Friday, December 31, 2010


Well, believe it or not, 2010 is coming to a close.

Which is something kind of hard for me to believe...

I mean, where did 2010 go???


Well, no going back now...

2010 was an epic year.

Had the best summer ever.

Got a new best friend and grew closer to old friends.

Started a blog...a personal blog open to the public. (Why, this one in fact!)

Read the least I think I ever have in one year (darn this lack of good literature!).

Learned and grew all the way around.

Figured out my sense of style...always bounced around with what I really like, but I think I've got it down now ^_^ totally unique and nothing classifiable. oh yeah.

I've been reading about how, instead of resolutions (which never really work out do they?) having aspirations. Love it (total credit to Hannah!)

I aspire to step out of my comfort zone more.
--for me, that really means just not caring about what everyone thinks...for real and especially not just brush off all of the kids I know from when I was in public school. (You know...the ones that are well...the reason I left in the first place)

I aspire to not look at reading my bible and spending time with God everyday as a chore, but as something I long to do, and do wholeheartedly. To grow in my walk with Christ and see Him do great things with His church this next year (things are changing, can you feel it?).

In short;

I aspire to live.

a blessed new year to you all, at this time for endings, and new beginnings

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SteamPunk Fever

I don't know if any of you are familiar at all with steampunk, but its one of my all-time favorite styles!

Steampunk (aka Victorian Punk) is a cross between the fantastical, the fictional, and the historical with a hint of gothic (but not the death kind).
According to
n; a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power
Some of you may be familiar with the epic novel Leviathan by Scott Westerfield?

Well, thats steampunk.
Another good example is the not-too-well-known Sean Connery movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

I've liked it for a long time, the whole style in general...clothes, jewelry, books, movies...but I never knew what it was called 'til earlier this summer when I ran across this dress...

NOTE: this is NOT my picture, however due to content deemed [by me] offensive to most of my readers, I have not included a link to where this picture/item is sold at

...which was described as "steampunk".
Now, I'm not typically one for dresses, but this is definitely an exception! (However, let it be noted I, would in all likeliness wear it with a t-shirt and possibly leggings)
And so it was, that I finally had a name, for the style.

Though I have an Etsy shop I have never quite browsed the site before.
I, being the fan of leather journals that I am (see post here) decided yesterday to peruse the potential that Etsy had to offer.
And boy was I surprised, because not only were there some fantastic items but I officially and totally LOVE Etsy!!!

Here are some of the fantabulous journals I found!

These, while not leather, are definitely worth mention because this is some cool sewing going on with the first one, and the second one not only has a TON of space for drawing and writing but its eco-friendly.

While on my epic journal hunt, I stumbled upon this cool piece of writing material:

And of course, that got me set on a steampunk well...frenzy!
And Etsy is an epic source in itself!

I thought this was just SO cool! Its Kat's pin from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins! 

And I LOVE these! The first is a ring, and the second a locket. Steampunk style!

This butterfly necklace is SO cute! And the antiqued copper mask is a nice, and truly steampunk touch. The copper flower though, L-O-V-E it! My mom used to work with copper quite a bit and I've always loved it.

This choker is fantastic. I love layering lots of necklaces, and a choker makes a great top layer.

Now this, is a cool necklace. Not only does one side have a cool dragonfly motif but its also reversible!!!

And being that I love hats and scarves, I of course couldn't pass up mentioning this brooch with steampunk flair!

Finally, since I'm sure you're all tiring of this, my final two installments of discovered steampunk!

These beauties are yummy! With their lace up appearance, easy access side zipper and not-too-high kitten heel, not to mention the fantastic dark caramel color! Unfortunately, the fact that their WAY above my price range (at $115) combined with the fact that they don't come in my size (sad day), these boots and I just aren't meant to be.

These, on the other hand...while not vintage and having a higher heel, are still fantastic! And they come in my size *squeal with delight*. Did I mention they're a fraction of a price of the others? (Coming in at a slashed $69.48...which is still rather too much for my budget!)

Though there was much, much more steampunk epicness to be seen, I didn't want to include it all and overload!

Hoping you're all having an epic week!
I myself am off tomorrow to see my best friend, who I haven't seen since July and usually only see once a year! Awesome times to be expected!


Capturing Creation Photo Challenge Day 7

Day 7: Let There Be Rest

"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. The God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." --Genesis 2:2-3

Today is Day 7 of the Capturing Creation Photo Challenge, that nzkiwigirl is hosting at her blog Yours Truly.

