Baked Potato Soup

Who likes to eat?

Me too. I don’t really post recipes on her, leaving that to my sister blog Mysterious Eats.

Weeeeeeeeeeelll…with one exception. If it has to do with Jane Austen or a tea party, I review and post it.

Last year I helped put on a tea, and fashioned it after a teahouse I used to go to when I lived near Santa Rosa. They would always serve scones (I did the Cheddar-Thyme Scones and the Harvest Pumpkin Scones) and tea sandwiches. You could also add on tarts, little turnovers, salad, or soup.

This soup may not be a real “tea soup”, but I thought it was tasty, easy to make, and fancy looking.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Onion, finely chopped
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 5 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 1 14-oz can of Chicken Broth
  • 1/3 Cup of Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 Baked Potato (6-7 inch baker), cold, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 Cups of Half-and-Half
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 6 Slices of Bacon, cooked, broken into bits (Or use Bacon Bits)
  • Cheddar Cheese, to go on top

Directions:

  1. Sauté the onions in butter.
  2. While stirring, slowly add the flour and then the chicken broth.
  3. Cook until it thickens.
  4. Add the cheddar cheese, stirring until it melts.
  5. Then add the potato, leaving the skin on the pieces.
  6. Finally stir in the half-and-half and the milk.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Top each serving with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese.

It is a fantastic tasting soup, and having cooked the potatoes it takes like no time at all.

Yay!

The only thing is that you have to be careful when adding the milk or half-and-half. The lactose sugar in them can burn and ruin the dish, so you have to keep stirring. The more you stir the less likely it will burn.

One time I had my niece hep me and I felt like that scene in Goodfellas when Henry Hill keeps telling his brother to watch the sauce. Just like Michael she didn’t enjoy the stirring.

No more stirring.

But it was easy, delicious, and will be a great addition to any future tea parties or dinners.

For more recipes, go to Triple Berry Salad

Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the following month; and it has worked out really well.

We only have four members in our club, so we have circled around them all and now it was my turn to pick a book again. I decided on:

The Darcy Monologues by various and edited by Christina Boyd

The Darcy Monologues is a collection of 15 short stories that retell the story of Pride and Prejudice but telling it from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Half the collection is set in the Regency period: taking place during the novel, tweaking a bit of the novel, or taking place where Jane Austen left off.

Hmm…

The second half of the collection tells the story, but isn’t restricted by having to be in Regency times. One story is set in the Wild West, another during WWII, the 1960s, and of course present times.

Hmm…

So we all know how I feel about Jane Austen:

And we all know that I spend a lot of time reading Jane Austen, watching Jane Austen, and reading and watching variations of Jane Austen. Pretty much my life is:

But the other members are not exactly at the same level as I am. One member, Jessica, has seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 film versions of Pride & Prejudice and read the actual book, but isn’t a fangirl. She likes Jane Austen, but is not a fangirl.

Don’t know why she isn’t.

Another member, Stella, loves Jane Austen but has never read the books. She only watches the films, and has seen both the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice.

And our other member, Marissa, she has never read anything or watched anything Jane Austen.

So at first when we agreed to do this book I was excited:

But then I grew worried:

What if they didn’t get it, not being fangirls of the book? What if they didn’t like it? Maybe I should have had us read Pride & Prejudice first?

But I decided that we would just have to wait and see.

Hmmm….

So the day to meet came along and I decided to make the refreshments a regency-ish tea time. (Sadly I forgot to take pictures). I made some iced tea:

I had bough some chicken salad sandwiches and scones (I wanted to bake homemade ones but it has been too hot to turn on an oven) and then I made a berry salad, borriwing the recipe from my sister blog: Mysterious EatsIt is super tasty and perfect for a day of reading books or a tea time treat. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow, but you can also check it out here.

So everyone arrived and right away we had a problem. Stella didn’t get the right book. When she typed in The Darcy Monologues, the site sent her to a different book and she ended up buying The Darcy Connection. 

I’m going to lend my copy to her to read and then I will update this post with what she thought of it.

So first of all I just want to say that I have already posted what thought of the book (which if you want to read go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency or The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Erasand I loved it!

So I am just going to focus on what Marissa and Jessica thought of it.

Part I: The Regency

Both ladies were able to follow the stories and the thoughts of the authors, even Marissa who knew very little about what the story was based on. They also liked how it was from Darcy’s point of view and enjoyed the way the authors portrayed him, feeling as if they all captured the character. Jessica thought they did well in what Jane Austen wanted, and Marissa enjoyed being introduced to an introspective look of the character.

What Didn’t They Like?

Both ladies felt they would have enjoyed the book better if there had more variations of the story: such as when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy where older, stories with their children, or sights into areas not shown by the original novel-such as what Darcy does when he leaves Netherfield before he meets up with Elizabeth in Pemberley-things like that.

hmm…

They both did not care for the story Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams and they also did not like The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford as they thought it was too much Beauty and the Beast.

