loving >> week 151

Hello!

The Love ListI’m loving…

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom{via Orange Marmalade Books}

1 ♥ Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom I’ve been on a nonfiction kick this month, devouring true-to-life books that discuss a wide range of topics. I might as well be an expert in Jane Austen book covers {that would be the oh-so fun Jane Austen Cover to Cover}, Amy Poehler’s comedic background {I learned everything in her memoir, Yes Please}, or the creative writing process {Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink is quite informative}! To satisfy another one of my interests, the Civil Rights Movement, I grabbed Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom, a graphic-novel-memoir-hybrid of sorts written by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, a participant in the voting rights march. Well-received when it first came out earlier this year, Lowery’s book is a simple, but ultimately engaging, read, bringing a complex historical event alive with anecdotes and illustrations. Its short length doesn’t warrant a full review, but I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the time period.

Home Movie2 ♥ Home Adam Rex’s books are practically made for animated productions; his characters are humorously exaggerated, his story lines are so weird they work, and I can never say enough about his hilarious way with dialogue. Dreamworks has finally taken note, transforming Rex’s popular novel, The True Meaning of Smekday, into their newest theatrical release, Home. With Rhianna, Steve Martin, and Jim Parsons starring, I have high expectations for this adaptation, but more importantly, I’m looking forward to revisiting one of my childhood favorites! I hope to catch it Easter weekend, but in the meantime, we can discuss: have you read any of Rex’s work? And are you planning to see Home this spring?

Merci {Thank You}{source unknown}

3 ♥ Blog Awards March hasn’t been my best month for blogging, so huge apologies must be given to the lovely individuals that nominated me and Ciao Bella for awards over the past few weeks! I rarely do these tags, but I like to give shout-out to bloggers whenever possible :) Klaudia at The Observant Girl Book Reviews is the absolute sweetest, as is Mary from Books in Her Head; the two are other contributors over at Lit Up Review, and I am delighted that we have been connected through the site. Much love is also given to Emily from For the Bookish and Ana from Butterflies of the Imagination, who both nominated me for the Share the Love Challenge. I adore reading their posts, and I love hearing from them! I’ll be cleaning up my blogging calendar for spring, but you can go look through the sites of these lovely ladies.

Vera Bradley Summer 2015{via Inside Stitch}

4 ♥ Vera Bradley’s Summer 2015 Patterns If my backpack, handbag, and headbands are any indication, I’m a hugeVera Bradley fan, but even I will admit that their seasonal releases can be a hit or a miss. Fortunately, their summer patterns have won me over, and I can’t stop eyeing products in each color! The blue and orange hues of Marrakesh scream summer to me, and I love how it looks on a large tote or backpack. Pixie Blooms also sports warm shades; the combination of pinks and oranges has long been a favorite color choice of mine. I particularly like Pixie Blooms in wallet or hipster cross body form. Do you like any of the new patterns?

Spring Cartoon{via A Cup of Jo}

5 ♥ Spring! Finally, we welcomed the first day of spring last week, and with each day, the temperatures start to rise. Perhaps it’s my optimism speaking, but I’ll be pulling out capris, short sleeve tees, and sandals before I know it! The image above made me laugh, because it’s never been more true than with endless winter.

Have a terrific Friday!

Bella

2 Comments

Filed under Love Lists

Musical Moodboards / Aladdin

Hello friends!Musical MoodboardsOne look through this feature’s archives, and you’ll notice Disney has a thing for musical theater. Whether it’s reinventing Mary Poppins’ nanny practices for the stage or, as in this month’s choice, giving a beloved hero a new home on Broadway, I can’t get enough of their productions {I’m absolutely delighted that Newsies – another show I want to add to my list - is heading towards me next year}. I was lucky enough to attend Aladdin last April just as it opened, so as I prepare to head back to NYC in a few weeks on a similar trip, I wanted to give one of Disney’s biggest theatrical hits the spotlight. Before we begin, those new to Musical Moodboards can read and catch up on previous moodboards HERE!

Aladdin Musical MoodboardSources: Aladdin on Broadway Illustration / A Whole New World Print / Aladdin Production Photo / Pattern Inspiration / Lantern Photograph / {FYI: I tried my best to provide you with the most accurate and updated sources, but please let me know of any problems or mistakes!}

If there’s one thing that makes this girl happy, it’s gorgeous technical design, and Aladdin had me grinning from ear to ear! The stunning beadwork of the costumes, the backdrop and magic carpet rigging of “A Whole New World,” and the colorful set of the marketplace opening are just snippets of a show that requires just as talented a crew as it does a cast. When researching art for this moodboard, I looked for pictures and illustrations that capture the hard work of the entire Aladdin team – you’ll notice I snuck in an actual photo from the production, artwork that clearly depicts the cast, and patterns used by the show’s costume designer. Two of my favorite scenes, the iconic ride between Jasmine and Aladdin and the high-energy bazaar number, also made it into this collection of images before I wrapped it up.

Let’s discuss! Have you seen or do you hope to see Aladdin on Broadway? Are you a fan of the Disney film? I’ll be returning to New York next month with my school’s drama department to attend Finding Neverland, another show I have heard wonderful things about, so there’s plenty of good theater to go around! :)

Have a fabulous Thursday! We’ve almost made it to the weekend.

2 Comments

Filed under Musical Moodboards

Making the Grade / Cress

Hi!

