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.

~Chrissy

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

My latest Obsession: The PopSugar “Must Have” Subscription Box

~Bought and Paid for by Chrissy~

I have a confession to make, I am obsessed with the PopSugar Subscription Boxes.   Every month, I get as excited as a kid in a candy store on Christmas whenever  that white box with the pink PopSugar logo on it shows up on my doorstep!  Before I go on, I should probably explain a little about what subscription boxes are.  The premise is simple, you agree to pay a set price every month for a box full of different items.  You’ll find companies that gear their boxes towards the beauty buff, or pet lovers, or parents, or the eco-conscience, etc….   I’ve tried a few different companies over the last year and without a doubt, PopSugar is, hands down, the BEST one out there for the woman wishing to spoil herself with fun and exciting things.

Every month, for $35, you get a new box, filled to the brim with top of the line, super amazing products.  The variety of items sent each month is what really sets this company apart.   You’ll find food, beauty items, home goods, fitness products, books, and fashion items all stuffed inside each and every box.  The fun part is opening your box and seeing what your $35 has gotten you this month (They state each box is actually worth $100 or more, and I have found this to be true).   I haven’t been disappointed in anything I’ve gotten yet.   If the cost is deterring you remember you can cancel anytime and with Christmas coming they also would make a really fabulous gift for someone special on your list!

This is what I got inside my October Must Have Box (I’ve estimated the actual cost of each item here too):

Dylan’s Candy Bar Gummy Bears (5 oz) – $3.00                                                                                                                            
*These look absolutely amazing.  It’s been ages since I’ve torn into a gummy bear.  They are going with me to work today!
 
Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar snack bag (1 oz) –  $1.00
*Always a treat to eat.  I am a big fan of Pirate’s Booty already.
 
Unilever Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy shampoo and conditioner (13 fl.oz. each) – $5 each
*Some people feel shampoo’s have to cost a bunch in order for them to be any good.  I don’t believe that, and will gladly give this shampoo and conditioner the old college try!   
 
Red Flower Japanese Peony Candle with Rose Petals (6 oz with 50 hours of burn time) – $38.00
*I was shocked when I found out how much this candle costs.  Yowzers!  It isn’t something I would buy for myself in a million years but it is a definite treat as it smells amazing. 
 
J.K. Rowling‘s “The Casual Vacancy” Hardbound book- $35.00
*This was on my must read list, so it was a pleasant surprise to see it in my box.  I buy most of my books with my Kindle.  It feels good to have an actual book in my hands again though!
 
Crescent Moon ExerSocks for Yoga & Pilates – $8.00
*I’d like to say these will be great for all the yoga I do, however I have a feeling these will be worn while I am lounging around my home.  They nice traction on the bottoms so I won’t have to worry about slip sliding around on my wood floors!
 
O.P.I. Pink of Hearts Nail Polish Duo – $13.00
*I have always been a fan of OPI nail polish.  The colors included are: “You Glitter Be Good to Me” and “I Think in Pink”.  ~Pink is my signature color~ (Name that movie!)  I’ll have pink, sparkling toes in the next few days! 

Added all together I estimate this box to be worth $108.00!  If you’re interested in learning more about the “Must Have’ box, or subscribing, click here: http://popsu.gr/fsc.  I can always use the referrals as in no way, shape or form did I get paid or get my box for free to write this post (If you get referrals you get discounted boxes, yippee!).  I am just a proud consumer of an amazing product which I wanted to share with you!

~Chrissy

A Girl Trip Bucket List

Alicia & Chrissy, KC Girl Trip 2012Alicia and I recently went on a Girl Trip to Kansas City, MO for a weekend.  We shopped, ate amazing food and pretty much chill-axed the whole time.  It was the first trip we’ve been on together since the late nineties.  (Geesh, time flies by way too quickly!)  Now that we live within a days drive of each other I imagine we will be able to go on more of these weekend getaway’s in the future.  KC is a great city filled with all sorts of fabulous things to do and see, and it’s also just so happens to be a great halfway point for us to meet up at.  While KC will more then likely be the location of most of our Girl Trips to come, we have developed our own special kind of bucket list with the Girl Trips we dream about taking one day.  These are the places we would love to see together because in some way, shape or form, they symbolize our friendship and growing up together.

Trip 1 – A Literary Excursion to Prince Edward Island.  Why Prince Edward Island?  Well it just so happens to be the home of a beloved literary character, Anne Shirley, from the series of books, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  Alicia wrote about her love of all things Anne a few months ago which you can read here.  When we were young girls we both devoured these books and watched the tv series over and over again, so this would be such an amazing trip to experience together.  Alicia is the one who stumbled on the Anne Vacation Itinerary on the Prince Edward Island tourism website.  There is so much you can see and do that are all related to Anne of Green Gables.  You can visit many of the settings from the books, like Green Gables, Avonlea Village, the Haunted Wood and the Lake of Shining Waters.  Doesn’t that sound simply wonderful?

Trip 2 – A Culinary Excursion to Hingham, MA.  So, what about Hingham, located near Boston, MA would make us want to fly all the way there to grab some grub?  A restaurant called, Wahlburgers.  Wahlburgers is owned by Mark and Donnie Wahlburg.  Do those names ring a bell?  I urge you to read a former blog post I did here, about a concert Alicia and I went to when we were teenagers, Marky-Mark and the Funky Bunch.  While we both really liked Mark Wahlberg, we were truly fanatical about a group called New Kids on the Block.  For quite some time in our teen years, we both ate, slept and breathed NKOTB.  Our favorite NKOTB member was Joey McIntyre but Donnie Wahlberg came in a close second!  Of course, if we ever do manage to take this trip we would find a few other things to do and see while in the Boston area, but eating at Wahlburgers is our #1 priority!

