Wednesday, November 30, 2011

O Tannenbaum!

Nuremberg Christmas Market
Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  People are so kind, the air is clean and crisp, stockings hang next to a fire…I just love it.  Nothing says Christmas, though, quite like a Christmas Tree.  The look of them, the smell, oh! the smell, and all the decorations and lights make me smile every time.  Unfortunately, this year I will not be enjoying a real tree.  It’s a real tragedy.  The lack of the smell of pine has made me wonder where exactly the tradition of a Christmas Tree came from. 
Christmas trees, as we know them, came from Germany, as do most awesome Christmas things.  It is widely believed that Martin Luther was the first to place candles on a tree in the early 16th century, to show his children how they shine like the stars in the sky.  Tinsel also came from Germany in around 1610.  Silver was the material of choice due to its light weight and was used up until the mid-20th century.  Oh yeah, I have real silver on my tree every year…right next to my Target ornaments. 
So how did Christmas Trees leave Germany?  That is yet another thing we owe to the lovely Victoria and Albert.  Prince Albert brought a Christmas Tree to Windsor Castle, and in 1846, he, Victoria, and their children were depicted as standing next to a decorated tree in the Illustrated London News.  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were so popular and well loved that everything they did spread like wildfire.  Anyone who was anyone had a tree after that illustration was published. 

So, is your tree fabulously fake or resplendently real?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Shave November: Michael Fassbender

It should be no surprise that our last No Shave November appreciation post features Fassy.  He is the man of many faces, not to mention, our reigning king at Victorian Swag.  This is going to be a tough one and we cannot wait to see what the votes will favor.  We, of course, love his face smooth and silky, subtly stubbly, masculinely mustached and everywhere in between.  Which do you prefer?

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In plaid no less!
*FAN FLAIL*!!! Tomorrow my original celebrity husband and bass player de McFly extraordinaire, Dougie Poynter, is turning 24. So we just felt the need to say congrats twice over! Ever endearing with his antics and the outrageous-but-terribly-quotable (especially with that British accent) things he says, it's almost unfair that he's got woo-you-in-your-sleep good looks to match. What am I saying? It is unfair! If I were ever to meet him again, I'd be torn between the impulse to climb on top of the signing table and profess my love for him or run up and pinch his cheeks. Or, let's just be honest, tackle him to the ground... What can I say? He inspires ladylike behavior! Right now Dougie's fighting for the crown in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! but I'd like to remind him that I crowned him in my heart with the nickname "my sweet prince" first! May his 24th year bring us bass slides galore, catchy tunes, and even more go-to quotes for our inside joke arsenal. Happy Almost Birthday, Dougie!

P.S. *pinches his cheeks*

Monday, November 28, 2011

Future Home of Victorian Swag: Highclere Castle


We are just coming off of an amazing Thanksgiving retreat and while recovering from that much fun won’t be easy, there is work to be done.  With only a few more days until December, the ladies of Victorian Swag need to start prepping for the Christmas Season! 
This week, the chilly weather and dreary days have brought us to our winter home at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England.  This lovely, hugely impressive and impeccably maintained Victorian Castle is on loan to us from the Carnarvon family who has lived here since 1679.  While Highclere is the perfect place in which to embrace the wintry season that is upon us, it also happens to be the filming location for the Downton Abbey.  Hopefully, we’ll be introducing this delightful period television show on the blog very soon if for no other reason than to give you one more fictional boyfriend (Cousin Matthew) to swoon over. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Sassurday!


Michael Fassbender was named one of GQ's Breakout Men of the Year in their latest issue, and we could not be more pleased!  While we all love him in suits and boots, it is refreshing to see him dressed like a normal mortal - even if his jawline defies description.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday We're In Love!

clockwise from top: 1234

We hope all of our lovely readers had a fabulous Thanksgiving! We're so excited that it's officially the holiday season that we're celebrating by listening to lots of Christmas music...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Victorian Swag Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! We hope you've had a wonderful holiday full of friends, family, and second helpings. As you well know, we've been spending the week in our Victorian Swag digs du jour, Riven Rock, with our celebrity/fictional boyfriends. But come this morning, it was time to put the games of sardines and snuggling aside (dang it!) to open our doors for our honored guests and a Thanksgiving feast.

