Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things

 As a new blogger, I realize I should continue to share more about my self.  When thinking of a way to do this, the song from one of my favorite musicals came to mind: "A Few of My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music.  And, my, my, do I have quite a few favorite things!  People who know me well tell me often enough that I am rather indecisive.  It is very, very, VERY hard for me to pick a favorite out of any category.  But, for the sake of this post, I will try.

I'll start out by stating that my favorite color has always been and always will be PINK.  Any shade from coral to rose to magenta.  Some people could actually define me  by that color because there are few among my acquaintance that find it at all attractive (which I fail to understand).  Alright, now that that's out of the way...
 One of the first things I love are books.  If you are a bibliophile like myself, you know the sweet sensation of opening a brand new book. The smell of the fresh, unread pages.  The feel of it fitting nicely in your hands.  The sight of all those beautiful, inky words strung together one after another to weave a brilliant story that will make you want to ignore everything else...
People know I love to read and often ask those two typical questions: Who's your favorite author?  What's your favorite book?
Well, the answer to the first is simple.  Jane Austen.  Always and forever.  I read Sense & Sensibility five years ago (when I was eleven) at my mother's (fellow Janeite) recommendation and was hooked.  As to the second...that is much more difficult to answer.  It is between Emma and Pride & Prejudice.  While I loved all of Austen's novels, I have a hard time choosing between those two.  They are the best books I've ever read.  Second to those, Anne of Green Gables remains a top favorite of mine as well.
 I adore movies as much as I adore books.  My sisters and I can quote movies tirelessly, and we watch our favorites over and over again, for, you see, they never grow old.  Besides Jane Austen adaptations, what movies do I like?  My taste in movies is much more varied than my taste in books.  I do love other period dramas from the fictional such as Bleak House (my favorite Charles Dickens) to nonfictional like The Young Victoria.  I also enjoy musicals and  Disney movies, too.  And, though I have not read the books--yet--I love, love, love The Lord of the Rings!  Seriously, those are some of my favorite films of all time.  For more movies I would recommend, you can view my blogger profile.  There are simply too many to list.
  I am not really into many TV shows that are currently airing here in the US.  Just patiently awaiting Sherlock season 4.

  So let's get a different sort of list going to keep this post from being way too long, shall we?  Here's a list of  random favorites (questions provided by my best friend) that stray a bit from the typical what's your favorite _____ questions.

Favorite vacation spot?  That would be the fabulous Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.  It's one of the most amazingly beautiful places in creation, and I would love to go back for another visit.

Image result for tangled
Favorite Disney animated movie?  Tangled.  Yes, I have a lot of favorites, because I am a huge Disney fan, but when it comes right down to it, Tangled would be the one I'd pick if I could only watch one for the rest of my life.  Even though I know it by heart.

 Favorite holiday?  Christmas, without a doubt.  There's so much to love about the Christmas season.  (And that's another post in itself.)

Favorite sport?  Does dance count?  I have been dancing and tumbling for most of my life.  I also really like baseball (Go, STL Cardinals!).  In the Olympics, I like to watching gymnastics and ice skating.
Favorite musical?  Wow.  That's too hard.  I adore The Phantom of the Opera.  But there are so many like Into the Woods, Wicked, The Sound of Music... ugh! I can't pick.

Favorite hobbies?  Reading, writing, singing and dancing, taking pictures of EVERYTHING.

So there's a bit more about me.  A fun, American Janeite.  Hope you enjoyed. :)

Friday, September 09, 2016

Love & Friendship: A Review

      After much anticipation, I watched Love & Friendship, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.  I hardly knew what to expect going into it, but after it ended I was wiping away tears of laughter!  Yes, the movie is hysterical.  I can't think of a period drama, no matter how witty, that has ever made me laugh as hard as Love & Friendship.

        When I finished reading all of Jane Austen's novels (some more than just once), I began reading her shorter works.  I started Lady Susan, but, what with school and other books also on my plate, it has been rather neglected.  However, the movie was true to what I have read so far.
(And I do intend to finish it, and read the actual "Love and Friendship" novella.)

