Friday, January 30, 2015

Ella Enchanted // Book Review

Ella Enchanted
Gail Carson Levine

* * * {Three of Five}

I unashamedly love fairy-tales. Disney Princess movies? I adore them! Modern fairy-tale retellings?  um, yes please. Narnia? Absolutely! I actually haven't loved fairy-tales for very long, and thus haven't read that many yet. So I am slowly discovering all the magical stories. And last week I was reading a blog post by this lovely author, and she was talking about loving Ella Enchanted as a child. So of course I ordered it from the library that day and read it over the weekend. Because who decided that kids books are only for kids, anyway.

Ella Enchanted was a sweet, super cute tale, putting a quirky and fun spin on the lovely Cinderella story that we all know and love. It was a very easy read, and turned out to be a book that I wish I had discovered when I was twelve. (It's one that I will definitely add to the library I plan to start for my own children. :)
     One thing that I really loved about this story was that Ella's obedience spell and the problems that it caused weren't fixed by the black magic, (or any magic at all,), but Ella was able to break the spell through her attempt to protect those she loved.

I heartily recommend this little story for all the little girls out there who dream of fairy-tale endings, delightful Prince Charmings, and Princess' in disguise. (And of course all the not so little girls who just like fairy-tales!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

sunsets // fighting the light

The other day my little sister asked me to take some photos of her to send various pen-pals. I almost tried to explain that taking pictures at almost-dusk doesn't really work, but she has asked me a couple times, (every-single-time-being almost dark outside,) so I didn't explain again. We went out and fought the light to get a few decent pictures. And at one point I turned around and snapped these, because the cloud/tree/sunlight combination was stunning. I get frustrated easily when taking photos like these, though, because try as I might, I don't feel like I can do the sunset perfect justice. It was magical that night.

i'm off to go finish the laundry, take some ibuprophen (i've got a wretched headache this afternoon. I think I might be getting sick again. It seems like this winter has me sick 98% of the time...), and then I am going to put together an outfit for a guest post I agreed to do, and read some more of "After the Funeral" by Agatha Christie. I recently started reading her books and guys I fell in love. Mysteries have always enthralled me, and I can't believe that I didn't start reading her works before. They're quirky, the murderer is always someone you have a love/hate relationship with and the writing is beautiful. I highly recommend them. (Especially paired with a LARGE mug of earl gray tea.

What does your drizzly, gray afternoon consist of? {Assuming of course that you are experiencing the wet, depressing weather that I am experiencing.} 

Oh, and as a side note, I have a question for all of those who have gotten ear piercings. I got my seconds pierced seven or so weeks ago, but they haven't healed. In fact, they're bleeding every day still and hurt like crazy. I am wondering if any of you have experienced that, and if so, WHAT DID YOU DO? I really don't want to have to take them out and let them heal up. I do have really sensitive/allergic skin, but I bought earrings that are specifically for sensitive skin types. Anyway, I would love any advice or ideas!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

my sister just happens to be the cutest

i mean, really, how could anything compare to that cuteness? She just reached the milestone of 8lbs! And she is officially Three months old. :) That smile in the above photo is actually an accident. While I maintain that she did indeed smile at me three weeks ago, she hasn't started to smile in earnest yet. :) Dad insists that he's going to get the first real smile.

oh, and my little sister's pen-pal, Emma, made that hat. It's terribly adorable. :) We keep putting it on here when we go places, even when it doesn't match her outfit, (like the photos above,) because it's so cute.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

it's a girl thing // purple, denim and polka dots

Skirt: Gift (but refashioned by me) {0.00}
Sweater: Kmart {I honestly don't remember how much I paid. Probably around 15.00}
Scarf: Thrifted {4.99}
Belt: Kmart {10.00?}
Shoes: Payless {15.99}
Leggings: Walmart {5.99}