Making the Grade“Too many books, so little time” is a problem avid readers encounter all too often. Even with my best efforts and fast reading pace, I still find myself overwhelmed by the number of novels unread on my shelves. Cress, one of my most anticipated reads last year, fell victim to this bookworm predicament, sitting in my reading pile for months on end. When Fairest was released earlier in January, however, I knew it was time to catch up on the Lunar Chronicles; I’m happy to say that the winter afternoon I used to fly through the novel was time well spent. I discuss everything Cress in my full review below!

Summary: In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has. {Goodreads}

Cress Making the GradeAround the Web: “The Lunar Chronicles is one of the most interesting series I’ve ever read. New information, twists, and characters are added with every book, and I feel like it just intensifies everything” {read the rest of the review at Nose Graze HERE}.

“Deftly twining series plot threads with those introduced in Cress, Marissa Meyer has managed to create another thrilling blend of science fantasy, romance, and fairy tale adventure” {read the rest of the review at Christina Reads YA HERE}.

“Meyer knows so well how to write a good series. Focusing on a different character for each book is such a brilliant way to tell a larger story. I feel like we get all the benefits of a series without sacrificing the good things about a standalone” {read the rest of the review at Stacked HERE}.

Let’s discuss! Are you a fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles? If so, which is your favorite read of the series? {I’m most partial to Scarlet, but Winter is looking promising!}. Although I felt like I was the last one on Earth to read Cress, is there anyone else that still needs to catch up? And finally, can we talk about having way too many good books to read, but not enough time?!

Have a lovely day!

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Making the Grade

Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi!

Black and White Chocolate Chip CookiesMaking cookies should never come into question; homemade baked goods make the world go round, so what other answer is there besides yes?! :) What type of cookie to whip up, however, is a far more challenging choice, especially with the plethora of tasty-sounding recipes posted online. Fortunately, black and white chocolate chip cookies, a combination of classic chocolate chip cookies and deep chocolate cookies studded with white chocolate chips, have been offered as an easy solution to this baking dilemma. Practically two treats for the delight of one, these monochrome cookies are crowd-pleasers, perfect for a spring gathering, but just as yummy after a weeknight meal. Although this recipe is more time intensive than your typical cookie jar staple, the smiles they bring make a batch well worth the effort – it’s fun to think that baked goods are the key to world-wide happiness.

Black and White Chocolate Chip CookiesBlack and White Chocolate Chip Cookies Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

ingredients {chocolate with white chocolate cookie dough}

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup and two tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

ingredients {chocolate chip cookie dough}

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

to make

  1. Begin by making the chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Stir in the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the milk.
  4. Combine the dough with the white chocolate chips; it will be quite thick and sticky! Set aside before starting the chocolate chip cookie dough.
  5. Again with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.
  6. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  7. Mix the wet ingredients with the remaining dry ingredients before stirring in the chocolate chips.
  8. Cover both bowls of dough with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and chill for four hours at the very least, or up to three days.
  9. Once both doughs are chilled, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease baking sheets.
  10. Form rounded tablespoons of both types of dough. Press and roll them together. The chocolate dough is incredibly messy, so have a sink nearby and towels on hand so you can clean up after shaping each cookie. Set cookies on prepared baking sheets.
  11. Bake for ten minutes.
  12. Let the cookies cool on the sheet before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Finally, my first book review for Lit Up Review goes live today at 7 am EST. I hope you’ll take a peek HERE – this year’s authors are nailing it with their debuts!

Have a lovely Tuesday!

B

4 Comments

Filed under Recipes

Pros & Cons / The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

Hello!

Pros and ConsAfter a long and stressful week of finals {It’s so crazy to think that I start my last trimester of the school year today}, blogging is a welcome activity to return to. I’d much rather write about my latest reads, like Kat Yeh’s adorable debut, The Truth About Twinkie Pie, than study chemistry equations or graphs of rational functions! This realistic fiction story made an appearance on my winter TBR list because, like any home baker and bookworm, I’m sure, baking-centered novels make me oh-so excited. Couple a story like that with a gorgeous cover, and I’m sold. My full thoughts on this cute read are below!

Here’s your book summary, as always: Take two sisters making it on their own: brainy twelve-year-old GiGi {short for Galileo Galilei, a name she never says out loud} and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi {short for Delta Dawn}. Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the Gold Coast of New York. Mix in a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, a first crush, and a generous sprinkling of family secrets. That’s the recipe for The Truth About Twinkie Pie, a voice-driven middle grade debut about the true meaning of family and friendship. {Goodreads}

The Truth About Twinkie Pie Pros and ConsAround the Web: “This book has a lot to do with baking, family, friendships, telling the truth, and finding out who you are. I thought it covered all these topics quite masterfully” {read the rest of the review at Belletristic Books HERE}.

“Kat Yeh has written a treat of a middle grade story that will tug on your heart-strings and make you smile in equal measure. The multifaceted characters and rich turns of phrase that had me reading with a twang are only a couple of the reasons I read this book in one big gulp” {read the rest of the review at Welcome to My {New} Tweendom HERE}.

“Even the most background and seemingly static characters add to the story. Kat Yeh has done a wonderful job of creating a fantastical world layered like the pie on the cover” {read the rest of the review at Kidsreads HERE}.

Let’s discuss! Have you heard about The Truth About Twinkie Pie? Maybe you’ve read it yourself? Are you just as much in love with the typography on the cover as I am?

Have a wonderful start to your week!
Bella

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Pros & Cons