Thursday, October 17, 2013

casual for everyday wear

//scarf: charlotte russe / top: kohl's / ring: ebay / skirt: made by me / tights: grocery outlet (believe it or not!) / booties: thrifted//

Up until now this fall, my daily outfit has consisted of mostly jeans and a t-shirt, mostly, I think, because I wanted to be comfortable in the mornings when I nanny (and ain't nobody got time to throw together a cute outfit at 7:00 am!), but I finally fell into a denim rut, where I was sick of wearing jeans day in and day out. So I threw together a comfortable (and surprisingly cute!), fall-like outfit with my favorite denim shirt (which I LOVE when I'm babysitting and likely to end up with baby food all over my shirt) and brown skirt. I added the tights for warmth, and the scarf made added a pop of color. I also was good enough to pull everything out the night before, so it would be easy to slip into in the morning. I did forget to pull out shoes, though, and this morning, when I was looking for shoes, I stumbled across these booties. I got them at Goodwill ages ago, and had actually put them in my giveaway pile some time ago, but I realized that they went perfectly with my brown skirt I pulled them on. I'm kinda in love with them at the moment.

I hope you all are having a fantastic week!

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Journey of Josephine Cain {review + giveaway}

A pampered socialite embarks on a journey to the Wild West where her life is changed forever.

A setting populated by hundreds of laborers, outlaws, and Indians is hardly the place for a wealthy general's daughter from the nation's capital. But Josephine Cain is determined to visit her father, who supervises the day-to-day work involved in the grandest ambition of post-Civil War America: the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Life with the railroad is far from the proper life Josephine is used to, and she faces deadly gunfights, harsh weather, and vigilante uprisings. She is torn between the West and the East; between her privileged upbringing and the challenges of a new frontier; between the pull of the suitable beau her parents approve of and an attraction to a rough but charming Irish railroad worker. But if Josephine is willing, and courageous, she just might find a new life, a unique purpose . . . and true love.

{summary from here, image via LitFuse}

My Thoughts:
I had read two of Nancy Moser's books before (Mozart's Sister and Just Jane) and thoroughly enjoyed both of them, so much so that I have been on the lookout for more of her work since then. So, I was excited to discover this book, The Journey of Josephine Cain. I read it over this past weekend, and I ended up really liking it. Ever since I was a little girl and absolutely obsessed with Little House on the Prairie, I've loved reading about the time of the Wild West (as evidenced by the stacks of books still sitting on one of my many bookshelves), and I think the vivid descriptions of the West from both Josephine and Hudson's point of view, really helped to bring the period to life in my mind's eye. It was harshly juxtaposed with Josephine's upper-class home in Washington DC, and that made Josephine's journey, as a privileged socialite, all the more impressive. It was a journey in more ways than one--over the course of the book, you could see Josephine grow up from the spoiled, naive, and immature (though likeable!) girl to a mature young woman. That made me like her even more by the end of the book. And as someone who loves the history of the time period, I was excited by all the historical tidbits--there's so much history in the book, and it just makes me want to dig deeper into the period. I've been fascinated by the history of the early railroad for some time, and then there were all the real-life historical characters that Josephine met throughout the book, which is something that I always love.

Anyway, I really, really liked this book. The more I think about it, the more I realize I liked it. It was well-written, though still a fairly quick and easy read, with a great cast of characters, and lots of history, along with a sweet romance and a touch of mystery surrounding Lewis. It did drag a bit at times, but I would say that's probably the only issue I had with it. And, though I won't spoil it for you, it had a very satisfactory ending, at least in my opinion. I would definitely recommend it, and I'm fairly positive I will reread it in the future. 

4.5/5 stars. 

{this book was sent to me by LitFuse in exchange for my honest review}

The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser follows the adventures of a D.C. socialite as she gets involved with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad right after the Civil War. Be sure to check out Nancy's fun Pinterest board for the book!

Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of the book!


Five winners will receive:

  • The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 26th. All winners will be announced October 28th at the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won one of the books!

Also, be sure to check out the blog tour for other reviews and more!

