Friday, November 29, 2013

long beach {part 2: continued explorations}

We did a lot of exploring in Long Beach, and we discovered some pretty exciting things. First, we happened upon Marsh's Free Museum, which is basically a huge, crazy antique store/museum with tons of weird and awesome things. There was so much to see that even with aimlessly wandering in circles throughout it we probably didn't notice everything. It was really cool...and just plain weird, but in a mostly good way. Definitely check it out if you're ever in the area. Unless you have a phobia of taxidermy, in which case you may want to steer clear--there were lots of stuffed animals like that deer head. Usually, I find taxidermy unsettling and creepy...but I really liked this deer. He just looked friendly. :)

We also visited the cranberry bogs! was just after harvest time, so there wasn't too much to see. It was a good walk, though, and there was yummy homemade cranberry ice cream to be had in the gift shop. I don't think I had ever had homemade ice cream was good. 

And speaking of cranberries, I hope all of you in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know that God has been so gracious to me this year, and I have countless things to be thankful for daily.

 Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Thursday, November 28, 2013

dear mr. knightley {review + giveaway}

"Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.
But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.
As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken."
(synopsis from amazon)

This book is the best I've read all year, second only to The Great Gatsby. A book composed of diary-like letters is not my usual cup of tea, but once I started reading this, I could not put it down. I felt a connection to Sam--we read the same books, watch the same BBC period dramas, speak fluently in book and movie quotes, and obsess over the same favorite characters. Any book that frequently references Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Bronte has to be amazing, right? And so it is. It's wonderfully written, with strong characters and a good story. I did guess the ending, but only because I read the author's inspirations for the book before reading it. And even knowing the ending, I still loved it. I'm currently torn between wanting to relive it and wanting to force every one of my friends to read it so we can talk about how amazing it is.

{This book was sent to me by Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.}

Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  • Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace) 

Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

black and white and cozy all over

//dress: JCP / sweater: kohls / heels, necklace: eBay / belt: thrifted / earrings: fuego//

This dress was an impulse buy, but one of the happiest impulse buys I've ever made. Usually such a purchase ends badly, with the item in question being worn once or twice, then left to hang in the closet until it's eventually given away. And this dress is, happily, not one of those, although at first I almost didn't buy it, then when I tried it on at home, I nearly decided to take it back. But I ended up keeping it, and I'm thrilled with how versatile it is. Black and white dresses may be my new favorite thing. :)

Hope you all are having a lovely week!

 Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Friday, November 22, 2013

long beach {part 1: the beaches}

My family and I recently took a somewhat impromptu vacation down to the Washington coast to Long  Beach. I had just started my classes up again, but I was able (just barely!) to get the bulk of my work done for that week before we headed down. I wasn't expecting much from our little vacation, but we had a lot of fun...and I took a lot of pictures. I was originally just going to put them all into one looooong post, but I thought it would be a lot more fun to break it up into parts. Sooo, without further ado, here is part one, still photo-heavy, but that's ok, right? (also, I changed the image size again. let me know if you think it's too big, haha)

I miss the beach, you guys. It wasn't necessarily what I was most looking forward to, but I had so much fun exploring dunes, chasing seagulls, and snapping photos. The beaches were also pretty empty--both days we went we had them almost completely to ourselves. It was freezing, and my eyes were constantly watering, not to mention the raccoon carcass we practically tripped over in the sand the first day, but I was happy to while away several hours just wandering the beach with my family. My family is a bunch of weirdos (but we're nice weirdos!), and that's probably part of what makes it so fun.

 Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Thursday, November 21, 2013

snow on the tulips {review}

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.
When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their  lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.
As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

This book was absolutely lovely. I read it when I was under the weather and didn't feel like doing much of anything, and I was drawn in by the haunting story. The characters were wonderful--they carried depth and by the end of the book, seemed nearly like family. It was fascinating watching Cornelia's character especially grow over the course of the story--at the end of the book, she is still the same woman, but she has changed greatly, mostly because she met and took a chance on Gerrit. The faith of the characters is admirable, while not seeming overbearing or unrealistic--their faith touched me multiple times. And then there's the story and the history itself. It was just plain good, and I found that I couldn't put it down--always a good sign! This is one of the best books I've read all year, and I would definitely recommend it.

5/5 stars.

This book was sent to me by Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

little house on the prairie

//dress: marshall's / button-up: thrifted / cardigan: h&m {via 99dresses} / belt: JCP / boots: thrifted//

I threw this outfit together last minute while getting ready to attend a wedding, and the result ended up feeling very much like Laura Ingalls might wear today--that sweet floral print and the lace-up booties combined just have that prairie vibe for me! But I do really like it--I think it's just modern enough to look like I haven't just stepped out of the 1800s. Boho chic? :)

I'm also kind of in love with this dress--I picked it up at Marshall's last week off their summer clearance rack, and I just had to wear it the next day. It may be a summer dress, but that rust color is perfect for fall, and it can be layered pretty easily, and layering is the whole reason I bought it. I've been tempted to wear it every day this past week.  

As far as school goes, I just finished midterms this week!  I'm so excited to have them done with, and I'm happy with my results. At the same time, I can't believe I'm already half-way through my classes! This second half will probably be even crazier than the first, based on the syllabi, but then again, there are only four more weeks to go until break. And I'm excited to learn more. I'm really liking the material--art history/appreciation and church history may be an odd combination of classes, but I'm passionate about both, and I'm thrilled to be expanding my knowledge of them. :) 

Hope you all are having a fantastic start to your week!

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

Friday, November 15, 2013

the last of the fall leaves

I love fall. The crisp air, the rain, the bright colors, the warm drinks, candles, the excuse to bundle up in a ridiculous amounts of flannel and oversized sweater layers, I love it all.

Hope you all are having a fantastic fall! 

Photo 1 - 2012-12-22

{outfit details, in case you're interested: chunky sweater: thrifted / flannel button-up, tank: target / necklace: 99dresses (originally from forever 21) / purse: 99dresses}