Episode IX Gossip!!!

Hello again my lovelies, just another reminder to check out my second blog Whimsical Mutterings where today we’re delving into the Top 9 Moments We Need To See In Star Wars Episode IX!!! If you couldn’t tell already, this is going to be a heck of a Star Wars year and I am HERE FOR IT!!! Hope to see you there! ❤

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A Little Star Wars Countdown

Alright my lovelies it’s 2019 and you know what that means…Star Wars Episode IX is finally nigh!!! So let’s start the year off right with a fun little fandom chat over on my second blog, Whimsical Mutterings where we’re counting down the Top 5 Canon Star Wars Novels! I’ve got some great stuff planned for that channel as we begin the countdown to December and the release of the final Skywalker film, so I hope to see you over there!!! ❤

Moonstonemaiden’s Whimsical Mutterings

Hello my wonderful lovelies, it’s been a long time! I just wanted to let all of you know that I have a new blog up and running, Whimsical Mutterings, and I’d love to see you all there for all-new, in-depth discussions on the important things in life… I’m talking Star Wars, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Marvel, Sherlock, Outlander, Broadway!!! All the exciting fandom stuff that makes life fantastically fun 😀

But don’t worry, the Moonstonemaiden blog will still be up and running and I’ll post here for writing updates and all my normal Moonstonemaiden topics, but I just wanted to let you know that the majority of my regular posting will be on Whimsical Mutterings. So grab a mug off the shelf my lovelies, and let’s have a little fandom chat, I’ve already got some great topics started for us:

Favorite Canon Star Wars Novels

and

Favorite Magical Creatures in Harry Potter

See ya there my lovelies, thank you for all your years of support, you guys are THE BEST! — Tara

My Raven Girl: A Realm of Light Snippet

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The yellow leaves are yours, their color so vivid against the blood red veins. They’re exquisitely unique, rare beauties. Like you.

I select the fairest of them and place it reverently aside before piling the rest into a golden mound and placing my palm to the top. No one else need see these, they’re meant for only us, and I won’t share them with any undeserving fool who enters my forest. I close my eyes to better concentrate and pull deep from that inner well of heat until the familiar tang of smoldering foliage reaches my nostrils.

Leaning back on my heels, I observe as the leaves succumb to my power, crumbling one after another into fine, white-grey ash. My thoughts drift back to you — as they often do — and the thrill of your power and mine. We were made to compliment the other, your flames and my ash. You were born for me, just as I was for you. What would it feel like, I wonder, to be burned by you? To see your body marked by my ashes?

Quicker than thought, I reach into the crackling collection and snatch out one last golden leaf, marveling as the heat pulses against my pale skin. My prize is still pristine, still perfect. Twisting the brittle stalk, I place it next to yours in safety.

Yours I’ll leave on our table in the forest, mine I’ll take home with me tonight to better think of you. Your beauty, your grace, your kindness, your power, and your Spirit. One day they’ll be mine, you’ll give them to me freely I know. But we have time yet, my Raven-Girl. We have time. Until then I can dream. I can plan.

*This is just a little flash fiction in the point of view of one of my characters from my WIP Ashes, I hope you enjoy it!

The Fairest Of Them All: Beauty and the Beast (2.0)

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Welcome my lovelies, to the first installment in my new mini blog-series: “Fairest Of Them All”! I hope you’re ready for spellbinding magic, timeless romance, heart stopping adventure, and even a touch of mortal peril as we travel through the stories that truly never die. In each new Fairest Of Them All post, we’ll delve into a new fairy tale and I’ll reveal my favorite versions, both in film and in print! (Although my favorite fairy tale show Once Upon a Time will not be featured in this series, mainly because they’ve already gotten a few posts of their own and have more coming, but also because I’d basically be writing the same thing on every post which is I LOVE ONCE UPON A TIME!!! So just trust me on this now, if you have a favorite fairy tale, watch OUAT because chances are it’s on the show and I ship it!)

