Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monthlies: December '13

d e c e m b e r  2 0 1 3
December collage books at breakfast cat plaid

In December:
-Skated in the club Christmas show.
-Made a Facebook page for my blog.
-Did lots of baking and wrapping (and eating...).
-Watched more movies than usual...and greatly enjoyed it!
-Had lots of fun perfecting spin combinations with my coach.

Goals for January:
-Finish Biology.
-Do lots of skating, Pilates work outs, yoga, and dry-jumping.
-Stop procrastinating.
-Make muffins.
-Do more reading.
-Land an axel (hopefully!).

Books read this month:
A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck.

Reading goals for January:
Finish listening to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and reading Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spencer. Read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (A very optimistic list, I know). I'd also love to listen to either Jane Austen's Emma or Persuasion, or another of L.A. Meyer's Bloody Jack's.

Recent favorites:
The Perks of Dressing Vintage While In College by Flashback Summer.
7 Ways to Just Get Stuff Done by Avoiding Atrophy.
Why Dressing Up is not a Crime of Fashion by The Fashion Police.
INSANE STUDY TIPS by The College Prepster.
This Disney/Loki mash-up pin. Admit it, you love it.
The Wuthering Heights Read-Along at An American In France.

Most popular post this month:
Inspiration...Ravenclaw Madness. This post is definitely my most popular, consistently getting the most page views every week. I'm honestly not sure why. All the photos are blurry, there's no writing, and, well, it's not on of the ones I'm proud of. Still, I guess it's always the posts you don't think twice about that get popular! :)

Happy New Year, ladies! I hop you are warm, comfortable, happy and healthy. Have fun tonight, and I'll see you in the new year! Best of luck in 2014!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Handmade In Action: Ena

http://youngyankeelady.blogspot.com/2013/08/did-ya-miss-me.html

You know those people that should be totally infuriating, and yet you can never be mad at them for long? Yeah. Well, my cousin Ena is one of those.

Christmas outfit full skirt green blue cardigan vintage

This girl is hysterical. She's a hurricane. She's everything but normal, and that's definitely one of the many reasons I love her. She'll do anything in front of a camera and laugh it off later. She has a comeback to everything, bounces around, and can down a gallon of ice cream in one day by herself.

When she was about four or five, she went to a Chinese restaurant with her dad. Eventually the waiter came up, and with very broken English attempted to take their orders. After several minutes of confusion, he walked away. Ena, putting on her most metropolitan expression, leaned forward and said, "That's the problem with these places: they all speak Spanish."

Christmas outfit green full skirt blue cardigan vintage ll Young Yankee Lady

Gifted with a baby-bird style of always getting her way, Ena's always been an opputrunist. She could conince her older sister, Lily, to clean her room simply because she told her to. She can get out of doing dishes by not doing them and getting the 'older and more responsible' Lily in trouble for not getting it done. Ena's the sole reason Grandma buys Poptarts, and somehow manages to get milkshakes after the ice cream is supposedly gone.
Driving to Missouri this past summer in my uncle's bus, there one was seat that was unanimously considered 'the best'. As we started the trip back, AJ began arguing for it. Ena's logic? "I had it on the way here, so I should get it on the way back, too."

Christmas outfit green full skirt blue cardigan vintage headband ll Young Yankee Lady

One of our favorite family pastimes is making movies. Some are elaborate, most are outright silly. The bloopers are usually longer than the actual movie, and Ena never fails to make an appearence. Our favorite is when she is 'tied' to a chair, and yet still takes her hand and scratches her nose while filming. Most of her appearences, though, happen when she interupts a scene. Like falling down the porch stairs as Lily and I struggle over lines, playing with a whoopie cushion during a 'serious' scene, and forgetting to turn the camera off when she's been pressed with the all-important task of 'hitting the button'.

So happy birthday, my wonderful girl. Enjoy being 13. Love you.

cousins red sox game ll Young Yankee Lady

Outfit Details: dress and slip / / made by me, cardigan / / jc penny's, heels / / thrifted, heandband / / eastern states exposition, belt / / stole from mum, nylons / / walmart.

Stalk These Pieces: cardigan & heels: #1.

Linking up to Watch What I'm Wearing at Watch Out For The Woestmans.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Collection of Things

I never know what to say after a holiday. I feel like I'm supposed to share a bunch of photos of my adorable family, piles of presents, and food, but for some reason that never feels right. Plus we're not a family of picture takers, and my thoughts are too muddled to do a really good 'thankful for' post or something. So. Umm, have a nice Christmas?

Oh, I almost forgot! My belated Christmas present to you: weird-indoor-Christmas-outfit-selfies. You're welcome.

Christmas outfit black dress red belt lipstick via Young Yankee Lady

+Christmas really was lovely. Good food, good friends, lots of reading, and of course lots of little cousins. I really can't ask for more.

black dress black flats via Young Yankee Lady

+After a rather ho-hum-not-really-into-it Christmas season, Christmas was lovely. Oh wait, I already said that...

+My room is really dusty. I've been cleaning it out all weekend and I'm appalled by how much dust settles after eight months (oops).

+I saw The Desolation of Smaug! And I have many, many thoughts. I don't want to get into that know, as I'm still not emotionally capable of talking about it, but soon. BUT. I will risk being indelicate and say: I was right.

Christmas outfit black dress red belt red lipstick via Young Yankee Lady
blegh. blurriness.
+For Christmas I got three perfect paperbacks of The Lord of the Rings. I can't wait to crease them, write in them, and otherwise christen them. I'm starting with The Two Towers after I finish my current read.

+I've been on a major Jane Austen kick lately. I've been reading Becoming Jane Austen, listening to Pride and Prejudice, and re-watching the 1995 P&P adaption. *sigh*. Jane makes every day perfect.

