Austenland

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Austenland

Jane Hayes’s (Keri Russell) adoration of all things Jane Austen is complicating her love life. Determined to be the heroine of her own story, Jane spends her life savings on a trip to Austenland, an eccentric resort where guests experience complete immersion in the Regency era. Armed with her bonnet, corset and needlepoint, Jane strives to avoid spinsterhood … but has a difficult time determining where fantasy ends and real life—and maybe even love—begins. Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde) and Jane Seymour (Wedding Crashers) also star in this charming romantic comedy.

Monday, October 27, 2014

LiveFit Week 2 Complete!

I've completed two weeks of Jamie Eason's LiveFit program, and am feeling good and energetic! It's such a blessing that my sister's doing it with me, too, and before I get too into my own recap, I want to give her a shout out congrats on the 11 lbs she lost while doing LiveFit and a Body by Vi challenge!

I'm tempted to join her challenge, but I'd really like to follow Jamie's eating plan as well as possible, and maybe before I start my next LiveFit challenge I'll do Vi.

Here's how these first two weeks worked:


The first week, I only used 5 lb weights, because last time I started, I used too heavy, and felt like I was physically injured afterward. Using 5 lbs as a base, I decided I could easily go to 7.5 during week two. Now, I'm thinking I'll try for 10 lbs next week. It's all about seeing what you can do, and how far you can go. Building strength.

I didn't have a hard time with actually working out, but I definitely did have to talk myself into going to the gym after work (a morning person I am not!). I reasoned that since my systems at work had been down, and I'd become antsy, I really deserved to go to the gym, and move my body. Working out beats sitting at a computer doing nothing any day!

As for food, I tried really really hard to eat clean, and get an even percent of carbs, fat, and protein into each day. Last week on payday, I bought groceries and got to work (kind of). I made Egg White cups, a la Alesha Haley, which I also paired with chickpeas and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning (salt free).

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These were my lunches for most of the week. Next time, I might actually mix the beans into mine, like Alesha did. More compact that way.

I also included Jamie Eason's Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread, which I paired with steamed eggs for snacks.

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Another cool trick/recipe is using Greek Yogurt as a base, and added onion soup mix to it for a healthy, protein filled onion dip for carrot chips, or other veggies. Needed salt, and tasted a wee bit watery (whey sometimes separates from the yougurt, but just stir it back in), but otherwise, I think it'll make a great substitute. 2 cups of plain greek yogurt (I used Chobani) and one packet of onion soup mix (I used HyVee brand). I've used it as a dip, and also as a substitute to mayo in tuna salad, though I can't stress enough that it needs sea salt.

As for weighing myself, I haven't stepped on the scale since before the challenge started. The night before it started, I did take my measurements, and recorded them on Bodybuilding.com, on my BodySpace profile. I'm using BodySpace for ideas and support more now than I did in the past, and I'm hoping to continue to experiment with great recipes as the weeks progress.

Here's what my meals looked like almost every day this week.

Breakfast: Oatmeal and Coffee
2nd Breakfast: Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread, Steamed Egg
Lunch: Egg White Cup with Spinach and Beans, Protein Bread
Snack: Carrots and Onion Dip
Dinner: Whatever my parents were having
Evening Snack: Casein Protein and Almond milk, but only if I was hungry.

I do think that while the egg cups and steamed eggs were delicious, I do need to find more options for protein snacks. This week, I intend to make protein smoothies for when I drive to work (Using my sister's Vi recipes and my own protein powder), and have my oatmeal be 2nd Breakfast. I keep oatmeal at work, which makes it convenient, but I also made Jamie's Pumpkin Protein Pancakes this morning, and it made a LOT of them (13, as opposed to the 10 that the recipe stated), so I inadvertently prepped for breakfasts instead of oatmeal this week. Win!

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Preparing is what helps you achieve your goals. Not everyone is lucky enough to succeed without even trying. Hardly anyone is. Making sure you have ready-to-eat things available, especially on work days, That has been one of my biggest downfalls in this program in the past, not being prepared. I'm super prepared this time, and will be prepping more food all weekend long.

Since I started eating clean last week, I've lost 3.1 lbs. I'm super excited about it, and can't wait to go to the gym this afternoon.

