Join me for an Impromptu Afternoon Tea!

Sunday, September 29, 2013



Why impromptu? Because I like to fly by the seat of my pants and make my life totally complicated! Just kidding, but seriously, doing what I did this afternoon is not always the best method for having an afternoon tea. But I had one of the best excuses, a visit from a family friend who deserved to have an afternoon tea in her honor.

On the Menu

Cucumber, Crab, and Olive Tea Sandwiches
Sweet Lemon Scones
Mock Clotted Cream
Lime Curd
Irish Cream Tea

To discover my recipes, secrets, and certain methods of serving afternoon tea, come on into the full post, my darlings!

Read More

My September Movie List



I know, I know. I just wrote that I didn't want to discuss movies that much on my blog anymore, but I can't help it. So, instead of writing a gajillion movie posts, I'll consolidate them into one post. Easy to skip for those not interested and easy to find for those who are.

Hidden behind this lovely break are my thoughts on Elysium (2013), World War Z (2013), Dredd (2012), and Treasure Island (2012).

Read More

Elegant Blogger Award

Thursday, September 26, 2013

First of all, thanks Lizzie, for nominating me! :) 




The rules:


  • When you receive the award, link back to keepcalmandsparkle1099.blogspot.com and the blog that nominated you:  His Redeemed Child.
  • Display the award button in the post 
  • Answer all of the 12 questions given in this post (do not make your own questions) 
  • Nominate 8 bloggers (see below)
  • Notify them that they have been awarded.  

The questions:

1.  What made you start blogging?
I started blogging because of a friend, actually. She had a blog and I figured it couldn't hurt to try since I liked writing. I did actually keep a Livejournal account for years and years, but it has since been deleted, something I sort of regret doing because now all of those memories and experiences are lost. Oops! But, I've got new memories with my current blog, and that's enough.

2.  What is your fashion style?
Hmm. I love jeans and sleeveless shirts. Skirts and dresses not so much, but that's only because I never find ones that fit properly. I love the clothing line from Christopher & Banks, so lots of shirts with cute, festive designs on them. I guess you could say I'm casual chic.

3.  What is something none of your followers know about you?
Okay, this is embarrassing, but I can't defrizz my hair. Nothing I try works, and while it's not major frizz, it's enough to be annoying. So, my next step is trying Wen, a product that is supposedly great at quelling the frizz. We'll see.

4.  What are some of your blogging goals?
Well, I'd like to move away from talking about movies and more into my real life. This is why I blog about books, because I love reading, but I'm also planning little posts on ideas for Christmas decorating, hosting afternoon teas, knitting projects, that sort of thing. So, my goal is to be more genuinely me on my blog and let the world take care of itself.

5.  Where is your favorite place to shop?
I LOVE this little shop called Bernideen's in Old Colorado City. She has the cutest, most elegant merchandise, all tea related. She keeps a ton of teacups and pots, clothing and hats from the Titanic era, linens for the table, fancy foods imported from England, paper products from Punch Studio (my favorite line for cards and notebooks), and the coolest selection of antique china. It's just such a cute place, and Bernideen is an absolute doll! I've known her since I was about 16.

6.  What would your ideal amount of blog followers be?
Oh, probably around 50 or so. Although I wouldn't mind more than that, or even less. Right now, I'm quite content with the lovely ladies that make their presence known on my blog. I'm more into the responders than merely the followers. :)

7.  What are your talents?
I'm pretty awesome at knitting socks the four/five needle way. My fiction writing style is pretty active, something I've accomplished after sweating much blood. I can make a success out of almost any new recipe, the old ones, not so much. I'm great at reading, and following, patterns and instructions. You might not think it a talent, but it is, especially when my mother struggles with both patterns and instructions. ;)

8.  Are you a leader or a follower?
I can be either depending on the situation.

9.  What is one of your favorite quotes?
"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

10.  Do you have a favorite book or series?
Lord of the Rings, hands down. Followed a close second by Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness.

11.  Out of all the synonyms for elegant, which would you describe yourself with?  (smart -- stylish -- dressy -- graceful -- dainty -- fine)
Err, this is not an easy question. I am not graceful, although I was when I took ballet classes as a child. Stylish depends on the day. Sometimes I don't even put on makeup! Dainty, nope, never have been, and dressy, definitely not. I guess you could say that I'm smart, at least regarding some things, although I hate to say that because it makes me sound arrogant. So, we'll just go with smart since, frankly, what girl wouldn't want to be placed on that side of elegance?

12.  What is your favorite flower?
Is it bad that I don't have one? I know what ones I don't like. I guess I can just pick cosmos. The ones in our backyard are a lovely blue in the summer and very, very pretty.

I'm not usually comfortable tagging people, but here are the lovely folks whose blogs I consider elegant and delightful and haven't already been tagged.