For me, taking a nice walk with the camera, now that is peaceful and least to me.

On that note, here are a couple peaceful pics!

I captured that one of the first days we had our new 9mp Kodak. I'm not particularly fond of Kodak, but I'm able to get better pictures, especially scenic more distance pictures with the 9mp Kodak than the 7mp Canon. However, I like some of the Canon's features better...though the Kodak has some macro settings that I love (I love taking macro shots) that the Canon doesn't...but off with this rant about cameras.

I wanted to point out, that none of my pictures have been enhanced or edited in any way beyond the little bit of words for my logo. All my pictures are of the original shots.

This picture, I took with a Sony 3.2mp Camera. Yes, I'm not kidding. And technically, it almost didn't qualify as a digital camera per-say, due to the fact that it took 3" cd's for memory...which did cause quite a few problems...but, I'm not complaining! It was the first camera (well...only camera...) thats been mine. And at the time it was given to me, it was a HUGE step up from the family 2mp Kodak. But this spring/early summer we invested in a couple really well priced, higher mp cameras; the Kodak and the Canon.

blessings to you all this Wednesday!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Quotes and Design

I write
NOT for the sake of glory
NOT for the sake of fame
NOT for the sake of success
but for the sake of my soul
--rachel joy scott
{from the cover of her last journal}
Hello lovely readers, it being the day after Christmas, the new blog design is up as I promised.

I wanted to feature one of my favorite quotes in my header this time around, and so I chose a quote from Rachel Joy Scott.

For those of you who don't know who Rachel is, she was the first casualty of the April 1999 Columbine school shootings.

After the shootings, Rachel's parents released a book entitled Rachel's Tears that was Rachel's spiritual journey in a compilation of her journals.

Last year, being the 10 year memorial of the columbine shootings there was a re-release of a slightly different, expanded book that I have yet to read.

Rachel's story and spiritual journey greatly impacted my life and my walk with Christ, and many of my all-time favorite quotes are ones that she has penned.

I am NOT a beer chuggin', pot trippin', drug dealin' Christian
I AM a God lovin', satan slammin', Jesus freakin', world changin', Christian.
--Rachel Joy Scott
What if you were to die today? What would happen to you? Where would you go? Tomorrow is not a promise, but a chance. It may not be there for you. After death, then what? Where will you spend your eternity? Will you have eternal life with your loving Father? Or will you be ripped from the arms of your Savior. Eternity is in your hands; change it! written by Rachel Joy Scott
“And as Christians, we need to remember to walk our talk.”--rachel joy scott
“Go after God. Whatever it takes, do it. And don’t give the excuse, “I am just a teenager” or “I’ll do that when I grow up,” because it doesn’t work that way. God wants you NOW.” --Rachel Joy Scott {from a book she was writing}
“I am not going to apologize for speaking the Name of Jesus, I am not going to justify my faith to them, and I am not going to hide the light that God has put into me. If I have to sacrifice everything…I will.” --Rachel Joy Scott {1 year before her death}

More information and some cool stuff to get involved in, you can check out and Rachel's Challenge.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Factoids

Some little Christmas facts about me...

When I was little, I would spend the whole year leading up to Christmas, learning all the squeaks in the floor so that I could get from my room to the living room without being noticed...if you get my drift ;-)

Most Christmases I would be so caught up in my new toys I would completely forget about eating...sometimes skipping both breakfast and lunch.

I'm the best present wrapper in my house...somehow my mom never quite had a knack for it, judging by the fact that packages would spontaneously pop open while under the tree...and I'm talking when they hadn't even been tampered with! Not that my brother and I really minded...

One year, my little brother received a big, blow-up robot that you could kick around and box with and it would pop right back up because it had sand in the bottom.
It was a lot of fun, and the Christmas morning he got it, I was wearing a long, floor length skirt that I didn't particularly have a lot of mobility in as far as how I could stretch out my legs. Of course, being the klutz that I am, I didn't take that into consideration as I spontaneously, full-on kicked the robot...literally pulling my feet out from under me!

I never had a chimney growing up and always worried about how Santa would get mom continually assured me he preferred to use the door anyway.

I give gifts to quite a few people on Christmas...the thing is, they don't always get them on time...I prefer to make people gifts that are inspired for them...that way they mean more ^_^

I am the best person at guessing what gifts are through the wrapping.
And I happen to be correct about 80% of the time...
My powers of deduction are astute to say the least. ;-) haha

The only present that has truly stumped me, was my friend Caitlin's large-and I mean this thing was an arm-full of a box-Christmas present that was so heavy, we carefully lugged it to a scale to discover it was little over 20lbs (it was 3rd grade, back then, 20lbs was heavy haha). We never did figure out what it was before Christmas...

