December 25, 2015

Movie Quote Monday {on Friday!} :: Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas


"I'm not perfect, but through it all, I have learned how to hold firm in a storm, not by holding on to whatever I can find for as long as I can, but by trusting that the one thing that matters in this world will never let go of me. And Shane, that's what perfect love is. Perfect love casts out all that pain, all that fear, and replaces it with hope."

Merry Christmas, my lovelies! I know that this is technically Friday and I normally would post a movie quote on Monday, but this is special circumstances. (Plus I totally meant to get this posted last Monday and it didn't happen, but that's neither here nor there... ;) Y'all know I love me some Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, so when this one came out last year, I fell in love with it. I would have to say that it's one of my favorites ever! Which is high praise, I know. But this little movie is so full of heart and delight and HOPE.

Which is why I wanted to post this quote today, because Christmas is all about hope. And in this world with numerous stories of tragedy and sadness, we all need to take a moment and remind ourselves that love and hope can make all the difference. All the difference, people!! No matter what you're going through today (and I know there are people out there that are going through some doozies right now), no matter what your circumstances may tell you, no matter how not-fun things can be, don't let go of hope. Okay? You'll get through this. So will I. There are better things coming (like some really great books and movies! ;). And if life is really awesome for you right now? Then hallelujah!

Hope is a powerful thing, my friends. I trust you're holding tight to yours today. And I truly hope your Christmas has been and is filled with wonder and joy and happiness. (As well as a story or two! :)



December 18, 2015

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things :: 2015 Edition


2015 has been such a crazy awesome year for me and it's rather fun taking a few moments and looking back over all the things that happened. That's what you're supposed to do at the end of the year, right? (Absolutely!) It's the memories that are made that stick with us! And memories are even better when they can be shared with others. Even if I haven't been there, I enjoy hearing about what other people have experienced and the joy life has brought them. It brings a smile to my face. So I hope you're the same? Because that's precisely what's about to happen here, I'm going to highlight some of the best moments of my year. And I'd love to hear about yours, so share in the comments if you want! :)

{There will be book stuff and life stuff and all sorts of stuff mentioned. However, I do plan to have a post listing my fave books of the year, so stay tuned for that.}

:: Participating in read-alongs! North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell was so awesome to read with friends. (Plus I met several bloggers who quickly became new friends, which was wonderful. :)
:: Getting the chance to meet Diana Peterfreund (one of my favorite authors)!!!! She was so nice and kind to awestruck-me, for which I am grateful.
:: Watching my 8 year old niece completely show me up by using chopsticks like a pro!
:: Friendships - HUGS, chats, tears, smiles, love, understanding one another, happiness
:: Reading through Persuasion again, but with friends! And analyzing every single bit of that story as I could. (I love to analyze.)
:: My nephew's band concert.
:: Blogging, twitter, and instagram chats, my online friends are awesome!
:: Starting a new job that turned out to be AMAZING.
:: Goodbye parties that involve chocolate cake.
:: Library friends who always seem to end up there when I'm stopping by.
:: Library visits in general.
:: Visiting Tybee Island and Savannah, Georgia with dear friends. Wish I were still there! *daydreams*
:: Falling in love with Savannah's architecture.
:: Book anticipation! And then finally getting the chance to read them. Especially the final book in a couple of favorite series that made me wait a LONG time to find out what happened...
:: Pie baking
:: Twitter (movie) watch-alongs with Amber!
:: Finding a beautiful new copy of Persuasion to add to my bookshelf.
:: Enjoying the fresh new green of Spring and the beautiful colors of Autumn.
:: Finally reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy! (Well...I actually listened to the audiobooks, but you know what I'm saying. :)
:: Hosting my first ever book giveaway on the blog and it wasn't a complete dud! (I was worried.)
:: Watching The Crimson Field and falling in love with the series.
:: Twitter convos with my #BookBesties
:: Unexpected flower bouquets from a friend.
:: Spontaneous roadtrips!
:: Sunrises, sunsets, clouds, taking the time to look up.
:: Appreciating the little things: flowers blooming, sunshine after rain, hugs from children, watching You've Got Mail or North and South for the umpteenth time, hot tea just before bedtime {non-caffeinated!}, Chipotle for supper, chai tea from Starbucks, finding an illustrated P&P, spending time with close friends and their adorable children...
:: Getting the chance to watch Daddy Long Legs the Musical!!!! It was SO GOOD.
:: Precious time spent with my mother.
:: And of course, finding lovely new stories to read.

