The Great American Eclipse

It took two-and-a-half hours, but we finally escaped Glendo State Park.

We had driven along these same roads not 12 hours earlier, at 4:30 a.m., heading in the opposite direction. Surrounded by many other enterprising souls, we had crawled along the unfamiliar dirt road, the deep darkness of the pre-sunrise night enveloping us all, making the journey eerie. Somehow even forbidden. If I hadn’t myself just handed over our paltry park entrance fee to the booth attendant, and didn’t at that moment still clutch the park-issued map in hand, I would think we were trespassing into territory uncharted. With all of our ghostly headlights reflecting back on us in the dust-ridden air, a continuous line of family vehicles tentatively picking their ways along, I could almost be convinced that we had wandered into an adventure movie. Perhaps it was the apocalypse.


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A bouquet of orange roses

Sometimes a bouquet of orange roses is just a bouquet of orange roses. And sometimes, if you look a little closer, I think you might find a bouquet of orange roses is actually a magical little land all its own.

orange roses

orange roses

orange roses

orange roses

orange roses

I love investigating the world with my trusty camera in hand. With such a companion you can transform a (slightly) cluttered corner of your living room into a little floral studio. Just add a truly unassuming rose bouquet to the mix and you’re good to go. Happy exploring, friends.


SIGNED, anya elise

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July 4th: What’s the State of our Nation?

Statue of Liberty

I spent some time last night wandering the wild lands of the internet, searching for inspiration, answers, clues, guides, insight into this nation of the United States of America. It is July 4th, our Independence Day. This year, it feels perhaps more poignant than ever to stop and consider what indeed makes up the character and fabric of our country. What do we stand for? What do we live for? What do we hope for?

In my fall down the Google rabbit hole, I found these quotes; some from the USA’s Founding Fathers, others from the wise and enduring women who accompanied them, or arrived later in our nation’s history.

  • “Those who expect to reap the benefits of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” — Thomas Paine
  • “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” — Thomas Jefferson
  • “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women.” — Abigail Adams
  • “I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.” — George Washington
  • “If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?” — Abigail Adams

We have largely mythologized the men and women who laid the foundation for the United States, and it’s easy to grab your favorite quote, post it to your preferred social media account, and uphold it as gospel when considering what it means to be an American citizen. But in the course of my research last night, I found too many instances to note here when the Founding Fathers warned that liberty, freedom, and a healthy republic were not alone guaranteed by the founding documents and principles upon which a nation is built. Rather, it requires the resilience and fortitude and ceaseless education of that nation’s people, to work every day toward its continued survival.

I love this country and I am proud to be called a citizen of this country. But, as ever, we the people reflect the state of our nation. So, on this 241st anniversary of the United States’ founding, I believe it is important to rededicate ourselves — each and every one of us — to the mission of carrying on. Let us not succumb to fatigue or weariness of spirit. There is beauty and strength and so much goodness to find in these united states, but we must all bear witness to that beauty, and hone in on that strength, and contribute as much goodness as we can, to maintain the essential character of our beloved nation.

Happy Fourth of July.


SIGNED, anya elise

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The Not-At-All Definitive Guide to Jane Austen Films

jane austen books and movies

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that when your husband leaves town for 8 days, you should ferret out every Jane Austen movie adaptation possible and rank them according to style, casting, overall feel, and that special, indescribable little pop that makes a film worth returning to year after year.

And so I did.

I should begin with a disclaimer that these rankings are 100 percent subjective, 110 percent silly, and 125 percent based on nothing more than my own zany mood, which was left to its own devices for 8 days straight, so you know, be warned, fair visitors. I should also say that even with that disclaimer, I took this pretty seriously, in the best and most fun way possible. There was a fair share of note taking that accompanied my happy viewing, and just a wee bit of research into certain actors, writers, directors, and even Ms. Austen herself.

The movies I watched were mostly chosen for convenience, i.e. the adaptations that I could either readily check out from my local library, or that I already owned, or that I was able to find on one online streaming service or another. I’ve indicated below where I found each copy so that you too can enjoy the experience if you feel thusly compelled. (Be careful though, engaging in this activity may result in you using words such as “thusly” and publishing them on the internet.) As the week progressed, I found myself wanting to compare different imaginings of the same story, so you will find two “Pride and Prejudice” movies represented, and two “Emma” adaptations. (Please note, the movies below are listed in the order in which I watched them.)

OK! Pull up a couch, grab some coffee, wine, ice cream, popcorn or all of the above, and let’s get to it.

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pocket postcards vol. 2

Dear Bonnie Brae Ice Cream,

Thank you for making all your ice cream and cones on the premises. If you didn’t, I wouldn’t have been positively drawn to your doorstep by the heavenly smell of cooking waffle cones wafting to greet me a block and a half away. You gave me no choice and I simply had to stop in after my walk to the library last week to get a scoop of ice cream. You’re a delight and a treasure.

To the governor, mayor, dog catcher, neighborhood watch rep, or appropriate local authority: How do we go about naming Bonnie Brae an official state treasure? I assume there’s a plaque involved. Or a medal. Get into it, wouldn’t you?

To waffle cones: You smell so delicious, you should be a perfume.

To mint chocolate chip ice cream: You are equal parts refreshing and comforting, how do you do it?

To the two teenagers who were scooping ice cream for me and the fleet of five- and six-year-olds that overtook the shop on that hot afternoon: You’re the true heroes.

To the notion that we should only indulge in such simple pleasures on “special occasions”: To you I say, what could be more special than a sweet afternoon walk through your beloved neighborhood on a warm summer day? Embrace the beauty in the ordinary and every day. There are many more special occasions to be found in our lives than we typically give ourselves license to enjoy.

With love,

A 30-year-old Waffle Cone Enthusiast

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