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.

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Summer Reflections & Back to School Traditions

A few thoughts from Alicia….

Well hello there my friends!  It has been quite a while since I’ve sat down at the good ‘ol computer and hashed anything out!  This summer has flown by for me and my family.  I thought I’d have all these lazy days of summer and would just blog away.  WRONG!  Ha ha!

We have had such a fabulous summer with so many great experiences!   One of the great things I love about summer in our new home state is that our new community is small enough that we actually get to run into friends and do play-dates with them throughout the summer.  Going to the pool is like a class reunion as half of the students and teachers at the kids’ school are all there as well!  So we have not been lacking in the camaraderie department this summer for sure!  We also took a two week vacation back home over the 4th of July to be with our families and see a few friends.  That was such an amazing visit!   My family just LOVES the 4th of July and it was such a blast.  (This 1st picture is of one of our firework displays!)  My son turns into a mini-pyromaniac on that day and it takes all my efforts to make him stop blowing things up long enough to eat some dinner.  My brother also came in for a visit as well so I got to see all four of my siblings along with my parents!  That was an awesome treat right there.  We did so many things back home that I’ll have to write a whole different post on how to treat your home town as a vacation destination.  I’ve got that down to a science! 🙂 Oh yes, and of course I got to see my girl, Chrissy!!  She is the best and we can never seem to get enough of each other!  Other than that, we’ve been relaxing, playing video games, sleeping in and trying our best to do a little bit of school activities to keep the kids’ brains working in full gear.  I hate to send them back to school with brains for mush. 😉

Speaking of back to school, I thought I’d share with you one of our Back-to-School Traditions.  Every year the kids and I make small signs for them to hold up in their 1st Day of School pictures that I, without a doubt, will be taking that morning.  I started this tradition when my son was starting Kindergarten.  The picture above is my daughter’s sign from the 2011-12 school year.  Ever the First Born and planner, I was thinking about all of the future “1st Day of School” pictures and was a tad worried about mixing up the pictures over the years.  I could just see myself tying to be a sleuth and figure out what year certain pictures were from:  “Was this 1st grade or 2nd grade?  Hmm…well, he’s missing 1 tooth so I think it was 1st grade.”  Oh the torture!  So I thought, how about a sign that says “1st Day of School – _______ Grade.”  So I drew block letters out and had the kids color them in and decorate it however they wanted.  It turned into a great way to get them excited for that 1st Day of School and also helped them get their minds off of the 1st day jitters as well.  That 1st year was such a hit that we’ve done it ever since!  This last sign is my son’s 3rd Grade sign from the 2011-12 school year as well.  They turned out so great!

I’ve since had several friends take on the same tradition and they have a blast with it.  One friend suggested one addition to the signs which I am all for.  At the bottom of the sign, add an “When I grow up I want to be _______________”.  This is cute because, as we all know, kids change what they want to be as a grown up from day to day, or year to year.  This month alone, my 6 year old has wanted to be a Mom, a Bank Teller, a Grocery store cashier, a Bartender, a waitress, a lifeguard and a few others.  Can you tell she was wanting to do whatever we were experiencing at the moment?  Okay…yes, let’s talk about it.  There is a “Bartender” in there and no, it’s not what you think!  I’m not bar-hopping with the kids just yet…we were waiting for a table in the bar area at Outback Steakhouse and she was enthralled with the goings-on behind the bar as they mixed drinks and rang them up!  Ha ha!  Anyhow, I think it would be a fun way to capture that little extra memory coupled with a picture of how they looked when they actually wanted to be a police officer, a ballerina or a Mommy.  I think I’m going to add that line in and see what we come up with!

As we all get ready for back to school, take some time to reflect on your summer memories.  What was the most exciting thing you did?  What was the silliest thing you did?  When were you the most relaxed?  Put those memories in your mind’s scrapbook and cherish them because before you know it, those sweet little munchkins will be off conquering the world.  Most likely it will be in one of the endeavors they put on their “1st Day of School” signs.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

As I write this post, I am laying in my warm, cozy bed at 3 o’clock in the morning.  I am waiting for the Sweet Dream Fairies (as my daughter and I call them) to come visit me.

Why am I awake at this crazy hour?  I can no longer say it is because I am nursing a baby or walking the halls with a croupy toddler.  For some reason, I am just wide awake, hanging out in the silent house, waiting for sleep to come.