Now, for this first Fairest post, I’ve chosen my favorite fairy tale of all time: Beauty and the Beast, a French fairytale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which tells the tale of a young woman who finds the truest of love in the heart of a beastly man…

I first came across this story like countless others of my generation: by watching the Disney animated version, which was released today actually, back in 1991. I instantly fell in love with the notion of a bookish, strong-willed woman intent on saving her father by taking his place in the palace of what she thinks is a monster. Theirs wasn’t a story of love at first sight, more like loathing perhaps, or maybe even fear, but still, this is a love story where the love has to be worked for, to be earned. In the end the Beast is made a better man by loving Belle, and Belle learns the power and reward of trusting her heart instead of her eyes. Both of these characters feel the effects of isolation, both yearn for more, they’re relatable, and their story is nothing short of powerful!

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Fairest Of Them All:

Books:

1) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley — My favorite retelling of my favorite story, this book is exactly what I want when I want to relive Belle and the Beast’s story: a strong sense of family, seclusion, isolation, new beginnings, sweet romance, a touch of mystery, and one heck of a library! This wondrous adaption has enough “real world” in it to make it believable but still enough magic left to render it charmingly fairy tale-esque. Beauty is bookish, resolute, and pragmatic and when she enters the Beast’s enchanted world her fear and stress is palpable, but so is her bravery. She’s a marvelous character to read and I just love her for being so genuine. Not to be outdone though, the Beast is cryptically wonderful, a reformed gentleman who isn’t given to the outbursts of temper usually displayed by other “Beasts”, which is refreshing in a way. Not that he doesn’t have a little gruffness and stubbornness to him…he’s not that reformed!

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Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier — This is a darker version of the classic tale, with an Irish twist that I truly enjoy (even though it creeps the bejeezus out of me…seriously). Belle is now Caitrin, a runaway young woman with a dark past, fleeing to the safety of isolation, though she knows nowhere is safe, what’s coming for her will never stop. After an exhausting journey, she happens upon Whistling Tor, a castle with ghostly secrets, and Anluan, a chieftain who both frightens her and intrigues her. But Anluan’s world may be even more dangerous than those she ran from before, but there’s a mystery to be solved, a job to be done, and a wager she is determined to win. Juliet Marillier is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across and there will be more of her work later on in the “Fairest” series, but this story is truly a work of art. It’s terrifying and yet mesmerizing and I recommend it for anyone who likes their fairy tales with a dash of darkness and death.

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Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I’ve always seen a close connection between the Beauty and the Beast story and that of wild impetuous Cathy Earnshaw and the scintillating and dangerously captivating Heathcliff. Granted Cathy is less polished that the normal Belle, and much less of a good person, and goodness knows Heathcliff is far more deadly and violent than any other Beast, but their love is still just as powerful, just as evocative. I would say this is a Beauty and the Beast story where everything goes wrong, where Belle chooses the wrong man, and the Beast destroys her for it.

Movies:

1) Beauty and the Beast (Disney 1991) — I don’t think this one needs any explanation really, it’s 100% Disney magic at it’s best and if you haven’t seen it WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WAITING FOR?!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) The Phantom of the Opera (Musical) — This Andrew Llyod Webber musical is actually based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, but it’s the musical itself that I recommend for fairy tale lovers as the book is lovely, but not one of my favorites. Much like Wuthering Heights, I can’t help but see many similarities between this story and my favorite fairy tale: a beautiful young girl, a deformed man, a love that cannot be suppressed… See what I mean? But once again I like to think of this as an example of what happens when people make the wrong choice. This is what happens when Belle rejects her Beast out of fear and the Beast refuses to take no for an answer.

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Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights — I adore the mini-series version from PBS Masterpiece released in 2009 with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley,  it’s lush, haunting, maddening, and well worth watching my lovelies!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) La Belle et la Bete — I’ve mentioned my love for this Beauty and the Beast adaptation before and really it’s just as wonderful as I said it was. This 2014 French rendition is absolutely gorgeous, just a sparkling feast for the eyes, and the visual effects are stunning! If you want full on fairy tale grandeur at it’s best, look no further, this film is perfect!!! (And it’s on YouTube, just make sure you look for one with English subtitles!)

