March 12, 2018

british spring box! and cool stuff

Happy Monday! News and updates: I announced my Spring book surprise box theme on Instagram last week, and the theme is British Springtime. (For grownups.) Yes I'll get off the Brit theme after this ha ha ha. It will have a gorgeous vintage book that is coming to me from England, and it will have treats and lovely things from some of my favorite British lines, like some beautiful stationary cards from Liberty of London. Hop over to my Instagram for a peek at the cards! The price is $31 plus shipping/handling, and I'm capping orders to under twenty. If you want one, comment or message me so I know how many books to order and I'll send you an invoice ~ The box will ship out in April. It would make for a lovely Mother's Day present!

And ~ I completely re-wrote my 'Info' page (see up above my header at the top of the blog) - I tried to get down as much info as I have right now about the book surprise boxes. I'm sure other questions will crop up, or other things will occur to me, but a lot of Q&A is up there now, so give it a little look-see if you like.

Also, my husband spent nearly an entire day re-coding some issues that had been bothering me about the blog since I switched templates last year and had it installed by a 3rd party. He did some things to improve the less than stellar image quality, and he fixed the way words were being cut off in the margins on mobile devices, and he fixed the ENORMOUS gap between blog posts when viewed in Chrome. Oh FYI - we noticed my images look much better on Firefox than they do on Chrome, by the way. If you notice anything strange, or if the site is suddenly taking ages to load, can you please let me know?

Things to check out -

Teenage girls and social media.

Best soups for a cold.

This skillet dinner and also this one.

Did you all see this post on Irish books that I did last year??

Would you like to know Andrew's Irish soda bread recipe?? (the photos are terrible but the soda bread is our go-to every year)

CUTE. Rainbow Shamrock String Art.

Um, seriously. I've begun to read parenting books again.

A whole lotta this K-beauty stuff will probably wind up in Julia's Easter basket this year. She's also been asking for this banana hand cream every 5 minutes. But I like this panda hand cream better!

Very darling spring blossoms print.

Cool Book of the Week: I'm finishing up this 'Jeeves & Wooster' book, and my word it's so silly and funny, like watching a comedy show in book format! I've been actually laughing out loud, which hardly ever happens to me while reading. These short stories about the world's most clueless English gentleman and his patient (and infinitely more intelligent) butler are just what I needed to read during these last few weeks of winter. I think I need to start watching the show.

Have a great start to your week! I watched 'Remains of the Day'  over the weekend - and cried A LOT - it's been years and years and years since I saw it last. I think it's also time for another viewing of 'Howard's End'.


March 8, 2018

fairy tales

Nearly a year ago, some photographer friends of mine contacted me about doing a small feature in an online and print magazine they had been creating, and I was asked to make something that tied together my love for literature and photography. The magazine was called 'Journey to Artist' and sadly, its creators no longer have the time to devote to the hours that such an endeavor required. They stopped creating new content via that platform, but it was a truly lovely publication. It focused on how women and mothers express their lives and artistry through photography, and I was absolutely thrilled to be a part of it.

I wrote a small article about how fairy tales have always been such a huge part of my life, and how writing about and photographing my books put me on a path towards my professional photography practice.

Here is the full set of photos I created for the article -- I thought you might enjoy seeing them!

For the magazine, I thought I would feature some of my absolute favorite fairy tale books. I included 'The Golden Book of Fairytales' (Amazon doesn't allow for a link to that book, how odd! But I did a full post on that one HERE), and one of my all time favorites, 'Swedish Folk Tales' by John Bauer (you can see a post I did on that one HERE), as well a gorgeous book I have yet to post about here on Julia's Bookbag - that one is called 'The Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairy Tales', and it is a work of PURE BEAUTY.

At the end of the article, I wrote that photographing and writing about my fairy tale books was my way of honoring the books and stories that gave great comfort to the relatively solitary existence I led as a child. My books were my best friends, and it's given me such joy to give them new life through my blog!

March 5, 2018

british boarding school part 2

I just sent out a batch of the British Boarding School Boxes I talked about recently, and thought I'd show and tell a bit more. OH THIS WAS FUN to put together! And for those who didn't get in on that action, rest assured, I'll be doing this book surprise box theme again because like I said on Instagram - 1) I have An Obsession with this theme and 2) there are so many other fun boarding school books out there! Next time around, I'll also do a Boarding School Box specifically for adults as well.

Please take a moment to admire my City of London gift wrapping. I happened upon that and almost fell over with delight.

I thought I was well versed in every kind of British candy bar currently in existence, but I found a few that I hadn't seen before! Starbar! And Double Decker! That candy bar is HUGE. British candy and Japanese candy is so far superior to American candy. It just is. We have Snickers bars, and yes that is indeed a perfect candy bar, but everything else is so boring in my opinion.

So in the box I had the book, tea, lip gloss, the candy bar, a little notebook, a British pencil, a London magnetic bookmark, and HEDGEHOG socks and I thought that the box was just about perfect. That baby was PACKED. And then my daughter sashayed over and announced that I had to include SLIDES in the box. I've done my job and successfully brainwashed my kiddo into thinking British Boarding School books are awesome as well, and she said that in all the books she's read, the girls all wear their "slides" to class - that apparently is Brit-speak for hair clips. Soooooooo, I went and found some darling slides that I thought looked the part. Aren't they adorable?

