Monday, December 27, 2010

Tidying Up...

I hope all of my dear blogfriends had a most wonderful Christmas weekend! We had an absolutely beautiful white Christmas here in Alabama! Unbelievable, huh? Pretty Little Bare Feet donned those Uggs I told you about & had a grand old time frolicking in the snow. We even built a little miniature snowman, & adorned him with a camouflage hat&scarf set that My Prince's funny boss had used to accessorize a bottle of champagne for his Christmas gift.

(Cute, clever idea!)

If I dedicated this post to all the loot that Pretty Little Bare Feet scored from Santa, you'd probably stop following the blog of a lady that could so excessively spoil a not-even-two-year-old. ;)

(& I'd probably have to spend a day & a half working on that blog entry.)

Anyway, Pretty Little Bare Feet more than made up for the fact that she doesn't get a new toy every day of the year, or even every week of the year. More importantly, we shared the story of Jesus' birth with her, in the simplest way that she could understand. We are all just blessed beyond measure, & it was so much fun sharing all the joys of Christmas as a family this year.

Now the New Year is on its way in. Honestly, although I do make them, I'm not all that into New Year's resolutions.

(I feel like you can just as easily decide to break a habit or implement a change on May 6th or December 4th...or whenever...)

But I guess I do tend to see the whole


as a good starting point for some random reorganization projects.

Since I haven't been the most ambitious blogger (or blog-follower) the last couple months, I felt like maybe I should reorganize some things to help get myself back into the blogging game. The first step has been reorganizing my

Google reader,

I'm trying to reorganize everything into a way that makes sense for me to

first read my most important blogs
(i.e. those written by my dearest blogfriends);
& lastly read the nonessential-but-lovely blogs
(i.e. my beloved design, fashion, & recipe blogs).

& honestly, I don't think it would be so overwhelming for me to keep up with all of the blogs I follow, if I could only let myself skim some of them some of the time.

(That goes for the books&magazines I read, as well.)

I just can't stand not to read every single word. Maybe it's the lawyer in me - though I was that way well before I went to law school.

I'm also filtering out blogs that should have been removed from my bookmarks&Reader ages ago. Like, uh, the ones that don't exist anymore...

So as a result, there will be some temporary dust here at a Note on the Screen Door. Most noticeably, my collection of blog buttons & my list of "blogs that I follow" may disappear for a couple days. Not to worry, friends...unless you haven't updated in something like eight months, you'll probably find yourself right back in your normal spot on my blog sidebar before 2011. ;)

While I'm rolling up my sleeves & getting back to blogging business (so to speak), I want to ask...

...what do *you* want to see at a Note on the Screen Door in 2011?

(via: Poppytalk)

I can't explain it, but I am on a bit of a design kick lately...just itching to undertake some decorating projects around the house.

I'm also, of course, a bit of a shopaholic, so I'm more than eager to tackle some "window-shopping" & share my finds with y'all.

We have a second birthday party coming up that I am already a few days behind on planning.

I've been falling asleep earlier, resulting in my getting less reading done lately, & I haven't shared a lot of books with y'all the last couple months.

& I haven't been sharing a lot of recipes with y'all the last couple months, though I have been plenty busy in the kitchen.

Of course I am always eager to delve into the world of preppy...whether it's the latest Lilly Pulitzer email in my inbox, the newest preppy clothing line I've discovered, or a new preppy blog I've found that has a great Linky I want to participate in.

Oh, & there is one other reason I've had a hard time getting around to getting everything done lately...

...we are going to be welcoming our second baby this June!

Even though this isn't a personal blog, I am sure that planning for a new baby is going to lend itself to some blog inspiration in the upcoming year. ;)

So while I'm

& updating

my MacBook & all its many bookmarks&lists...I'll also be on the lookout for blog inspiration for 2011!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ugh, I Admit I Love Uggs...

I know, I know, I know. Many preps think Uggs are decidedly un-preppy. & furthermore, every other freshman girl at the local high school has a ubiquitous pair of the classic short boots in chestnut, right? So Uggs cannot possibly still be okay to wear, right?

I vote wrong. Well, okay, so maybe I wouldn't wear a pair of that style of Uggs.

But first of all, I never owned that same old pair of boots that everybody else had/has. My first Ugg purchase was actually the old Thelma style of moccasins.

(Not the less-attractive newer perforated version.)

& I still wear my oldest Uggs because they are perhaps the comfiest pair of cute shoes I've ever slid my feet into. They pretty much carried me through a winter of grad school classes, & another three winters of law school classes.

Sheepskin Dakota in Tobacco by Ugg Australia

The closest thing they seem to be carrying now is the Dakota. My old Thelmas, however, are not slippers; they are outdoor shoes with outdoor soles. & they look like penny loafers - more tailored, no ties.

(& as for tall, furry boots? Well, several years ago, I opted for the Coach Kimberly boots in black. They held up so nicely that the following year I got a pair of Coach Juniper boots in winter white. I haven't felt a need to buy any winter boots since, although I have bought ankle boots, cowgirl boots, equestrian boots, rain boots, etc. It is Alabama, so it's not like my "snow boots" get very much time out&about each year. ;))

So although I didn't really jump onto the Ugg trend, in the sense that I didn't buy the pair of Uggs that were actually trendy...I did fall in love with my Uggs.

Infant's Erin Sheepskin Boots in Soft Gold by Ugg Australia

& when it came time for Pretty Little Bare Feet's first pair of shoes, I bought her a pair of Erin baby sheepskin boots in soft gold. & her little growing pair of feet have gotten three seasons' worth of wear out of them...& numerous compliments. ;) & most importantly, she loves them!

