I Can’t Help Myself, I Heart All Things Jane Austen

~”It is a truth universally acknowlegded, that” Chrissy is a lover of all things Jane Austen~

It’s been 200 years, today, since Pride & Prejudice was first published.  Happy Anniversary P&P!  What is most amazing to me is how much Jane Austen’s novels still resonates with the world today.  Think about it, it’s been 200 years and thousands, upon thousands, of us are still obsessed with her stories.   Her fans, of which I am happy to call myself one, can’t get enough.  We devour fan fiction, we lap up every new film/tv adaptation that come our way, and we re-read her novels over and over again.  I can’t think of any other author off the top of my head (well, ok, I’ll give you Shakespeare and Dickens) who has managed to keep such a hardcore, and crazy fan base, who 200 years later are still constantly craving more.  “Please Sir, I want some more.” as Oliver Twist in Dickens states (shout out, Dickens!).

Looking back, I have to give credit where credit is due, I owe my love for all things Jane Austen to my Mother, the biggest Jane Austen fan I’ve ever known!   Since I was a young girl, she has always had a fascination with the Regency England era of history, from the clothing, to the rules of etiquette that dictated society at that time.   It was very easy for me to also fall for this period of time.  It just seems to ooze romance to my modern sensibilities.  I am definitely a romantic at heart.

My Mom’s obsession with Jane Austen herself, didn’t really begin until she saw the BBC adaption of Pride & Prejudice on PBS about 15 or so years ago.   Not long after that, she introduced me to the story.  Since then I have devoured all of Miss Austen’s books and seen most of the numerous movie adaptations of her stories.  Persuasion is my favorite novel of hers, and my favorite movie adaptation is without a doublt the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice.  Quite honestly, I don’t know how you can’t fall head over heals for all things Jane Austen after seeing this adaptation.  I also don’t think it is physically possible not to fall madly in love with Mr. Darcy, or Colin Firth for that matter, after watching it! 🙂

My latest Jane Austen related craze is a modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice in the form of Youtube webisodes called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  I stumbled across this webseries when I was on Reddit about a month ago.  In this series, Lizzie begins a web diary of her life for a grad school project.  The webisodes are all 4-7 minutes long.  There are currently 82 videos and counting, and new ones are posted every week to my utter delight.  The series is also very social media driven.  You can  follow all the characters on Twitter, there is a Tumblr page, a Facebook page and so much more.  You can truly immerse yourself in the lives of the characters, if you so desire, and I do!!!  I honestly don’t know what I’ll do when the series comes to its inevitable conclusion.  Hopefully, they will adapt another of Miss Austen’s stories to consume myself with.

Besides The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I’ve also heard talk of a modern day adaptation of both Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibilites for television.  There are also a couple of fan fiction movies coming out soon: “Austenland”, and “Lost in Austen”.  I can’t wait to see all of them!

As much as I heart Jane,  I don’t know as I’ll ever get to the level of super fan that my Mom has reached.   I’m pretty close, but she is so obsessed that about 80% of the time I pop over to her house for a visit, she will have a Jane Austen dvd playing.  She has watched every movie version ever, 1000’s of times each.  We think  it is very likey she just might have been Jane in a past life!

Most recently, we welcomed a new member to our lovely family.  My brother, Bryan, and his wife had a little girl.  I knew it was highly imperative that she follow the footsteps of her Nana and Bestest Auntie Ever in our love of all things Jane, so I tracked her down a totally adorable Jane Austen onesie, which you can check out on CafePress.com!  She looks tres adorable in it, too!  I’m not sure if she gets it quite yet, but I have high hopes. 🙂

Speaking of Jane Austen themed gifts, one of the great things about obsessed fans is they make it super easy to shop for.  I don’t think a holiday goes by without either my brother, I, or both gets her something Jane related.  My absolute favorite find to date is the Jane Austen Action Figure I gave my Mom a couple years ago. I don’t believe you can truly call yourself a Jane Austen super fan without one!  (Unfortunately, it looks as though they aren’t being made anymore, so if you find one snatch it up quickly, they are a collectors item!)

If you are a fellow Jane fan, I would love to hear which novel/movie adaptation is your favorite.  If you are a romantic at heart and have not had the pleasure of either reading a Jane Austen novel or watching one of her stories come to life in the movies, please, please do yourself a huge favor and do so right away.


*Top photo is a pic I took of the book “Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasurey” by Rebecca Dickson.


Hip Hip Hooray! I Came, I Saw, I Conquered a Three Day Juice Cleanse!