    You guys should be proud of me. I actually remembered to put on shoes for these photos!! This outfit was one that I spent about three minuets putting together this morning. My main focus/idea when figuring it out was, "I AM FREEZING." So I wanted something warm, and the first thing I pulled out of my drawer was this purple sweater that I don't wear very often because it's a little too short. I threw it on and decided to go with my high-waisted denim skirt because i could tuck it in. The scarf was added for warmth, and I realized that I needed something else that was white to tie it in, so I added the belt and these shoes, which are colorful and make the outfit more casual.:) My hair is up in a high pony-tail because i didn't feel like straightening or curling it today.
    Basically, I am admitting that this outfit happened because I was freezing and lazy. But I think it turned out pretty cute. ;)


For those of you who are interested, here are my make up details:
Mascera: Covergirl, Lashblast fusion
Lip Tint: Burts Bees, Rhubarb Color
Eyeshadow: Sally Beauty Supply: Palladio Herbal Eye-shadow Quad in Purple 
Blush: Fred Myers: Maybealline dream bouncy blush in Pink Plum
Foundation Powder: L'oreal, Hydra Perfect
Conceler: Revlon, Colorstay extra light
Eyeliner: Sheer Cover Mineral, Classic Brown

I decided to be a little bold with my make-up today and go for bright purple. I found a make up hack last night for brighter eyeshadow. (Layer white eyeshadow over the entire lid to make your color's pop.) so I tried it this morning with a eyeshadow cream i have had for awhile but never really use. It did make my purples more vibrant, and it's keeping it on longer, which is a total plus!

This may win the "Most Bloopery Post I've Ever Done," award. :) You're welcome. Now you realize how strange I am. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

it's a girl thing // pink and sparkly

This afternoon I attempted to take some "it's a girl thing" pictures of  my outfit from church. And after the normal long time it takes to set up my camera, figure out settings that will work with the indoor light, and find the proper angle... etc, and then actually taking the photos, (a feat accomplished by perching my camera on my bookshelf and running back and forth between self-timers...) I decided to ask one of my siblings to head outside with me to snap a few. :)


Can I just mention something that drives me insane? Okay. Curling my hair. Why does it look gorgeous one day, (Friday for me.) and then you try to do the same thing a day or two later and it ends up looking like a tangy scary mess? What am I doing wrong?
Outfit details:
Skirt: Some shop in China {29.99}
Silver Sweater: Goodwill {6.99}
Purple Cami: Fred Myer's {12.99}
Shoes: Kmart: {4.99}
Head Band: Gift {0.00}

I don't know why I still have these shoes. They hurt like crazy and give me blisters every single time I wear them. But they're nude so they go with almost every outfit. Actually. I do know why I still have them. They were on clearance last year, for 4.99. They were such a bargain, that I can't make myself get rid of them, even though they are probably the most uncomfortable pair of shoes I have ever worn. Okay. I think I'll look for a new pair on Tuesday when I go shopping with Sarah. :)

I think this is what the rest of my afternoon is going to consist of. ^ Catching up on bible study... studying. journaling and the baby name book is for character casting. :) I'm going to head down stairs to make myself a cup of Paris tea, complete with a dollop of cream and a small spoonful of sugar, and then come back upstairs to write and read and relax. 

Friday, January 16, 2015


I've been in a writing mood for the past several weeks. I've been journaling in earnest again, (I tend to go through waves of journaling. One week I won't pick it up and write a word, and the next that's all I want to do.) I even started a story that's been floating around in the back of my mind for awhile. I don't have any idea how long it will end up, or if I'll finish it. (I don't finish projects I've started very often.) But I am having a considerable amount of fun whilst working on it, and am even making myself giggle occasionally. (Two of my four main characters are so like me it's silly. they're ditsy, klutzes, overwhelming at times and just ridiculous. They've been quite fun to write. So far Vincent has landed thoroughly in a mud puddle, ruined his favorite hat, knotted himself up in his tie and at some-point today he is going to pour tea all over himself and a friend in excitement. His older sister isn't sure what she's going to do with him. (He's twenty-three.)

