Hello, lovelies! It's barely 8 am and already this Thursday is gearing up to be a dramatic one! I'm going to be delving into some royal history today so if that isn't your thing, I'm giving you permission to click off. But for those of you who stayed, let's discuss the chaos. Yesterday, People released an article detailing the baptism of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's daughter, Lilibet. She was born on June 2nd, 2021 in Santa Barbra, taking her name from the now-late Queen, Elizabeth II, whose childhood nickname was Lilibet. In this article, the quoted spokesperson for the Sussexes refers to the 1 1/2-year-old as 'Princess Lilibet'. And the internet collectively lost their minds.
At the time of both their birth's, Lilibet and her older brother Archie, were great-grandchildren of the monarch. This meant that they wouldn't receive formal titles at that time. Why? Because formal titles, by law, are only given to male-line grandchildren of the monarch. Now, you may be wondering why George, Charlotte, and Louis, also great-grandchildren, had formal titles at birth. Allow me to explain. A previous Letter's Patent, issued in 1917 by King George V, declared that only the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall hold and enjoy the title of HRH with Prince/ss before their name. This was done to slim down the monarchy in a post-war world that had just toppled four powerful, centuries-old institutions. Had this still been in effect, only George would have an HRH with a princely title while Charlotte and Louis would only be styled as the children of a Duke (Lady and Lord with no HRH). Months before the birth of Prince George, following the Perth Agreement, Her Majesty issued new LP's granting an HRH and princely title to ALL the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. So that's why they've had titles since birth. Back to Archie and Lilibet.
Because they are not the children of the Prince of Wales's eldest son and because they weren't yet grandchildren of the monarch, the Sussex children weren't automatically granted titles; that's the only reason, despite what many news outlets would like you to believe. Now, when King Charles ascended the throne, their right to titles changed because now they were grandchildren of the monarch. The 1917 LP guarantees titles to male-line grandchildren. Therefore, they've always had the titles since September. That fact is not up for dispute. No matter what you may think of their parents, the titles cannot be taken from them without action from the monarch. And despite current relations, I don't think the King would ever take away something that is their birthright. It connects them to their family and this tradition that they will always belong to them. And people are calling the King weak and going crazy online but it's kind of genius. Your son and daughter-in-law have been saying things about your family for months. Writing books and giving interviews about how terrible you are. But now they're going to accept titles from an institution they claim hurt them so profoundly? Kind of shoots their credibility way down if you ask me.
And honestly, I don't have a problem with them getting titles. I have problems with Harry and Meghan and some of the stuff they've done but the kids have their whole lives ahead of them and I for one, am interested to see what they turn out to be. I hope it's people who are good and inspiring and kind. Now, you may have an opinion or you may be totally indifferent. I just don't think it's right to be going after anyone for recognizing the titles that is rightfully theirs. And with that, let's get on with our day and worry about stuff with actual consequence!
2/14/2023 0 Comments
Happy Valentine's Day
I've returned from a very long winter break and boy, do I have some things to fill you in on. My Christmas into New Years week was perhaps the most painful period of my life thus far. That may sound like an extremely dramatized statement but it is in fact entirely accurate. I ended up in the ER early in the morning on New Years Eve and a short CT scan later, turns out I have a very infected, very inflamed gallbladder! My year did not have the greatest start and this whole month is kind of a blur so I am just, at this point, crawling to the finish of January. Only one more week!
We started second semester last week and I can say with great satisfaction that I have passed Chemistry and I am officially done with high school science! Although, now I have returned to waking up at 6:45 to be ready for an 8 am class. Lots of coffee is coursing through my veins.
We've magically skipped through time! And by magically skipped through time, I mean I wrote two wimpy paragraphs, got distracted, and now here I am two weeks later picking right back up. My brain is a chaotic mess. But let's not waste time on previously established facts; we've got things to discuss! First of all, I finally finished the biography I was reading about Alexander Hamilton. It only took five months! I had to do a lot of block reading where I just read a chunk every few days or so because it's a very long, very dense book. I ended up appreciating the work much more since I actually took the time to pause instead of trying to get from start to finish as fast as possible.
And major news on the college front: I am officially going to Drake in the fall! I am so so excited! There is a lot that I still have to figure out but at least the 'post-high school plan' is beginning to materialize. I can't believe the end is as close as it is. I remember that at the last week of my eighth grade year, a teacher said that the next four years would fly by. I didn't pay much attention because I was mostly focused on the fact that the school year was done. I was not doing any looking ahead. But here we are with nineteen weeks to go until graduation. My English teacher has warned us all that the spring will take forever so I'm just trying to stay in the present. Otherwise, I will stress myself out too much and we can't have that.
This weekend, I had brunch with some friends at a new spot downtown and it was delicious. Homegrown is in the same place as Big Grove if anyone has ever been there. We got coffeecake for a starter which had so much flavor and different tastes. There were a lot of different, fabulous sounding dishes on the menu and I went with croissant french toast. I don't know where the croissant was supposed to come into play but nevertheless, it was very good. The final bill ended up being $23 and I consider that a win!
Hi, here I am again! I keep stopping and starting so this is very all over the place. I've been trying to get a lot done but instead, I keep taking naps. My life is very difficult at the moment but I have managed to write half of a first draft essay for English in an hour and a half. Also, you can't see anything that I can at the moment but we are having a very entertaining discussion in AP Government. The topic of the day is affirmative action and we're all on a roll. Good conversation is so much more interesting than never-ending silence.
I am still working my way through a novel on French history and I finally just crossed over the two hundred page mark. Over the weekend, I finished the last book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and it was excellent! I blew through all five in a few hours so don't let the page count scare you. Next, I'm starting the Glass Throne series, which is by the same author with overlapping mythology so that will be fun. I plan on reviewing the entire ACOTAR series before the end of the month so be on the look out for that! I'm also reading Dracula but mid-nineteenth century literature takes awhile to get through. I have a lot more books on my shelf plus the final half of my 2022 book list coming out on YouTube hopefully in the next few weeks. I'm hoping to get on a more consistent schedule throughout the year and with everything that went on after New Year's, I need a minute to get my schedule in order. Under that sphere is also the monthly newsletters and I know I've said this many times, but I am seriously trying to get those back up and running. I'm still trying to figure out how it works through the blog because making it myself is very time-consuming.
