I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway

So if you have been following me for a while, you know how I feel about free things.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

So I just cannot resist a giveaway-anytime I see one I have to enter it.

They are calling to me…

So with the Regency Marketplace, I love their stuff and when I saw the giveaway I had to enter.

I don’t remember if I was tagged first and then tagged others or if I saw it and then tagged friends, but however it happened, I entered and won.

So with the giveaway, I won two teas and a tea infuser. Of the teas, I had the option of:

  • English Breakfast Tea Bags
  • Jasmine Green Tea Bags
  • Irish Breakfast Loose Leaf Tea
  • West Indies Citrus

I can have a hard time making choices…(you should see me in restaurants)

Which way should I choose?

So I asked the proprietress to send me any of them and then settled in to wait.

I was a little anxious about when it would come as it has been soooooooo hot here. Like EXTREME heat, 98 to 100s, and I didn’t want it sitting in the mailbox all day.

It took about a week to get to me from Colorado to California, which is really great for a giveaway (others I have won have taken much, much longer.)

So, I love receiving mail!

And I was so happy to see this package, it was wrapped in a beautiful flowered envelope:

And when I opened it (video on facebook, twitter, and instagram) I saw I had won two Oliver Pluff & Company teas: Jasmine Green and English Breakfast.

So I decided to try them out with my mom and get her opinion as well. I even pulled out my teacups for the special occasion. First came English Breakfast Tea

My mom loved it and thought it was good, even though black teas aren’t her favorite. I LOVED it!

I don’t really drink a lot of English Breakfast Tea as a lot of the ones I have tried in the past have had a strange, acidic aftertaste.

Meh.

But this one was fantastic. I drank two cups, and ended up taking the tea canister to work so I could have it on my break.

The second one was Jasmine Green Tea.

My mom tried this one and really loved it as green tea is something she drinks often. I poured the tea for myself and put some sugar in and drank it, and wowee, boy was that sweet.

The tea was very good and didn’t need any added sugar as it was plenty sweet on its own. I am currently using it to cold brew some iced tea.

The tea infuser was beautiful and so easy to clean! Those of you who brew loose leaf tea know what I am talking about. I scooped out the leaves, rinsed it, and it was good to go for another brew. I also love how it has a little cup to set the infuser in and capture extra water/tea and keep it from staining your plates or counter.

So I love what I won in my giveaway, and I know for a fact I will be entering any future ones and will be checking out the store.

For more tea posts, go to Clean Cup! Clean Cup! Move Down, Move Down, Move DOOOWWWNN!!!!!

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea. I decided to repeat it with these two teas. After all:

Tea #1: English Breakfast Tea

So like I said, I’m a bit wary/particular with my English Breakfast Tea as in the past I haven’t had the best ones. But I was WOWED by this one. Hmm…so a book that I didn’t think I would like, but just absolutely loved?

I have never been super interested in epistolary books or books written in diary format. There are a few I have enjoyed, but that format isn’t really my taste. When I read this book, I was WOWED by it. I couldn’t stop reading and enjoyed it so much I made my book club read it. (I promise that I will do a full review soon!)

Juliet is an author in post-WWII London trying to figure out her next book, but having terrible writer’s block. She receives a letter one day from a Dawsey Adams on Guernsey Island who is writing to her as he purchased a used book and it had her name and address in it. The two exchange letters and Juliet learns about life on Guernsey Island and how reading and the literary society saved them during the German occupation. Soon she is receiving letters from all the literary members and their stories have such an impact on her she heads to the island to meet them and write about them.

Like the English Breakfast Tea, this book happily surprised me!

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Tea #2 Jasmine Green Tea

So this was harder…this tea was sweeter than I thought it would be, extremely tasty, and Asian…after thinking on it I went with

Rachel Snow has never had a good relationship with her father, and when he kicked her out as a teenager-her relationship with her sister suffered as well. Now her mother has dementia and Rachel is declared the power of attorney-she finds herself at odds with her father again, but closer to her sister as they try to solve a mystery about a book her mother keeps talking about. In between the sisters of Snow, the book tells the story of the legendary female samurai, Tomoe Gozen who lead the army in Yoshinaka’s military, along with being his concubine. When Yoshinaka marries a girl from court, Yamabuki, Tomoe resents everything about her. But as the two spend more time together, they grow to become sisters of the Heart; and discover that both hold traits that help each be stronger.

Just like the tea, I didn’t expect the book to be as sweet as it was and enjoyed both.

