Saturday, June 29, 2013

Eitanya Adventurer Hoodie Scarf {review}

(Guys, I keep hearing all this stuff about Google Friend Connect going down, and whether it's true or not, I thought it'd be good to be prepared so please click the link above to follow Apassionata on Bloglovin'! Thanks!)
Ah, so this is a product I received a while back, but nonetheless it proved to be a fun piece for review.
 Eitanya sent me this adventurer hoodie scarf in a cool shade of olive green. (They have multiple colors to pick from, and I opted for this one because, well, green is one of my favorite it makes me think of elves and woodland things.)
These two pictures below doesn't really capture the green-ness of it, but at least you can get an idea of the size/length/design of it laying flat.
The scarf/hoodie is made of a very soft, comfy material. I can't wait to wear it during the winter months when I'm sure it will prove to be quite warm.
The design is really unique, it being a hoodie combined with a scarf. I like it because it looks really fantasy-esque as I said almost could go for the top part of a cloak/cape.
This photoshoot was quite fun, I'll admit.
(Sorry, I couldn't resist a goofy one.)
Overall, this is a fun winter accessory. As with some other things I reviewed before, I'm looking forward to trying this during a season when I can wear it practically. Cause let me tell you, it can get up in the 100's here in the Sunshine State. Combine that with 100% humidity, and, get the idea.
So. The design of this is really original, and the fabric soft and cozy, therefore making it extremely wearable. I love the color, and overall, the piece is definitely high quality. Win-win situation all around!
Get your own adventurer hoodie scarf here, and while you're at it why not check out the entire shop?
There are a bunch of other hoodie scarf styles, and also some cool gauntlets, hats and gloves.
A fun store for sure!
Have a blessed Saturday!
Note: I was provided this item from Eitanya in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain mine and mine alone.

Friday, June 28, 2013

"Pursuit of the Dragon" - New Piano Composition!

Good evening, peoples!
I am so excited to get to present y'all with another piano composition.
It is literally my most recently created piece - and I was privileged to be able to record it, just earlier today - once again, thank you Jessie soooo much for putting up with me! I had to do several retakes as usual, but I'm so thankful this sweet person helped me get this song recorded.
So. A little backstory on "Pursuit of the Dragon". Originally, it was nothing more than just a few random chords and melodic intervals thrown together  - an experiment, if you will. I tend to do a lot of those. Sometimes these 'experiments' turn into songs, sometimes they're trashed or forgotten completely.
But this...well, I had the urge to hang onto this stuff. It reminded me of...wait for it...
The Hobbit.
Yes, yes. "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit."  I call this my Hobbit inspired piece because once the thought struck me that I could create such a piece, I tried to put together sound from the imagery of Bilbo taunting Smaug deep within the Lonely Mountain, lurking in the shadows as invisible as the oxygen we breath.
And then, I thought some scenes in the song reminded me of Bard, when Smaug was soaring through his little town and Bard's black arrow slew the dragon.
But most of all, as the title of this song suggests, I picture the dangerous game Bilbo and the dwarves played, trying to confront their greatest enmity...the great, greedy dragon.
 I picture Smaug flapping his great, scaly wings; flying over the Mountain in search of any who'd dare to oppose him.
Anyway. Not a very poetical backstory blurb but there you have it. It's my very first Hobbit inspired composition...and that fact I am truly very excited about. *does happy dance*
Sooo...hope y'all enjoy! And if you do, please share it with anybody else you think would also like it! I'd really appreciate it!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Note: While I may have been the one to play and 'create' this song, it's ultimately not my work - Jesus Christ/Jehovah God gets all the glory, He's the One who gave me the inspiration ultimately and guided my hands over the keys. So, just so y'all know. My piano compositions are merely recordings of what my Heavenly Father bestows upon me.  I can take no credit.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

ForStrangeWomen Organic Perfumes {review}

Let it be known, I'm a total perfume junkie.
I can never resist the chance to try new perfumes if they're offered to me. I might be a 'tomboy', but hey, I still like to smell good!
So, anyways, I received two samples from ForStrangeWomen, a shop on Etsy offering a variety of different organic perfume oils/scents.

