Guys!!! I'm writing from my dorm! It has been a crazy week here and I will fill you all in very soon. But I feel like I've done a lot of storytelling recently that I want to switch it up and give you guys some recommendations. I've actually ventured out into the world in the past few weeks and I have places you absolutely need to go!
Vibrant Coffeehouse and Kitchen - East Village, Des Moines
If you haven't been here yet, you need to drop everything and get in the car because this place is a ten on the scale of fabulousness! It's a brand new coffeeshop in the East Village with so many unique features that'll make your day truly vibrant. For starters, if you're in a rush, there's a window right there on the sidewalk. Running late for work? No problem! Your coffeemaker on the fritz? Don't even panic! You can get your latte and scone with so little hassle that you won't even want to gouge the eyeballs out of that one co-worker when you walk into the office! My personal favorite is that the door is automatic. When I was first coming up to the entrance, I thought my eyes were deceiving me because after many years of accessible doors being on my radar anytime I enter a building and of course, the inevitable disappointment, imagine my shock when a storefront in a major urban area have accessible doors. In fact, don't even imagine. Here's video evidence:
I've been there twice and both times I have gotten the grown up grilled cheese. It is a grilled cheese with the additions of bacon and some variation of American cheese. I know that is a mediocre description but cheeses are not my thing in the slightest. I'm just a consumer, alright? A consumer of good things. And this sandwich is absolutely devine! I have, though, switched up my coffee order which is a big deal when you are a religious orderer of iced caramel macchiatos. I'm sticking to the signature lattes for right now because I always love seeing what indie coffee brands have up their sleeves (it's almost always better than the chains). First I got an iced candy bar latte which was very refreshing with a perfect balance of sweetness and caffeine! On my second venture, I tried a hot fudge latte not iced. It was yummy but not the best decision considering it was ninety-five degrees outside. Esthetically, Vibrant Coffeehouse is very chill. It's cool and dark but pops of color give the space a nice contrast. There's lots to pursue for your purchasing pleasure and plenty of options on the menu whether you need a midday pick-me-up or an early morning latte!
Okay, gang, here goes nothing. I am attempting a redo of the lost post which I tragically deleted as I was writing. This time around, I'm going to save by paragraph because, that's, you know, the smart thing to do. Before we get going into this absolute roller coaster of a day, let's do some positives and negatives as the evening has settled. Positive: I finished a book, caught up on some podcasts, and lounged around in my pajamas all day. Negatives: Jax, our very old, very sweet, but very deaf dog, decided right in front of. my desk would be a great spot to take a nap. It was fine until I actually needed to do things and he just would not move. I left the room, I yelled loudly. I gestured. Nothing. This dog would not budge. So then I brought my laptop to the living room and of course as soon as my mom came home for lunch, he got up. I chipped a tiny corner of my manicure on my thumb and the annoyance I feel is so over the top but I just can't help it. I have no clue when I did this and it's just enough for my to notice but not enough for me to call my manicurist and ask her to fix it. Major issues going on over here, guys. Oh, also, I didn't make coffee this morning and have been perpetually tired all day. I don't know why I do this. I need coffee to function but at least once a week I'll be like, "Nope. No caffeine today. Only water." Spoiler alert: there was no water consumed today either. Now my left hand is doubly tight and I want to fall asleep before 7pm. But here I am, ready to push through for all of you because this day is too funny for me to keep to myself.
Allow me to take you back to last Thursday, August 10th. My day started when I gained enough semi-consciousness to untangle myself from my blankets, feel around for my phone, barely lift my eye mask. and see it was barely past 7:30. Back to bed! Though, not for very long because a morning doctor's appointment was on my schedule. My dad was the one taking me and I never really fell asleep-asleep so I heard most of the business calls he took that morning. I swear, I've never seen the man not answer the phone on the first ring. We were in the car a few weeks ago and he took a call but got another one that he kept declining. This person kept calling and then finally just texted "call me". Lots of calling but anyway, what you need to know on this particular occasion is that my appointment was at 10 am and he was taking calls up until 8:50. Yes, I remember details like this. My dad then opens my door (very annoyingly and aggressively, might I add) and tells me he's going to take a quick shower. Key word here is "quick" alright? I'm thinking at most this'll take ten minutes because my father, as long as I have been able to retain memory, has had the most minuscule amount of hair in the history of mankind. That and he really has no clue what a descent shower skin care routine is.
