I’m a bad blogger. Mainly because I go so long without saying anything, then randomly post about something weird for no reason at all. Oh, well. I’ll just blame it on being a seventeen-year-old girl, on top of everything else.
I made a video blog, though! Talking about my favorite characters and who I would date or be friends with from my books. Random stuff, ya’ll. Oh well.
I want to hear your feedback, though!!! Who are your favorite characters from my books? Do you prefer Allie or Scarlett? Sam or Frank? Well?????
… You know, if they weren’t imaginary. And all that awfulness.
5. Gilbert Blythe.
Why? Because he’s hot. Haha, well, maybe not. He’s handsome. In a late-19th century kind of way. And because he’s the smartest guy in his class and grows up to be a doctor which probably pays, well, a ton, not to mention is totally cute and smart. And he says amazing things like (when responding to Anne’s rejection of his proposal): “Your friendship can’t satisfy me, Anne. I want your love.” Which, let’s face it, would make me turn him down like ten times before accepting him. If he could just keep thinking of different ways to be so good to me. I’m sure he could. He’s pretty brilliant like that.
4. Robin Hood
If you can get past the whole stealing-from-the-rich thing (and the tights; you’d have to get past the tights), Robin Hood is a total catch. He can sing, (at least the fox version can–which is the version we’re all in love with anyway) climb trees, and preserve justice like no one’s business. Plus he has a British accent which gives him BIG STINKIN’ POINTS in any female’s eyes.
3. Rhett Butler
Okay, let’s face it–he was a total cad. He drank, gambled, flirted with other women, and got rich working with the Yankees after the war. BUT, he was a total dreamboat! You totally hate him half the book, and then you’re just madly in love with him for the other half. I have no idea how he worked that out. More guys need to learn that secret. No wait–they don’t. Because no one else can do arrogant/attractive the way that Rhett can, and therefore no one should try. If Scarlett O’Hara is the girl we all love to hate, Rhett is the man we all hate to love. Everything in me is screaming against him, but my heart of hearts tells me he’s totally dreamy. The end.
2. Prince Charmont
Because if you can have a prince on your list of guy’s you’d probably end up marrying, why not? I’d be a great princess. Not. But I’d like to be one anyway, to eat free food and wear pretty dresses, if for no other reason. Plus Prince Char will always be the literary crush of my childhood. Making him number two on my list. Although neither of us are good at accents or languages, so we’d probably be a bad match anyway. We’d suck as diplomats.
1. Eddie Redmayne
Okay, so he’s real as real can be–a fact I realize all too well. But I can’t put “Marius” on the list because–hello–Marius is like the creepiest character ever and we all only really like him because Eddie is so darn attractive. Somehow his sheer attractiveness completely overrules Marius’ creepy, stalkerish behavior. But I digress. What I really wanted to say was that Eddie Redmayne is perfection and the only male capable and making my sister and I literally squeal. It’s disgustingly childish, but I have no embarrassment. I’m a female and he has freckles and therefore it’s perfectly rational.
Clearly, being sick for six days messed with my brain and turned me into a twelve-year-old girl. Please comment and fangirl away while I go and think of something semi-serious to blog about later this week.
I’m graduating high school next month. OHMYGOSH. When did that even happen???? One hundred and sixteen long months of questions, papers, equations, projects, and late nights are all wrapping up in less than thirty days (give or take a few, haha). I’m going to be finished with high school. Finished with this phase of my life. Oh my gosh.
Being seventeen is hard. Gosh, still being a high schooler is hard. Sometimes I feel so stuck. I’m not really an adult, but I’m no longer a child. It’s like those awkward early-teen years when you find yourself fluttering between the kids table, stacked with pbjs and animal crackers, and the adult table, where fancy food and wedding rings and sophisticated talks about mortgages and marriage abound. You just feel so in-between.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be content at this point in my life. I want to be doing things. To be working that much harder to accomplish something great with my life. Everything seems to be holding me back. School, commitments, age… I just want to close my eyes and wish on a star and wake up a few years older with a perfect boyfriend and a plan for my future and my whole life just together. (Or, in the words of Jenna Rink, “Thirty and flirty and thriving…”)
And it’s true. Sometimes I get so caught up thinking about the ever-elusive future, that I forget I’m living in the present. I forget what it’s like to live in the present. In the here and now. In the amazing and fun world of a seventeen-year-old girl.