I KNOW?! How could they not like that one? I guess they just do not undestand how is Austenites find the works so similar. I mean:

To read more, follow this link.

Sorry for the tangent, moving forward.

What Did They Like?

Both loved From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft  as they found her portrayal of Darcy to not only be relatable but hilarious. In this story, Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth and been refused by her. He then goes home to write the letter against her objections to him, releasing his anger and frustrations out, until he has composed the best one to send her. We all thought she captured that the emotions of rejection and heartbreak perfectly.

They also enjoyed Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory, espehially how she describes Darcy’s perfect order and way of life being completly thrown off kilter when Elizabeth enters his life. Both felt Mackrory was able to not only perfectly capture the character but describe what it is like when you aren’t expecting it, but meet the person who ends up changing your life.

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani, was another favorite of the two. Marissa enjoyed the recap as it gave her a stronger foundation into the story of Pride and Prejudice and what happened in the original novel. Jessica liked how this was something different from the other stories as it was a part that isn’t from Austen’s story, it is a part unseen of Mr. Darcy and shows his growth in character.

The Favorite?

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

Yes out of all the Regency stories, this one was both of the women’s favorite story. This story takes place when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are much older, with Darcy having a flashback to when Elizabeth gave birth to their first child and almost died in the process. Darcy becomes afraid of losing her and reacts with a rule of no more sex for them, something Elizabeth does not agree with.

Both women liked how it showed Darcy and Elizabeth still in love years later, and just how they have had a great life together. They also loved how it captured the uncertainty of childbirth and Darcy as a father not knowing exactly what to do. One of them found it to be relatable to something they had gone through in their own life with their spouse. And we all agreed it was the perfect end to the first compilation.

Part II: Other Eras

Both women were intrigued with this part as they had never read any modern adaptions of classic literature before, let alone ones that took the material and placed it in other eras.

What Didn’t They Like?

Marissa would have liked more variety in the time periods, she was hoping they wouldn’t be as concentrated on present time.

Both did not care for the story Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini. This one takes place in present times with Mr. Darcy as a principal, George Wickham as the literature teacher, and Elizabeth as the new art teacher. We all did not like how Angelini made the character of Darcy as he was too mean, temperamental, and dorky/awkward.

The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland was another one they did not like. In this Elizabeth is drunk after a disastrous date, so Darcy goes to give her a ride, the two talking during the drive home. Both ladies did not like how Oakland made Elizabeth drunk and they way she talked to Mr. Darcy. And we all agreed: How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have had a massive hangover.

What Did They Like?

They enjoyed You Don’t Know Me by Beau North, which took place in the 1960s. In this Darcy is sent to Buffalo, New York to take control over the company’s new radio station. He and the top D.J Eliza Bennet clash in the beginning as neither understands the other.

They enjoyed how this story was not only talking about the novel Pride & Prejudice, but actually infused more of a social prejudice introducing a conflict of playing African American music on the radio, life as a Jewish American, and even the trials of having gone through the concentration camps (Eliza’s father). We all enjoyed how North coupled those threads of pride and prejudice with the original types of pride and prejudice in Austen’s work.

They also loved I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox. In this story, Darcy hates that his mother named him “Will” Darcy as everyone mentions Austen’s book. He meets two women who challenges his ideas on the book, surprisingly running into them later when he is starting up his farm to food restaurant.

We all loved how Cox had Elizabeth school him in the literature, causing him to be interested in rereading the book and falling in love with it. We all agreed that incorporating the novel in that way was really cute.

The Favorite?

Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose

From beginning to end this story was just loved. Every part, every character, every single piece of the storytelling was beloved by us. Dandy Darcy? We all wanted him. Turning this into a full novel? We were all down for it. If this was sold separately from the others? All willing to pay.

For all of us Rose really knocked it out of the park!

Couldn’t resist

So what did they think of the whole thing?

They loved it!

Yay!

Yes, they may not have liked every story or every interpretation of Darcy, but that is why they and I loved it. Each author tried to capture the spirit of the character and succeeded in creating their own versions of Darcy that have everything we love about him, yet at the same time not making any exactly the same. By doing this you have many different Darcys to choose from, insuring that you will find the one best suited for you.

We all thought they did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and highly recommend you read this book.

For more on The Darcy Monologues, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more on these authors and Christina Boyd, go to I Have Been Remiss, My Deepest Apologies to The Darcy Monologues

For more on my book club, go to Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more on The Darcy Monologuesgo to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

And I just want to thank Christina Boyd for sending us these cute charms, we all loved them. I put mine on my bracelet right away and have been telling people about the book whenever they ask me about the charm.

Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This recipe comes from my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. I like to include ay recipes that go well with tea and books.

Even though Christmas is eight months away, I don’t care. I’m making them anyway.