Any-who, I don’t know about any one else who experiences this but I always find myself inspired to DO something during these awake-all-night-adventures.  I think: “Oh!  I will start that book I have wanted to write!”  or “I will enter an essay contest” or “I will start to send out all my picture shares that I am months behind on.”  (For my close peeps, you now understand why you get 4 emails at a time with picture shares! Ha ha!)

The problem I have with these midnight adventures is that I don’t usually follow through with my grand plans the next day.  I don’t start my book because I have too many topics to choose from.  I will write the essay, but won’t have the inspired courage to send it the next day.

I can say, however, that I did send in one midnight essay over 15 years ago.  It was for the local newspaper and they wanted to know why people in our community  loved their neighborhood.  That was a piece of cake because Chrissy and I grew up in the BEST neighborhood in the world!  So I wrote about how Chrissy and I grew up, spending many nights in our youth, sitting on our front porches.  My essay started off saying “My Best Friend Chrissy and I were sitting on my front porch one summer night…”.  We would share our dreams, create new ones, and watch the world in front of us.  Guess what?  I won!  The newspaper picked 7 entries and did a front page spread on me, my essay, my neighborhood and all of its wonderful history!  I was so excited, proud and shocked!  It was an awesome experience.

I probably should have asked Chrissy if she minded that I was using her in my essay because the end result was the newspaper wanting to photograph us both in front of my parents’ house.  I have a tendency to throw her into the lime light at times.  While she isn’t crazy about all the attention, she has learned to just go with it for my sake.  (One of the many reasons I’m blessed to have her in my life and one of the many reasons why I love her so much!)   Here is the picture the newspaper took of me and Chrissy for the article.  It was taken back in the early 90’s, in front of my parents house.

So much has happened since then, but Chrissy and I make it a point to still sit on our parent’s porches when I visit because we don’t want to forget the past and we always keep dreaming. In fact, we have a date to do just that wen I visit home this summer.  And on that note my friends, I am going to try to sleep and find some new dreams of my own!  Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

~Alicia

Embracing my 37th year!

Over the last 5 years or so, my Birthdays leave me feeling a tad bit unenthused.  Every year that BIG day rolls around on the calendar is like another slap in the face.  I am getting older and there is not a darn thing I can do about it.  It’s not as if I am depressed about getting older per se, it is more like I am less then thrilled and would rather not think about it all that much.  My blase attitude toward getting older dramatically changed over this past year.  A multitude of events caused an overwhelming amount of personal contemplation for me on what it means to live.  It is absolutely amazing to me how much my sorrow and grief for the loss of mutiple loved ones, led me on this internal reflection into what it really means to live, and I mean REALLY live.  I have to say, I undoubtedly learned the most about this from the life of my Father-in-Law.  He was diagnosed with ALS three years ago, and lost his battle with the disease this past month.  Boy, what a battle it was.  His own body betrayed him, lavishing a war against his spirits.  He didn’t take it laying down, not up until the very end!  Prior to his retirement, he had dedicated his life to the education system, so I think it fitting he is the one who ultimately taught me so very much about life.  His fight taught me an amazing amount about courage, kindness, strength, weakness, struggle, pain, suffering, perserverance, and persistance.  I learned about the human spirit’s ability to overcome challenges when faced with them, to adapt and continue to move forward with good humor and a positive attitude.  I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  It’s not always going to be easy, but it is a choice we can all make and be better for it!

Life is an absolutely amazing and precious gift. We should all celebrate our lives and everyone we hold near and dear every moment of every day.  Never take your life, or those you love, for granted for we never know just how long we get.  This is why my outlook on reaching another Birthday and being another year older has completely shifted.  I am embracing my 37th year as another year I get to spend chasing rainbows and achieving my dreams, all the while surrounded by my family and friends whom I love most dearly!

~Chrissy

Spring Break Vacations – Then and Now

Ahh, Spring Break!  It is that time of year when we are all ready for winter to end and want summer to get here, now!  It is that special treat you give yourself during the school year for all the hard work you are doing.  If you are in college, it is the ultimate party week.  If you are a parent, it is an excuse for a vacation.

This is the first year in many years where we live close enough to our home town that we decided to treat ourselves to a relaxing “get-away” vacation, since we will have more opportunities to drive home to see our family. We now live within a day’s drive to Florida.  Seeing as how neither Scott or I have been there, that is where we set our target for.  We picked the vacation city of Destin, Florida thanks to the many recommendations of neighbors who had been there.  We couldn’t wait to go visit this town that raves white sandy beaches, water sports, food and fun!  We also decided to throw in two nights in New Orleans.  We would be passing by that way anyhow and I have been dying to visit, so we figured what the heck!