For more on Sisters of Heart and Snow, check out my sister blog From Print to Screen

 

 

A FANtastic Voyage

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Yes…

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My Fangirl posts are back! You see I had to take a break from them for my Romance is in the Air: Part III posts as I counted down to Valentines Day with my favorite romantic moments from films. I would have started again on the 15th, but I realized that was the 30th anniversary of The Breakfast Club, and decided that I had to do a post on that.

So here we are once again going through some of the things that I hardcore fangirl over.

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Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

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I haven’t seen this show in a long time but it used to be a real favorite of mine. When I was growing up, my mom loved this show and we would watch it together. I had a huge thing for Byron Sully (Joe Lando).

So Dr. Michaela “Mike” Quinn (Jane Seymour) is a wealthy, Bostonian, physician. In the series start (1867), Dr. Quinn is tired of the way people treat a “woman doctor”, and decides to leave for the West. She settles in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and finds life much tougher then she realized. Byron Sully, rugged outdoorsman and friend to the Cheyenne, helps her settle in and the two end up falling for each other. She also receives help from a midwife, but when she is bitten by a rattlesnake and dies; Dr. Quinn finds herself taking on the role as mother as she raises the midwife’s children; Matthew, Colleen, and Brian. Now Dr. Quinn is trying to adjust to the West, figure out how to take care of three children who just lost their mother, and prove to the world that a “woman doctor” is a real doctor.

I loved this as I loved Westerns, and Dr. Quinn becoming a doctor in a world that didn’t really wish to accept it was empowering.

For more Westerns, go to Fandom Love

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Gargoyles

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Gargoyles was a TV show I grew up watching as a kid and was super into. My friends and I would go around reenacting the show and creating our own stories.

It’s a little hard to give a synopsis of the show, but I’ll give it my best shot. In 10th century Scotland, Gargoyles work to defend their castle. They are statues during the day, but as soon as night falls they are able to roam about. They saved Prince Malcolm, who in turn built them a castle where they could rest in the day promising to protect them. Years later his daughter Princess Katherine is in control and she hates the gargoyles. She is betrayed by someone she trusts to the Vikings, who attack in the day and destroy all the gargoyles…or at least the think they do. Unknown to them, Goliath, the leader, survived along with a few of his friends. They return to kill the Vikings and the betrayer, discovering it was a close friend. Their arrival causes the Viking leader to take away Princess Katherine, intent on killing her. Believing Princess Katherine dead, her advisor curses them, turning all but Goliath into stone. He returns with the Princess, who demands the advisor change them back. He can’t, but turns Goliath into stone, so he can be reunited with his friends.

A hundred years later, a wealthy businessman, Xanatos, finds the castle and has it transported to New York City, building it on top of his skyscraper and  causing it to rise above the clouds, breaking the spell. The Gargoyles try to adapt to this new world, eventually teaming up with the biracial (Nigerian and Native American) NYPD detective. They also discover there is more to Xantos then they thought, that more of their kind exist then thought before, and a huge melding of mythology, Shakespeare, magic, sorcery, etc.

My favorite characters of the series was Goliath and he was just so awesome, brave, stoic, brooding, bold, etc. I also loved his daughter Angela, who was sweet and nice.

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Hercules: The Legendary Journeys 

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When I was a child I loved reading mythology and fairy tales. One that I was really into was the Greek myths and reading the stories of the gods and goddess. As one of my favorite characters was Hercules, this show was perfect for me.

The show was based on the Greek myths, but also borrowed stories and features from Egyptians, Middle Easterns, Asians, and Medieval Europe. I used to watch this every day after school and I just thought it was amazing.

Of course, that all had to do with Hercules. Not only did I think Hercules was extremely attractive (I had a real thing for guys with long hair for a while), but stoic, brave, kind, and altogether one amazing guy. I was really sad when it ended, but as we all know the good shows don’t last forever.

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Lord of the Rings

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So I LOVE Lord of the Rings!

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Yep, I’m a hardcore Lord of the Rings fangirl.

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Thank you Ed

It’s funny, but in the beginning I was set against it. My mom had been reading in the newspaper about Peter Jackson’s upcoming film and wanted to see it. My sister agreed as she was like free ticket, but I was not so sure. Some guy with a ring that only he could control and destroy (that’s what the synopsis sounded like) in a three hour film? It seemed done before, boring, and long. So they went and I stayed home. When they came back they were ecstatic about the film and said my dad and I would have to come with. I wasn’t interested, but forced. When we got to the theater and started watching it, I LOVED IT!!! From that moment on Lord of the Rings had entered my fandom.