+SHERLOCK. It is coming. January 19, everyone!!! I'm considering swearing of Pinterest, since the BBC gets it on January 1, so I don't get spoilers. But I probably won't, because, well, a day without Pinterest? Unthinkable.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas, Happy New Year, XOXO, and all that good stuff. TTFN!

(And thanks for reading!).

Outfit Details: dress / / gift (jc penny's), belt / / stole from grandma, flats / / gift (jc penny's), lipstick / / revlon's 'love that red', bracelet / / gift (nicole's).

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The 2013 Book Awards

You don't know how excited I am to be writing this.

I've been literally planning and dreaming about this post since mid-summer. And now it's finally time to post! :)

One of my favorite 'reflecting' aspects of the end of the year is looking back at the books I've read. True, true, I usually come in short of whatever goal I set. Still, looking over what I've read tells me a lot. I can remember every feeling the book gave me, what I was going through at the time, and how my life effected my opinion of the book. Books are a constant roller coaster ride for me. While I'm always reading, I go through ups and downs of excitement. Everything I read is driven by feeling, and it's interesting to see how those cycles change over the year.


In 2013, I read a total of 20 books. I came in short of my extremely optimistic goal of 40, but overall I felt it was a great year for reading. Almost everything I read was of great quality, and I found some really great authors! I completed 1 re-read and 19 new-to-me reads, and read from 13 new-to-me authors while reading 4 old-favorite authors. I tackled two titles from my Classics Club list, 9 from my Informal Summer Reading List, and 2 from my western list.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen / / Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer / / Shane by Jack Schaefer / / The Fitzosbournes At War by Michelle Cooper / / The Magic of Ordinary Days by Anne Howard Creel, Beautiful Girlhood by Karen Andreola / / The Fault In Our Stars by John Green / / The Quest of the Fair Unknown by Gerald Morris / / How To Be A Hepburn In A Hilton World  by Jordan Christy / / Glenn Beck's Common Sense by Glenn Beck / / The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tollkien / / In The Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer / / An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan / / A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper / / Don't Be A Lamesauce by Brandon Lee White / / The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron / / 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher / / Mississippi Jack by L.A. Meyer / / The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne / / A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

And now, the exciting part: which books made the cut for the 2013 Young Yankee Lady book Awards?

The Laid To Rest Award: Presented to the book I put down, but plan to return to.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.

I WILL read this book, I swear. I tried reading it in the spring and I was just having none of it. But, it will be returned to.

The Unsuspected Award: Awarded to the book that took me surprise by how much I liked it.


An Assembly Such As This (Fitwilliam Darcy, Gentleman No. 1) by Pamela Aidan

This is my first Jane Austen fan-fiction read, and I was hesitant (because seriously, who can compete with Jane?). I was pleasant surprised, though, and can't wait to read the next two. She did a great job with Darcy's voice; I felt it was pretty believable.

The Disappointed Award: For the books that I was looking forward to, and found to be lacking.


The Lost Years of Merlin (The Lost Years of Merlin No. 1) by T.A. Barron

*cue shoe throwing*

I was just disappointed. It moved slow. The plot wasn't tight. I didn't love the characters. Maybe the series gets better, but this first book didn't draw me in.

The Long-Awaited: The book that languished on the TBR pile for far too long.


Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

*cue more shoe throwing*

I know, I know...this was the first Jane Austen I've ever read. But before you start plotting against me, just know that I did like this. A lot. Now, it's not my favorite Austen, but it confirmed the fact that Jane Austen's brilliant. Oh yeah, and Colonel Brandon's awesome.

The Upward Slope Award: For those books that started out boring but by the end were awesome.


The Quest of the Fair Unknown (The Squire's Tales No. 8) by Gerald Morris

I love Gerald Morris, and his entire Squire's Tales series. I was more than excited to read another, but I quickly got crabby after this one started out slow. By the end, though, I'd totally forgiven Morris and enjoyed the book.

The Downward Slope Award: You guessed it. For those books that started amazing and then fell through the floor.


13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Alright, so I read this book on a whim after my list of eight books (yes, eight) to grab from the library were all checked out. And at first, I seriously couldn't put it down. But then it got...old. The same thing, every single page. I had to finish it, but I was all-to-excited to finally put it down. It should have been good, interesting, and gripping: it was about suicide letters, for pete's sake! But it wasn't, it was boring. And that probably makes me a horrible person.

Best New-To-Me Author:


Jane Austen

No explanation. She's just awesome. Titles read: Sense and Sensibility.

Best Old-Favorite Author:


J.R.R. Tolkien

For obvious reasons. Titles read: The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Too Much Hype Award: Best sellers that weren't worth the hype.


The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Meh. It was alright, I guess. I didn't shed a tear over it, and it isn't worth a re-read on my list, anyway.

Best Reading Month Award: The month with the most completed books.

August, 5 completed books.

Since I had a long car ride to Missouri and back, I got a lot of reading done! I read In The Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer, An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan, A Brief History of Montmaray by Michele Cooper, Don't Be A Lamesauce by Brandon Lee White, and The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron.

Ultimate Page Turner Award: Awarded to the book that gripped me from start to finish.


In The Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer

Best. Bloody Jack. Yet. Seriously, these books are all awesome, but this one was insane. I didn't see the ending coming (even though I should have....), and the entire thing was perfect. Easily my favorite in the series.

Most-Read Author:


L.A. Meyer, 3 titles read.

What can I say? Bloody Jack's are too good to put down. Read: Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound, Mississippi Jack.

Most Emotional: A roller coaster of a book.


The Fitzosbornes At War (Montmaray Journals, No. 3) by Michele Cooper

Set in WW2, this book sent me spinning. It's sad, funny, and completely enthralling. Plus I had post-book depression after reading it.