Truth be told I don’t

Background on the Cookie:

“These delicious tea cakes were made by an Aunt Cornelia (“Neal) on special occasions and holidays, using hand-churned butter and eggs she gathered from the hen-house. This southern Georgia version dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. “

**Dough has to be chilled**

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup of Granulated (White) Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • White Sparkling Sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add one cup of sugar, beating well.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl: combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture, alternating between the two. Begin with adding half the flour mixture, then add the milk, and finish with adding the flour mixture.
  6. Mix at a low speed after each addition, until just blended.
  7. Shape dough into two discs.
  8. Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill for at least one hour.
  9. After having chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Roll each disc to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.
  11. Cut with a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter; and place one inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  12. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  13. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  14. Cool for one minute and then remove to wore racks to cool.
  15. Makes about two dozen.

Thoughts After Baking:

When I took it out of the fridge it was super hard and I was unsure if it would come out okay.

Not good

But after being in my hands it quickly became super sticky, so make sure you flour the rolling pin and the cutting board.

But after all that this cookies were super good. Not too sweet and perfect for tea time.

For more recipes, go to Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

For more on cookies, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

So when reading, especially Jane Austen, it is always nice to pair it with something. Of course tea:

But while on a literary adventure, it is always nice to have something to eat to sustain you in your “travels”.

So here is a delicious recipe borrowed from my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Pistachios
  • 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2/3 Cup of Powdered Sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 12-24 Medium Cherries with Stems

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Pulse the pistachios, flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor or blender until finely grounded.
  4. Whisk the powdered sugar and eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the pistachio mixture until just combined.
  5. Stir in the melted butter until just incorporated.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.
  7. Bake until slightly puffed and just beginning to set, about 8 minutes.
  8. Place 1 or 2 cherries in the center of each cake and continue baking until the cakes feel springy and the edges are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan to cool completely.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar.

Thoughts After Baking:

It did not come out well…

Fresh cherries are not in season, so I substituted with frozen.

I should not have done that…they made too much liquid…it just did not work…

I will keep my tea cakes, and as soon as fresh cherries are in season I will remake this and give you an update.

For more recipes, go to How to Make a London Fog

Harlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme Scones

teaandscone

So this recipe is borrowed from my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.comAnytime she has a recipe that goes with Jane Austen (being time period or great to eat with her books/films) I’n going to post it on here.

Iloveit love

So this comes from the same magazine that the Harlem Tea Room Baking Powder Scones were in, an old O- the Oprah magazine.

The article gave three versions of the recipe: Baking Powder Scones, Cheddar-Thyme Scones, and Raisin Scones. As I already did the Baking Powder, I thought I would try out the Cheddar-Thyme ones.

peterPanteaadventure

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Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsps (1 Stick) of Cold, Unsalted Butter, Cut into Small Pieces, Plus Extra for Baking Sheets
  • 3.5 Cups of All-Purpose Flour, Plus Extra for Later
  • 2 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 2 Tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt
  • 2 Cups of Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp of Fresh Thyme, Chopped
  • 1.5 Cups of Sour Cream or Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg, Beaten, or Milk for Brushing Scones

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Coat two baking sheets with butter.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into a large bowl.
  4. Add butter, using fingertips to combine until mixture takes on texture of fine cornmeal.
  5. Stir in 1.5 cups of grated Cheddar cheese and 1 Tbsp of chopped fresh Thyme into mixture.
  6. Add sour cream or buttermilk and stir until flour mixture is just moist and dough begins to stick together.
  7. Gather dough into a ball and knead lightly until fully integrated.
  8. Place dough on floured work surface and roll with a floured rolling pin to 3/4 inch thick.
  9. Dip a 2-inch cutter into flour and cut out scones as close to one another as possible.
  10. Place on prepared baking sheets with space in between.Let stand ten minutes, then brush the tops with egg or milk.
  11. Sprinkle tops with an additional 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese before baking.
  12. Bake until golden brown, 10-12 mins.
  13. Serve warm with butter, clotted cream, fruit preserves, or jam.
  14. Makes about 1.5 dozens.

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scones

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THOUGHTS AFTER BAKING:

Were very good. All they need was a bit of butter

ineedthis

NOW

However, the thyme took forever. Like an hour to chop, but I made them another time with dried thyme and it wasn’t as good as fresh. It may take a long time, but it is worth it.

StirsTea

Absolutely delicious and I will make again and again.

there-is-no-we-in-food-funny-quotes

And eat all by myself

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For more scone recipes, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones

For more on Peter Pan, go to It’s Always Tea Time  

And for weekly recipe reviews, go to Mysterious Eats

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The song for today is As Long As There’s Christmas from Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.

Beauty_and_Beast_Enchanted_Christmas

This song was written for the film by Rachel Portman and Don Black; and sung by the cast.

The thing I like about this song is the message it brings, no matter what as long as we celebrate Christmas we celebrate the hope the holiday brings.

