May & June Highlights

I haven’t done a highlights post in forever! It feels nice to be back into blogging regularly :)

Here is what I was up to the past two months…

I read 8 books.

Hitchhiker's Guide  Jurassic Park  Persuasion harrypotter whereshewent

      Fables  Seconds  Stealing the Groom

Which is a lot considering I was still coming off my reading slump last month.

Most Popular Posts

Where I’ve Been – It was nice to finally share with everyone our exciting news and explain why I’d been absent for several months.

25 Things: Ever After’s Château de Hautefort – I love that this post from last summer is still so popular, especially since it was on my bucket list for so long & I’d love to revisit it!

What I Watched

I finally got to catch up with my favorite web series! I updated my ‘Literary Vlogs’ sidebar to reflect some of the new YouTube shows I’ve been watching, like Northbound and From Mansfield With Love (adaptations of Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, respectively).

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I relate very much to Catherine Morland…and of course, who doesn’t love Henry Tilney?!

I also caught up on From Mansfield With Love, finally. It’s a harder Jane Austen novel to adapt, but the frequent cameos from the minor characters make it pretty interesting :)

May & June Highlights

  • Traveling – I traveled a lot the past two months. Probably more than a pregnant lady should, but I always had a buddy with me (either family members or Solo) and it was nice to visit friends and family.
  • 2nd Trimester! – After the first trimester’s ups and downs, it’s been like a breath of fresh air being in my second trimester. We also got to see our “little baby french fry” up close and found out it’s a boy! Since then we’ve been preparing our tiny apartment (and ourselves) for his arrival. Every time I see a friend has had her baby I get a tiny bit jealous! For now, labor doesn’t scare me, but I’m sure that’ll change in a few months!

    24 Weeks

    24 weeks as of July 6th!

  • VACATION! – Last week we went on a family reunion cruise. It was wonderful :)
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    My husband and me in Key West (we also visited Cozumel).

    Carnival

    Carnival Ecstasy

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    My mom’s side of the family :)

    Matt and Ian

    My brother would probably kill me if he knew I put this online, but I love this picture so much! We were all pretty exhausted on the drive back from Miami.

    We also got to spend 4th of July at EPCOT so my husband and I got an unexpected Disney fix (thanks to my aunt’s sister who works at the parks).
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    Matt

    Isn’t he cute? ;)

May & June Challenges

  • Feeling hungry all the time – This has been the one pitfall to my second trimester. I feel like I’m hungry so often, and most of the time the only foods I want to eat are sweets and junk food =P I’ve always been active and have had a fast metabolism, so it’s hard for me to limit myself but I don’t want to overindulge at the same time.
  • Missing having a job – I wasn’t able to find a job before we moved to Wilmington, and after I hit the 12 weeks mark I figured it would just be best for me to take it easy and pick up my job search early next year. But I miss having a routine and that extra income. If anyone knows of some reliable, non-telemarketing, work-from-home jobs, PLEASE let me know!

Things I’m Looking Forward To in July

  • More traveling – Hey, it’s better to get all this traveling in now than when after the baby arrives!
  • Catching up on reading – I’m trying to put a big dent in my Classics TBR plus I have tons of unread books on my shelves that I’d like to get to sometime this year.
  • Summer activities with friends – We have some game nights and beach days penned down for the summer that my husband and I are both looking forward to (although I’m much more hesitant about the ocean after the 8th North Carolina shark attack this year was reported a few days ago…).

July To Be Read

harrypotter  The Martian Wives and Daughters

My husband and I are continuing through our read along of the Harry Potter series. I started reading The Martian last month and although it’s holding my attention, it does take a while to read. I’m seriously behind on my Classics Club list, so I’m picking up Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters this month.

What was your favorite moment from June?

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2013 Wrap Up Post: Most Interesting Search Engine Terms

Greetings from Florida! This post is coming from the good ‘ol Sunshine State, where I will be until tomorrow. Our trip to the States has been wonderful thus far, and I am quite sad that we will be headed back to la France in a week, but it will be nice to see our puppy again after so long.

This post is also coming from our brand new iPad that my parents surprised us with for Christmas! It is convenient writing from here :)

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I was genuinely shocked!

