Tag: Jane Austen


Friday Favorites: Seven Stones Book Tour!

Going on TOUR!

Going on TOUR!

Another awesome week filled with delicious food, friends, and maybe even a little writing. So many cool things happened that it is hard to choose just a few favorites! One of the big highlights was getting to interview Candace Simar, of course, but the biggest is coming up on Saturday. That’s right, folks! The next stop on the Seven Stones book tour is at Caribou Coffee in Baxter, Minnesota. I’ll be selling & signing books, drinking coffee, and visiting with old friends and new readers! Grab a latte and join me from 1-3pm. 🙂

So, those are the BIG highlights, but here are some other great things about this week that made the list for this Friday Favorites:

Our First CSA Share!

Shane and I are officially registered for our very first CSA half-share! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and means that we get our produce directly from a local family farm. How it works is you pay the farm a specific amount of money prior to the season–think of it as an investment in the farm. The farmers take that money and use it to buy seed, machinery, updates or whatever else they need to make their farms amazing. In return, you get a delivery of whatever they are growing every week.

The farm we have chosen is Northern Lights farm in Solway, Minnesota. They are an organic farm that also offers truly free range eggs, grass fed Highland beef, honey, a variety of seasonal produce, and bread in their weekly shares. The season begins during the last weekend in June and runs for 18 weeks. The total cost of the half-share (big enough for a family of 2-4, or in Shane and my case, two rabbit spouses 🙂 ) comes out to be about $16.00/week. How cool is that?! For $16.00/week we are going to have super fresh, healthy, organic produce right from our community. I’m SO excited!

I am passionate about everything CSA’s stand for: supporting local agriculture, organic farming & food, and eating tons of delicious, fresh produce. Everyone I know who has participated in CSA loves it, and I’ve wanted to try being a part of it for years! Northern Lights is just such a perfect fit, and the share will definitely save us money while supporting great causes. I’ll be posting pictures of our weekly CSA haul as soon as it begins!


Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

You heard me. Chocolate melt-in-your-mouth heaven coating thick, rich peanut butter. Whipped together in a matter of minutes. The best part? These mini-cupcake sized treats are totally devoid of refined oils, sugars, wax (yup, that’s an ingredient in Reese’s) or artificial anything. And did I mention that they are FREAKING DELICIOUS?!

One of my favorite cooking blogs posted a recipe for homemade peanut butter cups a while back, but I was a little intimidated to make candy. Turns out, I had nothing to fear! All you need is a microwave to melt the coconut oil, a whisk, two bowls, a muffin tin (cupcake liners optional), and a freezer.

This recipe from Detoxinista is a new staple in the house of Lee. Seriously, why WOULDN’T you try it? Go make some. Right now. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.


Book of the Week: Persuasion by Jane Austen

If you couldn’t tell from my Jane Austen Tea Party, I am a pretty big fan of her novels. Jane has always been one of my absolute favorite authors, and such an inspiration for me. She was a feminist back when women were regarded as little more than property, and her witty, funny, and clever writing style charms and endears me. The woman’s got it all.

I’ve almost read all the Austen novels: I’ve just got Persuasion and Lady Susan left to go. So far, Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility have been my favs, but they might have to make room for Persuasion to join the list. While Lizzy Bennett will always be my favorite heroine, I dig the story between Anne and Captain Wentworth. Grab a cup of tea, a homemade peanut butter cup, and settle into some classic English literature!

Word Count

Drum roll please…1,315. Still off the mark from 2,000, but I’m going to try again next week. It’s more than last week, so PROGRESS! I think my main word count limitation is not having a steady writing schedule. I’m going to try to implement one this next week and see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Happy Friday!


Friday Favorites: Wrapping Up the Birthday Week

I love being 27 already! My birthday was absolutely wonderful. I love any excuse to eat good food and hang out with amazing people, and birthdays give me the perfect excuse! Thank you to EVERYONE who sent me messages, called, stopped by, and made me feel so incredibly loved. Here are some of my favorite things from this past week:

Jane Austen Tea Party

My first ever tea party was even better than I imagined! My birthday dawned sunny and bright, and I spent the afternoon prepping tiny sandwiches and eating ALL the crusts (what else are you going to do with them?). The spread was absolutely gorgeous, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get pictures–we just started eating right away! I made 12 tomato-fresh basil-balsamic cream cheese sandwiches, 12 avocado egg salad sandwiches, and 12 cucumber-cream cheese sandwiches. All were marvelous, but my favorites were the tomato basil. I adore fresh basil leaves. To me, they taste like summer, cool and refreshing.