Another sort of interest that I'm getting into is embroidery. The project I'm on is one that I started months ago but I just recently got back into it. This go-around is much more smoother than my first attempt! Although, my fingers are still at risk from that very tiny needle. I was even pricking my leg (Tip: don't set it on your lap when the needle's going through). I'd like some more patterns once I get my skills better but I'm not getting too ahead of myself.
This post happens to fall on Valentine's Day and I happen to love Valentine's Day so I bought myself a gift. It was stupidly overpriced but that's never stopped me. This online shop annotates books and then mails them with all kinds of fun goodies; I couldn't resist. I ordered a rainbow mug too. Coffee cups are starting to be a major financial investment but I don't think I'm mad about it.
I'm kind of glad that it's taken me so long to post this because the Bridgerton spin-off for Queen Charlotte was given a release date today: May 4th! Sometimes Netflix strikes gold! I mean Bridgerton, Wednesday, Shadow and Bone; they're fabulous. But the other streaming services have good ones too: The Last of Us on HBO, Yellowstone (and its many prequels) on Paramount, Criminal Minds: Evolution, and those are only the ones that come to mind immediately.
And with that, I think I've finally reached the end of this update. The plan wasn't for it to take this long but better late than never! I hope you stick around for the whole year because it's going to be jam-packed with all sorts of fun. No, I will not give spoilers. You'll just have to be patient. Happy Valentine's Day!
12/16/2022 0 Comments
The Pre-Christmas To-Dos
Somehow it's already Wednesday and I am very curious as to when that happened. Don't get me wrong, Mondays are not my best day and I love my weekends as much as the next person. However, when I have multiple due dates in close proximity, I would appreciate a more leisurely pace because now I have a test and a reading guide due in two days. Christmas break starts next Friday and for some reason, all of my work from two different classes is due within the same day or stretch of days. Today, for example, I just finished an online chemistry packet but i still have a paper packet to turn in. In AP European History, I finished a document analysis but have a reading guide due on Friday, Monday, and Thursday. It. Never. Ends. Luckily, I get oddly motivated on days where we get an early out so I may have a chance of not drowning in a sea of paper.
I also need to talk about the big improvement in my life: I finally have a constant source of income! I qualify for social security since I'm now eighteen and my disability affects my ability to work. I'm hoping to only be on it through college or a little bit after because my goal is to actually utIlize my degree and get a good paying job. But for now, this is a lifesaver! I don't have to depend on someone else's money and I get to control it. I bought Taylor Swift vynls as a splurge and I was very nearly jumping up and down because I was using my own card. A little dramatic, I know; but I've literally never been able to spend my own money when I want something. This morning, I bought my own Starbucks and my dad couldn't say no.
So now I have a newfound power but I'm not going to go crazy with it. Unless I'm in a bookstore. Then all bets are off. Speaking of books. I've read four this month and I'm hoping to get the fifth checked off by the end of today. They were all sooo good! Probably some of my favorites of the whole year, which as you know, is a hard title to achieve. I don't know what the final number will be but I talk about them all the time in my vlogs so make sure you're checking the youtube tab regularly. I was hoping to update it this week but the video had an error uploading so I had to scrap it. Same thing with my latest podcast attempt. Technology really sucks sometimes. If this fails too, I might throw my computer out of the window. Not that I haven't wanted to other times. I mean, can we talk about the Harry and Meghan Netflix special. I seethe every time something new comes out. It's all just horrible and tacky. And hypocritical. And also slightly comical that they think they're still relevant. I'm going to get a skywriter, in big letters, to write "No one cares". They say they want privacy and then put three different go-pros in their car to get all the right angles. And that's not even the worst part. The mock curtsey made me scream and then they edited a very important speech of Queen Elizabeth's. While she was in Africa, the then-Princess Elizabeth made a speech on her twenty-first birthday. She says, "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong." Netflix EDITED IT to say, "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and to the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong” is altered. You can see the TikTok here. I saw that and promptly screamed for five minutes to my mom. But that's all I'm going to say about that disaster. You want to make a few bucks trashing your family and dismantling your grandmother's legacy? Go right ahead. They're digging their own hole. If you have your own feelings, that's fine. I have mine and I am prepared to defend them but hopefully this is a discussion we can leave alone.
Update: I took a break from writing and finished my fifth book. I feel like that's all I accomplished yesterday and it's not great considering where we are in the week. But there's still today and I need to remember that I am totally capable. I'm awesome. A definite procrastinator, much to my disdain but awesome and capable nonetheless. I mean, all you have to do is look at my lunch for today: a rice krispie bar, a latte, and a bag of popcorn. I am arming myself with so much excellent energy!
My next class (and also my last of the day) is Chemistry and it's always interesting going in there because my teacher likes to guilt trip us into getting our work done. Spoiler alert: no one ever has their work done. I don't know about the others but for me: Chemistry or any kind of science is not my passion. I just need these last two credits so I can graduate and then I am done. Four more weeks until finals and I think we are all eagerly counting down the days. Second term always feels like it lasts an eon even though it is a span of only two-and-a-half months. End of October to mid-January. In my most humble opinion, this stretch of the year drags on like molasses.
With that, I am pleased to inform you that you have successfully read through this entire mismatched blog! Nothing flowed, nothing made sense, and that's just the way I like it! Boring is not a word in my vocabulary and neither is coherency, apparently. I'd say I'll get better in the new year but we all know that probably won't happen. I hope you're having a great Friday and I'll be back very soon with the final edition of Caroline's Book Club for 2022!