New Orleans was very cool, crazy and like stepping back in time when we visited the French Quarter.  We had one full day there so we visited the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas for the kids.  It was very neat and the kids enjoyed themselves.  I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more ocean type fish, like dolphins or sharks, seeing as how we were right by the Gulf of Mexico!  My only other complaint from the frugal parent perspective was the cost:  $70 for the 4 of us to see it!  OUCH!  But we bit the bullet and went anyhow since we wanted something kid friendly to do.  We toured the French Quarter by car one evening as we didn’t want to end up in a dark alley with the kids surrounded by questionable characters (safety first!) and then revisited the next afternoon for a sunny day of shopping in all the right areas.  (What can I say, we are cautious tourists!)

After New Orleans, off we went for Destin, Florida!  Hello, white beaches of soft sugary sand!  Talk about paradise!  We scored a hotel right by the beach and the weather was in the mid 70s all week long!  (Here’s a sweet picture of my husband Scott and I in Destin near sunset!)  We brought most of our beach gear with us as we drive the ever handy mini-van.  However, we didn’t have any boogey boards so we went to the local Walmart and bought two for the kids to use.  (They had them for rent, but the cost of week’s rental would have been more than a purchase…so now we own two!  There’s the frugal parent coming out!)  So our first day at the beach was a humorous and exciting experience of watching the kids learn how to ride the boogey boards.  I will tell you that H-Man is a total natural.  M-Cakes took to the board very good as well and they just had a blast!  I’d say we spent about half of each day at the beach and the other half at the hotel’s pool.  It was very, very windy this week so after 3 hours of intense wind, you needed a break by the hotel for some relaxing and diving in the warm water.

One thing I knew we would be encountering while in Florida was the college Spring Break crowd.  I hit Spring Break with Chrissy back in 1994.  We drove 24 hours straight with another friend of ours and had a blast.   We laid on the sand, met new groups of college students (okay, boys) and partied our butts off.  Yes, there was also a lot of drinking involved.  I will admit that.  It was college and we were submerged in Spring Break central.  (Here’s a cute photo of me and Chrissy at a Mexican bar.) I remember our next door neighbors were a group of boys from Colorado and one of them wore a cowboy hat everywhere.   They were always everywhere we were, so we opted to visit Matamoros, Mexico with them to have safety in numbers.  (We may have been partying college girls, but we were SMART ones!)  Matamoros is a border town by Brownsville, TX that was popular for younger college kids to go visit because there was no age limit in their bars.  Seeing as how we weren’t 21 yet, that was a big lure for us.  I will never forget the culture shock I experienced as I crossed the border into this run down, poor border town.  There were buildings in need of much repair, the streets were dirty, and there were little kids selling cigarettes and roses on the street corners to all of the college kids.  We quickly ducked into a bar, bought some drinks and danced the night away.  I remember going there once during the day as well to do some shopping and it was my first real glimpse at the world around me and it taught me that our life in America is pretty darn good.

Flash forward almost 20 years to today and I’m seeing all of the groups of girls checking into the hotel while groups of boys hang by the pool checking them out.  Was I really that age once going through all the same motions?  Yup.  I was, believe it or not.  It was fun watching them all running from room to room and hearing snippets of their conversations in the elevator.  Our first night in Florida killed any hopes I had that I was still as young and as hip as these college kids.   Shouting, laughing and banging doors were the sounds we heard for hours in our hotel room as we tried to go to sleep.  My daughter was on the pull out sofa, unable to sleep.  We had unfortunately landed a room near the elevator (prime gathering spot) and by a room of party girls.  Oh my word, these had to be the most loud mouthed, inconsiderate group of kids ever!!  (Okay, they aren’t “kids”, but I can’t think of any better word to describe them right now)  I had opened my door several times and looked at them to try and give the subtle “you are disturbing us” look.  It would work for a few minutes, then FAILED.  I was trying to be cool.  I was trying to remember what it was like when I was there age.  But I couldn’t TRY any longer when 1 a.m. rolled around and these twerps were shouting in the hallway!  I opened our door (they ducked around the corner out of my line of sight..but I knew they were there) and yelled over them until they stopped shouting.  “You know we have KIDS down here that are TRYING to sleep.  You are NOT the only guests in this hotel!!!  I would appreciate it if you would take your PARTY into your ROOM!”  Pause……  A young man answers:  “Yes ma’am.” (very respectfully)  Yup, I got the “Ma’am” line….I’m old.  LOL  “Thank you!” I replied and shut my door.  I didn’t hear a single peep the rest of the night or any night after that!  Oh yeah baby!