Whittling down our dream dinner party to 20 people (an idea which we were completely inspired by/stole from mixtapes & cupcakes) who we all loved and predicted would mesh well was a chaotic mess, but in the end we couldn't have been happier!

Concerned about keeping the conversation flowing and upbeat, we probably toiled over the seating arrangement as much as the food. Luckily, now we can tell you quite confidently that everyone got along splendidly! Obviously our royals King Fassy, Queen Audrey, and Prince Eddie were the first to be invited, closely followed by our respective dates. The rest of our guests were a smattering of fictional and non-fictional favorites that we positively had to have there no matter what. Ali was knee-deep in bribes to move to the UK from Henry Cavill and James McAvoy, though Fassy trumped them all proposing a secret getaway in his native Ireland. Mariah couldn't choose between being a sidekick on adventures with Doctor Who, Indiana Jones, or even the reserved but charming Captain America. The piemaker, Ned, gave Sarah baking tips to help her further wow Rupert Friend, though he was obviously quite smitten anyway. And I was about to combust with the mere proximity of some of my greatest inspirations including J.K. Rowling, Audrey Hepburn, and (ahem) Richard Armitage. Meanwhile terribly fascinating discussions were erupting from the middle of the table between our beloved Gilbert Blythe, Anne Shirley, Arthur Pendragon, Eddie Redmayne, and Elizabeth Bennet. By the time we took coffee and dessert into the living room and out onto the back porch, we all fell naturally into deep conversations with people we hadn't been sitting next to at dinner.

What a relief that all 20 of us felt like a tight-knit little unit by the end of the evening! We lit sparklers for a nighttime stroll along the beach and wrestled Christmas albums out of our dates' hands (it's not midnight yet!). In a word it was perfection... even if Peter Pan scoffed at his invitation saying he was far above soirées with adults. Still! We couldn't have asked for a more memorable Thanksgiving and we hope to see everyone together soon (a masquerade ball perhaps?)! Our only question is: if you were throwing your dream Thanksgiving, who would you invite? 

P.S. If you're wondering if we all held hands as we gave thanks before dinner... Yes! Yes we did! It's okay to be jealous!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith is the story of a pivotal part of narrator Cassandra's life when a young American man inherits the estate next door. Her family lives in a crumbling castle in the 1930s, barely scraping by with the hopes that their once-acclaimed father will write another novel and change their fate. Unfortunately, they've been living off of hope alone for years, selling off most of their possessions in the process. So Cassandra's sister Rose, terribly sick of poverty, makes up her mind to marry into money i.e. marry their new American neighbor Simon. The story follows the string of mishaps, both hilarious and heartbreaking, which follow this decision.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Oh great! Just what I needed! Another life ruiner! My love for this talented man has been gradually growing to a crescendo ever since I saw those curly locks and Bambi eyes above in Return to Cranford. This weekend, it completely exploded into a full-blown symphony composed of aww-ing at the thought of snuggling and eating pudding cups and squealing out declarations about how cute our future children will be. I mean... ahem... It takes a very special man to give me a heart for the bad guy, but when I finally got around to watching Thor this weekend, his complicated Loki had me hooked at first glance. Not gonna lie, he's the character I'm most looking forward to seeing in The Avengers. Those eyes! Those shark-like teeth (seriously, Hollywood gods, I'm demanding that he and Fassy play brothers on screen and soon)! Those expressions! That voice! Heck, even his impressive vocabulary makes me melt! I'll be the Zelda to his F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris any day! And can we just talk about how tears sprang into my eyes at the mere sight of him in uniform in the trailer for War Horse? You're turning me into a sap monster, Hiddles! What have you done to me?!?!