My life isn’t super glamorous. I get zits every now and then and sometimes I fight with my parents occasionally I just get fed up and want to do something else and be something else. A grownup. A mature, responsible adult.
But if I was a mature, responsible adult, would I still be able to sit in bed and do my economics homework in my pajamas? Would I still be able to go to the movies with my friends and laugh so hard that the cranky love-birds in front of us threaten to kick us out, and the old people across the theater wrinkle their noses in delight that there are in fact some decent young people nowadays who appreciate a good Billy Wilder film? If I wasn’t seventeen years old, would I still dance around to “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together” and think it’s not-even-funny how extremely funny it is to put a goat in a Taylor Swift music video?
I have the whole rest of my life to chase after my dreams and climb mountains of success. I have (Lord-willing) years and years ahead of me to fill up with responsibility and stress and grown-up duties. But how much more time do I have to just be a kid. Granted, a very cool, very witty kid. But a kid nonetheless. In a few short months, I’ll be a woman. A very fun, very cute woman, obviously. But still. Time is ticking. How am I going to make the most out of this last month of high school?
I’m going to laugh.
I’m going to dance.
I’m going to sing at the top of my lungs and not care that I don’t hit a single note.
I’m going to stay up until four in the morning with my best friends, and then make loads and loads of waffles for breakfast.
I’m going to take pictures of myself doing weird, weird things.
I’m going to blush when I mess up and then get over it and get on with my life.
I’m going to live.
And I’m going to enjoy every second of it.
[Caution: This post contains some very, very embarrassing old photos so please, no judgment]
You may have heard me talk before about my previous ambitions of being a Broadway actress/singer/dancer/all-around-star. It all started when I was about ten or so, and someone got me to watch “Phantom of the Opera.” Ding, ding, ding! There you have it, folks. I was hooked. I dreamed of being Christine and getting to wear pretty lacy dresses and sashay around candle-lit stages with the fog glowing in the stage lights. Seriously, it was all I ever thought about. I bought posters of New York City and hung them in my room. I begged my mom to let me go and visit. I begged my grandpa to take me to a Broadway play. And I memorized every word of “Phantom”, just in case I happened to get my lucky break when some talent scout randomly asked me to sing “All I Ask of You” in the grocery store one day. You never know. It could happen.
Anyway, when I was eleven years old, my grandpa announced that he was going to take me and my cousin Rena, along with our moms, to New York City for one long, adventure-filled weekend. There was only one slight catch. We were going in the middle of February.
To this day, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so cold in my life. Seattle in January didn’t have anything on a February day in NYC. We lasted about thirty seconds on top of the empire state building, because the arctic breezes nearly fast-froze us. We avoided Central Park, horse-and-buggy rides, and anything that would involve us being outside for more than thirty minutes at a time.
Thank goodness there was only one place I wanted to go that was completely indoors and very-well heated. And that was Broadway. Okay, okay, I know that Broadway is actually a street, and that there are tons of theaters that play tons of shows that range from the childish to the sleazy. But there was only one building I was thinking about, and that was the one with the big blazing signs that read, “Phantom of the Opera” out front. They dazzled, they glowed. It was love at first sight.
We got all dressed up and I distinctly remember that being the first ever night I wore makeup. My cousin wore bright blue eyeshadow and I somehow thought it would be cool to wear hot pink lipgloss and we both donned our best little black dresses for the performance. My grandpa even brought his own tux. Gosh, we were so sophisticated.
I remember that as being the best night of my life, up until that point. I knew every word, every line, every plot twist. But I fell in love all over again. With Broadway. With the stage. With my supposed future.
