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Imagine Classic Literary Characters living in the Modern World. Read Jane Eyre Gets Real, a Novel by Annabelle Troy, available on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Eyre-Gets-Real-Annabelle-ebook/dp/B00FAS3I7O

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alice in wonderland

How to Build a Japanese Snowman

Alice in Wonderland, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, is a teen model, physics student and lover of all things wacky and different. When it snows in New York City she makes a snowman Japanese-style: using two big snowballs only. You got it–two snowballs, not three. The Japanese word for snowman is yuki.  Last year during the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, over 10,000 yuki were built and exhibited–setting a new world’s record for the number of snowmen assembled in one place. Frosty, eat your heart out!

Yuki can also be used as language teaching tools. Alice recently found this fun video on Youtube–at least she hopes it’s fun and not at all like the video in The Ring, originally a spooky Japanese movie remade for Western audiences starring Naomi Watts and a strange girl who keeps creeping out of the TV.

 

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Hansel & Gretel: Let Them Eat Cake

As a holiday treat David Copperfield took Heidi and Alice in Wonderland to Hansel & Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera. This Humperdinck opera, in a production by Richard Jones, gives viewers the chance to see familiar fairy tale characters in a slightly wacky light–the children get lost in a forest full of trees comprised of besuited men wearing antler-like branches; they are served a banquet presided over by gigantic chefs and a fish-headed butler; the Wicked Witch is like a deranged Italian mama, forcing cake down their throats the better to eat them. In the end, after the Witch is charred to death, all the kids she has enchanted come to life and join Hansel, Gretel, and their parents in a triumphant feast of food and song.

The opera reinforces a basic theme in many fairy tales, which is just as important as love or fortune: hunger. Hansel & Gretel is the perfect vehicle for winter, the time when famine so often killed without mercy. And who better to conquer hunger than children, those eternal emblems of spring, rebirth and the return of nature’s bounty? Like Christmas itself, the misadventure of Hansel & Gretel brings joy and hope to the depths of our longest, darkest days.

As December 25th approaches and the warmth of living rooms all lit-up and filled with good things to eat conquers the frost outside, remember to read Hansel and Gretel Inside the House of Candy by Annabelle Troy.  The book, a modern retelling of the classic fairy tale, is available on Amazon:

 

Fictional Characters Need Presents Too!

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In Jane Eyre Gets Real, by Annabelle Troy, nine characters from classic literature find themselves whisked from their books and placed on a reality TV show set in contemporary NYC. As Christmas is fast approaching, they divulge what they each want most from their Secret Santa (each gift must be $25 or under)

Alice in Wonderland: Game of Phones, a scavenger hunt-type board game designed with tween girls in mind. Now all she needs is an i-phone.

Heidi: Goats Adult Coloring Book by Jennifer E. Garza–a coloring book filled with “stress relieving goat designs.” Though made with grown-ups in mind, there is no doubt Heidi would love this book which features “all types of goat expressions”, each one of suitable for framing. Takes the bahhh right out of bah-humbug!

Speaking of which, David Copperfield would like a ticket to see the new movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas”. Starring Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) and Christopher Plummer, it’s the tale of how a struggling author, Charles Dickens, must convince his publishers to accept a story revolving around Christmas–then a relatively obscure holiday. With the publication of A Christmas Carol, Dicken’s career took a joyful leap forward–and many concepts he wrote about, like a snowy day filled with celebration, generosity and pudding, became integrally linked with the day.

The list of perfect gifts continues below:

Mr. Darcy: the Paddywax Library Collection Jane Austen-inspired soy candle; burns 60 hours; comes with the scent of gardenias and the Austen quote “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

Hester Prynne: Brit + Co Embroider a Wallhanging Kit, as Puritans are definitely into DYI.

Dorian Gray: Keep Calm and Focus on Hedonism baseball cap

Sherlock Holmes: Carson Page Magnifier–like a really big magnifying glass but flat

Emma Bovary: Chanel black and white signature gift box; apparently, these can be purchased for $18 on e-bay. If you want to put something from Chanel in the box it will cost considerably more.

Jane Eyre: PINCH Pom-Pom Mini Emergency Kit available at Bloomingdale’s; contains 17 essentials any lady would welcome, such as stain removal pad, lip balm, a safety pin, dental floss and more!

With Christmas only a few days away, all Santas, secret or otherwise, had best get busy.