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For more on Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Christmas Carols, go to Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

Harvest Pumpkin Scones

peterPanteaadventure

So this recipe comes from my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. Typically I just reblog her posts onto my site, but I noticed that they don’t look the best and kind of come out weird looking. So instead I decided that I would just copy and paste her post onto my site. Here we go.

Ready for scones & tea.

Ready for scones & tea.

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teaandscone

So we were having a tea at church and I needed a scone to go with our food. I had already decided on a savory (will be posting soon), but needed a sweet scone.

I started scouring the internet when I came upon this recipe on The King Arthur Flour website. Everything I have made from them has been fantastic so I thought I would give it a try.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2-3/4 Cups of King Arthur Unbleached Flour or Regular Flour
  • 1/3 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 Cup of Cold Butter
  • 1-2 Cups of Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 Cup of Canned Pumpkin
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • Cinnamon sugar (1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar), for topping
  • Milk

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl; whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and the spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, & allspice).
  2. Work in the butter until the mix is unevenly crumbly; it’s ok for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
  3. Stir in the Chocolate Chips.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.
  5. Add the pumpkin/egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holding together.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have any use the sheet without parchment,but don’t grease it. Instead sprinkle a bit of flour on the parchment.
  7. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan and divide it in half.
  8. Round each half into a 6″ circle, about 3/4 an inch thick.
  9. Brush each circle with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  10. Using a knife, cut each circle into size wedges.
  11. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit, about 1/2 inch space between them.
  12. Place the scones in the freezer for 30 degrees uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  13. Back the scones 22-25 mins or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into a center of one comes out clean. The edges should be baked through.
  14. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

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THOUGHTS AFTER BAKING:

I loved them! They were perfect!

I love it

 

They were just so delicious everyone ate them right away and wanted more.

servingsizeeat

 

I cannot recommend more strongly that you should definitely make them.

startrekletsgetstarted

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For more scone recipes, go to Lemon Scones

For more on Peter Pan, go to It’s Always Tea Time  

And for weekly recipe reviews, go to Mysterious Eats

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 I wasn’t really planning on including this in my Christmas countdown, but hey a post is a post so it needs a song to go with it.

So I had never heard this song before until the other when I was driving to work. At first I was like what is this? Who is Dominick the donkey?

savedbythebellwinkhelloooh

But then as I listened, it quickly grew on me. So much that I actually listened to it later at home and decided to include it in our countdown. After all, donkey’s need love too.

nestor-the-long-eared-christmas-donkey

So this song is called Dominick the Donkey and was written in 1960 by Ray Allen, Sam Saltzberg and Wandra Merrell. It was recorded by Lou Monte and is about a donkey that Santa owns, used to help deliver presents to children in Italy as reindeer cannot climb the mountains.

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To start our 25 Carols of Christmas from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For more Christmas Carols, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

For more Christmas donkeys, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

Crasins Scones

mr knightley drinks tea

What goes better with a Jane Austen novel than scones? Nothing! As I just love to read my books with a good cup of tea and a scone I just had to reblog this post from my sister blog.

Mysterious Eats

thecatwhocookbook

Thoughts Before Baking:

I was going to a tea party and decided to bring some scones. The recipe in The Cat Who… Cookbook, that I got from my brother blog TheCatWhoWroteaBlog.wordpress.com sounded good but I didn’t have all the ingredients needed.

oopsmybad

So I had to substitute. Let’s see how these turn out.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Stick of Butter or Margarine, softened
  • 1 Egg, Beaten
  • 1/2 Cup of Crasins
  • 1/4 Cup of Milk
  • 3/4 Cup of Plain Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Cream or Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  • Clotted Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Sift or mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. Cut in the butter or margarine until the mixture is about the size of small peas.
  4. Add the egg, the crasins, milk, and…

View original post 122 more words

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

So I know I haven’t gotten to Star Trek in my fangirl posts, do you might not realize this about me:

StarTrek

And as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Original SeriesI decided that how last year was on Back to the Future, this year will be on Star Trek. And next year can be Star Wars as it marks the 40th anniversary of that film. But enough on that, let’s get to our year in review!

Happy-New-Year

This is a time to reflect on what the past year held for us, the big posts, what’s new, and what you all seemed to like the most.

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This post will only cover a few things, you really should check out the year for yourself. To start at the beginning go here.

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The Views

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This year I had 68,000 views!

keanu Whoa

Last year I had 31,000 and I thought that was a lot. Thank you buzzfeed, pinterest, facebook, twitter, and readers who practically doubled my views.

The most viewed day of the year was June 19th, in which I posted Drug of Choice.

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The Number One Post

Strangely, my top posts had nothing to do with anything posted in 2015.

weird

But you all like what you like!

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So the number one post was from my Romance is in the Air Valentine’s countdown from 2013. That post was Fulfilling the List: A Walk to Rememberand I think I need to post on it once again.