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Beauty and the Beast (2017 Live Action) — This movie had epic hopes and dreams placed upon it before  I even walked in the theaters my lovelies. I mean let’s be honest, I’ve waited YEARS to see this thing (I was writing about it back in March of 2015 for crying out loud)! And it was WORTH IT!!! This beautiful, magical, epic film was everything I ever wanted it to be and more! I literally started crying ten minutes in and couldn’t leave the theaters until ten minutes after the movie ended because I was just flat out happy sobbing. No joke. I have no idea why it made me so emotional, but I loved every minute of it and I’m so happy and thankful that this version exists now 😀 The costuming, the music, the visuals, everything was just so spot-on and fun and I cannot wait to see it again. Plus the Beast’s song (Evermore) just broke my heart and has been on repeat ever since I left the theater! Happy sigh…

Just chilling on the staircase with Cogsworth…

And there you have it my lovelies, all my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations and recommendations! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the “Fairest Of Them All” series and remember to keep an eye out for the next one which will be coming soon!

What did you think of my picks my lovelies, did I leave any of your favorites out? Is there a fairy tale you’d like to see featured next? Let me know!

For more information about the origins of the Beauty and the Beast story click here. And remember:

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Echo

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Photo From Pixabay. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Echo

The eyes staring back at me are heavy-lidded and bruised. Stretches of deep purplish chasms encircle irises as flat and brown as bark, their expression the same as ever: accusatory, distrusting, nervous…a clear fuck you and fuck off if ever there was one. I raise one dark eyebrow in silent challenge and am rewarded as she does the same. The corner of her sharp mouth turns down into a sneer and I can’t help but notice that her lips are chapped, marred with tiny indents and tears from gnawing teeth. They stand stark red against the pallor of her skin.

Ugly.

I no sooner think the word then I see it spread slantwise across her brow in inky, determined strokes, written into her skin by an invisible hand. Ugly. The word means the same even when it’s beautifully penned, with curlicues and flourishes, a deep onyx atop porcelain skin. Ugly. Her bitten mouth and hate-filled eyes. Ugly. The endless litany of words tattooed across her flesh, a lifetime’s collection of thoughts and conversations emblazoned forever for the world to see.

Ugly.

I tear my eyes from her in disgust, feeling the contents of my stomach rise, and force myself to continue reading. “For never was there a story of more woe…”

Personally, I can’t help but think Juliet had a simple life all things considered…but it’s no good, I can’t concentrate anymore. The memory of that face haunts me and I sigh, rubbing a hand over my tired eyes in frustration. If I look up, she’ll still be staring at me. Challenging me. Dammit.

This is why I avoid mirrors.

 

I have the whole of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet memorized. Word for word I know every pause, every phrase inside and out. From the first Two households to the final Romeo I can recount the entire play in five hours and seventeen minutes. Of course the words scrawl themselves across my skin as I go, some flashing and fading almost as soon as they appear, while others stake a claim to my flesh, refusing to fade back into obscurity as the play unfolds. I’ve acquired many words this way over the years: the slender rose that follows the arch of my left brow, the bold Mercutio – my favorite of Shakespeare’s characters – that straddles my jutting hip. Since every thought and spoken word reveals itself, I’ve learned to keep Shakespeare on a constant repeat in my head, like a broken record of beautiful words. If I have to be encased by words then I want them to be the work of a master.

I’d like to think the grandeur of his phrases counterbalance the barrage of stupid ones that have stuck for some reason or another over the years. Unconsciously, I glance down at the tiny shampoo curling down the side of my pinky from nail to palm and roll my eyes. I know they don’t, but I live in hope.

My eyes flicker upwards again before I can stop them, as gluttonous as ever for punishment, but this time it’s not myself I see, it truly is a stranger. Startled, I bury my nose back in my book before I remember I don’t need to hide, the library is my private sanctuary, especially in the middle of summer. He’s the one out of place.