Cooler CleanseYes, you heard it right.  I completed a three day juice cleanse and lived to tell the tale.  So why in my right mind did I even attempt such a crazy thing in the first place?  Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve heard all sorts of chatter (mostly throughout the internet community) about the amazing benefits juice fasting has for your body.  The concept behind it (as I understand it) is that by only consuming freshly pressed fruits and vegetables in the form of juice, one gives the stomach a break from the digestion process.  A process that utilizes a lot of our time and energy to do.  It thereby allows your body to rest a bit as it focuses on eliminating toxins and improving your overall health & wellbeing.  Of course, as anyone can well imagine, there is also a lot of controversy over the practice of juice fasting and whether or not it truly works as touted or is even healthy to do.  If you’re interested in learning more, I would urge you to do your own research, form your own conclusions and talk with your doctor about it before trying a juice cleanse for yourself.  That said, I am a believer.

My New Years Resolutions this year is to direct my attention on the health of my wholebeing (mind, body and environment).   To me, taking on a three day juice cleanse felt like it would be a perfect way to kickstart the New Year.   I hoped it would live up to all the hype I’d been hearing about, and I would feel recharged and raring to go.  Never having done one before, my main thought was, “How am I going to not actively eat/chew food for three whole days?”  I was worried hunger would get the best of me and I would ditch the juice in favor of a nice juicy hamburger.  Something I should mention is you will drink 96 fluid ounces of juice every day on the cleanse, along with a whole bunch of water.  You are not forsaking nutrition to do this.  In fact, I probably consummed better quailty nutrition on this cleanse then I get out of the foods I eat in a normal day (something I need to work on for sure this year).  Less calories, but better nutrition.  This leads me into one piece of advice: Don’t do a juice cleanse if losing weight is your goal.  People do lose a few pounds doing these cleanses, but its not a good way to diet at all as it is mostly water weight you’ll lose so you’ll gain it back pretty readily.

In order to do a juice cleanse, you can either buy your juices from one of the many companies out there that offer them or press your own juices from the comfort of your own home.  Either way, it will cost you a good chunk of change (which can also be a source of motivation for completing the whole cleanse since you paid so gosh darn much to do it).  Buying the pre-made juices will set you back at least $200 and if you want to do them at home you’ll need a juicer plus a whole lot of organic fruits and veggies to press (I have no idea what that’ll set you back).  I decided to buy mine from a company called, Cooler Cleanse.  It cost me $253, which included the overnight shipping costs.  As I said earlier, there were quite a few companies in which to choose from, so I narrowed it down from various reviews I found on blogs, newspaper/magazine articles, etc…   I was very happy with my juices, overall.  There were only two drinks (out of the 9 different flavors) that were not at all pleasant.  It was all I could do to choke those both down.  The Essential Green drink (cucumber, celery, dandelion greens, watercress, spinach, parsley, kale, pear, lemon & ginger) tasted like how I would imagine my lawn clippings to taste….disgusting!!!  The Grapefruit & Mint, was also awful but then again I don’t care a lick for grapefruits.  My most favorite drink of them all was the Almond Nut Milk (raw almonds, vanilla bean, dates & filtered water).  This one was like drinking a super delicious milk shake.  Oh my did it taste good!  I looked forward to drinking it every night, as it was the last drink of the day.  It made for a truly fantastic reward for a whole day of juicing (not to be confused with the often times used jargon of illegal steroid use)!  The other flavors (in order of my most to least favorite) are: Watermelon Lime, Coconut Water, Sweet Greens (kale, spinach, parsley, watercress, apple), Spicy Lemonade (lemon, lime, cayenne pepper, raw agave, filtered water), Essential Red (carrot, beet, apple, lemon) and Pineapple Ginger.

I’m not sure what the norm is but I felt really great the vast majority of my time juicing.  When I began this, I had thought it was going to be a constant struggle and exercise in extreme control to not eat at all, but it wasn’t like that at all.  I was even lucky enought to experience a moment of mental clarity, or “awareness” as some people call it, on the morning of my third day.  Its hard to describe how it felt but it was a sort of hyper-awareness of all my surroundings.  I felt as if I was seeing things and feeling things with crisp, crystal clarity.  It was amazing!

