Tale as Old as Time

0e958e7e610dd96f84c61b682acce421When he saw that she was beautiful he wanted only to cage her, but when he understood her true eternal beauty, he set her free.

She truly saw him; he had transformed from a beast who loved only beauty, into a beautiful beast, full of love.



The tale of Beauty and The Beast has always been my favorite,Swigning-Ladder-from-Beauty-and-the-Beast

for as long as I’ve been able to have favorites. I have read a ton of variations/ adaptations, and watched quite a lot as well. I had to pay homage to Beauty and The Beast today because tonight is the big premier of the live action Disney adaptation, and I am ecstatic!
This is such a beautiful story and I love finding and reading stories with it’s endearing theme; true beauty, real love, sacrifice, compassion, and acceptance. I also feel like Belle is a kindred spirit, my alter ego in a way; her passionate love of books, and her adventurous and compassionate spirit are all things I aspire to.

Here are some lovely book/film adaptation that I feel are worthwhile:

Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale. Its first published version was written by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in the middle 18th century. It was a novel-length story intended for adult readers and addressing the issues of the marriage system of the day in which women had no right to choose their husband or to refuse to marry.

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Fun Fact:
The best-known version of the tale appeared sixteen years later. Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont simplified and shortened the Villeneuve’s work and published it in a magazine for young ladies. The new abridged version became more successful, and Madame de Beaumont is regarded now as the author of the classic story.

The visually new and unabridged edition of the classic. MinaLima, an award-winning design studio (Jungle Book, Peter Pan, etc.) re-imagined the beloved tale in this deluxe unabridged edition. It is illustrated with stunning full-color artwork and nine 3-D interactive features.

 

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This is a gorgeous coloring book I found that has a unique Beauty and the Beast story and art. A coloring book romance that features over seventy pages of evocative artwork, ready to be brought to life by your coloring skills and imagination. I love it. It is by artist Jae-Eun Lee.

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The movie that started it all for me. I fell in love with this movie when I was a kid, and as a grown woman it is still my favorite, I adore it. The story is full of so much wit, fun, and humor, and yet it is beautiful, deep, and enchanting.

 The music is beyond amazing as well, and I am not ashamed to say that I can verbatim quote the entire movie while watching it… Overall this movie is for everyone; a rich experience. Truly a charming and beautiful re-telling.

If you haven’t guessed here is my favorite scene from the movie 😉

maxresdefault (1).jpg“With a dreamy far of look, and her nose stuck in a book.”

This is probably my favorite novel adaptation. Robin McKinley’s beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast.
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the pretty ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.


“As I have said, you have no reason to trust me, and an excellent reason not to.”

Yes I watched it, and I loved it 🙂 

Ron Koslow updates a classic fairy tale and places it in a modern and urban environment. Assistant District Attorney Catherine Chandler learns she has a protector watching out for her as she sets out to clear the New York City streets of its dangerous criminals. Turns out her “guardian angel” is a kind-hearted beast named Vincent, who lives in labyrinthine tunnels beneath the city.

Alex Flinn’s contemporary retelling.

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore.
I am a monster.

“Just because something is beautiful doesn´t mean it´s good.”

Now if you haven’t heard of Faerie Tale Theatre, check it out, because it’s amazing. It had the charm and richness of seeing a play, but with the uninterrupted smoothness of television. I grew up watching this show, and I LOVED the Beauty and the Beast act, staring Susan Sarandon, it was fantastic. Seriously if you haven’t seen these, you should. Deep, fun, dark, corny, classic!

 

An inventive and funny mystery with a dynamic lead, which will make you want to pick up the next book in the series.

This one is definitely a re-imagining and takes much more liberties, but that is the fun of it. I love it when authors get creative like this.

Personally I was a bit 60/40 on the Disney Broadway musical of Beauty and the Beast. Mainly because it was SO close to the original that it made hearing the songs a little difficult. I think that’s why I like it when there are variations that make it unique to the artistic abilities and strengths of a given writer/director etc. However, it was very well done, I just had to avoid parts of the soundtrack. I did see a performance of this, and it was fantastic live.