Still, I lean forward, shaking my head slightly until the mass of brown-black hair falls against my cheeks, better covering my face and neck. My exposed fingers itch for the gloves I shed as soon as I arrived but putting them on now would do nothing but draw attention and it’s too hot in here for the damn things anyway.

I’m bristling now. Agitated.

Why is he here? I want to leave but I refuse to be driven out. Instead I fume. Silently cursing the stranger and whatever drove him to interrupt my peace. Well… as close to peace as I ever come. Doesn’t he know who haunts this place? I sneak a glance at him beneath lowered lashes. He doesn’t look familiar… with a jolt I realize the book he’s reading does though. I would recognize that peeling leather binding anywhere, let alone the tea still staining the tops of the pages from a mishap years ago. Hamlet.

Hmmm.

At least he appreciates the work of a true artist.

Inexplicably soothed, I return to my own copy of Shakespeare and finish the final line: than this of Juliet and her Romeo. On their own accord, my fingers flip back the pages, turn back the story to the prologue. Certainly Shakespeare’s finale is beautiful, but I always hate when the story ends. It’s not the sadness of the characters’ fate, everyone dies, but the thought that there are finally no more words that ruffles me. In fair Verona where we lay our scene.

He’s definitely a stranger. Early thirties I would guess, a few years older than myself, with dark, chin-length hair, broad, powerful shoulders and long legs that stretch out beneath the table he’s claimed. Casually hunched, his head rests in one palm, eyes downward, his whole being absorbed by what he’s reading. Even his lips move along, forming each new word in silence, completely enraptured. I recognize the sight.

I’m watching him, I know, but I can’t help it. He’s intriguing, and handsome – there’s no use denying it. Without warning, he looks up. His eyes are a bright blue with a hint of sage green, an odd, singular mixture. His expression is dreamy at first, lost in thought until his gaze sharpens and his eyes lock on me, seeing me at last. Heat rises beneath my skin and I look down in time to see desirable scroll along the outer curve of my wrist. Mortified, I snatch my hands to my chest and force myself to keep reading. My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown and known too late. I swear, sometimes I just want to shake Juliet and tell her to wake the hell up.

The desirable hasn’t faded.

Seconds tick by, minutes, how long I’m not sure. I keep reading, keep my eyes trained on the words, until the fire leaves my skin and my fingers relax their death-grip on my forearms. I really should leave now, but I can’t get my legs to move. Maybe he’s gone, maybe he’s left already. I should check but I can’t do that either. I’m stuck here, locked inside myself with the words of Shakespeare ringing in my mind, but I’m not listening to them anymore. I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.

“Hello.”

I consider it a personal miracle that I don’t fall out of my chair.

His voice is directly in front of me. Too close for him to still be sitting. I glance upward, unwilling to face him completely head on, and find that he’s standing just on the other side of my wooden table, hands clasped behind his back and a smile on his lips. For a moment we just stare at one another until I realize he’s waiting for me to say something. Good luck with that. I nod jerkily and his grin grows wider. My eyes narrow, looking for malice or ridicule, but I find neither.

“Do you mind if I join you?” His words are warm, like an embrace, his voice deep, cultured. He’s definitely not from here. Why? I don’t ask, won’t ask, but I let my gaze travel from him to the empty chair and back. He understands and within seconds we’re eye to eye, staring again. I feel his gaze as he takes in the words marking my face, or what he can see of it. I let him look.

“Do they not all fade? The others, when you were reading, they disappeared, but these are still here.” He touches his brow and I know he’s looking at the rose. His gaze is soft, thoughtful as he brings his eyes back to mine. I shake my head. His friendliness make me nervous. People are never this calm around me.

“I’ve never seen a girl wear Shakespeare so prettily.” My eyes are rolling and I release an exasperated sigh before I can stop myself. But he’s chuckling and I find I’m smiling. It’s a small smile. But still. “I’m Sebastian.”

