December 21, 2008

Adventures in Sunday Schooling

The setting: This morning in the children's building of our church, 15 of our community's sweetest 4 year-olds are putting together angels made of paper bags, styrofoam heads and glittery pipe cleaner halos. We've just finished reading the Christmas story and are hurrying around the room to ensure that each flawlessly-decorated angel is complete in time for these precious preschoolers' parents to arrive.

Background noise: Stapling, coloring, 4 year-old chatter and the crunching of goldfish crackers.

The action:
Preschooler 1: (Inaudible.)

Preschooler 2: I'm going to knock your teeth out!

Preschooler 3: (Sitting in between the two. Looks simultaneously confused and horrified.)

Ms. Anne: Preschooler 2, what did you just say? (I was absolutely convinced that the marker fumes were going to my head.)

Preschooler 2: Nothing.

Ms. Anne: Predictable talk of being kind to our friends, what makes God happy and how there are plenty of markers to go around. Don't our craft angels look better when we work together to finish them?

One hour later.

Background noise: Clattering of blocks, happy and rowdy preschool sounds, Preschoolers 1 through 3 playing together amicably as if the previously described scene never took place.

The action:
Preschooler 1: Ooh, ooh! My mom and dad are here. Bye, Mr. Bradley! Bye, Ms. Anne! (Pause.) Bye, Knock Your Teeth Out Boy!

Mr. Bradley: Coughing nervously to stifle his laughs.

Needless to say, I was thoroughly amused by the quick change between our loving 4 year-olds telling us how cute their baby Jesus figures are to the (very rare and heretofore unheard) threats of dental damage.

Preschooler 2 doesn't usually come to our class, so his final act of thanks to friends and teachers for a fun Sunday morning was kicking down a house made of blocks he'd been putting together. Better a block than another preschooler!

I've never heard a 4 year-old talk like that and just had to share... I would love to know what would have happened if I'd said something like that in my childhood. Might not be here to tell the tale, friends.

December 16, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes 2008

Who doesn't love a holiday Tour of Homes? Taking a peek at others' gorgeous Christmas decorations, snagging a few good ideas for next year, enjoying a little hot apple cider while shamelessly marveling at others' abundance of good taste, square footage, intricate nativity scenes and garland-draping skills.... Could you ask for anything more?

You should know by now that anything I can combine with pjs (or gym clothes, as the case may be tonight) and hanging out with my sweet puppy is immediately my very-favorite-thing-on-this-whole-Earth.

So I just had to share this virtual Tour of Homes BooMama has put together. Not only is she absolutely delightful, but she has started a fantastic online tradition. So meander on over to her neck of the woods and see what you'll have hundreds of bloggers' homes to choose from! (And no pressure to find a lovely holiday but not too-holiday-y outfit to wear. No one's looking!)

Enjoy! (And if, in reading BooMama's older posts, like this one, you don't have a giggle or two, I'll give you ten dollars. Seriously, I will. And perhaps invoice her for it.)

Any takers? I'd love to hear your favorites!

Thanks for the welcome!

I'm not super-new to the blogosphere, but in recent months I have been taking baby steps to open up my virtual doors to those who don't share my last name, hometown or strange affinity for mashed potatoes and/or candy late at night. (In other words, folks who aren't related to me or otherwise legally bound to think I'm fantastic.)

Mrs. Newlywed Stilettos has been kind enough to give me a welcome, so I thought you'd want a little look-see yourself.

Welcome the other new bloggers and find some exciting online conversations... There sure are a lot of other talkers out there, hmm?

Candy Cane Survey

1. What is your favorite Christmas Movie? Love Actually or It's a Wonderful Life

2. Favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night

3. Favorite Holiday Memory? Long long ago, before I had a digital alarm clock, I used a Minnie Mouse watch on my bedside table. I knew that once her hands were on 6 and 12 it was 6:00 am and I could wake my younger brother up for Christmas morning. (This was before the previously mentioned 7:00 am rule was enacted.) I probably woke up every twenty minutes, but when the hands were finally on the 6 and 12 I got him up. Sadly, we were told that it was only 12:30 am and we'd have to wait another five and a half hours to see what Santa dropped off. Longest night of our lives!!

4. What kind of cookie/treat do you like to make? Iced sugar cookies shaped liked stars and stockings. Don't forget the sprinkles!!

5. Have you ever made an igloo? I have! In Quebec City, 2006. It was so fun for the first twenty minutes and then I was just too cold to get excited about it. Let me tell you, that thing took forrrrever to make! Very cool photo op, though. You'll have to ask Bradley about his memories of the experience; he had to pick up my slack and has a slightly different tale to tell. It was memorable nonethless!!

6. Do you love Starbucks? I don't. I do love Diet Cherry Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke and (my latest addition) a delicious honey vanilla chamomile tea. Not a coffee girl, but I'm glad to avoid the pricey addiction!

7. What makes the perfect Snowman? Snow! Around here we don't usually get it - especially around Christmas. You never can tell, though.

9. Best gift you have ever received? I have to say Bradley. Santa didn't leave him under the tree exactly, but we started dating in the fall and got engaged before the holidays the next year, so Christmas has always been a really wonderful time of year for us. Our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. was fabulous and I don't doubt this year will be the same. Having Blue as part of the package makes it even better.

10. What is the snowman's name on Rudolph? Ooh. Don't remember.

11.Silver or Gold? I like both in jewelry and decorations, but silver looks better on me.

12. What is your favorite Christmas decoration? A big wreath and a tree

13. What's your Christmas decorating style? Simple and traditional.

14. Do you hang stockings? Believe it or not, we haven't. We have stockings hanging at my parents' house, but Bradley and I haven't gotten our own. I think he'd prefer to wait 'til we have kids, because it feels like it's a relatively little-kid tradition. I, however, respectfully disagree and wrap all of his "invisible stocking" stuffers instead. It's such a fun tradition!

15. How many days do you celebrate Christmas? As many as possible! I love to listen to Christmas music just before Thanksgiving all the way to New Year's.

16. What was your favorite ornament on the tree as a child? A beautiful Clara from the Nutcracker.

17. Where will you be spending Christmas this year? Christmas Eve with Bradley's family, Christmas morning in our house and the rest of Christmas Day with my parents. So excited!

18. When do you open presents? This year will be a little different, as we're exchanging gifts with B's family Christmas Eve. So I'll have two back-to-back days of present-opening. The ten year-old in me is super thrilled.

What about y'all??

December 9, 2008

A Christmas Conspiracy

Everyone seems to struggle with the balance of a traditional family Christmas focused on the holiday's real meaning and the frenzied, cultural Christmas that promotes irrational consumerism and meaningless "things" in place of true celebration and generosity.

We saw this video in church a few weeks ago and I loved it. When Brooke included it, along with her own thoughts on the subject, on her blog today I had to snag it. (I even figured out how to post video for this very reason. FINALLY!)

Take a look:

How are you working to make your holiday more meaningful this year? In the economic crisis our country faces, I'm hopeful that people may begin to look for more significance this Christmas than just a pile of presents. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Enjoy the video - and here's wish you a Christmas focused on the holy-day, not just the holiday bustle.

December 6, 2008

My Christmas Quirks

Emily at One is Not So Lonely tagged me to list six holiday quirks, which would have been a lot harder to think of before I finally got into the Christmas spirit this morning with Bradley and Blue. All I needed to do was crank up the holiday tunes, put up the tree and unbox our ornament collection - it's always a walk down memory lane. Now I have plenty of holiday traditions to share with y'all:

Six Random "Holiday Facts" About Anne:

1. There is a definite ornament hierarchy on my tree. My favorite and more memorable ornaments are gingerly placed at the top. Pretty but slightly less meaningful ornaments stay in the middle of our tree. Less valuable and more Blue-friendly ornaments are hung towards the bottom.

