Sunday, March 23, 2014

Invention of Wings

Goodreads Review: Hetty "Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

My take on The Invention of Wings: 
 I loved this book for the simplicity at parts and the complexity of the characters.  Hetty was so head strong all her life and Sarah seemed to grow into the person that she was to become an equally headstrong ally.  This was an immensely well written story about the lives that could have been shared in this time frame.  As a Charleston native I remember passing by the Grimke house and strolling down the same streets that were mentioned.  It was a different way to think of things, I have a very large admiration for Charleston and its beauty, but in the same stroke it had its evils and those who were naive in the fact that slavery was an "ok" institution.   

One of my favorite quotes from the story was this; “Let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid.”  This could have been said almost throughout the entirety of the book, but it rings close in my own life lately with the craziness and such.  As I hold onto my faith I am reminded of how Sarah searched for where she fit in with her religion and her family.  I feel very close with her lately and compelled to search for more information on a woman who seems to have a similar outlook on life as I do currently minus the fact that I do not have to assert my rights as a woman in this day in age, thanks in part to the Grimke Sisters.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Good Reads Review of Longbourn:
In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.
My take on this novel:
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I listened via audiobook and loved every minute of the British voice in the story.  It made it that more "alive" to me.  I love all things Jane Austen and this book just added to the obsession.  Somehow I always seem to relate what I've been reading to my own life, but lately I have just been escaping into books to escape my own life.  I absolutely love this quote from Longbourn: 

“Threads that drift alone will sometimes simply twine themselves together, without need for spindle or distaff: brought into each other’s ambit, they bind themselves tight with the force of their own torsion. And this same torsion can, in the course of things, bundle the resulting cord back upon itself, ravelling it up into a skein, returning to the point of its beginning.”
Jo Baker, Longbourn

Such a beautiful way to talk about how things weave in our own lives, and how when we think we are most alone and going at things by ourselves we are always winding back to our beginning.  Our beginnings are what makes us, but our life experiences are what bring us to and bring us apart from others in our lives.  Sometimes I wish I could be apart of that culture that was "Austen-like" I love all things about the romance of it all, but Longbourn brought down the reality and reminded me that yes they had chamber pots that had to be emptied and they didn't have a modern washer and dryer, maybe not the world I would want after all, but I truly loved being immersed with the ideal romance of it all.   So nice to have a book with a happy ending, but perhaps that's why we love Austen books to begin with.  Longbourn was an emotional book that had you thinking more of the help than the ladies of the house, it was nice to showcase the love of the "help" in this age of dances and elaborate parties.  I loved this book and would recommend it to anybody!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wedding Recap

Wow - it had almost been an entire year since I last posted.  Things got truly busy, but as I am sitting here on yet another snow day out of school.  I think I shall procrastinate just a little bit more.  I wanted to do a Wedding Recap on how our wedding went as well as the reception!
We stayed at the wonderful Riu in Monetgo Bay.  We used Bill Lyons of B&B Travel, who is local to our area and he handled all of the wedding details. THANK GOODNESS, I am so glad I didn't have to worry about any of that.  I made our Destination Wedding Invitations. They were in an envelop sleeve that matched the theme with a luggage tag as the RSVP card.  I loved these, and they were truly a work of love!
After that was done we had a small break in what was expected.  I had many DIY projects though and I am so lucky to have such amazing friends.  Here is a picture of my friends and I at my shower.  My shower was amazing my bridesmaids, Natalie, Lara, Catherine and Nikki completely outdid themselves.  I can't believe how lucky I have been in my friendships!
For the Bachelorette party - which you saw a previous post about, we really had an amazing time in South Carolina.  We got a house in Isle of Palms, and with as many girls as there was in one house I can honestly say there was no drama and we had such an amazing time together.  Thanks for making this weekend super special,  I will also remember it!
Thanks again to my wonderful Bridesmaids!
I had a parent of one of my students who was just breaking into photography who offered to take my Bridal Portraits.  We went to Smithfield for the evening and here are some of the ones were were able to capture:
Copyright:  Beth Lemerande

Next stop:  Engagement Pictures!  I am was so stoked we were down in Charleston for my best friends renewal of vows ceremony. We were able to hook up with the wonderful Dana Cubbage.  She was amazing to work with. We got some shots in downtown Charleston and at Boone Hall Plantation.  We were so happy with the memories she captured.  

