Cheers to the Weekend 10.20.17

Exciting articles, inspiring Instagrammers, and other fun stuff worth sharing!

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Around the Web

Some great recommendations for your book club this fall!!

Literally the coziest guide to homemaking, inspired by Little Women!

We are total suckers for fairytale retellings.

Cozy Harry Potter items for a magical fall! We are dying over those sheets!

 

Instagram

We immensely enjoy Kelli's cozy lifestyle book vibes

Sally has some great flat lays to pull inspiration from, plus alllll the window light

Like Nancy, we've found ourselves enjoying longer books to cozy up with this fall

Cheers!

Books for Halloween

Not only is Halloween the scene of some of my best childhood memories, it also kicks off our entire holiday season. It feels like once Halloween rolls around, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are all like a week away, which starts to feel just a taaaaaad overwhelming. With that kind of pressure building right behind Halloween, I'm careful every year to take some time to fully appreciate the spooky holiday; I love it too much to let it pass me by! 

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The thing about Halloween is it sits directly on the precipice of the season. It's a time to sit and soak in the last bits of fall with it's golden sunshine, blazing trees, flickering jack-o-lanterns, comfort food, and crisp air, but it's also a time when I deeply appreciate the eerie, chilled nights and the waning autumn light as we descend more firmly towards winter. I love that Halloween night always feels both sugar coated and a little sinister.

When considering books for Halloween, we did our best to pick from both sides: the warmth and the chill...

If you're looking for a warmer read filled with all the good fun the holiday Brings:

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A Discovery of Witches | Deborah Harkness- Though I didn't personally like this one, SO MANY people absolutely love it, and you might too! It's full of witches and vampires and fairies and all that fun stuff. There's ancient secret societies, a ton of book love, and of course, a forbidden romance. Plus, the story begins in early fall and ends on Halloween night, how perfect is that?

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The Graveyard Book | Neil Gaiman- A brave boy, a fatherly vampire, underworlds, ghosts, and evil legends pepper this book that ultimately is about friendship and growing up and the many ways to be a family. Gaiman always toes the line between realism and the fantastic, and in this book it's executed beautifully. This has been described as The Jungle Book meets ghosts, and that is pretty dang accurate. 

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The Woman in White | Wilkie Collins- This is one of the original Victorian detective novels, and don't be intimidated by it's age or length as it's shockingly page turner-y. A mysterious woman in white, whispers of insane asylums, ominous letters, star crossed lovers, grand estates, and much more are contained in this volume. It's got just enough of a creepy edge to be the perfect read for late October while having plenty of other action happening that keeps the well layered plot moving quickly. 

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The Phantom of the Opera | Gaston Leroux- This one straddles the line between being a warmer read, and a scarier one. There is, of course, a successful love story, and a darker one contained within the pages. Glittering opera houses, walks in snowy graveyards, murders, and masked balls....it embraces both the light and the dark. Plus, the movie and soundtrack are solidly fun and seasonally on point, if you'd rather go that route!

 

If you're looking for something more deeply sinister, or scary:

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House of Leaves | Mark Z. Danielewski- This one is a serious mindf*ck. It actually creeped me out so badly that I never finished reading it, so maybe you're braver than I am! It's got a bit of a cult following behind it, and everyone I know who has read it has had a visceral reaction to it. The formatting inside it is just bonkers in a lot of places, as it's full of text at odd angles and codes and puzzles and ciphers and things like that. Ultimately, the story revolves around a family and their ever-changing, very sinister house, but this book is not about the plot.

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow | Washington Irving- If you just want something spooky that you can read in under an hour, this is your book! Irving presents the story of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman in creepy, vivid, beautiful detail. Rikki and I both loved this short story, and it's truly a perfect pick for Halloween if you haven't read it yet!

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The Halloween Tree | Ray Bradbury- On an eerie halloween night, a group of boys are whisked away on a journey through space and time. They learn about halloween as they encounter funeral processions, witches, gargoyles, catacombs, mummies, druids and more. It's a lot of fun and has a good dose of creepy while being a really fascinating look at the traditions and origins of halloween. 

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The Shining | Stephen King- Such a classic! I'm sure everyone knows the plot of this one, or has seen the movie, but like with most movies....the book is better. Vintage King is the best King as far as we're concerned! 