Best Non-Fiction: Awarded to the best of the often-overlooked.


How To Be A Hepburn In A Hilton World by Jordan Christy

An adorable quickie. I agreed with her on everything, and it was great to hear from a classy lady. Definitely worth the read!

Five-Star Awardees: A list of the books that merited 5-star Goodreads ratings this year.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer
In the Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer
Mississippi Jack by L.A. Meyer

The Ultimate Best Read of 2013: 



The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings, No. 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien

While I usually find decisions that make me pin-point a 'best book' to be hard, this one was a no-brainer. This book has been in my life since I was 7, and reading always fills me with thoughts and memories I haven't felt in ages.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading, guys! I hope you all have a lovely Christmas. I'd planned a whole slough of posts to really keep the Christmas spirit on the blog this season, but busy-ness kicked in and I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to. Still, this Christmas Week has already proved to be wonderful and I'm really looking forward to a break. 

I hope your families are healthy and happy, and that your Christmas is perfectly lovely. I'll be back on Thursday (or Friday...or whenever...). I just have one question....

What books made the cut on your awards?

Merry Christmas, all!

PS. Links to book reviews and such are found in the big list of books I read. :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

17


I turned seventeen on Monday. Like pretty much every year, everyone is asking me if I feel different. And like usual, I don't. Being 17 is still quite strange, actually.

When I turned 16, I felt all excited. Two whole years to accomplish all my goals! And as I'm sure you all know, everything would work out smoothly, because 16 is the age when everyone is perfect for no other reason than being 16. But now at 17, it's scarier. What am I doing with my life? Will I ever be anything? I feel less perfect. I'm not a kid anymore, and that's a little frightening. Soon I'll have to become a semi-interesting adult with a life and promising existence. I'm not sure I'm capable of that, yet.


Anyways! Since I'd rather not dwell on self-doubt and all that, here's a list of what was awesome about 16.

...Being sweet (haha, just kidding. I've actually gotten ruder)...

...Finally starting to dress without caring what other people think...

...Making lots of progress with skating. This year I've passed tests, skated with more power, and gained confidence in my goals...

...More conversations with Mum & Dad...

...Finding out I can function pretty well on my own...

...Improving my writing and growing this blog...

...Learning more about friendship, and overcoming barriers....

...Maybe, just maybe, starting to figure  myself out...


In other news, I've finally captured on camera a picture from every fashion bloggers dream: A picture of me in mid-jump while wearing adorable clothing. And yes, I'm totally channeling/stalking Casey and Amber. 


Alright, so there's my first try. Meh.


And the second try. You can see how hard I'm concentrating.


Now just look at that gem....


And here it is! Mid air! Maybe next time I'll make a cute face to match the cute legs...


Or, you know, maybe I won't. Happy Thursday, gals!

Outfit Details: cami / / jc penny, wool shirt / / hand-me-down, belt / / jc penny (came with a pair of shorts), skinnies / / old navy, flats / / payless, ring / / gift, necklace / / heirloom.

Stalk these pieces: flats #1, #2, #3.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tolkien, Not Jackson: Talent, Commitment, and My Pre-Desolation Thoughts


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug came to the theaters on Friday! And no, sadly, a trip to the movies wasn't meant to be. While opening weekend is out, I'll definitely be making one (or two!!) theater trips this week with family and friends.

Whenever I think about the fandom around The Lord of the Rings, I am always left in awe. Even when compared to the likes of Sherlock, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Star Trek, I feel like the LOTR fandom stands head and shoulders above the rest. I've never come across a friendlier, more talented, and more genuine group of people.

One thing that's different about the LOTR is that getting into this story isn't easy. Most (but certainly not all) fandoms are rooted in TV shows or movies, but the LOTR is rooted in reading. Supposed fandom members who haven't read the books aren't really considered 'true fans.' For many people, the movies are just an added bonus. The books are what drove us to The Lord of the Rings.

I think that what makes the Lord of the Rings fandom stand out is that we're all committed to Tolkien. We realize that it was Tolkien, not Peter Jackson (as much as we love him), that gave us Middle Earth. We want to respect Tolkien and his work, morals, and ideals. He really was a charming person, and most of us want to give back to the fandom while respecting him.

Not only are these qualities apparent in fans, they're apparent in the cast and crew of both trilogies.

{via}
I was in a Tolkien mood and so started watching The Lord of the Rings Outtakes videos on Youtube the other day. I was struck with the camaraderie of the cast and crew, and the relationships they formed throughout the filming. I mean, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are real life Merry and Pippin. Sean Astin took care of Elijah Wood in the same way Sam takes care of Frodo. Ian McKellan was looked up to, and Orlando Bloom was (lovingly) laughed at.

The talent that went into the makings of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies is crazy. Almost too obvious to mention, the casting has been perfect and each actor and actress totally brilliant. But just stop and think about the stunt-men, makeup artists, camera crew, editors, musicians, and writers. These people were just as committed to their art as any of the actors. These movies had a weaponry department, for pete's sake, where people made the armor by hand. Oh, and let's not forget about the fat-suit department (I swear I'm not kidding).

Like all great people, though, the cast and crew knew that talent is nothing without dedication. Each actor put every ounce of themselves into these movies; even when they weren't seen on screen. Andy Serkis was originally cast as a voice actor for Gollum. To create the right voice, however, he made drastic facial expressions and moved his entire body. Only after watching him did Peter Jackson realize that they needed human energy, not just an animator, behind Gollum. Andy Serkis went on to act out every scene, complete with spitting, and then be animated to the point of no recognition. Once he even slid under water and over rocks just moments after the crew had melted the ice off the river. Peter Jackson has commented that he's never known another actor to work so hard and yet never make it on screen.

