About Abbie Lu

I love to read, write, and drink coffee. They are the bread and butter of my soul. I really enjoy discussing books, poetry, and the like. Another huge passion of mine is dancing, and for fun I am an avid volleyball player. I live in the NW and I am a hybrid city/country lover. I enjoy spending time hiking through our beautiful Oregon forests, and riding horses at the family farm. I also equally enjoy strolling the downtown waterfront with a latte, gazing the city lights, and/or sipping a Café con leche at my favorite Cuban eatery. Contact me if you would like me to review any products related to: Books, Poetry, and/or Coffee!

Sunday Funnies!

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Reading in The Woods

a walk in the woods with coffeeIt’s camping season! Time for stories around the fire, nature walks, campfire concoctions, and for me; Extra Reading Time! I’m always up super early when I camp; and there is nothing better than starting a small fire, brewing a hearty cup of coffee, and relaxing to the sound of the breeze and the birds, with a good book of course.

Here are my suggestions for Reading in the Woods:

Gossip From the Forest
by Sara Maitland
Fairy tales are one of our earliest cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient landscapes. Both evoke similar sensations: At times they are beautiful and magical, at others spooky and sometimes horrifying. Maitland argues that the terrain of these fairy tales are intimately connected to the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils. With each chapter focusing on a different story and forest visit, she offers a complex history of forests and how they shape the themes of fairy tales we know best.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Yearling
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
When young Jody Baxter adopts and orphaned fawn he calls Flag, he makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming. There has been a film and even a musical based on this moving story, a fine work of great American literature which won Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings a Pulitzer Prize
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”  ~Lord Byron

Enchantment
Orson Scott Card
The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek’s farm. Orson Scott Card has been honored with numerous awards, immersing readers in dazzling worlds only he could create.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Faerie Dusted Clouds
Put a handful of marshmallows in a cup, steam milk and pour half over marshmallows stir well, add the rest of the milk, top with a dollop of whip, sprinkle with sugar crystals and dust with vanilla bean powder. (For the cold version use ice cream instead of marshmallows.)

A Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

download (1)Book Bean: S’more Coffee Please!
Espresso, pulled over dark chocolate chips, add steamed milk of choice, stir, top with graham cracker crumbs, lots of marshmallows, broil for a few seconds (if you can) and drizzle with chocolate


Galapagos: A Novel

by Kurt Vonnegut
A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’ s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.
This one may not be for everyone, it might have you jumping at every creak and pop in the woods!
Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

“You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” ~Saint Bernard

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Howard Pyle

Arguably the most popular rendering of the legend of Robin Hood, the yeoman-thief of Sherwood Forest. Each chapter offers new and exciting stories, including the famous scenes of Little John and his staff besting Robin on the bridge, Robin winning the golden arrow at the Sheriff of Nottingham’s archery contest, his complicity with courageous Will Scarlet and musical Alan-a-Dale, the continual outsmarting of the Sheriff, and many others.
A great choice to bring along for the little ones, or the young at Heart!

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Leaves of Green Latte
Matcha Tea with Steamed Milk and Mint Leaves
Use Match powder to make a strong brew, add mint leaf and stevia and stir, steam milk of choice and pour over green tea, sprinkle with vanilla bean powder and garnish with mint leaves.

The Forest Unseen
11797368by David Haskell
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest
In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Written with remarkable grace and empathy,  a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Dare I mention this favorite of mine again?! Between the Quirky Radagast and the Enchanting Wood Elves, how could I resist!

Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Reluctantly Bilbo joins their quest, unaware of what lies ahead on the journey to the Lonely Mountain.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

coffee-cup-2926638_960_720.jpgBook Bean: Muddy Mocha
Just a little bit of everything!
Espresso, cinnamon, chocolate, almond extract, steamed milk, sprinkled with nutmeg and clove, garnish with cinnamon sticks

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State, and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.”
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

In A Cottage In A Wood
by Cass Green
A strange encounter
Neve comes across a troubled woman called Isabelle on Waterloo Bridge late one night. Isabelle forces a parcel into Neve’s hands and jumps to her death in the icy Thames below.
An unexpected gift
Two weeks later, as Neve’s wreck of a life in London collapses, an unexpected lifeline falls into her lap – a charming cottage in Cornwall left to her by Isabelle, the woman on the bridge.
A twisted secret
Alone in the dark woods late one night, she finds a sinister-looking bungalow with bars across its windows. And her dream home quickly becomes her worst nightmare, a house hiding a twisted secret that will change her life forever…

2521_black_forest_coffee_2Book Bean: Black Forest Frappe
Brew you coffee strong, let sit, add ice to blender (or just poor ingredients over ice and enjoy), poor coffee over ice, add milk of choice, add grenadine and almond extract to taste, blend, place in cup of choice, top with whip, dark chocolate shavings and a maraschino cherry!

So if you are forest bound and unafraid of the woods, don’t forget a good book, I suggest something new and unexpected!

What are your favorite camp-out reads?

The Formidable Frida Kahlo

5225360416_5320e7aafb_bBorn today June 6th in 1907
Frida Kahlo was a was a Mexican self-portrait artist who was considered one of Mexico’s greatest artists.