Second place went to A Monster Race: Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988), from 2012, and my first Horrorfest, theHalloween countdown. In third place was I Saw Goody Osburn With the Devil: The Crucible (1996)from 2013 and my Horrorfest II Halloween countdown. In fourth we had In Rhapsody Over Clint Eastwooda post from 2013. And rounding them out in my fifth place, we had a post from 2014, Men What Happened?

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The Followers!

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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 42 followers in 2013, 169 followers in 2014, and are now at 439. That’s amazing!

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So enough about the statistics and numbers! Let’s move on to what was covered this year and what changes I have made to the blog

1)Back to the Future

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So with it being 2015 and the year Back to the Future turned 30, we had a lot of Back to the Future love going on. It started with my first post of the year, Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need RoadsOn the amazingness of this film as it celebrates its 30 year anniversary, in Back in Time: Happy 30th Anniversary Back to the Future. My joy at watching all three films on the big screen, in The Future is NOW!: Happy Back to the Future Day!. On the importance of November 12th in The Back to the Future series, in The Temporal Junction Point for the Entire Space-Time ContinuumAn episode of Supernatural that mimics Back to the Future, in Back to the Supernatural. And a list of everything Back to the Future got right about 2015, in We’re in the Future: Good-bye 2015.

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2) Fandom Love

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This year I continued my fandom posts, posting on Sundays. This year I wasn’t as faithful, as sometimes life would throw me a curveball, but I am getting closer to completing it. I just have to stop adding things.

So far this year I have covered: Amazing Phil/Phil Lester, Audrey Hepburn, The Baby-Sitters Club, The Beach Party Series, The Brady Bunch, Brotherly Love,  The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, Captain PlanetThe Cat Who Mystery Series, Cinemasins, Clint Eastwood, Daredevil, Death on Demand Mystery Series, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Dr. Seuss, Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, 8 Simple Rules, Elvis Presley, Eureka, Everyday Sunday, The Fast & the Furious franchise, Foreigner, Full House, Gargoyles, Grimm, Growing Pains, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hans Christian Anderson, Harry Potter, Hawk Nelson, Hell on Wheels, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Highlander, How I Met Your Mother, How It Should Have Ended, The Hunger Games, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Jimmy Stewart, Journey, The Kinsey Millhone Mysteries, Las Vegas, Leverage, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lord of the Rings, Madeleine L’Engle, Make It or Break It, The Mentalist, Michael Crichton, Michael J. Fox, Midsomer Murders, Murder She Wrote, My Chemical Romance, Nancy Drew, The Nanny, NCIS, North & South, The Nostalgia Critic, The Office, Once Upon a Time, The Phantom of the Opera, Pokemon, The Princess Bride, Psych, Ray Bradbury, The Riyria Revelations, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

To read more, click on these links: Fandom Love, It’s Fantastico!, A Fantabulous Post, A FANtastic Voyage, Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady, I’m So FANcy!, Back to the Fandoms, Old Fandoms and New Fancies, Fantom of the Opera, Fun & Full of FANcy, The Fans and the Furious, It’s a Fan World After Alland Portrait of a Fangirl.

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3) Buzzfeed Bust or Library Love

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So I was trying to get a job with Buzzfeed and posted a few things as it was part of the application process. However no one was really interested in my lists so I decided to bring that style here. I only did one, Heaven on Earth, in which I listed the best fictional libraries; but I’m thinking of doing a few more in the future.

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4) Story of My Life

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So this year we once again had stories of my everyday life. First I shared about my horrible ex co-worker, Wanda in Five to Nine. Then there was the time my friend’s car started to overheat in San Francisco and we started to stall on the bridge, in I Left My Car in San FranciscoMeeting Dr. Sexy from Supernatural in real life, in Paging Dr. Sexy.  My spot issues that rivals Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang, in A Spot of TroubleOn how an ear infection wasn’t going to stop me from seeing the midnight showing, in Avengers Assemble. On living in a world that tries to get you to alter your appearance, in Small and ProudIt being so incredibly hot that I try to escape to England, in England Dreamin’ On Such a Summer’s DayIn which I do not learn my lesson and injure my legs again, in Walking on Pins and Needles. The fact that I will probably live out my life alone, in Crazy Book Lady. When I got caught in a crazy storm, in It’s Raining, It’s Pouring. The suffering of wisdom teeth, in Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom, and Your Wisdom Teeth into Wounds. How a baggy sweatshirt saved my life, in A Real Life Saver. Getting caught in a monsoon type rainstorm, in Every Month at the Quarter Moon There’ll Be a MonsoonChopping down the Christmas tree in Winter Wonderland.

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5) A Sense of Sense and Sensibility 

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So last year I talked about reviewing Sense & Sensibility, along with all those based on the works or rewritings. I talked about the girls’ older brother John, and how he severely let these girls down in Promises Were Made to Be Broken. The joys and horrors of sisterhood and how the two act as a unit in Sisterly RolesEdward Ferrars’ arrival into the house and being the one that brings peace to the house in The Eye of the Storm. On Elinor’s views of Edward, in To Edward or Not to EdwardHow young girl’s views of the perfect man haven’t changed in 200 years, in Some Things Never Change.