My parents read the books right away but I just enjoyed the films for awhile. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, has been holding onto a ring for many, many years. Bilbo is planning on going on a trip, taking the ring along, when his friend Gandalf the Grey (a wizard), visited for his birthday and spotted it with him. He convinces him to leave it behind with everything for his nephew Frodo Baggins, and Bilbo is on his way. Gandalf feels unease about the ring and leaves it with Frodo, while he goes off to investigate. Gandalf returns after he has discovered that ring belonged to the dark lord Sauron. It was supposed to be destroyed, but when he was defeated the king took the ring instead. It was moved about as every where it went it’s owner was killed or murdered. Eventually Gollum found it, and it was then stolen by Bilbo who has been sitting on it for years. Gandalf quickly moves Frodo out, unwillingly taking along Bilbo’s gardener, Samwise Gamgee, and Frodo’s relatives Peregrin Took (Pipin), and Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry). The group splits off from Gandalf and are set to meet up with him, after Gandalf questions his old teacher Saruman, who unbeknownst to Gandalf has become evil. Frodo is anxious that they still haven’t seen Gandalf, and end up receiving help from Strider (Viggo Mortenson) a ranger. I loved Viggo Mortenson so much in this film. I thought he was amazing, brave, bold, and utterly handsome.

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He turns out to be Aragorn, the true king of Gondor who was sent to live with the elves for his safety. He sets them off for Lothlórien to the elves. While the head out they are attacked by the Nazgul. They run away to Lothlórien where Frodo is saved by the elves. There they form a fellowship to protect Frodo and the ring, making sure they get it to Mount Doom, the only place it can be destroyed. The group is the hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pipin; the wizard Gandalf; Gimli the dwarf; Legolas the elf; Aragorn; and the steward of Gondor’s son Boromir. They head out facing many challenges along the way.

The Two Towers is the next part of the tale. In this the fellowship has been split up. Frodo took off on his own, but not quite as Sam won’t let him. They journey on to Mordor guided by Golem, who wants his ring back. Gandalf sacrificed himself for the group when they were in the Mines of Moria, but turns out is not dead. He has been returned as Gandalf the White, the highest form a wizard can be. Merry and Pipin were taken by Orcs in the last film, and they are being carried to Mordor. When the Orcs fight between the old creations and newer ones, they manage to escape and go into Fangorn Forest. There they meet up with the Ents, the tree shepherds. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli have been tracking Merry and Pipin to save them and run into Gandalf. He tells them to not worry about Pipin and Merry they will be safe with the Ents, but takes them onto Rohan to help protect the country and save their king in a battle against Saruman.

Return of the King is the last in the series and my favorite. In fact I waited for when this film was released on DVD and bought it immediately. In this we have the final battle between good and evil. Frodo and Sam have been split up, as Golem and the ring have poisoned his mind. He ends up being attacked by a giant creature and captured, taken to Mordor. Gandalf and Pipin have gone to Gondor, as it is being attacked by Sauron’s forces. Rohan is going to send their aid, being led by Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. But there is a surprise, the elf Elrond has come to the battle, bringing the Andúril, the sword from the first fight, that was broken and then reforged. He sends Aragorn into the mountains to bring in an army of the dead. This movie was awesome and it is one that I can watch over and over again.

Now I love to do marathons

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So my sister and I have done Lord of the Rings quite a few times. One time though, we decided we were going to do all the extended versions. It was an intense, all-day thing. It was a whole lot of fun.

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At a book sale I bought all the three books. The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King were both the movie editions, but my copy of Two Towers is from the ’70s. Anyways I read the books and I think they did a great job bringing the characters to life in the film. Here are my only issues with the books and film, now after reading them.

The Fellowship of the Ring-I thought the film version did the best with this book. The book spans a lot more time, for instance Frodo has the ring for years before Gandalf returns, which they cut out. There also is a lot of extra stuff I am glad they cut, such as when Frodo spends years in Tom Bombadil’s perfect paradise of a forest. I would have cut that from the whole book as it was SUPER boring. The only thing I wish they included was the part when the elf Galadriel gives each member of the fellowship a gift.

The Two Towers-I thought this was good too, film and movie. In the movie the elves come to fight like in the original battle, but they weren’t supposed to come until the last book. I think it would have been better symmetry if they had, but no big qualms with book or film.