*Links are affiliate and as always you can see our disclosures right here

Tell us your favorite books to read around Halloween, we'd love to hear!

 

Fall Cocktail + Book Pairings
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We've all had that experience where a book that you've been reading for several days is infecting your brain and mood and you just want a fun, tangible way to connect with it; so what better way to do that then with drink pairings? 

As the brightness of summer fades into the fresh, golden afternoons of autumn, we're re-stocking our home bars with flavors more complimentary for the season. Fall libations for me mean more complex, seasonal flavors, and drinks that pair well with autumnal meals. I don't like overly sweet drinks, and I admit whiskey is hands down my favorite base to build a drink around for this time of year. 

With that in mind, we made absolutely sure these pairings were not only easy to execute, but also felt genuinely true to the books. So whether you're throwing a bookish Halloween soiree or just want something to warm you up on a chilly night as you curl up with a great fall read, we've got you covered.

The Secret History

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This book calls for a sophisticated sipper that reeks of autumn. The main characters are all too cool for school, generally elegant, and a little mysterious. This drink evokes all those things and tastes exactly like fall in your mouth. Plus, poured into a martini glass, it looks especially chic. 

Toronto Cocktail

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/4 oz Fernet Branca
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine rye, Fernet, simple syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until cold and strain into chilled glass. Squeeze a piece of orange peel over the drink and use as garnish.

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Brideshead Revisited

"Four Alexander cocktails, please" says Anthony to the bartender, before drinking them all in quick succession. This is definitely an oldie, but it stands up well, and since it's directly mentioned in the text, we figured it deserved a place on this list. 

Alexander Cocktail

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz white creme de cacao 
  • 1 oz half and half
  • nutmeg

Shake all ingredients (except nutmeg) with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and serve.

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The Night Circus

You're obviously going to want something that looks elegant and a little magical for this one; something that wouldn't be out of place at Le Cirque des Rêves. Glassware and dry ice will be key for the full effect, but we chose a drink that reminded us of a grown up version of caramel apples at the circus. This one is a little sweet, a little fizzy, but has a sterner backbone thanks to the whiskey. With the apple and ginger flavors, it just hits all the right notes for fall.

The Grave Digger

  • 2 oz hard cider
  • 1 oz whiskey
  • ginger ale - to fill
  • dry ice*

In a 12-16 ounce tumbler or high ball glass, combine the hard cider and whiskey. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Fill with ginger ale. *If you use dry ice, please don't consume the drink until it is fully melted!

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Sleepy Hollow

Keeping it classic for this classic short story with a highly appropriate pumpkin twist. Of course, in the story the Headless Horseman famously chucks his head at Ichabod, and the next morning only hoof prints and a smashed pumpkin remain. If you like old fashioned's, you'll love this autumnal take on it!

Pumpkin Old Fashioned

  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz maple syrup
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Combine pumpkin purée, bourbon, syrup, Grand Marnier and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

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Murder On the Orient Express

A hot toddy seemed like the perfect warm, cozy drink for this cozy mystery. The old world charm of this drink fits the ethos of the novel perfectly, and is the best mug of deliciousness to sip while you get lost in the drama going on inside the train stuck in the snow.

Hot Toddy

  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Put bourbon, honey, and lemon juice in a 6-ounce mug. Top off with hot water and stir until honey is dissolved.

Do you have any suggestions of book + drink pairings? Or a favorite drink for this time of year? 

On Being a Morning Reader
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If there's one thing I hear regularly, it's that people wish they could read in the morning. It's somewhat of an anomaly to read early in the day, as most people don't care to rise early unless they have to. I used to be right there with you! However, my husband used to be a very early riser, and after nearly a decade together, we have switched places. I love being up just before dawn and having a quiet house to myself, and best of all, watching the sunrise. A few kids later and I was sold on that treasured peaceful time.

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I don't always, but more times than not, I will wake before the sun, make a cup of coffee and cozy up to greet the day with a book in hand. I appreciate having that little bit of morning routine all to myself, even as it changes with the seasons. As we welcome fall, I really enjoy turning on the heat (or in this case, starting a fire) to be warm and ready by the time I settle in.

As much as I prefer the solitude this part of the day, my daughter is also an early riser and will often join me. Thankfully, she settled into that reading time right alongside me, and I'm so grateful for that time with her. I hope she remembers that time with just her and I and feels the same peace that I do. 