No Shave November: Chris Hemsworth


It's nearing the end of no-shave November, and we just couldn't let the opportunity to feature Chris Hemsworth pass us by. Those blue eyes of his along with the little bit of scruff he always seems to be sporting are quite the deadly combination. I'm having a really hard time right now not running to the telly and popping in my copy of Thor; really it should be illegal for a man to be so handsome. (I also find him rather attractive with the long-hair...) So while we're busy waiting to stare at him some more in The Avengers, I give you one of life's great questions: shaved or not? You already know which I'm partial to.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Future Home of Victorian Swag: Riven Rock

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, everyone!  It’s the start of a holiday week and the Victorian Swag authors decided that we just wanted to get away for a bit.  You know, take some time to relax and celebrate Thanksgiving in true Victorian Swag fashion.  We have decided to rent (which seriously, I am not kidding, you can do in REAL LIFE and this is just so amazing) Riven Rock House in Jamestown, Rhode Island.  In case you don’t know, this lovely rustic retreat is the vacation house used in the filming of one of my favorite movies, Dan in Real Life.  Yep.  That’s right!  This New England gem is ours for a week of kayaking, clambakes, and cozy evenings by the fire. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Sassurday!

Well helloooo Mr. Fassbender.  I like like your velvet smoking jacket.  And your pretty face.  And your hands.  Ok, let's not go any further.  

Enjoy the rest of your Sassurday fellow Fassy fans!  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday We're In Love!

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Sally's Pick: There's absolutely nothing like first setting your ears on a band when they're playing live and being struck with the feeling that you and their music are going to be together forever. Over the weekend this happened with me and a unique band called Locksley who've got a 60s feel to both their look and music (full of "ooos" and hand clapping!) and a dizzying energy on stage. I went nuts dancing in the crowd to fun and catchy tunes like "The Whip" and "Darling, It's True" and immediately ran home to download their album and free EP, which I've had on repeat ever since.

Ali's Pick: FAN-FLAIL: It has finally been announced that the Star Trek Sequel will begin shooting in January! I am just a little bit excited for this; I love me some Captain Kirk (the new one, please). While it may not be showing until 2013, I heard they are casting extras now and so would like to audition for the part of C.K.'s new love interest.

Mariah's Pick: As evidenced by my Congrats on Your Face post earlier this week, I LOVE gingers, and a ginger who can sing- that's even better. Ed Sheeran's new album "+" is my current musical addiction; I promise your ears will be thanking you if you give it a listen. "The A Team," "Small Bump," "Lego House," and "Give Me Love" are the songs you should go listen to immediately; what are you waiting for?

Sarah's Pick: I just found out this week that The Maine's new album Pioneer is dropping December 6th. They released two singles from the new album this week, and they have been experimenting with their sound. It's time to update your Christmas list!

The Classic List: love triangle edition

It's time for another installment of what I like to call The Classic List. Where I wax poetic about my favorite cinematic contributions from old-school Hollywood, and hope to inspire y'all to go out and explore some awesome vintage films for yourselves. In no way is this list definitive, because, you guys, that would take AGES, and I wouldn't want to bore you. So, without further ado, I give you this week's selection: Sabrina.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

True Love Bites

Confession: we are definitely not above obsessing over vampire series, but let's get one thing straight... vampires + love triangles = our kryptonite! Our excuse: vampires tend to hail from days of old when gentlemanlike behavior was the social norm (and if not, they experienced it at least). Plus there's the whole danger-he-bites intrigue all wrapped up in a broody hunk perfectly preserved in his prime. Alas, not all vampire sagas are created equal. Consider the trend to be a buffet offering everything from junk food to five star dining. Today we'll feast our eyes on what I would currently consider to be the big three.