I've finished reading nine books so far this year. o.O Mom asked yesterday when I have the time to read so much. :) Reading is the reason I stay up so late every single night. My favorite hours of the day are after ten o'clock, usually with tea or chocolate in one hand and some book or another in the other hand. 

My bestie is coming to visit me next weekend! Weather permitting and as long as nobody gets sick this time or some other unavoidable circumstance stands in our way. She was supposed to come last weekend, but my whole family had a horrible cough/sore throat and we didn't want to get her sick. I'm looking forward to staying up late, watching movies, exploring the mall and probably some coffee shop, and going to dinner. (Hopefully at Olive Garden, or some other restaurant equally good. :)

And on Tuesday my super cool sister-in-law and I are going exploring at the outlet mall near her house. I know we'll have a blast. :)

This week has been quiet, mostly, and rather normal. Laundry, cooking dinner, assisting various children with school, reading late into the night, avoiding the cold outdoors, (It's been 40+ degrees outside. I'm just a wimp.) math and biology, needing to clean my room again but putting it off because I simply don't want to.

Lydia is growing up so fast. She is ten 1/2 weeks old and she just weighed in yesterday at 8.0lbs. :) She's so cute, and smiled at me last week. :) We're all completely wrapped around her little finger.

well, I'm off to bake a poppy-seed cake for Mama. It's her favorite and I think we make it for her birthday every year. Her birthday was actually yesterday, but she forgot and invited some friends over for dinner, so we're celebrating tonight. She wants to go out for pizza, so I think we're going to a pizza buffet.

this is a weird collection of information. can i blame it on two much coffee, a headache and many distractions? thanks. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Out of the Silent Planet // Book Review

Out of the Silent Planet
C.S. Lewis
* * * * {four of five stars}

The adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom begin in C. S. Lewis' acclaimed Out of the Silent Planet, first published in 1943. As the novel opens, Ransom is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The men plan to use Ransom as a human sacrifice, but he escapes and must fight for his life, and the chance to return to Earth, while exploring a world that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and startling in its similarity. 

I have not read much science fiction in my reading "career," and so don't have much experience to judge this book against. I can't tell you if it was written better than most si-fi out there, (although I am biased and consider Mr. Lewis to be an exceptional author, so my guess is that it is much better than much of the other works out there.) and I can't tell you if his creatures were more real or stranger. 
     I suppose everyone has dreamed of aliens, or creatures on other planets at sometime during their life. The idea of other worlds besides our own in this universe is exciting, and mystifying. (i don't pretend to believe in life on other planets, however. It is simply a fun idea.) I had no preconceived ideas for Out of the Silent Planet, other than my older brother's profuse recommendations, and the added enthusiasm of a friend whom I asked, and I saw a copy on my sister-in-law's bookshelf and borrowed it.

Out of the Silent Planet was exciting, tremendously interesting and full of wonderful dialog. I do enjoy description a lot. I love to be able to picture a place, event or person in my head from the word pictures the author has painted across the pages. But a story can't thrive on description, and dialog adds interaction, and an element of being right there in the moment. There were beautiful conversations in this book, (Moments between Ransom and various creatures, in which they are explaining elements of their life and he is incredulous at the simplicity of their ways.) I found myself holding a little aloof from some of the creatures, because they seemed particularly strange but once Ransom really started to interact with them and I realized they were kind and caring in their own way I warmed up to them. They just sounded so weird.

All things considered, I enjoyed reading this and am eagerly looking forward to tackling the other two books in the Space Trilogy soon. I have been informed that they are both considerably stranger than the first, but are well worth reading. I have high hopes for them.