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There's really only two pieces of advice I can offer if you're wanting to read in the morning. 1) Slowly train yourself to wake up earlier and earlier. I used to set my alarm for 15-30 minutes at a time earlier each day until I reached my desired waking hour. It works and I still have to do it if I struggle with waking early enough. 2) If you have kids, you can absolutely get them on board. I've told my kids for years (as I am a slow waking person) that mornings are for calm and quiet. I'm not even kidding. Granted, it isn't always calm and quiet, but they'll recite it if I ask them what mornings are for and they know to slow down or play quietly. My body and my brain have to wake before I can fully and patiently parent them. They've now settled into reading with me. Usually.

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It all comes down to how much you need this time for yourself. For me, it's essential. I give myself grace when things don't follow the routine I set. Don't be disillusioned that this is a harmonious occurrence every day. It's not. But when it happens, I'm the happiest.

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When the weather and my energy permits, I'll go for a walk with my dogs in the morning, usually kids in tow to get out that bit of energy they were saving. It's the best time of day to be out and I can reflect on what I'm reading, get some fresh air, and be prepared to move on with the day.

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Within an hour or so of my kids being up with me, I can't hold off feeding them any longer. It's time for breakfast or to start my own day. The leisure is really only for weekends, as weekdays there's more hectic scheduling with school and work. But if I try hard enough, I can read to pacify my need for starting the day on my terms. 

It's blissful really.

When do you get most of your reading in? Is it your preferred time, or what is simply most convenient. I'd love to hear how your reading routine is!

P.S. This really was my Saturday morning :)

Cheers to the Weekend 10.13.17

Exciting articles, inspiring Instagrammers, and other fun stuff worth sharing!

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Around the Web

Need a Halloween read? Here are some seriously creepy reads, all written by women

On that note, check out some diverse, spooky reads for kiddos!

Slay, Virginia Woolf, slllaaaayyyyyyyy!

You've probably heard of capsule wardrobes, but how about a capsule library

Oh my gosh this list is RIGHT in my wheelhouse.

 

Instagram

The charming feed of Labolina's current read while on the go, the seasonal feel has us ready to step right into the photo.

Amalia has a gorgeous lifestyle vibe mixed into her feed along with some interesting reads.

We'd like to hang out and talk books with Melissa all day long.

Cheers!

Fall Book Flights
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Ever had a tasting flight of something, probably at a brewery or restaurant? Wine, beer, spirits, maybe even cheese? Basically the concept is you get several different portions of something, and taste them all back to back. By tasting them together, you really get a feel for their differences and are better able to pinpoint nuanced tasting notes in each individual one, while appreciating them together as a whole. 

While the previous examples are based on food, you can do the exact same thing with books! Reading a group of books together can really expand the depth and breadth of a topic for you. This can be as straightforward as reading all of a specific author's works, or choosing a really niche area, like Beat Poets, but it also works well in plenty of other varied combinations. 

This fall (you can see spring and summer) I started thinking (inspired by Anne!) about all the moods the season inspires and how to create book flights to cater to them, and these are what I came up with. The groupings are designed to have books that are fabulous on their own, but combined really give a lush, broad view of a subject. The dynamic interplay between books set around a central theme is the sweet spot!

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Campus + Secrets + Violence

  • The Secret History | Donna Tartt
  • If We Were Villains | M. L. Rio
  • The Lake of Dead Languages | Carol Goodman

Secret societies, friendships, campuses, darkness, violence, and more! Start with The Secret History for Tartt's powerful, classic campus novel filled to the brim with dreamy, brooding atmosphere and dark, twisted friendships. Move to If We Were Villains for more campus vibes and violent secrets between a close knit group of friends, with drama often playing out on the stage. Finish up with The Lake of Dead Languages for a lady- centered take on the same themes. All three will more than satisfy any craving you had for campus settings, complicated friendships, secret societies, and dark atmosphere this fall. 

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The End of an Era

  • The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
  • Brideshead Revisited | Evelyn Waugh
  • The End of the Affair | Graham Greene

Does the turning of the seasons trigger a deep nostalgia, as you watch the world around you slowly decay? Start with Wharton's classic, The Age of Innocence, and be swept back into the Gilded Age of high society in the 1870's, where the struggle between old and new rages, and a love story curls and twists around itself, while dealing deeply with "what-ifs." Move into the 1920's and the decline of the British nobility, where Charles Ryder is enfolded into the complicated family of his best friend. Love triangles, alcoholism, religion, and bone-deep nostalgia color these pages. Finish it off with Greene's slim novel of love and loss in post World War II London. All three deal with complicated love stories, changing worlds, and heart-achingly beautiful prose. 