The first was a sample of the shop's "Violin in the Attic" scent. It came as a single application infused in a ribbon. (Isn't that different? I don't think I've ever seen samples such like this before.)
This scent is a moderately heavy, musky scent which does indeed remind me of old wood...and the title fits it perfectly, because I can very easily picture a rustic violin smelling similar to this!

The other scent was "Fireside Story." This one is considerably heavier, more potent and muskier.
It has a woodsy sort of ambience, and also reminds me slightly of a bonfire, due to the slightly smoky/musky smell it also carries. It is a deep, rich and luxurious scent.

I really like how both these scents are completely organic, and all-natural. I hate putting a bunch of junky chemicals on my skin, because, if you didn't know already, the human skin is extremely quick to absorb anything on its surface! (And who wants toxic substances floating around in your bloodstream?)
They are both quality scents, I can tell. It would've been nice to try a larger sample, but I think it's a neat concept infusing the oil into a ribbon. Not to mention it saves on shipping!
The packaging and design was very professional, and I loved the little emblems on the ribbons wherein the oil was infused.
Find your own "Fireside Story" and "Violin in the Attic" perfumes here. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there is a great variety of oils to pick from, and so many creative names! ("Violin in the Attic" instantly got my attention, anyways!)
Note: I was provided these items from ForStrangeWomen in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Monster" by Mirriam Neal {book review}

So, many of y'all have probably heard about this new novel by teen author Mirriam Neal.

When I first discovered it, and read the short little synopsis/back cover bit, my interest was instantly hooked.

I really reaaaaallly wanted to flip through it and see what it was about, so I asked Mirriam if she wouldn't mind me doing a review on Monster. I was so excited when she approved my request! Besides getting to read through an awesome book, and getting to share it with y'all, this is my first book review on this blog! Whoop!

   Let me first say that I'm always interested in seeing novels that are written by young people/teens, being a young adult myself. It's always inspiring to see what can be matter how young/old you are! (1 Timothy 4:12)

Okay, so on to the review. First of all though, you need to read a bit about this book so you can understand this review better. Here's the back cover snippet:

The year is 2053, and Eva Stewart is a promising young scientist assigned to a remote Alaskan facility. Here she will work for WorldCure, a global organization dedicated to finding the cure for fatal diseases. Soon she is made a Handler and designated her own Subject for research and experimentation. However, Thirteen is not what she expected, and Eva is soon drawn into a horrific plot kept quiet by WorldCure. As everything she thought she knew collapses around her, Eva must discover the truth behind her Subject, her beliefs…and herself.

Dramatic, huh? Exaaactly. And it only gets better.

I literally read this book in two days. I stayed up till' 4 in the morning because I simply could. not. stop. I kid you not, I'd have kept on reading if not for the fact that, well, it was 4 in the morning and my body was crying out for sleep. The next day, as soon as I got home from work I started reading again in and finished the whole thing in a couple hours.

You know a book is good when you can't abandon reading it till' you're finished with it.


The very beginning chapters pulled me in instantly. There was not a stand-still moment in the entire thing, and not once did I find myself bored with it.
The plot itself was really intriguing, and while some things I was expecting, there were events that totally blew me out of the water, leaving me speechless and completely shocked.


Mirriam lists Monster under Bioethics/Semi-Dystopic/Suspense/Thriller/Romance for genre.
I agree with this classification, the story certainly fits on each of those levels. If there was a level that least applied I might say semi-dystopian, because really the only thing that makes it feel anywhere near dystopian is the WorldCure facility and non-human act. Elsewise it feels like a modern contemporary for the most part.