The Return of the King– In the book J.R.R. Tolkien goes through each person’s story all the way to the end, and then moves onto the next character. I liked in the movie how they switch back and forth, as when you read you are really curious what happens to this specific character, but also want to know what happened to everyone else. Like Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. In that he had so many characters involved and in their many adventures, but switches between them all so we get a better picture as to what is occurring at the same time. The effects, set up, and whole film was amazing! The only thing I might have added was more depth to Faramir and Eowyn’s romance, as we only get a few glimpses. Also Saruman has had his fingers all over Middle Earth causing destruction. When Merry, Pipin, Frodo, and Sam return, they have to battle for the Shire to save it from Saruman. That was cut from the film, but it would have been cool to have it in.

On a whole they did an amazing job! J.R.R. Tolkien in his writing and Peter Jackson with his films.

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For more on Lord of the Rings, go to Food, Food, Food!

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Madeleine L’Engle

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Madeleine L’Engle is one of my favorite writers. I started reading her books when I was a kid, and have loved them ever since. Even though the ones below are considered Children’s Fiction or Teen Fiction; I still read them over and over and over again.  HowABookTouchesYou

So Madeleine L’Engle is a Christian writer, but she likes to cover lots of other things in her books as well: science, philosophy, politics, music, poetry, literature, ethics, etc. All of her books carry really heavy subjects that just make them even more enjoyable. Below I have listed all the books of hers that I have read, in the order I think is the best to read them in.

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A Wrinkle in Time– This is the book that started the whole time quartet series. In this book the Murry family has moved to New England in recent times. Many people are wary of them as both Mr. and Mrs. Murry are scientists. Mr. Murry is often called upon to go to Washington D.C for the President or Pentagon. He left for a trip about a year ago, and has yet to return. Many think he abandoned the family, but his wife and children have faith that he will return. Meg is the eldest, she wears glasses and braces and thinks herself unattractive.

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She has a lot of problems making friends as she has a temper, she also has issues in school as the math is too far below her. After Meg are the twins, Alexander (Sandy) and Dionysus (Dennys). Both the twins excel in sports, school, and friendship. Last is Charles Wallace, only five years old and a genius. He tries to hide it, but still can’t pass off being “normal.”

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One dark and stormy night; three women come in with the wind and set Meg, Charles Wallace, and a popular boy from school, Calvin O’Keefe on quite the adventure. Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs,Whatsit tells the trio that they need them in order to save Mr. Murry who is caught in the 5th dimension. This adventure takes them on a ride through psychics, time travel, tessering, and other planets.

This book was also turned into a film that was pretty good and had the cute guy from Everwood playing Calvin O’Keefe.

A Wind in the Door– This is a sequel to A Wrinkle in Time. Calvin and Meg are friends and romantically interested in each. Things aren’t perfect; their father is still called away on long trips, Meg still gets into trouble at school, and Charles is still picked on; but they seem to be better. That is until they notice that something is going wrong with Charles Wallace. He seems paler, more tired, and just not himself. When Charles Wallace tells Meg he has seen dragons in the garden, she really becomes worried. But these dragons are actually a Cherubim sent there to help Meg defeat the Echthroi who are trying to erase the universe. Meg, Calvin, the cherubim, and her principal Mr. Jenkins find themselves on an adventure through the town, plants, and into Charles’ mitochondria.

Many Waters– This is actually the fourth book in the series, but reads better as the third book. In this Sandy and Dennys, who had heard of their siblings crazy adventures, find themselves going on their own trip through time! When the boys accidentally mess with their father’s experiment in the lab, they find themselves sent back to the time of Noah, right before he builds his ark for the coming flood. There they encounter the biblical figures along with manticores, unicorns, Nephilum, and Seraphim.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet– In this book Meg is grown up, married to Calvin, and pregnant with their first child. The twins are now a lawyer and a doctor. Charles Wallace is a teenager, but still as advanced as ever. They are celebrating Thanksgiving, (minus Calvin as he got held up in conference in England), with Calvin’s mother Mrs. O’Keefe. That night there are threats of Vespugia’s leader, Mad Dog Branzillo, starting nuclear warfare and WWIII. As Charles Wallace goes to the garden, he meets up with the unicorn Gaudior. Gaudior was sent to help Charles travel through time and meld with different historical figures in order to change the past, so that they might change the future. This is one of my all-time favorites of her series.

Meet the Austins– This is a different series, but as all of hers connect and crossover, it makes a lot of sense to start reading it now. Mr. Austin is a country doctor in New England. He and his wife have four kids: John, Vicky, Susie, and Rob and an assortment of animals. They live a contented life, but that all changes when a family friend dies. The Austins quickly welcome the orphaned daughter, Maggy, into their home and she causes all kinds of chaos and uproar. Will their lives ever be the same again?

