Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 2014 in Review

Merry Outfits

Merry Plans
Things got pretty seasonal for Christmas on the blog with a post about writing letters to Santa; Ten Ways to Help at Christmas; a Gift Guide for Girls and a Gift Guide for Men; an excerpt from the book A Christmas Carol, and even sharing some style inspiration from Christmas Film It's a Wonderful Life. We also shared some ideas of stationary that will help you ring in the New Year!

As for me, I got to follow some of my own advice, and went to California for Christmas! Hope your holidays were Merry and Bright, and that you ring in the New Years well and safely.

Merry Finds
One of the first folios of Shakespeare work has been found!!! (Psst- also, did you know Shakespeare makes your brain more active? Science shows proves it).

Speaking of theatre, Musical Theatre Mash cracks me up

Vanisha shared about her travels in Papua New Guinea. Would you go?

How to pack.

Social Networking's dark side (One word: Linkedin).

Mario dances. 'Nuff said.

Dunya and Olivia share the most British of British experiences: Tea on a double decker bus.

I want to stay in this treehouse!

Technology and art combine in these ballet shoes.  

Dogs understand what we say

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Hey folks! Wishing you and yours nothing but the very merriest over this holiday season. Never Fully Dressed (Without a Style) will be going on holiday too; The Boy and myself will be soaking up some California sun over Christmas while visiting my sister. We'll be back for New Years; see you all in 2015!!!

In the meantime, enjoy this dreamy sequence from The Snowman, and if you need a little more holiday cheer on your screens, why not try one of these holiday movies listed below?

 HOLIDAY INN - Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire dance and sing at a inn designed around the holidays and hope the get the girl.

 WHITE CHRISTMAS - the ultimate Christmas film, this pairs Danny Kayes, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen together as they dream of a White Christmas in Vermont.

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT - This screwball comedy pokes fun at the idealized domesticity without laughing at the women who don't live up to the dream. Love and sleigh rides a plenty here.
 MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET - This film asks- do you believe in Santa Claus?

SHOP AROUND THE CORNER - Anonymous pen friends fall in love without realizing they know each other in real life. They promise to reveal their identities o Christmas, but will the surprise be to much for them to handle?

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS- In this film that brought us classic song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," we follow the daily life of the Smith family in 1904.

 ITS  A WONDERFUL LIFE- This film looks at the life of George Bailey and- with a little angelic help- what life might look like without him. A heartwarming message and a few seductive love scenes to be hard here!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Remix: Rose Skirt


We had a weekend filled with severe weather warnings- for high wind. You might be laughing thinking that is not big deal, but with 100 mph wind, it is more serious than it sounds. So instead of taking new photos, I stayed indoors and day dreamed of all the pretty combinations this skirt could be used with!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stationery Wishlist: Begin the New Year Right!

New Year Stationary

1. Calendar | 2. Pencils | 3. Goal-Setting Journal | 4. Wristwatch Post-It Notes | 5. Evil Eye Pencil Holder | 6. Thank You Notes

1. Calendar - Set the tone for your whole new year with a great calendar to see you through the months to come!

2. Pencils - Keep yourself and your work sharp by using one of these new and newly sharpened pencils.

 3. Goal-Setting Journal - Got a New Year's Resolution? Jot it down and keep track of your progress in this notebook. Go on and seize the day!

 4. Wristwatch Post-It Notes - You can use one of these quirky post-it notes to keep you from forgetting any resolutions too.

5. Evil Eye Pencil Holder - In many cultures, the symbol of a single, all-seeing eye is meant to ward off the Evil Eye. What better way to start off your new new year, than by making sure evil and misfortune overlooks you and yours? Go on, and add this charming pencil holder to your desk. For safety's sake.

 6. Thank You Notes - the holiday season often leaves one with many gifts- and many thank you notes to write! Thank your loved ones in style with these geometric notecards.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What I Wore: Black and White

black, white, outfit, winter outfit, sweater, dress, popbasic,
Black, white, sweater, popbasic, white dress, winter outfit,

What I Wore: Sweater (ASOS), Dress (Modcloth; Similar Here), Tights (Target), Boots (Crown Vintage), Necklace (c/o Popbasic)

My wardrobe has really been tending towards the monochrome and black and white looks lately. Not sure if its because it is winter, or if it due to my work wardrobe mostly being in neutral tones, but... I'm embracing it. There's just something about gray days that make the clean and simple looks of black and white outfits feel so right. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I can wear this necklace with these colors and have a subtle piece make a stand-out statement. It's another Popbasic piece and its funny- I wasn't sure I was going to like the necklace all that much, but, as usual, the piece I was most unsure of from Popbasic become my most worn out of a collection!

I wore this up to Billings to do some shopping. Not sure if it was the holiday shoppers or if I'd just forgotten how stressful shopping in Brick and Motor Stores is but... man, oh, man. Thanking goodness I live in the age of the internet. I maaaay have ended up doing all our shopping there instead, rather than face the masses again. Still, we also got to have a lovely brunch and walked the dogs around the park in bracing-but-not-too-chilly weather. A subdued but lovely day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dog Eared Page: A Christmas Carol

Dickens, dog eared page, book, literature, a christmas carol, marley, scrooge
Illustration credit: unknown. Contact me if you know. 
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail...Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the ware-house door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

-A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gift Guide For The Boys

Men's Gift Guide

1. Astronaut's Cookbook: Tales, Recipes and More | 2. Chocolate Whiskey | 3. 3D Reel Viewer | 4. Scarf | 5. Cast Iron Skillet | 6. 3D Printing Gift/Giftcard |

1. Astronaut's Cookbook: Tales, Recipes and More -My Boy has a fascination with all these In Space. If yours does too, maybe this book is for them. 

2. Chocolate Whiskey - A little decadent but still manly. 

 3. 3D Reel Viewer - Make this a modern twist on a scrapbook, and remind him of all your favorite memories together. 

 4. Scarf - Whether you man is stylish or in need of some help in that department, this scarf will help, combining form and function perfectly. 

5. Cast Iron Skillet - He gets a new toy for the kitchen and you get yummy food. What's not to love? Remember to have him read the "care of" directions though. Cast Iron does not get "washed" in the sense most cookware does. 

 6. 3D Printing Gift/Giftcard- 3D printing is the wave of the future and, thankfully, more affordable than ever. If you don't want to splurge for your own printer, companies will now print for you, anything you want. Art, accessories, figurines, mechanical parts (The Boy is partial to making parts for his drone). This company not only does plastic in all colors, but metal too! 

Looking for more gift ideas? Here are NFD's gift guides of Christmas Past! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Letter-Writing: Letters to Santa

Santa Claus readings letters: Christmas, Florida
Photo from the State Library and Archives of Florida

One of the best things about holidays are traditions-wether it is making them, or reminiscing about days gone by! A now iconic part of the Christmas Season is a child's letter to Santa. Not only can it be a great tradition to start with children, but a fun way to introduce the art of correspondence with the next generation.

What your child or children's letter will look like depends on the writer's age and abilities, but everyone will enjoy festive stationary! So go pick out some fun, holiday themed paper for the kids to write on before getting started. Depending on the child, you may wish to do a rough draft or "sloppy copy" first, but since this is meant to be a fun activity and not a school lesson, writing just one letter- spelling mistakes and all- is fine too.

Since this is a chance to introduce even quite young children to a friendly letter format, go ahead and start with the date followed by "Dear Santa." Then, encourage your child to write more than just a list of items they want. They could start off by asking Santa a little about himself. What is it like living in the North Pole? Have all the reindeer been well? Depending on the age of the writer, this part could be a sentence or its own paragraph; those younger than second grade often find the physical task of writing a challenge as gross motor skills are still being learnt, but older children should generally be able to write a bit more. Whatever they choose to write, I'd suggest staying away from defenses about wether the child has been "naughty or nice" as that is subjective and could be stressful for your children rather than fun.

 For the next section of the child's letter, talk to them about what they want for Christmas. You probably want to stress being realistic (Santa can't bring back the family pet who passed away; nor will he likely be bringing the entire contents of a toy store), and helping the child prioritize to realize what it is they are actually hoping for. This is a chance for any of Santa's Helpers to find out what is truly the heart's desire while teaching about self-awareness and contentedness; you can also take this moment to share about any beliefs your family holds about Christmas. Then, show your kid(s) how letters end in a salutation, and have them sign their name.

There are many places to mail Letters to Santa to, and a trip to any one of these places with your child to send off the letter adds to both the tradition and their understanding of how post works. The U.S. postal system takes letters to Santa as do many department stores like Macy's (Some Macy's stores will donate a dollar to the Make a Wish Foundation for each letter to Santa is receives. Find out more). Likewise, there are several choices for how addresses to send your letter to. Just a few include:
  • Santa Claus, Arctic Circle, 96930 Rovaniemi, Finland. 
  • Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada
  • N. P. S. C. P.O. Box 56099 North Pole, Alaska 99705-1099
Correspondence isn't usually a one-way communication, and letters to Santa don't have to be either! There are several places that help get a letter from Santa back to your child. You can write the letter yourself and send in a self-addressed and stamped envelope inside another envelope to this address:
North Pole Postmark Postmaster
4141 Postmark Dr.
Anchorage, AK  99530-9998

They will mail it from their post office with the proper postmarks. Alternatively, The Santa Clause House will mail personalized letters to your child as Santa too.

For more further reading, try these:
How to Write a Letter to Santa Claus
How Can Kids Send a Letter to Santa
How to Send a Letter to Santa
Santa Letters are a Centuries Old Tradition


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What I Wore: Christmas Strolling

christmas, winter outfit,
Christmas Stroll
popbasic, sweater

What I Wore: Shirt (Popbasic; Similar Here), Jeans (American Eagle), Shoes (Crown Vintage), Scarf (Similar Here), Sweater (ASOS), bracelet and necklace (c/o Popbasic)

With the new job and the fact that we are traveling over the holidays, a lot of our Christmas traditions have been a bit more subdued this year. Don't get me wrong- I am pumped as can be for this up-coming trip, but it is strange that December has come and there's no tree in our house nor presents under it. That was why I was pretty excited for this weekend's big event though. 

We went up the mountains to partake in Red Lodge's Christmas Stroll. Think of Red Lodge as the Stars Hallows of the West (and don't deny that you know exactly what that means. With Gilmore Girls on Netflix I think everyone and their dog now remembers where Stars Hallows is). The blog has seen a bit of Red Lodge before (here, here, and here for example)! But, to give you a picture, it looks like a toy town you place under the tree when winter comes and it is covered in snow.There are adorable little shops run by quirky characters,  lots of homemade treats being given out to eat, lots of fires to warm up at and if that isn't enough to keep you warm, everyone has their coziest sweaters and scarves on. 

Or at least, that was my strategy when getting dressed to Stroll. I love the simplicity, the tried-and-true quality of a sweater and button-up combo. The flared jeans just add the tomboy look. The jewelry was a lovely early Christmas gift from Maddy at Popbasic, and if you like them, the mirco-collection (along with an adorable striped dress, which isn't pictured here) is still for sale (I hope imagine my winking face as you read this, but in all seriousness, it would make a good gift for a fashionable gal). 

Between the strolling and the Christmas music we rocked out to on the drive to Red Lodge, it was enough to put me a bit more into the Holiday spirit. Our living room now even sports at least a few decorations. After all, just because you don't have a tree doesn't mean you have to be without a Nutcracker, right? 

What are your holiday traditions (or events) that you're doing this year? I love to see how others celebrate the season! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cinema Style: Its a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life is a Christmas Classic with capital Cs, but its romance is often underrated. So this month's Cinema Style is dedicated to that moment when George Bailey met his fate and first fell in love with Mary. While life isn't all roses (and even when it is, those roses can cause little girls to walk around in the cold and get sick, as this movie shows), whengetting married, these two support each other in creating a truly wonderful life.

Sweater (Similar Here), Pants, Bracelet, Hat (Similar Here), Shoes

After an unexpected dip into the high school pool, the duo walk home in borrowed clothes, which for Jimmy Stewart means a borrowed football uniform. Somehow the moment of falling in love seems so much more genuine for the fact its not perfect, but let's be honest. You could totally rock the look of a varsity sweater. Add some striped brown pants to up both the casual and retro vibes. Then, a beanie would keep you both fashion-forward and cozy as can be while a bit of understate jewelry gives a lady-like touch to this film-inspired look.

Before Mary ended up in the pool, she was dancing with George in a frothy tea-length dress, similar to this one from Unique Vintage. To update the classic shape of the dress, add ankle boots, and a jean jacket. Then, finish things off with a dash of color and flash of gold with your jewelry.

 Dress, Boots, Bracelets, Necklace (Similar Here),  Jean Jacket

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gift Guide for the Girls

holiday, ideas

1) Sweater  |  2) Leather Gloves |  3) Bobby Pins |  4) Mini Emergency Kit |  5) Book |  6) Dachshund Graphic Pillows | 7) Tea Pot |

1) Sweater  How can this sweater fail to bring happiness to all who see it? Not only is it warm and cosy, but in the long winter months after Christmas, this gift will be giving cheer every time its worn!

  2) Leather Gloves Form and function combine with a good pair of leather (or pleather) gloves, but it is the sort of thing a person might not think to splurge on for themselves. So keep someone warm and stylish with a gift like this!

  3) Bobby Pins It'd be pretty impossible not to say "Oh wow! Yay! Hooray!" when you see these. The bobby pins will provide a subtle bit of spunk and personality into any look. So go on, gift these, and put a smile on someone's face.

 4) Mini Emergency Kit She may not be a boy, but she (and we all) can certainly  follow their creed to always be prepared. This mini-emergency kit makes it easy- and stylish- to do. Kits come in a plethora of styles and patterns, and can be tailored to every type of person's need- mom, teacher, bride, pet owner - and, well, the list just goes on!

 5) Book  There is nothing like curling up with a good book. This book is 100 Ideas That Changed Film. But if she's not into the movies, why not try a book on another subject? Maybe art or fashion?

 6) Dachshund Graphic Pillows -  Go on the hunt for a household item that will remind them of their four-legged friends.

 P.S.  This store also has a great selection of doggie inspired wares! 

 7) Tea Pot  What could be cozier than this buffalo check teapot under the tree? Add in some loose leaf tea, and you've given your friend the perfect way to start their Christmas breakfast!

Need more inspiration for Holiday Shopping? Try these gift guides here. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

10 Ways to Help at Christmas

In a flurry of packages and lights and feeling of having too-little time, it can be easy to lose sight of what the season is all about. But this time of year can be a hard one for many; luckily there are many easy ways to help!

Collecting for Xmas  (LOC)
Photo via The Library of Congress
  • Toys for Tots is another way to get presents to children in need too, don't forget!
  • Other great charities to help this time of year are One Warm Coat which works to get warm coats to those who need them. Similarly, Project Linus gets blankets to traumatized children, terminally ill children, and children in need.
  • There are many elderly who are isolated and lonely during the holidays, and even those with families to help care for them can be experiencing stress ad anxiety over the holidays. Be Santa to a Senior aims to help bring Christmas cheer. Much like Toys for Tots, you can buy a requested item as a present for participants which are hung on trees. You might also consider donating to your local elderly care organizations, hospice organization or Meals On Wheels.  Another way to help is to make cards for local nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals (though please always check with these institutions to see what is and is not acceptable to give for healthy and safety reasons). 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What I Wore: Gamine

vest, blazer, skinny jeans,
gamine look
What I Wore: Jeans (Gap), Shoes (Crown Vintage), Shirt (Similar Here), Vest (Similar Here), Coat (Similar Here), Scarf (Similar Here), Bracelet (Popbasic)

Do you know what the word "gamine" means? As in, have you ever looked up its definition. Its a girl with mischevious or boyish charms. Well, I'm owner of a Marauders' Map, so I don't know about mischief, but boyish? This outfit? Yeah.

And you know what?

I'm in love with that fact. With the  vest.  With the whole look, really. The outfit is equally at home out to dinner or lounging around the house. And it's be equally right if I strode along the streets of Paris, or rode up to the mountains. The best part is, except for the boots (which were on The List), all of the items are ones I've had a year or more. Yes, I've done the culling of the closet thing in the past few years, and certainly haven't stopped shopping as The List is proof of, but... Not gonna lie. I'm feeling pretty content with my closet, even as I feel my style is evolving.  Versatile basics have seen me though all that, and will continue to do so, I'm sure.

So, what about you? Ever try to put on some "boyish charm?"

Monday, December 1, 2014

In December, Why Don't You...

Christmas Lights, Channel Gardens, Rockefeller Center
Hop on a plane for somewhere warm

Decorate with an  Advent Calendar

Meet a friend you've already "met" online

Wander for a night to take in the holiday lights

Get a shawl to ward off the cold on winter mornings

Twine boughs of pine along your banisters

Reorganize your wrapping paper

Bag up nonperishables for a food kitchen

Dance on New Year's Eve- even if only in stockinged feet at home

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Month in Review: November 2014

Outfits on the Go
popbasic, striped shirt, rose skirt, polka dot shirt,

Mail on the Go
It was a playful month for mail on NFD, with tips on How to Write a Letter Game and a Paris themed Stationary Wishlist! 

Plans on the Go

I took a week off away from the blog to attend the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) conference in Baltimore. It was also a week away from my classroom and a week away from my home, so you can imagine all the catching up that had to be done on our return. Busy is the perfect adjetive for this month! SO, I'm really going to enjoy taking some time at this Thanksgiving holiday. I hope all of you have safe and happy Thanksgivings too!

On the blog, I shared some Things to do in November, and a passage from one of my favorite books from childhood, A Little Princess.  With the holiday season creeping ever closer, it also seemed a perfect time to share some fashion inspiration from the film Meet Me In St. Louis, for this month's Cinema Style! 

Finds on the Go

  • Don't you want to ride down this Van Gogh -inspired bike path?
  • Here are two songs to kick off the holiday season- here and here.
  • Jokes kids make (I hear stuff like this all day long. Smile and nod, people. Smile and nod). 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cinema Style: Meet Me in St. Louis

Judy Garland sings her heart out on a trolley train and all down the streets of St. Louis in this holiday film that follows the daily life of one family. Taking place at the beginning of the 20th century, the film Meet Me In St. Louis might not seem like the most logical choice for fashion inspiration. But taking subtle cues from the movie and translating those into more modern looks will give some stunning results.
classic, film, movie, garland, lace, boater hat, tassels, lace dresses,

Shoes, Dress, Hat, Necklace

All year the city has been anticipating the arrival of the World's Fair in St. Louis, and ,when it finally comes, Judy Garland gets dressed all in white to take in the sites. This lacy number recalls that delicate frock, but the midi-length keeps it classic rather than costume-y. Don a boater hat as a nod towards the fashion choices of Garland's beaus, and the necklace is a subtle echo of the many tassels that often decorated the women's dresses throughout the film.

trolley, trolley song, Judy, Garland, outfit, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,

Garland is in the throes of love throughout the movie, and we can watch that love bloom in the iconic trolley song number.  Garland stands out from the other young ladies onboard because she's in darker colors compared to their pastels. But rather than look dour, the colors bring out the bloom of her skin tone and they can do the same for you, as this look easily translates to a modern-day Young Miss! A plaid skirt can pair with a white top. If ruffles seem too much for you (no matter how lovely they look on Garland), tone it down with a plain white button up. A tuxedo jacket gives a modern twist to the look, making it a bit more edgy. Juxtapose that edginess with retro heels and maybe even a straw fascinator that will make you stand out from the crowd. With this look, how could you fail to make every boy's heart go zing?!
garland, classic, movie, film, Meet me in St. Louis, plaid, straw hat, tuxedo jacket,

Shirt, Skirt, Tuxedo Jacket, Shoes, Fascinator

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What I Wore: That Seventies Girl

ankle boots, flare jean, striped shirt, popbasic,
popbasic, flare jean, striped shirt,

What I Wore: Shirt (Popbasic; Similar Here), Jeans (American Eagle), Belt (Similar Here), Hat (Similar Here), Bracelet (Popbasic; Similar Here), Boots (Crown Vintage)

Taken before my trip (and therefore before all the snow and bad weather hit- oh, everywhere), this outfit was born from Pinterest inspiration; I don't even have the pin anymore (I regularly cull my "Clothes I Like page." Am I the only one that does that? Is that weird?). Several pieces are new- I'll get to that in a minute- but what I really love is that they are all keep-forever pieces, classic "investments."

All of the new items were off of either my List from this summer or my updated List from this fall. The striped shirt you've seen once before, but it was from The List. Though these jeans are flare jeans, not boyfriend (Wow. Talk about an unflattering cut on me. Good thing flares worked well too), they were on the list. It is so nice to have another pair, even if they are relegated to after-hours or weekend wear. Last, but certainly not least, are the ankle boots. After searching high and low, I finally found black leather boots with a brown heel!!! It was basically like finding the Holy Grail- practically impossible but all the more sweet when I did it. These babies are seriously comfy too, even after tromping around in them for hours sightseeing, they worked for my feet! What is best about all of these pieces though is- as much as I love this laid-back seventies look- these babies just keep getting remixed and remixed.

Okay. I'll be catching up on life (and on blogs and commenting!), but in the meantime, tell me- what's new with you?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Letter Writing: The Letter Game

Getting mail is a ton of fun, but, in an increasingly digital world, writing it can sometimes be hard. This blog post series about Letter Writing aims to make it easier.

I'm sure you've heard of epistolary novels, where the story is told through written documents, traditionally through letters exchanged by characters(though journal entries, texts, and even some multimedia components like videos have been used too). But have you ever heard of The Letter Game? The Letter Game is a fun twist on an epistolary novel, where you write as a character in a story to another character in the story. Instead of you writing the letters for both characters though,  it is a collaborative effort. You send the letter off to a second writer who writes back as the character your character was writing to. The exchange both players create as these characters make up the story!

Image from page 198 of "The novels and letters of Jane Austen" (1906)Though many Letter Games might end up being dropped midway (sadly often at a climatic point such as when one character has been challenged to a duel) or end up being silly, many have also become published books! For example, Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot; The Grand Tour or The Purloined Coronation Regalia;, and The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After were all written by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer; Freedom and Necessity, is by Steven Brust and Emma Bull; and the children's books P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More are by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin.

In the first letter, one player establishes the following: who their character is; the setting; and who they are writing to. Generally, they also explain why characters are writing letters to each other, rather than meeting in person or calling each other on the phone. Quite often the setting can provide this rationale- perhaps your story is set in the past or they in space sending emails? Or maybe it is a character preference- perhaps the character you are writing is addicted to texting and Twitter over phone calls? However things are laid out, the second player must respond within those confines, and write a letter of their own back. Other characters and plot device can be introduced by either writer as time goes by. Though most Letter Games are generally written with each player penning just one letter-writing character, it is possible that you could add more characters sharing correspondence either by players writing multiple characters' letters or by adding a third (or fourth or fifth) player to write letters from these other characters.  Though there are no hard and fast rules, most generally in The Letter Game the characters should never meet, and the writers should not discuss the plot outside of the letters. This latter rule has been bent before, as Wrede explained she and her co-writer did talk about plot once or twice in person, but that it as the exception rather than the norm.

book, wrede, You may want to choose whether it is important or relevant to have your characters use common letter writing structures. Do they start each letter “Dear So-andSo,” and do they include from where or when character is writing (i.e. "At Sotterwhite Manor", or “Later”). Also, be aware of the passage of time for your characters. They may not write for a few days or even weeks etc. Don’t write your partner a “filler letter” that won’t advance the world-building or plot. Time can skip ahead to the relevant scenes for your characters.

This is a game my friends and I often said we would do one day, but never have.  Would you give it a go? 

Further Reading: 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Good Morning, Baltimore!

Food, art, instagrams, jellyfish,
art, little italy, instagrams,
Babe Ruth, art, food, Instagrams Okay, so technically,  I'm not in Baltimore anymore, so it's Good Morning, Wyoming, now. While I'm adjusting back to the sub-zero temperatures here at home, here are some of the highlights of Baltimore.

First, what's NOT pictured- I and my colleague were in Baltimore for most of the last week to attend the National Association for Gifted Children's 61st annual conference (Above you can see a variation of what I was wearing all week, and an art installation in the hotel).  I tweeted about hearing Jack Andraka, the kid who developed a cancer test that works while the disease is in its earliest stages. He's fifteen and the lives his invention will save is probably countless. Color me impressed. We also heard many other fantastic speakers, and got great information about gifted students that will really help take our work to the next level. Like, 90% of our time was at the hotel the conference was in, that really is what the majority of the trip was, but you aren't hear for the teacher-speak. So...

The rest of it.

I had no preconceived ideas about Baltimore, but seems like it showed us a pretty good time. Baltimore is Babe Ruth's hometown! It also has a Little Italy with some truly delicious pastries. We went to a lot of smaller type museums. So I got to see an aquarium with jellyfish (yay!) and  some ancient Egyptian and greek art (YAY!). We ate way too much fantastic food. Work, food, fun, art. Baltimore had a little of everything. So, it's been fun Baltimore. But- gotta admit- being home has it's perks too. I'm off to get puppy cuddles.

P.S. I am working to catch up on blogs and comments, but feel free to share what's been up in your life. I've missed all you online peeps (do we call each other that? No? Then just ignore the faux pas, but share anyway!)

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Dog-Eared Page: A Little Princess

book, except, frances hodgson burnett, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,

"Things happen to people by accident," She used to say.  " A lot of nice accidents have happened to me. It just happened that I always liked lessons and books and could remember things when I learned them. It just happened that I was born with a father who was beautiful and nice and clever, and could give me everything I liked. Perhaps I have not really a good temper at all, but if you have everything you want and everyone is kind to you, how can help but be good-tempered? I don't know"- looking quite serious- "how I shall ever find out whether I am really a nice child or a horrid one. Perhaps I am a hideous child and no one will ever know, just because I never have any trials."

"Lavinia has no trials," said Ermengarde, stolidly "and she is horrid enough."
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett 

Monday, November 10, 2014


Hey all! I'm leaving- Wyoming and the blog- for the week to head to Baltimore and the National Association for Gifted Children's annual conference. I'm excited as can be and ready to learn! You can keep up with the adventures on my Instagram. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite reads around the internet lately. What do you think of them?

Civil Air Patrol Base, Bar Harbor, Maine  (LOC)

If Ariel and Eric got married in Real Life

And, because you can never have too much Disney- here's Princesses with realistic waistlines

Some gorgeous fall style from Jen and Suzanne

Inside the Secret World of a Geisha

Keeping the Faith: How childhood affects church-going

Some tips on creating a mix-and-match wardrobe

Why Fashion Blogging Isn't Dead Yet

these 6 things are harassment- I find it sad we need to clarify this but sadder these things happen

Women Rejecting Marriage Proposals in Western Art

Did you know sign language had accents?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What I Wore: Polk Dot

Polka Dots, popbasic,
PicMonkey Collage
preppy look

What I Wore: Shirt (Popbasic; Here), Jeans (Gap), Shoes (Old Navy), Sweater (Similar Here), Necklace (Similar Here)

A few months ago, I'd noticed a certain word had creeped into my blog comments too other stylish ladies- effortless. That look seems so effortless. Effortless and chic.  You pull that off so effortlessly. But, someone pointed out- what's wrong with effort? What's wrong with looking like you put time and thought into your clothing, especially, since I and the bloggers I was commenting to obviously had blogs, it was obvious we cared about what we were wearing and thought it of at least some importance. Well, it got me thinking for sure, and striking the word from my vocabulary.
The thing of it is- I still am so drawn to that sort of look. The "these things may have not seemed to go together, but actually really work well" sort of look. The laid-back, fancy-yet-casual look. The bohemian yet bourgeois look.

And you might be wondering why I'm mentioning this at all because this outfit? Is not really any of those things. It is polished, and if it is a touch tomboy, it definitely a lot more on the preppy side. And that'd be my point exactly. Just as much as I'm still drawn to the effortless seeming looks, I love these that you can tell have thought behind them, that look pulled together but still easy to live in. In fact, I've worn  iterations of this outfit several times both at work and at home since finally getting a white polka dot shirt!

The shirt is one of several items I've recently bought off of my List of items I've bee looking for (P.S. here is my List updated for fall/winter). It is funny because I used get choice paralysis when shopping quite a bit and dither about a purchase until the item was out of stock- and then occasionally do an impulse purchase I'd regret. But (ironically) my getting dressed lately has been more effortless because I've been knowing what clothes I want in my closet, and everything in the closet goes with one another. That is the sort of effortless I can get behind!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stationery Wishlist: Paris is Always a Good Idea

Stamps, envelopes, card, journal, calendar, stationary, desk accesories, mail, letters,

1. Stickers | 2. Paris Calendar | 3. Merci Beaucoup Stamp | 4. Paris Journal | 5. Bonjour Card | 6. Phone Case | 7. Envelope | 8. Stamp Set

1. Stickers - These French phrase stickers will make any package seem like it arrived straight from the ChampsChamps D'Elysee.

2. Paris Calendar- This calendar will make it seem like it's always April in Paris!

 3. Merci Beaucoup Stamp- Send your thanks off with a bit of flair with this stamp.

4. Paris Journal - Keep your thoughts, daydreams and travel plans in this journal.

5. Bonjour Card - You won't have to write "wish you were here;" your friends will just know it when you send them this gorgeous card.

6. Phone Case - Won't you love saying "Bonjour!" when you answer this phone? (Actually, the French might typically say "'Allo" when answering the phone. And the Italians say "Pronto" while the Czech say "čau" from the Italian word ciao. That's your language lesson for the day.)
7. Envelope- So you may not really be sending anything "Par Avion," but this nostalgic touch will be sure to bring joy to the person you send it to.

 8. Stamp Set- Personalize any mail you send with stamps- like these Paris themed ones that will have everyone packing their bags for a long holiday in Provence.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What I Wore: For a Perfect Weekend

rose skirt, midi skirt, pink shoes, button up shirt, striped button down,
popbasic, pearls, roses, pink and red,
popbasic, lost, weekend, midi skirt,
What I Wore: Skirt (Hell Bunny), Shirt (Popbasic; Similar Here), Necklace (local boutique; Similar Here), Bracelet (Popbasic; Similar Here), Shoes (Loly in the Sky)

I have been daydreaming of this combination of clothing since last spring when this skirt first came into my life. But then it got hot.  And then it got busy. So... this is the first time I've actually been able to wear it. There is something very satisfying in an outfit coming together as you envisioned, but I'm sure it's just preaching to the choir to tell you this. It was actually cold enough for me to have to exchange the skirt for jeans for a bit on Saturday, but once it warmed up in the afternoon, I was right back in this floral beauty. It's a statement piece for sure, but considering the number of times it has been on the blog- and how that is just fraction of how often I wear it- it just goes to show that you will use what you love.

Anyway, wearing this look left me with a feeling of a certain... je ne sais quoi. But it felt perfect for a perfectly good weekend. We got out of town to have Adventures on Saturday- complete with brunch at our very favorite cafe. It was crowded enough that despite the said chill in the air, we had to eat outside and, though neither I nor the Boy ordered the Elvis-inspired PB&J French toast, the food was just as delicious as remembered. We shopped (I got several things from The List! And, boy, does that list make it so much easier to know if an item is what I want or not), and wandered bookstores, and generally just did as we pleased. Then on Sunday it was quite the opposite. I never even stirred from the house. We cleaned and worked and put life back in order for the coming week. As November promises to be even busier than October with two- count 'em two!- work-related trips, and an online graduate class, feeling ahead of the game now means I'll likely  just be able to keep my head above water later on.

What were you up to this weekend? Partying? Laying low? Adventures? Something in between?

Monday, November 3, 2014

In November, Why Don't You...

London - British Museum - canon t2i
Photo credit: Vulture Labs
Visit a museum

Reread a favorite novel

Attend a bonfire

Donate to a food bank

Learn your mother's famous lemon meringue recipe

Start a gratitude journal

Enjoy a cup of cocoa with toast

Go to a craft fair

Learn to knit

Send a bouquet to someone who's sick

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 2014 in Review

With Halloween right around the corner, we tried to get into the spirit of things this October. How about you?

Spirited Outfits
Personal style, popbasic,
Striped Shirt  | Black Dress | Mustard Sweater

Spirited Movies
Getting into the holiday spirit of Halloween, we got our laughs with Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein and our fashion sense from Kim Novak in Bell, Book and Candle.

Spirited Mail
Who wouldn't love opening their mail box to this stationary For the Girls? Or what about any of these subscription boxes? Speaking of mail, would you write to a prisoner in the penal system?

Spirited Plans
I shared some ideas of things to do in October, and got into the spirit of the season with this month's Dog-Eared Page, Dracula. I also shared some extra great reads on the internet. But this month has been quiet on the blog, but busy in real life. I attended a local conference on Gifted Education and my classroom has been busy too- with robots, bridge building and more. You all know I don't talk about my job much because it involves others, such as students, whose privacy I value, but know this.  It has been a roller coaster this year, but always fun!

Spirited Finds

As a diabetic, this is the most amazing news to be hearing!

Made me laugh.

Good advice about always being ready; sillier, but fun advice about being Parisian 

Talking While Female

A moving post on overcoming struggles from fellow blogger Taylor of Nothing but Pigeons.

I've been wearing scarves more lately- would you wear this one? 

An inside look at North Korea

 How about a real werewolf story- and other history you've never heard of

Four autumn looks from:  Anna, Marlen, Katie and Hannah.

Is all reading reading good when it comes to kids?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What I Wore: The LBD

fur scarf and black dress
popbasic and black dress
What I Wore: Dress (Popbasic; Similar Here), Necklace (Similar Here), Sweater (Forever 21; Similar Here), Fur (Similar Here), Shoes (Old Navy)

You all know I'm a huge fan of the Popbasic clothing line, right? This dress is from their latest micro-collection. It actually sold out pretty much in under a day! For me the real draw had actually been the jewelry that came with the dress, but- everyone needs an LBD, right? I figured it would make an easy work outfit for the hectic mornings. Turns out it is a liiiiitttle (and by a little, I mean a lot) more clingy than I'm strictly comfortable with wearing in a professional setting, so it has been "decorating" my dresser as I try to figure out how to style it.

Layers- Layers and autumn style turn out to be the key. This worked for a morning of just reading and an afternoon facing the bracing temperatures of fall when we were out and about town. So, while the dress wasn't quite what was expected, it works. You ever have a piece of clothing that you had to rethink how to wear it?

Monday, October 27, 2014

The List (Updated)

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 8.43.42 AM
I always keep a running list of things I'm looking for when it comes to my closet. It keeps those impulsive purchases down and keeps things feeling cohesive in my closet- at least that's the aim! I shared my list back in July, but as I'm shifting into a new job, and new seasons are coming my list too is changing. Some of that is because I've made a number of purchases that crossed items off my list form July (most notably: patterned pants, a red striped shirt, and a polka dot shirt that will make it's NFD debut soon!); and some items in my closet have done to that that great dustbin in the sky and need replaced! So- here's what's on my radar right now:

1) Black Sweater- I have a short sleeved one and use it all the time, but as the colder months creep up, I know I'd use one with longer sleeves even more. This particular sweater also has a fun 60s mod neckline and oversized fit, which adds some variety rather than redundancy to the closet.

2) Grey Shirt- I've worn my grey shirt into the ground. Holes and unravelling hems was all that was left. But it was such a great layering piece, a replacement is in order. Something fitted, without too low a neckline, is just what the wardrobe-doctor ordered.

3) Mulberry Sweater- I'll admit, this choice was obviously influenced by the color. Most of my list is getting or replacing basics, but you need those pieces that will pop too.  A deep wine color fits that bill! Since it has the deeper colors I associate with earth tones,  it will mix well with items already in my closet. Plus, it would work well with my blonde hair dye but also with darker shades should I go back to my natural hair, and the color will be festive for winter holidays without being too on-the-nose.

4) Fedora- Okay- arguably the least versatile item on the list right now because, while I love hats, I don't wear them all the time. Between the Wyoming Wind and working to dress professionally, it just isn't always in the cards. But how perfect would this be for a weekend adventure? And black does with everything.

5) Ankle Boot- I live in my flats, but- and not to get all Game of Thrones on you- winter is coming. I need more coverage. Most boots though, swallow half your leg. These combine practicality and fashion. My favorite detail is the black leather paired with a brown sole and heel.

6) Skirts- I'm drifting away from skirts because I move around so much during the day, from sitting on the floor to jumping around to the typical small, tiny seats of a classroom. But- a midi skirt makes all of those movements possible too, and the dark green colors are very flattering. Which do you like more- the plaid or the shimmery emerald one?

7) Brown Cardigan- This is another item on the list because I used to own one, but, after an unfortunate dryer event where the whole thing got ripped to shreds, it needed replaced. Slouchy brown cardigans go with everything and are the perfect layer to throw on when cold.

8) Work Pants- Remember the whole moving-so-much-at-work thing? Well, then, the whys behind this list item needs no further explanation. I loved my patterned pants so much, these two choices both have a similar silhouette. Not sure if brown or gray would be more useful. They are't  the most exciting colors but the cut on both pairs give a sophisticated yet approachable vibe and adds some variety to the rotation of black trousers.
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