It's definitely one of the best thrillers I've read. And, the bioethics part was phenomenal in so many ways. Suspense...I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, so obviously it didn't flunk that aspect! The romance side of it? Oh. my. word. One of the best romances I've read recently.
I don't want to give away any spoilers but I'll just say that I found Mir's and Eva's relationship so incredibly perfect and immensely sweet. Gah, my heartstrings. The whole romance both broke my heart and touched me at the same time... Let's just leave it with this. I reallllly hope those two get married.


AHHHH... first of all, yes, Mir was perfect. I wanted to cry for him, hug him and cheer him on in many places. His childlike innocence... I have no words to describe it. He is overall a beautiful character and definitely one not easily forgotten.
Eva is a bit hard to relate with at times, and I wish more of her backstory had been expounded on. However, I still like her a lot - she becomes more likable as the book progresses.
Pocky, oh he was darling. Eva is privileged to get a Christian professor in her life like him!
As far as antagonists go, Dr. Ross, Jude, and the wonderful folks at HRI just made my stomach churn. It didn't take long before I despised them just as much as the protagonists did, themselves.


  Description of setting wasn't horrible, but I just wish there'd been a bit more. I love details, myself; and since I've never been to Alaska I'd have loved to have read a bit more concerning the Alaskan setting here. The actual setting itself I found pretty cool -  if you'll pardon the pun.

Underlying Theme(s):

I know that this is simply my own interpretation, but I found Monster to be extremely pro-life - which I appreciated highly. I found many things concerning WorldCure, Mir and the non-human act among others, to relate to things of the current times... Abortion, euthanasia, and racism, for example.
Many excellent arguments for the sanctity of human life were provided in this novel, in an extremely non-preachy way. I really loved the conversations between Eva and Pocky concerning what defines human life. The trial at the end was superb.
What is human life and who defines human life were both questions that pushed the entire plot, in my eyes; honestly I think this fact alone is one of my favorite things about Monster.


1. The plot was epic. 2. The characters were, for the most part, deep and full of character/the opposite of just plain characterizations. 3. Setting was good. 4. I loved the genre, and 5., the underlying theme was terrific.
Overall this book was excellent, excellent, excellent. I'm a huge fan, and firmly believe this book should be read by 98% of folks in today's society and culture. People need to read this kind of thing. Maybe it would get them thinking about things they never deemed very important...such as the basic question: what defines humanity?
As far as writing style goes, Mirriam might as well have dropped me smack dab into the book, into the direct world of her characters, because that's where I felt I was the whole time. I felt Mir's bitterness and pain; I felt anger for his needless suffering and cruel surroundings. I sympathized with Eva, a seeker of truth but equally lost on where to go to find it. I felt my eyebrows knitting together in hatred at the horrific things being called 'humane' and 'normal' in Eva and Mir's world.

Yes, Monster was brilliant. I lie not.

All I can say now is...I sure hope there's going to be a sequel!

{Get your own copy of Monster here.}

Note: I was provided an E-copy of Monster in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain mine and mine alone and I never employ flattery or falsehood in my reviews.

Monday, June 24, 2013

SilverDawn Ocean-Inspired Handcrafted Hair Pin {review}

I don't know about y'all, but I am a major lover of the ocean.
From the beautifully orchestra of waves crashing upon the shore, to the smell of the salty water and the feeling of the sand beneath your toes, it's an experience I can never seem to get enough of.
I'm no 'beach bum', but let me tell you, I always enjoy a day out in the surf and sun! Especially now that summer has hit in full force.
Some time ago, I was sent a  hand crafted hair pin in nickel silver from SilverDawnJewelry.
This is a lovely piece reminiscent of the ocean's teal waters.

As many of you probably know already, teal/turquoise is my favorite color... along with mint, seafoam, all the colors that fall under the umbrella of blue-green, actually.
So, naturally my eye caught this pin pretty quickly.