        Love & Friendship, directed by Whit Stillman, follows the manipulative, flirtatious Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) as she goes from place to place casting her spell over everyone and stirring up trouble.  She leaves Langford after successfully ruining a marriage, destroying another budding relationship, and angrily sending her daughter away to school seemingly as a punishment for not complying with her plans.  Susan decides to go now to visit her obliging brother-in-law at Churchill, where her reputation is well-known.  While there, she uses her charm and sparkling wit to try to win the heart of Reginald De Courcy (Xavier Samuel).  In the meantime, she must find away to marry her daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark), off to Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett). 

        As you may well imagine, Lady Susan's affairs do not always go according to plan, and the result is a riot! 

        In addition to a sharp script and excellent acting, the film features delightful English settings.  I wanted to jump into every scene, drink tea with Lady Catherine, read by the fireplace, even have ink spilt on my gown!  Everywhere from Churchill to London was charmingly depicted.  Oh my, and the costumes!  I envied Lady Susan her impressive wardrobe.  For a woman who has come down in her fortunes, she certainly dresses well.  Yes, the movie is candy for the eyes in every shot. 

        Stillman does a wonderful job with the characters, really drawing them out till you know them as well as your best friends.  Susan particularly is sharp and witty, and yet, as Lady Catherine, a character whom I really liked, says, "That woman's a fiend."  The movie does portray the characters so well as to really grab hold of your emotions throughout the hour and a half. (Was it really that long?)  You feel compassion for Frederica, you want to grab Reginald and shake him by the shoulders a few (dozen) times, and you ultimately feel infuriated by Lady Susan.  Oh, yes, and let's not forget the comic relief, for there must be at least one in every Jane Austen.  This film's model is called Sir James Martin.  And how funny is he, though not in the same way as Lady Susan.  I laughed until tears came whenever Sir James lit up the screen with his jolly presence! 

        The ending was quite satisfying indeed.  Unlike with other Jane Austen's, this story was not overly romantic.  It had it's little (and I really mean little as in few and far between) moments that made me smile with starry eyes, but not as much as I could have wished.  Perhaps that's for the better in this case. 

                In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie that is definitely one worth watching again and again.  If you desire a good mix of period drama and side-splitting humor with a dash of wit and charm and a tsp. of romance, or if you generally love Jane Austen, then Love & Friendship is a must-see.  Despite its mixed reviews, I'd give it 4/5 stars.

If you've seen the movie, please leave me a comment telling me what you thought of it.  What did you, or didn't you, like about it?  I'd love to know! :)

And, if you liked my first movie review, leave me a suggestion for other reviews you'd like to see.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Life's Questions Tag

 It seems I should do an all about me post so you can get to know me better.  So here we go.  I decided to use this tag from Ruth @ Amongst Spring Blossoms.

Life's Questions Tag

1. How many brothers and sisters do you have?   
Just two sisters.

2. Are you the eldest of the children? If not, what number are you then?
I am the eldest, yes.

3. Do you collect/save stuff?
Yes!  I really collect books.  But I do save pretty much everything that has the least little bit of meaning to me.

4. Do you have a job?
I am actually still looking for my ideal first job.

5. How do you celebrate your birthday?
First, I get a homemade breakfast in bed and the day off from school (homeschool).  In the evening, my mom makes my favorite dinner and a delectable cake, and afterwards I open my gifts and cards.  The day after my birthday, my dad takes me to a restaurant of my choice for a special date.

6. Do you have your own bedroom or do you share it?
I have my own room.

7. How late do you go to bed?
It really depends on the night.  I try to go to bed by eleven on school nights.  There's no telling how late I am up on weekends.  I do need to get into a better habit of more sleep, though.

8. Do you study a language (except for your birth language)?
Sí. ;) I am currently studying Spanish.  I also took French.

9. Do you play any instruments?
I do play the pianoforte--only a little and very poorly.

10. How often do you drink tea?
As often as I can!  I love tea.

11. Do you have a large garden?
It is a decent size, I suppose.  We don't have a flower or vegetable patch, but I am pretty sure my mom would love to begin one if we could.

12. What do you like better, Jane Austen movies or Downton Abbey?
Oh, Jane Austen, to be sure.  She simply cannot be beat.  Not even by the amazing Downton Abbey.

13. Can you read a book in an hour?   
Depends on the book. :) I could not read Les Misérables in an hour!

14. Do you ever feel like visiting great places?
Every day!

15. Do you like drawing and/or painting?
I dabble a bit, but I wish I had talent.  (Picture Harriet's watercolor in Emma 2009... ;)