My very favorite ornament is a beautiful Clara ballerina I got after a performance of the Nutcracker in elementary school. She's always the first ornament to go up and the last to come down, still kept in her original box. When we got engaged, Mom and Dad sent us up a number of family ornaments "on loan" until we could put together our own collection. Clara, however, is one that will be staying with me!

2. My mom makes an amazing hot holiday punch every year that makes the whole house smell like Christmas. I always try a batch or two a year myself, if just for the scent of it. It tastes delicious, but mine is never quite the same as hers. Mom's perfect proportions of apple cider, cranberry juice, orange juice, cloves and cinnamon make all the difference.

3. Christmas Eve candlelight service is my favorite of the year. The hymns and carols, the candles, the completion of the Advent story, the Scriptures read, the excitement of everyone. When I was old enough to hold my own candle, I knew I'd really grown up.

Because we travel and aren't at my home church each year, I don't always get to attend. If I had my way, though, we'd be in that pew every year. Such a meaningful service to me.

4. Growing up, my family read the Christmas story out of Luke every Christmas Eve before we went to bed. I loved how quiet everything was, that no one in the world seemed to be out doing anything else but spending time with their families. I always remember Dad's voice reading it, but when we got older he would ask us to read as well. It felt like such an honor!

After we read the story, which we could probably recite by heart, we would place baby Jesus into the nativity scene our family had made. My brother and I rotated who got to put the figure in the nativity scene (of course) to keep it fair. Another small tradition that felt like such an honor as a child.

It was really important to me, too, that Jesus not be in the nativity scene until Christmas Eve. I mean, isn't He what everyone was waiting for? It didn't make sense to see him in there the day after Thanksgiving. So our family's wise men, angels, animals, Mary and Joseph were gazing at hay until Christmas Eve.

5. After some creative lobbying from my brother and me, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. And it was always pajamas. Brand new pjs wear on Christmas morning.

On Christmas morning, we had a very specific routine my parents created to prevent 5am chaos. We couldn't come out of our rooms and go downstairs, where our tree and presents were, until 7am. Even then, my brother and I had to make our beds, brush our teeth and put our robes on before we came down together.

That drove my brother crazy when I got old enough to want to fix my hair before Christmas morning photos. Poor kid. I can't decide if my parents were trying to prevent wide-open kid craziness or just torture us a little bit.

The Christmas pjs did come in handy, though, as I always had cute candy canes or Merry Christmas in six languages written across my new Christmas morning outfit. Just in time for a photo op.

A few years ago my mom handed me my Christmas Eve gift and, as I was about to open the box, snatched it away in a panic. I guess her system for subtly labeling gifts isn't entirely fool-proof. :) She handed me another box and held her breath that it was, in fact, the correct Christmas Eve present. It all worked out the second time around and I still have the flannel snowflake pj pants to prove it.

6. In our first Christmas together as Mr. and Mrs., Bradley and I decided to start a tradition of our own. We're fortunate enough to have both sets of parents within driving distance, so we decided to have time with just the two of us on Christmas morning.

We spend Christmas Eve with one family, have time Christmas morning to exchange our gifts for each other, then drive to the other family's house for Christmas day. It worked perfectly in 2007 and I'm excited to do it again this year. Why wait 'til you have children to have "family time" on Christmas Day? Bradley, Blue and I have a fun mini family Christmas and then get to spend time with the bigger group - it's perfect.

I'd love to hear your favorite Christmas traditions! Feel free to share. And I'm tagging Kristen, Elizabeth and Ashley.

December 4, 2008

It's really Christmas!

I got my very first Christmas card of 2008 today- and from one of my favorite people on Earth, Kristen. Their card is unbelievable and the photo sets the bar insanely high. Hopefully she'll post it on her blog so you can all marvel at the gorgeousness of the Watsons. (And their ability to get two dogs and two humans to look great all at once!)

How behind am I on Christmas, you ask? Well, so far I've put up a wreath and a Christmas garden flag. No tree, no gifts under it, no ornaments on it, no batches of cookies or punch, no indoor decorations at all. (If I was reading this aloud, I would pronounce it "uh-tall" just for effect. FYI.)

Shopping, however, I am clearly all over. Of course. I feel great about the buying - it's the wrapping and placing under the (currently invisible) tree that's got me a little concerned. Thankfully it's only the 4th, right?

So the game plan for this weekend is to put up a tree, decorate it, take a phenomenally beautiful picture of all three Smiths and pick out a card. Oh, and collect addresses. Wow.

I'm going to stop the list now...I do enough of that at work. So I'm off to enjoy some "holiday" breakfast for dinner with my husband. Ahh, the things we eat when work wears us out too much to cook a grown-up meal.

Hope your Christmas preparations are coming along a bit better than mine! While I'm bonding with my grits and eggs, feel free to brag about how far ahead of the game you are in Christmas preparations. I can't wait to hear how woefully underachieving I am in that department.

Love y'all! 'Night!

December 2, 2008

The first 500 days as Mr. and Mrs.

1 doggie surgery

1 new job

1 chipped plate

1 case of food poisoning
(That'd be today, folks. Poor, poor Bradley.)

2 football seasons
(With 2 different football coaches!)

2 trips to the animal emergency room

3 broken wine glasses
(Subsequently, 6 unbreakable wine glasses purchased solely for my use)

3 birthdays
(Mine, his, mine again...does that make me 2 years older in 500 days? Math is crap.)

3 trips to a doc in a box
(Why do we always get sick out of town on weekends?)

4 other couples' weddings

4 months of teaching 4-year-olds each Sunday
(Too many funny stories from those Sundays to count...remind me to tell you about Bradley playing the donkey in the Good Samaritan story. One for the ages.)

6 formal uses of our fine china and crystal
(Not bad, right?)

6 business trips

500 groggy morning I-love-you-have-a-good-day-grab-some-breakfast-call-me-later-goodbyes

10,327 thank you notes written, addressed, stamped and sent out
(All but one written by me, hence the 0 hours of yard work I have done since becoming Mrs. S.)

All in all, not such a bad deal. Love him!

November 30, 2008

I punched a man in the face yesterday.

Yep. Thought that'd raise an eyebrow or two. What did you do this weekend?

My fabulous four and a half day weekend was just what I needed - food, family, football, friends, Bradley, Blue and sleep. More later, but here's what you really need to know:

-Not a Black Friday item was purchased. Just FYI.

-Our first Thanksgiving with my in-laws was fantastic. I contributed the mashed potatoes and cornbread casserole, but the rest of our amazing spread was waiting for us when we arrived. And it was delicious. The lemon ooey-gooey cake was beyond words. Seriously. I'm scared to ask for the recipe, it's so good. Mmm.

-I missed my family but I think they managed just fine without me. :) I gave my brother a top-secret stealthy mission to take care of while he was home, but alas it was not to be. So my sneaky Christmas present plan is going to have to change a bit. Wish I could discuss it here but I'm not at liberty to say anything until December 26th. Just in case it works out...

-I got lots of sleep these last four days. Good sleep. Rainy and cold outside, cozy and warm under my down comforter kind of sleep. Nine hours at a time sleep. Ahh.