The highlight of this accessory is the crystalline glass sphere, encircled with silver nickel. The teal sphere looks like a marble, and is just about the right size for one, too. It's a lovely color, and the silver really sets it off nice.

You can't tell in these photos very well, but the nickel wire is really quite beautiful in itself - it's been hammered into the its shape and the hammer marks really add another dimension to it, causing the light to reflect more noticeably and adding a raw, natural look.
This pin is 6 inches long and that happens to be a perfect length for my long tresses. As I've mentioned before in other posts, I am a huge fan of hair pins/sticks because they are extremely practical for putting my hair up - especially in the summer when I'd rather not have piles of hair getting all in my face.

This pin is very easy to use. It takes mere second for me to stick it in just right, and voila, I'm good for the day!

The design of this pin is simple yet very classy. Overall - it has a lovely look to it, is fun(and easy!) to use, and best of all I can know I'm wearing something original and made by hand, not in some factory on a ton of machines!
If you'd like to take a peek at some of the beautiful silver jewelry and hair pieces at SilverDawn, visit the Etsy shop here. They're fixing to change names, but that won't stop you from viewing their gorgeous items! You can also follow SilverDawnJewelry on Twitter and check out their new page (the one they're changing to) here. Oh, and let's not forget their Facebook page!
Hope everyone is having a splendid summer! On a random note, I'm going to have a giveaway when this blog reaches 70 followers. It should be really fun - so come on and help me boost some subscriptions!
Note: I was provided this item from SilverDawnJewelry in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain mine and mine alone.

Friday, June 21, 2013

TonyaRingDesigns Elven Armwarmers! {review}

So, you guys might remember from theses costuming photos I did a post about back in May. Well, I never explained where the lovely green Elven arm warmers which were included as part of my garb came from!
To answer that question finally? They were sent to me from TonyaRingDesigns.

These arm warmers were hand stitched. I really love the deep forest green color, and the white scrollwork stitching - it truly carries an Elvish look!

I wore these to the medieval party back in May, as obvious in the photos above. As I said in that post, I perspired a good deal and was running around, dancing and generally staying pretty active. Therefore, the durability of these gloves got tested pretty thoroughly.
End result? They're solid! A little warm to wear in the end of May/early June, but I didn't mind that all too much. Especially since they matched perfectly with my outfit, and I got numerous compliments on them!

They're a little wrinkled here because this was after a day's use, and trip to the washing machine.

I absolutely love how the end hems come to a triangular point - this is another feature which makes them look quite fantasy-period.

(Sorry these photos aren't prime quality. I was sort of encumbered with horrible lighting and lack of choices for background scenery today.)
I see no visible flaws with this gorgeous pair of arm warmers. Actually, I see no flaws period! Only a beautiful, unique accessory that has obviously been intricately crafted with excellence. 
Overall, I like them a lot and believe they are a splendid addition to my costume wardrobe. They're nice because, as evident in the pictures at the top of the post, you can wear them to appear like fake sleeves of an undershirt or other garment. So you can throw in a classy, Elvish layered look, without wearing a completely separate top underneath!
Of course, you could also wear them totally on their own to look like fabric gauntlets, or fingerless gloves, if you desired. 
To conclude, why not check out TonyaRingDesigns for yourself? You'll find a lovely selection of other handmade arm warmers, gloves and the like. This shop offers nothing less that the highest quality so you'll surely not be disappointed!
Happy Friday!
Note: I was provided this item from TonyaRingDesigns in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain mine and mine alone.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Unspoken" - My Latest Piano Composition!