Our vacation week gave me an opportunity to have some crazy memories of those days gone by and smile at them a bit and laugh.  It has also allowed me to be thankful that I am done with those years.  I remember thinking I knew it all back then and that I had it all together.  Looking back I now know I had a lot to learn still and am happy with where I am at in life.  I have an amazing husband who works so hard for me and our children.  His job allows me to stay home full time and take care of our children and our home.  We have two beautiful children that bring daily joy to our lives.  Our Spring Break vacation gave me time to cherish them even more, sprinkled with a bit of the memories of days gone by.

~ Alicia

A Few of Our Favorite Things – Week of April 1st

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.  Below are a few of our favorite things or special moments we’ve experienced from this past week.  We’d love to hear about yours as well!

Alicia & Chrissy’s Favorite Thing- 

*Fun New Apps.  This week we both have a favorite new app that we have both downloaded and fell madly in love with, Instagram.  We know that Instagram has been around for quite some time for all you iPhone users out there, and quite frankly we were both a tad bit jealous of all the lovely photo’s our friends would post on Facebook and Twitter.  I mean how can you make every little humdrum photo look absolutely amazing?  Did it really work that way?  Well this week we found out it does!!!!  What we didn’t know until this week was Instagram is more then just taking photo’s, it is a whole other world of social networking.  Alicia summed it up well in a text I got from her late last night that said, “So, Instagram appears to be a cross between FB, Twitter & Pinterest.  Would you agree?” So, now we have one more place for our friends to comment and like various things from our lives.  Isn’t it wonderful! :^)

Chrissy’s Favorite Things-

*Dinner with my Mom.  April means my Dad starts his yearly golf league and my Mom and I begin our traditional Thursday night out.  We’ve been doing this for years and years.  It started back when I was still living with my Parents, as a teenager, and we’ve continued it to this day.  Every Thursday night we pick a different place to have dinner, chat about the week gone by and often times do a bit of shopping afterwards! I always treasure time with my Mom!  She is an amazing woman and I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful role model in my life.  Love you Mom!!!!

*Yummy Snacks.  Kind Bars are my new favorite snack.  The two bars I enjoy the most are the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants and the Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants!

Alicia’s Favorite Things –

1.  Sunblock – Why would sunblock be on my list of favorite things this week you may ask?  Well, this past week I worked at the kids’ school as a Substitute Play Ground Monitor for two days.  That in and of itself is an experience, let me tell you.  Add into the scenario unusually warm temperatures and you have one hot Momma!  (And folks, I’m not talking “hot” as in good looking.  I mean hot, sweaty and soggy Momma.  Ha ha!)  The first day out it was almost 90 degrees…in April.  (And here I thought moving away from California would get me out of those early season hot days.)  I unfortunately did not think about bringing sunblock.  I’ve never worked a job where sunblock was a necessary tool for my day.  So needless to say, my fair Irish skin got a little crispy.  To add insult to injury, I left with a Farmer’s burn (you know, that ever so sexy line where your shirt was) AND I was only burned on the left side of my body and face.  So, I learned my lesson.  When I came back to work a few days later, I brought my sunblock AND I stood on the opposite side of the play ground to even myself out.  So I am grateful to whomever invented sunblock.  All the fair skinned people of the world thank you!

2.  Spring Flowers –  I love Spring and all that comes with it.  I love planting new flowers, weeding, digging in the dirt, and giving love to all that grows in my yard.  Well, except the weeds!  This year is an exciting Spring for me as we are in a new house and I always love seeing what sorts of plants will make an appearance.  The woman who lived in the house before me was amazing at planning out her gardens and just made the whole yard beautiful.  She had quite the green thumb.  Thankfully, I have a pretty green thumb as well, so the yard is still flourishing and I am having fun adding a bit of my own style to the garden she left in my hands.  I’ve discovered Peony plants, Hydrangeas, Shasta Daisies, Black Eyed Susan’s, Pinks, Geraniums, and so many more.  My back porch has a high roof and there are hooks that I just had to utilize.  I’ve always wanted hanging flower baskets so I have installed them and am in LOVE with the sweetness they add to the back yard atmosphere.  There is something special about having the flowers hanging about adding scent and color to the yard.  Here is a picture of one of my baskets I took using Instagram:

Well there you have it!  Our weekly highlights of favorite things!  What were your favorites this week?

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