-After a breakfast-for-lunch with the girls and a spa manicure, I pushed it a little too hard at the gym on Friday. Perhaps the memory of my two-thirds mashed potatoes plate on Thanksgiving? Regardless, I'm hurting something fierce today. You should have seen me attempting to play with our four-year-olds at church this morning. If they hadn't thought I was so weird it might have been hilarious. A hot shower and two Advil later, I'm at least hobbling around with less difficulty. Heels tomorrow should be fun!

-Blue's unbelievable South Carolina tartan holiday collar came in from Pecan Pie Puppies. Pictures to follow - he looks so handsome!! And the proceeds support cancer treatments for our friend Ryan's beautiful yellow lab Sullivan. Absolutely worth it.

-The game I'll have to discuss in a bit more detail tomorrow. Suffice it to say that every minute was worth the cold and the rain. GO TIGERS! And good job, Dabo!! (But since when do we have to check really cute, one-of-a-kind favorite umbrellas just so you can forget them in the stadium? Only to remember it a mile away in the pouring rain. Genius idea, folks.)

-Three full weeks of work await me, then two shorrrrt weeks for the holidays. Whoo! Let's hope these next weeks fly by! (But go slowly enough for me to get everything done. If that's even possible.)

-Oh, and that little punch to the face? He certainly didn't deserve it; I definitely didn't mean to do it. Poor guy behind me at the game became a victim of my jumping up and down, fist pumping excitement. Guy leaned over, hopping around as well, and received a swift punch to the jaw. My hand hurt for twenty minutes, minimum. The sweet, sweet Tiger fan was so excited he just kept jumping. Sometimes love hurts, I guess. Particularly when it's the love of a football team. (This season, at least!)

Enjoy your Mondays back at work, lovelies!! Miss you and hope you had fabulous (non-violent) fun this long holiday weekend...


November 26, 2008

The gift of song

For the next 48 hours, Oprah is offering her Holiday Hits 2008 album for free on her website. Download all eight songs, including Christmas classics from Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Josh Groban, Il Divo, Harry Connick, Jr. and more. Get to it, ladies!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2008

B. Spears circa 2001 or 2008?

She's happy, highlighted, (seemingly) showered, toned and on the cover of a magazine. This photograph could easily be from Britney's sparkly nude bodysuit days earlier this decade.

Happily, it was shot earlier this year; seems our down-trodden diva is back on the cover of Rolling Stone. I'd add it to our list of gratitudes but I'm not quite that shallow.

Rooting for the underdog has always been my thing, though. (Psychiatrists might read a great deal into that, but that's another story for another day.) All in all, I'm just happy to see one less bald-headed, umbrella-swinging, crazy ex-pop star roaming the streets.

Counting the ways

In a life that's imperfect and a world that's absolutely broken, sometimes I find myself noticing every last thing that isn't quite right. ('Right' being exactly how I would prefer it to be at just that very moment.) The traffic lights that catch me every time, the favorite sweater that seems to have disappeared, the sniffles that 'plague' me all day, the slight chill in the house because my sweet husband keeps our thermostat down verrry low. You get the idea.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd love to list all of the blessings we've each been given and the ten thousand tiny ways we're fortunate this year. That, however, would be nearly impossible. So I'm going to make a valiant attempt - and I'd love for you to do the same! Let's turn off Market Watch, set aside the countless Christmas catalogs Mr. Postman has delivered and get grateful.

-the health of my family and friends
-access to good medical care and time off when we're sick
-the love of our animals or human children, should we have any
-the chance to help others in need
-the immediate comfort that a hug (any time of year) brings
-pride in a working democracy
-jobs that provide stability for our families
-bills we can afford to pay each month
-a pantry full of groceries and a tummy full of food
-coworkers who encourage us
-tasks that challenge us
-homes that keep us safe and comfortable
-gifts under the tree and happy faces around it
-holiday feasts and the loved ones who prepare them
-heat that works, tasty soups and warm sweaters
-the rain when we need it, even if it chills us to the bone
-fun accessories to brighten up dreary work weeks
-a stack of good books to get us through winter
-the dedication of every former teacher who taught us to read
-the belief that, no matter the crisis, this too shall pass
-the knowledge that God is in control
-friends who provide a shoulder, hand or ear when we need one
-a globe to explore, in person or on paper
-reasons to celebrate - weddings, babies, holidays, reunions
-the ability to stay connected through blogs, email and Facebook
-the ability to express ourselves intelligently, freely and lovingly
-the gift of hearing, because Christmas would be less festive without carols
-the gift of song, whether we have it or just appreciate it
-Christmas cards with smiling faces of far-away friends
-the promise of a warm South Carolina spring when winter's over

Keep it going...DayQuil has my brain on pause. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

November 24, 2008

A few of my favorite things: Holiday edition

The weather outside is (approaching the Palmetto State's version of) frightful, Bing Crosby is serenading me in Target and visions of vacation days are dancing in my head. That can only mean one thing: it's Christmastime!

So what does Christmas bring? Around here, usually not much snow. It does bring lots of quality family time, silly Christmas sweaters, reasons for impromptu gatherings with friends and time to remember what's really important.

A few of my favorite things each Christmas:

Amy Grant's original Christmas album. Grew up on it, still love it, not ashamed. Seriously, try to find something better than "A Tender Tennessee Christmas." No, I'm not joking.

If anything could possibly be better, it'd be James Taylor's Hallmark Christmas album. I'm a huge JT fan. I could listen to him sing about the latest stock market crash and feel comforted.

A favorite Christmas (-ish) movie from my childhood.

A recent addition to the holiday lineup. Happy endings are always a favorite.

I have probably seen this movie 10,714 times. By year's end I imagine we'll add at least a dozen.

As a thank you to Bradley for tolerating so many viewings of Love Actually, during which I tear up no less than six times despite knowing it word for word, I'll throw in a favorite of his.

Because I quote "Santa! I know him!!" all year round.

It's just not Christmas until you catch up with George Bailey and family.

A socially acceptable reason to eat more mashed potatoes than should ever be consumed.

The Nutcracker ballet, music and my favorite Clara ornament that's now almost 20 (!) years old.

Christmas cookies. Yes, please. Can we squeeze more icing and sprinkles on there? Goes right along with the elves' favorite food groups, as listed in Elf: "We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup." Delish!

A fully decorated Christmas tree. Forget Martha Stewart's version - show me the preschool macaroni ornaments, mismatched creations from elementary school, old parental purchases and some multi-colored lights. The brighter, the more festive, the more personalized, the better.

What are you looking forward to this Christmas?

November 21, 2008

The Simpson-Wentzes have a boy

Straight from People: Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, 24, and Pete Wentz, 29, welcomed a son Thursday night. Little Bronx Mowgli Wentz was 7 lbs. 11 oz. and 20.5" long.

I had hoped to discuss potential names before the first Simpson-Wentz spawn arrived, speculating wildly on what sort of crazy Hollywood and/or traditional Southern family name Ashlee and Pete would concoct for their firstborn.

Hats off to the proud parents, though, because Bronx Mowgli surprises even me. Did they want to honor a romantic trip to NYC nine months ago and acknowledge the powerful role The Jungle Book played in their childhood libraries?

I'm really reaching here, folks. Someone please help me understand!!

Congratulations to them, of course, and hugs to older sister Jess, who may have believed she'd be covered in babies and celebrating her fifth anniversary by now. Sigh.

Babies are a blessing, for sure. I truly hope, though, that Bronx Wentz goes to a private school in LA surrounded by Moses and Apple Martin, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban, Honor Marie Warren and Shiloh, Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Viv and Knox Jolie-Pitt. Should wee Bronx's family they ever move elsewhere he'll need to take some karate lessons to emerge from public school unscathed.

November 18, 2008

Um, is your car sexy?