Sorry that it's not 8 bloggers, but I don't actually follow all that many blogs. Hmm, maybe I should change that. :)

  1. Caitlin
  2. Skye
  3. Birdie
  4. Charity
  5. Marian

Read More

When I graduate this December . . .

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


. . . that pair of socks I started knitting last year will get finished. Those two library books I misplaced somewhere in the house in March will be found. My story about Francie and Trey will finally get edited. The hoards of books in my library stash will get read. The furniture in my room will be dusted and shined. The carpet will get a thoroughly deep cleaning. I will finally qualify for those jobs requiring a BA degree. And, most importantly, I will enjoy Christmas like I haven't done in years. If only my baby sister were finished with her degree, but not just yet.

Don't mistake me. I wouldn't trade my education for anything in the world. Some classes haven't added an iota of importance to my life while others have solidified my Christian worldview like nothing else could. I have read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein three times for different classes, loathed every moment of a children's literature class, and suffered through four math classes. I have developed an abiding love of literature from the Victorians and the British Romantics, and I shockingly love learning about the history of the Christian church. But I am now at the end of the road for my Bachelor's Degree. The lightness in my chest is pure heaven.

What will I be like? All I've known for the last 5 years is the girl driven to finish her degree. It seemed an endless tunnel of studying and grades and then, suddenly, that tunnel had an end. Who will I be when I no longer have professors to impress? Will my drive bleed over into my writing? Or will it find a new outlet in a new job? I can't even picture myself without another assignment deadline needing to be met. But I can hardly wait to meet this new Carissa who is waiting just around the corner of my life.
Read More

Book Review: Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

Friday, September 13, 2013


Rebellious Heart
Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



- Received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Susanna is the typical young lady to be found in the Americas just before the Revolutionary War. The daughter of a clergyman, she seeks to do good as the Lord desires, treating the downtrodden with compassion, but still maintaining loyalty to England. That is, she is loyal until young lawyer Benjamin Ross begins planting thoughts in her head, thoughts she would rather not have, of liberty from the oppressive British soldiers. It isn't until Susanna finds herself in the situation of helping a runaway indentured serving girl that she realizes some rules must be broken because God's laws are higher than man's. And perhaps she'll be fortunate enough to find love along the way.

This book is amazing, from start to finish. I could barely put it down. Susanna is the ideal heroine because you see her make decisions and not just believe everything thrown at her. She has to see proof before she changes her mind and the fact that she isn't easily swayed is appealing to me. She is not so stubborn as to be irritating, rather she is a darling young woman with a genuine compassion for those less fortunate than herself. Throwing Benjamin Ross into the mix was pure genius. He is vocal where Susanna might be quiet, passionate where she is calm. They are the ideal mix and the passion within their relationship is breathtaking.

So, I loved it. Jody Hedlund paints a clear picture of life in the colonies before the Revolution. And what's more she adds mystery and intrigue in the most frightening of ways. The one thing I would have changed is the background history of the villain. It just does not jive with his behavior. No one could possibly fall so far into evil just because an evil blow was dealt him. So, in that regard, I didn't entirely buy the motives of the villain, but the hero and heroine far make up for that flaw.

My next goal is to devour as many of Ms. Hedlund's books as possible because she is a marvel!



View all my reviews
Read More

Book Review: Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Reckless
Reckless by Cornelia Funke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



A part of me wishes that I could hold my hand over my reflection in a mirror and vanish to another world. Cornelia Funke works her magic once again with this new fairy tale series about Jacob Reckless, treasure hunter extraordinaire, who lives in our world, but vanishes for months, even years, at a time behind the mirror. The Mirrorworld's inhabitants are made up of elves, living stone men, a race of Bluebeards, child-eating witches who are despised by their healing sisters, and, of course, humans. To say nothing of unicorns, man-swans, lorelei, and other mystical and fabulous creatures of fairy tales and myth.

I won't bother to give a synopsis of the plot. I feel it might ruin some of the magic if I were to attempt an explanation. All I can say is that Jacob Reckless is one of Ms. Funke's finest literary creations. He is not Dustfinger or Mo from the Inkworld trilogy. No, he certainly is not, but he is complex in his own right. Just as Dustfinger attracted me with his cowardice, Jacob attracts me with his selfishness. Ms. Funke makes her characters so very human. They are imperfect, like antique cracked china, but that makes them real. You can see where they have been, and what created their flaws.

I'm not sure what other readers were expecting from this series. Perhaps another Inkworld. But the Mirrorworld is far darker, more brooding, and contains many more flaws than her gentler Inkworld. Jacob is a grown man with a man's desires. He has delighted in the presence of women because he has no moral code telling him otherwise. The scenes aren't witnessed, but they are alluded to, and so no, this series is not for children. I'm not sure it's for teenagers and not even for half of the population of adults who read fantasy. Only a small percentage of readers will appreciate this book and its sequel. I just happen to be fortunate enough to fall into that percentage. Now if I could only find a mirror that would accept my handprint on the glass, I would be a truly happy woman.



View all my reviews
Read More