Saturday, June 29, 2013

Grace's Pictures {A Book Review}

Grace's Pictures

by Cindy Thomson

Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold 
all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.
{summary taken from Amazon}

My Thoughts
This is a book that I was not sure about when I first started it. The story was something that was right up my alley, since I'm a big history buff, but it didn't draw me in right away. For one thing, I didn't like Grace at the beginning, since for the longest time, she just seemed quite rude to me, though that is completely understandable when you look at the difficult life she had led up unto that point. I also found it difficult to connect with the writing style, since it was much more "easy to read" than I tend to enjoy (I think it's meant to be an adult book, but it read more like a middle-grade or YA book), but I didn't mind it after awhile, and I even grew to like the style and the imagery. Still, I kept reading, and I ended up really getting drawn into the story and very much emotionally invested in the characters. The characters are one of the best parts of this book, besides the intriguing story itself, because they are all so rich and colorful. It was so easy to picture them and to "hear" their voices. Owen was my favorite of all of them, an upper class young man who left his comfortable position in society to become a policeman. He was just a likable, good-hearted hero, with a strong faith. I also loved the little children Grace nannied--they were all so sweet! And even Grace eventually grew on me, though not until about the middle of the book. I also really liked all the history. You get to see a great juxtaposition of the upper and lower classes of New York at the time, and I think the whole historical aspect was just done really well. I also liked the wee bit of mystery, which added a whole air of adventure to the story. Also, the ending was really good. Really, really good. It was the kind of ending that made me reread the last page, sigh happily, and close the book with a sappy smile on my face. 

Anyway, I'd give this one 4 out of 5 stars. I think I would definitely recommend it (I'm letting my younger sister borrow it at the moment!) if you like historical fiction and are looking for a quick summer read. 

{Disclaimer: This book was a complimentary copy provided by The Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.}
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Brightly Painted Flowers

//Skirt: Thrifted & Refashioned // T-shirt: Thrifted // Wedges: Target // Scarf: Daiso // Bracelet: Gift//

Hello, everyone! A glorious thing has happened--whatever was wrong with my camera is now fixed! The whole thing is very strange...this morning I may or may not have knocked it off my bed and onto the floor, and when I turned it on to make sure it wasn't damaged, that troublesome black spot had disappeared! I'm incredibly grateful that I won't have to buy a new camera right away. That will definitely make it easier to save for a better camera.

Anyway, this citron skirt is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It's surprisingly versatile, and it's lightweight, too, so perfect for summer! For church this past week, I just paired it with a plain black tee, and added some floral accessories for some extra color. These wedges are just about my favorite shoes, since they're so pretty and surprisingly comfortable, and I always love coming up with new ways to wear them. Also, they're pretty high, so they let me tower over my little sisters, who are already passing me up in height, and love rubbing in the fact that I'm the shortest. 

I hope you all are having a great week! I just filmed another video today, since I had some extra time (and a working camera!), so I'll be posting that later this week as well. 

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Floral & Sewing a Scalloped Hem

//Dress: Thrifted, Refashioned // Shoes: Thrifted // Necklaces: Gifts//

I was thrilled to find this fun floral dress at Goodwill the other week. It had a sweetheart neckline (and one that was actually high enough to be modest!) and pockets as well as an exposed zipper in the back (love!), and it just happened to be half-off, so it was perfect. Holding it up, it seemed to hit about knee-length, but I realized once I got it home and tried it on, it was actually pretty short (I have really got to learn to look in a mirror or actually try the dress on before buying it...), so  I decided to add some length by adding a strip of fabric to the bottom. SO, a week later, I went back to Goodwill and bought a pink pillowcase that I hoped would match the pink in the roses on the dress. It didn't really, but I think the colors actually ended up going quite well together. I thought I would add a touch of whimsy to the hem by giving it a scalloped edge, which I had been wanting to try for quite awhile. It ended up being really easy (there may be a tutorial on this coming soon!), and I loved the finished look. I did make it a bit longer than I had initially wanting it (I wanted it to hit just at the knee/slightly above), but I do really like it the way it ended up. Still...after that, I learned to be a bit more careful about my measurements!

I hope you all are having a lovely week!

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Very Monochromatic Look

//Blouse, Shoes, Bag: Thrifted // Skirt: Refashioned // Necklace: Fred Meyer // Stockings: JCP //

I picked up these cute little thigh-high stockings at JC Penneys the other week on their clearance rack. I am never quite sure what to think about the idea of wearing these style socks with skirts, because I have seen so many cute looks with them, but I never quite seem to be able to pull them off. It may be because I don't like knees in general (you know, like some people have an aversion to feet? I have an aversion to knees!), and this style kind of emphasizes the knees. Still, I wanted to try out the trend again, and so last Sunday, when it was quite chilly, I threw these on with my outfit, thinking I'd gain some extra warmth along with the monochromatic look. And I think I like it! 