The last state dinner hosted by the United States was held on September 20th, 2019 with the guest of honor being Australian prime minister Scott Morrison. This last week, the tradition was brought back following the chaos of the pandemic years. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron arrived from Paris with his wife, Brigitte on November 29th, for a host of meetings to affirm the friendship between the two countries as well as discuss other diplomatic and international issues. The week was capped off with a state dinner, an extravagant tradition that dates back to the 1870s. Organized by the First Lady and her staff, this dinner was steeped in symbolism with an A-list guest list to match.
Instead of being held in the State Dinning Room, the planning team decided to go with a natural outdoor setting. A tented pavilion was erected on the South Lawn and guests were shuttled from the White House to the venue upon arrival. President Biden and President Macron, with their wives walked together down the Grand Staircase and stopped for some photos before heading off to the dinner.
These first few photos were stunning, especially with the Christmas decorations so subtly appearing in the background. The First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, wore a navy, off-the-shoulder column gown by famed American fashion house, Oscar de la Renta. The designs of de la Renta have long been intertwined with the White House. First with Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s and then followed by multiple First Ladies; including Nancy Regan, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush. The First Lady of France, Brigitte Macron, wore a high-necked, ivory gown by Louis Vuitton. And despite my exhaustive research with many different word combinations, I couldn't find anything on either of the President's looks. For some reason, in events like this, only the women's looks are highly scrutinized but we won't even get into my thoughts on that subject. If I had to take a guess, I'd guess Ralph Lauren as my top choice.
No matter the designer, these looks were so classic and fun! I love how Dr. Biden's dress fits. It flatters her wonderfully which I would expect in a custom dress like this. The off-the-shoulder look was something I never expected because it's so different from other styles we've seen on her but it works. You can tell she really enjoys what she's wearing and that's all that matters. Plus, the navy and glittery floral details....I love!
Now, let's talk about the First Lady of France. That color, first of all! Stunning. Gorgeous. A++. It's so simple and clean and makes for a perfect pop of color against the darker tones. The jeweled belt as well as the neck detailing contrast nicely with the rest of the dress and it was definitely a good design choice given that ivory fabric can be very bright by itself. She and Dr. Biden chose dresses with a similar structure; making for very uniform, eye-catching photos as a result. The only thing I might tweak is the collar. When I look at the dress, the collar clashes with the rest for some reason. Also, she doesn't look very comfortable so something less restrictive might've been a better choice.
I know this is about the fashion but I would be doing a great disservice to all of you if I didn't talk about the table settings. I mean, look at them! The gold-thatched plates are actually rented because the dinner was held outside the White House. Can't risk breaking state china! The flowers were blue delphiniums, white lilies, and American beauty roses. They symbolized the shared colors of both flags. Here is a wider shot:
I like to call this "Medieval Game of Thrones Christmas". Considering the state of our politics and the opinions of the guests, I don't think my title is very far off. Luckily, everyone kept themselves in check but that didn't stop the press pool from asking their pot-stirring questions. A Reuters reporter asked how Kevin McCarthy felt about dinning with Hunter Biden to which the Republican representative responded he was just happy to be at dinner with his mom. But I really don't think Kevin had anything to worry about. I'd put money down on the fact that Dr. Biden bans her children from having electronics at her table.
I hope you're all having a great holiday season! These "Fashion Follow-Ups" are a lot of fun to put together and I have so many more coming up. December is a busy month for social events!
11/17/2022 0 Comments
Introducing Fashion Follow-Up!
Guys, it's a big day. Presale codes for tickets to Taylor Swift go out today. I am manifesting a win. I thought in the meantime, I would try out a new series: Fashion Follow-Up! The name is still up in the air. It came to me while I was typing so definitely not set in stone. Fashion is one of my favorite things to read, watch. and talk about! I mean, it's the first word you type in to get here. I always wanted this blog to have a fashion focus but I feel like I haven't lived up to the dream. So, this week I'm putting my first attempt out in the universe and we'll see how it goes from there. Just please be nice as I find my footing these first few weeks.
So, what exactly is Fashion Follow-Up? Well, anytime an event happens that I think had some notable looks, I'll recap it here over the following day or two. Simple enough when you're not taking into account all the behind-the-scenes research. Honestly, though, I LOVE the research part! With that, I am so excited for you all to read the first edition of Fashion Follow-Up! The first event up on the "chopping block" is Remembrance Sunday which took place this past weekend in the United Kingdom. Remembrance Sunday is a yearly event dedicated to the memory of fallen soldiers in the UK's armed forces. It is one of the biggest events in the royal calendar all year because the monarch is commander-in-chief of the UK's entire armed forces and many senior members have served in the various branches. This year was especially poignant because it was the first since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September. There was a special tribute to her Saturday night at the Festival of Remembrance.
Saturday's event had many members of the royal family in attendance including: King Charles, Queen Camilla, The Prince of Wales, The Princess of Wales, and The Princess Royal. The Princess of Wales is notorious for her fashion and eagle-eyed watchers are always waiting to see what she wears next.
Here's the full look:
I only have one huge dislike of the whole outfit: that skirt is absolutely atrocious. The dress is by Self-Portrait and it is their black tailored crepe and chiffon midi dress. It clashes with the top of the dress so badly. It's like fitted beautifulness on the top and then a flowy, silky thing on the bottom. To me, the designer couldn't figure out where they wanted to go so they just incorporated two ideas that are not complementary. However, I will give her a slight pass because she wore this same dress in white to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and this whole outfit was a tribute to the Queen.