We were also blessed to have a Stock the Bar party which was a blast.  Thanks to those who came out. Here is a photo of my a my new family and the hosts of the party!

Alright I mentioned DIY - well there was a lot, here is some of the things that I created for our Jamaica Wedding.  The B wedding topper was a regular one that you could purchase at a local craft store (even though a good friend let me have this one), but I put peals all over the darn thing!  I also made the chocolate starfish to go on the wedding cake in Jamaica.  I was so nervous these things weren't going to make it past customs or they were going to melt, lucky for me there were NO problems!  I also hand painted the Mr. and Mrs. sign.  You can also see two of the bouquets in the photo.  These were also DIY'd.  There were also these super cute place card holders. They were attached to a starfish with Raffia, and there was a starfish behind each of the names.  Again you can see the DIY'd bouquets.  Also the ISpy game that I made is being held up with instructions on how to access our site to upload photos from Jamaica on the back.  
If you can make these out - each bridesmaid had a Cluster Pearl necklace to wear on the wedding day. This is one of my favorite pictures of my girls and myself.  You can see all of these DIY'd bouquets, nice and simple with a starfish on the bottom with blue ribbon.  I loved the parasols in the pictures as well!  Granted these werent' the best chairs.  But you can see the aisle markers that hung on them.  They were made of raffia and attached were starfish. 

Here is a photo of my DIY'd garter.  I made the fabric flowers and the lace garter was made and dyed to go with my dress color.  In between the two fabric flowers I glued on rhinestones and pearls to give it a more glittery look.  Love how this turned out!  Here is how my bridesmaid's dresses hung as they entered my suite.  I made them "name" hangers to ask them to be bridesmaids.  Here it is pictured with the Bridesmaids dress. 

Here are more paper/fabric DIY.  These mad-libesque were nice for the ones who did them.  I have kept them and plan to put them in our wedding scrapbook when I get to that point. :)  Although these squares are together now, it is still not the quilt that I hoped to have had finished by now.  Most everybody signed a square as our guestbook for our Jamaica wedding!
There was so many other things that were DIY'd that I am sorry to say I don't have photos for.  So sad.  This was definitely a wonderful experience.  A little stressful at times but so worth it!

I feel like I've missed a big deal of the wedding.  Maybe its because I have a MILLION photos! I'll get through those in due time!

Hope you enjoyed! 

The American Heiress By: Daisy Goodwin

Next up is The American Heiress  By:  Daisy Goodwin.  Just as the season of Downton Abbey finished I picked up this book.  It did not disappoint on on this level.  
There was less upstairs/downstairs action going on, but I still liked it.  I think that Cora fit in nicely into the book. She was a rich american heiress whose mother wanted her to have a title (the only thing that couldn't be bought).   Cora was very headstrong and knew what she wanted in life.  She wanted a marriage for love not for title.  It seems when she met the Duke, otherwise known as Ivo, things all seemed to fit into place.  There was a couple twists and turns towards the end.  I feel this book ended just as the way it should, you'll have to read and see.  I am not accustomed to spoiling anything!

“... anyone can acquire wealth, the real art is giving it away.” 

I loved this particular quote.  I love the lives of these people, their struggles or lack their of, give me satisfaction in my reading and my own life.  However, these troubles will never be my own, I am quite captivated by the realization that this was a way of life only 100 years ago.  Crazy to think of these things, but very grounding how much life has changed and how different things are only countries away. 

So even if you are not into historical fiction you should still pick this up if you don't mind a love story with some ups and downs.  Next stop - The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and finishing up Longbourn!