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Queen Victoria’s Tramp Stamp

 

OK, Queen Victoria getting a tattoo may be a rumor started by Annabelle Troy…BUT, Alice in Wonderland, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, knows that tattooing was all the rage amongst grand ladies in the 1880s. The practice was first popularized in high society when that playboy trend setter the Prince of Wales got a cross tattoo in Jerusalem (Alice is not sure where on the body); his sons copied the cross design on their own flesh. Thus the rage for tattoos was born. After Czar Nicholas II. and Kaiser Wilhelm succumbed, aristocratic women started to get designs from the tattoo machine as well. Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Jennie, had a serpent tattoo encircling her wrist–which she covered in public with bracelets. To have ornate designs inscribed on the skin, which only husbands or lovers would see, was definitely a Victorian lady’s well-guarded secret.

Late in the 19th century “tattooed ladies”,  sometimes inked from head to slipper, became a circus staple. These ladies were definitely NOT aristocrats. Eventually, when the rage for tattooing spread to the lower classes,  along with methods for procuring them on the cheap, “real” ladies began to forego them. If Kate Middleton has one, she’s not telling…though she does have “permanent makeup”–liner etched onto her eyes so that she will always look presentable. Still, it’s no serpent.

 

 

 

 

Alice in Wonderland Takes A Leap

a leap into reading that is…Recently Alice in Wonderland read a book by Annabelle Troy called The Grace of the Hunchback. This is her review:

“This book was inspired by the real life of the 19th-century dancer, Marie Taglioni. Along with her father, Philippe, an influential choreographer, Marie developed the Romantic style of ballet: toe-dancing, ethereal costumes, and athletic pirouettes executed with disarming ease.

Marie was born with what we would now call scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that today–if detected early enough–can be cured by wearing a brace. Marie’s scoliosis was not treated and she spent her childhood with a curved back, which earned her the nickname “hunchback”–a taunt hurled at her by the other little girls in dance class. Interestingly, Marie’s rigorous practice of dance did help her spine to straighten (though she would often be in pain after a performance).  On stage, Marie was the epitome of cool, unattainable beauty. Offstage she would suffer all of her life from the psychological image she had of herself: an ugly duckling who would never be a swan.

Though born into a prominent theater family, Marie had to fight against tremendous odds to secure her place in the pantheon of famous ballerinas. Her story remains an inspiring one, full of grit and determination. It’s hard to leap that high; she just made it look easy!

In a way, the book reminded me of Deenie by Judy Blume.  Deenie is a thirteen-year-old aspiring model who learns she must wear a body brace for at least three years, to correct her crooked spine. But Deenie is not just about a medical condition, it’s about how to overcome an obstacle that you think will ruin your life but instead changes it for the better. The Grace of the Hunchback is intended for older audiences but both books convey many of the same messages. They are both uplifting–no pirouette pun intended!”

 

I’m Like A Bird

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Birds are linked in all world mythologies to birth, death, freedom and rejuvenation–making them the perfect symbol of spring. Giving whimsy its way, here are the characters of Jane Eyre Gets Here by Annabelle Troy, reimagined as avian spirits:

Dorian Gray: peacock. A reminder that beauty should never be taken too seriously, the peacock also represents new life rising out of the ashes–a kind of vain phoenix.

David Copperfield: cuckoo. An orphan bird always looking for foster families; not known for being a hero in his own life, the cuckoo looks for other nests in which to build his future.

Mr. Darcy: bluejay. If you dream of a bluejay your subconscious is telling you to be more honest with yourself. Once you have embraced your inner jay, you will be the picture of truth, integrity–and a bit of a bully. Like a smug public school boy who can use his power for good or for evil.

Sherlock Holmes: the raven. A known detective of the bird world, ravens were followed by hunters in order to find deer; the man would slay the deer, the raven would eat the innards. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Holmes was often depicted in Victorian illustrations as wearing a “deerstalker cap.”

Heidi: chickadee. A sociable and cheerful bird, there are seven varieties, a mystical number. Harbingers of joy, they can alter their own body temperature to survive even the harshest winters.

Alice in Wonderland: goose. Not always silly, the goose is known in the spirit world for going on quests.  The wise goose teaches us that we can alter our course abruptly and still come out a winner.

Emma Bovary: swan. Symbol of feminine grace and timeless beauty, the swan strives towards refinement. If it tarnishes its feathers sometimes, it only goes to show how muddy the waters can be.

Hester Prynne: chicken. Don’t laugh. Chickens can be very powerful beings; for instance, the Russian Baba Yaga dwells deep in the forest, in a hut posed on chicken legs. She is the archetypal symbol of the mother, capable of great fertility and immense destruction–take that, KFC!

Jane Eyre: bluebird. Not just a symbol of happiness, the bluebird represents the well-adjusted ego. A dead bluebird means disillusion and innocence lost; a thriving one stands for radiant transformation into a higher self.

Now get out there and go feed some ducks!!!