As I understand it, not everyone feels the exact same way as I did after completing a juice cleanse.  Don’t feel discouraged.  It doesn’t mean it’s not working for you or you’re doing it wrong if you feel tired, have a headache or are super hungry the whole time.  All our bodies are so completely unique, we’re all bound to experience things in our own way.  Just so you don’t think I breezed through this whole process like it was nothing, I will admit to a hiccup towards the end of my last day when I mistakenly allowed my mind to drift a little bit to what I wanted to eat the next day. This was a huge lapse in judgement on my part (I’m glad I didn’t make this mistake anytime earlier in the process or I probably would have bailed on it all).  Once you begin to allow yourself to think about eating food, it’s all you will then think about.  My tummy began to grumble and groan. I knew if I didn’t get back in control of my thoughts, I would be a goner. So, I refocused my mind on other things besides eating, and was able to successfully complete the rest of my cleanse thinking nothing but happy thoughts!  Waking up on day four, I was euphoric.  Not only did I accomplish the goal I had set out for myself, but I even felt as if I could have continued a few more days.   My whole being felt renewed, energized and ready to kickstart 2013 to a healthier me!


One little aside – While I was juicing, I excitedly replied to a tweet I saw by Lea Michelle, who plays RachelBerry on Glee, which said she was beginning day 1 of a juice cleanse.  I don’t reply to stars tweets on any kind of regular basis but I felt like we were kindred spirits, like we were members of the same little -drinking only juice- club and we might trade a few thoughts and bond. Yeah, not so much.  She never did respond. Darn it! LOL 🙂

Kicking off 2013 Determined to Accomplish my Resolutions!

~Chrissy’s setting some goals and making the most of 2013~

resolutionIn the many, many years I’ve been making New Years Resolutions, I can only successfully say I managed to follow through with one of them for an entire year.  I only made one resultion that year.  My goal was to find and prepare a new dish at least once a week for an entire year.  In order to help motivate my way through this goal I began a food blog.  The blog idea was what really helped me accomplish my goal for that year.  The act of writing out each post and then hitting the publish button, gave me such a sense of triumph that I was actually really excited to make my self-made weekly deadlines!   After the year was up and I reached my goal, I kind of sort of ditched my food blog and made other resolutions that I didn’t end up keeping.   If you’re interested in checking out my adventure in cooking in 2010, you can find it at http://recipehunting101.blogspot.com

Needless to say even though my success rate isn’t very good,  I’m bound and determined to carry out my resolutions this year.  I’m even going to take from a lesson learned from my success in 2010 and post about my 2013 resolution adventures.   I’ve decided to divide my resolutions for the year out into three key areas of focus: Mind, Body & Environment.  In each area of focus, I’ve set some intial goals but I want to leave them broad, open-ended and fluid, so as the year goes by I’ll continue to set more and more goals in each area.

1. Mind:

  • Do something I normally would avoid doing.  This is something I’m going to leave wide open for whenever the moment strikes.
  • Write daily.  Be it in a journal, a blog post, or that novel I’ve been wanting to write.  Once a day, I am going to sit down for at least 10 minutes, to exercise my mind and write about something important to me.
  • Learn something new.  I’ve been wanting to learn how to crochet forever, so I plan on making the time to sit down with my Mom and have her teach me.

2. Body (aka.Health & Wellness):

  • Improve my overall health.   It’s extrememly broad, I know, but I’m breaking this down into two areas of focus: food & exercise.
    • Food.  I’ve already began my process for improving my health through food.  I’m doing a 3-day juice cleanse, which works to allow your body to cleanse, detoxify and heal itself naturally from within.  I promise to write a post about this whole experience of drinking only juice/water/tea for 3 whole days!  I’m also planning to eat primarily organic foods and will resurrect my recipe posts here on Once Upon a Friendship by sharing healthy meatless monday recipes at lease twice a month!
    • Exercise.  Unfortunately, I have a very strong aversion to exercise but I understand the enormous benefits it has for our bodies,  so I am resolved to up my exercise game plan.  In one of my Pop Sugar Must Have Boxes (which if your interested in learning more about, I blogged about my love of these monthly subscription boxes here) I received “Mandy Ingber’s Yogalosophy” DVD.  I have had it sitting unopened next to my TV for a couple of months now.  Apparently Jennifer Aniston loves this yoga workout.  That’s gotta mean I will too, right?  🙂

3.  Enviornment 

  • Start a Garden.  This ties in perfectly with my goal to eat healthy and organic foods.  What could be better then to grow my own food?  I’ll be honest and tell you I’m a tad scared about this resolution.  In fact, it worries me the most out of all my other resolutions for the year.  I have a hard enough time keeping houseplants alive, how am I going to manage to grow a garden?  This could be very, very interesting but I’m up for the challenge!

Gosh, until I wrote them all out, I didn’t realize just how much I’ve decided to take on for the year!  Wish me luck (I’m going to need it!)