I hear the lovely docile tones of his morning sports radio cast. It is, of course, blaring because he can't hear it otherwise and then I have to bank for fifteen minutes instead of ten because of that wonderful radio cast that makes me want to jab a pencil in my ear. I'm sorry, but that is just not how I like waking up in the morning. I like quiet but if I want to listen to music or a podcast, there are these wonderful things called AirPods that allow you to listen at your own volume preferences without disturbing those around you. Moving on. (insert pause for breath and also so I can maintain what is left of my rapidly crumbling mental state while I recap this day) THIS MAN ENTERS MY ROOM AT 9;30!!!! I had gotten into my wheelchair from my bed because I can do that now and pull out the first thing I see in my closet while berating my FIFTY-TWO YEAR OLD father on his lack of time management. Yes, Matthew. I am calling you out. But I'm your favorite and very prepared to g0 against you in a battle of wills so there's nothing you can really do to phase me.
AND FOR THE PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE....
Mom took the wrong car to work. I love her but man, the brain-to-action connection really just flopped on this day. Normally she drives the van to work because I am allergic to interacting in the world and therefore, never leave the house and my dad has his work car. It is like, a quarter to ten and I am stressed because there's a schedule to keep to and we are failing at it. As I'm brushing my teeth, I am informed that the van isn't home. All we have is my dad's short Subaru. My chair weighs three hundred pounds, is at least four feet tall, and does not break down. The irony is not lost on me. The wheelchair accessible car is not available for use by the wheelchair-bound person. So, long story short, I had to swap chairs to go to this appointment and then we drove to my mom's office to switch cars. All's well that ends well. Almost. We still had to go home and get my regular chair and also pick up Ashley. I thought it would be done in that order but apparently not! I was holding the back of the drivers seat in a vice grip because this chair is very light, has no seatbelt, and my dad like to take corners very sharply. Let's just say that I was especially glad to finally be in the chair that is substantial and has a seatbelt. But my dad did get us breakfast once we were all settled so yay! Also, sidetone: did you guys know that Smokey Row has energy drinks? They're not on the menu anywhere except the main location but they're taped to the windows at all the other spots. Seems like a counterintuitive marketing technique but you do you Smokey Row. On to the state fair!
This year, we went on the first day hoping to avoid the big crowds. We were actually able to park on grounds which is a small miracle, The three of us walked around before we were desperately in need of AC so next we ventured into the Varied Industries Building. If you've never been to the fair, this building's sole purpose is to sell you things. We walked through all the booths and then went to the livestock barns. I don't typically go through the barns but my dad is very much the "this is the plan and there are no other options" parent so I went into three barns! I did survive and I will admit that it was cool to see the largest cow and pig of the year.
I finally tried fried Oreos this year and my honest review is that they're good but I don't think I need to have them again. My dad tried a grilled cheese-mac and cheese-brisket-bacon sandwich. It was good but he could only finish half. It was a shocking moment in my life. Then we walked through all the antiques where dad and I kept freaking out at finding vintage four-foot tall Darth Vader statues. The last things we did included walking through the dollhouse exhibition and finally, for the first time in years walked right past the butter cow. A very successful trip!
And would you look at that?? I made it to the end without deleting my work! I was right about to this point the last time so don't worry; I immediately pressed the save button. I hope you enjoyed my summer story time! I can't believe we're so close to back-to-school. Maybe on my next post I'll be coming to you live from my....dorm room?? Ahhhh!