I LOVED the rest of the outfit! the blazer look, I think, was super chic and the fitted style was gorgeous. The neckline allowed for the jewelry to be the centerpiece of the look. And let me tell you: the jewelry was S-E-R-V-I-N-G!! For this event, The Princess of Wales opted to re-wear some familiar pieces to eagle-eyed royal watchers. The choker is from the late Queen's collection. It is the Japanese pearl choker and was gifted to Her Majesty in 1975 when she and the Duke of Edinburgh made their first state visit to the Empire of Japan. Originally, she was given just the pearls and they were later set into the four-strand piece, anchored with a curved diamond clasp. Made in collaboration with the Crown Jeweler, it is also thought that Prince Philip had a hand in the design as well. When she was the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Kate wore the choker to the celebration of the Queen and Prince Philip's 70th Wedding Anniversary. She also wore the piece at both of their funerals in April 2021 and September 2022. Her earrings were also steeped in symbolism. This particular pair was the Bahrain Pearl Earrings. Their inception begins all the way back in 1947 when the then-Princess Elizabeth was gifted seven pearls by the Hakim of Bahrain on her wedding day. Two pearls were set aside for the earrings and they are suspended by round diamonds of varying sizes accompanied by three baguette diamonds. Since then, the earrings have been loaned to Princess Diana and the Countess of Wessex and Forfar. Princess Kate has worn the earrings dozens of times: Remembrance Sunday Services in 2016 and 2019, 2017 Royal Ascot, Balmoral Church Services in 2018, 2019 Trooping the Colour, and the funeral services of both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Her bag is the Mulberry Black Suede Clutch in "Baywater"
The following day was actual Remembrance Sunday. Members of the Royal Family came together in a massive ceremony of pomp and pageantry. Remembrance Sunday honors fallen members of the United Kingdom's armed forces. Every year, the monarch leads the country in the honors. The Cenotaph in Whitehall was dedicated by King George V in 1920 to honor the fallen of the First World War. Every year since, the monarch has laid a floral tribute at the base of the Cenotaph. Members of the royal family who served, including Prince Edward and the Prince of Wales also laid tributes of their own. Meanwhile, other senior members were watching from balconies along Whitehall. The Princess of Wales stood with the Queen on the central balcony of the Foreign Office.
Here's the look:
This outfit is stunning! Princess Kate went with a go-to designer, Catherine Walker, who was also a favorite of her late mother-in-law. The dress she went with was the Evie Asymmetrical Coat Dress in black. The fit of it was flawless and the diagonal pintuck added a nice pop from the simple, clean lines of the rest of the dress. Her choice of earrings on Sunday were the South Sea Pearl Earrings. These were a favorite accessory of Princess Diana throughout the 1990s. Her daughter-in-law wears the earrings in a little different way. She kept the top part but replaced the original very large hanging pearls with the pearls from Princess Diana's Collingwood Pearl Earring Set, which are much more understated and classic.
I love a wide-brimmed hat moment and this was no exception. Philip Treacy is the designer to see for any royal hat. Countless designs of his have been seen on the heads of royal women for decades. From my research, this hat was a custom design based on the designer's AW20 collection. This hat reminded me very much of what Princess Charlotte wore to the Queen's funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19th.
Finally, we have to discuss a new piece added to the Princess of Wales's collection. Tucked discreetly under the poppies is a previously unseen brooch. This particular stunner was designed by Bentley and Skinner. It is their Art Deco Diamond Brooch and is genuine from the 1920s. The diamonds altogether come in at around 4.5 carats and this glitter-lovers dream retails for an impressive $17,147.26 USD.
What did you think of the Princess of Wales's outfits for Remembrance Sunday? Were there things you liked or disliked that I didn't mention? What are some other events I should cover? For royal fans like me, the South African State Visit is coming up and you know what that means? Tiara season is back! EKKK!
My internal clock is failing so please forgive this late edition of Caroline's Book Club!
#1: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
I. Loved. This. Book. I've read very few memoirs but this one was spectacular. The whole premise is this Italian villa that author bought and the restoration process and life in Italy and it's just fabulous! There are entire chapters solely dedicated to recipes in between the regular chapters. It's a little over two hundred pages so in my opinion, a pretty fast read. I enjoyed getting to travel through the pages and still think about it all this time later.
#2: One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan
Buckle up, because we're going to Paris! This book follows two people- Grace and Audrey- who come to Paris following multiple disasters in their lives. Grace learns her husband is cheating on her with the babysitter (classy) and Audrey is desperate to escape her dysfunctional life fueled by her alcoholic mother. Grace and Audrey end up being neighbors above a French bookshop in this novel of self-discovery. They each learn the importance of taking chances even though they are both at very different points in life. While I was unsure about the ending, overall, this book is fantastic and I highly recommend!
#3: Darling Girl by Liz Michalski
Ever wonder how the story would've gone if Peter Pan was actually evil? Well, guess no more! This novel asks that very question by turning a beloved classic fairy tale on its head. Now we all know that Wendy had a daughter, Jane. In this take, Jane has a daughter called Holly. Holly has two children: Jack and Eden. Eden, as it turns out, is Holly's daughter with Peter Pan. Ironic, right? The boy who wanted to be a child forever had a child. Probably the most adult decision ever but I digress. Eden fell out of a tree years prior to the start of the novel and has been in a coma ever since. On top of that, because of her less than average DNA, she has a condition that causes her to age rapidly. She may be twelve but physically looks about twenty or so. Holly had her stashed at the family's country home and all was well until the girl in a coma just disappears one day. Thinking Peter is up to something nefarious, Holly returns to London hoping to finally uncover the truth- whether she's ready or not.
#4; Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Taking this one at face value, I was not prepared to like this book. It's about video game developers and that had never been an interest of mine. At least all the logistical stuff, that is. But I was pleasantly surprised. At its heart, this novel deals with love, loss, and the acceptance of whatever life throws at you. I laughed, I cried, I yelled, I closed it (and then opened it five seconds later). Everything was amazingly written and there were so many unexpected moments. Very rarely can a standalone execute a full-circle plot but this author pulled it off.
#5: The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder
This book was a deliciously chaotic, trainwreck plot centered around an equally chaotic wedding. Siblings who've had a lifelong rivalry mixed with parents who can't stand each other, served with a platter of extended family members make for excellent reading. Also, half of the characters are British and they just manage to make snobby classy. People get arrested, people break up, people do actually get married, people have knockout fights in the kitchen at the wedding reception, people break noses. You truly never know what's going to happen in the next paragraph but you can't stop reading. This book is a true page-turner!
I hope this month's lineup gave you some books to read by the fire or maybe even put them on your Christmas List. Let me know if you end up reading any!