She began painting mostly self-portraits after she was severely injured in a bus accident.

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Kahlo later became politically active and married artist Diego Rivera in 1929. She exhibited her paintings in Paris and Mexico before her death in 1954.

She is still admired for her
fiercely evocative art, feminist qualities, and iconic fashion.5363472939_23c05e4aef_b-e1525915781478.jpg

The intimate life Frida is beautifully revealed in the illustrated journal she kept during her last 10 years. This passionate and at times surprising record contains the artist’s thoughts, poems, and dreams; many reflecting her stormy relationship with her husband, artist Diego Rivera, along with 70 mesmerising watercolour illustrations. The text entries in brightly coloured inks make the journal as captivating to look at as it is to read.

This intricate book allows the reader to enter this revered artist’s world, both literally and metaphorically. Through a series of consecutive die-cut pages, one is drawn in passing through aspects of her life, art and creative process while exploring the themes that inspired her most, such as love, death and maternity. Iconic and visceral, her work has always had the ability to transcend borders and resonate with its honest and graphic depiction of the human condition.

Pain and passion: The original and intimate art of Mexico’s most famous female painter

 The arresting pictures of Frida Kahlo (1907–54) were in many ways expressions of trauma. Through a near-fatal road accident at the age of 18, failing health, a turbulent marriage, miscarriage and childlessness, she transformed afflictions into revolutionary art.

Accolades for Arthur Conan Doyle

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

6815345113_e3ee5dc18e_bConan Doyle is most famous as the inventor of Sherlock Holmes, but he had a varied career as a writer, journalist and public figure.
Born Today on May 22nd 1859 in Edinburgh into a prosperous Irish family. He trained as a doctor, gaining his degree from Edinburgh University in 1881. He worked as a surgeon on a whaling boat and also as a medical officer on a steamer travelling between Liverpool and West Africa. He then settled in Portsmouth on the English south coast and divided his time between medicine and writing.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The most recognized detective in all of literature, Sherlock Holmes emerged on the crime scene in A Study in Scarlet in 1887. His deductive reasoning, keen insight, skillful observations, and investigative tactics became the tools necessary to solve riveting and intriguing crimes that continue to delight generations of readers. Discover or rediscover the joys of these fascinating mysteries.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Vampire Stories
Who would suspect that the same mind that created the most famous literary detective of all time also took on the eternally popular genre of vampires? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a contemporary of Bram Stoker, gave us some fascinating works of vampire fiction. From the bloodsucking plant in “The American’s Tale” to the bloodsucking wife in “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire,” he reveled in the horror created by creatures who survived on the blood of men and women.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com
The Lost World
Talented and extremely ambitious reporter Edward Malone received a humiliating refusal from a beloved girl to marry him only on the grounds that he is too mediocre. The offended young man rushes to the editorial office and begs the authorities to send him to the most dangerous corner of the Earth, so that he can make a report there.

An experienced editor gives the young man a difficult task: at any cost to get an interview with the scandalously dangerous, impulsive Professor Challenger, glorious for his hatred of journalists. After a small but very colorful fight, the professor invites the young man to a conference where Challenger will make a statement that will shock the whole scientific world. It says that dinosaurs and other relic living creatures have been preserved on the inaccessible South American plateau. To support this statement the professor assembles an expedition in which the reporter Malone will become a representative of the press.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

What are you favorite Doyle delights, please share!

Wake up Wednesday: Cocoaccino

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This weeks Café concoction The Cocoaccino!

Book Bean: Cocoaccinno

2-3 espresso shots pulled over 1 tbs cocoa powder, powdered sugar (1tbs or to taste,) and 1 tsp vanilla extract powder. Add frothed milk and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

 


A very decadent drink; The perfect stress reliever and pick me up!

This indulgent delight pairs sweetly with a book of verse

 

I recommend Shakespeare’s Sonnets:

The title of a collection of 154 sonnets by William Shakespeare, which covers themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Wake up Wednesday: Tango Latte

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This is my newest Café concoction and obsession The Tango Latte!

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Book Bean: Tango Latte

1 espresso shot pulled over 1 tsp of orange infused powdered sugar, 1 pinch cinnamon and 1 pinch vanilla extract powder (I pre-mix mine and do approx. .5 tsp,) approx. 1/3 cup steamed (or heated and frothed) milk of choice (I use 1%,) topped with orange zest and lightly dusted with cinnamon sugar.

This drink is spectacular, Orange Mochas have always been a favorite of mine, but this latte has surpassed that love. It’s smooth yet zesty and bold. I perfect drink for those who like things interesting and flavorful, but without too much sweetness

This exotic latte would pair beautifully with

Evita: The Real Lives of Eva Peron.
by Nicholas Fraser and Marysa Navarro
This is a fascinating biography of the legendary Argentinian whose is regarded as one of the strongest, most idolized female icons of the last century. Evita tells the real story of this enigmatic popular heroine, a village girl who rose to stardom first as an actress, then as the mistress of Colonel Peron and finally as the world’s most powerful presidential wife.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

In Evita, the authors ask: Was Eva a saint or a sinner?

What do you think?