I love my car. I remind myself of this fact every month when I mail off that lovely payment for my beautiful piece of heaven on wheels.

We've really bonded, my Nissan and I. How many tears, stealthy parking lot cell phone conversations, drive-thru errands and highway karaoke sessions have we shared? Too many to name. And yet I have no real desire to make out with my Altima. That's just a fact. (Although the fabulous blue color of my particular car is undeniably attractive. When it's washed. Which I would do if it wasn't negative 300 degrees outside. Hey, get off my back about it, ok? It'll sparkle when I have the time...)

I've often rolled my eyes at erstwhile Dr. Addison Montgomery Shepherd's way-too-sultrily-voiced Cadillac commercial. Now it turns out I'm not alone.

Watch, giggle, admire Sarah Haskins' wit and let me know what you think. Ever had the urge to give your Volvo a back rub? Anyone?

Go to it!

November 17, 2008

Jack Sparrow is staying busy

Here I was thinking pirates were fictional and that Johnny Depp was filming some non-Caribbean movies. Front page of CNN - pirates hijack a Saudi-owned oil tanker. As I live and breathe, y'all. Do you think they're sporting eyeliner and gold teeth? I'd be awfully disappointed at anything less.

November 3, 2008

On proposals and Presidents - welcome to November!

Two years ago today I got engaged on a chilly Greenville evening that, in my mind, has extended to be at least two weeks long. Part of I remember very hazily, almost as an observer, and the other part is clearer than any other night of my life.

I had been complaining for hours of my utter exhuastion, wanting nothing more than a good night's sleep followed by a fabulous weekend with my visiting boyfriend. Shortly after receiving a diamond ring and a remarkable lifetime offer from a certain someone, however, I got what you could call a second wind.

The result? That sleep-deprived gal somehow managed to call most everyone in her phone book, staying awake 'til 2 am recounting the engagement story detail for detail. I'm sure I called each of them back the very next morning, at Bradley's urging, to go through it just once more. (A guy really only gets the proposal as his very own shining achievement...why not let him milk it? B must have heard my telling of the tale at least a hundred times that weekend.)

Two years and 470 days* of marriage later, I'm amazed at how much has changed since then and how quickly it's all gone by. We're having so much fun and I'm still pinching myself - and staring shamelessly at the ring.

In a very tenuous segway, something that hasn't seemed to go by quickly has been the road to the White House.

Tomorrow I'll cast my third presidential vote. Long lines and mud-slinging aside, I find the whole process so exciting. And so much like Christmas - I just want to know now!

Hope you're planning to vote as well. For my Palmetto state neighbors, check your precinct and registration at

Happy voting and happy Monday!

*Don't worry, I didn't calculate that by myself. The Knot takes care of that for me. I've got free time, but not that much.

November 1, 2008

A few of my favorite things

Sweet Ashley tagged me to list just six of my very favorite things. I've actually given this a lot of (non-blog-related) thought lately, hoping to narrow down the most meaningful ways to spend my time. It's a lot harder to do than it goes!

1. Bradley and Blue. We may be crazy, but I love our little household. Sometimes I worry that it's unusual for us to so thoroughly enjoy just hanging out. I mean, shouldn't we be inviting more people in to our ridiculous, irrational house o' fun? That's something I hope to become more intentional about in coming months. I am, however, thrilled to enjoy myself so completely by doing so little.
2. My nearby and far-away friends. Notes in the mail, smiles as I walk to my desk, sweet voice mail messages when I'm too sick to call back, emails at just the right time, a lunch or dinner to take my mind off of every little thing - from top to bottom, I've been blessed with incredible friends. The ones who have known me since braces and bangs, those who met me before Bradley did, and the fabulous folks I've met since we moved to Greenville - each of you play such an important part in my life and my happiness. Thanks for letting me into your lives. (And for consistently updating your pictures on Facebook - y'all know that's my favorite peek into your world!) Wish I could have each of you on my street; wouldn't we make the most fabulous neighborhood?

3. My family. Raised me, see me through thick and thin, still think I'm amazing. How that is possible, I'll never know. I'm so fortunate to have parents who are also really great friends - to one another and to me. I appreciate them for a lifetime of family dinners, unfailing patience, vacation memories, much-needed braces, absolute belief in me, always answering the phone when I call and never blinking at my crazy stories. (The picky eating I developed against their wishes and best attempts to teach me otherwise, I promise. Those weirdos can even allow their food to touch. Bizarre.)

4. Reading. I could sit in a hammock, in my bed, on the beach, in a recliner or on the floor for hours each day and read. Blogs, books, magazines, journals, biographies, travel guides, shampoo bottle labels - it really doesn't matter. It's the fastest way to entertain me and the most fun I can have in an instant. It's equally relaxing, stimulating and informative. I should probably become a librarian when I retire. I may need to work on my inside voice, though...

5. Doing what I "should" do. While I'm not a fan of doing things simply because I have to or I'm expected to, the feeling I get afterwards is pretty remarkable. For example, I rarely feel better than I do in the gym parking lot after a workout. Or bragging about how I got up at 5:15 to hop on an elliptical. (That's a true story - twice this week. It's ok if you're shocked; I am too.) Checking something off my to-do list is a dorky thrill for me and clicking 'send' on a project I've been working on is always a relief. I hate cleaning but adore a sparkling house, laundered sheets and an organized closet. So, as this list winds to a close, I'm about to do just what I "should" be doing right now - cleaning for our open house tomorrow.

6. Dreaming. In every sense of the word. I'm the world's best and most appreciative sleeper. Left to my own devices, I could easily sleep ten hours a day. I'm always happiest after a full night's sleep or a quick afternoon nap; therefore so is anyone who has to hang out with me. I also enjoy dreaming by imagining what our life will be like in five, ten, twenty or fifty years. Will I be have my own little PR (or stationery) shop? Be a college professor? A writer? Retired and addicted to pasta? Living in that gorgeous house with a huge porch downtown? Spending a year in a glass-bottomed hut in Bora Bora? Answering the phone for Bradley's furniture company? Wrangling seventeen childreen or just one? Hard to say. My eight and a half ideal hours of sleep each night give me lots of time to explore the possibilities though. Not counting naps on Sunday, of course.

Honorable mentions: teaching our 4-year-old class each Sunday, Christmas ornaments, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, monogrammed stationery, monogrammed table linens, clean sheets, a good thesaurus, new journals, recording Bradley-isms, pretending I can sing, broken-in jeans, hot showers, pedicures, Febreze, lip gloss, naps, holding hands, holding babies, Clemson football, Clemson colors, Clemson people, Clemson's campus, old-school family pictures, rewatching favorite childhood movies, gelato and Diet Cherry Coke. Whew.
P.S. The title of this post is a definite reference to a favorite childhood movie, The Sound of Music. Add in Annie, Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Cutting Edge, Shakespeare in Love and With Honors and you have the perfect recipe for a 1990s Anne movie marathon, from 3rd grade to graduation. Anyone in?

What are your favorite six things? I tag Shelley, Kristen and Elizabeth.

October 31, 2008

Priceless Christmas Presents

I doubt you'll be shocked if I open by saying the economy is not faring so well and retailers anticipate the worst holiday season on record.

Kind of depressing, particularly for a gal who loves to shop. The holiday spirit, though, isn't exactly about ching-chinging cash registers or piles of shiny 'things' under your tree.

Some of the best and most memorable gifts you can give to those you love are free. And can be priceless.
Let's brainstorm a few - give hope to the cash-strapped and creativity to the clueless, before a Christmas carol even hits the airwaves this year.

