Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

So if you have been following me, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Con’s and wishing I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.

YEEEEES!!!!!!

But then there was a light in the darkness! On my instagram popped up a post about a Jane Con in Modesto! Modesto! I could go to Modesto!

No horror-glee and happiness instead!

From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera-to of course post on them later (as I am now).

So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & GroansAfter that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy or Start You Own Book Club. 

Our group decided against the book club workshop as we already had one, although I am sure it was absolutely amazing, and instead decided to attend The Definitive Darcy. 

Ah, Darcy.

I was excited for this workshop as there are so many adaptions of Pride and Prejudice, oh this will be so much fun! I mean you have a ton of Regency Darcys to choose from:

AND a ton of modern adaptions (and yes I know the above has a picture of Darcy from Bride and Prejudice. I didn’t make the image):

And let’s not forget-we aren’t just looking at Darcy. We are also trying to define the definitive Elizabeth.

This workshop was run by Erin E. Connor and Melissa Ruzika:

Why is Mr. Darcy such a big deal and why are we wild about Lizzie? Join JASNA Central California executive committee members Erin and Melissa as they delve into Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, and its three most popular film adaptions. Bring your own opinions and take sides in a friendly debate as to who is the definitive Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Erin E. Conor is a lifelong Jane Austen fan. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) and serves as member-at-large on the Executive Committee for the Central California region of JASNA. Her favorite Austen novel is Emma, and her favorite Austen inspired film is Austenland.

Melissa Ruzika is a long time JASNA member and Central California Region Executive Committee member. Her knowledge of Jane Austen and her works is deep, and Melissa is known for being an acute observer of JA in popular culture with solid textual backing for her opinions.

Debate you say? Okay:

I’m ready:

So one of the nicest things that Connor and Ruzika had with their workshops were handouts and a paddle with the Firth and Macfayden Darcys to engage the crowd in the debate in order so that everyone could be heard.

Connor and Ruzika started off with Historical Context, discussing what the Regency period was. You can click on the link above for more information, but a brief overview:

  • Crazy King George III (sorry I’m American) had to take a step down from ruling as he was suffering from a disease (believed to be porphyria) that made him mad, and his son had to become Prince Regent.
  • The Regency Period is believed to be 1795-1837, with the Prince Regent ruling from 1811-1820. When King George died in 1820, the Prince became King.
  • The Prince Regent was a giant fan of Jane Austen.
  • There was the Industrial Revolution in the North (Any North & South fans out there? It is set in the Victorian time period but shows the difference between the industrial North and the Countryside South extremely well.)
  • There was serious class division, with an emerging middle class (The Gardiners who reside in Cheapside
  • It was the Romantic Era.

From there we got a quick overview of the book Pride and Prejudice as Connor & Ruzika had provided a handout from Playful Paths to Love and one from shmoop to give us a better idea on how rich Darcy would be today. We (book club, sister, and I) really loved that as while I am the serious Janeite, the rest of the group isn’t. One member of our group had never even read the book or seen any of the movies, only having read The Darcy Monologues for our book club. I’m not sure about the rest of the crowd, but I am certain that there had to be some others who were grateful for the refresher.

And even if you know the story frontwards and backwards, it is one that I never get tired of hearing.

We then had a brief discussion of Pride and Prejudice (1940), but they didn’t spend that much time on it. They later explained that they felt that not that many people have seen it (or liked it), and I understand time is limited.

Aw, man!

But as we have time, I’m throwing the trailer in here. It may not be accurate, but still is a great film and the first P&P adaption I ever saw. Plus LAURENCE OLIVIER! *Sigh*

I wish we could have looked at all the depictions, but that would have taken too much time. Although I’d be down for it.

Anyways-we then moved onto the debate. Colin Firth versus Matthew MacFayden, Jennifer Ehle versus Keira Knightley, Simon Langton versus Joe Wright, BBC versus Universal, etc.

 

Fight, fight, fight! (from Jane Austen Fight Club)

So starting with the trailers:

Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

So now that we have seen the trailers, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So after they discussed each facet they had us hold up our paddles to determine who won.

I’m in this photo.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write down who won each scene:

So I’ll just put my thoughts at the end.

Round 1: Mr. Collins, Tom Hollander Vs. David Bamber

So the group started off with the Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice (2005) the boiled potatoes scene. 

I know a lot of people love that scene, and I admit that I love Hollander’s stone faced delivery, however, it never really struck me as much as it does everyone else.

For Bamber they showed him trying to dance. But the scenes that really sell me on Mr. Collins is when they are getting ready for the ball and he runs into Lydia, and the Mr. Collins wave. Those scenes are priceless! 