 

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Be A Princess Or Just Look Like One

Alice in Wonderland is a kind of Victorian fairy tale princess–led astray by a magical rabbit, plunged into adventures with queens, hatters, and caterpillars, careful all the while not to rumple her pinafore. She is a girl who exhibits great wit, character, and resourcefulness. In today’s world fairy tales are hot again, at least the Disney versions. Inspired by the upcoming premiere of Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, Alice has composed a list of things any ordinary girl can do to emulate a princess:

Let Down Your Hair: Rapunzel-like, ravishing locks are a cinch with super-long clip-in hair extensions. Seven pieces of 24″ straight, virgin hair will run you about $100. Remember, blonde is so 1016–try brunette, bright red or even ombre.

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Slip Into Glass Slippers: OK, they may not be real–but when is magic, ever?! Lucite heels make a great substitute for glass; they will be just as transparent and won’t disappear at midnight. We can’t say the same for the Prince.

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Get Enough Beauty Sleep

You may not need 100 years like some girls but 7-8 hours of sleep a night is essential to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Fairy Godmother tip: invest in a silk pillowcase to wake up looking extra-smooth.

Rosy Pink Silk Pillowcase

Puff Up Your Sleeves

Rock the Snow White look–boho peasant blouses with scoop necklines and puffed shoulders are everywhere now. Just try not to make any witches poison-green with envy.

Meg's Puff Sleeve Tee

Adopt a Frog. 

Tree frogs are dying out in the rainforests of Central and South America. Help keep the species thriving; contact 1-800-CALL-WWF to save one now. A frog adoption kit is $55 and comes with a species card, adoption certificate, and plush toy cute enough to kiss.

Frog

Finally, what do princesses read? Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy. Get your free copy on Amazon March 8-12.

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Eyre-Gets-Real-Annabelle-ebook/dp/B00FAS3I7O

That Old Black Cat Magic

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Alice in Wonderland, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, is missing her cat Dinah. When Alice was plucked from her book and made to live in contemporary NYC, beloved Dinah was left behind. So Alice went to an animal shelter to adopt a cat. She fell in love with a vivacious green-eyed kitten, but because it had black fur the agency suggested she adopt in November. Many animal shelters don’t let black cats get adopted right before Halloween; too many people use them as living decorations, abandoning them after the holiday; or they can be cruelly used for pranks. For the latter reason, it is suggested that if you already own a black cat, keep him/her inside around Oct. 31st.

Contrary to popular belief, the “unlucky” black cat is not discriminated against when it comes to adoption. It’s simply that more black cats exist than white, gray, or brown ones.  According to the ASPCA black cats represent 31% of all feline adoptions annually, followed by gray then brown cats. However, black-coated animals show age more quickly; silver hairs show up easily on that color of fur, the same way dark-haired women have to dye their roots more often! When it comes to taking a selfie with black cats, they can be hard to photograph. Non-professionals may find the black cat comes out like a dark blot, while the fur of a lighter-colored cat catches the light. (Fair is always easier to photograph which is why early Hollywood preferred blondes with pink skin tones over “exotic” types.)

While medieval black cats were historically accused of being “familiars”, messengers who traveled at night between the witch and the devil, some cultures have revered them. In ancient Egypt black cats were thought to bring their owners good luck, which is still considered to be the case in modern Japan and parts of Britain. In fact there is an Old English rhyme that goes:

Black cat, cross my path
Good fortune bring to home and hearth
When I am away from home
Bring me luck wherever I roam

 

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All Choked Up

Supposedly the choker trend which swept New York Fashion Week is a reflection of nostalgia for the 90’s–that’s the 1990s. Jane Eyre finds it ridiculous that a decade only twenty-five years in passing, and an insipid one at that, should already be inspiring regret. However, she is pleased that chokers are popular again–as they were during her own day. Indeed, chokers have been worn by women–and men–since ancient times. The first piece of jewelry may well have been some caveman’s choker made from shells and teeth! Chokers became especially notable as a fashion statement during the 18th century French Revolution; noblewomen who had escaped the guillotine sported red ribbons tied around their throats, both to honor their slain friends and relatives and as a kind of f–k you to Robespierre.

All the women in Jane Eyre Gets Real, the whimsical novel by Annabelle Troy, available on Amazon, deserve a choker. Here’s what they picked from today’s hottest looks:

Hester Prynne: We all know ornaments were forbidden in Puritan times. But the occasional bonnet or collar might be tied with a bit of black ribbon. In memory of this, Hester wants a wide black leather choker:

Soft Black Leather Choker Adjustable Necklace

Jane Eyre goes for the sentimental look of her youth:

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You know Emma Bovary is all about the drama:

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Alice in Wonderland shows that chokers can be innocent and charming:

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Even Heidi gets into the act with a girlish, faux tattoo style:

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So, whether you choose classic, bright, metallic or just an old velvet ribbon you have in a drawer, remember that fall, 2016 is the time to stick your neck out.

 

 

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