We always have to make sure that all the Nativity pieces are where they should me...we have a cat who likes to steal the donkey.

My family's Christmas tree is barely 4ft tall and as old as I am. It always makes things interesting when you have to improvise new ways to hold it all together every year.

Our cats have a thing for our tree...they seem to enjoy climbing into it and well as a particular fancy they've acquired for some ornaments we no longer put out...for that very reason.

Hoping you're all having a blessed Christmas!

Blessed Birth of our Savior

Flyleaf's Christmas Song

A frightened, virgin, teenage girl
Receives a message that defies the laws of this world
All she can do is weep and nod
She's to bring into this world
the Son of God

God's angels sound their trumpets
And blow their horns
Tonight the long awaited Savior is to be born
The goodness bound by satan it has been torn
With this baby's precious brow ready for thorns

A star appears fufilling ancient prophecy
There's an ounce of fear as wise men follow faithfully
The virgin Mary brings forth the human savior
And this future king sleeps soundly in the manger
Soundly in the manger

God's angels sound their trumpets
And blow their horns
Tonight the long awaited Savior is to be born
The goodness bound by satan it has been torn
With this baby's precious brow ready for thorns

Tonight He is born so one day He can die
To heal hearts that are torn and live the perfect life
So He hang upon a cross and we can take His life
So we can live as sinners
And He can pay the price
Tonight He is born so one day He can die
But He will rise again

God's angels sound their trumpets
And blow their horns
Tonight the long awaited Savior is to be born
The goodness bound by satan it has been torn
With this baby's precious brow ready for thorns

Merry Christmas

Well peoples, its hard to believe but Christmas is upon us.

2010 almost up.

I don't know where this past year went, but 2011 is nigh upon us.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us

Tomorrow Wait, scratch that...
Today is Christmas, the day on which we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Despite the glamor, superficiality and all around commercialized scene that has become Christmas, JESUS is the reason for the season.

"Unto us a Savior is born, unto us a Son is given..."
-Isaiah 9:6

After all, it is CHRISTmas, right?

After tomorrow, Concrete & Grace will be sporting a new design courtesy of myself...of course, the one which I will be putting up will probably be replaced shortly after that with the one I am currently working on and hope to maybe even have it up first anyways.

I seem to be dreadfully fickle when it comes to the look of my blog...

Well...I am off!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a ;D

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Capturing Creation Photo Challenge Day 6

Day 6: Let there be land animals and man...

"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." --Genesis 1: 24-27

Its that time again, for another installment of the Capturing Creation Photo Challenge from Yours Truly.

Since this week is Day 6 and therefore the focus being land animals and man I had to dig through my pictures to find something suitable.

Last week, it was birds of the air and creatures of the sea...which I had to improvise with because not only am I a shoddy living creature photographer, but I'm also landlocked!

This week, I decided to use pictures of the only animal and person I can seem to take reasonably good pictures cat and myself!

this, is Paws:

She's not exactly cooperative but shes surprisingly photogenic...
Funny thing about Paws, she's really rather narcissistic...we catch her looking into the mirror all the time. We have the strangest but most awesome animals ever to say the least.

and of course...


I snapped this picture the last day of camp. My best friend Lauren and I were waiting for our families to come and pick us up and well...we were taking some pretty random pictures. haha

Hoping you're all having a lovely holiday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's the Strangest Thing You've Ever Received in the Mail?

To say the least, I honestly never thought my answer to that question would be "a turkey" but it is!

Earlier last week, we received two large packages via our local post office from a food service company.

Now, I guess I should explain, we've never had a traditional Christmas or Thanksgiving meal.
We figure that instead of spending hours and hours on an elaborate meal that is going to be consumed in a mere matter of minutes, that we should instead spend that time together as a family doing things that we enjoy doing together. And so, only a few times have we had turkey on thanksgiving (usually only when we've won one from our local market, or had one given to us) and when we have either ham or turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas we cook it the day before so that we don't have to spend a bunch of time in the kitchen the next day.
I guess another reason for our lack of the elaborate Christmas and Thanksgiving meal is that my mom and I, we're just not the most culinary inclined people...which is to say, we're really not that good of cooks.