IMO Winner: P&P (1995) David Bamber

Well-played!

Round 2: Sexy Darcy, Hand Clench Vs Firth in Bathtub & the Wet Shirt Scene

So the hand clench scene, I understand it but I don’t go crazy over it. First of all, as Doiel said in Gowns and Groans, they should have been wearing gloves. And not to be rude-but to me it always looks like his hand has a spasm. That’s just my view, if you love this scene then love it. I actually like this scene better.

For the 1995, they had the bath scene:

And the wet shirt/lake scene:

This had an obvious winner, I mean how can you resist Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt?

IMO Winner: P&P (1995) Bath Scene + Wet Shirt

Round 3: Meryton Assembly

So they started off with the Meryton Ball in 2005. Now I don’t really care for it as I am mostly distracted by how Caroline Bingley forgot to put a real dress on, she looks as if she is in a chemise not a gown. I never cared for how casual the Bennet sisters look as Mrs. Bennet most definitely would be wanting the girls to be more dressed up in order to snag a husband. It is lively, but I don’t care for the interactions between the characters:

Now the 1995 version is more subdued, but I like the costume choices better, and to me I like that it is concentrated on small scenes (Bingley & Jane along with Darcy & Elizabeth) with not so much going on in the background.

IMO Winner: P&P (1995)

Round 4: Romantic Aesthetic Vs. Accuracy

So Pride and Prejudice (2005) has a lot of romantic elements. You have these big scenic panoramas, Elizabeth on the cliff, Darcy and Elizabeth in the neoclassical building when he proposes (1st time), and the slow walk along the field in the early dawn (2nd proposal). This I personally don’t like, as Connor and Ruzika said, it is very Bronte-esque, but that is my biggest problem. Jane Austen is not Jane Bronte. And I really don’t like the scene where he finds her in the rain, as how did he know she would be there? And the field scene, they just happen to be there at the same time? Besides one of my favorite parts is at the end of the book when Mr. Darcy comes around with Bingley and Elizabeth is doing all she can to try and get his attention and figure out a way to talk to him, but is thwarted and unsure. And that longing and loss of hope-just gets me every time, will they get together ?!

And “Your hands are cold” I’ve always disliked that line as I feel it just kills the mood.

With me I love the accuracy of the mini-series, but of course there are things added in, like the Lake scene. But one of my favorite is when they are getting ready for the ball and the interaction between the sisters and Mr. Collins.

IMO Winner: P&P (1995)

Round 5: Bennet Family, “Behave Naturally” Vs. “Meet the Bennets”

So to get a view into the different relationships with the Bennet sisters, they used the “Behave Naturally” scene from P&P (2005). This is a great scene, even I love it.

The scene they chose from the P&P (1995) version is also a great scene. You really get the family dynamic in this one.

IMO Winner: Tie

Round 5: Darcy’s Flirtation, Sisterly Help Vs. Hungry Eyes

So with 2005, they chose the scene in which Elizabeth goes to Pemberley and meets Georgiana. It is a good scene as we get a new view of him from the servants, how he interacts with Georgiana, and that Darcy has been talking about her quite a bit with his sister. However, I have always hated Elizabeth skulking around and that peeping tom camera angle. I know it is partly because they had to combine different parts of the book for time limit, but her looking through the door gives me Norman Bates Psycho vibes.

For the 1995 version, they used a fan made video of Darcy staring and Hungry Eyes playing. That video is AMAZING but my favorite flirtation scene is when Darcy goes to see Elizabeth when she is staying at the Collins’ house, and Darcy comes to visit her and just stares or stares out the window because he doesn’t know what to say.

IMO Winner: P&P (1995)

So in my opinion there is a clear winner between Firth & Ehle versus Macfayden & Knightley:

But as for Jane Con? Everyone who had a paddle held it up and it came out to be 18-18

But then someone brought up the fact that not everyone had a paddle so they had us stand and count. The final result came out to be…………………………….

22-20 in favor of………

Yes Modesto Jane Con 2020 Declared Colin Firth as the Definitive Mr. Darcy.

So we all loved this workshop. They were fun, informative, interactive, and in the end we all could agree whether you love the 1995 or 2005 version, we all love Pride and Prejudice.

The only thing I would love more is if we looked at the other Darcy’s from films and TV shows, although I understand that wouldn’t be possible in one hour. I also would like to know who they think the worst Darcy is. I personally think it is the one in Austentatious (2015), which  ugh, I still have to finish watching.