How was your 2015? Care to share? :)



December 10, 2015

Daddy Long Legs Musical



Just checking in real quick to let y'all know some amazing (and very last minute, yikes) news!! I know I've mentioned before that I love the book Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. Well, I'm not the only one evidently because it's been made into a musical! Yes, you read that right, it's a musical in New York. I've read rave reviews over it and have been so sad that I'd never get the chance to watch. BUT! The bestest, most amazing news ever is that they are livestreaming it online TONIGHT. Yeah, like I said, this is extremely last minute for which I apologize. :/ But, if you are available at 8pm, just click right here! And enjoy. I'm planning to! :D

{They are planning it for 8pm no matter what US timezone you're in, just FYI.}



December 9, 2015

Jane Austen Adaptations :: Part 1 {Persuasion & Emma}


Due to a comment (from the lovely Naomi :) on this post (plus my overall love of all things Austen, of course!), I'm currently in the mood to chat more about Jane Austen and her wonderful stories. Naomi noticed that I mentioned I have watched just about all of the adaptations out there. There are still a couple I've missed, I think, but I've gotten to see pretty much all of them. This was helped because a small library that was located very near my California house had most of them! Which was awesome. :D

Now then. I figured it was high time I talked about a few of the adaptations here, maybe rank my favorites and so on. Because I do have favorites, although some of them are harder to choose between than others. And then there's all the modern retellings out there as well! I was going to just do one big post about the adaptations of the original stories and then a second post about the many modern retellings, but I realized those posts were liable to get really, really huge, at which point I'd probably lose your interest. So! I'm separating the books out into different posts and including all adaptations (modern or no) therein. Fun, yes? I hope so. :)

Persuasion

Yes, y'all know that this is my favorite of Ms. Austen's stories. I have made no secret of this, I am well aware! So naturally I picked this one to talk about first. :) Unfortunately, there are not a lot of film adaptations of this book, which is quite terrible, I might add! In point of fact, I'm still waiting for the perfect adaptation. You know, the one that will be at least three or four hours long, with a great cast, stays pretty faithful to the book, etc. I can dream, right? And hope? :)

I did write a post on the 1995 and 2007 versions and the actors/actresses a few months ago (here) and I talked about my reasons for liking each one. I also mentioned the 1971 version and how I haven't seen it in years, but I remember it being a bit dry. I don't want to bore you with more of the same thoughts worded differently (or not), so will keep this short and sweet. {Also of note: this review of Persuasion, including the book and both recent adaptations ('95 & '07), which just made me happy. So I had mention it here!}

Persuasion (BBC, 1971)
Persuasion - 1971
Like I said, I haven't seen this one in a while, but what I remember is it's really dry and can be a bit boring. The BBC has definitely come a long way since 1971! The overall story is pretty faithful to the book, I believe. And if you don't mind the drab look of the miniseries, you may just enjoy it. Although I'd really recommend it only to the diehard Persuasion fans.


Persuasion
Persuasion - 1995
I think I love this one most for the conversation between Captain Harville and Anne near the end and where Wentworth and Anne finally come to understand one another again. You know, where Anne and Harville talk about who loves the longest, men or women. It's where we get the sweetest and quickest interaction between Anne and Wentworth as well. Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds do a fantastic job in this scene, in my opinion. For all the little things that bother me about this version, that scene redeems it for me. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the moment where Wentworth gives her that incredible letter and Anne's heart gets put completely back together again! Anne's face as she reads that letter...? Oh my heart! I love it. :)