Check back later next week for my “Visit to the States Bucket List” (yes I made one before flying over here–I know all you expats can relate), but for now enjoy this fun little piece all about the most interesting search terms that have brought readers to my blog. I can’t take credit for this idea, but hopefully it will bring you some smiles all the same :)

  • work is not very hard – I don’t know anyone who can agree with this one, especially not any of the teachers I work with!
  • interesting facts about parcheesi – umm…what?
  • what is the best portrayal of mr rochester in a jane eyre movie – ahh! I like this question, and I think I answered it in this post, but out of the four adaptations I watched, I would have to say Toby Stephens in the 2006 BBC adaptation was my favorite portrayal. BBC always does well :)
  • maleficent stained glass disneyland paris – don’t mind if I do:

    Maleficent

    Inside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland Paris

  • an american in france novel – maybe one day I’ll get around to writing one…but today is not that day.
  • jimmy durante song in who’s got mail – those songs are awesome, right?? Here are the links to As Time Goes By and Make Someone Happy
  • 5 month australian shepherd – well, if you insist :)
This is how he still likes to wake us up each morning :)

This is how he still likes to wake us up each morning :)

And there you have it! Maybe next year will turn up some funnier searches :) Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! I myself hope to get back into blogging more often in the new year; right now I’m too engrossed in library books!

Favorite Fictional Families

Ahh November :) I might say that this is my favorite month in the whole year, but then October and March are all like, “What about us?” and then I get confused and forget about what I was supposed to be writing about…oh yes! November:  one of my favorite months out of the year. And what do I love most about this month? Family time! There are plenty of opportunities to spend time with family. Combine Thanksgiving family time with all of the book reading I’ve been up to this autumn, and I started to think about some of my favorite fictional families, especially the ones I’d love to be apart of (for a day or so)!

So without further ado, here are my Four Favorite Fictional Families (yes, I love alliteration!):

The_Weasley_Family_at_EgyptThe Weasleys (Harry Potter) – Who doesn’t love the Weasley family? (Except maybe those who haven’t read or seen any of the books or movies.) There’s so many of them that you’re practically guaranteed to like at least one of them ;)

Ginny was always my favorite. I loved being able to see her quietly mature throughout the series. In the beginning you hardly know she’s there but by the last couple of books she’s become a pretty active character, one who is no longer overshadowed by her older brothers.

Morning

Probably my favorite scene from all the films.

And then of course there are the twins. Classic pranksters through and through, but when someone they love needs help, they’re as reliable as anyone else. But of course, don’t expect them not to crack a few jokes here and there…

Then there’s Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, the most lovable adoptive parents Harry could have ever dreamed of. They’re quirky (Arthur) and emotional (Molly) but I love them all the more for that!

And, oh…they all have red hair. Awesome points :)

AnneThe Blythes (Anne of Green Gables) – Out of all the families on my list, this is the one I would like to resemble the most. The Blythes are very entertaining and insightful, and they all love each other so dearly.

I really enjoyed the later sequels in the series, when Anne became more and more of a secondary character and we were able to read about all of the adventures her children had, and anyone who is familiar with Anne knows that any child of hers is bound to have some wild adventures…and talk a lot:

Jem always thought Mother had such a beautiful, joyous laugh . . . answering innumerable questions. “Mummy, how far is it from here to the sunset? …Mummy, why can’t we gather up the spilled moonlight? …Mummy, do the souls of dead people REALLY come back on Hallowe’en? …Mummy, what causes the cause? …Mummy, wouldn’t you rather be killed by a rattlesnake than a tiger, because the tiger would mess you up and eat you? …Mummy, what is a cubby? …Mummy, is a widow really a woman whose dreams have come true? Wally Taylor said she was…Mummy, what do little birds do when it rains HARD? …Mummy, are we REALLY a too romantic family?

[Somewhat unrelated, but check out this genius blog–it’s Anne of Green Gables as told through Lego illustrations!]

AOGG

Eric MatthewsThe Matthews (Boy Meets World) – My favorite television show growing up; I wish they still made shows like this! And I hope the new spin-off is just as good :)

I remember staying up late with my sister to watch reruns on the Disney Channel when we were younger. And even now I’ll watch an occasional episode on YouTube (or spend well over an hour looking through Tumblr pictures to use for this post).