For more on Modesto Jane Con, go to Modesto Jane Con: Gowns & Groans, A Costumer Looks at Regency Costumes on Film and Stage

For more Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more Elizabeth Bennet, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Modesto Jane Con: Gowns & Groans, A Costumer Looks at Regency Costumes on Film and Stage

So Modesto Jane Con was this past weekend. From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

I, unfortunately, could only go on Saturday, but I had so much fun and I can’t wait until the next one! If there is a next one…

So your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

I dressed up for the event (I’ll post on that later) and brought a reticule my sister made. Reticules are tiny, so I couldn’t pack everything in my bag-just the essentials. Debit card, credit card, ID, fan, gloves, pens, glasses (as I was wearing contacts) and a handkerchief. I wasn’t too worried about the size of the reticule though, as I had planned on purchasing one of their cute tote bags.

I also brought my notebook, as I planned on taking notes and later posting them (as I am now).

Our group was traveling from 1.5-2 hours away (depending on that CA traffic) and left around seven and arrived a little after 8:30. We actually headed to the theater as I was looking at the wrong event. You know me and navigating, I always get lost!

I then redirected our group, and we went to the library. We easily checked in and finished just as they announced the first workshop: Gowns & Groans

So of course, we were excited about this workshop. We wanted to learn more about the Regency gowns and who can resist the chance to snark about costumes?

Let the snark begin!

This workshop was run by Kristine Doiel and Hillari DeSchane

“Costumes have a coded language all their own. They can transport us back to Austen’s time and speak volumes about the characters, or they can be a constant distraction and prevent us from losing ourselves in the unfolding drama. Join veteran costumer Kristine Doiel on a lively, and likely to be controversial, stroll through this Regency costume Hall of Fame and Shame.”

Kristine Doiel is a costume designer and theater educator with over 50 theater and dance productions to her credit. A lecturer at Fresno State since 2017, she has taught costume and theater classes and mentored student designers. Awards include the UC Davis Provost’s Fellowship in Arts, the Princess Grace Foundation Theater Grant and a Dramalogue Award for costume design for The Rivals in Santa Barbara.

Hillari DeSchane is a JASNA life member and a board member of Opera Modesto. Her pre-show opera talks have become audience favorites. DeSchane’s first Regency pet cozy: A Christmas Tail: A Regency Holiday Mystery received a Certificate of Merit from the Cat Writers Association hillarideschane.com

Picture by Arnold Chavez

So Doiel started off the workshop talking about her background; moved onto the judging of the film depictions, finished with her experiences in costuming the Mansfield Park Opera, and concluded with a Q&A.

Part I: Doiel’s Background

Doiel shared that didn’t have a background in Regency wear, and had to do research on it-being an archeologist, literary analyst, and art historian all in one. I enjoyed this aspect of her talk as you don’t really think about that when watching a film or performance, that not only do the clothes have to be accurate-but they have to reflect the action of the scene, the context of the characters, and the literature of the piece.

That’s a lot

It reminded me of when I studied art history and how you looked at the art and what it was saying, but at the same time also looked into what was happening at the time and how that influenced it. There are many layers you have to work through-such as a self portrait of an artist wearing red, blue, and white takes on a different meaning when it was created post-French revolution, such as to show liberty, fraternity, that is one of the new citizens, etc.

Part II: Gowns & Groans

The next part of the discussion was Doiel reviewing the clothing choices in Mansfield Park (1999), Mansfield Park (2007), and Pride and Prejudice (1940).

So to start with, I do not like Mainsfield Park (1999). 

Not for me..

Eventually I will review it, but as for now-we will get back to the clothes.

Gowns:

Doiel felt that quite a bit of the costumes in here were accurate. Lady Bertram wore flimsy, lacy gowns that looked like something the wealthy class would wear, but older-late 1700s and post-French Revolution. It fits as Lady Bertram wouldn’t be at the height of fashion, but wearing something more her time. Maria, Julia, and the men were all accurate.

Groans:

So here is the good part, let’s start talking trash! J/K, Doiel was very kind in her remarks, trying to not be too judgmental and try to reason why a certain outfit would have been picked.

The first offender: Fanny Price played by Frances O’Conner

So in this Fanny wears a lot of what looks like a jumper or vest over a shirt. This is not accurate at all. Instead the film, which is one reason why I can’t stand it, doesn’t follow the book at all when it comes to Fanny’s character. Instead, they turn Fanny into Jane Austen, and emphasize the writing aspect, dressing her in this more masculine, “writing type” outfit. I call it a “writing type” outfit as when I saw this the first time it made me think of Jo in the 1933 version and she was a writer. It also is similar to what Jo wears in the 2019 version of Little Women.