(I didn't know about my weight loss when I took this post-workout pic)
In it to win it! Good luck with anyone else following the program! I've got Turkey/ Chicken Meatloaf Muffins cooking in the oven, and will be making Pumpkin Protein Bars when I get home from the gym.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Here I go again...(LiveFit Trainer)

So, I've started and stopped, and started and stopped the LiveFit trainer so many times that it's almost embarassing. Actually, not almost. It *IS* embarassing. What is wrong with me that I can't finish a workout program? I enjoy lifting, and I enjoy eating clean, so what's going on with me that I get halfway through, and don't continue.




The only thing I can think of is that I don't dedicate my all to it. I don't make it a priority, and I don't make my meal planning a priority. I do for a week, but it falls by the wayside due to laziness.

This time, I've decided to do video updates once a week in order to get even more motivation. There's nothing I hate more than watching someone's progress in an online forum, only to learn they quit. It's frustrating to me as an audience member, and I don't want to let anyone down the same way.

I recorded myself on my phone about a week and a half ago, explaining the reasons why I'm going ahead with it, including some reasons, so be sure to check that out (It's short). I'll also be updating everyone with last week's workout, and this week's workout in the same video, since it's the same workout.


This is me in a nutshell. I'm going to continue to ask God for his strength and guidance as I attempt to change my life and my habits, so my entire being can be a testament to Him. I ask that he give my the mental agility to get through even the days when I want to lounge on the couch, eating cookies.

Pray for me. I'm going to need it.


Friday, October 17, 2014

CLP Blog Tour Featuring "Pie Girls" by Lauren Clark

Happy Friday, everyone! Are you ready for the weekend? I totally am! And what better way to spend your weekend than to read a fun, light-hearted novel?

Today, I bring you Pie Girls by Lauren Clark.



Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style. 

But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man. 

Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever. 

Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls. 

This is a really fun book. Lauren Clark has a clear, concise writing style, full of fabulous descriptions and alliterations. Searcy had a way of talking, and going over things in her head that sounded oddly familiar. I swear, everyone has to be more colorful in their heads than in real life. Maybe just me? Whatever. I related to Searcy on an inner monologue level, and it was like reading the thoughts of a friend.

Speaking of friends, Searcy's friends are a hoot! They're all so well written and different, from her high society friends in Atlanta, to her small-town old friends, who were a far cry from what she'd left behind. As was her love interest, who was just all around yummy.

I practically devoured this book, like I really want to devour all the pies that she makes (and honestly, I'm not a pie girl). Reading about Searcy's childhood, and the home her mother made for them made me want to live there, and also made me think of that movie, Waitress, starring Keri Russell, just by being quirky, and small town (and everyone has experiences in a small town Wal-Mart, like Searcy!).

This makes me want to read more of Lauren Clark's work. I'd never heard of her before now, but I'm thinking I'll be adding more of her books to my reading list, and I highly recommend you do it, too, if you love Chick Lit!




Author Bio:


After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Lauren Clark moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family and write full-time. 

Lauren has published four novels, Pie Girls (set in Fairhope, Alabama), Stay Tuned, Stardust Summer, andDancing Naked in Dixie, under the pen name, Lauren Clark. More than twenty-two thousand copies of Lauren's novels have been sold worldwide.


Visit Laura’s website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com, follow her on Twitter @LaurenClark_Bks, and her blog at www.laurenclarkbooks.com/blog.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Jane Austen Book Club: Northanger Abbey + Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! I hope the show will be amazing, and congratulations to the winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this blog: The Jane Austen Book Club!

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Truthfully, I did get a little busy in September, and reading carried over into October, but for the most part, it was read in September.

I do think that Northanger Abbey is my least favorite of the Jane Austen novels. The first part is all very fun, and witty, and I can definitely laugh about all of Catherine and Isabella's shananigans. But the first part was also unsettling, as I saw Catherine's naivitee in me, especially in her friendship with Isabella.

Catherine Morland, our heroine, was the oldest daughter of a country minister and his wife, and was invited to go to Bath for the social season with neighbors. Apparently, that was a thing back in the day, and the first few days Catherine and her chaperone, Mrs. Allan, had no one to talk to at the balls and plays they went to. It was considered improper to introduce yourself to random strangers (probably presumptuous), so they mostly kept to themselves, and people watched.

That would instantly kill my mood and desire to be there, if I couldn't talk to anyone (despite being pretty introverted, and only into my own friends, I'd try to get to know people). Luckily, it didn't last long because Mrs. Allan's childhood friend and her family arrived. Catherine is introduced to Isabella Thorpe, who charms her into friendly submission.