Eric was definitely my favorite Matthews family member. He’s so goofy it’s hard not to love him. “Good Lookin’ Guy” will always be the best personal theme song, and of course…who can forget about “Plays with Squirrels”?

And then there’s Cory, the character I probably relate the most to. He deals with real problems that every teenager can relate to, and his family is there to help him, support him, call him out on things. That’s what I love about them–they have real problems and they deal with them in realistic ways. And yes, this is a sitcom, but each of the characters are well-developed and serious when need be, including the parents; they aren’t absent or unimportant, and they help Cory make it through some tough issues.

Meet the RobinsonsThe Robinsons (Meet the Robinsons) – In my opinion, this is the most underrated Disney movie out there. There isn’t anything I don’t like about this movie: it’s geeky, quirky, very original, there’s a dinosaur, jazz frogs, and at the center of it all, there’s a crazy family that loves each other.

My favorite thing about this dorky family is that they embrace failures, because it means that they tried. Man, I just love that philosophy. And their familial motto (penned by Walt Disney himself), is “Keep Moving Forward.”

meet-the-robinsons-disney-quote

Oh, and I also adore the soundtrack :)

Who are your favorite fictional families?

Disney Dates: Beauty and the Beast

16e076e56aacf18bb2b727de1bca00b3My husband and I are huge Disney fans, and Disney has always been a major theme in our relationship: the first time we said “I love you” was at Disney World (where we also had our honeymoon), last year we celebrated our first anniversary at Disneyland Paris, and for one of our first dates Matt took me to see Beauty and the Beast the musical.

Beauty and the Beast is special for us, and we both fell in love with the film years before even meeting each other. When I was in 9th or 10th grade I finally came to embrace Disney love stories (before that I wasn’t a fan of sappy romances, and my favorite movie had been The Jungle Book because it was “all about friendship”), and I remember watching Beauty and the Beast at least once a night for weeks (I am not exaggerating) and I really came to identify with Belle.  Matt had always loved Belle, and when he was younger he even vowed that he would marry her one day… *awwww*

So last week, when we finally arrived at Beauty and the Beast in our Disney marathon (since we got married we have been watching all of the full-length animated Disney movies. Currently there are 52, with #53 Frozen coming out next month), we decided to make it into a date night. Ever since the Be Our Guest Restaurant opened at Disney World, we have been really wanting to visit, and since we haven’t been able to do that yet, we decided to bring the magic to our home by having a themed dinner and movie night à la Belle et la Bête.

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I made a three course meal, with the appetizer, main course, and dessert all coming from the Be Our Guest Restaurant menu:

  • French Onion Soup: This recipe is easily the best recipe for French Onion Soup I have ever tasted. I cut out some of the spices simply because I didn’t have any in my kitchen, but I really loved the flavor that the balsamic vinegar added (I love balsamic vinegar).

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  • Chicken Provençal: This recipe was incredibly simple to make, and I only cut out the mushrooms because I can’t stand them. Originally I was planning on serving this with green beans, but after I got back from the grocery store I realized we didn’t have any so I served it with pasta instead. The extra sauce went well with that. And the marinade for the chicken was so delicious and simple that I will probably be using that for my chicken from now on!

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  • “The Grey Stuff”: This is basically cookies and cream pudding. I used this recipe from The Disney Diner, with some alterations…mainly I had to substitute the Cool Whip (which we don’t have in France) for homemade Chantilly (whip cream). I also used canned Mont Blanc crème dessert à la vanille because they also do not have boxed pudding mix here. Therefore the dish came out more of a brownish-grey as opposed to a true grey color, but it was still delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I forgot to take a picture before digging in.

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Of course my husband, who loves presentation, did some quick decorating and rearranging of the furniture to replicate the ballroom look from the movie:

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Mickey & Minnie and Rapunzel & Flynn also joined us;)

And he even brought me home a single rose to complete the theme :)

Having themed dinner and movie nights is something I want to do with our children one day, so this also served as a test run for that (a very, very, very early test run). I got inspired after finding this post from a super-cool mom who hosted Disney movie nights for her kids.

The next movie on our Disney marathon list is Aladdin! Maybe we’ll turn that into another themed dinner night ;) Mmm… For now, let me leave you with my favorite B&B meme ever:

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Hahahaha, I seriously never get tired of this one.