But I like that, its how its always been for us and I'd rather be able to spend time doing things and having fun with my family then figuring out something to do on my own because everybody is rushing around preparing a meal or somesuchedness.

Now, our friends and family know thats how we are, and so, we were joyously surprised last week to have received a fully cooked and packaged smoked turkey and a platter of other yummies as our Christmas gift from some wonderful friends of ours! The thought is just so wonderful, and we are definitely going to enjoy it!

So a definite, exuberant thanks to Suzanne, Bruce, Laurence, and Caitlin!!!
Hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas, thanks for the gift!

Whats the most strange, or unexpected thing you've ever received in the mail?
Comment below or link up a post and let me know!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Break!

Its finally here!
Cue the sigh of relief.

Though I'll have to be continuing with Spanish over break so that I can have enough done by the end of the semester...but its still much less stress than usual!

Today I spent four hours at the mall wrapping presents.
For those of you who know me, the mall is not exactly my idea of a good fact I've only actually bothered going into two stores; the Christian t-shirt store that used to be in the mall and Barnes & Nobel. But I've only ever bought one book from Barnes & Nobel.
Mainly because honestly, I can't afford to buy anything in the mall, and none of it really appeals to me. I don't like wearing Ambercrombie & Fitch or American Eagle, in fact I won't even buy their stuff from GoodWill...I just don't like that image, its not me...

My random mall rant aside, thats where I was for the majority of my day today.

Every year my mom goes to a womens retreat and they like to be able to give scholarships to women who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend, and so Barnes & Nobel provides the wrapping paper and the space and we wrap gifts bought anywhere in the store (as long as they've purchased something from the bookstore as well) and then we come in and volunteer to provide the wrapping service, and ask people for donations for the scholarships.
Its was the first time I think I've ever actually enjoyed myself at the mall.

Oh yes, and I don't like riding escalators...which is a long story...but I just don't like them...maybe sometime I'll tell all you peoples about it...

But on to other things for now.

I finished listening to the audio book of The Hunger Games a few days ago.
It. Was. Awesome.
While it might be a little violent for some people, the story itself was excellent.
I loved the Gregor the Overlander series and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games didn't disappoint.
Definitely a 3.5 out of 5
I'm looking forward to getting the sequel Catching Fire from the library.

Now, today at Barnes & Nobel, it sure is a good thing I purposely left my money at home because there were definitely some tempting lovelies.

I have a thing for notebooks...and I absolutely LOVE these leather ones I saw today!

This one is by far my favorite, I would adore having this one.
Its a bit of a different size than I usually prefer but it is just so comfortable in my hands, when I'm writing, things have to feel just right and this is just beautiful.

There were some others I loved that they don't have on the web site because they were the last few in stock, on sale at the store, but I really liked this one too. I really like the flap, the tie and the size.

While the first is more of a hardcover style, and the second a thicker harder leather cure, this one is a wonderfully soft, supple notebook, absolutely delectable. (Yes...I love notebooks)

I'm debating whether or not I want to invest in one...because my current composition notebook is just about full...only a few more pages to go and thats not much!

hmmnnn....well much to contemplate there...maybe if I wish really hard for one for Christmas? haha

Hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas break! I know I'm looking forward to watching Christmas movies, camping out under the tree, making caramel corn and Christmas dinner at a friends house.


Friday, December 17, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

          Earlier this summer, I gladly found myself at our local theater with friends, purchasing soda and M&M’s, and sitting down for an enjoyable evening of viewing How to Train Your Dragon.
          Though my mom enjoyed the movie, she wasn’t too impressed…but I don’t really think this is a movie meant for the specific enjoyment of an adult audience…more of a family movie that the kids will love.
          Myself, I laughed and had a great time, and give the movie a 4.5 out of 5...awesome.
          Though not the same kind of awesome as Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen with its CG mayhem; being a fan of dragons and movies like Shrek and Lilo and Stitch I immensely enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon in all its quirky, dragons and Viking, family fun.

          If you’re a dragon junkie, or just like family movies…this is one to add to your list.
          My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Tree Memories

Today, we put up the Christmas tree.

Years ago, when my brother and I were younger, we would put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.
Over the years, that has dwindled all the way down to mom only wanting it up for three days (which means, put it up Christmas Eve and take it down the day after Christmas) because the cats tend to climb in it and chew on ornaments (yes, our cats are...interesting...but more on that some other time).

Last year, we didn't put it up at all. I didn't want to take care of it and neither did anyone else. So we just did without.