Here are a few fun new ones I will be reading ASAP:

An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. Intrigued? I am, can’t wait.

 

Disney’s Belle is one of the best fictional bookworms around. But what exactly is on her reading list? In this unique literary journal, enjoy inspiring quotes from some of Belle’s favorite books, as well as her insightful notes and colorful drawings. I am in love with this idea, can’t wait to get my copy.

 

How about a little dark twist?
As Old as Time is the third book in a new YA line that re-imagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.
When Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, memories flood through Belle’s mind-memories of a mother she thought she would never see again. And, stranger still…

 

So that is my tribute to an amazing classic and all the amazing artists and writers that have re-told and re-imagined this truly beautiful tale.

download (1)I am almost certain I will be adding Disney’s live action version to my list of favorites. There is so much talent invested in the project and so far it looks phenomenal. Thank you disney for taking the time to really put what it takes into this movie; I mean Emma Thompson! Ian McKellen! Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Kline, the list goes on! So tonight I will be dressed up and fully giddy as I watch this, and I will be sure to update anyone interested as to my end thoughts on the production.

What are your favorite adaptation?

So I felt compelled to do an update now that I’ve seen the movie. 

I have to say it was a truly magical experience! I saw it in 😄 3D and I Highly recommend that, as it adds to the richness and depth of experience during the movie. This Beauty and The Beast was hands down the best movie I’ve ever seen. Everything about it; the cast, the score! the emotion, the cinemotagraphy, everything was gorgeous and enchanting. I am in eternal love with it, and can’t wait to see it again! I hope everyone will share their thoughts once they’ve experience it’s beauty 🙂

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Top 10 Most Expensive Coffees

download (3)These coffee’s are rare and unique and come from all over the world. There is an interesting variety of flavors to keep any coffee connoisseur interested. However not all of these are readily available, some are bought by auction, some are sold in small batches to select people, and some are only sold in far off places.

Starting with the least expensive here are
the top 10 most expensive coffees:

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Black Blood of the Earth $40/750ml
or $95 for Blue Mountain!
Philip Broughton, the man who invented this coffee, says most of the coffee beans come from the rift valleys of Ethiopia and Africa where the beans are loaded with oil.
Flavor Notes: The acid is lost during intense processing, so what you get in your cup is a strong flavored brew that is rich in caffeine, but lacks acid.
Fun Fact: Black Blood of Earth is prepared using cold vacuum extraction. During the processing stage, most of the bean oil is extracted, and this makes the coffee abundantly rich in caffeine. The caffeine content is about 20 to 40 times more than that of regular coffee.

Los-Planes-CoffeeLos Planes Coffee (Citala, El Salvador) $40/lb
Flavor Notes:
A delicate balance of sweet chocolate citrus and a fruity acidity, with a mild body and a clean and transparent cup
Fun Fact:
 This remarkable coffee, has helped catapult this “no name” region of El Salvador into a star in the coffee-growing world.

 

roasted2Hawaiian Kona Coffee  $45-$65/lb
Flavor Notes:
  Smooth, delicate, and full-bodied, and with a bright, clear flavor and rich aroma. It is also described as robust, and usually with medium acidity.
Fun Fact:
 The sunny mornings, cloud or rain in the afternoon, little wind, and mild nights combined with porous, mineral-rich volcanic soil create favorable coffee growing conditions.

Fazenda Santa Ines (Minas Gerais, Brazil) aprx. $50/lb5297-583x243Flavor Notes: Toasted hazelnuts, berry, and cocoa with low acidity and medium body
Fun Fact: This family operated business uses traditional methods in all stages of coffee production

tumblr_lqyk81lfmS1r2yvaro4_500Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee  $50/lb
Flavor Notes:
 The coffee has blue green color, good acidity, intense aroma, fairly good body, clean.
Fun Fact: A balance of floral aroma, acidity and full body.