Let's start with Twilight. This is like a slumber party with chocolate sundaes and countless games of MASH i.e. no thought required, entertainment only beyond this point. I'd highly recommend a themed drinking game as well to really get you through the let's-just-stare-at-each-other-and-make-tortured-faces bits. On the surface it meets everything required of a vampire saga: attractive vampires (both good and bad), temperamental werewolves, and a love triangle. But unfortunately there's more to it than that.
Is it just me or is no one more disgusted with this relationship than Edward? (x)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mixtape: Fall Edition

I envy those of you who live in climates that actually have season changes. In the South it just goes from REALLY HOT to slightly less hot during the fall, no leaves changing for us. Which means we just have to get creative when it comes to getting into the spirit of this time of year, and clearly there's no better way to do this than with a good playlist. And not just any playlist, but an eclectic, indie/rock/acoustic filled smorgasbord for the ears. You're not required to brew a pot of tea and and pretend that this is the soundtrack to your very own romantic film, or even take a long drive down a winding lane lined with live oaks that drip with Spanish moss in order to fully appreciate these songs. But it certainly wouldn't hurt.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


There's nothing lovelier than a ginger. Especially if his name is Rupert Grint. We've watched him grow up on screen, playing the goofy and brave Ron Weasley (a personal favorite); no offense to Sally's Matthew Lewis crush, because obviously we love him too. But it's hard to resist a boy with his own ice cream truck.

Honestly, though, don't you just want to fake swoon (or really swoon, as some of us would probably do) into Rupert's very capable-looking arms. Don't say you haven't noticed. We all know you were paying attention during this scrumptious scene. And if you're still not convinced that our ginger prince is as swag-worthy as we say he is, then go watch his music video debut in Ed Sheeran's Lego House. It's a triple threat: ginger beard, lip-synching, and Rupert in a delicious orange hoodie. Don't say we didn't warn you.

No Shave November: Ryan Gosling

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This week of No Shave November, we honor Ryan Gosling.  It was pretty difficult to find a photo of him with absolutely no facial hair, but, let's be honest, is that such a bad thing?  Crazy, Stupid, Love. just came out on dvd this month, and you must see it if you haven't already.  The dapper Mr. Gosling has several movies in the works, and I think it's safe to say that we are all waiting with bated breath.  In the meantime, let's try to decide between clean-shaven and scruffaliciousness.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Future Home of Victorian Swag: Château de Chenonceau

Is there any location more whimsical and quintessentially fairytale-esque than France’s Loire Valley?  I think not.  Is there a château more romantic than the one that spans the River Cher at Chenonceau?  Again, the answer is no.  That is exactly why Victorian Swag is has decided to set up shop in its tapestry-decked halls for a cozy autumn spent in front of roaring fires.  We won’t be the first ladies to call this château home.  In fact, it has a rather illustrious history as the favorite house of many a French noblewoman.  We consider ourselves in good company.  


It's the much anticipated full-length trailer for The Hunger Games, of course! We could pretend we don't read young adult fiction (but WHY?) or try to react in a dignified and refined manner, but... *FAN FLAIL*!!!!!!!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok *gathering some semblance of composure*... Starting from the beginning... Our first look at District 12! So much green. A little too green. But no matter, because there's Gale and we had a crush on him at the beginning of the book and we're suddenly aware that that actually did indeed happen. You can send us a calling card any time, Gale! AND OH MY GOSH IT'S THE REAPING DAY. Admiring the costuming and period feel to it all, but then it's all Gale who? (minus the part where he carries Prim through the crowd... *passing a fan around*) because there is PEETA MELLARK aka one of our most recent and heartstring-tugging fictional boyfriends with a mad case of CREYES FOR EYES! And even though they didn't cast Hunter Parrish as Peeta, we really want to give him a hug and live happily ever after, so... You have won us over with the water works, Josh Hutcherson- KUDOS! And let's love on this scene a little longer because it looks like they did a fine job capturing the high emotion of the moment i.e. the Mount Vesuvius of FEELINGS! Engrossed, engrossed, engrossed, but pardonnez-moi, is that the fire dress? Quelle disappointment! Also: Stanley Tucci! Haymitch is looking a little too wig-shop Ken doll, but it's okay because Katniss is getting bull's eyes on dummy hearts because she's incredibly awesome. And then it's the rooftop scene and if we were Katniss, we'd be confessing our love to Peeta right about now. Oh Peeta! You are so honorable! Wahhhhhhh Katniss is being shot up to the arena in a tube and WE JUST NEED THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW! And they're off! And Peeta's lookin' fierce and WE ARE SO IN LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On a scale of not interested to eternal devotion, we're rating this trailer at a solid Peeta-Mellark's-face-can-be-embroidered-on-all-the-pillows-at-Château-Victorian-Swag. What is it about seeing our fictional boyfriends fighting for their lives in dystopia that gives us so many ALL CAPS FEELINGS?!?! Can someone get us a time machine? Because March 23rd can't get here soon enough!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Sassurday!