The other offender: Mary Crawford.

All of Mary’s clothes were too contemporary. I mean look at the dress above, it is something that we were wearing at the start of the millennium, rather than 185 years earlier. remember wearing sleeves like that on my clothes.

She also has an outfit with a giant collar, that is just what? Doiel pointed out that the person in charge of wardrobe would have the resources and done the research on what was accurate and somebody (whether them, the studio, actor, or the director) picked this for a purpose. Doiel didn’t know why, but guessed that either the director or actor wanted something more modern to relate to audiences.

Mary’s outfits definitely were the worst.

So Mansfield Park (2007) is not the most accurate of films, as they cut a lot out to keep it at standard movie time length-however I am apparently one of the few that actually enjoys it.

Gowns: 

She didn’t talk about any she liked as it was time to move onto the next section.

Groans:

The offender here was Billie Piper as Fanny Price.

So Doil noticed that Piper wore a wide range of styles and thought maybe it was so varied as the production wanted her to be wearing hand-me-down gowns. There is a diamond dress that she wears that is completely inaccurate to the time period. Also her hair is one hundred percent wrong, as it is too modern, and she would have had it pinned up as she isn’t a young child. I think that is an interesting comment in light of the Emma Vogue photo shoot. 

The other outfit that Doiel pointed out as wrong was the white wedding dress Fanny wears at the end of the film. White wedding dresses only became popular after Queen Victoria, prior to that they were colored dresses. I disagreed with this as I thought the white dress was more a comment on Fanny’s innocence, sweetness, and morality versus being white to be in with what is in fashion today. I mean, after all this takes place after an affair, a love proved false, and all the manipulations by the Crawfords. Plus, it is a foil to Maria’s dress who had opulence (check out that hat) and color, Fanny’s being plain not because of what she was forced to wear (as I am sure Sir Thomas would have bought her a different dress), but a testament to her character. But that’s just my thoughts…

The last one we looked at was Pride and Prejudice (1940) a film I love, but apparently a lot do not.

Gowns:

Nothing was accurate.

Groans:

The film was set in the 1830s instead of the Regency period and no one quite knows why. Some say it was because Gone With the Wind was so popular and they wanted to use costumes like that. Others say it was because the Regency gowns seemed too plain. Others believe it was more cost effective to use these gowns than create new ones. Doiel thought that they might have picked such extravagant costumes as England was having to o with sparse materials, “mend and make do” as the slogan goes, and seeing such fun fabric and opulence would raise spirits. I don’t know if we will ever know…

Hmmm

Doiel said that she felt that this style works for Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, and Lydia as it is extravagant, frivolous, oversized, and fits their characters.

However, with Elizabeth, it works against her.

*Sigh* Laurence Olivier looks great, but he is wearing pants instead of breeches (as are the other men (see below on the view of pants) and Colonel Fitzwilliam wears a kilt (?).

That’s where we ended, although I wished they had discussed Mansfield Park (1983) as that one has some doozies in choices. I mean look at their hair.

From left to right: Edmund Bertram, Mary Crawford, and Mr. Yates

Part III: Costuming Mansfield Park, the Opera

So Doiel said that when costuming something that takes place in the past, buying the right type of fabric can be a problem. You need something that looks right on stage, fits together as a whole (in color and style), and needs to be accurate as to something they would wear.

Doiel did say that she was fortunate in this Opera to be able to reuse costumes from an earlier production, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley that had been done in December 2019.

She brought swatches in of the different fabrics for each characters costumes, and me and my group really liked that. We all enjoyed the closeup look and when we watched the performance later in the day, looked at the costumes and remembered what we had seen earlier in the workshop. We also loved that her mom, who helped her sew and cut things out, was there. It was so sweet how she helped hand out the swatches and supported her. I had tried to take a picture of the one for Fanny, but the people in my row wanted me to pass it along and the pic came out blurry.

Doiel’s favorite dress of the production was the gray number that Mary Crawford wears in Scene 5: Chapter Five. In the Wilderness. It was originally worn by Anne de Bourgh in the Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. I tried to get a good picture, but this was all I got.

She also loved the Navy suit that Edmund wears as she made it.

Part IV: Q & A

Doiel ended the session by answering questions and talking about Regency wear. Breeches were standard menswear. Pants, or pantaloons as they were called, were not to be worn by the upperclass. They were said to cause a scandal because they showed everything too well-even though in reality breeches showed more. But you know how I feel about that!