 

Guatemala Finca El Injerto Pacamara (Huehuetenango) $60/lb
sobre-subasta1Flavor Notes: Tangerine, Cranberry & Dark Chocolate
Fun Fact: In an online auction held in 2012, Finca El Injerto coffee beans were sold for a record-breaking price of $500.50 per pound. Since then, the coffee has gained a celebrity status worldwide. It is one of the rarest coffees from Yemen.

download (2)St. Helena Island Coffee Company  $89/lb
Flavor Notes: 
Delicate Acidity, Great Balance, and Full Bodied.
Fun Fact: In 1815, the British government selected Saint Helena as the place of detention of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was taken to the island in October 1815. Napoleon stayed at the Briars pavilion on the grounds of the Balcombe family’s home until his permanent residence,Longwood House, was completed in December 1815. Napoleon died there on 5 May 1821.

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Hacienda la Esmeralda Coffee
aprx. $350/lb
Bought by auction only 2014 auction price was $350 a pound.
Flavor Notes:  Extremely complex aromatics and flavors, including jasmine and stone fruit . Brilliant and clear acidity. Bergamot notes in the cup. Try it for $35/ cup.
Fun Fact: Geisha Esmeralda is grown on the fertile farmlands of Hacienda Esmeralda, which is nestled on Mount Baru in the Jamarillo region in western Panama.

Kopi Luwak Coffee (Indonesia) $100 to $600
Just saw on amazon for aprx. $374/lb
Trung Nguyen Legendee Gold Coffee Enxym simulated (no animals used) aprx. $50/lb
Kopi-Luwak-Coffee
Flavor Notes:
Diminished acidity and flavor and added smoothness to the body
Fun Fact: It is produced from the coffee cherries having been digested by a certain Indonesian cat-like animal called then palm civet or also civet cat. This is the reason kopi luwak is also called

 

 

civet coffee. The feces of the cat are collected, finished, and sold as kopi luwak. In the coffee industry, kopi luwak is widely regarded as a gimmick or novelty item.

the-black-ivory-coffee-L-DGIl_wBlack Ivory Coffee (Thailand)
$66 +shipping for 35 grams! Transfer that into a pound and it’s $855/lb
Flavor Notes:
 Dark chocolate, a hint of grass, spice (particularly tobacco, leather and cinnamon depending on the water you use) and it will be very soft, almost tea-like without the burnt or bitter taste of espresso.
Fun Facts:  Only 150 kg are produced a year. The limitations are due to the availability of high quality coffee cherries, the appetite of the elephants, the number of beans destroyed through chewing, and the ability of the mahouts and their wives to pick the beans by hand (8800 beans equal one kg of Black Ivory Coffee).

Have you tried any of these coffees? Which ones do you want to try?

The Short List

An Abby Wright illustration of a women reading a book outside in the snowIt’s another iced-in day here in PDX, with a frozen landscape I dare not venture into. With all of these ice and snow days, I’ve had more time to read than usual. This got me thinking, short stories that are perfect for situations like this; You didn’t plan on having time to read, but now you do.

There are so many great short stories, but I thought I’d compile a go-to list of classics, that are universally great.

Here is my Short List:

 The Snow Queen
Hans Christian Anderson

Of course this wintry weather has me thinking of “The Snow Queen” but the whole HCA fairytale collection is a great thing to have on hand!

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

 

 

Happy Prince & Other Stories
by Oscar Wilde

Includes stories that appeal to both child and adult with their themes of love, truth and sacrifice. The other stories are: The Selfish Giant, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Devoted Friend, and The Remarkable Rocket.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

 

The Magic Shop
H.G. Wells

Written in the year 1903, this book is one of the most popular novels of H. G. Wells, and has been translated into several other languages around the world. This book will take you back to the days when you believed in magic, maybe that’s still today.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving

The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (historical Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow is renowned for its ghosts and the haunting atmosphere that pervades the imaginations of its inhabitants and visitors