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Getting HygGe With It

  • Murder on the Orient Express | Agatha Christie
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax | Dorothy Gilman
  • Still Life | Louise Penny

If you need some straightforward, cozy mysteries in your life, first pick from the queen herself: Agatha Christie. Really any of her novels will do, but we are currently partial to Murder on the Orient Express because the movie is coming out next month! You'll get basically a game of Clue in book form, peppered with interesting characters, vivid details and delightfully unexpected endings. You'll find more cozy mystery goodness with Mrs. Polifax, a feisty, charming older woman determined to spend her remaining years doing something uncharacteristically exciting, which leads her to joining the CIA and leading a life of solving mystery and crime. Round out this flight with a contemporary mystery, and spend some time in Three Pines with Chief Inspector Gamache in Still Life. Small town life, a fascinating cast of characters, and layered plot lines make this series both fun and emotionally resonant.

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Ghosts + Creepiness

  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow | Washington Irving
  • The Woman in White | Wilkie Collins
  • The Graveyard Book | Neil Gaiman

If you're in the mood for a good ghost story, set the mood with Irving's classic short story (like, 30-ish pages short) of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. His beautiful descriptions and perfectly creepy tone will really set the stage. Continue on to The Woman in White, one of the first mystery novels, peppered with mysterious ladies, love stories, foreboding letters, death, mental asylums, and good old victorian melodrama. Finish off with the more lighthearted ghost story in The Graveyard Book. Still undeniably creepy, and very unique, it will leave you with a satisfying blend of the known and the unknown tied up with friendly (and not so friendly) ghosts, complicated relationships with vampires, and old, sinister forces. 

 

Do you have any books you think pair well together? We'd love to hear!!

 

Taking Pictures of Books
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Hey there friends, Rikki here, with some nerdy photography tips and tricks for you today. We've had such a warm reception with book photos that we share here on our site and on Instagram. It has been the most encouraging thing ever as we've gotten ourselves off the ground and immersed in this online bookish community over the past year. It can be really scary to start something new, something you're passionate about, wondering if anyone will think so too. 

Michaela and I have learned each other's strengths and played on those to create what you see here. It is very much a partnership that doesn't really work without the other. We are all too aware of how incredible it is to have a friend so interested in the same thing you are, and the photos are just one part of what makes this space special.

Before I go into talking photography with you, please keep in mind, that for the past seven years or so, I've been a professional photographer for weddings and family portraits. That being said, I have professional gear and have spent years honing my craft. For those who have asked and those still curious, I shoot with a Nikon D700 and a 35 or 50mm lens, on manual 100% of the time. This is not really a realistic option for most people, so don't feel discouraged. Everything mentioned here is applicable whether you're shooting with your phone or any sort of camera. Learning begins at the most basic level, with what you have. 

A few of the most important things I can think of when photographing anything, with any kind of camera:

  • Lighting | Avoid using artificial light at all costs

    • Ideally, this means no flash or fluorescent lighting. Find any window light or head outside.
    • In the winter, this can mean you have to get a photo taken before lunch time because the sun starts to fade very early. A little thinking ahead will save you here; consider taking a photo a day or two in advance. However, if you don't, find any small light source, preferably with a 'daylight' light bulb to avoid the harsh orange tones from 'warm' light bulbs.
    • If you can't adjust your exposure on camera, avoid harsh sunlight
      • Shoot in the shade
      • Having decent lighting will ensure your photos are crisp and clean looking. If you're not familiar with backlighting or editing your photos, ensure the light isn't direct and harsh but is providing ample exposure for your photo.