Persuasion 2007 DVD Cover.jpg
Persuasion - 2007
Yes, I will admit that a big draw to this one is Rupert Penry-Jones as Wentworth! It's shallow, but there you go. I love how he stares at Anne, especially in two scenes in particular. The first being when Anne is playing the piano in a room by herself at Uppercross and she imagines Wentworth watching her (or does she? We'll never know. :) and the second being when they have their chat near the end and Wentworth finds out Anne is not engaged to Mr. Elliot. Plus I love the little bits where we get things from his point of view, like his conversations with Harville. And that very last scene? True to the time period and book or not, I love it anyway! This version is not without its flaws, but I can mostly overlook them. For Rupert, I can overlook them! ;)

Emma

This is one of the books I haven't read yet. Interestingly, a dear friend hadn't read any Austen at all until earlier this year and she started with this one. And loved it! Clearly I need to move this one up my TBR. :) I've seen four versions of this, plus two modern retellings.


Emma (BBC, 1972)
Emma - 1972
Like Persuasion from 1971, this one is a bit dry from what I can remember. I haven't seen it in a great while either. But I can definitely say this, the BBC has been good at staying faithful to the original books when they do an Austen adaptation! The actress who plays Emma has a particular way of acting and talking, it sort of began to bug me by about halfway through. And Mr. Knightley seems a great deal older than Emma. Which, I know, he is, but it just bothered me in this version. If you're a serious Emma fan though, you might enjoy this one!


Emma
Emma - 1996
I wanted to like this one, I really did. I know several people who love it, but unfortunately I don't. Although I do admit that I haven't seen it in a while, so if I watched it again perhaps my opinion would change. But I've found a favorite version and this isn't it. I can say this in its favor however, Jeremy Northam is rather handsome as Mr. Knightley! (He's not my Mr. Knightley, but I can appreciate his good qualities nonetheless. ;) Gwyneth does a fine job, and she and Jeremy have great chemistry from what I remember. To be honest, I never could pinpoint precisely what doesn't work for me with this version. All I know is that I tried to love it and seemed unable to. Several friends love this version though, so don't just take my word for it! :)


Emma - 1996
I wanted to like this version as well, but alas. It's not quite as star-studded as the previous one, but is still very well done. I'm pretty sure where this one trips me up is Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley. I just never can really like him. And you need to like Mr. Knightley, he's pretty important to the story! :) In that climactic scene with Emma, he's a bit too stern and grumpy or something. There are those that love his Mr. Knightley though, so once again don't just take my word for it. I should mention that I do like Samantha Morton as Harriet. She comes across as appropriately na├»ve, but not too silly, which I appreciate.


Emma (2009 BBC Version)
Emma - 2009
Now we reach my favorite! I had anticipated this version for months before I got the chance to watch it, hoping I would finally find an adaptation I would enjoy, and immediately fell in love with it. I love Romola as Emma! I know some people think she comes across too modern, with her facial expressions being a bit annoying, but she never bothered me at all. And Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley?! Oh my heart, he is most definitely my Mr. Knightley! ;D I loved him from his first scene, but where he cemented my love forever (well, for a long time anyway) is his delivery of that famous line, "If I loved you less, I could talk about it more." His speech in that scene just melts me every single time. And I love his gentleness and sweetness, as well as his fun banter with Emma, and the way we get to watch him realize that he's in love. *happy sigh* I LOVE this version! I've watched it umpteen times and will most likely watch it umpteen more. It just makes me happy! And I'm so glad that I can say I have a favorite version of Emma now. :)


Aisha (New Comedy Hindi Film / Bollywood Movie / Indian Cinema DVD)
Aisha - 2010
This is a movie from India based on Emma. I forget where I first heard about it, but was able to procure a copy and watch (with English subtitles, of course) and fall in love. Having never watched a Bollywood movie before, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's quite a fun story. I'm sure there are things lost in translation, but the overall story is easy to follow and the two leads have really great chemistry. (Especially in a particularly adorable scene near the end! :) I love the music a great deal as well and, my extremely limited understanding of Bollywood movies notwithstanding, the music is an important part of the story. If you have the chance to watch it (and don't mind subtitles), I really recommend it! It's loads of fun.