See you in December!
Happy Friday! I hope you're all having a fabulous week! Mine has been filled with lots of work and deadlines for finals next week. I can't believe the school year is a quarter of a way through already! Luckily, none of my classes change until after New Years so I don't have to get a new schedule down just yet. Although, that means I'm still in chemistry but, you know what? I choose to believe that I will survive. A lot has happened this month that I'm so excited to talk to you all about! College decisions, photoshoots, album drops, and a million other things in between. Let's discuss!
Hello, hi! This is Caroline two weeks later because, as always, I started writing and then stopped. Currently, I'm writing this on my laptop operating in split screen mode because I am on a mission. That mission is to sign up for presale notification of Taylor Swift t0ur tickets. The actual tickets aren't even on sale yet and I'm waiting in a queue just to be signed up for a notification. I keep switching between the tabs and my little person is moving ever so slightly. While I wait, I'm finally going to get to that update I promised weeks ago! First things first: TAYLOR SWIFT. She released a new album called 'Midnights' and I LOVE it. I think I'll do a separate post about my favorite parts so look out for that coming up! I have so many thoughts but I know some people could absolutely care less, hence- I won't bore you here. I will definitely bore you with other things, though!
Remember at the start of this how I was prepping for finals? Well, finals happened. I ended AP European History with an A- and in a shocking turn of events, managed a B- in Chemistry. My mouth was on the floor. And now I'm starting another twelve weeks with those same classes....so fun! I think it'll be a good few months. Yesterday went well and I have a different mindset overall! Although, my wardrobe does not show it. I've been wearing mainly sweatpants and t-shirts the last few days and I think my mom is a little annoyed at me. This morning she asked me what I wanted to wear and I said "comfy". She kind of sighed and said that I had so many cuter outfits. Which, for the record, I most definitely do but this week is a survival week until I get in a groove. So the outfits will change eventually. But also, I'm wearing my braces again and I don't think a leather skirt pairs well with pink unicorns. On a positive note, my Pumas fit over the braces so the ugly Sketchers are no more!
A queue update: At 9:11 am I am about halfway there! My October included senior photos and they turned out really great! I've posted a few online but maybe I'll put some here too. It was a little windy but at least you can't tell just by looking. My hair weighed about a hundred pounds with all the product and curls but it has returned to its natural resting state. Today I took a big step in that I deleted my Twitter account. Now, I love twitter. You can get news in seconds and there are a great majority of really wonderful, kind people but I've been reading a lot over the last few days about different developments and I just couldn't do it. Lots of websites reported that use of the n word went up 500% when the deal went through and the potential of hateful, horrible people getting back on made me actually angry. So I'm gone from there but I'm on Instagram @carhill765 and TikTok @carolinehill1 so go follow me over there and we'll have a ridiculously fun time.
Yesterday, I had to get my braces tightened so now they're purple and I want to rip all my teeth out. They are actually working and even the orthodontist commented on how my bite had massively improved from my last appointment. We're getting there. Almost eighteen and a half years with a gap and in a few months it won't even be there. I can't wait! In other news, as I have been typing, I have recalled all the functions my chair can preform. Over the last hour, my legs and feet have started to cramp because my braces are doing their job and holding them in the correct place. I was trying to stretch and move but they're stuck in a seated position. I happened to glance at the joystick which prompted a lightbulb moment: the footplates can be lowered with the joystick. So now they're extended and the burning pain has subsided. However, the inside of my left foot is sore and that is because, for some reason, my legs tense and brace into the material. Hoping they chill out soon. I think it's because the braces give them stability so when they do tense, it's much stronger due to the extra support.
Queue update: At 10:03 am I am less than 1/4 away from being at the front of the line! I'm in AP Euro right now and our assignment for the week is a virtual google slides museum about the industrial revolution in Britain. Yesterday we had to draw a village with pencil from the 1750s to the 1850s-60s. That was stressful because it slowly got bigger and you slowly ran out of real estate on the paper.
BREAKING NEWS: AT 10:12 am I GOT THROUGH THE QUEUE! Hopefully I get picked for presale access! Now on to holiday talk! I am a Christmas person. It is my time of the year and I put my decorations up around Halloween every year. I'm still waiting for a few more things that'll hopefully arrive later this week/month so that the whole design can come together. I'm planning on putting the tree up this weekend so hopefully you'll all get a Christmas decorated room tour this weekend or early next week. I'm editing a vlog right now but I need to search through my camera for one more clip and then I can do final edits and send it your way this afternoon or tomorrow.
This month, I have seven books to read but I am focusing on two specific ones at the moment. I am about two hundred pages away from finally finishing the Alexander Hamilton biography and I have another one called The Hotel Nantucket that is solely a school book so that I might finally finish it after nearly six months of it stewing on my bookshelf. In October, I finished eight books which is a record for the year, I believe. Finishing strong! I need to get my bookshelf down by a lot. Stay tuned on YouTube to see if I clear it before New Years.
I hope everyone's November is going smooth and that you all have a great holiday! I'm really excited to start bringing you all Christmas content! Make sure you're following me everywhere to see it all!
The following books made my head spin. Proceed with caution.