It's amazing who you'll meet in a Jane Austen novel. Isabella is exactly the person most people are drawn to for short periods of time: Someone who can be fun, interesting, extremely sweet, but at the same time, self-serving, vile, and malicious. She is basically Regina George.

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Throughout the first half of the story, Regina -- I mean, Isabella! -- befriends Catherine under the pretense of friendship, but uses her for her own gains. While being courted by Catherine's brother, James, she pushes her own brother, John (who is quite pushy, himself) at Catherine, ignoring Catherine's feelings for Henry Tilney, whose sister, Eleanor, is also a new friend to Catherine. Isabella is the girl who claims to hate drama, but airs all of her dirty laundry on facebook.

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I also related to Catherine's feelings for Isabella's brother, John. The man was pushy, proud, opinionated, and tried to convince Catherine to feel something sooner than she was ready. She tried to be kind, she tried to be polite, especially because of her friendship with Isabella, and because of John's friendship with James. Apparently, because your brother has a good friend, that basically means you're his future wife.

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Thank God for calm, rational people like Henry and Eleanor Tilney. These were two people interested in Catherine, for herself, and were potentially lonely people looking for a friend. They loved Catherine for herself, and nothing more. These are the people that everyone hopes to find one day.

The second half of the book is where it got a bit strange, to me. Catherine went to Northanger Abbey with Eleanor, Henry, and their father, General Tilney. No amount of pleading from Isabella could stop her, either. It was nice that for once Catherine was able to show some backbone.

I didn't care for the second half of the book. It was slow moving, but once it was done, I felt it moved too quickly into a resolution. Catherine and Henry falling in love was obvious, but she did almost lose him due to her immaturity, and inablility to understand the difference between real life and stories.
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Though, I do relate.

Emma Approved (c) Pemberley Digital
I'm dying to hear if anyone else read Northanger Abbey this month, too! What are your thoughts? Met any Johns or Isabellas that made your life a living hell? How about your own Henry Tilney? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Phantom of the Opera + a Local Giveaway!

I've had a soft spot in my heart for the Orpheum Theatre since I was really little. When I was four, my dad took my sister and I, while his Organ club were working at the Orpheum, and we got to explore everything, and take advantage of a special stage view that not many get to see. When I was in high school, for two years, my choir got to sing with the Omaha Symphony and Opera Omaha, along with several other local schools, at the Orpheum. I now get the opportunity to see Opera Omaha perform with my aunt, as we've discovered the joy of season tickets.
Sitting Balcony Right
Me (age 4) and Kiri (Age 5)
I've recently joined the Omaha Bloggers Network, and for my first assignment, I get to cover The Phantom of the Opera: Halloween Organ and Film featuring organist Clark Wilson.

Back in about 1991 or 1992, when they did their first showing, my dad was part of the team the sponsored it. For Halloween that year, he even asked my mom to make him a cape so he could be the Phantom.

The Phaaaaaaantom of the Opera is Here...Inside Your Mind....
Whoops. Wrong version! ;-)
I remember going with my sister, mom, and grandma, as dad was busy doing a lot of work for the event. I don't think we actually stayed through the whole thing, though (my sister and I were pretty young, and had the attention span of gnats).

I'm really excited to get to see the show again. The movie, which is a silent film, will be accompanied on the Orpheum's Wurlitzer by Clark Wilson.

Clark Wilson
Wilson is one of the most prominent and recognized scorers of silent photoplays in America. He works exclusively with the organ in developing accurate and historic musical accompaniments as
they were performed in major picture palaces during the heyday of the silent film.The musical style of the time remains intact; no attempt is made to distract from the picture by using themes or styles that entered the musical scene years later. Most important of all, the film remains the focus and star of the performance.
The Wurlitzer on stage at
The Orpheum
Channeling the 1920s experience, this special production of the classic horror film, The
Phantom of the Opera, makes for the perfect Halloween festivity. Complimented by the Mighty
Wurlitzer organ, the silent movie stars Lon Chaney as the deformed Phantom haunting the Paris
Opera House.


Intrigued? Well, I've got a great opportunity for you to see it.


Lon Chaney as the Phantom


If you're in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area, and want to experience this classic film in a beautiful old theater, you now have an opportunity to win two tickets. Click the link below.