I'll start. Last year I gave Bradley something that has become a year-round hit. If you've spent anytime around us, you may know that he says some utterly ridiculous things just to rile me up. Or make me laugh. Or maybe because he's an utterly ridiculous guy - who knows.

I kept a tiny notebook in my purse last fall and secretly wrote down every crazy thing he said from the moment we got married in July until Christmas Eve. (There were some crumpled receipts, napkins and deposit slips involved as well.) I bought a navy leather journal and wrote out every crazy conversation for posterity's sake. He LOVED it!

Perhaps five months' distance allowed him enough time to forget what he'd said, but the book of Bradley-isms provided us a thousand good laughs. I now have a Word documenting recording his crazy 2008 antics as well. An update is definitely necessary this Christmas - and totally free. Our grandkids will have quite the time reading this book, I assure y'all. I promise you a peek next time you swing by, too.

(Going back a little further, I think I started the "free gift" thing on Valentine's Day the year we were dating. I took some large white cardstock, punched holes in the corner, and tied together a collection of "coupons his favorite treats. An hour of his chosen manly TV shows with no heavy sighing, a Get Out of Jail Free card (no apology required), an action/adventure movie, a load of folded laundry, a dinner at his favorite burger joint, you get the idea. He was amazed. And promptly forgot to use most of them, thankfully for lazy ol' chick-flick-loving me.)

So now I'd love to hear the best priceless presents you can remember. Memorable doesn't always equal jewel-encrusted, you know. (I mean, sometimes it does. But not always.)

Can't wait to read your ideas.

Happy Halloween, by the way. You know I'm a planner - got to start this chat early!

October 25, 2008

The One Where Anne Dates Herself

So this week marked the tenth anniversary of Britney Spears' world-shaking "Baby One More Time" single.

That's right, the tenth anniversary. What a wild, wild ten years it's been. (For both me and Britney Jean.)

If you too remember shaking your groove thing (or just not turning the channel when TRL played it for the nine thousandth time) to Brit-Brit's faux naughty school girl jam, you'll realize what a total freak out I'm having. When did I become old enough to remember something from a decade ago? (Clearly, no less!) And how can I make that stop?!

At least Britney is aging along with me. (Plus - Jessica Simpson and Christina Aguilera will always be older than us.) Read what the Fug Girls have to say about it while we're on the topic. Could they be more right about the Halloween costumes? 'Nother chat for another day, though.

Speaking of the former Mrs. K. Fed, I heard her new Womanizer song in a Gossip Girl preview (yes, my TV tastes have failed to evolve over the last decade). It was fab. Keep it coming, Ms. Spears. Grow that hair out, comb those extensions, buckle in the kids and make me proud.

If you want to see the new Womanizer video, be prepared for some old school Britney (think I'm a Slave 4 U and Toxic). I'm half pleased, half flashing back to 2002. Simultaneously loved and was terrified by her foot-driving action. Oiled up au naturel Brit was something we haven't seen since her second marriage, so I'll let it slide.

She means it when she says "I've got your crazy." So...enjoy and share your thoughts.

Happy weekend, y'all!

P.S. I don't want to be negligent in doling out birthday wishes, so let's also wish Sephora a fabulous tenth anniversary as well. Though I didn't catch on to the mega-makeup site until a few years ago, I'm oh-so-grateful for their wares and will raise a gloss to toast 'em.

October 24, 2008

Costume Crisis

So I read on a few blogs that anyone dressed as Sarah Palin this Halloween would be considered an uncreative, behind-the-times idiot who would be widely mocked. I suppose the concept isn't as original as I first thought - back when she was named the VP nominee. But I've got the bangs, the haircolor, the suit, and glasses a-plenty. I just needed a baby doll and an American flag pin and I'd be good to go.

Once Bradley shied away from morphing into McCain, however, my idea ran into a giant roadblock. Since he was also opposed to being Juno and her boyfriend (Michael Cera) from the movie of the same named, I was stumped. Wouldn't he have looked adorable in running shorts? (This is where he demurred...) I love the wrapped-up skirt over pants attire, along with the baby bump. Think of all the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres I could sneak in there with no one ever becoming the wiser.

Alas, here we are. Less than an hour away from our first Halloween party of the year and I'm (relatively) costume-less. Bradley bought me a "Rehab" (a.k.a. Amy Winehouse) wig and some size small fake angel tattoo arm sleeves. Apparently my (relatively) small arms are actually size medium. Much to my disappointment - and discomfort.

So I'm currently sporting a sheerish black turtleneck over tight dark jeans with bright blue heels, a giant Amy wig and a pink ribbon belt with chiffon rosette. Under the sheerish turtleneck, rather than my typical black cami, I am sporting a Halloween orange underthing. (That'd be from you, K.Dub.) You can't even see a hint of it, so my one attempt at skankiness is for naught.

Don't worry, that last J. Crew accessory will come off. But, seriously, how different could my wardrobe and Amy Winehouse's be?

Let's list the ensembles I've tried to convince myself look Winehouse-esque this evening:

-black H&M halter dress from my summer in Paris (too cocktail-appropriate and too cold)
-white t-shirt with black bra (also too cold)
-black three-quarter sleeved jacket (too prim)
-previously mentioned pink ribbon belt (please)

I mean, I'm out of options. B was sweet to get me a wig so I'd have any choices at all. But who were we kidding that in my closet I'd have anything but a wife-beater to pull this off....

Must go apply twenty pounds of eyeliner. Love to you all! And if you think of something for B to be besides my coked-out boyfriend and/or tatted up security guard, do yell. We're off to the store to grab man-sized tat sleeves for him.

If only Blue were a pit bull we could bring him along in our entourage....


October 21, 2008

So...I kind of want to be Taylor Swift.

I was nowhere near this adorable at 18.

Spend five minutes with her and see if you disagree. (Or just think I'm creepy for being so pro-Taylor.) I mean from the hair to the faux brother fight to the tiny girl dressed as Miss Swift for Halloween - how much fun is she having?

(Not that freshman year of college was so awful, to be sure. But walking out onto stages and not living allowance check to allowance check - the girl's got the right idea!)

October 20, 2008

Bye Bye, Samantha

Oh Samantha Parkington, I will heartily miss you. Your gorgeous red taffeta Christmas dress, your pretty velvet clutch and embroidered hanky within, your lovely brass bed and the stories of your whimsical Victorian adventures... Have my childhood days been gone so long?

That's right, American Girls, the original overpriced historical gal pal is being RETIRED. Those of you who bought Molly (WWII's Miss Liberty), Kirsten (our prairie princess) or Addie (the Revolutionary rider) may have a few good years left with your girls.

I, on the other hand, have nothing but fond memories, a dusty doll and the memories of my fading youth. Sigh.

Am I speaking a foreign language to you? If so, go say hello (and also farewell) to Samantha and her BFF Nellie here.

(P.S. Did we all know that they now sell dolls from the 1970s? In a HISTORICAL capacity?)

October 15, 2008

Happy birthday, Cotton!

A few roadblocks to my virtual birthday card: I'm in Texas; she's in South Carolina. I'm posting this to my blog; she is a genius but I'm not entirely convinced she can read.

So I'll just share my birthday wishes for sweet little Cotton Blossom with y'all. Hard to believe the little white one is five years old today!!

Hope you have a fabulous one, li'l C!

Watch out, (blog) world!

I'm in Dallas for a trade show, but have come across some breaking news I just couldn't wait to share.

My adorable, fabulous Kristen has her own blog! Now the online conversations will never end - and you too will be able to sneak a peek at the terrific K Dub we know and love. We're so lucky to have our favorite newlywed online now.