I think the reason that The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was so successful was because of the commitment by everyone involved. They were committed to making a monumental movie that would respect Tolkien and his masterpieces. Their main purpose wasn't to create a new fan base, but rather to inspire an existing one with one of the greatest movie adaptions of all time. The books were kept to their rightful center throughout the production. No corners were cut. The cast and crew committed themselves to greatness, and they achieved it.

And yet, I've been worrying over these Hobbit movies. The atmosphere around them seems more about the money than the story. While the same level of talent is present, I'm not sure the same level of dedication is. They've taken too many liberties, and from what I hear, they're only taking more.

Instead of appealing to the Tolkien fans who have waited their entire lives for a movie adaption of The Hobbit, they're appealing to a more nonchalant crowd who couldn't even be bothered to read the books. Where is the commitment to detail? The respect for Tolkien? The respect for his readers?

I would like more than anything to be wrong.This past summer, I talked about my hesitations for this installment. I stand by those, but I'm trying to stay positive. I'm not going to lie, watching An Unexpected Journey the other night settled a lot of my fears. After all, I worried over that movie, too.

Elijah Wood hugging Peter Jackson on the last day of filming {via}
Tolkien has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was little, imaginary games were always placed in Middle Earth. Talking about the the books and movies has been an ice breaker when I'm being socially awkward. Watching the movies is always a much-awaited break from reality, and the books bring back memories like no other series does. Lately people have thought I'm getting a little over-sensitive, and maybe I am. But the simple truth is, I would hate for the movie adaptions of The Hobbit to give false feelings for the book. The movies should encourage a commitment to this fandom and inspire viewers to read the books for themselves. That's not going to happen if the movies aren't accurate portrayals.

In the past Peter Jackson has shown incredible taste and talent in his adaptions. I want to continue to trust him, because he's given so much to the Tolkien world. However, my commitment is to Tolkien, not him. Even if these next two installments are flops, I'll continue to be a LOTR fan. It would just be really, really nice if I didn't have to join the Percy Jackson readers and forget that certain movies ever happened.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thoreau-ly

"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, and when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." -Henry David Thoreau

I've been reading some Emerson and Thoreau this past week. Both were transcendentalists, believing that God was not the highest power and that instead nature was. While I totally disagree with the majority of their beliefs, as I read on, I found quite a few things I identified with. So much of what they say is simply about simplifying and striving to be unique. At the end of our lives, don't we all want to know that we have lived?

The whole internet addiction and living deliberately conversation has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm a pretty lazy person, but I'm also always dissatisfied with being lazy. I want to do things, read things, accomplish things. And yet, I can't always convince myself of that and I end up scrolling through Pinterest instead. When there's something I don't want to do, I procrastinate on it and don't start until the last possible second. I don't work hard enough. My life isn't on the internet, but honestly, there are days when all I do is skate and read blogs.

I love what Shay said. She hit a home-run on so many points. This next week, I'm going to try harder to be more deliberate with my time. To make more time for reading, exercising, stretching, studying, and writing. To talk with friends more. To clean the house and finish decorating. I want too much from life to scroll through Pinterest all the time.

I'm searching to simplify and do bigger things all at once.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

TYG: I'm A Rebel In The Kitchen


In my family, when we say "I'm in the mood for some cookies." We really mean "I want some cookie dough."

Everything's about the dough. We seriously decide what cookies to make based on which dough we're in the mood to sample. And I'm not talking about taking a fingerfull of butter and sugar....I'm talking major sampling.

At every stage.

By the spoonful.

Even after the egg has been added.


People are always shocked at that one. "What??!! You eat raw eggs? But those have salmonella!"

To which I reply, while holding a spoonful of cookie dough, "I'm not dead yet." *cheeky smile*

The simple truth of the matter, is that neither me nor my family really cares.

Don't look at me like that. Don't act shocked unless you can honestly say you have never eaten cookie dough after the egg has been added. Yeah. I didn't think so.


Yet, I still get a lot of blank stares when I start talking cookie dough. That's why I have a lovely answer committed to memory. "Oh, well, we use eggs that come from our own chickens. We know where they come from, and that our birds aren't diseased. So it's alright."

Sounds very educated, oui?

But the truth is, I ate cookie dough before we had chickens. And I have no qualms about eating it when I know it's from store-bought eggs. 

So I need a new reply. Something witty, light-hearted, and that no one can argue with.

How can you eat cookie dough with eggs in it??!!

Because I have a great and powerful God.

It's exhilarating.

Just think of it as a dance with death...

It's my rebellious streak.

Can anyone say addiction?

You're not the boss of me!

What reply do you have down pat?

I'm not really sure what I'm doing here...
Outfit Details: cardigan / / JC Penny's, tank top / / hand-me down, pencil skirt and heels / / thrift store, nyons / / Walmart, necklace / / heirloom, ring and bracelet / / gift, belt / / came with another dress, lipstick / / Revlon's "Gentleman Prefer Pink."

PS. Don't forget to like Young Yankee Lady on Facebook!

Update: Linking up to Watch What I'm Wearing at Watch Out For The Woestmans.




Sunday, December 1, 2013

Class-ify It: How to Wear Turtlenecks and Pencil Skirts

Today I've got a really special post planned for you guys! It's been on my mind for awhile, and I'm so excited to finally be writing it! I've started a new category on my blog: Class-ify It. Some of my favorite posts to read are ones that talk about figure flattery, how clothes should fit, and elevating outfits. The fashion world has very strange views about what looks good, and with all that chaos, it's pretty easy to loose sight of what actually does. In these posts, I'm going to try and show how making a few simple changes can go a long way in turning something from frumpy to classy.

Turtlenecks and pencil skirts are a wintertime classic for lots of people. They're warm, fun, and make great go-to's for lots of different occasions. Like everything, however, there's a right and a wrong way to do it. While turtlenecks are cozy and comfy, they've gotten a rather bad rap because people tend to associate them with 'frump'. It's really too bad, though. With some searching, soft and fitted turtlenecks are great additions to your winter wardrobe.