 

  • Make it look good | Set your scene so it is aesthetically appealing. Take a photo, then continue to adjust as needed

    • It's going to take a couple tries to get it right usually. Keep any visible lines straight, move things around.
    • Framing is equally essential here. Look at what you've set up and try to view it as a photo; fill the space, leave some blank space, move your focal point around (hint: it doesn't always have to be in the center of the photo, rule of thirds).
  • Avoid clutter

    • It can be done right, but it's more intentional than it might seem. If you don't have a main focal point, you might want to re-think your setup.
    • If you have a lot going on in a photo consider pulling the book far forward, so it's clearly the focus, and the stuff in the background is softer and less busy looking.
    • Try to have a non-distracting background if you have a lot happening in your photo.
      • Unless you're shooting a flat lay, you need to create some distance between your focal point and your background, if your camera can create a blurry background, this is how it will happen (hint: on smart phones, you can close in on your subject, touch it to focus, and the background will blur, giving a little depth of field).

 

  • BE AUTHENTIC

    • I can't stress this enough! If you are pulling inspiration from somewhere, that is great (I do all the time)but you have to adjust things to work for you. Trying to copy something completely will often lead to disaster and your audience will ultimately see the lack of consistency, because again, you're trying to do what someone else is doing, not what is true to you.
  • Natural colors | Stop using unattractive filters and desaturating colors

    • Timeless and true coloring on photos is important to create a consistent look, plus it keeps your photos from becoming dated and losing quality. This is ultimately a personal preference, and filters can be used well, thankfully we can now tone down its strength with the slider on whatever app you're using.
  • Editing | If you feel the need to edit, or touch up, any of your photos, keep it clean

    • The whole point of editing a photo is to enhance it to look its best, not change the entire photo (this is a very subjective statement, but bear with me). For simplicity, you want to clearly see your subject (adjust exposure, not too bright or dark), you want colors to look natural (warm up a blue tinted photo, cool down an orange tinted photo) - these things can easily be done on an photo app, including Instagram (I'm not talking about filters necessarily either).

There is so much to learn about how to take good photos. This is a topic I could go on and on and on about, but for the sake of not writing a book, I'll leave it here. You are welcome to message me your questions any time. However, practice is just about the only thing to do to ultimately improve your skill. It can be frustrating and it can take more patience than you care to use, but if you have the desire to take better photos in general, you'll have to start somewhere. The days of just pointing your camera and quickly snapping a photo is fading. We want beautiful photos to remember moments by and we don't always have a professional on hand to do that for us. The trick? Start practicing! 

Cheers to the Weekend 10.6.17

Exciting articles, inspiring Instagrammers, and other fun stuff worth sharing!

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Around the Web

A seriously good list of lesser known campus novels.

Check out this book list for Gryffindors!

Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White is being adapted for TV by the BBC!

5 mantras for when you need to clean out your bookshelves

 

Instagram

Cayla has channeled all the fall vibes and we're wanting to dive right into her cozy feed

Some beautiful bookish lifestyle vibes and quirkiness you can't help but love

A nice, clean flow, beautiful warm light, and books, 'nuff said

 

Literary Dinner | Brideshead Revisited
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This is actually the book that got me back into classics as an adult, so I was thrilled when it was our "Banned Books" book club pick for September! After college, I had a period of time where I wasn't picking up heavier reads, but Evelyn Waugh brought me back into the welcoming fold of excellent writing and timeless stories. This book is absolutely beautiful, and one of my favorite classics. It wrestles with class, religion, complicated love, and friendships. Plus, a good bit of it is set in Oxford, making it the perfect September read with all those back to school vibes. 

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In thinking about this party, we really needed to capture the old world glamour of the novel; it's very similar to the aesthetic of Downton Abbey (if you've ever obsessively binged that show like most of us). Much of the novel revolves around the grand house, and the characters are all wealthy, to say the least. We thrifted some china, set plates on chargers, and set out candelabras and flowers. We also utilized the gardens on Rikki's "estate" for parts of our meal!

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One element we knew we needed to focus on was a drinks tray. There were only a few mentions of actual food in the novel (and often it was like an ice swan full of caviar), but ohhhhh gosh were there drinks. Servants bringing drink trays, specific drinks being ordered at bars and restaurants, drinks being sipped, wine cellars being raided....just alcohol galore. And of course it's extra important because alcoholism plays a role in the novel, as Sebastian struggles with it so deeply.

We chose to highlight the more elegant side of drinking, and take our cue from the text when servants would bring in a drink tray before dinner for the family to mix their own drinks. We found a silver tray and piled on rocks glasses, ice, a shaker, and our favorite liquors. Champagne, of course, was chilling in my vintage ice bucket, while a teapot full of flowers, a lovely stack of old books, and a globe completed the scene here. 