I also reviewed The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, a book on the behind the scenes look of the path of getting Sense & Sensibilty from book to screen.

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6) Holiday Hijinks

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So this year we celebrated a lot of holidays, real (recognized by the government) and fictional.

We started with celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday and the values he stood for in Color Blind. I also brought back the Chinese New Year post, this time on my favorite sheep/sheepy moments in film and literature, in Well I Feel Sheepish: Chinese New Year. Then we had my Saint Patrick’s Day post, 17 more Irish heroes from literature, film, and TV; in Lookin’ Over a Four Leaf Clover: 17 More Irish Heroes.  Couldn’t go through a year without celebrating the awesomeness of Star Wars with May the Fourth Be With You, in We Want YouI also did a post for Memorial Day, in Do the Right Thing.  Father’s Day, with love from The Terminator in Dear Dad. The 4th of July in Every Heart Beats True for the Red, White, & BlueTalk Like a Pirate Day and free donuts, in A Pirate’s Life is the Life for Me. Going bats over Batman Day, in Na Na Na Na Batman!. Friday the 13th in The Horror!!!! And of course Thanksgiving, in You’ve Got to Accentuate the Positive

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7) The Year of the Anniversaries

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This year I honored a lot of anniversaries, it started with wanting to do something for Back to the Future and quickly grew to many more things.

I started with the 82nd anniversary of women’s right to vote, in Right to VoteWe also had The Breakfast Club turn 30 years, my post being Don’t You Forget About Me. The birthday of one of my favorite men, Clint Eastwood, in Classic Clint. The 40th anniversary of Jaws in You’re Gonna Need a Bigger ScreenOn the amazingness of Back to the Future as it celebrates its 30 year anniversary, in Back in Time: Happy 30th Anniversary Back to the FutureMy three year anniversary of being a blogger, in Year of the Anniversaries. The 10th anniversary of The Iron Giant, in A Giant Metal Man: The Iron Giant (1995)And the 200th anniversary of Emma.

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8) Romance is in the Air: Part III

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So once I again I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a countdown of 14 romantic moments from films I like. The films I reviewed this year were How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Sabrina (1954), Gigi (1958)Making the Grade (1984)The Breakfast Club (1985), A Room With a View (1985)While You Were Sleeping (1995), Hercules (1997), The Italian Job (2003), Why Did I Get Married (2007), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)What Happens in Vegas (2008), Up (2009), and New Year’s Eve (2011)

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9) Commentary on Cinderella Cynics

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With Disney’s new Cinderella live action film, I felt the need to call out to the cynics and naysayers, and prove that their smack was unfounded and Cinderella is actually a pretty awesome story.

To read go to If the Shoe Fits: Why Cinderella is Actually Awesome.

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10) The Enigmatic and Enjoyable Emma

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Like I did with Sense & Sensibility (see #4), I decided that I would begin going through Emma, along with reviewing any adaptations or retellings of this story.

So I started off talking about the uniqueness of Emma Woodhouse among the other Jane Austen heroines, in One of a Kind. How loneliness severely affects the character of Emma and explains her actions, in All By Myself. How easy it is for people and Emma to take credit for something they actually have no control over, in Credit Where Credit is Due. On how Mr. Weston is a great man but no one ever talks about him, in Unsung Austen Men: Mr. Weston.

I also reviewed the book Mr. Knightley’s Diary by Amanda Grange, a book that looks at the story of Emma from his point of view.

And of course, a post in honor of its 200th Anniversary, We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

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11) The Painted Path of Christ

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I brought back the painted portrayals of Christ, adding one more picture to my Easter countdown. This year I choose the following images: Jesus Enters Jerusalem by Giotto, The Last Supper by Dieric Bouts the Elder, The Taking of Christ by Carvaggio, The Lamentation of Christ or Foreshortened Christ by Mantegna Andrea .

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12) Retelling Pride & Prejudice

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I didn’t do any posts on Pride & Prejudice the book as I was going through Sense & Sensibility and Emma.  However I did review quite a few novels that are based on or retellings of Austen’s work.

There was Fall for You by Cecilia Gray, in which all your favorite Austen heroines attend The Jane Austen Academy boarding school in California together. This year the school was bought and has some major changes, allowing boys to attend! How would these girls get along in a modern world, follow this link to find out.

The Accidental Bride: A Romantic Comedy by Janice Harayda; is the story of a Jane Austen devotee set to be married soon, when she suddenly has second thoughts. With everyone pushing her in different directions, she relies on her love of Jane Austen to help her through. To read the review, follow this link.

