9 Equestrian Paintings from the Victorian Era

“Horses and Buggy” circa 1876, by Henry Collins Bispham (American, 1841–1882). / Source: www.the-athenaeum.org

“Horses and Buggy” circa 1876, by Henry Collins Bispham (American, 1841–1882). / Source: www.the-athenaeum.org

This month I am celebrating a very special occasion.

One year ago, this month, my second novella The Best Man in Brookside released in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection! *unleashes a million balloons*

On this book birthday, I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to those who helped the collection hit the ECPA Bestseller List and to those dear readers who embraced my California-Gold-Rush-story-that-takes-place-in-England. THANK YOU EVER SO! :-)

Since my novella revolves around a carousel and a horse-whisperer, let’s celebrate Brookside’s birthday with 9 Equestrian Paintings from the Victorian Era!

“An accomplished horsewoman rides with elegance, and a good grace, united to a noble boldness, beautiful yet modest.”
~ Excerpt from
“Park Riding: with some remarks on the Art of Horsemanship” by J. Rimell Dunbar, circa 1859.

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In which I’m Interviewed Elsewhere

Hello, dears! This month’s post is a simple affair in which I’m interviewed…elsewhere.

The charming V. Joy Palmer, who I had the pleasure of meeting at a writer’s conference last year, was kind enough to invite me to The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction blog.

It was such a delight to chat with her about my books, inspirations, quirks and God’s faithfulness to the broken. I hope you will pop on over and join our conversation!

Angela Bell Quote

4 Scrumptious Teas Worth Savoring

In my humble opinion, a cup of tea is more than a warm beverage.

A cup of tea is a ceremony. An invitation to consciously slow down life’s frantic pace.

Henry James Tea Meme

Boiling water, tempering the pot, steeping the leaves—each step in the tea brewing process requires time. Indeed, preparation and waiting are part of the ceremony of tea.

By taking part in this old-fashioned ritual, we are reminded that not all joys in life are instant and flashy. Some joys are dainty, some are subtle, and some are as fleeting as a dandelion seed twirling away on a gentle summer breeze. Dashing about in the business of busy, we may spot the grandeur of special occasions, but in our haste, we often fail to notice life’s everyday joys.

The dandelion’s floating waltz goes unseen, its simple wonder unfelt.

Today, as an unofficial tea connoisseur, I wish to extend you a simple invitation to set aside your to-do list and embrace the beauty of stillness. Sit, relax, and savor. I know the responsibilities of “real life” await us, but for just an hour, let’s take part in the ceremony of tea. Let’s nourish our souls with wonderment by seeking to notice and appreciate life’s everyday joys!

To start us in this practice, here are 4 Scrumptious Teas Worth Savoring!

Artwork by Harrison Fisher. / Source: Pinterest

Artwork by Harrison Fisher. / Source: Pinterest

1. Scottish Afternoon / Harney & Sons Fine Teas

Black Tea / Served with or without Milk and Sugar  Continue reading

The Kentucky Derby: A Two Minute Race through Victorian History

Engraving of 1883 Kentucky Derby winning horse, Leonatus. / Source: Churchill Downs, Inc. & Kinetic Corporation.

Engraving of 1883 Kentucky Derby winning horse, Leonatus. / Source: Churchill Downs, Inc.

I’m a hat lady residing in the south, so obviously the Kentucky Derby is a rather grand affair at my house. Every first Saturday of May, my family arranges an intimate Kentucky Derby Tea around the living room television. Donning pearls and plumed fascinators, we sip Darjeeling and savor scones during the pre-race coverage. The parade of millinery masterpieces evokes oohs and aahs from our lips. And the tales of underdog racehorses and devoted trainers makes us dream of red roses, Triple Crown wins, and the fruition of our own “impossible” endeavors.

Kentucky Derby Inspired Hat. / Source: www.stylemepretty.com Cambria Grace Photography

Kentucky Derby Inspired Hat. / Source: www.stylemepretty.com Cambria Grace Photography

This Derby Day Tea has become a treasured tradition in my family. Just as the “most exciting two minutes in sports” has become a tradition of the old Kentucky home . . . one that can be traced back to the Victorian Era.

To the Starting Gate . . .

The Kentucky Derby was created by a Victorian gentleman with an illustrious name and a familial tie to American history books. This gent was one Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.—the grandson of William Clark, of the explorer duo Lewis and Clark. Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth’s Hats on Parade

Queen Elizabeth II on July 16, 2015 in Barking, England. / Source: Max Mumby, Indigo, Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth, July 16, 2015 in Barking, England. / Source: Max Mumby, Indigo, Getty Images

When I contemplate my fashion inspirations, three things immediately spring to mind: the ever elegant Audrey Hepburn, every Victorian lady who ever donned a House of Worth gown, and Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth’s fashion sense is timeless. Classic and feminine. Individual and iconic. The gloves, the jewels, the perfectly coordinated monochromatic ensembles, all worn with an air of grace and poise—and one, solitary, black patent purse.

While I admire every facet of the Queen’s style, my favorite has to be her seemingly endless hat collection. One that has been honored by the highest millinery authority. That’s right, dears. In 2014, Queen Elizabeth II was inducted into The Headwear Association Hall of Fame, the oldest trade association in the fashion industry, established in 1908. Talk about major #HatGoals!

Since this month marks the Queen’s 91st birthday (April 21), I thought it would be fun to celebrate by highlighting a selection of her many millinery masterpieces. Gather round old-fashioned fashionistas, it’s time for haute couture hats to go on parade!