Friday, October 11, 2013

from the bookshelf: rebellious heart

Camera Roll-393

In 1763 Massachusetts, Susanna Smith has grown up with everything she’s ever wanted, except one thing: an education.
Because she’s a female, higher learning has been closed to her, but her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. She’s determined to put her status to good use, reaching out to the poor and deprived. And she knows when she marries well, she will be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.
Ben Ross grew up a farmer’s son and has nothing to his name but his Harvard education. A poor country lawyer, he doesn’t see how he’ll be able to fulfill his promise to make his father proud of him. When family friends introduce him to the Smith family, he’s drawn to quick-witted Susanna but knows her family expects her to marry well. When Susanna’s decision to help an innocent woman no matter the cost crosses with Ben’s growing disillusionment with their British rulers, the two find themselves bound together in what quickly becomes a very dangerous fight for justice.
{summary taken from author's website}
My Thoughts:
It's been a long time since I've read a book in two sittings, but Rebellious Heart sucked me into its pages with the very first chapter. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and the Revolutionary war is one of my favorite time periods to study (is it just me, or does it seem somewhat ignored in historical fiction? Or maybe I just haven't been looking...), so I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book. I didn't quite know what to expect, but once I started reading, I found it difficult to put down. The story thrusts you right into the tense period before the Revolutionary War, with plenty of intrigue and suspense, as well as a bit of a murder mystery. It was far from predictable, with enough twists to keep me on the edge of my seat. And I really liked the romantic aspect of the story. It was just too sweet. 
Susanna and Ben were instantly likeable characters, both with wonderfully sharp wit, and I loved their conversations--especially the political arguments. Susanna, in the beginning of the book, is a loyalist who is rather naive and practically unaware of the growing patriot movement, while Ben is a patriot, and since both are passionate about their political beliefs, it's interesting to read their debates and see their relationship develop over the course of the book. The rest of the cast of characters was also excellently portrayed, and they seemed almost to leap off the page. 
And what made this story even more interesting to me is that it's a fictional account of the romance of John and Abigail Adams. Reading that in the afterward made me want to go back and read the book all over again. 
In case you can't tell, I really liked this book, and I would definitely recommend it. It's an easy read, and not too long, but it's a great story. I had also been wanting to read one of Jody Hedlund's books for awhile, after reading a review of her book A Noble Groom, and I'm sure that after this I'll pick up her other books as well. 
5/5 stars.
{this book was a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review}

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

a glorious, hazy morning

Since I started nannying for my aunt in the mornings, I've been up much earlier than I usually would be on any ordinary day, getting up at 7:00 am as opposed to my more usual 9:00-10:00 am. And although I'm not a morning person by any means, I have fallen in love with the still, quiet mornings. After the older children head off to school, there's usually about an hour-long window of time where the others are still asleep and I'm able to simply enjoy the morning, which usually means curling up with a good book. This morning, the children left for school, and I sat down to do just that, when I noticed the glorious fog outside the window. It wasn't the usual gray fog that's common here, but the sun was shining through it, giving it a golden aura. So, of course, I grabbed my camera and headed out into the cold morning to capture it. I'm usually not creative in the mornings, but my creative juices were flowing, and I spent nearly an hour just snapping pictures. The haze with the sun shining through it just made even the most mundane sights seem interesting, and I love how it made me feel closed off from the rest of the world. I was also glad for the opportunity to practice my photography, since I'm really interested in learning how to take good pictures. I would get ready to head inside, or I would go inside, and then I'd see something and get another idea until finally I had finished and headed inside to warm up with a cup of instant coffee, snap some more photos of pretty things inside, and type up this post before the kids woke up. The fog is burning off now as I write this post (yay for spontaneous blogging! This is something new...) and I'm happy I was blessed with the opportunity to take these photos. It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day.

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

vintage with a modern twist

//blouse, belt, petticoat, heels: thrifted / skirt: made by me / tights: JCP//

Sometimes I show up at church looking like I could have stepped out of the 1950s. And I'm oddly ok with that. I wear what I like, and so long as I think it looks good (and it remains modest and appropriate for the particular situation), I don't really care too much what anyone else thinks of it. I used to be so self-conscious about what I wore, and I really cared about what other people thought. Now, I've discovered more about my own personal style, that it's eclectic and old-fashioned and sometimes a bit odd, and that manifests itself in the way I dress. For some reason, I feel so much more confident in my own skin when I dress that way. 

