Asheville, Zombies and Biltmore, Oh my!

“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”-Jane Austen

Confession: I am a Jane Austen addict.

Deeper –Darker-More-Embarrassing-Confession: It started when I was a college freshmen and started reading her works just to make myself look smart and sophisticated.

What started out as a seventeen year old’s attempt to seem mature and cultured turned into an all out obsession. I really really love it. I love reading her books, watching every version of the movie’s with the audio commentary and reading silly and lovely books like Austen Land. I have an entire shelf of beautiful copies of Jane Austen books that rivals my Harry Potter Shelf.

It should be no surprise that I received a copy of the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies back in 2009 from a dear friend who knows me very well and I loved it.

It just so happens that another dear friend, who also loves all things Austen and Zombie related, refused to let the 530 miles between us stop us from seeing the brand new movie adaptation of book. We decided to have a zombie Austen-Tastic weekend in Asheville, North Carolina complete with a visit to the Biltmore Estate.

On Friday I met up with Brandi and Chelsea around 3 at our hotel in Ashville. From there it was time to explore the arts district (Don’t miss the glass blowers!), walk around downtown and find a yummy spot for dinner. We ended up at Tupelos for supper where I had the BEST grilled cheese and tomato soup.

After dinner we made our way to the movie and let me tell you: It. Was. Spectacular. It had all the best parts of the original book mixed with the fantastic action only a zombie movie can provide.IMG_1975

Even though it was February, the Biltmore Estate was still unbelievable.  It took us a few hours to go through the house, especially because each major room was filled with wedding dresses from famous movies including Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.

Next up was a tour of the gardens and conservatory, followed by lunch at Cedric’s Tavern, a tour of the winery and ice cream in adirondack chairs on the grounds.  Ooh!  And the petting zoo!

We left the Biltmore Estate on Saturday around 5 to go out separate ways and head home, but believe me, we could have stayed a week enjoying the grounds and the atmosphere.

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“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” -Jane Austen

I think I need to make a point of seeing more historic homes this year, do you have any suggestions of your favorite historic homes to visit?

 

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Plum Theater Dress

A few weeks ago I attended a LuLaRoe party and purchased a gorgeous black dress. I was instantly obsessed with the circle skirt, quarter length sleeves and scoop neck.   Classic, modest –yet –sexy, and makes any waist look tiny. I instantly wanted to own at least 5 of them, and because I am super impatient, I just couldn’t wait until it was time for another party. In my eagerness I grabbed some plum colored knit fabric from my stash (originally from Joann’s I think) and attempted to make something similar.

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This is in no way, shape or form a tutorial because all I did was lay my existing dress down, trace around it, and sew the pieces together.   I used two yards of a cotton/poly blend knit fabric which yielded a dress that is close to a size 6.

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(Yes, I wore a dress out with an unfinished neckline and unfinished hem –  See?  I told you I am inpatient!)

Construction

The skirt was made in two panels (a front and a back) and ended up being just shy of a full circle skirt. I always recommend using a circle skirt calculator if making a skirt without a pattern.   You can select a 3/4 circle skirt or a full circle skirt and even input your fabric size to get a cutting layout suggestion.

The bodice is also only two pieces and each sleeve is made from a single piece. The bodice could easily be replicated by tracing a well fitting jersey knit top. In fact I have a boat neck shirt (or 3!) from Target that would make a lovely top! I added the sleeves to the bodice using the flat method. A dress that is only 6 pieces of fabric? Awesome!

Wear

I wore this dress to opening night and the world premier of a comedic drama called The Revolutionists. My dear friend, B, has some amazing connections through her sister for Cincinnati’s Playhouse at the Park and I get to reap the benefits by going to phenomenal events like this!

I even managed to get a few pictures at the reception after the play with some of the interns and cast members at Playhouse!

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2016 Vision Board

Hello 2016!  Have you ever gotten to October and realized you can’t even remember half of your New Years Resolutions?  I’m right there with you!  Weeks turn into months and the year just seems to get away from me before I can check off my goals and aspirations.  Priscilla Shirer says that often our dreams and goals are stolen from us in 20 minute segments of compromise. Well compromise no more!  Enter the Vision Board!  A vision board is a handy tool that helps you clarify, focus on and visually represent goals, dreams and intentions.  Follow along to make your own vision board for 2016!visionboardwhole

Step one: Find your vision

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To start, I recommend spending a few minutes journaling. Divide your life into categories and dream about what you would like those categories to look like in the next year. For me, I divided my life into 6 categories: Health & wellness, Financial, career, creativity & dreams, family and relationships & friendships.

Would you like to have your debt paid off?   What about starting that Etsy shop you’ve dreamed of?   How about that trip out West you’ve been putting off? Or what about simply (though this is no simple task in my case!) having a household that is always in order with the bed made and no dishes in the sink?

This step simply consist of dreaming and jotting down notes and goals for how you would like to see these dreams and aspirations in your life this next year

 

 

Step 2: Pick a theme for your year

I started my vision board with a Verse for the year, a motto for the year, and a word for the year. Towards the end of 2015 I realized my life was taking a drastic turn and I would be making some major changes this year.

To embody this, I prayerfully settled on the verse “blessed is she who has believes that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished” (Luke 1:45)

In the same spirit, I realized I needed a word to hold on to when the going gets tough and after re-reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe I settled on the word Valiant after Queen Lucy the Valiant. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Lately I settled on my motto which is simply “Open Hands”. I want to live my life this year without clinging to anything. In the past I’ve lived with white-knuckled fists clinched so tightly, I was unable to receive all this life and the Lord had to offer. So this year I am living with open hands to give, to serve and to receive.

 

Step 3: Get crafting!

Because I wanted my board on display in my apartment where I would see it daily, I decided not to list my detailed, personal goals and dreams on it for the world to see. Instead, I picked a verse for each category to keep me centered and focused as well as giving me something specific to pray over each area of my life. Next I pulled out key words and phrases that would remind me of my goals, dreams and intentions for that area.

Then I invited a friend over to craft with me and we got started. We found these amazing gold-foiled patterned poster boards at Hobby Lobby as well as some cute card stock.  You could also cut pictures and words out of magazines, print pictures off the internet or draw and doodle your own designs.

I am a lefty and have terrible hand writing but still managed to creatively write out my verses thanks to some great pinterest tutorials.  Even #LillianPup got in on the crafting action!

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What you do with your board is completely up to you. Some people tuck them in a closet or under their bed, but I personally wanted mine out in the middle of my apartment so I would be reminded multiple times a day of the great things I’m expecting this year! Also remember, life changes and goals change, so feel free to change/add to your board throughout the year as new opportunities arise.  What are you waiting for?  Get your 2016 vision on!

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