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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Madeline & Friends: Episode #2 with Melissa

     I know I talk so much about my mom. She helped me plan my birthday parties. She encourages me. I give her book suggestions. We're best friends! I hope you enjoy Episode #2 with her.
     We ask each other fun questions and talk about burritos, mission trips, and childhood memories.
     I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Summer Reading List (As of Mid-July)

     Hello, lovelies! I hope you enjoyed last week's mini-series "The Book Club." If you comment enthusiastically on this post, I will continue book-ish things. Literature is something I've always been into, but I happen to really be enjoying and exploring it this summer.

     Since taking the above picture, I've finished Bittersweet and The Secret Life of Bees. But for every one book I cross off my list, I seem to add five more! Do you feel me? This picture is by no means an exhaustive list. It is simply the rest of the fifty books I wanted to read this year.

     Yep. You heard me. I only have thirteen-ish books left of the fifty I wanted to read for PopSugar's 50 Books Challenge. See more about it here.

     So...where are you in you summer reading? Do you have lovely literary worlds to share with me?


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Madeline & Friends: Episode #1 with Anni

     Ok. So I'm calling my new videos "Madeline & Friends" for lack of a cheesier title. I hope it brings a laugh to your quiet house or a smile to your face.

     On episode #1 today, I am being interviewed and interviewing a dear friend I've known my whole life. Click over if you're reading in email.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Sweet Sixteen Dinner and Dessert

     On June 12th I had a lovely dinner with a handful of ladies who have mentored me over the years. Some inspired me to start this blog. Some helped me along the way. Some were youth group coaches. Some I've watched and learned from. All encouraged me in my walk with Christ. All have been my friends. That was what I chose for my sixteenth birthday, and it played out wonderfully well.

     Theme: No theme (Yes, it's okay to have a party without a theme, ladies! It can sometimes even make it more sophisticated.)
     Colors: Blush pink, gold, and silver
     Recurring things: tassel garlands (on invitation and décor), sparkles (glitter, confetti, and macarons)


     The Inspiration:


     The Invitation: We used Paperless Post again (like we did at my fourteenth.) It was simple and elegant. We had already checked with all five ladies to make sure they could come, so it was more of a reminder than an invitation.

     Tip: Keep the theme colors rolling by asking guests to wear similar colors. (That way the mood isn't thrown off by someone's red pants and cheetah scarf.)

     Paperless Post is a great online option for pretty invitations.

     The Table: We kept all of our décor centered around the table and dining room. It was all blush, gold, and silver, with plenty of white to keep it from being theme-y.

     Notice we added the greenery and lit the candles just before the party and before the following pictures.



     The Dessert Table: Complete with a tassel garland, clear balloon filled with sequins, glasses for fizzy drinks, and a cake stand for macarons, the dessert table was a fun place for extra pow!

(picture taken before the macarons and balloon were in their stations)


(what's a party without a garland?)


     The Feathers: The story behind the feathers is this...ok. There's actually no story to them. I just thought they looked cool on Pinterest. They were a super easy DIY--no joke. And I'm pretty sure my future children will look up from their crib at glittery feathers. Ahem.

~Fine glitter
~White feathers
~Sponge brush
~Fishing line ~clean~
~Paper plate

1. Apply glue (with sponge brush) on both sides of the tips of the feathers (or however high you want the glitter to go). Go with the grain on the as not to ruffle them. :)

2. Sprinkle glitter on both sides. Shake off excess onto the paper plate.

3. Use the yardstick and scissors to cut a generous piece of fishing line. I think we did three feet and trimmed excess later.

4. Tie the fishing line to the "stem" of the feather. You may need to trim excess "fluff" so you have enough stem to tie the line to.

5. After double-knotting, loosely tie the other end of the fishing line to the hanger to dry. We let ours dry overnight.

     Nothing to it!


Menu: After a light salad, we ate grilled chicken, asparagus, potato casserole, and our homemade rolls. For dessert, we enjoyed macarons from the local macaron guy, Jo the Baker, and The Nester's Fizzy Drinks.


     What we did: After admiring the décor, everyone sat down to dinner. I served them the salad and main course. Mom served dessert. We talked, told stories, and then I made a speech. This inspired them to make their own speeches as I opened each of their gifts. We laughed so hard and cried many tears, but it was a very sweet (pun!) evening.


     Thank-you cards: I stuck a glittery feather in with each of these cards.
     Attire: We requested everyone wear the theme colors, and that in itself was an adventure. The morning of the party, Mom and I whisked ourselves away to a mani/pedi that a friend had given us for Mother's Day.
     My outfit went womp womp, but I was able to wear blush shorts and a lacy white blouse.


The Expenses: We always try to keep things inexpensive as well as special. Here's what we spent:

Invitations - $6
Thank You Notes - $16
Place Cards - $7
Calligraphy - $0
Decoration (confetti wands) - $39
Decoration (clear balloon) - $8
Decoration (helium) - $9
Decoration (tassel garland) - $58
Decoration (sequins) - $3
Decoration (tablecloth) - $18
Decoration (napkins) - $25
Decoration (straws) - $14
Decoration (feathers & glitter) - $4
Decoration (greenery) - $5
Food (salad, asparagus, grilled chicken, cheesy potato casserole) - caterer friend
Food (Macarons)  - $45
Food (Fizzy Drinks) - $12

 $269 TOTAL

     Hope you enjoyed this long long long but full and glorious post! I'm proud to sing "I am Sixteen Going on Seventeen."


Thursday, July 16, 2015

The 10 Most Feisty Literary Girls

     Welcome to post no. 4 in my miniseries "The Book Club." Today, we're talking about the most feisty girls in literature (that I've actually read.) As a bonus, I'll introduce you to the heroine of my current WIP (work-in-progress), Aspen Jevensy.