#1: The House Across The Lake by Riley Sager
I read this book in four hours. I specifically grabbed this from my shelf because it has been there, staring at me with deep-seeded judgement, since the beginning of summer. And. I. Deserve. It. I went into this story thinking it was very much a Woman in the Window plot. That's kind of what it starts out as and then it turns into a case of demonic possession of a famous model by the serial killer husband of the main character who is also an actress. Throughout the whole book, you think that Casey, the main character, is an alcoholic because she's still dealing with her husband, Len's death. But then the most massive thing is revealed: Casey found Len's serial killer trophies the year before. She's so enraged that she drugs Len with his allergy meds, gets him on their boat, pushes him off, and then stages it as a fishing accident. Earlier in the book, we learned there's a legend about this particular lake where souls get trapped and haunt it. Len's soul ended up in the water and he took over Katherine's body as a vessel. After Katherine-as-Len is locked in a basement by her husband Tom (who we will be getting to later) because she's currently hosting the soul of a killer, Casey breaks him/her out so that he'll lead her to the bodies of his victims. Spoiler: they're in the lake. Now you may be asking, why hasn't Casey just killed the living body yet? Because otherwise she kills Katherine. But, don't worry. Girl has a plan. Back in the boat, Casey gets "Len" to kiss her, therefore transferring his soul to her. Before Len takes over, Casey tells Katherine what she needs to do and then jumps in the water. Like, what?! In order for Len's soul to punch its time card, the host has to die. And she does for, like, a nanosecond before Katherine saves her. By this point, Len's back in the magical lake and all is well. But then, surprise! It's not! Tom is trying to kill Katherine to get all her money. As if he isn't already terrible, he goes for the classic husband-kills-for-money motive. Casey figures it out because Katherine had been feeling bad since before she had a slumber party with a crazy killer. After a fight, Casey bashes Tom's head in with a very expensive wine bottle. By. The. Lake. So Len's back! Luckily, Casey has no moral issues when it comes to Tom, so she uses his head for batting practice yet again. Both evil souls are now in the lake and we'll see if a sequel comes.
#2: Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George
Guys, history! I love it. It's my favorite thing, we know this. One of my particular favorites is Mary Queen of Scots as well as anything related to her. I found this book in the library on a random shelf and took a whole two months to read the 700+ pages. From start to finish this was a masterpiece! Historical biographies can be difficult because the story's already been written. You're just compiling it all in one place. The challenge is adding a fresh spin to a dense topic and taking people's thoughts into a new realm. This version of Mary's story took the history and spun a bit of creative license into it, While the public accounts are all accurate, she actually included scenes of what might've been going on behind the scenes based on what's known about each person's behavior, beliefs, and mannerisms. I was hooked! Always looking for extra time for a page or two is the hallmark of a good book, especially in one where the events took place five hundred years ago.
#3: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Lisa Jewell is a master of twisted mysteries! The Family Remains is perfect if you're looking for a spooky season read. The setting: London. The place: a creepy abandoned mansion. The past: not as buried as they thought. Libby, our main character, was adopted after her parents and an unknown man were found dead of an apparent suicide. She's just turned twenty-five and has inherited her birth parents' home. There were two other children, Henry and Lucy, but they disappeared following the deaths and never came forward on their birthdays. The book is split between two timelines: the present and the late-80s to 90s in the build-up to the adoption. The whole picture forms about 3/4 of the way in and reveals cults, murder, poisoning, and abandonment all in the name of survival. It is truly a masterclass in thriller writing and I'm telling you now: even though he's weird, Henry will be your favorite character.
#4: Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf
A creepy book set in Iowa! I've been waiting for October to write about this one. While it's a little hard to follow and definitely not the best book I've ever read, it still deserves some praise because it did give me goosebumps. It's set in a very small Iowa town and follows a group of girls after one of them is seriously stabbed on the train tracks and all of her friends are suspects. A lot of weird stuff happens that doesn't really make sense but I did like the ending. It was a total shock because I truly didn't know how it was going to end. You really can't trust any of the characters because they all have agendas, even the girls. Overall, I just wish the structure was different.
#5: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
I don't like giving shade to a book because authors put so much time into them but this one was SO BAD. The characters had horrible development and the plot was just a total dumpster fire. Nothing pulled me in. There were a few small moments that I liked but even those were mediocre. The main character, whose name I can't remember because this book was that bad, comes to stay with her brother in his apartment in Paris (such an original book title) but then he disappears and she starts trying to find him. All the characters within the building turn out to be related and the building is actually their home and, like, nothing comes together and it's all a mess. The end.
Happy haunting! I hope these give you nightmares.
9/11/2022 0 Comments
Changing of the Guard
This was not a post I had planned but feel that it’s necessary to write. On Wednesday, September 8th, Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Balmoral is a private vacation home of the Royal Family located in the Scottish Highlands. It was purchased by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria in 1860 and has been passed through the family ever since. Because it is family property, not owned or managed by the Crown Estate, Balmoral is typically bequeathed to the heir to the throne in the will of the current monarch. An exemption to this rule came in 1936, known as “the Year of Three Kings”. Following the death of His Majesty George V in January 1936, Balmoral became the property of his son and heir, Edward VIII. When Edward abdicated the throne in December 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, he actually had to sell Balmoral to his brother, George VI because the traditional way of passing the property obviously did not work. After the death of George VI in February 1952, Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne as Queen Elizabeth II and received Balmoral as part of her inheritance. Her death brings an end to an iconic era that spanned over seven decades and passes the baton onto the next generation of royals.
Around noon in the UK (six am in the US), Buckingham Palace released a statement stating that royal physicians were concerned with her health and she would be under medical supervision from that point on. Her Majesty had last been seen with new Prime Minister, Liz Truss on Monday of that week as tradition dictates that the monarch formally invites the new PM to form of government in their name following the election. Typically, this is done at Buckingham Palace but the Queen was advised against traveling the hour car ride to the airport and subsequent multi-hour long flight. Photos were released on social media marking the occasion and while Elizabeth was noticeably thinner and frailer, nothing of further alarm was noted. The palace’s announcement of her worrying condition was worrying itself as the palace never releases much information on her personal well-being unless it is of grave importance. Within thirty minutes to an hour, it was revealed that members of the immediate family would be traveling to be with their grandmother. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were already present at Balmoral having traveled from their country home, Birkhall- which is only a short distance from Balmoral. The Princess Royal was also there as well. Shortly after 10:00 am in the US, a flight carrying members of the Royal Family touched down at Aberdeen Airport, having originated in London. The Duke of Cambridge was the first to emerge, followed by the Earl and Countess of Wessex (or the Queen’s third son Edward and his wife Sophie). Last to emerge was the disgraced Duke of York. They were escorted into waiting cars and began the journey to Balmoral. Noticeably absent was the Duchess of Cambridge as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It was reported that Kate was still in Windsor- where the couple has just recently moved into Adelaide Cottage- with their three children George, Charlotte, and Louis, who’d all had their first day of school. She wanted to be there to bring them home as well as give William some time with his family. However, the issue of Megan and Harry was a little less clear. The two were already in the UK for a variety of events and engagements. Since the Sussexes were not seen in that flight from London, it was assumed they were making separate arrangements. Later, it was confirmed that Harry was traveling to Scotland alone and- this next part is a rumor (but also kinda not but we’re just saying that to avoid drama)!- that an invitation was not extended to the Duchess. Maybe they were worried a camera crew would be attached or some crazy rumors would ensue. Who, honestly, knows? The royal quartet was seen driving into Balmoral, Prince William at the wheel.