A few things you should know:
1. She's in Florida but a piece of her heart is still in the Palmetto State, so you'll never feel out of place in her online living room, I assure you.
2. She's blonde, beautiful and amazingly smart. You may be inspired to write a Legally Blonde Does PR pilot. Resist that urge.
3. She and her adorable husband Charles were married in March and had a special visitor (the kind wearing garnet) at their rehearsal dinner. You can see the pics on her blog.
4. It's a special kind of love to bypass our ACC/SEC rivalry - and even buy one another team-themed gifts. The purple clutch and orange pashmina she's sent my way blow me away. For a garnet lover, that's a true act of sacrifice.
5. Reading her first post will inspire you (or maybe just me?) to dust of your running shoes and get going. What a treat to follow her journey to 13.1 miles in January. Who else is up for the challenge?
6. Don't believe everything she says about me...she's hard pressed to see the negative in anyone!

Any more of you willing to hop on the blog bandwagon? Not to mix metaphors, but the water's just fine! It's got to be easier than Kristen's halfathon. Let's go, folks!

October 10, 2008

An International Holiday for Dogs

Are you planning to celebrate Dogs Rule Day tomorrow, October 11th?

Here are 101 ways you can...

Dear Tommy Bowden

I bought an adorable football season collar for my ever-hopeful, absolutely devoted dog. He was so looking forward to showing his Tiger Pride as we cleaned the floor with Carolina and perhaps even as we won the ACC Championship.

Instead, the football has been snapped off and placed in a drawer for a brief mourning period. The collar itself remains; thankfully he looks good in purple and orange regardless of team affiliation.

While I am always a Tiger fan, Tommy, I can't stand to see you shame my hopelessly adoring dog this way. Those big sad eyes were too much for me after our loss to Wake last night.

Please don't make a mockery of his football collar. Please find a way to turn this around. (Or at least send me earplugs and a giant container of Rolaids.)

In other news, should your dog desire a similarly fabulous collar in Carolina or Clemson colors - or even in seersucker without any ACC/SEC overtones, you can nab them from Pecan Pie Puppies. Read more about my love for these creations here.

October 9, 2008

Getting a jump on my Christmas list...

Dear Santa,
Each morning I look into the mirror and feel as though something is missing. A diamond necklace would be nice, sure, or perhaps a pair of Jimmy's highest Choos. Upon further reflection, though, I realize that I don't need such shallow solutions to make me happy this Christmas.

In a time of economic uncertainty and a culture that celebrates superficial values, what I need is something of real substance.

Like a life-sized replica of myself in formal wear. Made entirely of Legos. One and a half million Legos.

And at just $60,000 a pop, I feel it's reasonable to request a life-size Lego-built Bradley to gaze upon each morning as well.

I promise I'll cover every mirror in my home and will never ask for another (non-life-size) doll....if I can only have this one tiny Christmas wish.

(If I can't have that, I will also accept a similarly sized contribution to my 401k. A girl's gotta retire sometime, Santa.)

As I was saying...

One of fall's innumerable benefits - not needing to be bronzed and beach-ready but still being able to show off your toes. Look at Natalie Portman and her precious dog enjoying a promenade with a jacket and sandals. I like where your head's at, Natalie.

I would also like to be where the rest of you is - Paris. What a walk. Can you imagine how many outdoor markets Blue would tear into taking that same carefree stroll? I'd be willing to try all the same!

New title?

We may have to put this to a vote, y'all. I was just told that I should change the name of my blog to "Anne Says So 'Cause Bradley Told Her To." I'll let you guess who shared that gem of an idea with me just now.

I'll give you a hint. You may have seen the necklace I nabbed on etsy that has my husband's initials stamped into it. Someone wondered if I should perhaps have "Property Of" stamped above those initials, just to clarify the purpose of wearing it. Way to turn something artsy and sweet into a dogtag, B. Oops. Did I just give it away?

(Can you tell I'm trying to distract myself from a dismal, ulcer-inducing letdown of a football game?)

Suggestions for new titles are welcome. Bradley, you've already filled your quota of genius ideas for the evening - perhaps your next quotable moment should wait until tomorrow.

Love to all of you - wishing you a fabulous Thursday evening and a lovely weekend.

The Fabulousness of Fall

1. You can wear long sleeves without suffering heat exhaustion.
2. Nothing beats an open window.
3. Pumpkins and cider.
4. Football!!
5. Everyone wears orange - even a few Gamecocks.
6. Long walks, sittin' and rockin', enjoying the gorgeous weather.
7. It's time for sweaters but no need for gloves, scarves or shivering.
8. Hilarious SNL reenactments of pre-election debates.
9. The promise of no campaign commercials in just a month.
10. Even a girl who loves the Great Indoors can appreciate a little fresh air this time of year!
11. No one expects you to be bronzed or beach-ready.
12. If you catch yourself humming along to a Christmas tune in Target, you can convince yourself it's "just around the corner."

Hope y'all are having a fabulous week - lots of pictures to post tonight!

October 2, 2008

Noah and Allie to wed for reals.

Well, supposedly. According to an unnamed source. And it's the actors themselves, not Allie and Noah per se. But, like Molly Good, I will be eating cookie dough and watching The Notebook just in case.

Read all about it, kids.

October 1, 2008

Keds Queen Earns Some Snaps

For anyone who has ever wondered if it's possible to escape a bad relationship graciously, or to save face while speaking publicly about an unpleasant ex, may I present exhibit A.

Anne Hathaway on Dave Letterman

I feel the same way, Brit.

Sheer joy and unadulterated glee at Britney's ostensible health and inevitable comeback.

You look amazing! The dress and shoes are fabulous, it's clear you've washed your extensions lately and there's nary a cigarette in sight.

You're making me so happy, Ms. Spears!!

September 27, 2008

Paul Newman has died.

At the age of 83, Paul Newman has passed away. He leaves behind a storied film career, a strong philanthropic legacy, five children and his wife of more than 50 years, Joanne Woodward. Through his Newman's Own food company, more than $220 million has been raised for charity. (He donated each penny of profits.)

When asked once about infidelity, Newman quipped, "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?" What an example for celebrities - and average folks - today. He'll be remembered fondly.

September 25, 2008

Princesses wear crowns, not Keds.

I love Anne Hathaway.

I adored her adorable Princess Diaries appearances and admire her now flourishing career. Most recently, I've applauded the tremendous grace she's shown during the very public legal troubles surrounding her ex-boyfriend. More than anything, I appreciate Anne's pristine record of remaining clothed in public and her old Hollywood sense of red carpet style.

This look, though, is something I cannot get behind - are those Keds?

Is this 5th grade? If Anne Hathaway wears it, you know it's going to be imitated. I'm not sporting those again. Too many years of my life were spent with the tiny blue Keds tag at my heel and we're not going back there. (Are we?)

Perhaps I should just thank her for leaving the Hypercolor shirts and pegged jeans at home on this jaunt outdoors.

September 24, 2008

I heart Suze.

Suze Orman is fabulous. Sometimes she scares the tar out of me, but she always speaks the truth. Did anyone see her appearance on Oprah yesterday? Holy righteous anger, y'all. That woman was on fire! And with good reason.

No time to discuss at the moment, but I wanted to share a few recent Suze-related articles to get your thoughts and tangle your brain waves for a bit.

Suze Orman answers your money questions (Freakonomics blog, Sept. '08)

Lay off, Suze Orman! (Time, April '07)

The Dollars and Sense of Suze Orman (backgrounder from '03)

September 23, 2008

Lots of words, but what am I saying?