     First, when I say "girls," I mean 18 and under, which means no Lizzie Bennett or Scarlett O'Hara or Eliza Doolittle or Mary Poppins. They're feisty...and adults. On this list are the little girls/amazing teenagers that readers admire and enjoy reading. The ones who, if they really lived, could change the world.

     I marked the redheads because there's something to be said for redheads that get out of control. Some feistiness can lead to craziness, and redheads are no exception. They're well known for losing their tempers or living on the wild side.

1. Liesel Meminger ~ a.k.a. The Book Thief, from the book of the same name. Liesel is a tomboy who learns a lot about the world and people during WWII Germany. She loves to read, which often automatically makes a girl feisty.

2. Pippi Longstocking (redhead) ~ Well known for her fun life, Pippi stars in her very own Pippi Longstocking books. Her outfits are bizarre, and she can spontaneously set out on adventures--as in South Seas adventures! She often enjoys down-the-street adventures too. Pippi wows her neighbors with her feats of strength and crazy antics.

3. Jo March ~ Jo is bad-tempered often, but she is also protective of her sisters. She grows through unsettling situations and sacrifices little comforts for others. She has ambitious plans to be a another girl I know. Little Women is the story of her tomboyish life and her sisters' not-so-tomboyish lives.

4. Kate Wetherall ~ One of my favorite characters in The Mysterious Benedict Society, Kate is always prepared and eager to face adventure alongside her friends. She is practical but unafraid, a good leader and a true friend.

5. Truly Lovejoy ~ Absolutely Truly tells of Truly's search for the truth and her own place in a new town while she solves a long-buried mystery. She's that girl you wish you could hang out with all day long. Note: also loves to read.

6. America Singer (redhead) ~ The star of The Selection series is America Singer, a girl whose life is thrown into chaos when she is chosen as a prospective bride for the prince. But she was already in love, and the books tell the story or her struggle between two loves, one new and strange and one long-standing. She's also a fan of pants over dresses (i.e. a tomboy.)

7. Scarlet Benoit (redhead) ~ She is title character of the second book in The Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet, who is loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood. She befriends Wolf and chooses not to judge him based on appearances. She searches long and hard with him for her grandmother who has been kidnapped.

8. Scout Finch ~ Scout is the classic feisty small town girl. Her clever narrative in To Kill a Mockingbird has fascinated generations. A sequel is coming, people! A sequel is coming from her creator, Harper Lee.

9. Anne Shirley (redhead) ~ Anne of Green Gables is the first of many books about the poetic, predicament-prone Anne Shirley. Although her personality gets her into trouble, it also wins her a family, a true friend, and an adorable guy.

10. Laura Ingalls ~ Laura encounters a lot of change when her family moves west. This is the only heroine from real life. The Little House on the Prairie series details many years of her life, from half-pint to married woman. She is a hard-worker, a good student, and loves her family.

     I believe feisty can mean a lot of different things for different characters and people, but for these girls it means they love passionately, defend fiercely, and live on the wild side. They have adventures every girl envies, and they have big plans they dream of achieving.

     Enter Aspen Jevensy, the main character in my unpublished book, The Blue Sky and the Yellow Sun. She could be described the same way as several of the above girls, for they inspired her. She is a combination in my mind of Susan Pevensie, Sybil Crawley, Danielle DeBarbarac, and Hodel from Fiddler on the Roof.

Aspen Jevensy ~ Aspen is a free spirit. Thrown unsuspectingly into a romance with a man she does not love, Aspen finds courage to face the facts. She knows how to win friends and love people. She is independent but secretly longs to be dependent on someone. She begins the book with a heart of fear which gradually shifts to one of courage. She’s feisty at times, brutal at others, but all round the relatable heroine. Through her many heartbreaks and sorrows, she finds in herself a resolute young woman, ready for whatever adventures come her way. If she can get over her past, she will find true love, life, and her purpose.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fictional Characters That Should Not Have Died

     This breaks my heart to write this relive the pain of the literary deaths. But I will do it for you. Without further ado, post no. 3 in my miniseries "The Book Club."

     Some deaths are essential to plots, to the protagonist's story, to making progress, but these are NOT.


*Note* I haven't read every book in the universe, and I will miss some I have read. You can make your own list in your head as we go. But be careful of the spoilers. I will name the book before I name who dies, but I can't promise you you won't see the name on accident.

     All of these died at the end of a book, for basically no reason:

The Maze Runner (Book One only) ~ Chuck

The Book Thief ~ Her new parents and Rudy

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ~ Boromir

The One (The Selection Series #3) ~ Anne

A Tale of Two Cities ~ Sydney Carton

     Why why why would someone do that?

     None of these people had to die for the plot or other characters to evolve! Which literary deaths do you most resent?


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Books With Unique Elements

     Post no. 2 in the miniseries "The Book Club."

     Narration is great. Third or first person plus telling a story in the same old "this happened, then this, then this, then this" is fine. But books with real twists, different POVs (that's point-of-views), and other thematic elements really make me giddy.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ~ Narrated by death. Nothing could be creepier. Good job, Markus.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith ~ Journal entries by a young aspiring writer that tell the stories of her family and love life.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ~ You are clueless until the very, very last pages. But then your mind is blown.

1984 by George Orwell ~ If we're being honest, this book isn't long, but it's boring. Nevertheless, the themes and truths ring true. The last scene will send shivers up your spine.

Love Does by Bob Goff ~ The only non-fiction book on this list, but the good stories and short morals are fun and fresh.

     I look forward to exploring more books with unique element in the future. They're my favorite! I want to read some that tell the story backwards, that blow my mind, that make me ache for more, and that approach things from a new angle.

     Note: At least the first two books mentioned in this post are PG-13. So be careful and choosy if you need to be.