We're fools for a gentleman in a top hat.  And it never hurts when his name is Michael Fassbender.  Happy Sassurday, everyone!  May your day be delightfully dapper.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Classic List: crooner's edition

Welcome, dear readers, to a new series I like the call The Classic List. This is, of course, a reference to my obsession with old school Hollywood movies. It cannot be denied that there is something inherent within a classic film that makes one long for men in three-piece suits, swanky language, and a little swooning. And if there are a few musical numbers thrown in along the way, well, all the better. So get ready for a trip down memory lane as we take a look at some of the classics at the top of my list.

Friday We're In Love!

clockwise from top: 1234

What do wizards, hot tea, castles, and futuristic love stories have in common? They're all jam-packed into this week's Friday We're In Love post, that's what! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

proposals gone wrong: in review

It should go without saying that after six weeks of proposals gone wrong, I have a lot of FEELINGS. Thus, I have decided to send them off into the world with a fond farewell. There have been a lot of tears, hands-over-hearts, sorrow-snot tissues, and even changes of opinion. The more I watched some of them, the more I found they ranked differently in certain categories than I originally anticipated. So now I bring you an award ceremony, because we haven't over-analyzed these enough already! Awards shall be given in no particular order. Everyone's a winner! Although in some cases, they're definitely losers. *Drumroll* May I have the envelope please?

While I was quite vocal about the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice's deviations from the book, there's no denying the appeal of being proposed to in a Grecian temple in the rain. Like... can I camp out there till that can happen to me? K thanks. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Lost Art of Letter Writing


Emails are great.  They are instant, you can share links to websites and pictures.  However, no matter how many smiley faces you put in them, they are pretty impersonal.  Now, a letter has much more character.  There's something about opening the mailbox and finding a note from a family member or friend.  Seeing their handwriting is like seeing their personality.  It takes effort and time, which makes you feel special that they spent that time on you.  You can keep them forever, tied together with a pretty ribbon.  Emails are deleted without a second thought.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No Shave November: Henry Cavill

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It's week two of Movember and we have another scruffy face to feature!  This time it is the incredibly talented and incidentally incredibly handsome (clean shaven or not) Henry Cavill.  He has a couple of big projects coming up: Immortals and Man of Steel (He's going to be SUPERMAN!!  I am not sure you understand how much I LOVE SUPERMAN!) Ok, back to the subject at hand.  Both of these promise a bit of both worlds in the facial hair department and I, personally, cannot wait!  Immortals is out this Friday and I will definitely be ready for some Theseus aka Henry.  No matter the role, we love him clean shaven, with a 5 O'Clock shadow, or with some full-on scruff.  Which do you prefer?