While I've always enjoyed dressing up and wearing nice clothes, it's only been recently that I started to understand figure flattery. Because of that, outfits that I would have thought pretty classy look really frumpy to me now. Below I've re-created an outfit I would have worn as recently as last winter (left) and the class-ified version (right).


Outfit Details: (Left) Turteneck//hand-me-down, pencil skirt//thrifted, tights//Walmart, flats//Payless. (Right) Turtleneck//thrifted, pencil skirt//thrifted, tights//George via Walmart, heels//thrifted.

These photos were taken on the same day, wearing the same skirt. Yet the left looks frumpy, while the right is put-together. Looking at the pictures, I feel like I not only look taller, but also a little slimmer and older in the right picture.

Let's talk about the outfit on the left.


I mean, there's not a lot wrong with it. It's passable. My two biggest problems with it are that it's boring and makes me look a little stumpy (For reference, I'm about 5'7"). Here's what's contributing to the frumpy look:

  • My hair is pulled straight back in a bun similar to what I exercise in, and I'm not wearing any makeup. Both those things make the outfit appear less put-together.
  • The turtleneck is definitely not as fitted as it could be, and is a bit rough with those 'ridges' that seem a little granny-ish.
  • The plain, opaque tights keep it boring, and also provide never-ending-black.
  • The flats elongate my feet and just don't look right with the classy skirt...they make the shoes seem like an afterthought rather than an actual part of the outfit.
Now let's look at at the right outfit:


I think this outfit to look more thoughtful and sophisticated, and therefore more mature. Here's what's making it classier than the left outfit:
  • Here I have my hair off to the side in a full, 'fluffy' bun. I'm also wearing a simple, 5 product makeup look: concealer, foundation, eye shadow, mascara, and lip balm.
  • The turtleneck is much more fitted and softer, with small details like pleats at the neck. Plus the fact that it's gray, instead of black, makes it less monotonous.
  • It's hard to tell in these pictures, but these tights actually have a fun diagonal pattern to them. Much more interesting than plain opaque!
  • Heels are always a good idea. Period. They only make outfits look better. Here, they continue the theme of a more sophisticated, mature look.
What do you think? Are turtlenecks and pencil skirts one of your go-to's? How do you make  your looks classier?

PS. Don't forget to like Young Yankee Lady on Facebook! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

You've Got Mail

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday! Ours was...perfect. It was a great day, and I couldn't have asked for anything better. :) The cousins slept over, so now we're just hanging out and enjoying some time to relax, eat leftovers, and play some very competitive card games.

Thanksgiving Day almost always ends in a movie for us....and yesterday, it ended in two. The younger cousins came over for dessert, so we all watched Elf. Christmas classic, no? :) They loved it, but after they left for the night, Mum, Dad, The Girls and I curled up for a romantic comedy. With pie, of course, as if we hadn't had enough already.

We watched You've Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. And it was too adorable. I gushed all night and I'm still gushing now.

Okay people, I love romantic comedies. Or at least the idea of them. I don't like catty, superficial movies that show the bad side of girls. I like adorable, happy ending movies filled with warm feelings and lots of cute quotes. And good acting. So yes, I love good romantic comedies.

You've Got Mail, though, is probably one of my favorite movies ever. The heroine is Kathleen Kelly, who owns the Shop Around The Corner, a children's bookstore that she inherited from her mother. The hero is Joe Fox, a millionaire who's opening a chain 'cheap' bookstore across from her shop, and eventually drives her bookstore into the ground. While all this is going on, Joe and Kathleen are corresponding with their dream person through email and chat group. Under the names Shopgirl and NY152, their emails cover everything from books to light-hearted stories to personal struggles. Neither knows who is on the other side of these conversations.


I want to be Kathleen Kelly. I just want to quit life and make that movie my life story. First off, she owns a children's bookstore, and has 'taste and class'. Plus her apartment's adorable, with stacks of books everywhere and lots of bright colors. She's a softy and romantic at heart, but is still extremely sensible and intelligent. She is just classy and caring, and I love her.

Did I already mention that I'm obsessed with this movie? Because I am. And I'm planning on watching it again before returning it the library. I don't do that, people. I never watch a movie again right after I've already watched it. That is how much I'm loving this movie.


So, lets' recap. Here are all the reasons to go watch You've Got Mail right now:


1.) The hero and heroine both own bookstores.

2.) There are lots of Pride and Prejudice references.

3.) Their emails are the cutest, deepest, most eloquent things ever.

4.) Joe's friend is hysterical. Watch it for him.

5.) Kathleen's apartment is worth copying.

6.) Did I mention it also has stacks of books everywhere?

7.) There are so many relateable moments. Like when she's running around in a trench coat over her pajamas.

8.) It's one of the classiest, cleanest romantic comedies I've ever seen.

9.) The entire movie is all about what's being said. The words are amazing.

Please, please go watch it. Right now. My family is sick of hearing me gush but I still need to vent all these adorable feelings. Comment, and we can be all crazy-girly together.

Go watch it.

I'll wait.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So Blessed

It's no secret that I stress out, fall into slumps, and pretty much feel down in the dumps a little too often (who doesn't, really?). I really should stop, though, 'cause at the end of the day, things are actually pretty good. I'm lucky, or something like that.

There's a lot said this time of year about being thankful for what you have, and helping those that have less. It feels like in the past year or so, I've met and gotten to know a lot of people who have so much less than I do...so much less that it's made me realize just how much I have. I'm not saying we don't worry about money in my family; we do. A lot, actually. Which makes me even more sympathetic to the people who have even less.

But I don't want to talk about that today.