Emma Approved - 2013
This is the youtube (and Pemberley Digital team from The Lizzy Bennet Diaries) modern retelling of the story. And it's adorable fun! In my opinion, obviously. :) The best thing about this version? The wonderful friendship between Alex and Emma. I loved that these two have this amazing friendship that they can count on. Love stories that begin as friendships are one of my favorite things! And these two? Oh my goodness, I dare you not to fall for these two! They just get each other, they are always, always there for each other, their friendship is just plain awesome, and when they finally realize their feelings...well. You should watch it, if you haven't already, because it's fabulous. It really, really is! :D


And there you have it! All the versions of Persuasion and Emma that I've watched. Have you watched any (or all?) of these? Which are your favorites? Tell me, tell me! And stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 to be coming soon. (Hopefully! :)



December 5, 2015

Thoughts For the Moment


Here am I, sitting and typing. Hoping for this tiny bit of moment in time I can cobble together a post so my readers will know that I'm not forgetting them. Hoping for a few seconds to click over to a friend's blog and catch up on her posts. Alas, here am I, scrambling to find words after realizing the post I had planned is much wordier than I thought. (I know. All my posts tend to be that way, don't they? What can I say? I like words. I use them a lot. Therefore, you get a lot to read. Yay?) Instead of feeling accomplished with all I got done this day, here I sit in my favorite chair at the library (am I the only one who has one of those?), wondering when I'm finally going to be able to do everything in the allotted amount of time I get for blogging each week (which is never enough, let me tell you. *sigh*).

So! With Jane Austen in my head, books all around me, real life friends with struggles that hurt me too, questions unanswerable (at least for the moment), words anxious to be written, blogs not visited (I have dreams of clicking over to your posts, friends! Some day. I shall conquer this!), comments not left, pictures not taken....yes. In all the mess, here I sit. Is it just me, or do some days, some weeks or months, feel like the words and the time and ability to get it all done is just impossible?

The words are too much, I can't get them all down, so I pause, click 'save post', and write this instead.

Words are crazy things, people. Sometimes they flow, sometimes they don't. Sometimes you get lots of posts from me (which is rare, I know), sometimes I go weeks without posting. There really is no happy medium with me, is there? But lucky for me, you're still here! I'm grateful. Truly.

And now with 15 minutes left before I have to leave, I'll end with this. An actual post should hopefully be forthcoming next week. I have plans, my lovelies! I promise. My next allotted time should only be a couple days away. Thus, until that moment, hang in there with me? And while you live your lives and I live mine, busy as they always are, we'll take a moment right this very second and breathe together. Okay?

Inhale...

Exhale...

And there you go.

Thanks.



December 2, 2015

Jane Austen Week Tag {Very, Very Belatedly}


Naomi (Wonderland Creek) had a Jane Austen Week back at the beginning of November and had this tag as part of the festivities. Obviously, that week has long been over, but when I finally started catching up on my friends blogs I stumbled over this and thought how fun it would be. So I decided to participate anyway! Better late than never. :)

I've not made it a secret that I love all things Austen. Especially if Captain Wentworth is involved! (But I'd also take Jonny Lee Miller's Mr. Knightley, for that matter. *swoon* ;) Let's get to the fun questions, shall we?

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a Jane Austen fan do you consider yourself?

Hmmm. Probably a 6 or 7? I do love her stories, but as I haven't actually read all of them (*gasp* I know!), I don't think I can consider myself a 10. I do happen to have seen just about all the adaptations and love most of them though, does that count? :)

2. If "they" would make a new Jane Austen Movie, and you would be able to be cast in it, which Jane Austen character would you most like to play?

Probably Anne Elliot. So far, of the books I've read, she's the one I relate to the most and the one I like the most (she's my favorite!), so the privilege to play her would be amazing! (But let's just put out there that acting has never been my thing. Being the center of attention or at least having tons of attention on me? *shudder* No, thank you.)