**For the record, instead of looking up ModernJaneAusten, look up Rebekah Martin, which is the Modern Jane Austen Facebook Page/My Author page.

Good luck!



The Phantom of the Opera: Halloween Organ and Film featuring organist Clark Wilson
will be at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St., on October 22 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are 
available at TicketOmaha.com, 402.345.0606 or at the Ticket Omaha Office inside the Holland 
Center.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Just do that Voodoo that You Doo so well

Believe it or not, based on the last couple blogs are based on a single day.

Starting day two of my Denver Trip, Lauren and I drove across town to get a healthy breakfast for our Zoo Adventure ahead. Lauren has been wanting to go to Voodoo Doughnuts for awhile, and I'd seen them on Food Network, so of course I was game.


Plus, Doughnuts.

Voodoo has a long list of colorful, and slightly naughty desserts in their cash-only establishment, and I opted for a Maple Bacon Bar, a Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake doughnut, and the Voodoo Doll Doughnut, which was just as awesome as it sounds.


Filled with Raspberry Jam, with a Pretzel Stake in its heart. Delicious.

The Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake Doughnut had a MAJOR bite to it from cayenne and cinnamon, and it was not my favorite, but I'm definitely glad I tried it.

The Maple Bacon Bar was probably my favorite. It was a straight up yeast doughnut without filling, maple icing, and two strips of bacon. Holy. Freaking. Yum.


Thor Approved

Their menu of flavors

Chandeliers and a huge voodoo doll.

Pink boxes
I really enjoyed visiting Voodoo, though I wish the parking was better (apparently Denver natives wish the same about everything in town). I do think I'll come back every time I visit. It is a CASH ONLY establishment, which they do have signs everywhere, and an ATM (which was out of order, but they had a list of nearby ATMs).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

An Adventure at the (Upstairs) Circus

One thing Lauren really wanted to do while I was in town was visit Upstairs Circus in downtown Denver, which is a bar, where you can also make different crafts. Or, it's a craft store where you can drink. It was firstly a crafting establishment for me, because I didn't get any alcohol, but I did get a Garden Lemonade, which was delicious. Nice and refreshing for the warm afternoon.

Lemonade with Basil
At Upstairs Circus, they have a menu of things you can create. Since we went at Happy Hour, crafts were $25 (there were a few that were more expensive, based on materials), and they provided all the supplies to create.

Lauren opted for a Colorado Flag baseball cap (she doesn't have a hat problem. She swears!), which ended up pretty cute.

Super Cute Lauren!
I opted for a necklace made out of strips of fabric that I wove into a Celtic knot, followed by fishtail braids on either side. Sadly, it was trickier than I thought it would be, but there were attendants to answer any questions, and make sure you get it right. Once I got the knot figured out, the braid was a cinch. Then I taped the ends, and glued two metal caps on the ends, before getting to work with metal tools to connects the whole thing.

My necklace on top of the instructions
It was fun once I understood what I was doing. While there, I was going through a little phone emergency, so after I finished, I called my mom on Lauren's phone. While we were chatting, I told her that I'd have to bring her sometime, if I were to move to Colorado (which, is sounding like a better idea every time I visit!). I think she and my sister would really enjoy it.

They also had unisex-type crafts, so anyone could really make something, and enjoy themselves. Here's a list of their crafts. I kind of want to go back, and make the Hex Nut Bracelet. It looks pretty cute.

And a couple more pictures of their fun establishment.

Note the umbrella ceiling art

It was a long room, and felt a little small,
but it wasn't busy

Plus a full bar!
Upstairs Circus is great for birthdays (there was a birthday group behind our table), and Lauren and I even thought a Bachelorette Party would be awesome, complete with some doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts (which will have their own post tomorrow!). I would highly recommend them to anyone. It was a lot of fun!

After finishing up at Upstairs Circus, we headed over to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center to meet up my old friend and roommate, Kristen, for tea. We talked for about three hours (and closed down Starbucks!).

Fun seeing her again!
Kristen was a fount of information regarding the theatre in Denver, including several new play/playwright festivals in the area. I'm going to have to try my hand at playwriting again. I do miss it. She also had an Audition on Saturday. Hope she got it!

Believe it or not, this, plus the Tea Party were on the same day! Still more to come on my Totally Awesome Denver Trip!