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Rip Van Winkle
by Washington Irving
Follow up Sleepy Hallow with the legendary enchantment of Rip Van Winkle in the Kaatskill Mountains; the gruesome end of Ichabod Crane, who met the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow; the spectre bridegroom who turned out to be happily substantial; the pride of an English village and the come-uppance of the over-zealous Mountjoy – these witty, perceptive and captivating tales range from fantasy to romance.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

The Short Novels of
John Steinbeck

From the tale of commitment, loneliness and hope in Of Mice and Men, to the tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl’s examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck stories of realism, that were imbued with energy and resilience.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

On the topic of Shorts, here is a mini drink that really packs a punch:

Book Bean: Café Bombón
bombon_miniA Cuban drink with roots to Valencia, Spain. 

Espresso served with sweetened condensed milk in a 1:1 ratio. Bombón means chocolate in Spanish. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, or even cayenne for extra pop of flavor.

 

Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales
The Brothers Grimm
They are the stories we’ve known since we were children. Rapunzel. Hansel and Gretel. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. But the works originally collected by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s are not necessarily the versions we heard before bedtime. They’re darker and often don’t end very happily—but they’re often far more interesting.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories
Truman Capote
Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm. This volume also includes three of Capote’s best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which the Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories
Stephen King

He has dazzled an entire generation of readers with his genius as a prominent writer of short fiction. Now he once again assembles a generous array of unforgettable, tantalizing tales – including those that, until recently, have never been published in a book

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com



The Five People You Meet in Heaven
by Mitch Albom

This story follows the life and death of a maintenance man named Eddie. In a heroic attempt to save a little girl from being killed by an amusement park ride that is about to fall, Eddie is killed and sent to heaven, where he encounters five people who had a significant impact upon him while he was alive.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Tell-Tale Heart
by Edgar Allan Poe

A story first published in 1843.
It is told by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed.
Intrigued..? 😉

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com


To Build a Fire and Other Stories
by Jack London

If you need a good warming up after some of those chillers, here is a classic collection of some of Jack London’s most loved short stories. His writing is heart-warming and grounding, a great way to spend a few hours or days.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
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What are some of your favorite short stories?

Blizard-Bound Books

zima_chayWell as some may know we got hit with quite the snow storm here in Portland, Oregon. Some people are over exaggerating, some people are bummed and frustrated, me personally; I LOVE IT!!! I adore the magic that is snow, and have been thoroughly enchanted with it.

So of course this weekend I’ll focus on Snowy day reading and winter fare!

Here is my list of 10 great Blizzard worthy books:
One of Shakespeare’s later romantic comedies, offers a striking and challenging mixture of tragic and violent events, lyrical love-speeches, farcical comedy, pastoral song and dance, and, eventually, dramatic revelations and reunions. Thematically, there is a rich orchestration of the contrasts between age and youth, corruption and innocence, decline and regeneration. Both Leontes’ murderous jealousy and Perdita’s love-relationship with Florizel are eloquently intense. In the theatre, The Winter’s Tale often proves to be diversely entertaining and deeply moving.

Ever since it was published in 1978, the picture-book presentation of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” has been an enduring favorite. Susan Jeffers’ illustrations are full of detail and subtle color in her sweeping backgrounds of frosty New England scenes. The kindly figure with his “promises to keep” exudes warmth as he stops to appreciate the quiet delights of winter.

Take a journey to the icy winter-land of Russia in this historical fiction:

A novel in diary form in which the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II describes the privileged life her family led up until the time of World War I and the tragic events that befell them. 13 year old Anastasia is used to a life of luxury; her major concerns are how to get out of her detested schoolwork to play in the snow, go ice-skating, or have picnics. She wears diamonds and rubies, and every morning her mother tells her which matching outfit she and her three sisters shall wear that day. It’s a fairy tale life — until everything changes with the outbreak of war between Russia and Germany.