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, by Beth Pattillo, is the tale of a non-Austenite; filling in for her sister and taking a class along with presenting a paper on Austen. She also gets caught up in spylike drama when she becomes the owner of secret Austen papers. To see what I thought of it, follow this link. 

Pride & Prescience (Or A Truth Universally Acknowledged) by Carrie Bebris, is a mystery with supernatural elements. Caroline Bingley bags a wealthy American and marries him right away. But after the marriage she starts acting strangely. It is just nerves or something more nefarious at play? It’s up to Elizabeth to find out. Follow this link to read more.

Darcy’s Story: Pride and Prejudice Told From a Whole New Perspective by Janet Aylmer; in this Aylmer rewrites Pride and Prejudice but told from Mr. Darcy’s point of view instead of Elizabeth’s.

In The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy: A Novel by Mary Street, another author tries her hand at rewriting Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view

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13) The Commendable Cecilia Gray

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I reviewed the book Fall for You by Cecilia Grayand while I didn’t completely roast the book, I wasn’t the kindest. But Cecilia Gray took it in stride and retweeted my review, urging others to check it out. I’ve given a shout out before, and just want time to thank her again.

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14) 30 Years Has a Nice Ring to It

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My post She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985 is an ’80s lover’s dream. In it I detail every amazing ’80 thing that I love that turned 30 in 2015.

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15) 30 Day Challenge: All About Me

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I brought back the 30 Day Challenge, but instead of Disney I did 30 days all about me. These were the different topics: 1) Put Your Music Player on Shuffle and Write the First 10 Songs that Play, 2) Your Most Treasured Item, 3) Bullet Your Whole Day, 4)A Quote You Try to Live By, 5) If You Could Go Anywhere, Where Would It Be?, 6) Your Views on Mainstream Music, 7) What You Ate Today8) One Thing You’re Excited For9) Something That Has Inspired You, 10) What You Wore Today, 11)Something You Want to Do Before You Die, 12) Your Celebrity Look-A-Like, 13)Something That You’re Proud Of, 14) Your Favorite Holiday, 15) Five Random Facts, 16)Five Weird Things You Like, 17) Five Pet Peeves , 18) Somewhere You Would Like to Move to or Visit, 19) Something That You Miss, 20) What You Night Was Like, 21) Last Film You Saw in Theaters, 22) Something You Never Expected, 23) Your Dream House, 24) A Book You Love, 25) Your Family, 26)Five Guys Who You Find Attractive, 27) Five Ways to Win Your Heart28)Something You Regret29)Things You Want to Say to an Ex, 30) Your Opinion About Your Body and How Comfortable You Are With It

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16) My Family is Growing

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My family is getting bigger! 2015 saw the inauguration of my sister blog Mysterious Eatswhich reviews mysteries and recipes.

From Print to Screen was also born in 2015, and it compares the printed book to the screen version, declaring which was better.

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17) Horrorfest IV: The Curse

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This year’s Horrorfest covered movies, TV shows, music, and more.

For films, we had: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), A Study in Scarlet (1933)The 39 Steps (1935)Jamaica Inn (1939), Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943), Gaslight (1944)Dangerous Crossing (1953), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), The Screaming Skull (1958), The Bat (1959), Psycho (1960)Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Stepford Wives (1975), Total Recall (1990)Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), The Iron Giant (1995)Thinner (1996), Under Wraps (1997)Alien Vs. Predator (2004)The Brothers Grimm (2005), The Visitation (2006), The Girl He Met Online (2014)Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

Every Friday I reviewed a TV show. This year the ones I choose were: the episode Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up from The Twilight ZoneA Haunting We Will Go from The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries; On Leather Wings from Batman: The Animated SeriesTed  from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; & The Magician’s Nephew from Midsomer Murders.

I did a post on some cool Monster Movie action figures I found, in Monster MashAnd I listed five of my favorite song to listen to on Halloween, in Haunted Harmonies of Halloween

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18) 25 Carols of Christmas

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This year for Christmas, I did a Carol countdown. Everyday I posted on one of my favorite Christmas carols.

The carols I picked were: All I Want for Christmas is YouAngels We Have Heard on HighChristmas Don’t Be LateThe Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)A Cowboy’s ChristmasDo You Hear What I HearFah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze, Welcome ChristmasThe First NoelGod Rest Ye Merry GentlemenHark the Herald Angels SingHere Comes Santa ClausHolly Jolly ChristmasI’m Dreaming of a White ChristmasI Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like ChristmasIt’s The Most Wonderful Time of the YearJoy to the WorldJust What I Always WantedOh Come All Ye FaithfulRudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerSanta Clause is Comin’ to TownThe 12 Days of Christmas, We Wish You a Merry Christmas When Christmas Comes to Town, and You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

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19) When Disney Meets Austen

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I wrote a post comparing all the Austen characters to Disney ones. It took months to complete but I think it was pretty awesome. You’ll have to tell me what you think. Check it out in Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen.