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Our main table was pretty straightforward. We pulled Rikki's dining table over a few feet and flung open her french doors, letting the chill of the early September evening air sweep in and refresh the house from the heat of the day. We covered it with a simple white linen tablecloth, ran blue cheesecloth down the center, and set out vintage china on chargers, wine glasses, candles, cloth napkins, more gorgeous old books, and used floral foam to make a flower arrangement at the base of one of my candelabras. A golden apple held a favorite quote from the novel that perfectly encapsulated it's ethos. A bottle of Burgundy landed on the table as well, because of course. 

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Some of the food mentioned in the book were racks of lamb leaned against a cone of mashed potatoes, fish with white sauce, and roasts. We took the old world feel of the food and plated our meal of mashed potatoes, frenched pork chops, drizzled with cream sauce, and had a side of fresh garden beans. Oh, and that bottle of Burgundy got opened and thoroughly enjoyed, too!

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Dessert, again, we pulled from old world food traditions and made a berry trifle. It was the perfect use of summer berries as a last hurrah before pumpkin everything takes over (not that we're complaining). A trifle is basically cake pieces layered with berries and cream, and it's utterly delicious. Rikki's garden provided the strawberries and she even had the perfect silver server for it. 

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As always, our dinner took about an hour to prep and set up, and we actually had some of Rikki's family members join us this time, which was wonderful to have them share the scene we created with us while we talked about the book. By the time we parted, the moon was full and the earlier evening had descended, bringing the promise of fall with it.

We can't wait to throw some fall/winter dinner parties! As most of you know, Rikki is due with a baby this month, so we aren't sure if we'll get to do a dinner party in October, but keep an eye out in November! 

Have you read Brideshead Revisited? What did you think?

Reading Your Best Friend's Favorite Book

After a year of doing this blogging thing together, buddy reading, and having countless in depth bookish conversations, we figured it was finally time to swap favorite books. We each picked a favorite for the other to read this month, knowing we are very different readers, but also having a good grasp on the other's tastes. We're just here to share some thoughts about why we chose the book we did, and what we thought of the book given to us!

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Rikki Read...

The Secret History | Donna Tartt

What Michaela says: Out of my little list of favorite books, I chose this for Rikki because it's just the perfect fall read. It's gorgeously written, has deeply real, deeply layered characters (even if they're kind of terrible), and creates lovely, magical tension while exploring young adult relationships in a way that rings really true. Basically it's just one of the most atmospheric books I've ever read, and I just love it. I suspect the unlikable characters will be kind of a turn off for her, but I think she'll appreciate the writing and the atmosphere!

What Rikki says: From the beginning, I instantly knew why Michaela loves this book. Tartt paints a vivid scene, has great characters, and overall wraps you up in this otherwise rough story. As Michaela says, "It's very atmospheric." I can deal with hard stories, most especially when there is good writing involved, literally, I'll read anything then, but I pretty much require having some sort of redemption. I was really hoping to see something decent come from this story, but it really never happened. However, the book wrapped itself up nicely to end it and I forgave Tartt by the end, either way, I appreciated her talent for writing and the story she built here.

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Michaela Read...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society | Mary Ann Shaffer

What Rikki says: So most of my most favorites are in the historical fiction/nonfiction category, which I know Michaela simply doesn't read. While Guernsey is no different, there were much more charming elements to wrap yourself up in than others I love, hence the reason I suggested she read this one. Shaffer paints a solid picture throughout and it's overall quite warm and fun. I know she won't love it, but I also know she will appreciate the quirky characters and letter writing format.

What Michaela says: I can absolutely see why Rikki loves this one. The characters were super quirky and charming, and the small town island life community was so warm and fun. I really liked the main character's tone through her letters; it really reminded me of 84, Charing Cross Road with that blend of sass and warmth. However, it dealt a lot with what life was like for the Nazi-occupied Channel Islands and the bombings of London during WWII and I just could not deal. I really dislike war books, and that's frankly an understatement. I'm not super sure why...violence in other contexts doesn't phase me, but I just can't stand world war settings. So that fact will keep this off my favorites list, but I'm still glad I read it. This book is literally made for Rikki; I totally see why this is a favorite of hers and it provided worthwhile insight into what makes her tick as a reader.

 

Have you ever swapped favorite reads with a friend? How'd it go?