A great page turner  that takes a unique and thought provoking look at death, and the process of grief:

When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. This was before milk carton photos and public service announcements, she tells us; back in 1973, when Susie mysteriously disappeared, people still believed these things didn’t happen.
In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and her own adjustment to the strange new place she finds herself. I could not put this book down, it was deep and troubling, and so brilliantly written.

If the snow fascinates and intrigues you the way it does me, this is a great book to have laying about for anyone to peruse and be enchanted by:
61dr1044nll-_sx389_bo1204203200_Before a snowflake melts on your tongue, it makes an epic journey. This is the beautiful, full-color story of that journey, step by step, from a single snowflake’s creation in the clouds, through its fall to earth, to its brief and sparkling appearance on a child’s mitten.

This is a good one to cuddle up to the fire with and read to a little one,
or read to your own kid at heart:

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat.

 

For the more daring reader there is always this classic mountain chiller:

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

 

This is always a good snowy day read, especially when you are starting to feel like the winter will never end.
Read this for a little warmth and hope that winter will not last forever:A picture book retelling of C. S. Lewis’s classic story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for the youngest fans! Introduce them to the magic of Narnia with this picture book featuring illustrations by Tudor Humphries.

In this novel Leo Tolstoy, the great master of Russian literature,
charts the course of the human heart.

The sweeping love story of two people who defy the conventions of their age to follow the dictates of their hearts. Trapped in a stifling marriage, Anna Karenina is swept off her feet by the dashing Count Vronsky. When the truth about their passionate liaison comes out, Anna’s husband is more concerned with keeping up appearances than anything else, but at last he seeks a reluctant divorce. Rejected by society, the two lovers flee to Italy, where Anna finds herself isolated from all except the man she loves, and who loves her. But can they live by love alone?

And last but not least, if you really need to warm up;
do it with Dante’s Inferno, that should do the trick 😉

The epic grandeur of Dante’s masterpiece has inspired readers for 700 years, and has entered the human imagination. But the further we move from the late medieval world of Dante, the more a rich understanding and enjoyment of the poem depends on knowledgeable guidance. Robert Hollander, a renowned scholar and master teacher of Dante, and Jean Hollander, an accomplished poet, have written a beautifully accurate and clear verse translation of the first volume of Dante’s epic poem, the Divine Comedy.

What’s your idea of a great snow day read?

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12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 12 of 12

Room for a Little One
A Christmas Tale
by Martin Waddell

Kind Ox invites one visitor after another into the shelter of his stable–Old Dog, Stray Cat, and Small Mouse, who rest together in harmony. When Tired Donkey appears, he brings with him Mary and Joseph, and all of the animals welcome Jesus when He is born.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Eggnog Cocoa
Simmer 1 cup eggnog and 1-2 tbsp half n’half, and add in 1 tsp dutch cocoa powder, 2 tsp sugar, marshmallows, sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. Shoot might as well add some whip too if your up for it!

 That cold winter’s night, 

beneath the star’s light… 

…a Little One came for the world.

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Merry Christmas!

12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 11 of 12
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

The night before Christmas
Illustrated by Charles Santore

This poem was first published anonymously in 1823, as A Visit from St. Nicholas“, more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” and “Twas the Night Before Christmas” from its first line.“The Night Before Christmas” has enchanted children with the story of St. Nicholas climbing down the chimney and filling all the stockings before springing back to his sleigh. Many families read the poem every year, and now they have an edition to treasure. The cherished verse, faithfully reproduced here, is accompanied by Charles Santore’s lavish illustrations.      Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The poem was later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837. Some commentators now believe the poem was written by Henry Livingston, Jr.

cookies_and_milk_for_santa_by_yo04-d4k66mmBook Bean: Santa’s Milk and Cookies
In a saucepan heat up 1 cup milk 1 cup eggnog. Stir the cauldron with a candy cane. Use and immersion blender to blend the milk till light and frothy. Add to Santa’s cup and sprinkle with nutmeg. Don’t forget to leave out some pretty treats for him to dip!9781604332377-4.jpg

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”