This should say breeches instead of pants, but I didn’t write this so it gets a pass. It was an instagram answer from a question I asked my followers.

She said that pants were worn only by the lower class workers, so wearing them was seen as trashy.

Someone asked about the muslin we have today versus then, and she said it is different. The muslin sold in stores today is mostly white and work wear, instead of dress wear. Back in the Regency period it would be block printed, decorated, different colors, and came from India. The muslin was semi-sheer and lightweight, like cotton. Of course whenever I think of Muslin I think of:

India greatly influenced what people wore-in colors, patterns, and of course ladies adopting the use of a pashmina. I had noticed that when I was trying to find something to wear to Jane Con.

From Emma (1996)

Women and men always wore gloves when going out of the house. Doiel mentioned how they weren’t doing that in the Opera as it was too difficult with all the clothing changes. That means that that hand clench scene in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice never should have happened as both Darcy and Elizabeth should have been wearing gloves.

One woman asked about lace, and lace was very in fashion. It came from India or France (probably not as much from France at this time as England and France had been fighting) and was used on hemlines and sleeves.

My book club + sister really enjoyed this discussion. We wished that Doiel had judged the costumes a bit more, (as who doesn’t like a good rip ?), but understood that she was trying to be fair.

We loved that she stayed on topic-discussing only the clothes instead of the actual films. We would have liked to hear her thoughts on more films or more on costuming the show, but understood we only had an hour and had to be a bit limited to have enough time to cover everything.

DeSchane did a great job moderating the workshop, with her interesting questions and keeping an eye on how much time we had.

We loved it and learned a lot. In fact, later we watched the 1983 Mansfield Park and discussed what we learned in this when we looked at the costumes.

This workshop.

For more on Regency clothes, go to Muslin: The Fabric of Jane’s Life

For more Mansfield Park, go to Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

For more on Jane Austen, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

Skinny Chai Tea Latte

It is winter and cold and what better thing to do than to have some chai tea?

Especially if you have won a giveaway that has a box of tea, including chai tea.

Yes, I’ll be reviewing this at a later date, but for now I have this recipe to tide you over. This recipe comes from a book we added at the library, Lose Weight By Eating: Detox Week by Audrey Johns. I was flipping through the book, processing it, when this recipe caught my eye and I had to make it.

“Oh, the irony…I’m typing this at a coffeehouse. I’m just trying to be honest here, because though I don’t often visit coffeehouses, I do once in a while when I need a quiet space to work. I made this recipe earlier today, then figured, “What the heck, let’s make sure it is as good as Starbucks,” so I headed on over to my local spot and ordered-you guessed it-a chai tea latte. So here I am, drinking my second chai tea latte of the day and typing up my recipe, which I think tastes exactly the same.

I whisk the milk by hand, and it’s very easy. It only takes a minute and you’re done (and by the way I’ve had two wrist surgeries in my whisking hand, so I assure you anyone can handle this mild activity).”

Ingredients:

  • 3 Chai Tea Bags, with the Paper Tags Cut Off
  • 2 Cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk or Milk of your choice
  • 2 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 cups of water.
  2. One heated, remove from heat and steep 3 bags of chai tea for five minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan heat the milk over medium-low heat. As soon as the milk is simmering, whisk it.
  4. Pour the tea into two cups and and add sugar, maple syrup, or other sweetener.
  5. Top with frothy milk.
  6. Sprinkle on some pumpkin pie spice (if using).
  7. Congratulations, you just saved yourself $5.04.

I thought it was really good, but I had way more milk than tea. I don’t think the author planned for how it grows when heated and whisked. I had to make additional cups of tea to use it up-but otherwise, it was delicious!

For more tea posts, go to Blueberry Matcha Smoothie

For more recipes, go to Crispy, Chewy, Matcha Green Tea Cookies

Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers if Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge

So two years ago in October, my book club and I went to an author Meet & Greet to meet Paula Scott, the author of the California Rising series. There were other authors there, but we spent almost all the time talking to her and picking up the last book of the series, Chasing the Wind, which we were going to read in January 2019.

My friend, and fellow book club member, saw the Praying with Jane booth and pointed it out to me as she knows I love Jane Austen.

I had just seen it on instagram, and put it on my to-read shelf and was very excited about it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy it as I had no extra money, besides buying the Chasing the Wind, as I had a lot of things I had to take care of from my ex-husband.

I was bummed, and just stopped by quickly saying hello to Ms. Dodge, and then taking a bookmark to hold on to. I was planning on buying it after my finances cleared. But…it turned out that I didn’t need to. My friend bought me this book and Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe.  