Instead, I want to talk about a different form of 'less'.

At one of our 4-H club meetings, we were discussing possibly going caroling or something during this Christmas season. We thought maybe a nursing home, or a children's hospital. Then someone came up with the idea of making a list of people that are elderly, sick, etc., and visiting them. I piped up (with very little forethought) and said "Yeah, and people who are just generally sad people!"

And everybody laughed.

And then I explained. "No, no, some people are just sad. They're mopey people, and need visiting..."

No one was really listening, but I've thought more about it. I mean people who are depressed, and a little distant. Just down in the dumps. They're not the people you go to when you've got exciting news and want to jump around and celebrate. They sigh a lot. They may (or may not) have been going through some trouble, but it's hard to feel sympathetic because they don't seem to want to be happy. Some people are just generally sad people.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've realized just how many generally unhappy people there are. I know I fall into it. And maybe we do have good reasons for being unhappy. Maybe our boss is an idiot, or school is unnecessarily annoying, or a friendship has taken a wrong turn. There are lots of good reasons to be unhappy.

None of them, though, are a good reason to stay unhappy. At the end of the day, we're the only ones responsible for our mood. Even when things go wrong, we're the ones who get to decide how much it affects us. I want to be happy even when I 'shouldn't be'.

So on this Thanksgiving, let's try to be more in charge of whether or not we're happy. There's just too much to celebrate to be sad. Here's a list of what's making me happy this year:

...the fact that it snowed this morning...

...It's the holidays. Simple as that...

...Library books...

...doing school in front of the woodstove....

...skating practices...

...Christmas cookie scheming...

...the fact that I'm almost done with Biology...

...watching Taxi...

...having a mum who's fun to laugh with...

...looking forward to more reading time...

...sweaters....

...my sheep are back from the breeders...

...we own the best cats ever...

...the cousins are coming for Thanksgiving...

...traditions with Dad...

...making plans...

...did I mention it's almost Christmas?...

Have a happy, safe, and cozy Thanksgiving, everyone! Before you go, though, what's on your happy list?



Friday, November 22, 2013

Be A Blogger

You wouldn't be able to tell by how haphazardly I post, but I re-commit to this blog a lot. Probably on a weekly basis, actually.

I really like to write. And frankly (I flatter myself), I'm not terrible at it. Not good, perhaps, but certainly not bad. And I genuinely feel like I have something to say. Whether or not it's actually an important thing to say is another matter.

I have this beat up composition book with Tolkien quotes taped to the front that is my writer's journal. At the front is pages upon pages of first drafts from my creative writing class, written all in pen and terribly messy. As you flip further into the book, though, it switches over to my current writing endeavors. Like blogging, novel ideas, screenplays for the cousins...

Okay, okay.....it's pretty much all blogging.

Lots of post schedules. Lists of post ideas. Because you see, I'm really good at organizing my blog. I mean, you can't pin tons of 'how to be a blogger' pins without becoming an expert, right? And If I find a particularly good pin, or stumble on one stupidly inspiring blogger, I'll quickly decide that I, too, will grace the internet with my witty presence.

And since we all know that following the advice of how-to-be-a-blogger pins will (after time, and hard work, patience, social media, yada yada yada) lead to being....wait for it....A SUCCESSFUL BLOGGER.

And won't that be perfectly lovely? Sitting around in ponte pants drinking cappuccino and licking peanut butter off a spoon (terrible confession there. oops.), all while doing what you love and actually making money from it. The heavens will open up and rain down heels that we can effortlessly walk in, homemade cookie recipes minus the calories, and the secret to perfect sock-buns every single time. Now sure, sometimes we'll have to get up off the coach and go to a blogger brunch or something, but overall we'll be totally comfortable, chic, and on top of things.

I'm a bit of an idealistic person, so the stereotypical blogger life sounds really awesome to me. (all the ankle pants! and peplum tops! Starbucks holiday cups for all!). But honestly, all I have in common with super-bloggers is my obsession with peanut butter. Oh, and the fact that I love my blog. That too.

Speaking of which, this poor blog. It's been on a roller coaster as I've tried to find my place in the blogging community.

And honestly people, I'm starting to think I don't have a place.

But.

That's a good thing!

I am no niche blogger, and never really intended on being one. As I've immersed myself in blogger how-to's and such, though, I've lost sight of why I really love my blog. I love the creativity, the fact that I'm publicly sharing my writing (it's not easy, for me at least), and that you (yes, you, the cute person hunching over your laptop and reading this) like what I'm doing enough to follow me. I'm forever grateful for that, and honestly amazed by it.

I'll never be a perfect blogger, but I'm learning to be okay with that. While I would really love to have more followers, I need to remember that blogging is also my creative outlet, and so I shouldn't stress over numbers. For me, the point is to keep writing and keep getting better at it. I've grown so much as a writer, and a person, since starting to blog in 2012. I think it's pretty neat that I have a written reflection of that.

Who knows where I'll go in the future. What I do know, though, is that blogging's here to stay. In fact, I'm going to start posting three times a week. So stay tuned, people, and thanks for being here at all.

And who knows, maybe tomorrow I'll blog about something other than blogging.

Maybe.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This Christmas....

Confession, people: between school subjects I've been stalking Christmas cookies on Pinterest. I love, love Christmas....seriously....it's the best. There's not a single thing about it I don't like. I love making decorations and drinking cocoa and baking insane amounts of sweets. I have a bazillion schemes this year, too. Can you tell I'm excited?

This year, I have a bit of a Christmas strategy. While I do love everything about Christmas, I almost always fall into Christmas-stress. I get too invested in the thinking that everything has to be perfect, and there's always at least one last-minute shopping meltdown. To try to deal with that and focus on the fact that it's, well, Christmas, I have a mindset I'm going to try and put into play.