3. Is there any felicity in the world superior to a walk?

Um...yes. Curled up reading a favorite story!

4. Who's your favourite Jane Austen 'villain'? (As in 'villain' meaning 'the bad guy.')

I'm going to go with Frank Churchill. Because as much as he frustrates me, he does have sweet reasons behind it all and gets a nice romance with Jane Fairfax. But still! He's very frustrating and I don't know that I can say he's my favorite. He's just one of the few that gets the chance to be redeemed. Sorta.

5. What/Who introduced you to Jane Austen?

My very first introduction to the world of Jane Austen was Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility (1995). I had the chance to watch the movie on an airplane trip....somewhere? Can't remember where now, but I do remember loving the story to bits! But it took a few more years before I had the chance to watch more of the adaptations and to begin reading her books. (I was young and easily distracted. It happens, okay?) I next fell in love with P&P, but then.......oh, but then! I read Persuasion and never, ever looked back!

6. Did you love/enjoy Jane Austen immediately, or has there been a time when you hated (um, prejudged) it?

No, I pretty much fell in love instantly. I loved Emma Thompson's Elinor and dreamed I was her many, many times (which included acting the part....when I was alone with no one to make fun of me). I loved her dresses, I loved her hair (seriously, her hair in that movie is beautiful!), I loved the accents, I loved every bit of the time period and romance. And once I read and watched more of Austen's stories, I just fell deeper in love.


7. Who, in your opinion, is the funniest Jane Austen character?

I'm not sure? So many characters have their funny moments. In fact, that's one thing I love about Austen's stories, how much sarcasm and wit there is. Even in moments when things are dire! During my reread of Persuasion back in July and August, I laughed and laughed. And I wouldn't consider the book humorous as a whole, but Austen clearly had skill with her pen. :)

(Yes, this doesn't really answer the question. I know. But oh well.....right?)

8. Do you quote Jane Austen randomly in public?

Occasionally! But most don't get my references because very few of my real life friends love Austen like I do. So I make a reference, laugh at myself, and go on. It works. :)

9. Are children allowed to eat cake on [at] weddings?

Not if you ask Mr. Woodhouse! But in my opinion, yes. Most definitely yes! Cake is to be enjoyed, and who better to enjoy it?

10. What is your reaction when you hear that an acquaintance (e.g. A lady at Church) of yours loves Jane Austen?

*thinks* Oooo! I need to chat with them about their favorites! I wonder if they've read Persuasion. I wonder which book they love most? Have they watched any of the adaptations? I need to know! *makes mental plans to go find and ask*

I love this so much! That letter....:
via
11. Who writes better letters, Mr Darcy or Captain Wentworth? (If you forgot what the letters were, shame on you, instead tell me if you prefer Strawberries to Chocolate or not.)


Captain Wentworth, thank you very much! That swoony letter of his is one of my very favorites. Mr. Darcy writes a good explanation, don't get me wrong. But that's all his letter is, an explanation. Captain Wentworth has him beat by far! *sighs happily* (Seriously! Have you read that letter? *melts* I referenced it here in case you need a refresher. ;)

12. Which Jane Austen heroine do you relate the least to?

At this point I'd probably say Fanny Price. This is just based on the adaptations I've seen, I haven't read the book yet. (And do notice I said 'yet'. I plan to read it some day!) While I tend to be on the quieter side, I do not have experience as a poor relation, nor do I harbor an unrequited love for my cousin, nor have any of my cousins or family treated me horribly ill. So.

13. What's your favourite Jane Austen house (from one of the movies)?

Oh boy. I'm having to scrounge my brain to remember them. I suppose I'll go with the Morland's house. It seems quite cozy and nice as far as I can remember right off hand. And I like cozy. :)

14. What's your favourite Jane Austen dress (from one of the movies)?


It might actually be her coat (or spencer or whatever it's called) and not her dress, but I love this one.

15. Can you turn off lit candles with your fingers?

Possibly? I'm a bit of a wimp, so have never really tried it. Blowing them out, on the other hand, that I can do! :)



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