The Moon By Night– Book two brings radical changes for the Austin family. Maggy, who has become a daughter and sister, is leaving them to be with her legal guardian. John is heading off to college, and the Austins are moving to New York for a year. Before the move, they head out for a cross-country trip of the United States. Vicky should be happy and having fun, but instead finds the changes unsettling, along with trying to figure out who she is. She meets a boy named Zachary Gray, who is so unlike her, and confuses her on what friendship and love are.

The Arm of the Starfish- Adam Eddington III has wanted to be a marine biologists for a very long time. Every summer he has interned with a doctor that lives near his grandma’s home, but this year he has received a much different post. This year he will be interning in Portugal, under the guidance of Dr. O’Keefe (Calvin O’Keefe from the A Wrinkle in Time series). On his way there, he meets a beautiful girl at the airport, Kali, who warns him that Dr. O’Keefe is not as nice as he seems, but working against his government. She asks him to spy on Dr. O’Keefe for her father. Adam is unsure of what to do, and when he boards his plane, ends up running into Polly O’Keefe, Dr. O’Keefe’s daughter, and her godfather Canon Tallis. Adam quickly finds this summer being more than he bargained for as he is caught up in a world of science, espionage, and double agents. Adam doesn’t know who to trust as the more time he spends with the O’Keefe’s the more he likes them, while at the same time every moment he spends with Kali is better than the one before.

The Young Unicorns- The Austins have moved to New York and encounter a much different world. They rent the top part of an old Victorian house. Below them lives Emily, the daughter of a Greek professor, and recently blinded in a robbery gone wrong. They also have befriended Dave, an ex-gang member and now Emily’s tutor; along with Mr. Theotocopoulos, Emily’s piano teacher. The Austins find themselves caught in a horrible plot as people are after the invention that Dr. Austin is working on and are not afraid to use any means necessary to obtain it. Someone is trying to control the city as they have orginized the gang, the Alpha-Bats (Dave’s old group) and preparing them for a battle. Canon Tallis is called in by his old friend to discover who could be the head of the group, and whether it could be coming from one of the leaders of the Catholic Church.

A Ring of Endless Light- The year in New York has ended and the Austin’s will be returning home after one more stop. Vicky’s grandfather is very sick, so the Austins plan on staying that summer on the small island he resides on. John also happens to be interning there for the summer, introducing the Austins to his newest friend, Adam Eddington III. Vicky and Adam become very close, with Vicky helping assist him in his project with dolphins. However, Adam is still reeling from the betrayal that occurred in Portugal and isn’t getting as close to her as Vicky would like. Also, Zachary Gray returns on the scene, once again bringing trouble, confusion, and questions in Vicky’s life.

This was also turned into a movie: starring Mischa Barton as Vicky, Ryan Merriman as Adam, and Jared Padalecki as Zachary. It was a DCOM so sadly it is hard to find a copy of this film.

Troubling a Star- The last of the Austin series. The Austins (minus John) have returned home to New England countryside. Everyone has been able to bounce back but Vicky. She finds it hard to relate after all her adventures and changes. Adam introduces her to his Aunt Serena, who Vicky immediately becomes close to. Adam is planning on going to Antarctica for a semester, and for Vicky’s birthday, Serena plans on sending Vicky as well. Vicky is excited for her trip, but also worried as Adam’s letters become cold, closed off, and eventually stop altogether. Vicky is sad, but concentrates on her trip; finding herself caught in political intrigue and an age-old unsolved mystery.

Dragons in the Waters- When thirteen year-old Simon Renier boards the M.S. Orion with his cousin Forsyth Phair, he has no idea what he is getting himself into. A trip that is supposed to be easy and beautiful; taking a painting of Simon Bolivar back to its native land, turns out to be anything but; as murder, political intrigue, smuggling, and a century old secret turn this trip into one exciting adventure. Simon tries to solve the case with the help of Polly and Charles O’Keefe (who are traveling with their father), Mr. Theotocopoulos (who is traveling to see Emily perform) and Canon Tallis.

BookLifeNoBoredom

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For the previous fandom post, go to A Fantabulous Post

And stay tuned for part 10

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For more book filled posts, go to The Biggest Bill You Should Be Paying

For more on Disney, go to Well I Feel Sheepish: Chinese New Year

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Helping Hands

For more Pirates of the Caribbean, go to Push All the Buttons!