Queen Elizabeth’s Hats on Parade

Queen Elizabeth attending a Garden Party at Balmoral Castle on August 7, 2012. / Source: Pinterest

The Queen attending a Garden Party at Balmoral Castle on August 7, 2012. / Source: Pinterest

Queen Elizabeth attending the Trooping the Colour on June 15, 2013. / Source: Zimbo.com

Queen Elizabeth attending the Trooping the Colour on June 15, 2013. / Source: Zimbo

The first hat to march in our parade is a Diagonal Crown Hat, a style also affectionately known as the “Ski Slope” hat. This particular example is trimmed in cobalt lace that provides a brilliant contrast against the white base and echoes the color of the ensemble. Simply beautiful! Continue reading

A Blogging Interlude

Good day, dears! I am busily typing away on my third novella, Masquerade Melody, a romance which will release in a collection from Barbour Publishing later this year.

With my deadline fast approaching, I find myself in need of a blogging interlude. A two month respite in which to finish my novella and meet my deadline, sanity intact. (Well, as much as can be expected.) I shall return to my cyber-space parlor in April!

Until then, do make yourself comfortable reading through my blog archives. Then, perhaps you might join me at the public assembly room known as Facebook, where I will continue to post daily-ish. Hope to see you there!

Find me on Facebook: Author Angela Bell and 21st Century Victorian Lady.

21st Century Victorian Lady

10 Paintings of Victorian Bookworms

WARNING: If superfluous giddiness grates on your nerves, cease reading immediately! However, if celebrating small moments with great enthusiasm makes you feel cozily warm inside like a morning cuppa—by all means, read on!

HIP-HIP-HOORAY, ‘tis my book’s birthday!!!!! *tosses confetti glitter in the air*

Lassoed by Marriage

One year ago (on January 1st) my debut novella The Substitute Bride released in The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection! Since its release, the collection hit the ECPA Bestseller List and has been read by many a dear reader. A surreal and exciting notion!

To those who have bought the collection and written reviews—THANK YOU! To those who have subscribed here, Liked my Facebook, and sent encouraging messages—THANK YOU! I look forward to sharing more books and Victorian fun with you in future!

Now let’s celebrate The Substitute Bride’s book birthday with 10 Paintings of Victorian Bookworms(All Images Located on Pinterest / Original Sources Unknown)

“An Evening at Home” circa 1888, by Edward John Poynter (British, 1836-1919).

“An Evening at Home” circa 1888, by Edward John Poynter (British, 1836-1919).

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12 Victorian Images for Christmas Crafting

Christmas Victorian FamilyMy childhood was painted with Elmer’s glue and sprinkled with glitter. I have fond memories of threading macaroni necklaces, taking a scrap-booking class, and winning 1st place (exactly one time) at a local art fair.

Although I haven’t decoupaged in years, I still enjoy dabbling in arts and crafts from time to time. Especially around the holidays.

I think my old fashioned sensibilities hearken back to the Victorian notion—pre-Industrial Revolution—of finding joy in making something by hand. In creating, slowly and thoughtfully. Reveling in the process of artistry, as much as the end result.

In that spirit, let’s celebrate the holiday season with 12 Victorian Images for Christmas Crafting! (Click on Each Image for Full Size)

Note: For those who prefer technology to paper mache, feel free to Share, Pin, and Tweet away! This is a No Crafting Shame zone.

Christmas Victorian Lady Star / Source TheGraphic'sFairy.com / Click for Full Size Image

Victorian Lady Christmas Star / Source The Graphic’s Fairy.com / Click Image for Full Size

Craft Idea: Print off these images to make custom, Victorian Christmas cards!

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Mackinac Island’s Lovely Victorian Homes

Victorian Home MemeLast month I escorted you on a brief cyber tour of Mackinac Island: A Victorian Oasis. However, my tour of this old-fashioned paradise was a smidgen incomplete due to the fact that it was rather impossible to condense the whole of Mackinac’s beauty into one reasonably sized blog post.

Hence, this secondary post showcasing Mackinac Island’s Lovely Victorian Homes!

Fetch your hat and parasol, dears! We’re off for a quaint stroll.

Victorian Forest GreenVictorian Cottage

One can almost imagine a Victorian Snow White residing in this cottage with a collection of eccentric dwarfs.

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Mackinac Island: A Victorian Oasis

Mackinac IslandAt the end of August, I had the pleasure of visiting the Victorian Era. No, not by means of time machine. I simply took a ferry across Lake Huron to Mackinac Island, near Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Mackinac Island gained renown in the late Victorian Era as a summer vacation resort for the wealthy. (Apparently having servants at your beck and call to perform all menial labor and change your fashionable ensembles multiple times a day was most exhausting.)

Thanks to an island-wide ban on automobiles, very little has changed on Mackinac. (The dangerous and raucous machines frightened the horses, you see. Rather impractical.)

This resulted in Mackinac Island turning into a time capsule. Horse and carriage is still the dominant form of transportation. Victorian architecture remains intact on store fronts and homes, preserved with reverence rather than modernized. And cell reception is…sparse. While time on Mackinac may not actually move backward, it certainly slows to a rhythm unfamiliar to us 21st century dwellers. Yet it’s a peaceful pace that is utterly refreshing. I highly recommend it as a MUST vacation spot for every amateur historian and 21st Century Victorian!

Since we can’t venture there today, let’s enjoy a brief cyber-tour of Mackinac Island: A Victorian Oasis!

Mackinac Island

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