See my profile section on the bar to your right? Am I still considered a "newlywed" 14 months into things?

Should I be rewriting these little bits of my blog? How does a person really go about giving the world a Cliffs Notes version of her personality in these tiny online paragraphs? I guess we could get into a lot of detail about perception versus reality, the "masks" we show to the world, the images we hope to portray versus the people we really are and many delicious layers of psychological excitement.

I, however, would prefer to discuss the last episode of Mad Men or Monday's Gossip Girl. Holy heart attack, people. No, I'm not shallow. I just devote enough brain power to serious things in my work life that I'm trying to keep it frothy here...

In typical Anne fashion, I have digressed. Bottom line - suggestions are welcome to revamp the blog and blogger (bloggess?!) descriptions. :)

And also, I miss you, far-away friends!

September 22, 2008

Hey, y'all!

What a crazy weekend - and such a gorgeous one at that!

I hope y'all did something fun and fabulous. I promise to catch up very very soon. Things on my to-do list to chat about with y'all are below; let me know if I'm missing anything we need to discuss!

1. Jessica Simpson's uber-classy beer ad (very late on this one, I know, KW)
2. Our countless favorite things about fall - football included, bien sur.
3. My incredible self-restraint when the fall J. Crew catalog arrived
4. Does going green mean canceling one's ten million magazine subscriptions?
5. So the Emmys were awful, hmm?
6. Fall shows are starting. What shows are you dying to see again? (And do we think Jim and Pam are engaged??)
7. Your must-DVR shows without fail...and mine. Poor Bradley may never get to TiVo anything before midnight again.
8. Speaking of #2, your favorite foreign phrases to toss casually about in daily conversations.
9. The top ten most annoying abbreviations used in said daily conversations. I am totes serious about this, y'all. A girl can only handle so much, so cut down on the 'breevs. Preesh.
10. Moisturizer, falling asleep with your make-up on, and magazines making 30 sound like the end of life.

Happy first day of fall, all!

September 17, 2008


1. Taylor Swift is precious. There's no room for debate here; it's science.

2. She performs songs she has written (or co-written) while remaining fully clothed.

3. I've always wanted curly hair. (I guess that's more of a sidebar.)

4. At 18, her lyrics are age-appropriate, contain the word "Daddy" and reference relatively high-school love stories. No 14-year-old Leann Rimes "How Do I Live Without You" here.

5. She's dating a Jonas Brother who wears a purity ring and publicly models some pretty unpopular (but v. admirable and timeless) values.

6. Did you read #5, Britney Spears? Justin and Britney of the '00s they are not.

6. This particular song has been in my head non-stop for five days.

7. The video is even better.

8. Almost two years after my own engagement, the proposal verse gives me goosebumps. Feel free to mock me as you feel led.

9. Is there an age limit on the wanting to be a princess thing? I guess Sarah Crewe from The Little Princess would argue no, but I'm not sure... Maybe it's in my DNA?

8. Feel free to discuss Taylor's all-around fabulousness or disagree. But first, watch the Love Story video!!

September 9, 2008


1. Went to Savannah to see our beautiful bride Bayne tie the knot. Their excitement must have chased off the giant hurricane that we were all expecting; Hanna shimmied up the coast and Savannah stayed sunny all weekend.

2. I'm trying to shake a very unusual migraine - I get them very rarely and this particular headache feels like staying around for a while. Much to my disappointment.

3. Our house is officially on the market! And cleaner than it's ever been. Even when family comes to visit! (That's saying something.) Now if Blue and I could just stop shedding - or turn blonde. It's a lot easier to notice dark hairs on light tiles! Please pray that the right buyer comes our way and that there's a cute house in downtown G'ville with our names written all over it.

4. Is it the weekend yet? I can't wait to go to Tigertown Saturday, sport some orange and purple, and experience the most exciting 25 seconds (and hopefully four quarters) in college football. At this point, though, a nap and a migraine pill would be equally thrilling.

5. Sorry for the sporadic silence and boring list of facts today - hope y'all are doing fabulously and missing me as much as I miss you. :)


September 4, 2008

Things I love

My sweet chocolate lab and his new best friend Harper

Harper's mom, my best friend Erin

Bradley's sense of humor even in awful Atlanta traffic

Clemson's campus this time of year

Clemson's campus any time of year

A clean, sparkly house

The smell of fresh laundry

Having folded said laundry already

Being greeted by this face in the morning

Giant give-away boxes for Goodwill

Pared down closets as a result

Fall shopping to (inevitably) restock

New cookbooks I will (surely) use. Right?

Fabulous eBay finds

The idea of fall but the sunshine of summer

Grits and eggs for dinner

A melt-in-your-mouth biscuit

Showing up a hurricane with a bright umbrella

The promise of a good night's sleep

A weekend on its way

My cute fall trench to comfort me when sundresses are packed away

Happy Thursday!

September 2, 2008

Venice Film Festival

Could Diane Kruger and Pacey be any more Mattel-like? Gorgeous and Mad Men-esque, non?

A few others displayed their fashion savvy at the Venice Film Festival. Surely some non-models made good fashion choices, but all I've been able to find is the creme de la creme of gorgeous attendees.

Everyone loves J. Crew!

I left out a must-visit blog in my recap of daily reading the other week. My newest addiction is the (updated multiple times daily!) J. Crew Aficionada site. If you're as obsessed as I am, or just desire a good coupon code and feedback from J. Crew's CEO Mickey Drexler, this is the place to be.

Jezebel is loving J. Crew's fall catalog, as am I... If only my wallet agreed!

August 24, 2008

Fall movies - romantic comedies aimed just at YOU

A few reasons I'm hooked on Sarah Haskins and her just-for-ladies humor:
1. I, too, love having movie theater popcorn for dinner.
2. Who doesn't like to cry for fun sometimes?
3. If marrying Colin Firth were an option, I think we'd have a polygamy problem on our hands. One at a time, ladies. Someone can have my place, as I'm convinced Bradley makes a better burger and enjoys sweet tea more than the winsome Mr. Firth ever could, talented though he may be.

Intrigued? Need to know more? Enjoy.

And please visit Current or Jezebel to see her other clips - absolutely hysterical. (Ivy League-educated hysterical, that is.)

Victory is sweeter than a pina colada

Or so I hear.

How cute is this Olympic gold medalist? I just want to fly to Jamaica and give her a big hug. (And then enjoy her island's beautiful beaches for a week to ten days....)

August 22, 2008

Our top twenty goal is in sight...

First of all, Go Tigers!!

Second of all, President Barker is adorable. I love him - such a great president.

Third of all, Go Tigers! Did I already say that?

Just one week to football season....where on Earth has summer gone?

August 21, 2008

Skirting the Not-so-Thin Issues

It seems you can't turn on a TV without hearing about America's devestating economic downturn, escalating prices at the pump and epidemic foreclosure rates from sea to shining sea. Doom, gloom and an upcoming election. No wonder I read my news. (Selectively.)

Fashion magazines, those perfumed, glossy pick-me-ups stuffing our mailboxes each month, have taken a different tack. Shimmering fur! Flecks of 14k gold in your lipgloss! Pure cashmere dresses! Four-figure boot prices!

There has to be a middle of the road approach, as even in the healthiest of economies I'll never wear a $2,000 dress to the grocery store.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting analysis of the wide range of in-touchness (yes, I just invented that word) these pubs span - and Anna Wintour is not the worst of them. C'mon, Elle.