Well, if you’re reading my blog today, you’ll probably realize that I am, in fact, not a Broadway star. Why? Because one day, I realized I can’t sing. Or dance particularly well. And I don’t exactly have that “star-like” quality that makes people shell out big bucks to come and see your face highlighted in lights.
So I write. And take pictures. And do just about anything possible to stay behind-the-scenes, if you will. But I still have my little indulgences. I hadn’t listened to a showtune in years (Okay, okay, besides “Defying Gravity”, which I completely love and blast all the time, despite having never seen nor knowing anything about the play “Wicked”. Because I’m weird like that), but when my mom surprised me with the “Les Miserables” soundtrack for Easter, I lit up like a little girl on Christmas morning. And proceeded to play it five times in a row on our long ride to Cincinnati, and sing every single line with overly dramatic flair, just to make my mom laugh. “Had you seen her today you might now how it feeeeels… To be struck to the bone in a moment of breathless deliiiiight…”
We all need a little something in our lives to remind us of the dreams we once held high and lofty. And maybe it won’t always be my dream to be a writer, but I sure know I’ll never forget the “breathless delight” that I get from telling a good story. Even an embarrassing one. Like the one I can’t believe I just told you now.
Whew! That was a crazy week! Sorry I have been a little bit elusive this past week, but I was busy working hard at the 2013 Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio! It was amazingly fun trip and I felt so blessed to have been given the opportunity to speak in front of so many eager homeschool parents and students, and to meet them face to face and hear about their lives.
I do a wide variety of speaking engagements, from schools to libraries to conventions, and I have to say that homeschoolers are some of my absolute favorite people to be around. Because I am a homeschooler, duh. Therefore I love talking to other people whose lives are similar to mine and who I feel I can really encourage and inspire with my story.
The week had so many highlights, I’m really not sure where to start, but I thought I’d just record all of my favorite moments for you all like a photo diary of sorts!
On Wednesday, my mom and I drove up from Virginia to Ohio on a ten-hour long road trip that lasted us pretty much half the day because obviously we 1) HAD to stop and eat. Several times. And 2) HAD to stop and take pictures (well, at least I did). When I think back on it, ten hours is a loooong time, but it didn’t seem long at all because my mom and I intensely debated everything under the sun for at least half the car ride, then we belted out the “Les Miserables” soundtrack for the other half and talked about how absolutely dreamy Eddie Redmayne is as Marius. (Yes, this is how we pass our time) But seriously, it was an absolutely gorgeous drive that I totally want to take again sometime with my sister so I can do a ton of portraits by all the beautiful old barns in Ohio. But yeah, we were glad when we finally saw this sign:
Not that I didn’t totally love West Virginia! Because I did. The Blue Ridge Mountains always make me drop my jaw, and I’ve always said I preferred mountains and valleys to oceans or farmlands. There’s just something about the hills and rolling fields of cattle that make my heart happy. Also, the Shenandoah Valley is where I’m living when I grow up. I’ve already decided.
When we got to the convention center, we were quick to set up my booth and get some photos by it for posterity (aka to wave in front of my kids one day and say, “See? Mommy had a life! She had her own banner and everything!” when they make me feel old and lifeless).
I was also fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to co-present two workshops with my wonderful CPA (certified public accountant) Carol Topp on the topics of “Teens and Microbusinesses” and “How You (Or Your Child) Can Become a Published Author”. Think I had anything to say on those topics? You’re probably very right.
Even I was completely shocked at the amazing response our workshops received. Both sessions were completely packed, standing-room-only, with kids sitting on the floors at our feet and adults pressed up against the walls and standing in the hallways, listening through the open doors. Wow. Talk about feeling like a celebrity! (And in this photo you can only see half the room!)