Trip 3 – A Theatrical Excursion to NYC.  Another shared love that stems from our childhood is a movie called Newsies.  It is a musical based on a group of newspaper boys who strike against the big newspaper companies of the day in New York City during 1899.  I will admit to the fact that a movie full of really cute boys may have had some influence on just how much we loved this movie, but it is also a really great story with loads of fun, catchy, toe-tapping tunes!  To this day we both still enjoy watching Newsies, and whenever one or the other of us catches it playing on tv we’ll send out a text, “Newsies is on!”  It wasn’t too long ago when I happened to stumble on a short video for the Broadway Musical, Newsies.  I quickly posted it to Alicia’s Facebook wall and another dream Girl Trip was added to our list! (I am really hoping Newsies will eventually go on tour and come to a city a bit closer to us, like KC, because that would make this trip that much more easier to cross off our bucket list!)

We have three Girl Trips on our bucket list so far.  Hopefully, one of these days when time and money prevail, we’ll manage to actually take one of them! We would love to hear all about the great Girl Trips you dream about taking with your BFF’s, too.

~Chrissy

A Few of Our Favorite Things This Week

Our lives are often times very hectic and chaotic.  We don’t always stop and appreciate the small things happening all around us.  In this day and age, it is important to make a conscious effort to recognize the small things or moments that fill us with joy and wonder or make us insanely happy.  Our plan is to start sharing our fun finds or special moments with you once a week from here on out.  We’d love to hear about yours as well!

Chrissy’s Favorite Things:

1. My Friends.  I received an email from one of our best girlfriends wanting to plan a Girl’s Night In soon. I love getting together with girlfriends. It is the absolute best, most relaxing and therapeutic feeling ever! (The only bummer is Alicia and our other out of town friends don’t live close enough to come as well.)

2. My Mail Delivery.  Yesterday, when I opened my mailbox I was delighted to find the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer had arrived. My friend, Shannon, calls this newsletter Food Porn and I couldn’t agree more. 😉  I can’t read it without getting totally hungry!

3.  A New Dessert.  I decided to try a recipe for Black Bean Brownies which I found on Pinterest. (If you are interested in the recipe you can check it out here.)  I was initially thrown off because they didn’t have a lick of flour in them and, of course, beans in brownies doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Be that as it may I was intrigued enough to give it a try. Boy, was I delighted and shockingly surprised when they turned out to be really quite good.

4.  A New Movie.  I happend to see a new 5 minute trailer for the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this movie.  I’ve always enjoyed the Snow White story and love that this movie tells it in such a dark, dramatic way.  Charlize Theron plays the Evil Queen and although I never would have pictured Kristen Stewart as Snow White, she seems to pull it off well. 

Alicia’s Favorite Things:

Well I am on vacation this week!  We have visited New Orleans, Louisiana & Destin, Florida!  It has been a much needed family vacation and we are having a blast! The only bummer is that it has to end.  Be that as it may, I still have several favorite things that I used this week while on my vacation!

1.  My family.  I have to put them first this week since I am on vacation with them!  We don’t get long, quiet breaks (just the 4 of us) all that often.  So having this family time is just unbelievable!  I love my husband and children so much and I’m enjoying this time to reconnect and relax with them.  🙂

2.  My Kindle.  My brother gave me my Kindle a few years ago as a Christmas present and it is probably one of the best presents he has ever given me!  My Kindle is totally rock awesome.  I love that when I finish a book, I can “shop” on my Kindle while driving through the back highways of Louisiana and get a new book, instantly!  Scott and I also love playing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle on it.  It was interesting to figure out how to play this game while he drove the van, but we managed.   It helps pass those long hours of driving to your vacation spot!

3.  My Kindle Book for the trip:  “Nearly Departed in Deadwood” by Ann Charles.  This book has me hooked, line & sinker!  It reminds me of the Stephanie Plum series that I read a while back and I just love the mystery, comedy & a little bit of romance all mixed together!  I also have to admit that Chrissy has turned me into a “series” junky and I love that this is the 1st book in the series, so I know I’ll have more to read.  I hate saying goodbye to those characters that you grow to love in books, so a series is great!  I highly recommend it!

4.  My go-to jewelery piece for this vacation has been my Metal Works necklace that I bought last summer from Premier Designs.  I love, love, love this piece as it can be casual with a T-Shirt or go with a nice blouse and work for a great dinner out.  It is 38″ long, but I tend to double it up quite a bit and wear it layered, which looks fabulous.  Or go longer and it is super fancy! 🙂  (The catalog insert here shows the necklace as item F)

5.  Another favorite item of mine this week is my beach bag filled with all of the necessities for lounging on the white sands in Florida.  I have all of the beach towels for the family, sunblock, my Kindle, our camera, a bag for sea shell collecting and of course some water!  A good, big beach bag is a must have when on a vacation like this!

So there you have it!  A few of our favorite things!  We hope you liked them and maybe even discovered something new in the process!  Have a fabulous day!

~Chrissy & Alicia