She knows me very well.

I resolved to read it, February 1st-March 3rd 2019. I started off strong, but fell behind in the middle of it.

I tried a few more times and each time failed:

Uh oh

So in October, I resolved to try in November. This time I would just keep going, even if I failed to read one day-I would just keep moving forward.

I started off badly-beginning on November 3rd-and ended on December 23rd. Yes, as you can see it took me longer to read this.

But it was worth it. This book was fantastic! You can read it anytime, but I found it perfect in the holiday season as it allowed me time to pause, focus on God, and prepare my heart.

So some people are not religious and will not be interested in going through the prayers, but no matter your beliefs, all will appreciate the value and research that Dodge went through in writing this book. Not only did she study Jane Austen’s family, life, and background; but she has read and researched the novels of Jane Austen-highlighting moments from her popular books to the ones that aren’t always mentioned or talked about-Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey.

So if you go on my instagram, you can see day by day the parts of each passage that I liked, but on here I am going to mention the ones that really touched me.

Or years.

Day 7

“…Jane had much for which to be thankful. Thus, the last few words of this line reveal an important truth: Discontentment and indifference are two prime enemies of thankfulness. Discontentment is wishing things were different. It’s common when we face trials, compare our lives to the lives of others, or start to think what we have isn’t enough. Indifference is the state of being unmoved by blessings that surround us…Discontentment and indifference are both founded in a lack of thankfulness because when we grumble about out ‘lot’, we’re really grumbling against God.”

“Jane’s prayer reminds us to make thanksgiving an integral part of our prayers lives as a powerful antidote against discontentment and indifference. When you fill your mouth with praise, it has less room for grumbling. Thanking God for what He has done and has promised to do shifts your focus from what you don’t have to what you do.”

I love holidays and celebrating, but when the holiday season comes it can also bring some discontent with bills, holiday celebrations, seeing how others seem happy and together-comparing it to yourself. Reading this in November was perfect as this book helped redirect me from any of those pratfalls and help prepare my heart on thankfulness and being grateful for all I had.

Day 9

“Jane’s prayer reminds us that though we cannot comfort every widow, orphan, and prisoner, we can reach out to one lonely man, woman, or child with the love of Christ. And no matter our age, health, or financial circumstances, we can pray for those in need.”

This chapter was perfect with the holiday season as that is the perfect time to think about others-

And I love how Dodge says that we can help others not just financially-but by spending time with them or praying for them.

Day 13

“Jane’s prayer reminds us to ask God if anything is ‘amiss’ in our lives and priorities. Many of us try to fit God into our lives, instead of making God the centerpiece of our lives. Giving our first fruit to God isn’t just about money; it’s also about our time. One beneficial daily habit is to begin each day with prayer and Bible reading…Ask you seek God first, you will experience steady growth in your relationship with him.”

Ouch, I think we all fall victim to this and Dodge is right. The best way to correct and fix our lives is focus on the one who made us.

Day 14

“Guarding our hearts is essential in the face of temptation. Just as Jane prayed for God’s mercy on ‘Creatures so formed’, we can ask for God’s help in our weak spots.”

This always makes me think of the Johnny Cash song, as we need to keep a close eye on our heart and not allow it to lead is down the wrong path. There is nothing wrong with passion, but unbridled can cause one to make not the best choices, i.e.:

I love Wuthering Heights but let’s be honest-there are no good relationships in there. We have passionate people consumed by passion and not caring who is hurt or damaged.

Day 17

“Yet Fanny Price closely embodies the kind of patience under affliction Jane writes about in her prayer. Despite her troubles, Fanny has an inner strength and fortitude that never lags. Though she is mistreated and suffers in mind, body, and soul at times, she finds solace in her little attic room and in quiet reflection. She doesn’t lash out or become bitter. Even in the face of disappointment and anxiety, she quietly waits and hopes.”

“In this broken world we face illness, danger, grief, but in everything, God is with us.”

So first of all I love that Rachel Dodge discusses every heroine of the Jane Austen novels in this book and that Fanny Dashwood has gotten some love as she deserves it. She may not be as witty as Elizabeth, as self-assured as Emma, or as passionate as Marianne-but would we love Jane Austen’s books if every character was exactly the same? Fanny has a lot of great qualities-patience, kindness, perseverance, courage-I mean she is brave enough to stick to her guns. Fanny has qualities that we should all strive for.

I also loved her part about living in a broken world. Unfortunately bad things will always happen, but at least we have someone we can lean on who understands pain and loss.