Note: all jabs were made in good fun.
This was not the post I had planned. In fact, I had an entire very long, very funny post ready to go but I was writing the closing, I did something on the keyboard and the page reloaded. I hadn't been continuously saving so when I logged back in, only about 10% remained. I thought I could make it work but my original was just one of those that could not be replaced. The humor and stories and EFFORT and time. I won't lie, I'm kind of sad that this one was lost. But it's okay! There's plenty of other stuff bouncing around in my head that deserves to be put into words. So let me save this and give you guys something equally amazing!
First of all, I cannot let today's epic news pass: Taylor Swift announced that 1989 TV is coming on October 27th!!!💙 Yes, it's already in my calendar and yes, I pre-ordered the vinyl and one of the exclusive CDs. This was after I ordered the vinyls for Lover, folklore, and evermore online at Target last night at 10pm. I'm not responsible for what semi-conscious me does. I just deal with the repercussions once responsible, levelheaded me returns. I already have the vinyls for Red TV, Fearless TV, Speak Now TV, and Midnights. All I have left is Reputation and Taylor Swift but they haven't been re-recorded yet. The re-records are a very big deal. Allow me to explain:
When Taylor started she was very young and when Big Machine Records took an interest in her, she immediately jumped at the chance. She signed a contract in 2005 which was set to expire in 2018. By the time the contract expired, a more experienced Taylor decided to switch from Big Machine to Universal's Republic Records. Seems fine, right? Oh, no no no. Because Big Machine owned the masters aka the original recordings of her first six albums. Now when she switched labels, she made sure that the ownership rights would lie solely with her. Hence- Lover, Folklore, Evermore, Midnights, and beyond are all entirely hers. No one else makes any other decisions or gets the primary royalties.
So back to those first six stuck with BMR. The label was sold to an equity group owned by who? Music sleaze number one Scooter Braun. Scooter then sold Taylor's masters to another group called Shamrock Holdings in 2019 for a sky-scraping $300 million. Now on the surface, this seems like good business when an artist is as popular as Taylor Swift. But underneath, oh it was like the underworld of music. Scooter Braun was terrible to Taylor and people who were in his management, were also equally terrible. I mean, everyone knows about the mic drop heard around the world. So Taylor claims those masters were sold as a move of malice against her in order to prevent her from getting any of the royalties or other benefits since she did not own them.
What did she do? The most epic girl boss gatekeep move she could: she promised to re-record those first six albums. Not only does she get control back but her version would become the preferred versions amongst her fans therefore, the originals would essentially lose their $300 million value. As of now, we have Fearless (Taylor's Version), Red (Taylor's Version), Speak Now (Taylor's Version), 1989 (Taylor's Version) coming in October, and as I've mentioned, everything from Lover on is hers under her new contract. The re-recordings work because she owns the lyrics and musical arrangement. The recordings as they currently exist are where the issue lies. So with every re-release, they're slightly modified which also works as a great way to show growth in her as an artist through these songs we all knew growing up and absolutely love.
There's a little Swiftie School Session for everyone who needed a catch-up! My two loves in this life (at this present moment) are Taylor Swift and books. On the book front, I'm reading six right now. The trick that I have is that my bookmarks are in the most annoying spot so that any time I have a bookmark out, I immediately put it in a book instead of trying to put it away. Then when I finish a book, the bookmark goes into the next one in my pile, and so on and so forth. The goal is to one day run out of books to rotate through but I've never gotten to that point. I'm about a hundred pages into Under the Dome by Stephen King but I've been there since April and then before that, it had been unread on my TBR since December. I will finish it. I never leave a book unfinished even if it takes three years to get through. I did finish two books this week! One was a twelfth century pirate fantasy novel. while the other was set sometime in the future dealing with a serial killer and clones. That one was wild.