So there you have it. British Boarding School Box. I was chatting with a book loving friend over on Instagram (I love IG so much, people talk and CHAT over there!) and we both agreed that if this box had shown up on our doorstep at age 10-12, we would have lost our MINDS with joy.

February 27, 2018

cool stuff i like

Hello friends! Fun fact - this orchid pictured has been in bloom for OVER SIX MONTHS. Also a fun fact - IT IS STILL WINTER. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Did you have fun watching the Olympics? I will tell you - Yevgenia Medvedeva was ROBBED. If all the sport cares about now is the jumping, why not just line them up and make them jump, no costumes, no music? I was seriously bummed that she came in second.

Ok Box News of the Week - Thanks to all who ordered the British Boarding School Box; that will be mailed out this week. At the last minute Julia had a brilliant idea of something to put in, and although I 'thought' the box was complete as it was, her idea was SO great, I had no choice but to acquiesce and realize that yes this item had to go into the box. She said that all British Boarding School girls in the books she's read wear 'slides', which is the Brit terminology for hair clips. I then found the perfect clips for the box, so in they go!

Next surprise book boxes coming soon: British Spring Boxes for grownups, and a Kawaii-inspired Cute Box for kids (or anyone), that will be tailored to have 3 different books for 3 different ages. I'll preview those more on Instagram further along in March, but I'm a glutton for punishment and I'm ordering another book from the UK (that's where the Hygge Box book came from), which means it takes a bit to get to me - SOOOOOO - if you think you want a Spring Box, it's not too early to let me know! (I don't usually order the books until I have confirmed and paid for orders.) Got a list going of some lovely people already who have put in their request.

Online items of interest:


An antidote to stress, found courtesy of MFAMB last week. I'm now following this lady on Instagram...

Wow wow wow. This treat would be so fun for a party!

Watching this show immediately.

A friend just sent me the link to this line of children's jewelry. GORGEOUS. What lovely presents they would make for special occasions.

So, speaking of Instagram, are you on Instagram? I fount the most adorable hashtag to follow: #adventurelikebeatrixpotter.

Is you kid as obsessed with slime as mine is? I'm full of questions today. Still speaking of IG, she's about to launch a slime account. We think. Anyway, this online slime shop has really cool slime.

IKEA Spring/Summer 2018.

So excited for this book next fall! Did you read the others in the series?

This post was a great read, written by a great friend.

Cool Book of the Week: 'The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots' by Beatrix Potter and illustrated by the amazing Quentin Blake. I just found about this recently, that this story, which was written in 1941 and never illustrated - has been given new life and artwork created by Quentin, whose work I adore. But his style is a very different vibe and feel, obviously, from the art of Beatrix. What do you think of the idea? Are you horrified? Some people are horrified. You should see the comments on Amazon. People are having a FIT. I'm not horrified, I want to see it! I actually think his style would be very worthy of Potter's sly charm and whimsical humor. Her art might make you think of lavender clouds and puffy piles of cream and jam, but her words and story lines are razor sharp.

Have a lovely rest of your week! I finished watching 'The Crown'. Now what do I do with myself? I've actually been making a great attempt to read more books, and waste time online less.


February 22, 2018

the british boarding school box

Well, you should have known this was happening. If you heard me rumbling around on Instagram, you would have had fair warning....

I have a Kawaii-inspired box that I'm doing for kids later in the spring with items of pure pastel glory, and I also have a Moomin Box that I want to do, but.....I was seized by inspiration the other day, and I just couldn't help myself. I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT A BRITISH BOARDING SCHOOL BOX RIGHT NOW. While it's still pretty cold-ish and wintery (it IS still winter), I just thought now was the right time to park this idea in front of you. I haven't purchased any materials for this as of yet, so if noooooooooo one wants one, oh well too bad so sad, but it won't stop me from trotting this idea out for you to look at! I need 10 orders to make it a go.

For the kiddo boxes, I will be showing & telling a lot more of what's in a box, because I'd want to have a clue what my kiddo was getting in the mail, if I were ordering. So let's talk about it:

THE BOOK I have picked, 'Murder is Bad Manners' (LOL),  is supposed to be FANTASTIC, and came really highly reviewed by a secret source I have in the U.K. that I trust, ha ha. I want to read this book MYSELF. Set in a 1930's boarding school, two girls become tween crime solvers. I read one review that said something along the lines of "I didn't know middle grade cozy mystery was a thing, but that's what this book is and it's awesome."


Really darling line of lip glosses I found that come in flavors like cotton candy and sugar vanilla. They are fun and cute and I heart them.

An awesome mini notebook with neon affirmational sayings on the front. Is affirmational a word?

FULL SIZE British candy bars.

London-inspired magnetic bookmarks.

Not pictured : TEA. Yes, there will be some tea. A cup of tea is not going harm your tween. It's a dessert flavored tea!  And also some Very Cute Pencils and/or Extremely Awesome Stickers. This box will be full of amazingly cute stuff!

If I were anywhere between the ages of 8 and 12, I would LOSE MY MIND if I got this. I'd lose my mind if I got this even now. The book is supposed to be appropriate for grades 4-7. I'm getting one for Julia, and she just turned 12. All of my boxes right now are $31 plus shipping/handling. US and Canada orders only.

Who wants one? (I do!!!!) And even if you don't want one (yes you do), please heap praise upon me for creating this bundle of delightfulness. It's DELIGHTFUL, n'est-ce pas?