This year, I'm going to find the line between simple and extravagant. Everyone says Christmas is too commercialized, too much about the presents. I agree with that wholeheartedly, but at the same time, it seems a crime to treat it too simply. It's Christmas, the one time of year when people act nicer, homemeade is always appreciated, and it's perfectly acceptable to be crazy and act like a little kid. What's not to celebrate?

This year, I'm not being extravagant. I'm not spending a ton of money on the perfect presents (primarily because I'm broke). I'm not elbowing some poor old man for the last bag of holiday M&M's, or feeling guilty that we weren't able to get everyone together for the perfectly traditional family Christmas. But I'm not going simple, either. Our house is going to be a glistening winter wonderland, I'm baking anything that pops into my head, and singing Christmas carols off-key as much as I like. Nothing's going to stress me out or make me depressed. I'm going to enjoy every minute of this holiday season and do little things to make others happy. There's so much to love about Christmas. I'm not getting wrapped up in the little annoyances.

This past week I went through all my school subjects and figured out how much school work needs to happen so that I can have a lovely break...it will mean a lot of doubling up (school every weekend, too) BUT it will leave me with the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the first week in December completely off. I AM SO EXCITED. I'll be able to practice a ton for the holiday skating show, bake, make some presents, decorate, and watch Christmas movies without schoolwork hanging over my head. It's going to be the best week and a half ever. Sure, I'll have to do school more after that before having the week of Christmas off, but still. It'll be a great pre-Christmas time. Sooo happy.

So to recap.

Here's what's NOT happening this Chrismtas:

-Last minute shopping stress.
-Hating myself because everything I make is STUPID.
-Feeling guilty because I have school to do.
-Depression after classic family holiday arguments.
-Not having time.

Here is what's definitely happening:

-Obnoxious happiness because IT IS CHRISTMAS!
-Festive clothes, especially sweaters.
-So many cookies and fudge and bars and who know what else, that we will never be able to eat them all.
-Paper decorations. Because I love them.
-The Grinch. I'm obsessed with The Grinch. I plan on watching it multiple times and then decorating everything I see with a Grinch theme.
-Charlie Brown, too.
-Simple, homemade happiness. Low stress, lots of love.
-Snow. Not that I can control the weather or anything, but if I could will it to snow a ton, I would.

So yeah, I'm excited. I've planned a whole slough of Christmas themed posts and can't wait to share them with you guys.

I swear, every other thought has been CHRISTMAS COOKIE BOXES. This year's obsession, apparently.

Who wants to channel Whoville with me and be obnoxiously happy that it's Christmas??

"Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more. "
-Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

PS. Young Yankee Lady has a Facebook page! Be sure to like! :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne



{Spoiler free. I'm nice like that. :p}

You know, I'm really not that knowledgeable about American classics. I mean, I read Mark Twain and some Little House books, but England has always held my heart literary-wise. Funny, then, that my very first read for The Classics Club is just about as classically American as you can get. 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the story of Hester Prynne, a young woman found to be guilty of adultery in early Puritan America. Condemned in the small town for such a sin, she is left primarily in solitude, bearing a flamboyantly embroidered 'A' on her chest. Her daughter, Pearl, is her primary source of company. While serving as a symbol of Hester's sin, Pearl is also a great comfort. Through all the bad, something good has still come of it.

Although it's a small cast, Hawthorne definitely gives the reader some complex characters. In addition to the unwavering Hester and demon-esque Pearl, there is the minister Dimmesdale and Hester's husband, who goes under the assumed name of Chillingsworth. 

Even though the book starts out with immediate action, it pretty much slows down from there. At times it was easy to forget what was happening amidst all the descriptions and metaphors. Still, it was a very interesting read. Hawthorne lived in the 1800's, so his telling of events in Puritan America were stereotyped, just as most of ours are today. We don't actually know how a Puritan community would have reacted to such an obvious sin as this. Reading from Hawthorne's perspective gives us a cold, drab view of the Puritans; which should show us where some of our pre-conceived ideas can be traced back to. 

{You guys knew niceness couldn't last for long, right? Read from here down with caution.}

Let's rap on Dimmesdale.

Pretty much from the start, I guessed Hester's partner-in-sin would be the minister. I mean, it was too ironic to pass up. And I'm pleased that it was him, because it made for some interesting twists and turns.

While I won't say I hated Dimmesdale, I definitely feel the least amount of pity for him. At least Chillingsworth has the fact that someone committed adultery with his wife to fall back on...even though that doesn't excuse him from being a generally terrible human being, at least it still gives him a reason. But Dimmesdale? Yup. I'm coming up dry. 

My biggest beef with him is not that he committed adultery with Hester. Mine is that he didn't take responsibility for it. 

"'Never, never!' whispered she, 'What we did had a consecration of its own. We felt it so! We said so to each other! Hast thou forgotten it?'"

If it was actually love on Dimmesdale's side, he should have stepped up and helped her, instead of just letting her raise their child single-handedly. Until the very end, he doesn't even acknowledge to himself or Hester that Pearl is his. She's just some random kid that may or may not look like him enough to blow his cover.

Overall, Dimmesdale's just a bit of a wimp. He could have (literally) saved his own life if he had publicly stood up with Hester instead of allowing his guilt to wither him away. Oh well, it makes for interesting reading, right?

Here's how I wanted it to end: After proclaiming his sin to the townspeople (in order to slightly clear Hester's name) they secretly run off together. Traveling day and night, they get as far away as possible from their small community. Then, leaving Pearl somewhere safe where she will not be found, they get legally married. They keep going until they're even farther away, and then enter that new community as a couple with a lovely, if energetic, child. 

But I suppose that would make for really boring reading and require a new title. Soo, maybe not.

This is my first read from my Classics Club list.  56 to go!