Also...on a not-so-happy note, my camera has been having issues. The very week after I decided to start putting aside money for an SLR, a black spot appeared on the screen and also in the pictures. I'm thinking it has to be something on the lens, but the lens looks perfectly fine! My mother, the professional photographer, is completely mystified by the entire thing, and I'm not completely sure what to do myself. I depend on that little point and shoot an awful lot (and it's not even a year old yet!), and I don't quite know what I'll do without it! Soooo, there may end up being less posts until I figure out the problem. Still, my sister did a really great job hiding the spot in these pictures, which was a little bit easier to do with all the black I was wearing! I was thrilled that these turned out actually usable.

Anyway! I hope you all have a lovely weekend! I'm heading back to school on Monday, and really hoping these classes won't be too crazy and I can still enjoy the summer.

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Monday, June 10, 2013

the emerald city

// Dress: eshakti // Wedges: Target // Ring: eBay // Clutch: my grandmother's // Nail polish: "Red" by Love and Beauty from Forever21//

The green of this dress reminds me of the Emerald City. The Wizard of Oz was one of my favorite movies (and books!) as a little girl, and this shade of green, which I guess you might call emerald, brings to mind images of the Emerald City in the film. I think that's one of the reasons why I like the color so much, is because it reminds me of one of my favorite things.

I purchased this dress from eshakti late last month, and I am personally thrilled with it. I have always drooled over eshakti's dresses and skirts from afar, but I've never been able to justify spending so much on a single piece of clothing (I honestly cannot even justify spending $20 on a single piece). However, when I heard about their $25 off your first purchase promotion, I thought I might splurge and take advantage of the offer. Another thing that I think is so cool about eshakti, aside from their gorgeous designs, is that their pieces are customizable--you can change the length, alter the neckline, add straps to a strapless dress, add pockets, and even have it sewn to fit your measurements. The first customization is free, and so I decided to take advantage of that, and have this lovely dress customized. And I love it. I love the color (but you already knew that!), the fit, and the flattering vintage silhouette. It also has pockets! I love pockets in anything. It gives an awkward gal like me somewhere to put her hands to keep them out of the way (rather than twirling my hair about my fingers, or scratching the side of my neck, a new nervous habit I picked up).

I wore this lovely to a family friend's wedding this past weekend. I didn't buy the dress for the occasion, but since it did happen to come just the day before the wedding, I decided to take her out for a spin. And the wedding was lovely--good food, good company, and a marriage that I pray God will continue to bless.

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Guest Posting at Delightfully Feminine

Hello, everyone! I'm just popping in to let you know that I'm guest-posting over at my friend Sarabeth's blog, Delightfully Feminine today! I made up a fun tutorial, the first tutorial I've done in a long time (and hopefully the first of many more to come!). I'd love if you all went over there and checked it out, and perused Sarabeth's lovely blog a bit.

Aaaand, I should be back in a bit with an outfit post.

Have a lovely day!

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

seeking adventure

// Dress/Tunic: JC Penneys // Blouse: Thrifted // Leggings: Cotton On // Flats: Marshalls //

More often than not, I can easily while away an entire day browsing the Internet and doing very little that I can actually consider productive. Now that my break is almost over and summer school is about to start, I want to work to change that. I want to do things, and busy myself with the things that I love doing and that I've always wanted to do.

I want to have adventures, though not the kind you find in storybooks (though, you know, a bit of that might be all right once in a while)--adventures in ordinary life. Really enjoying even just the little things, because they count, and in the end, they may make some of the best memories. I want to busy myself with doing the things that I love to do and want to do instead of lazing around on Pinterest. Instead of thinking, "Maybe someday," I want to think, "Let's try it now!" That's the kind of thing that's exciting to me.

And so, that is my new resolution: seek adventure in ordinary life.Life is beautiful, albeit imperfect. It is a real gift from God, and it deserves to be enjoyed and lived to its very fullest for His glory.
As Ellie from "Up" would say, "Adventure is out there!" You just have to be willing to look for it.

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Monday, June 3, 2013

Vlog: My Record Collection

Hello, everyone! This week I decided to film a somewhat impromptu, slightly awkward video of my record collection. It's still pretty small at this point, but steadily growing! These are all the records I have so far...a bunch of soundtracks, some old loves, and some new favorites. I also forgot how many fun 45s I have! I'll have to put those on again one of these days.

You also get to see me with my glasses on for once! I started filming without my glasses, mostly because I don't wear them much around the house if I don't need them (I also don't like the way that the light glares on them in videos), but I had to stop recording after a few minutes to go do something that required my glasses, then I came back to finish filming and forgot I hadn't had them on earlier. Haha, oh well.

Hope you all enjoy it!
Photo 1 - 2012-12-22