My name flickers to life on the back of one hand, getting his attention. “Tara,” he reads quietly. “That’s a beautiful name.” I’ve never thought so, but it sounds different when he says it.

“I would ask what you’re reading, but I think I can guess.”

The look I give him needs no translation but he just smiles and his eyes take on that faraway look again.

 “Let me be ta’en. Let me be put to death. I am content, so thou wilt have it so. I’ll say yon grey is not the morning’s eye. ‘Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow. Nor that the lark, whose notes so beat the vaulty heaven so high about our heads. I have more care to stay than will to go. Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.

My excitement is instantaneous and insuppressible, surprising even me. With a clap of enthusiasm, I nod happily, while a smile, a real one, tips my lips upward. My fingers find the frayed cover of my book and I press it to my heart. Beautiful flashes beneath my right eye, reflected back at me from a glass case close by.

“Beautiful,” he repeats. He’s staring at me again, but I don’t mind. He’s not judging… just looking. I tuck a lock of hair behind my ear and point to the book he brought with him.

“I’m a little rusty on my Hamlet,” he admits with a wince. “I haven’t read it since high school actually, but I have an audition later and I figured a little Shakespeare never hurt anyone.”

An audition?

“I’m an actor,” he says, answering my unspoken question, then chuckles, shoving a hand through his dark hair, sweeping it out of his eyes. “Or so I keep telling myself.”

I don’t know what to make of this but I’m intrigued and I don’t want him to stop speaking. I’m leaning forward now, nodding slightly. Something passes over his features but it’s gone in an instant and his beautiful smile is back and those bright eyes are fixed on mine.

“What about you?”

My mouth curves downward and I sit back in my seat in dissatisfaction. I don’t want to talk about me. He sees this, sees my withdrawal, but doesn’t change the subject or ask another question. He just waits. Seconds pass by. My heart thumps like an anvil in my chest. What does he want me to say? What I am?

A freak. Ugly. Monster. Word-collector. Shakespeare-reader. Lonely. Angry.

I’m all these things but I don’t want to say these things to this man, though I’m sure they’re etched somewhere on me right now. But he isn’t looking for them. He’s waiting. Giving me time to decide what I want to say, if I want to say anything. If for no other reason, this makes me want to speak.

What am I?

I don’t even think I know. I’ve never been able to choose what to tell someone before, it’s almost as frightening as having no choice at all.

What am I?

It really shouldn’t be this difficult.

It’s not until his fingers settle over mine, like warm butter curving around to encase my hand that I realize how tense I am. A sigh escapes me before I can stop it and I’m sucking in air like someone who’s nearly drowned. His hand is stroking mine; warm, beautiful skin against, pale, inked skin. It’s almost hypnotic. I can’t remember the last time someone has touched me. I try to pull away, embarrassed at myself, the situation, his kindness, but his hand tightens on mine, catching me before I can escape.

There’s another choice here.

I let him keep my hand. His fingers curve against the inside of my wrist, stroking my palm with some strange magic that both calms and excites me. I manage a small smile in thanks but the irony of the situation leaves me almost giddy and lightheaded. Words. Words. Words. My life is nothing but words, I take them in and spit them out, and now they’ve failed me. What would Shakespeare think?

Frailty, thy name is woman.

Ha. Shakespeare’s so damn applicable.

With a reckless, unexplainable grin that feels so strange, and foreign, and wonderful, I meet his eyes again and shrug. I have no idea how to tell him who or what I am. I guess if he really wants to know he’ll just have to wait and find out.

Smile-lines crinkle around those blue eyes and my stomach flips into my throat. “An enigma then. I figured as much.”

 

 

Two days later and wouldn’t you know it, the Daily Prompt is Silence . Coincedence? I think not! 😀

Testing The Waters

Photo From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.


Hello again my lovelies, I’ve missed you all like crazy! 😀 This isn’t a real post exactly — I just wanted to try out this new WordPress app and see how easy it is to create and publish new posts (the one on my old phone was a nightmare lol). So far I’m liking it! I’m kinda hoping the ease of this new app will get me back into the swing of posting regularly…because let’s be honest here, I’ve been slacking lately! Oh well, no one’s perfect 😉 So wish me luck and hopefully you’ll see some real Moonstonemaiden posts soon! 