I'm trying t0 read as many as I can in the next week because my mom has told me that I'm not allowed to bring all of my books-only the ones that I am actively reading- to college. It's actually a good rule in retrospect because I go for the four hundred page hardbacks and those are heavy. When we moved to Waukee, the three totes of books were all bowed and required two people to lift. So I'm hoping to only need one oversized bag this go around. I've got about half my closet packed into one suitcase which was actually shocking because it was essentially all of my winter clothes. Crossing my fingers that only one suitcase is needed for the rest. I can't believe we're this close to move in day! I've been oscillating between panicked and excited - sometimes in the same hour. I know that once I get settled a lot of my nerves will dissipate but the lead-up has me all over the place. I am genuinely glad to just have more of a routine and things to do everyday. I think I've reached that point in the summer where you're nothing but perpetually bored. Luckily this last week of summer will help alleviate that because my birthday's on Wednesday! We're doing some back to school shopping over the weekend, I've got a facial scheduled. Lots of fun things!
I hope you guys enjoyed this one! I really was all over the place but had a blast educating you on my favorite music and my dilemmas with college move-in! I might try another go at the post I accidentally erased now that I've had some time to write about other things. It was very funny so I'll definitely attempt! Serious question though: What am I going to call this one??
Hello! I’m glad you’re reading this. It means people are still popping into my little corner of the internet and I greatly appreciate it. I know it’s been A. While. Since my last post. Sometimes I go through periods where I don’t think I have anything worthwhile to say- hence, I kind of ghost social media. But I genuinely enjoy writing here for anyone who happens to stumble upon it and I’ve made a deal with myself to just write. No matter what. Even if it’s just a paragraph or a review of something or a piece of my novel; I want to be present and I want to be creative. I’ve got a few ideas already of some future posts that I’m really excited about. Keep an eye out for more regular updates and consider this a reboot of sorts!
So where have I been? For starters, I graduated high school in May! It’s so nice to be officially done but not for long since I start college at the end of August. For those who don’t follow me, I plan on attending Drake University where I’ll be majoring in magazine and brand media. I am super excited to get on campus and begin this new chapter! In between school prep, I’ve been traveling and going to concerts. My sister and I saw Taylor Swift at the beginning of June which was the best kick-off to summer! She’s such a great performer and being apart of that crowd was such a magical experience. She’s my absolute favorite artist so to be able to see her live was an absolute dream. Over the last few years, she’s been re-recording the albums she doesn’t own and recently dropped Speak Now. That album is my all-time favorite and the tracks are ten times better than they were the first time.
My personal favorites are:
💜Better Than Revenge
💜The Story of US
A few weeks after seeing Taylor Swift, I flew to Hawaii with my family to celebrate the end of the school year. I’ve never been on a plane before this and my general experience was pretty good. We ordered an electric chair that can fold and I think that’s what really saved us because we didn’t have to worry about my primary wheelchair being damaged or anything like that. Obviously, it’s not always smooth sailing for all people who use assistive devices but I had very few issues. The TSA check was easy and the people who helped me were very nice and explained everything they were doing/how they were doing it. Aisle chairs definitely are not ideal but it was easy to get into it and relatively quick. Whenever we exited the plane, my chair was always there waiting. Our trip itself was so nice and relaxing. There was a whole day where I did nothing but sit on the beach. I got my first tattoo there too! I posted a vlog recently full of clips from the week so make sure to check it out!
In other big news, I’m working on a novel! At this very moment I’m a little over halfway and I am having a blast creating characters and watching the story come together. The genre is fantasy and I’m hoping to make it a series. I’ve always thought about taking the leap and trying a novel but I never got the ‘spark’ for one until my creative writing class. I might post snippets here and there so always be on the look out. Between that and writing here, I’m excited to have all these outlets for creative energy!
I’m hoping to post on here weekly on Mondays from this point on so make sure you’re signed up to be notified as soon as new content is live. I know this one wasn’t too long but I’m easing back into things. I hope you’ll stick around for this new chapter!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!