Chapter 26

“Mrs. Bennet’s problem is two-fold: She’s dissatisfied with her current situation and worried about her future. She’s done nothing to deserve the life she has, and yet she is unhappy. She lives in a comfortable home, has five daughters, plenty of friends, and dines with ‘four and twenty families,’ but it’s not enough. As long as she thinks she might someday have to live on a small income with five daughters, that none of her five girls will ever marry, and that her husband might die before she does, she’s insufferable.”

“In Jane’s prayer, she prays ‘for a continuance of all these Mercies,’ asking for God’s provision and protection; however, her words also express an underlying sense of contentment. As children of God, we’ve already been ‘blessed far beyond any thing we have deserved.’ Our inheritance, our reward, is kept for us in heaven.”

I liked this chapter as often we get caught up in the worries if the day and future. I know I do.

Chapter 28

“You, too, preach a sermon with your life. What you do with your time, talent, and treasure says a lot about you. The things that make you angry and the things you work the hardest to get reveal what you value most. What values are you preaching to your family, friends, children, and colleagues?”

Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I knew what it was like to be in the “fishbowl”-people watching you and what you do. I thought I would eventually leave that behind, but the truth is people are always watching you. Your friends, relatives, coworkers-all see how you act and react, what you strive for and desire, etc-and what you do and the way you act tells a lot about who you are.

I thought this was an amazing book, and just like Jane Austen’s works you can read it over and over again.

It’s great when you have a writer who loves Jane Austen’s work and really tries to capture it.

“However, her [Jane Austen’s] gift could not, would not be hidden. Her writing outlasts her now by over 200 years, and yet it remains as remarkable today as it was when it was first printed.

We too can live extraordinary lives. Though we may not ever be famous, we all leave behind us a legacy. We will be remembered for who we are more than for what we do. Our friends and family will speak of us based on what they saw of our lives, the way we treated people, and the way we loved.”

If you love Jane Austen, you’ll love this book.

If you want to improve your spiritual life or are looking for a new devotional, you’ll love this book.

Please, oh please!

And if you are a fan of both, you need to check it out.

Its not a want, it’s a need!

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Holiday Mix Tape

For more Bible Verses, go to Book Club Picks: Chasing the Wind

The Mysterious Affair at Jane Austen Runs My Life

Happy New Year!

It’s 2020, you know what that means! 1920s style is coming back!

So throw on your glad rags and let’s go putting on the ritz!

Love Me or Leave Me

So the past few years, I have done “theme” years. 2015 was Back to the Future, 2016 Star Trek: The Original Series, 2017 Star Wars: A New Hope, 2018 Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, and 2019 Dystopian future with The Running Man and Blade Runner. This year I’m all about the 1920s, especially one particular thing that came out:

For those of you who don’t know, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first mystery that Agatha Christie wrote and introduced one of the greatest detectives: Hercule Poirot.

So that is where this post’s title comes from, I will be reviewing a Poirot or other Agatha Christie movie for Horrorfest IX, and will attempt to work in mysteries somehow and sometime throughout the year.

You know how I love mysteries!

Mystery, you say?

But enough of that. Let’s move on to the year in review!

Let’s get started!

The Views

 

This year I had over 74.700 views!

Wow!

The most viewed day of the year was August 12th with 752 views! That was the day I posted I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

 

Although the number one post viewed that day was from Horrorfest VII Which Husband Ran Off With Addie Ross?: A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

The Top Five Posts

Here are the top five most viewed posts of the year, although strangely none were posted this year-and amazingly my number one post for the past six years was knocked down to number 2. I know why too, the number one post is a confusing movie that I and my friend googled to figure it out-so I’m sure that’s what bumped the numbers.

5) A Real Man from 2014

4) Tea Time from 2015

 

3)Which Husband Ran Off With Addie Ross?: A Letter to Three Wives (1949) from Horrorfest VII, 31 Days of Horror Films from Halloween 2018

I don’t know who to trust!

2) Fulfilling the List: A Walk to Remember (2002), from Romance is in the Air14 days of my favorite romantic moments (2013)

1)What Happened to Ally Palmer?: The Good Student (2006)from Horrorfest VII, 31 Days of Horror Films from Halloween 2018

The Followers!

So this community has really grown in numbers and I can not describe how pleased I am about that. We have gone from 14 followers in 2012, to 439 in 2015, to 1021 in 2017, and now 1,647 in 2019.

Book Club Picks

My book club read:

I am actually 11 books behind, but I will catch up in this new year…at least I hope!