— Tara ❤

A Secret Garden

There was green everywhere. Bright, vibrant, alive. So much of my favorite color in one place calmed me instantly, like a balm on my heart and spirit. Enclosed by high crumbling coquina walls tangled with lacy ivy, and sun-bleached wooden fencing speckled with moss, the garden welcomed me, enclosing me in loving arms. Welcome Dear One. Welcome. Come in. Breathe. Heal.

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I took a deep breath, lost in wonderment and unexpected joy. How long had this place been here, hidden in plain sight just off the beaten track? How often had I passed by it and never seen it, never known it existed? Yet the timing was sheet magic. I needed this. I needed this place. The beauty. The peace. The healing. A secret garden of my very own. It was like the one in my dream from so many years ago — not a perfect match, but something in it spoke to me and I grinned at the unexpected connection to my characters revealed to me in that dream, their beautiful story, and the butterfly garden they shared.

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Everywhere I turned something unexpected caught my eye: mermaids, fairies, butterflies, orbs spread haphazard, wild and free, spinning, twirling, dancing in the gentle breeze, sheltered in the shade of ancient trees and warmed by the strong Florida sun. Colors in rich profusion sprouted up amidst the greenery, adorning the Earth most beautifully: blues, reds, bronzes, greens, purples, violets, and clear crystalline white.

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Thank you. My whisper repeated itself in my mind over and over again as I walked the uneven cobblestone pathway, finding more beauty and hidden treasures behind each twist and turn. I felt giddy, light-hearted — it was just like a scene from The Secret Garden or Harriet The Spy!  (I’ve always loved the gardens from these movies.) Benches awaited me, knowing well I’d have to return one day with a notebook and pen sometime soon, and a table lay tucked away, for the future lunch I’d bring to eat amongst the fairies.

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I called silently to the trees and flowers, to the fairies tending them, and the wonderful life-force encapsulating this tiny place: Thank you for this. You’re beautiful. Hello! I thanked them for inviting me into their domain to appreciate their lush, wild beauty. The wind tugged at me, playful and free, pulling me this way and that. Look here! Notice this! I happily obeyed — there is no resisting the lure of happy fairies, especially those dwelling in a secret garden. There was so much to see!

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Butterflies danced, fairies sang, and my heart soared.

Thank you. Thank you.

I’ll come back soon.

I promise.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

Hello my lovelies, it’s once again that time and this week the photo challenge is of a foody nature…that’s right, get ready because it’s… Dinnertime!

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Now admittedly, I’m not one who snaps pictures of my food regularly but randomly enough I did take a few yummy photos a few weeks ago when I was rambling downtown with my mom, enjoying the sun and fresh air. With little difficulty, we decided to have lunch at the amazing Taco Shop on St. George Street and partake in their mouthwatering specialty: the UFO. What is Taco Shop UFO you ask, well let me tell you. It’s SCRUMPTIOUS, that’s what it is. It’s a folded, round burrito thing, bursting with meat, cheese, and all the best burrito fixings, and it is DIVINE! With your choice of either Land or Sea as well as Baja or The Works (Land and The Works for me please!), you really can’t go wrong here. (And now I’m freaking hungry again…)

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And of course you can’t visit the Taco Shop without immediately going like three doors down to the Snack Shack and ordering some sweet potato fries, you know, to boast your energy as you start waking again… What, you didn’t know sweet potato fries had restorative powers?! Well, now you know 😉

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And to think, a Ben and Jerry’s is opening a few more doors down in a few months, and there’s a Kilwin’s on each end of the street. So yeah, you’re definitly going to gain a few pounds walking down this gorgeous historic street.

But what about you my lovelies, what have you been snacking on lately? Are you a food picture-taker, or do you prefer just chowing down as opposed to taking the time to snap the perfect food photo? Let me know 😀