craft, but this was not an easy project for me.
The finished  piece is actually very small, and it came in a packaged kit,
but I sewed on it (on and off) for most of the year.
My friend Samantha ADORES Beauty and the Beast, and this year is the 25th anniversary of the Disney cartoon.
So, it was a timely gift.
 I am excited to report she loved it.
 It meant as much to her as it did to me, so that was very nice.

Both these gifts stretched me in the area of detail work, but I was glad to grow a bit in my skill set.
I am more motivated now to take on gifts for other people.
I hope you enjoyed this post.
What do you think?
Much Love,