Recommended for readers 15+
the content is fine, besides a little suspense, but the ideas expressed are deep and require thought, and there are a lot of heavy description, making it a hard read for younger readers.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

s m i l e

it's such a small expression, and most of the time it takes no effort at all, yet other times it takes every ounce of courage and self possession inside. One smile has the power to change someone's day, mind and even their whole life. It's constantly overlooked, goes unnoticed and is extremely overrated, but it has been known to save lives. A smile is a conversation starter and can express a thousand things at once without words. It can be flawed, bitter and hateful, but a smile can also be the most beautiful thing in the world. It can convey love and acceptance, represent great joy and melt a heart of stone.

     one smile could change someone's whole world forever.     

a smile. it's such a tiny token. an expression that takes only one moment of our busy time, yet it holds power greater than we even stop to think. I wonder what would happen to the world if we made a point to smile at every strange we make eye contact with. i dare say lives would brighten dramatically, and people would feel genuine love, joy and acceptance instead of condemnation and anger.

i honestly cannot say that i smile enough. it is something that i have noticed about myself asi started to think about smiling. i'm not a big "smiler." sure, i smile when i am happy, i smile at friends and when i read something funny, but i don't go out of my way to smile at people. (in fact, i sort of go out of my way not to make eye contact sometimes, because then i might have to interact in some way.) but it is something i have realized that i need to work on. everybody on the planet needs a smile this monday morning. because we all know monday mornings aren't the best thing since sliced bread. 

also. these kids. they're kind of cute. :)

smile: Nat King Cole
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

Friday, January 9, 2015

mama's bread / / recipe

my mama has always made the best whole wheat bread in the world. we always begged to cut into a loaf within seconds of her pulling it out of the oven, piping hot. it's amazing warm with a ton of butter melted in. i learned to make it years ago, following her recipe exactly, and even though it's a lot of work, (baking bread is always a lot of work,) i love to make bread. but this year (last year, actually) we didn't make bread, except perhaps two or three times, because of how busy and "new" our lives were. We moved, mom was sick and on bed rest, and then everything with Lydia. But everything is calming down this January, and today I woke up hungry for Mama's bread made into toast. (the hands-down-best-way to enjoy this bread. it's a spectacular experience. ;) So At nine o'clock this morning I "whipped up a batch of bread." and i decided to snap a couple of photographs and type up the recipe so that you can fall in love with making bread as well. :)

Mama's Whole Wheat Bread
makes 4 large loaves

preheat oven 350
12 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbs. lecithin
2 tbs. yeast
4 tbs. gluten flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vitamin c powder
4 cups hot water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey

dump all dry ingredients  into mixer, and quickly combine. Add hot water. (It needs to be quite warm, but not boiling hot by any means. Too hot and it will kill the yeast, although if it's too cold the yeast won't rise, so make it as hot as your tap water gets. :) Then add oil and honey. Mix for a long time, five or so minuets. This cuts down on the kneading by hand time, (and saves your arms.) Whilst it is mixing, grab your biggest bowl and grease it really well, and make sure you have a large towel and plastic wrap handy.
 Dump dough out of mixing bowl onto counter and knead until in a nice round, smooth ball. Then place in greased bowl, smooth side down first to grease the top, and then turn it over, and put plastic wrap tight across the top of bowl. (This keeps the dough from getting dried out on top.) and cover the bowl with a large towel, and place it in a warm place. (We often put it on top or beside the wood stove.) Leave for half and hour to double in size.
Dump dough back onto counter and divide into four equal pieces. Knead each piece until it is in a smooth oval, and pinch in ends and place in greased bread pan to rise for another half of an hour. (covered again with plastic wrap and towel.) 
Carefully place pans in preheated oven, (try not to bang them down on the racks or bang the door shut, because that will make them fall, and result in flat dense loaves. :) Bake for 30 minutes, or until quite golden brown. (Make it a tiny darker than golden to ensure that it is no longer doughy.

and just a bit of information about the Vitamin C powder. I had to ask mom what is was for this morning because I was thinking about this post, and realized i had no idea what it was for. I asked her if it was necessary to the bread, or just a sneaky way to get more vitamin C down us. :) It turns out that vitamin C works with the yeast to make a taller loaf without holes. So it probably is optional, (if you don't have it, or have a way to get it.) but it will make your bread much better.