August 20, 2008

J. Lo. Hew. still talking

This time she's talking about how she wishes she'd been nude from age 12 to 28 because she "looked good" - and encouraging other girls to prance around in bikinis before it's too late.

Am I misreading this? I appreciate that she's learning to accept her body and working to stay healthy, but if I were 18 and reading this I'd be terrified of my twenties. They're not that bad, y'all! Pretty fabulous, actually.

Sad news for DMB fans.

With the Rolling Stones still filling up stadiums 172 years after their debut, I selfishly imagined that we'd have our annual Dave Matthews Band summer fix for decades to come.

Alas, yesterday the band's saxophonist and founding member LeRoi Moore died of injuries received during an ATV accident. He was just 46. Sad news all around.

Such a loss for us, for the band, for the soundtrack of everyone's summer as they floated from town to town in their annual tour. It's hard to imagine their sound without him.

August 14, 2008


Jennifer Love Hewitt, I adored you in Party of Five. I loved you in Can't Hardly Wait. I haven't watched too many of your movies lately, but I still root for you as the girl from the late nineties who embodied all we hoped to be one day. Pretty, sweet, but totally natural.

So clearly I had your back (and your backside) last December when your newly engaged self sported a bikini, looked 100% human, and caught a lot of flack for it.

So why the quick change? Your weight wasn't anyone's business, according to you, eight months ago. But suddenly you've lost 18 pounds in 10 weeks and it's on the cover of US Weekly? I'm disappointed, Love.

The folks at Jezebel have it about right - seems like you want the world to stop talking about your body unless they're calling it thin. Sad news.

Read the last two paragraphs of this, sweetie, and take it to heart. Put it on your bumper sticker, if you must.

August 13, 2008

What's my excuse again?

Wow. Still haven't watched any of the Olympic games, but I'm super proud. Way to go, Phelps!

And to think I was proud for just making an appearance on a treadmill last night...

Sixteen and a half weeks to the Kiawah half marathon, folks. It's crunch time. I can't say I'll make an Olympian proud, but living to see the finish line will feel pretty fabulous to me!

August 12, 2008

Pig in Boots: Part Deux

Rain boots, that is!! I know I wrote about it when it first appeared on CNN, but since it has just come to Perez Hilton's attention, I thought it deserved another viewing.

Seriously, someone send my parents a pair of tiny Westie-sized rainboots for Cotton. I wouldn't say she has a phobia of mud, as this poor pig does, but it's certainly not her preference to get her pretty paws dirty.

Enjoy, gals! Colin Firth, Prince William, David Beckham, the "Charlie bit me!" boys, a tiny pig in rainboots. The British have given us so much. To whom should I send the thank you note?

In other news.

I have Christmas music stuck in my head, tailgate outfits lined up in my closet and fall shopping stuck on my internet browser. Maybe the high of 82 degrees is previewing fabulous things to come.
What have y'all been up to?

I love America.

I really do. But I have good reason to believe that I am the only proud citizen of our great United States who is not obsessed with talking about, watching, or talking about watching the Olympics.

Despite my love of all folks sequined, tiny and looping themselves speedily around a pair of uneven bars, I have seen nary a moment of this year's festivities or competitions. Not gymnastics, not synchronized swimming, not even handball. This is a serious downfall in my hope of becoming Stephen Colbert's second in command. Clearly I do not love America enough.

Or perhaps I just have a bee in my bonnet about the games' location this year. Communist China? Really? Human rights violations, blatant censorship, no plain turkey sandwiches with Baked Lays in sight - the list goes on.

Are you watching? Are you loving it? Am I an awful American?

P.S. I do still read the recaps. Hooray for Michael Phelps and Dara Torres. Go USA! But I'm still not watching. Feel free to attack my patriotism, call me a weirdo or banish me from eating any freedom fries in the near future. That'd probably do me some good anyhow - have you seen those gymnasts in their itty-bitty velvet and spandex outfits?

August 8, 2008

Really, John Edwards?


(As if it couldn't get any worse, now you've actually legitimized a story published in the Enquirer. Nicely done, sir.)

Pecan Pie Puppies

There are some things in life I absolutely adore – dogs, seersucker, shopping online, Southern-grown hydrangeas, Clemson people, supporting local entrepreneurs and helping animals. When I realized they were all coming together, I was over the moon!!

My friend Ryan has started an online store at etsy, one of my favorite online spots, and is selling adorable dog collars – with more pet-related inventory to come. You can read about her animal rescue efforts on her blog or see her darling dog collars in her etsy store.

So Cotton may be getting a new accessory for her fifth birthday this fall! Blue would eat that pretty faux peony before I even had the collar on and besides, I like to keep my lab a manly little man. The closest he got to exploring his girlie side was eating a few choice pieces of my laundry. Y'all spread the word! (About the collars, not Blue's less-than-pleasant previous pastime.)

One more thing: Upstate animal lovers, get excited for the Greenville Humane Society's Dog Days 2008! Starting August 14th, the GHS has planned two weeks of fun events for you and your pet. (A portion of the proceeds will benefit the GHS, one of our pro bono clients.) Enjoy a great meal out, pick up a steak for the grill or be a part of a wine tasting – all to help out our furry friends. Learn more here.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wow, Kate Hudson.

I'm not going to try and guess how many makeup artists, hair gurus, fashion stylists and art directors were involved in this "concept" of Kate Hudson as scary robo-creature. Travesty.

Why waste the hours and six inches of pancake paint when she's ten times more gorgeous here:

I know, I know - fashion, artistry, blah, blah. But c'mon. The Fug ladies are just as blown away. And if I looked anything like Kate Hudson, I'd prance around in a bikini, sans makeup, on every cover I could weasel my way onto. The headline would read: "I'm Kate Hudson, ugly general public. I look like this naturally. You may weep now."

Maybe that headline could lose a few words, but you get the idea.

August 6, 2008

I'm back!

Back from my four-day weekend, some R&R at the lake, a birthday shrimp boil with the fam, a half-day adventure at Doctor's Care, a sinus infection and some throat 'n ear fun thrown in for good measure. Back to work, back to lots of fluids, sleep, good food and a fair attempt at running.

So now you're caught up. (Except that some of said running took place yesterday morning before work. That's right, I pretended to be a morning person and almost pulled it off! Today, not so much.)

More to come - hope you're all fabulous!!

July 31, 2008

Joy to the world, all the boys and girls...

Or just the girlie girls.

See for yourself. Is anyone else silently clapping or squealing?

Daily Checks

A few blogs to read while I'm away - or any day, really. I have a number of blogs I check on a daily basis, so I'm going to add to this list as I think of them. I'd love to know what you read in the blogosphere!

Stuff Christians Like

Passive-Aggressive Notes
Entertainment Weekly's Pop Watch
Go Fug Yourself (adore these girls!)

I also love looking at the beautiful shots on Brooke Turner Photography blog, and seeing cute pictures of Maggie always makes my day.

I also keep up with the stories of Katherine Wolf, a Southern girl in LA whose family is living a miracle, Angie Smith and her family in Nashville and our church's own little miracle, Cohen McGowan.

Of course, I also have to feed my advice column addiction. Beyond my daily Dear Abby, Annie's Mailbox and Carolyn Hax fixes, there's Miss Manners on Wednesday, plus the Advice Goddess and Dear Prudence every Thursday.

Yes, I know I have a problem. To be fair, I usually check the "daily" columns all at once on weekends. And, more than that, at least I never need advice! (Ha.)

Also: Coming up on CNN: a story about doga - yoga for dogs. Really, CNN?

But I digress. Let me know what you're reading, what I should be reading and what you're writing. If you have a blog, I'm dying to know!


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