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So what will this year hold? I don’t know. I guess you will have to join my expedition to find out.

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Happy New Year

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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

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For more on Star Trek, go to Rock You Like a Hurricane

A Baker’s Four Dozen

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So today I spent the day baking, baking Christmas Cookies!

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The first were called Sand Tarts, which I got from my sister blog Mysterious Eats. They’re posting the recipe next Friday, but gave me a sneak peak. They look good, and seem tasty. You see I could only eat a little bit of each cookie as I’m still recovering from having my wisdom teeth extracted.

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I was making a dozen for one of my jobs, as this Sunday is their annual Christmas Children’s Program.

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After I made those I moved on to bake the Regency Ginger Cookies, also from mysteriouseats.wordpress.comfor a Christmas Cookie Party that I am planning on going to. Not only did I want to do them because I’m all about Jane Austen, but figured no one else will do that type of cookie.

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So this morning as I prepared to make four dozen cookies (one for the kids and three for the Christmas Cookie party) I decided, hey I should bake in my pajamas, so I can be comfy.

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And then I thought I shouldn’t put on any makeup or do my hair either.

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I mean after all I was going to get ingredients all over me, was probably going to make a huge mess I’d have to clean up anyway, etc. I mean why bother?

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But it seems like no one else got the memo. I had people stopping by all day.

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No one ever visits me without calling first, except on the day that I am a super mess.

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It was kind of funny as they looked at me with surprise and shock and how messy and grossly I was dressed.

What are you wearing?

What are you wearing?

But that’s how it goes. And now that I am done cooking, all I want to do is lay down.

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I also sampled way too many cookies.

No, stop! Alright.

But hey, Christmas comes but once a year, so live it up!

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For more Christmas traditions, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to You’ve Got to Accentuate the Positive

For more stories of my everyday life, go to A Real Life Saver

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So I never believed in Santa Claus when I was a kid.

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It’s not like I hate him or anything or want him gone forever. My parents told me that he lived years ago and died, so the Santa that exists today is more of a feeling than an actual person. But even though I wasn’t a Santa person, I still like a few Christmas Carols that involve him.

One of my favorites is Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane). I first sang it back when I was in Girl Scouts and we went into the nursing homes to carol.

It was written in the 1940s by Gene Autry, who got the idea after he was Santa Claus in a parade. Since then it has been covered by numerous artists; like Elvis Presley, Doris Day, and Bing Crosby to name a few.

My favorite version? The one from The Year Without a Santa Claus

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Hark the Herald Angels Sing

For more on The Year Without a Santa Claus, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

A Real Life Saver

So if you have been reading my blog, you know I know a little about fashion:

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But I’m not perfect.

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Yep, I don’t always follow what is in or what I should wear, because I like doing my own thing. For instance, my most important accessory is a book.

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And I don’t always follow the rules. For example, one of the first rules of fashion, “always wear something that fits you”. Well I like wearing oversize clothing every now and then.

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Comfy and slim feeling. But you know what? Oversize clothing once saved my life!

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For Reals!

So one of my good friends is a Supernatural fan like me.

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And of course like any fan, we began to do marathons together.

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Now while this was all fine and good, there is just one problem. Her dog hates me. And I mean really hates me. Every time I come he barks at me or advances at me. And I don’t know why, animals (except guinea pigs and birds) love me.

Why is this happening?!!

Why is this happening?!!

And this isn’t any ordinary dog. This is a giant great dane who is bigger than me.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, Taurean (the dog) is one scary creature.

So far we had had three very successful marathons, and we had some great treats. Popcorn of course

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Cupcakes, brownies, and then one time my friend Michelle made these really amazing cookies, mamafuku or something like that.

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I’m going to have to get my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com to make me some. Anyways as you might have noticed everything was on the snacky side, nothing quite a full meal. So this latest time I thought I would take a pizza.

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When I got to her house and rang the doorbell, the dogs barked at me as usual. However, this time Taurean pushed past Michelle and came running toward me.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I tried to back away, but he was too fast and bit my side.

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Yep, I would have been seriously injured if it wasn’t for the fact I had an oversized sweater on. Taurean grabbed that instead of my body, and Michelle was able to grab him and wrestle him to the backyard.

I’m lucky that I choose comfort that day, and am making that a life long choice if I’m to be around any more dangerous company.

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For more on my fashion choices, go to Clothes Make the Woman

For more on Supernatural, go to Back to the Supernatural

For more of my everyday life, go to It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

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For today’s Christmas Carol, I choose the song The First Noel. The song is about the anunciation to the shepherds and the announcement of Jesus’ birth (Luke chapter 2). Noel is an Early Modern Europe term equivalent to Christmas.

No one knows when the poem was first written, but the version we sing today was published in 1823.

It’s short and sweet, and I absolutely love it. Take it away Bing!

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For more Bing Crosby, go to Inner Beauty

For more Christmas carols, go to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer