Hello dear Readers and welcome to another post sponsored by my husband, SS! As you may already know if you’ve been keeping up with my posts here, my husband recently decided to read the A Court of Thorns and Roses … Continue reading
◆MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!! ◆
The fact that there is a brief cameo by Rhysand in Kingdom of Ash is all that needs to be mentioned to hint at how I felt about this book. It was utter perfection!
I’ve spent the better part of this year with the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I started the first book right after coming home from my honeymoon in May, and I moved swiftly through the majority of the series before taking a tiny break and then finishing the rest of it. Suffice it to say that many of the months of 2018 have been spent thinking about Celaena/Aelin and her court members and friends…and I can’t say I’m upset about that!
If you happened to read my review of The Assassin’s Blade (the prequel to the Throne of Glass series), you’ll know that I had a bit of a rough start with this story. Unlike the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, which wowed me right from the first book and had me totally hooked, my experience with ToG was a bit more tumultuous in that I didn’t love the characters from the very beginning and found my mind wandering as I read many of the early books. When I made my way to Heir of Fire, though, I started to become more intrigued, and then by the time I finished Empire of Storms…holy ****, I was shattered. That book really clinched the series for me, and reading The Assassin’s Blade and then Tower of Dawn right after made me extremely fond of the characters, particularly of Aelin who does this complete 180 from how she was in the first few books – something that I personally appreciated!
What makes this series so special? I don’t think I’m an authority on that, to be honest. I read the entire series in one year, and while that made my experience very immersive and emotional, there are readers out there who began reading the series as soon as it came out six years ago. That is A LOT of time to spend with such fictional friends, and I can’t imagine how much more devastated I would’ve been at the conclusion of this series if I had been reading it for so long because…to be honest…I’m devastated that it’s over even now. I spent all of last year reading the ACOTAR series, but then, I had ToG to look forward to. Now, I have nothing…well, at least until Sarah J. Maas releases her next novel!
Again, I’m no expert on this series, but it is one that I have seriously enjoyed and that I am thrilled to have read! I’m a true and loyal fan of Aelin and her court now (Does my outfit for today – see below – make that clear enough?) and I do feel like I learned a lot from Aelin’s character about inner strength and fortitude and the lengths someone sometimes has to go to in order to protect the ones they love. My reading life will be a little bit emptier now for having lost Aelin, but my own personality has certainly benefited from this lesson in perseverance and sacrifice.
I could go on and on, quoting scenes from Kingdom of Ash that I loved – I bookmarked almost every other page because it had a scene or passage that I liked – but what would be the point of that? That would spoil it for you readers out there who are lucky enough to get to read it for the first time, and for those of you who have read it, I’m sure you already have your favourite passages anyway! My one piece of advice to readers just starting Kingdom of Ash would be to take it slooow. I spent over two weeks reading this novel, even though a book as big as 980 pages would normally only take me just over a week. But, I wanted to savour every moment, every sentence, and really soak it all in, and I am very happy that I chose to do that, because I am now left with a profound sense of having truly lived with these characters and said a thorough and proper goodbye to them.
ToG was an incredible ride and one that will make my 2018 reading year hard to top and even harder to forget!
❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)
All hail the Queen of Terrasen!
Girl with a Green Heart
“I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.” ~ Charlotte Brontë They say that once you get your first tattoo, you’ll get addicted and never be able to stop getting them. That’s probably true. I can see how … Continue reading
Apologies are in order (I feel like I apologize a lot on this blog, for missing posts, eh?)…I missed my Weekly Round-Up last week, but I promise I have a great excuse! Last Sunday, I fully intended to write up … Continue reading
I have always been attached to objects.
It started when I was a newborn and I was given a soft and inviting blanket by one of my grandmother’s friends. While a newborn will naturally receive many blankets in her day, this one became my absolute favourite, and it stayed wrapped around me for years while I was in my crib. When I progressed to a “big girl” bed, my beloved blanket slept in my arms, and he (yes, I do refer to my blanket as a “he”) evolved into Blankie. Blankie became one of my most trusted companions, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I talked to him every night. Some kids have imaginary friends, but I had something much better – an actual, physical object to hold in my arms while I chatted away to him, silently and in my mind of course. I’m also not embarrassed to say that Blankie slept in my bed all throughout high school, and to this day, he rests on my pillow beside me every night. Introducing my fiancé SS to Blankie when we first started dating was a bit of an ordeal, but I decided to share the secret of my constant bedfellow with him about a month into our relationship, and rather than finding it weird, SS decided to curl up for a little nap with Blankie. They’ve been friends ever since.
Is it possible that becoming so attached to an inanimate object was strange behaviour for a young girl? Sure. But think about who my favourite fictional character was at the time: a soon-to-be princess who lived in an enchanted castle and enjoyed living in the world of literature more than any other. With a friend like Belle, how could I not have a blanket as my closest confidante?
Okay, so we’ve established that I’m somewhat unhealthily attached to items and things. Well, imagine how great my attachment has been to each gift that SS has given me. Having a boyfriend for the first time is one source of excitement…but receiving a piece of jewelry from that boyfriend is quite another. I’m not overly superficial and I’m not jewelry obsessed, but having a physical token of my boyfriend’s love, something that I can wear and show to the world, something to give me reassurance and joy every time I look at it…that is quite magical. And an engagement ring…I think there can be no more incredible token than that. You wear it on this finger that everyone knows is so significant, and it sparkles in the sunlight and even (although it seems impossible) on the rainy days, and it gives you butterflies every time you catch a glimpse of it in your peripheral vision. Needless to say, I’ve grown so very attached to my engagement ring, my custom-made rose gold ring and the gorgeous (green, green, GREEN!) emerald that it harbours. There has been no greater joy in my life than slipping it on my finger each morning – it is the absolute best start to my day.
But engagement rings, as with anything else, need care. Every now and then, they need some TLC, a spa getaway, to come back glistening and new. And because SS has remarkable foresight and did an admirable amount of research before having my ring made, he purchased a lifetime warranty from the jeweler that allows me to have my glorious emerald ring polished and buffed and inspected every six months.
Fantastic! Except for the fact that I have to give my ring to the jeweler for two to three weeks. They have to take it from me, literally remove it from my finger, and send it off to some faraway land where engagement rings get pampered and hopefully treated like royalty. For someone who’s attached to inanimate objects, that whole ordeal is daunting.
But, today, my six months were up (Sidenote: It has been six months since I got engaged which is amazing to think of!) and I had to take my ring in. There was no avoiding it, and to be honest his (yes, my ring is a boy like Blankie!) band was a little scuffed and scratched. I of course want him to feel loved and well taken care of…but two to three weeks of absence won’t just make the heart grow fonder, it’s likely to make me crazy!
This post is coming to you late at night, and that’s because I can’t sleep without thinking of my ring, sleeping somewhere that isn’t beside me in my room. It’s a terrible thought, but totally unavoidable. So, here we are, me writing away to ease my anxiety while my ring hopefully rests peacefully elsewhere.
Here’s hoping he comes home to me SOON!
Girl with a Green Heart
I have to apologize. I totally missed posting a number of #JNGListens quotes on Twitter this week. I began the week by quoting lines from my all-time favourite Bruce Springsteen song “I’ll Work for Your Love” – a song that I plan to feature prominently at my future nuptials – but I soon forgot to keep posting lyrics because of how hectic and busy the week became.
On Wednesday evening, SS and I selected a wedding venue and date. I’d like to keep the date a secret for now but it is in December 2017, as we planned, and now that the big decision of where to get married is out of the way, we feel a lot calmer and as though we can go about all our other plans in a more relaxed manner. But, needless to say, making this decision took time and research, and now that the decision is made, we have been so excited and overwhelmed with joy…so that’s why I’ve been a bit scatter-brained lately.
Having said that, because I knew I wasn’t going to have a consistent week on the #JNGListens front, I did take the time this week to do something a little special when I found myself on the University of Toronto campus. I completed what I can only call an Engagement Ring Photoshoot! I walked around the campus, visited some of my favourite sites and locations, and photographed my gorgeous emerald and rose gold ring around UofT. I thought I would share the photos with you now…sorry if you’ve all already gotten tired of this wedding news, but I’m a little obsessed!
Here is the ring at University College, one of my favourite buildings on the UofT campus (although I was part of Victoria College). The area you can see behind my ring is the quad, a lovely Austen-esque courtyard with lush grass, wood benches and tall trees. I used to read the novels for my English classes in this area, and dream of my own dashing gentleman!
This is a picture of my ring with my dragon. Let me explain: I used to pass this dragon sculpture (also at University College) every day on my way to my Linguistics tutorial in first year and to my Alice Munro fourth year seminar. For whatever reason, this dragon made me feel strong and secure; every time I looked at him or rubbed his head, I was reminded that I had the force necessary, way deep inside me, to get through my degree and battle the demons that tried to hold me back (whether they were my professors or my own anxieties). I’ve taken pictures with my dragon before (see below), but I definitely thought it was appropriate to introduce him to my engagement ring, a symbol of the fact that I have conquered everything I set my mind to (so far at least).
And the final photo in the first wave of the JNG Engagement Ring Series (see that, I even named this endeavour) is a photo of my ring in the room in Hart House where SS and I first met. Here I am, sat at a table just like the one I sat down at when I met SS. I had to take this photo stealthily, but you get a general impression of what the room looks like. And is it any coincidence that the chairs, which SS and I sat in when we had our first ever conversation, are decorated with hearts?
I anticipate that there may be more posts in the JNG Engagement Ring Series in the near future, so stay tuned!
Girl with a Green Heart (and Ring)
I had a #JNGReads post written and scheduled for upload today, but then things got a little bit Jane Eyre for me and I had to deviate from my plan. This is totally unlike me, to not post my regular #JNGReads entry, BUT, Readers, I have some extremely exciting news to share…
… I am ENGAGED! Reader, I’m marrying him – MY Edward Rochester, my Prince Charming, the love of my life. My boyfriend, that wonderful, caring and kind SS that I rant and rave about, is no longer my boyfriend. He is my fiancé!
Okay, so I don’t even know where to begin, but all I know is that I have to share this story with you all. It was the most perfect, literary proposal, from SS’s planning to my reaction, and I want you all to know every detail.
SS and I have talked about marriage for a long time…since our 3 month anniversary, actually, when I was incredibly sleepy and blurted out that I wanted to marry SS one day. From that moment, we’ve been planning and scheming and discussing…and we had pretty well decided that once SS finishes his last few university courses this upcoming August, we would get engaged. So I had a timeline in mind – engaged by Fall 2016, ideally married by the end of 2017.
And then, SS went rogue, as he often does. He decided that he wanted the proposal to be a total surprise for me…so he had to do it on a different timeline, when I wouldn’t be expecting a thing. He sat down with my parents and brother, told them about his plan, and they were thrilled. The wheels were in motion.
That was apparently a month and a half ago. SS had his work cut out for him then, getting the most gorgeous engagement ring I’ve ever seen CUSTOM MADE for me.
When the girl you’re in love with has a green heart, you have to get her an emerald, right? Truth be told, I have always adored emeralds, and SS hit the nail on the head with this beautiful ring from Peoples, complete with a rose gold setting to reflect my Victorian sensibilities. So he had the ring…now what?
Here’s where I come in, oblivious and hopelessly romantic. SS knew he wanted to propose to me where we first met, at the University of Toronto in a building called Hart House. But how would he get me there, the girl who controls every aspect of our schedule and keeps a detailed agenda of all events? Well, he brilliantly decided to book us a hotel room to celebrate the end of his winter semester, and then he expertly told me he would need to quickly drop off a textbook to a friend at UofT during our stay, for her to use for summer classes. She apparently wanted to meet us right by Hart House and I thought it would be cute to revisit the site of our first acquaintance.
So we went, started walking toward our beloved school, and somehow weddings came up. I got a bit frustrated because all I’ve been wanting for months is a ring to wear and show to the world to commemorate our longstanding level of commitment, so I said to SS, “Stop! I refuse to talk about weddings until I have a ring on this finger!” He must’ve found that hilarious as he was carrying the ring with him the whole time.
We got to Hart House and were standing in the hallway outside the room where we met. I looked inside to see that the room was closed and locked, and when I turned back around, SS was rifling in his bag for a book. He pulled out a copy of Jane Eyre and I thought, “How sweet! He bought me a new copy of the book!”
Then, I noticed that he wasn’t getting up – he was still down on one knee. He opened the front cover of Charlotte’s story and I saw written inside as an inscription, “Reader, Will you marry him?” And there was an emerald, rose gold ring tucked inside the pages.
So I, of course, had an appropriate Janian reaction. “No! You are a liar!” I shouted. “This is a cruel joke! That ring is not even real!” SS was alarmed and stood up, coming toward me to put the ring on my finger (he knew that, no matter what my reaction was, I was saying Yes), but I rebelled. “No, stay away from me, don’t touch me!” Like Jane Eyre, I refused to believe that any of it was real. I refused to accept that SS was in ernest. I couldn’t wrap my mind around such happiness.
But eventually, like Rochester with his Jane, SS was able to coax me into being calm and listening to him. I looked at this sparkling gem on my finger and I had to believe. He was my SS and I was his fiancée…at last!
So there it is – SS and I are engaged! We are getting married…and we will be planning a wedding that will make my literary heroines proud!
“‘Make my happiness—I will make yours.'”- Edward Rochester to Jane Eyre
Janille N G
Girl with an Emerald Green Heart
Yesterday I was off work, lying at home sick with a migraine all day. While most people would love a day at home, doing absolutely nothing, I like stimulus and activity, so I knew that I had to fill my day doing something (albeit calm and soothing). In my painkiller-induced slumber, I arrived at the idea of watching the Netflix/Marvel original series Jessica Jones. There are 13 episodes total and yesterday I was able to watch…9 episodes!
Okay, let me just say that I am extremely picky when it comes to TV shows. Basically, I watch Penny Dreadful (Long live the Victorians!) and Reign (Long may Queen Mary reign!), and that’s about it. I used to watch a whole bunch of different shows (The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, The Affair, among others), but I dropped most of them after a while because they just weren’t grabbing my attention. I have this policy that if I’ve watched 3 episodes of a show in a row and I’m feeling bored and not excited or anxious to keep watching it, then I have to cut it, whether that’s at the beginning of the series or after seasons and seasons of watching. There are too many good books to read out there to waste any leisure time on stories that are uninteresting.
Having said all that, I watched one episode of Jessica Jones and I was immediately hooked! This probably has a lot to do with Krysten Ritter – I’ve liked her as an actress for a long time (ever since she was on Gilmore Girls briefly) and I absolutely LOVE her in the role of Jessica! She is my new girl crush in every way: her style is exactly the sort of fashion I love (more on this in a moment), and she is so dry and sarcastic. Her sarcasm and wit make her so unbelievably strong and a real force to be reckoned with, but what is also really great about Ritter’s portrayal of her is that Jessica still comes across as emotional, vulnerable and scared. She’s a truly complex character, but she’s also a female character that a lot of young women can look up to – she’s no nonsense, 100% badass, and she isn’t going to take anyone’s crap…but she’s also caring, loyal to her friends and loved ones, and truly remorseful for the mistakes she makes. She’s flawed and human in the most wonderful and interesting way, and I’m addicted to her story and to the way Krysten Ritter tackles her complicated and chaotic life.
I also have to say (and this is a bit of a shameful admission) that I really really like Jessica’s “enemy”, Killgrave. I find him strangely sexy, which says a lot about my taste in male characters apparently (Damaged and dark British male lead, anyone?). I don’t watch Doctor Who and I’ve never seen David Tennant in anything, but I have to say, he has fully won me over as Killgrave. I don’t blame Jessica (and others) for being intoxicated and manipulated by him because he’s intelligent and calculated, but also hilarious and so cunning. I’m very impressed by his character because I think there’s a lot more to him than being the classic villain. He has a troubled past and a lot of emotional demons to deal with, but he also still seems to be strangely nice and genuine at moments. I’m just super conflicted about his character, to be honest – I want him to go away, but I feel bad for him as well – and I do kind of think the idea of him and Jessica is a little bit cute.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the show pretty much nonstop since I started watching it, and I am ridiculously anxious to finish the next 4 episodes. I’ve even planned to go to my boyfriend’s house tomorrow just so I can log onto his Netflix and watch them all in one go (it’s one of his favourite shows too, so this is no sacrifice on his part).
And so, in honour of this momentous occasion of finding a TV show to finally hold my attention, I decided to have a go at dressing like Jessica Jones today. This was possibly the easiest feat ever because I dress like Jessica almost every single day. I had all of these items in my closet already, and I probably would’ve worn them together even if I’d never seen the show. But, here, have a gander at the photo below and see my Jessica Jones-inspired outfit:
Items Required to Dress like Jessica Jones:
- Black hair – It helps that mine has been black forever!
- A pair of fingerless gloves – the epitome of badass!
- Short boots
- Lots of black!
- A large, wraparound scarf – No one rocks a scarf quite like Krysten Ritter!
And there you have it – new TV obsession + new style icon – nailed it!
Best sick day ever, like seriously!
Girl with a Green Heart
‘Fool,’ said my Muse to me, ‘look in thy heart and write’.
– “Astrophil and Stella”, Sir Philip Sidney
Welcome to 2016 here at The World of my Green Heart!
To ring in the New Year and get myself amped up and excited for all the blog posts I intend to write in 2016, I decided that today I’d feature one of my favourite Christmas gifts that I received over the holidays.
What is a reader without her (or his) hardware? Previously on the blog, I wrote about purchasing a new (third) pair of glasses – a momentous occasion for me because I feel that my specks are an integral part of my identity as an avid reader – after all, if it wasn’t for all the reading I’ve done throughout my life in dimly lit libraries, my eyesight would probably be much better. I was truly excited to pick out a pair of unique, eccentric and bold frames, and I’ve gotten many compliments on them since. And every time I do, as well as any time I wear one of my multiples pairs of glasses, I feel like I am proclaiming to the world, Look at me – I’m wearing glasses because I need them to see some special words on a very special page of an even more special novel that I am currently immersed in! To me, being a reader is equally about those awesome accessories you get to wear – just like being a music lover might be about purchasing the latest iPod or sporting some gorgeous and stylish headphones, and being a hardcore runner might be about donning some colourful sneakers. I’m a reader, and I was a reader before I was most other things in my life, so I like the world to have an idea about that when they look at me!
Now, in the same vein, I’d like to pose the question: What is a writer without her (or his) hardware? Yes, yes, I’m typing this post up on my Macbook right now, and I love all the latest gadgets, especially the fact that my lovely gold iPhone 6 lets me type notes that will instantly appear on my laptop. The way of the writer’s future is pretty marvelous! But, I’m also seriously old school…like to the point where I never once brought my laptop with me to any of my university classes. I preferred to write my lecture notes out by hand…yes, that’s right, with an actual pen and piece of paper. A lot of people think this is absolutely nuts. They’d often ask me how I could keep up with the professor’s speaking (trust me, it takes practice), or how I could prevent my hand from getting cramped or tired (I didn’t – I just persevered). My answers to these questions were never adequate because they could never convey just how happy I felt at the end of a three hour class, looking at my colourful, highlighted, handwritten notes. It just felt so nice to have a notebook full of my own scribbling and shorthand at the end of a semester, and I still have many of these notebooks (you never know when you might need to look back at some lecture notes when writing a blog post, am I right?).
So, to me, one of the most important things that I can possess is a good, high quality, fully functioning, totally reliable black pen. I used to write with only blue pen for awhile, mainly when I was in high school, but as I moved into my university years, I started to prefer black ink because it seemed a bit more professional, less flashy and easier to read. Since then, I’ve stuck to strictly black pen, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate that any time someone has gifted me with a pen, it’s just happened to be a black one. Writer’s win!
And this Christmas, I received some awesome pens (people know me well enough by now to purchase them for me on every occasion) – but one pen stood out to me in particular. My darling boyfriend SS bought me an absolutely gorgeous (black!) pen from Swarovski. It is decorated with rose gold crystals – and since rose gold is unquestionably my favourite, it suits me perfectly! I love it, and with it I intend to write lengthy blog posts, creative stories, anything and everything my green heart desires!
Stay tuned for what my pen will produce this year!
Girl with a Green Heart (and a Pink Pen)
Hello Everyone, and welcome to the first post since Christmas……
Yes, I know that Christmas is technically over, the family gatherings and gift giving celebrations have come and gone, but that does NOT mean the holiday season is done! And, in order to keep this Christmasy feeling going for at least the next week, until the New Year, I’ve created a little post for today that fully encompasses all of my enthusiasm for Christmas and all the love, joy and excitement the season represents.
I don’t think I’ve directly stated this, but I’m sure you can all guess that one of my absolute favourite activities during the holidays is to watch cheesy but incredibly romantic and heartwarming Christmas movies every night and weekend. I am quite literally obsessed with the movies that replay over and over on TV during the Christmas season, and I love how simple everything is in these fictitious worlds, how easily any conflicts are surmounted and how often True Love prevails and conquers all. There are many times throughout the holiday season that I myself feel like a character in a Christmas movie, and this particularly happened for me this year when I visited the Christmas Market at the Distillery District in Toronto with my boyfriend, SS, and my parents. Just walking around the various stalls, sipping a hot chocolate and eating DELICIOUS (I mean, seriously sooo good!) roasted nuts was like something right out of one of my favourite holiday films, and the gorgeous Christmas tree (which you can see featured in one of my previous posts and on my Instagram and Twitter pages) added an air of magic and festivity to the whole evening! It was a night I won’t soon forget, and the Distillery District has firmly secured its place as one of my favourite sites in all of Toronto!
In these moments when I feel like a Christmas movie heroine, it’s only fitting that I make sure I dress like one too! What is a Christmas movie heroine without a warm scarf, a stylish hat and a killer pair of boots? How can a self-respecting woman rightfully call herself a Christmas fanatic unless she is always holding a warm beverage in her hand, or reading a book by a fire, or having a latte catch-up session with one of her best friends? On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year, I made sure to document exactly what I was wearing, the accessories I used and the treats I ate to give you all a taste of what it means to be a Christmas movie heroine to me.
To be a true Christmas movie heroine, I believe it is essential to own a Christmas sweater. Some people call these ugly Christmas sweaters, but I wholeheartedly disagree with that adjective – I think they are beyond adorable! This Christmas, I paired my sweater with my favourite pair of tan suede booties, a patterned scarf that so many people complimented me on and said was so festive, as well as a burgundy felt hat and a matching burgundy purse. Everything about this outfit was comfy and relaxed, but also stylish and extremely Christmasy!
In terms of accessories to go with this Christmas heroine outfit, I first and foremost made sure to constantly wear my Christmas wreath pin. This pin goes perfectly with any jacket and scarf combination, and I think it is absolutely gorgeous! For that hot beverage that a Christmas heroine should always be carrying with her (preferably a hot chocolate), I chose a delicate and girly ceramic mug with beautiful flowers. And what Christmas heroine outfit would be complete without a pearl and poinsettia flower crown and an antique, hardcover novel? The perfect, traditional touches!
Finally, Christmas heroines are all about going out and having those sweet, tasty holiday treats! This Christmas Eve, I met up with one of my best friends, KM, for a delicious Smores latte and pistachio muffin. The treats themselves looked classy and simplistically Christmasy, and they gave off a warm and cozy vibe during this winter season.
So there you have it – shake off those post-Christmas blues by putting together your own Christmas movie heroine/hero outfit!
Girl with a Green Heart