After the workshops, the number of teens and parents that came up to talk to me was absolutely overwhelming. And what I found funny was that while most of them were trying to tell me how much I had encouraged their children, *I* was the one feeling encouraged and inspired all over again every time I talked to someone new who was interested in the same things I am! One girl even broke down in tears when she was at my booth, and her parents had to explain that she had always wanted to be an author and never thought it was possible in her teens and as a homeschooler. I just about cried myself, it was so sweet. But I made many new friends and even had a few people ask to take photos with me, which was a total celebrity moment again. And I even met blog reader Rosie, who had driven up to Cincinnati to see me! Yay!
While I’m definitely not sold on the idea of Ohio, and you probably won’t find me building a summer home there, Cincinnati was definitely beautiful in the early morning light. The sun casting beams down the old historic streets in the downtown section was just lovely. I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos. And the weather was just perfect! Not that we really got to enjoy it much, but when we were setting up and packing down our booths, or running out to grab a bite to eat, we just had to smile at the warm breeze that greeted us.
Our little trip finally had to come to an end, though, and my mom and I spent all day yesterday driving back to old Virginny, listening to “Les Mis” yet again, and singing aloud to all the old country music radio stations we stumbled across in the West Virginia area (and, if I’m being honest, replaying “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” a few times, just to be obnoxious). A few random and happy surprises awaited us on our way home, though. First we randomly happened upon the first ever Bob Evans restaurant. Our stomachs were growling about lunchtime, and we pulled off the interstate and drove through middle-of-nowhere Ohio where this giant Bob Evans was sitting smack-dab in the middle of a bunch of fields with signs like, “Bring your quilt to our quilt show this weekend!” signs everywhere. Yep, it was the site of the original Bob Evans and it even had the historic house where the Evans children grew up. Weird.
We also stopped about suppertime in the absolutely gorgeous town of Staunton, Virginia, which is where I’ve decided to move on day. Firstly because it’s in the middle of nowhere and is completely surrounded by mountains, with quaint little historic houses scattered around on hilly streets that absolutely called out to me. And secondly because I found the vintage shop of vintage shops tucked away there, and promptly fell in love. An entire attic filled with hundreds of vintage clothes. No wonder they label it a “Vintage Wonderland”. Also, I just realized I’ve begun a nice little habit of going vintage shopping every time I go out of town for a book signing. Let’s keep this tradition going, shall we?
Overall, it was a fantastic trip and one I hope to make again next year! For those of you who are convention-goers but didn’t get a chance to come and see me in Ohio, I will also be speaking at the ENOCH Convention in New Jersey May 17-18, and HEAV in Virginia June 6-8. And I’d love to do even more conventions next year, so if you have a local convention you’d like to recommend to me, please do so in the comments section!
(This is me on the last day of our trip, coming back to Virginia. I mistakenly asked my mom “Does my hair look okay?” As if ten hours in the car was going to leave me with an even decently good hair day)
Hey, ya’ll! I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio this week and I don’t think I’ve heard a single person say “ya’ll” yet. Wonder why that is?? Anyway, I’m here speaking with my CPA Carol Topp at the Midwest Homeschool Convention and signing lots of books at my booth! So if you’re in the Ohio area, come on over and say “hi!”
Before I left yesterday, I filmed a short video blog showcasing both my raspy voice (I have a cold) and my hopes and dreams. Not sure which you’ll find more interesting, but have at it.
I’ll be back soon with pictures and updates from Ohio!
What are your dreams and goals?
So I decided to skip the weekly Sunday Stories installment yesterday and spend Easter with my family instead! We got up at the crack of dawn, went to our church’s sunrise and morning services, and then came home and laid around and ate a ton of food. Naturally.
But Saturday I had the opportunity to be *much* more girly and frivolous, thanks to the combined creative talents of myself and my good friend Ashlyn! Ashlyn runs an amazing food blog–www.pedanticfoodie.com–and we thought it might be fun to collaborate for an Easter-themed photoshoot. So Ashlyn made a spectrum of amazing delectables and I got together all my camera supplies and we set up a little picnic in the woods.
I thought you all might enjoy seeing pictures! If you want any of the recipes, Ashlyn will be posting them this week on her blog, www.pedanticfoodie.com. Scones, mushroom risotto, ombre cake… What’s not to love???