Everyone tends to believe that baking bread is super hard, but I beg to differ. Sure, there are some recipes that you should avoid at first, because they're a bit more complicated and might discourage you, but in general bread is easy and super fun. My favorite way to bake bread is in large round loaves with a couple slashes in top for a fun sophisticated look. (obviously I don't do that with the above recipe.)

do you bake bread, and if so, what is your favorite kind to make? 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

it's a girl thing // Comfy and Blue


Chevron Maxi: Goodwill {6.99)
Chambray button-up: Khols {19.50}
Polka-dot Scarf: Thrifted {3.99}
Black flats not pictured as usual: Walmart {12.99}

I grabbed this skirt at Goodwill and am insanely happy about it. A chevron skirt was on my "updated wardrobe" list, and it felt good to be able to check that off. (I am a list-crosser-off'er-obesser. Being able to cross something off makes me insanely happy.) And maxi skirts are pretty much the best thing since... well maybe even better than sliced bread. 'cause you know what? Slicing bread isn't really that hard. Why do we say that? It's not like it takes hours, or a college education, or even a certification. It literally takes all of five seconds.
     Anyway, we're all sick with coughs and sore throats, and I wanted a comfortable outfit today. (Because my mama has issues with staying in pajama's all day.) 

I am loving my double piercing. :) It's so much fun to wear two studs like this and just feel sparkly. :)

Well, I'm off to make some tea, do some more laundry and probably read To Kill a Mockingbird. What does your Tuesday afternoon look like?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

f e a r l e s s

i've struggled with fear for as i can remember. normal fears like heights, and swimming in waters with fish and "various creatures," spiders and reptiles of all kinds. I struggle with irrational fears like suffocating alone in the bathroom and being found randomly by a family member, or falling to my death from some great height.
     being alone...
     not being able to respond and assist in a crisis...
     walking away with huge regrets...
     saying the wrong thing...
     or nothing at all...
     making the wrong choice in something huge like marriage, moving or college...
     hurting someone i desperatly love...
     missing opportunities...

i find myself panicking when i start to think about my future and decisions i am going to be faced with. what if i make the wrong choice and it literally ruins my life. 
I can't wait till spring to jump again! Cuz this is exactly how it flying!
but i've slowly come to realize over the past month, as i've really been thinking about it, that my fears do not define who I am as a person, nor do they confine me. I can move past them and work through them. i'm reminded of a quote i read recently, somewhere, (honestly probably on pinterest,) that said something to the effect of "impossible is just an excuse to not even try." my fears are a sort of protective bubble that I have allowed to surround myself, they've become an excuse to escape a situation i'm not comfortable with.
     So even though the idea of job interviews and having to talk to strangers scares me and the idea of courting/dating and marriage terrifies me and makes me absolutely freak out sometimes, I can work through my fears one bit at a time, and perhaps, slowly i will gain confidence and things that scare me into a panic won't bother me at all.

this is my goal, the "object" that i will be perusing this year, if you will allow the muddle expression. i'm eighteen, and ready to start living fully, without constantly shrinking down inside because i'm afraid. 

f e a r l e s s :

courageous; resolute in the face of danger or challenges.
synonyms: bold, brave, courageous, valiant, gallant, plucky, lionhearted, heroic, daring

{I am not, however, planning to work on my fear of insects or reptiles. i consider the fear of these to be extremely healthy fears, helpful in keeping one's distance from creatures that should be avoided at all costs...}

"the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall i fear. the Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall i dread." Ps. 27:1

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you for i am your God. I will help you, surely i will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Is 41:10
"Say to those with anxious heart, Take courage, fear not."
Is 35;4
"Because you are with me, I will NOT fear."
Ps. 118:6
"the biggest prison people live in is the fear of what others may think." - Unknown