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers

So in 2018 I started a series on books to read after you have read all the Jane Austen novels and want elements of Jane Austen, but something fresher than another adaption or retelling. The following books I recommended for Austen fans last year are:

Dangerous to Know

So I was given the book Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd, in exchange for an honest review, and started reviewing it in 2018-but as I broke it up into multiple posts I didn’t finish it until 2019. We had:

Jane Austen

So of course there will be Jane Austen posts, that’s the name of the blog! I reviewed the following:

On Jane Austen & her works:

Sense and Sensibility:

 

Pride and Prejudice:

 

Mansfield Park:

 

Emma:

 

Northanger Abbey:

 

Persuasion:

 

Lady Susan:

Recipes

As C.S. Lewis says

Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”

And sometimes you want something to nibble on when you read Jane Austen or watch the films. This year we had the following recipes:

Books, Books, Books!

I love books and reading:

Holiday, Celebrate, Holiday, Celebrate…

I LOVE holidays, and love to celebrate. Here are the holiday posts:

Tea Time

What goes better with Jane Austen than tea? I love tea and we have the following posts on it:

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans

So as I enjoyed doing the Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, that I decided to expand to another series- Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans. This has films that are not based on Jane Austen, but have elements we love from the films in a fresher source. I recommend Austen fans to watch:

Desire & Decorum 

So Jane Austen has entered the 21st Century with Pixelberry creating a video game based on Jane Austen’s works and set in the Regency time period. I started playing in 2018 year and continued last year:

Catherine Morland’s Reading List

Another series? Yes…I know, I just can’t help it. Yes, this series will be on gothic novels that Catherine Morland would totally love to read, if she existed:

Painted Portrayals of Christ

For Easter I discussed different artworks of Christ, (have to put that Art History degree to work). Last year I chose:

Jane Austen Stuff

Last year I reviewed a few companies’ Jane Austen stuff:

Austentatious (2015)

Last year I decided to review one episode from Austentatious (2015) every monthAfter I finish it, I’ll be picking another one to do this to. I really, really, really hate this show-so be prepared for the sarcasm and the hate.

Giveaways!

Last year I won five giveaways. The ones I have reviewed:

Rational Creatures

So like Dangerous to Know, this book was given to me by Christina Boyd in exchange for a honest review. Rational Creatures has stories by Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams-all on the women of Jane Austen:

 

Horrorfest VIII

25 Films of Christmas

Christmas is hard to do posts on as it is so busy! However, in 2018 I watched a Christmas film every day and posted it on Instagram. Last year I decided to do it again (and ended up watching 29 films). Here are the 25:

The Thin Man (1934)

Somewhere in Dreamland (1936)

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Frosty the Snowman (1969)

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) (In my family it counts as a Christmas movie)

Jack Frost (1979)

Babes in Toyland (1986)

A Garfield Christmas (1987)

Die Hard (1988)

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)

Die Hard II (1990)

Home Alone (1990) I watched it twice!

Batman Returns (1992) It was my Friday the 13th pick

Jumanji (1995)

Jingle All the Way (1996)

The Christmas Card (2006)

The Christmas Candle (2013) I watched it twice!

Christmas in the City (2013)

Dashing Through the Snow (2015)

The Mistletoe Promise (2016)

Once Upon a Christmas Miracle (2018) Recommended to me by martha.leith on instagram

Klaus (2019)

Other Posts:

Other posts that don’t fit a theme:

For 2018 in review, go to The Future is Bulletproof

For 2017 in review, go to Life Seems But a Quick Succession of Busy Nothings

For 2016 in review, go to A New Hope

For 2015 in review, go to To Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

For 2014 in review, go to Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For 2013 in review, go to Looking at the Past, Focusing on the Future

For 2012 in review, go to Looking Back, Moving Forward

Blueberry Matcha Smoothie

I love Matcha tea! How much?

And I love trying new recipes with it. I have made a copy of the Jamba Juice smoothie and matcha cookies, but was thinking-wouldn’t Matcha taste great with blueberries? A Matcha Blueberry smoothie? 

I figured, why not try it out myself?

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tsp of Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 1 Cup of Milk (your choice)
  • 1/2 Cup of Greek Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup of Blueberries

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in blender and blend.

I thought it was delicious, the matcha and blueberries complimented each other, and it was a great way to start the morning. 

Are there any Matcha recipes you just love?

For more Matcha drinks, go to Matcha Green Tea Blast Smoothie

For more recipes, go to Crispy, Chewy, Matcha Green Tea Cookies

For more smoothies, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more tea posts, go to I Won the Two Sisters Tea Giveaway