Ah yes, the infamous photo that left the internet dizzy drunk on pure magic this summer. Because, ahem, look how dapper! And the pocket watch? Baby got swag! But while everyone from teenies to cougars were screaming, "What a transformation!" we were smugly saying, "We told you so!" and, "Where have you been?" (because hasn't it always been common knowledge that he had to wear a fat suit and false teeth for that role??) Matthew Lewis captured our hearts playing one of the best Harry Potter characters ever, Neville Longbottom, ten years ago with his pudgy lost face and courageous deeds. This year he stole the show in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and reduced us to fits of FEELING-ful tears and fist pumping. Neville FTW! He started filming the 5-part BBC drama The Syndacite this week, which, while we're super psyched about, we all know is just a precursor to James Bond... Am I right? NEVILLE AS JAMES BOND! COME ON!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Future Home of Victorian Swag: Fallingwater

We at Victorian Swag do a pretty good job of celebrating the swagiest books, movies, music and people. Today I am launching a new series to celebrate some of the swagiest places in the world.  These are the houses, mansions, and chateaux that we secretly (or not so secretly) dream of inhabiting.  And since we are all for dreaming, we're going to go ahead and pretend that the Victorian Swag authors maintain a residence at each of these amazing places and rank them accordingly.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It' Sassurday!

Ohhh Fassyyy!!! The BBC aired a special Halloween treat on Monday, our king reading Dracula in ten parts. Stream his tempting voice here and be quick about it as there are only two days left to listen (if we find a place to listen to it afterwards, we will certainly update this post). But be warned. Now all we can think about is Vampire Fassy! Love bites.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday We're In Love!

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Mariah: As of this Tuesday, after 37 years of mystery (because Brian Wilson wasn't completely happy with the recording), The Beach Boy's The Smile Sessions is finally available for the world to hear, and it's some pretty trippy stuff. The album is very much the Sgt. Pepper of The Beach Boy's catalog, so don't go in expecting their typical sound, in other words, this album isn't for everyone. Now, excuse me while I go rock out to Heroes and Villains.

Ali:  My pick this week is a book I happen to have recently finished aaaand subsequently wept over.  Probably my favorite book of 2011.  If you like adventure, tragic love stories, and secretly (or not so secretly) harbor an inexplicable love for Africa, then you will love this book.  Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa by Mark Seal uses letters and personal interviews to paint a vivid picture of the life and death of wildlife filmmaker and conservationist Joan Root in Kenya.  It is hard to explain how truly moving this book is.  It is almost epic in its scope.  From swimming with hippos, to BBC documentaries; from hot air balloon flights over Kilimanjaro, to rescuing baby flamingos, Wildflower is a stirring, very human story of survival.  It is also beautifully written.  I have to share the opening lines: "She always knew he would come back to her. He would climb into his helicopter at first light one Nairobi morning and rise above the screaming madhouse of the city, tilting west over East Africa’s largest slum, and flying out into wonder: out over the Great Rift Valley, the cradle of civilization, a three- thousand- mile- long seam in the earth that stretches from Syria to Mozambique but is at its most glorious here in Kenya. As the floor of the world dropped away, opening into endless sky and a breathtaking vista, he would follow this corridor straight back to her."

Sally: This week it was announced that two of my favorite things are about to collide: True Blood and Lucy Griffiths i.e. Maid Marian from BBC's Robin Hood i.e. my favorite female character on TV ever (because, man, I wanted to be her!). She'll be playing Eric's vampire "sister" next season, which is too good to be true because she's incredible and Eric's the best there's ever been! And I just can't even begin to convey my FEELINGS or process all the goodness being thrown at me right now!!!!!

