Happy Birthday, Dawn Schafer (+ Giveaway!)

I’ve been a loyal fan of the Baby-Sitters Club series since my parents bought me a four-pack of the books back when I was in elementary school. One of my best Christmases ever! But for some reason, even though I was nothing like her, Dawn became my absolute favorite member of the club. Introduced in Book 4, Dawn moves to Stonybrook with her mom and brother, leaving behind sunny California, her best friend (coincidentally named Sunny), and her father. She ate healthy foods, she dressed casually, her hair was super long and blonde, and Mary Anne was her best friend. She got to go to Disneyland when she visited her dad in California (I was always so jealous), and could surf!

And back in fifth grade, I desperately wanted to change my name from Estelle to Dawn. (See? Serious obsession.)

As luck would have it, Dawn and I do have a little bit in common. We share a birthday. Isn’t that wild? So on this day, I’m celebrating for both of us. (Can you believe it’s her 40th birthday? Eek!) Here are a few goodies I might send Dawn if I ever got her address:

Sidenote: As I put this together, I started to think about how I always imagined the Baby-Sitters Club gals as these idols I could never catch up to in experience, age, and maturity. But for some reason when I was piecing together this character gift exchange, I finally was thinking of Dawn as the same age as me. It’s crazy how she seems so frozen in time to me after all of these years.

Character Gift Exchange Happy Birthday Dawn Schafer

Gap Bomber Jacket: Dawn always had a casual style + she wore a ton of jean on her book covers so this just seems to be perfect for her.

Floral Mesh Bracelet from Kate Spade: If only, if only… I had a money tree. Simple enough to fit Dawn’s taste but pretty enough to make a statement no matter what you are wearing. I am in love with it.

Paletas: Authentic Recipes: If you remember, Dawn is a total health food nut but she must have a sweet on her birthday! These recipes are made with fresh fruit and perfect for the warmer February days in California.

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar: If you stuck around for the California Diaries by Ann Martin (after Dawn decided to permanately return to her home state), you would remember the series’ darker tones. Dawn loved to surf, loved the water, and I think she really would have liked this book.

Letterpress Connecticut Card: You can’t forget your childhood. While I don’t think Dawn would have ever moved back to Stoneybook, I’d like to think she had a way of memorializing wherever she was living right now. Subtle, pretty, and a lot of meaning.

And if you want to relive the glory days of Dawn, these are a few of my favorites:

Favorite Baby-Sitters Club Books starring Dawn Schafer

Dawn and the Impossible Three | Dawn on the Coast | California Diaries: Book 1 | California Girls! (Super Special)

Gosh, these totally bring me back… I need to schedule time for a re-read! (Yes, it’s true… I still own some of these!)

And for you dear reader, I’m thinking about today as my new year’s. A time to start fresh and just enjoy. Much of my goals this year revolving around less is more, staying present, and getting serious about the areas in my life that could use some work. So today, I want to pay it forward. This is a different kind of giveaway but I hope that you enjoy it. Thanks so much for your support over the past two years and taking time out of your day to hang out with us!

This giveaway will have five winners; these are the prizes:

1. A handcrafted book cover card made by me for you. (Cover of your choice.)
2. Tell me your birthday and you will receive a special surprise in the mail from me when your day comes.
3. Are you a huge BSC fan like I was? Tell me your favorite baby-sitter + I’ll send you a fun care package!
4. A nail color of your choice from Julep (along with a surprise add-on).
5. Last but certainly not least, I will pre-order one lucky person a book that blew me away (and doesn’t come out until May): Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu.

Please note the terms + conditions! This one is a little different…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck (!!) + have a fantastic Wednesday!

Estelle: Sweet Summertime Reads – Retro Throwback

When I was a kid, my library used to have these reading contests every summer. We would have to keep a tally of the books we read and at each different level (determined by the library), we would get a prize. Is it surprising I won almost every year for most books read? (ha) One of my favorite parts of this was picking out all the Baby-Sitters Club books my library had. That series was one of my favorites and I can honestly say it shaped my childhood. I always wanted to be as cool and grownup as these gals who were smart enough to start their own club. THEY ALWAYS SEEMED SO OLD TO ME. In fact, I was quite disappointed when I turned 13 and I felt like I was never going to catch up to their level.

After my mom gave away MY ENTIRE COLLECTION (I can’t even talk about this), I started recollecting last year. Boxes and boxes of books arriving from eBay and I’m pretty much back to where I was. (Although, now I’m moving so I’m going to have to get rid of a bunch of them… sadface.) Because of the Baby-Sitters Club reminds me so much of the summer, I wanted to list a few of my favorites and hear about yours! (Here’s the complete list to refresh your memory.)

And most importantly, what baby-sitter was your favorite? (At a recent book event, I was SHOCKED to find out someone didn’t remember who Dawn was. What?!)

Kristy’s Big Day: Kristy was never my favorite baby-sitter even if she started the club. But when I started rereading the series I really fell for this book. Kristy’s mom is getting married, their moving across town to the “rich” side of the neighborhood, and Kristy is gaining step-siblings. I love weddings but I think this book was pretty on par with all the changes going on in Kristy’s life. Plus the baby-sitters get the job of a lifetime. (They have patience I do not possess.)

Boy-Crazy Stacey: Sea City, New Jersey anyone? This is the book where Mary Anne and Stacey are hired as mother’s helpers for the Pikes — the family with a billion kids? Stacey falls for a lifeguard and gets a little distracted on the job. This is one of my FAVORITES especially because I always pictured our time at the shore when reading it. (Except as the mature lady I am now, Stacey acted sort of like an idiot… just saying.)

Dawn on the Coast: I’m a cheating a bit with this one but Dawn goes to visit her dad and brother in California during spring break. They go to Disneyland and she gets to see her friends for the first time since moving to Connecticut. I remember always going straight to this book when I wanted to read something familiar. I actually used some of the pages for our table numbers at our wedding. Plus the cover just screams summer to me.

Mary Anne’s Makeover: Now this one has nothing to do with summer, but instead, starting fresh. Mary Anne must have been tired of being the quiet one, the overprotected one. This is a book where she is finally allowed to come out of her shell a little bit and embrace a whole new look. I always loved the cover of this book. Mary Anne was a cool girl (with or without the makeover) but a lot of the times they played it too safe with her. Plus I think this book in particular showed just how much her relationship with her dad has grown (especially compared to the earlier novels).

Here Come the Bridesmaids: A Super Special! Those were always awesome because it meant more time with the Baby-sitters! (I am such a geek.) I’m cheating AGAIN with this one because it’s actually December and some of the sitters are headed to California for Dawn’s dad’s wedding and a few others are helping out with Mrs. Barrett’s wedding. (Remember her from Dawn & the Impossible 3? She’s a single mom who is pretty scatterbrained and relies heavily on Dawn during that book.) What can I say? I love the California books. I’m pretty certain the BSC is why I always wanted to visit.

For anyone looking to buy any older BSC books, I like to buy them used on eBay or aLibris.com. Happy hunting!

To fulfill the throwback, who remembers this?!

P.S. Do we feel old yet?

Don’t forget to visit Ginger @ GReads & Tara @ Fiction Folio — our Sweet Summertime Reads ladies!