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.