Have you ever read The Scarlet Letter? What did you think? 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hey peoples!

Sorry about the blog silence as of late! While things have been pretty quiet in terms of posting, I've been working really hard behind the scenes! I thought I'd just do a quick post to let you guys know about all the fun changes...and don't worry, we're getting back to regular posting this week!

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New blog design! I've still got a couple of tweaks, but this new design is semi-permanent. What do you guys think?

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I wrote a new About page! And an Elsewhere & Contact page. Hopefully this will make things easier for people.

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There's a Bloglovin widget in the newly re-organized side bar!

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Speaking of organized, I went through and fixed all the labels for my posts. Much neater! Also, sorry about the random peek from the archives! I made a mistake and that was the result.

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I made a new Pinterest board for Young Yankee Lady! I'll be posting as many posts as I can on their, so while it won't be complete, it will definitely highlight some of the best stuff on the blog!

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I've done a lot of reading, and have finally come up with a posting routine that will make things much easier, and hopefully abolish these unintended blogger breaks!

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I think that's about it! Thanks again for being awesome readers, you're all so encouraging! Hopefully I'll get all the kinks worked out so I can really focus on making this blog as entertaining and helpful to you as possible. Thanks so much for following me!

What have you been up to, on your blog or elsewhere?





Saturday, November 2, 2013

Guest Post: Heart vs. Heart and Soul

Hello, folks! Well, I'm somewhere in Missouri right about now! But, I still have a lovely surprise for you guys! My long-time friend, Bailey, agreed to guest post! Gee, how can I even describe her? Bailey is easily one of the most bubbly, optimistic, compassionate and utterly adorable people I know. I am so honored to have her as a friend. Today, she's going to be sharing her thoughts on the difference between loving with your heart, and loving with your heart and soul. I think she does a great job addressing such a complicated topic, and it's definitely worth a read. Enjoy!


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Greeting people of the internet! My name is August, I am 17 years old.  I have known Gillian for about, oh goodness me, 7 years? I think that is about right.  Like Gillian, I live on a small farm in NH. I enjoy photography, music, playing guitar, the ocean, and hanging out with my amazing friends.

My topic to add to this lovely blog is what does loving with your heart vs. loving with your heart and soul mean?  Now, I admit to nothing more than a little something about love.  All of this is just my thoughts on the topic, and all of this can be applied to someone special, a friend, a new acquaintance, or a family member.
To begin with, we will start with loving with just your heart.  I believe this is a much more simple kind of love.   The kind of love that is like “Aw, their cute, they are funny, they are sweet. Aw aw aw look at them I just love them. I want them to say something cute to me and ask me out”.  A first love kind of love, a kind of love that you will never quite forget, or get over. 

Or if it’s for a friend, it’s like:

“Oh I have a major friend crush on this person. I want to be their friend so bad.  I want to get to know them better, because they are really funny and cool”

This kind of love teaches you a lot of stuff. What it means to love, have it returned, or have it not be returned.  It sets you up for being able to love with your heart and soul.
  
So now this is the part where I make things all gross and personal. Sorry, but I am trying to give ya’ll a “real world” example.

Last year, I had my first “love”.  I liked this guy for about a year and a half all together.  I told him I liked him, which was a first for me.  I thought he was just too cute, too good to be true.  He played instruments, he was very talented, and gave killer hugs.  I was completely head over heels.   As a result, I didn’t really listen to people when they said “Eh, yeah he’s a bit of a player”. 

A.  Because I was in first love with him.
B.  Because I didn’t know any better.  All my experiences with him were a first.

Long story short, it didn’t work out the way I wanted it too, but that’s all water under the bridge.  We still maintain an “A-Okay” friendship of sorts.  Even though sometimes I still want to punch him the throat.

Now we come to the heart and soul part.  Loving someone with your heart and soul is so much deeper, so much more.  It’s a best friend, someone who has been there for you always, someone who can get you out of your worst mood in matter of seconds, and someone who you would do anything for.  If this love is one based on romantic attraction, how attractive they are is only a small part of the story. Who they are as person is a much bigger part of the story.  If it is a friend, you want to know their entire story, you want them to trust and open up you.  You love their family, and them, and everything about your friendship (even the parts you don’t like).

My example for this is more about a family then one person.  I became really good friends with a sibling pair I met through some of my extracurricular activities, and immediately clicked with them.  One night after we went out with a bunch of friends we went back to their house to sleep over.  I have never felt so at home with a family that wasn’t my own before.  They’re the quirkiest, oddest, coolest, craziest, funniest, family ever. I love them with everything I have, my heart soul. 

The mother is hilarious. She was warm and friendly towards me, but at the same time has a very sarcastic “Ain’t nobody got time for that” crass sense of humor (which I love).  The father, not only has a super cool past, and he is witty and knowledgeable.  The two kids that I know best, are just the best sibling pair, they complement and know each other so well.  As individuals they are just as, if not more cool and both super talented. They have 3 children all together, one of whom has special needs.  At first, I didn’t know how to act about this, but both he and they made me realize I didn’t have to act any different.  They are so comfortable with the fact that their son/brother is autistic that they have a level of understanding and communication with him that blows me away. They have taught me so much, and I have had my disagreements with members of this family, and may not be friends with some of them anymore, but that doesn’t stop me from loving them.  They stick by each other, don’t judge, don’t care, yell at each other, but still love each other. That makes me love them.  It doesn’t matter to me that I might not understand them sometimes, or that they may appear to be weird and sometimes really dysfunctional.  That, to me, is loving with your heart and soul. When it doesn’t matter what it looks like or feels like, when it doesn’t matter if you get angry, or get hurt, you still come back to a place of love. 

On that note, I leave you.  I hope this post makes you think a little more about love, especially that which is unconditional.

Love, Always.
August.