Through the day, the queen’s health dominated headlines and social media. We could do nothing but speculate and wait. Shortly before six pm, news broadcasters were still repeating the same information we’d been hearing for hours, Their cameras offered live shots of many royal residences from Balmoral to Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace. While stopped at Balmoral, the camera caught the royal standard as it began to lower. The royal standard is the queen’s coat of arms in flag form. In accordance to protocol, the standard flies at whatever residence she is currently residing in and comes down when she leaves. It is lowered and then re-hung at half-mast to mark her death. Simultaneously, statements from Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen had died earlier in the afternoon. A bulletin relaying the same was placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace by two footman.
Many things happened immediately following the death and it can get confusing but I’ll do my best to explain. The Prince of Wales immediately became King. His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, also got a new title. It was announced in a subsequent statement: Her Majesty the Queen Consort. Consort is just a fancy way to say “spouse”. Before his death, Prince Philip was styled as His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Elizabeth created him a British prince through Letters Patent in 1957 so that he held equal rank to her. He was never granted “King Consort” because he was married to a queen and there’s a lot of gender bias surrounding queens who get the title in their own right. For years it was speculated as to what Camilla’s title would actually be because the period of, like, 1970-1999, was a capital-s Scandal. Google “War of the Waleses” and you’ll get lots of fun reading material. Princess Consort was thrown about. Months ago, during the Platinum Jubilee, the Queen issued a statement expressing gratitude to her son for all his help but also that it was her “sincere wish and hope” that Camilla one day would become Queen Consort. I guess nobody took her seriously because of the drama but also, it’s tradition so let’s all grow up, shall we? So Charles is King which means William is the heir. Upon the death of the monarch, the entire line of succession moves up a spot. Some titles pass automatically, while others have to be formally granted. William and Kate, previously known as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, automatically became The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall. Duke of Cornwall is the heir’s second-highest ranking title. They also gained the titles of Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, Earl and Countess of Carrick, Baron and Baroness of Renfrew; all relate to the different parts of the UK: England, Scotland, Ireland, etc. William also became Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. The following day, in his first address as monarch, King Charles III formally announced his son and heir as The Prince of Wales, making Kate The Princess of Wales. This officially gave them the additional titles of Earl and Countess of Chester. A ton of new titles but Prince and Princess of Wales will be the one they use most often because they’re primarily in England. I saw Charles referred to as the Duke of Cornwall only a handful of times and Camilla was the Duchess of Cornwall all of the time because, while legally Princess of Wales, it was so associated to Diana that Camilla used Charles’ second-highest title out of respect. Don’t try to put words in my mouth, don’t try to spin it into some ugly narrative. The choice was Camilla’s. Also, the Prince and Princess’s children get new titles as well. Instead of Cambridge, it’s now Wales (His/Her Royal Highness Prince/ss (name) of Wales). We’re also waiting for Charles to create Edward and Sophie Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, which has been in the works since their wedding, but all in due course.
Now before we get onto the protocols and events for the period of mourning, I feel like we need a good dose of drama. Prince Harry finally arrived at Balmoral literal hours after everyone else sans Meghan. There’s rumors that she wasn’t invited and threw a tantrum (or was just throwing a tantrum that he had to diffuse), hence, him being so late. On the 10th of September, The Prince and Princess of Wales along with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex appeared outside Windsor Castle to see the flowers and talk to the public. Seems fine, right? William extended an invitation, the Sussexes excepted, they do the walkabout, all is great! Well, not really….. According to royal sources, it was originally only going to be Prince William and Princess Catherine. Then it came out that William invited the Sussexes. Sweet! When that came out, along with it came the tidbit that negotiations for Harry and Megan to join them took ALMOST AN HOUR. And there’s more! William invited them because he was informed that Harry and Meghan were planning to go themselves and were bringing a camera crew!!!! I’m sorry……..WHAT?? William decided that was absolutely not happening. When they actually got there, the atmosphere can only be described as A-W-K-W-A-R—D. First of all, everyone only wanted to see the Prince and Princess of Wales. I’m sorry, but they were. Prince William was engaging with everyone and super chill and nice while Princess Catherine looked absolutely stunning. The dress was a Jenny Peckham (I’m 99% certain of this because she has another dress in blue that’s a Jenny Peckham; same style, length, detail, etc.). The jewelry was a pearl set and the shoes were her traditional, go-to black pumps. The fashion is harder to pinpoint right now because obviously the fashion is not the focal point. I can’t even speculate on the other three because I would have no idea without a deeper dive. I only knew which dress Princess Catherine’s was since she has another one in a different color. Plus, fashion is fun and this post needs that! While the quartet had no obvious issues, there was tension. My honest analysis is this: Harry and Meghan said things about the Royal Family and are constantly saying negative things. There’s the tell-all memoir coming out too which we won’t even get into. On top of it all, Meghan primarily went after Princess Catherine in that disastrous Oprah interview so how are the Wales's supposed to act? Meghan and Harry don’t know where they stand at the end of this. The Queen was really their blanket of security because she hated the drama. They caused and continue to cause so much chaos that King Charles could decide to be done with the whole thing and strip them of their titles. At least then they can’t make money off of their royal status anymore. I do wish the best for everyone and truly hope we can move on from this mess but until then Meghan and Harry don’t have my stamp of approval because they’re essentially selling out their whole family for a paycheck and they just refuse to stop being problematic.