Sarah: I started listening to Christmas music this week.  Judge me if you want, but I really did it for y'all.  I had to start listening to it early enough to tell you that A Very She & Him Christmas is amazing, and you must buy it this season.  Who else can do a cover of Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys and get away with it?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

proposals gone wrong: the one and only

At laaaaaaaaaaaaaast! My looooooooove has come along! That's right, it's time for THE BIG ONE. The final proposal gone wrong. The Mount Everest of ALL CAPS FEELINGS. The proposal everyone thinks of whenever they hear "proposal gone wrong," yes (YES!), it's time for Pride & Prejudice. Fair warning: this will be the longest. post. ever. Because we are covering both the 1995 and the 2005 version! BECAUSE IT'S ELIZABETH BENNET AND FITZWILLIAM DARCY!
Since we're looking at two very different interpretations, let's start with an excerpt from the book (Chapter 34):
Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement, and the avowal of all that he felt and had long felt for her immediately followed. He spoke well, but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed, and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority -- of its being a degradation -- of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.
In spite of her deeply-rooted dislike, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection, and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger. She tried, however, to compose herself to answer him with patience, when he should have done. He concluded with representing to her the strength of attachment which, in spite of all his endeavours, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. 
The 1995 version captures this perfectly. The 2005 version... takes (several thousand) liberties. Both are splendid, have me on the edge of my seat, and, of course, are scenes I'd like to live in.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blast from the Past

Sometimes, instead of heading to Barnes and Noble for, say, a 3 hour browsing session, you just need to reach for the back of the book shelf and dust off an old favorite.  One of my old favorites is a tale of magic rings, time travel, castles, secret passageways and life in Victorian Ireland.  I have been reading The Secret of the Ruby Ring by Yvonne MacGrory since the third grade.  Recommended for ages 9 and up, I may be solidly in the "and up" category but I just can't help but keep coming back to this book. It refuses to lose its magic no matter how many times you've read it and no matter how old you are.  Here's a quick snippet:  

For her 11th birthday, Lucy's grandmother gives her a ruby ring.  Lucy discovers the ring has a secret; it grants two wishes to its wearer.  She uses her first wish to travel back in time to 1885 where she finds herself hired as a maid to the very rich and very spoiled young Robert and Elizabeth at Langley castle.  Lucy soon discovers that life as a maid in the Victorian era is not easy, but her new friend Nellie helps her adjust.  When Lucy decides it is time to head home, she reaches for the ring only to discover that it is missing (GAHH!  This part frustrates me every time!).  I don't want to give everything away, but things get a little suspenseful and intense when Lucy's only chance to get home is to convince Robert (Wohoo!  I love Robert!) and Elizabeth (Boo! I should let you make your own decision, but let me save you the trouble, she's a brat) that she is really from the future.  

This book has delightful characters, a brisk plot, and so many wonderful details about life in the late 1880s that you'll find yourself researching recipes for mutton pie.  My point?  I want my own ruby ring, two wishes, and an Irish castle.  Once you read The Secret of the Ruby Ring, I doubt your wish list will differ much from mine.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Zachary Levi is major soulmate material. There. I've said it. His dream is to play Don Lockwood in Singin' In The Rain. He kicks major butt as the adorably geeky title character on Chuck. And recently the self-proclaimed Disney addict was offered a role in their newest animated movie, Tangled. In other words, if he called and asked me to elope with him right.this.second, well, I certainly wouldn't say no. Bonus factor: Zach is a nice 6'4", which is irrestable to us girls on the taller side of the spectrum.

Introducing No Shave November...!!!

It's November! One of the most wonderful times of the year! A time to give thanks for that which we we are truly grateful: men and their beards! Edit: men who can actually grow beards and still look gorgeous. This month we'll introduce you to some of our favorite manly beaus. They could court us with our without the scruff, but secretly we harbor a weakness for their rugged looks. OR NOT SO SECRETLY BECAUSE OH MY GOSH! But perhaps you disagree (whaaaaaaat?), so there'll be a handy little poll at the end of each post for you to vote: beard or no beard?
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First up is a man's man and a Scot i.e. quite possibly the most deadly combo for females with a flair for fainting fits (quelle alliteration!). Could you be any nicer to look at, Gerard Butler? Ohhh wait, you grew a beard. Apparently you can! Well, anyway, that's just my humble opinion. As surely as P.S. I Love You will make you cry, we're sure you like him either way. But share your preference anyway!