Anyway, this is another one of those outfits where I kind of threw together a few pieces that I normally wouldn't have paired with each other, like this patterned blouse and my blue circle skirt. I'm usually very against mixing black and navy blue, but I realized that this skirt isn't quite navy blue, and I wondered if the two would go well together. And I think they really do! I also added my favorite burgundy tights and my black Oxford heels and belt to tie in with the black pattern, and make the outfit feel a little more put together. The burgundy tights also added a more modern touch to the outfit, in my opinion. And, finally, to make my skirt even more fun...I slipped on my vintage petticoat. I kind of loved the look so much I kept it on all day instead of changing after church, mostly because I love the swishy feel of my poofy skirt as I moved. 

I hope you all are having a lovely start to your week!

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Saturday, October 5, 2013

out & about in tacoma

My friend Arielle is one of my favorite people to go to museums with (my other favorite being my mom), especially art museums. Instead of glancing at a piece for a second and moving on, we might stand in front of it for as long as five minutes and chat about the texture of the brushstrokes, the lighting, the subject, and the intended meaning and story behind it. It makes for a much fuller experience than simply looking at a painting and saying, "I like this painting!" or "I don't like this painting!" and moving on. A lot of times, though, thoughts like that are great grounds for conversation on that particular piece, maybe describing why you like it (or don't like it). 

Anyway, I had told Arielle about the free day for the Tacoma museums, and so we decided to go in August (yessss....I took these pictures over a month ago!). We started out at the Washington State History Museum, then walked next door to the old train station turned courthouse to take some pictures of the Chihuly glass pieces inside. At the courthouse, we were just about thrown out by the security guard who was eager to close the place down (it's a long, awkward story!), but not before getting at least a few good shots. Then we spent some time wandering the galleries of the glass museum, which is a fairly small museum, but definitely worth a visit. 

Afterwards, we headed to the art museum, where we probably spent the most time out of all the museums. They had not one, but two Renoirs on display, guys! I love Renoir, and had never had the pleasure of actually seeing any of his work in person. So amazing. 

We wound up the day at the Spaghetti Factory...probably my favorite restaurant ever. It was a fun day...full of adventures (perhaps more than we expected), and laughter, and the best of company.

Have you had any adventures lately?

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Grace Unplugged Giveaway

Hey guys! I'm super excited for this giveaway that I get to share with you today! I was excited to hear about this upcoming movie, Grace Unplugged, coming to theaters on October 4th, and even more excited to be offered the opportunity to host this giveaway for a Grace Unplugged prize pack!

About the Movie:
Having just turned 18, Grace Trey aspires to more than just singing at her church where her father, a former pop star, is the worship leader. So, with the help of Mossy, her dad's former manager, Grace records a cover version of her dad's old Top-10 hit, runs off to Los Angeles, and begins to taste the kind of stardom she's always dreamed about.
Yet with each rung of the ladder she climbs, Grace feels more and more pressure to compromise her values, further straining her relationship with her parents. Will everything she experiences lead her to reject her faith… or rediscover it?

Now, on to the giveaway!

The prize pack includes:
• Grace Unplugged Soundtrack CD
- Songs by TobyMac, AJ Michalka, Chris Tomlin and Shawn McDonald.
Grace Unplugged: A Novel by Melody Carlson.
Own It: The book Discover Your Faith in God by Michael & Hayley DiMarco.
• Grace Unplugged Exclusive Guitar Pick.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open only to residents of the U.S. and Canada. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, October 9, and the winner will be contacted soon after.

Have fun!

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

fit for a princess

//dress: vintage / heels: target / fascinator: ross//

This outfit is actually from way back in the beginning of September, when I attended my aunt's wedding, and when it was also significantly warmer. My sister and I were in charge of the guestbook for the wedding, which was something neither of us had really done before, but it was fun, and it was a wonderful opportunity to people-watch. I had been itching for the perfect occasion to wear this gorgeous vintage dress I picked up at the thrift store about a month or so before. It had needed a lot of work and was overpriced (according to my thrift store standards), so after dreaming about it for over a week, I finally asked if I could get some sort of a discount because of all the work it needed, and I ended up taking it home for a mere $8. When I got the dress home, I realized two things--one, the dress was made for a very tall, incredibly thin girl, and two, it was going to be quite a bit more work than I had anticipated to actually make it wearable. I was able to pair it with my highest heels to make it so the hem barely grazed the floor, but to make it fit at the top, I had to take it out several inches. But finally, I made it work! For the wedding, I added a fascinator to dress it up a bit, and kept it simple by not adding jewelry. 

I hope you all are having a lovely week, and a wonderful start to your October!

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22