Okay, so it's not exactly my most recently created song.
Fact is, I officially put the finishing touches on it months ago. HOWEVER. Since I just recorded it today, with the help of my fabulous ex-piano teacher and her family's epic keyboard/electric piano.
That thing has some amazing capabilities and it is SO much fun to work on!
Sooo, I had the pleasure of being allowed to record some more stuff on it today and here is one of the products of the time spent recording.
"Unspoken" is a song I wrote....hmm...maybe back in January? I can't remember exactly when I first began fleshing it out. It's not that old in comparison with some of my other compositions, such as "Banishing Fear" and "An Evening on the Front Porch Swing".  Anyways, it's pretty recent.
I like this piece because it has something of a story behind it.  You see, it has significance to me because somewhere along the way, in the process of creating it/putting together what God gave me to work with, I began to be reminded of my FMC Emma from my primary novel, The Rebels of Florida.
This song is partially inspired by her - more specifically, the love interest in her life and the terribly awkward relationship (or lack thereof) that they possess. Truth is, they're basically strangers to each other. She loves (admires, more than anything) him unconsciously, involuntarily, however. What she'd give to know if he shared the same thoughts for her. 
Problem is, she never finds out. Never does she voice her inner feelings and thoughts to him.
The vast amounts of words which *could* be uttered are left unspoken.
And that is how this song connects to the story. It rings to me of the bittersweetness of Emma's thought life. The ups and downs of her struggle to follow God. Things she longs for...and cannot have.
All is not lost.
Anyway. I'm giving away too much of my story, and it's only half-written. Back to the music.
What did you think?
I hope y'all enjoyed it; and while it is far from epic or incredible, I hope you were blessed by it and pointed to the Creator. (It was HE after all who gave me the song to begin with!)
If you have any ideas or insight please toss it out there because y'all know my stance on blunt, straight-up honesty! I'd love to hear y'all's thoughts!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Porcupine Quills & Chainmail {review}

So, I know it may seem like I've been posting an awful lot of reviews lately. I apologize if this has become excessive to you readers - it's just, that when I get something to review, I don't like to have it sit around for a while without being reviewed. It doesn't feel fair to the person who sent me the item to review - does that make sense?
So. It's not like this blog is going to become solely a place for reviews. I just wanted to clarify. For now, I'm just in a season of being blessed to be able to get to offer opinions on some awesome things, that's all! *grins* And speaking of awesome things, that's why we're here today.
I got sent a unique Handmade Persian Chainmaille bracelet from ShricketHandmades some time ago.

In the beginning, after conversing with the shop's owner, I was expecting this piece to be more chainmail gauntlet styled., and thought I'd let my brother review it.
However, obviously my alleging proved false. Even though this wasn't a piece of semi-armor, as I was expecting, it's still really cool. I decided to review it myself since my brother's not big on jewelry. (he was hoping for chainmail armor, haha)

It's a simple bracelet, and more on the masculine side. I can picture a guy wearing it. However, it's also a unisex piece, and I like simple things because they can add a little something complementary to an outfit, without being "too much".  This bracelet could be worn with basically 99% of my wardrobe - that makes for a pretty versatile accessory.

The metal links are solid and do feel like real chainmail. There is a smaller, less sturdy, standard jewelry chain at the end where the clasp attaches, so that the bracelet could extend for a larger wrist. 
And of course, let's not forget the epic little porcupine quill at the end of that chain. 

This little detail makes all the difference on this bracelet. Honestly, it adds a ton of uniqueness... and boosts the overall coolness, in my opinion. Seriously. Whenever do you find jewelry that has porcupine quills affixed to it? 
Overall, I like this bracelet a lot. It's cool against the skin, making for a nice, practical summer accessory. I do have to be aware of the quill, because it's fragile and I wouldn't want to get it all bent up accidentally. Not to mention, it wouldn't be very pleasant to accidentally stick myself with it!
So...Have you checked out ShricketHandmades yet? If not, well, there's the link - so yes, you should go give them a visit. There's a pair of  neat porcupine quill earrings up right now, and some other chainmail and crochet stuff. Go take a look!
 What do y'all think of chainmail jewelry? What about porcupine quill accessories?
Happy Saturday!
Note: I was provided this item from ShricketHandmades in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain mine and mine alone.