Back to the week’s events. After lying in the ballroom at Balmoral since her death, the Queen was moved to Edinburgh by car. During the six-hour ride, Princess Anne followed and thousands of people lined the route to see her pass by. She will lie in the throne room at the Palace of Holyrodhouse, the Royal Family’s official Scottish resident. On the morning of the 12th, she will be taken down the Royal Mile to the St. Giles Cathedral where a service of Thanksgiving for her life and reign will take place. The Royal Family will be present at the service and its preceding procession. After a day at St. Giles to allow the people of Scotland to pay their respects, she’ll be driven to the airport and taken by plane to RAF Northolt and then by car to Buckingham Palace. The Princess Royal will accompany her the whole way while the King and the Queen Consort will be waiting in the Bow Room of Buckingham Palace where her coffin will rest. On the 14th, Her Majesty’s coffin will be taken by gun carriage to Westminster Hall, which is about thirty-eight minutes of procession through London. The King as well as the immediate royal family will walk behind the coffin the whole way. A processional like this last took place in 2002 following the death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Prince Philip had a smaller processional from Windsor to St. George’s Chapel due to COVID-19 protocols.
A small service will be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury when the Queen’s coffin arrives. She will lie in-state at Westminster Hall from the 14th until the morning of the state funeral. The public will be able to view the coffin all day for four days. The imperial state crown, the Sovereign’s Orb, and the Sovereign's Scepter with Cross will be placed on top. The funeral is set for September 19th at Westminster Abbey. This is the first funeral of a British sovereign to take place at Westminster Abbey since George II died in 1760. Following the service, the coffin will travel to Windsor where another procession will take place at the Quadrangle. The Queen’s internment in the King George VI Memorial Chapel is expected to be private, as she joins her father, mother, and sister within the Royal Vault. Prince Philip will be moved from his temporary burial site within St. George’s Chapel and join the queen. The Royal Family and members of the Royal Household will remain in mourning protocol until seven days after the funeral.
Death is one of the few promises of life but we still like to dream of immortality. The Queen represented those ideas for it seemed impossible that there could be a world without Queen Elizabeth II. She was a constant. Even those who could care less about monarchy knew the Queen. Her memory will endure in the fabric of our world long after these initial days have passed.
What do you know? Maybe she really did achieve immortality after all.
9/8/2022 1 Comment
An Eventful Fall Beginning
Let’s see how long it takes me to write this one. I swear, as soon as I sit down, my brain shoots off a list of fifty things that I should be doing instead. Like, hello? Where have you been all day and why now when I’m actually doing something fun/productive? Welcome to my brain. But that’s my issue! Today, I just want to write and catch you all up on my summer thus far. I feel like all my blogs always have some sort of “theme” instead of me writing about the show that I watched or the new album that you have to listen to or whatever else pops into my head. So I’m hoping that with this blog, I can get back to simply writing for the joy and peace it brings me while still keeping that “themed/purposeful” content. Once you get done reading, I hope you’ll check out the other pages because I’m planning to update them all. A fresh start for this new season of life that I’ve entered! Also, if you’re not on my email list, you’re missing out! I’m excited to get back to those fun monthly updates and have plans to make the list even more exclusive. There may be early releases and access to other content so stay tuned.
It’s been so long since I’ve been on here like this. There’s so much to catch up on! Like, I’m starting to apply to colleges. Ahhhh! When I started this, I was about to head into my freshman year and now I’m turning eighteen (fifteen days but who’s counting) and graduating high school in a mere nine months. I’ve got my list of schools narrowed down and I’m planning on majoring in business or something related to that. I want to pair it with media or PR since the world is going to be expanding even more into the digital space in the future. Also planning on throwing French/European studies in there and eventually going to law school. Definitely not struggling with what my future looks like, just how to make it all fit.
And suddenly we jump forward four weeks! The quick highlights are as follows: My birthday was excellent. Being able to type this means that I survived the first week of senior year (!) And finally, I've got so many books to read. I did get some of those things on video so be sure to check out this week's vlog. My channel is linked under the YouTube tab!
I may or may not be writing this in AP European History while I'm supposed to be finishing a presentation but honestly, Spanish exploration in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries is making me TIRED this morning. So to wake me up, let us discuss all my recommendations for food and stores and music and more! First of all, if you've never been to The Breakfast Club in the village or West Glenn, make a trip immediately! So so good! I tried the stuffed french toast and although my brother wasn't a fan, I loved it. First of all, it's on the starter menu so you won't get a huge plate. Second of all, the filling is fabulous! My brother, unfortunately, has no culture. To drink, I had a s'mores hot chocolate and it is every bit as dreamy as it sounds. It came in a coffee mug and while I was taking a sip, my whole body did an involuntary twitch (as one does at brunch in the middle of a crowded restaurant) which resulted in hot chocolate ALL OVER ME. My siblings thought it was hilarious. I was not as amused. Next up is cinnamon rolls from Smokey Row. Attached to pretty much every Hy-vee Fresh you'll find a Smokey Row. I'd had their coffee before (A+) but had never tried any pastries. And it is the biggest mistake of my life. These cinnamon rolls are......(loss for words). You must try them!! Following the coffeeshop trend is The Coffeesmith and Five Borough Bagels. The Coffeesmith recently dropped their fall drink lineup. I am obsessed with the pumpkin pie latte (hot not iced). Five Borough Bagels is New York-style bagels as well as coffee. I didn't know that was a thing but apparently New York-style can apply to everything. My go-to order is a bagel with mocha chip cream cheese and and an iced swiss mocha. Plus, they make each order fresh so.....
To be continued.....
The Blog in a Nutshell
Hi! Welcome to Fashion Fun and Extra, a blog run by Caroline Hill. A wheelchair user, podcaster, little sister, writer, and more, Caroline's unique view on life allows readers to take a glance into something they don't experience everyday. Told with humor, realness, remarkable wit, and a special kind bluntness, no blog will fail to entertain!