We've had the same Christmas tree (with the exception of one or two times when we've had real ones) for my whole life.
This tree has memories
After I was born my mom decided they had better buy a small, plastic Christmas tree to have in the house.
So almost needless to say, this tree is in pretty bad shape.
The fact that we have to improvise new ways every year to make the boughs stay on says something in itself.
But this tree, this tree has memories.

Camping out under the Christmas tree, it being there with presents under it on Christmas morning.
Good memories.
Childhood, Christmas, memories.

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Girls Who Kick Butt: Jacky Faber

(book one: Bloody Jack)Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a "girl." And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life--if only she doesn't get caught. . .

(book two: Curse of the Blue Tattoo) In the follow up to Bloody Jack Mary "Jacky" Faber is forced to leave the Dolphin and attend an elite school for girls in Boston. But growing up on the streets of London and fighting pirates never prepared Jacky for her toughest battle yet: learning how to be a lady.
Everything she does is wrong. Her embroidery is deplorable, her French is atrocious, and her table manners -- disgusting! Then there's the small matter of her blue anchor tattoo . . .
Despite her best efforts, Jacky can't seem to stay out of trouble long enough to dedicate herself to being ladylike. But what fun would that be, anyway?

(book three: Under the Jolly Roger) After leaving the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston -- under dire circumstances, of course -- Jacky Faber boards a whaling ship bound for London, where she hopes to find her beloved Jaimy. But things don't go as planned, and soon Jacky is off on a wild misadventure at sea. She thwarts the lecherous advances of a crazy captain, rallies sailors to her side, and ultimately gains command of a ship in His Majesty's Royal Navy. But Jacky's adventures don't end there . . .

(book four: In the Belly of the Bloodhound) The British crown has placed a price on Jacky's head, and so she returns to the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston to lay low. But laying low isn't in the cards for a spunky lass who finds trouble even when she's not looking for it. A school outing goes awry as Jacky and her classmates are abducted and forced into the hold of the Bloodhound, a ship bound for the slave markets on the Barbary Coast. All of Jacky's ingenuity, determination, and plain old good luck will be put to the test as she rallies her classmates to fight together to avoid being sold on the auction block.

(book five: Mississippi Jack) The intrepid Jacky Farber, having once again eluded British authorities, heads west, hoping that no one will recognize her in the wilds of America. Soon shes finding adventure on the mighty Mississippi as she makes her way to New Orleans.

(book six: My Bonny Light Horseman) The infamous pirate, riverboat seductress, master of disguise, and street-urchin-turned-sailor Jacky Faber has been captured by the French and beheaded in full view of her friends and crew. Inconceivable? Yes! The truth is she's secretly forced to pose as an American dancer behind enemy lines in Paris, where she entices a French general into revealing military secretsall to save her dear friends. Then, in intrepid Jacky Faber style, she dons male clothing and worms her way into a post as galloper with the French army, ultimately leading a team of men to fight alongside the great Napoleon. In this sixth installment of the Bloody Jack Adventures series, love and war collide as the irrepressible Jacky Faber sets off on a daring adventure she vowed she'd never take.

(book seven: Rapture of the Deep On the very day that Jacky Faber is to wed her true love, she is kidnapped by British Naval Intelligence and forced to embark on yet another daring mission--this time to search for sunken Spanish gold. But when Jacky is involved, things don't always go as planned.

(book eight: The Wake of the Lorelei Lee) Believing she has been absolved of past sins against the Crown, Jacky Faber docks in London to take on her crew, but is instead arrested and sentenced to life in the newly formed penal colony in Australia.

          Mary Faber was nothing but a pathetic street urchin.
         Her parents and younger sister died in the plague when she was young, leaving no relatives, no means...little Mary out on the streets of old-timey London.
          But after the death...or rather, murder of the leader of the street gang that took her in, she decides to get away.
          Taking the clothes and shiv (knife) of her fallen friend, she cuts her hair, setting out as a boy.
          Finding herself at the wharfs, Mary enlists into the British Navy, as Jacky Faber.
          Now a ships boy on the HMS Dolphin Jacky begins her whirlwind adventure that spans across many a country, many a continent, though war and fire, love and hate, the hick towns of the wild west, the carriage of Napoleon Bonaparte himself, the deck of more than one ship she comes to command, from ships boy to Privateer, with many more a tale to come.

          Want more? Well then...make sure to check out the Bloody Jack Adventure series by L.A. won't be disappointed.

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