We also had pineapple, watermelon, fresh organic veggies, homemade cranberry-orange biscotti, and four types of delicious tea. The favorite of the night was the mocha hazelnut yerba matte–it was like drinking dessert! For actual dessert, I made green tea honey ice cream. So. Freaking. Good. And SO easy! Here’s my super simple recipe for a sublime summer treat:

Julia’s Green Tea Ice Cream

image from choosingraw.com

1 can coconut milk (full fat will be creamier, but lite works as well)

2 tsp. Matcha

1/3 cup honey

Mix everything together and pour into your ice cream maker. VoilĂ ! You are an ice cream genius and everyone will be impressed. You’ll be the talk of the town.

Marrying Mr. Darcy

As we ate our ice cream and nibbled biscotti, we played Marrying Mr. Darcy. This game has it all for Jane Austen fans. You get to become a female character from an Austen novel (I got to be Elizabeth Bennet!), the goal of the game being to get your suitor to propose. The suitors, however, each require different things from their would-be loves (Darcy required his future bride to have a wit of 5 or higher).

Throughout the game, you try to acquire beauty, wit, friendliness, and reputation points by interacting with the cards. However, getting a scandal card makes you lose attributes and make sure you watch out for Mr. Wickham or you’ll be eloped and ruined in before you’re first ball!

The cards are very tongue-and-cheek, and the best part was reading them in our best (or worst?) aristocratic English accents. This game is definitely going on my need to own list! 🙂


Second Printing!

Website Cover Art

As an added birthday bonus, the final proof for the second edition of Seven Stones was officially approved and sent off to the printers!!!! HUZZAH!!! I can’t believe we’re actually running a second printing! Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has supported me and spread the word about Seven Stones! Keep telling friends, liking my Facebook page, reading this blog, and just being your amazing selves!


Word Count

Here’s to another year of adventures–literary and otherwise. My word count for this week? Unfortunately, I’m giving myself a NEGATIVE word count. I actually finished writing an entire chapter…and it just didn’t fit. I tried reworking it several times, but in the end decided to scrap it. This kind of process is necessary for a good end result; sometimes working through all the “bad” words leads you to the good ones. Let’s hope so, anyway!


Happy, happy Friday!

I’m lucky enough to celebrate with another birthday bash on Saturday. We’ll be enjoying the beautiful weather with a bonfire, roasting sausages over the flames, and playing lots of games!



Jane Austen Tea Party

I like big cups and I cannot lie…

My shoulder is feeling a little better. I’ve been icing it every day, resting, and so far it seems to be paying off. I can type without it hurting now, and am even able to cook and bake if I’m really careful. Which is good, because this Wednesday is my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY!!!!

You may have noticed by now that I love my birthday the way most five-year-olds do. I can’t help it. Every year on May 1st, my official birthday season begins. Then, the whole week leading up to the actual day is my birthday week. I wear fancy dresses and my wedding crown. I told you I was five.

I’ve dreamed of having a birthday tea party for years. I love drinking tea, eating tea, and all the foods that go along with the traditional tea ceremony. Since my golden birthday falls in the middle of the week, Shane and I are going to be celebrating it together this coming Saturday. But since he’ll be busy working Wednesday, I decided to throw myself the girliest birthday party EVER: a Jane Austen tea party!

Ain’t no party like a birthday tea party!

A few friends and I are going to meet, drink tea, eat food, and watch a Jane Austen movie. In addition, I’ve told everyone to bring a copy of their favorite book to share book club-style. Hermione would be so proud.

I’ve been planning the menu for a few days, and here’s what I think I’ll be serving:

Jane Austen Tea Menu

I have a feeling she’d be a big fan of my book


Organic Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla (black tea)

Organic Mango Green (decaf)

Organic Earl Grey

Mocha Hazelnut Yerba Mate


Avocado egg salad


Cucumber (of course!)


Cranberry-Orange Biscotti

Fresh fruits & veggies


Green tea ice cream

I’m off to bake and cut crusts off of tiny sandwiches (and then eat all the crusts while no one is looking). In case you missed it, here’s the story Lakeland News did on my first book signing on May 16th!!! What a great early birthday present. 🙂

Happy Monday!