So now that I've admitted my love for Uggs; at the risk of your criticism, I have to share some of my favorite Uggs of the season.

Mandah in Black by Jimmy Choo & Ugg Australia

(See, Jimmy Choo thinks Ugg is cool enough to collaborate with! So there! ;))

Classic Short Sparkles Sequin Boots in Gold by Ugg Australia

(I know, these are crazy, right?! But I like them. They'd be even cuter on Pretty Little Bare Feet, I'm sure. But I *think* I'm still cute&young enough to pull them off...maybe with a basic black sweater&leggings ensemble. Anyway, I *know* they'd look better on me than icky Oprah.)

Kid's Pilar Jacket in Blackberry Wine by Ugg Australia

(Love this coat for Pretty Little Bare Feet! She'd be swimming in it now, even in the 2T. But I have hope that maybe she'll be able to wear a 2T by next summer winter?)

(I think this is a cuter & much more tailored look for the "classic" style of Ugg. I think the buttons make them look more like boots & less like houseshoes. So more appropriate for wearing out&about with jeans, etc. I just don't think I can ever condone Uggs with dresses&skirts...)

Scuffette Suede Slippers in Chestnut by Ugg Australia

(Speaking of houseshoes, as we call 'em in the South...since I am aware of how delightfully cozy all of these sheepskin Ugg babies are, I think I would actually *wear* houseshoes more often if I had a pair of these. I always get cute flimsy little houseshoes, & then never wear them because socks are more comfortable&practical - especially the fuzzy ones! But our house is all hardwood floors in the downstairs, where I'm at most of the day, & these floors do get pretty cold in the winter. It'd also be nice to have something to slip on my feet - other than whatever heels I've worn that day & haven't put back in the closet yet - to run out to the mailbox or take the White Dog out.)

So, alright, out with it...if you hate Uggs, at least give me the credit that I don't love the same pair of Uggs that everybody in the world has.

(& has had for years.)

& if *you* love Uggs, are you willing to announce it? ;)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year... where did the time go this year?!

Dear readers, I have learned my lesson. Never again do I travel for Thanksgiving without doing all of my Christmas preparations beforehand! Last year we had Thanksgiving here at our house, & I was able to get pretty much all of my Christmas to-do list taken care of by December 1st. This year we were out of town until late on the Monday night following Thanksgiving. Pretty Little Bare Feet missed her first day back at nursery school to catch up on sleep, & I feel like I missed the whole first week of December to catch up after travel!

(I did manage to make it to the places I was supposed to be & uphold most of my time-sensitive commitments...I think...)

Then I realized at some point during the middle of last week that I was entirely unprepared for the Christmas season! Not only were we not listening to my carefully prepared annual CD mixes of old Christmas classics & new Christmas renditions...I hadn't even put up our Christmas trees! No wonder I didn't feel "in the Christmas spirit" yet.

So now that I've learned my lesson, & have had to work into the wee hours of the nights...

(Like Santa's elves, naturally!)

...I'll share with y'all what generally goes into my Christmas preparations.

& do let me know what I'm forgetting, or what you just have to do at your own home to get ready for the Holiday season!

1. I bake, bake, & bake some more. In addition to...

...baking&cooking for the actual Holiday dinners themselves...
(Thanksgiving & Christmas, respectively)
...I also participate in an annual cookie exchange with my momfriends,
& I bake something for our special Christmas playgroup.

I enjoy baking so much, & I always see so many great recipes to try this time of year. I often end up baking

while we're putting up Christmas trees,
while we're watching Christmas movies,

Those wonderful smells from the oven just seem to add to the festive feel of the season!

2. Usually sooner, rather than later, I update my Christmas card list. Last year I had the list finished & most of the addresses updated before the end of Thanksgiving weekend. This year I absolutely panicked when I received our first two Christmas cards in the mail.

(Last Thursday, I think.)

I had already ordered our Christmas cards, thank God, but the actual


Yikes, I still needed to update the list! I got started on it this weekend, though, & I'm hoping to get most, if not all, of our Christmas cards mailed out by the end of this week. Please tell me I'm not the only one who's a bit behind on this!

3. Last year, being on top of my game as I was, I had ordered our first batch of Christmas photo cards before Thanksgiving. They went out the first week after Thanksgiving. I ordered a second batch of photo cards (Really!) during Thanksgiving weekend & sent those out about a week afterward. I did a final batch of Christmas photo cards by taking advantage of a great sale at our Target portrait studio, & distributed all of those throughout the rest of the days leading up to Christmas.

I know that sounds excessive, but I also do photo cards for

Valentine's Day,
the 4th of July,
& Halloween.

I don't scrapbook, so it's a way for me to share updates with our closest family&friends, while also nicely preserving our memories of our growing girl for ourselves. Since I only do a small batch of cards for each of these occasions, I tend to go all out for Christmas.

(I invest in the more expensive, professional photo cards for our family & closest friends...but I must say that if you make sure to print your cards in a 5x7 size, with a matte finish, on cardstock if you can! can make less-expensive prints from your local drugstore or Target look so much nicer! That's how I keep our Christmas card list so long. =))

I was so proud of the family My Prince & I became when we I've embraced photo cards ever since the year we were married. Of course now I'm also so proud of Pretty Little Bare Feet, so I feel it's worth the extra dollars&cents to invest in photo cards for everybody.

(Even though there are some perfectly lovely boxed cards out there to be had!)

I'm also not always the best in the world at keeping in touch throughout the year, so I make an extra effort at Christmastime to reach out to all of my dearest friends to let them know I still think of them & wish them the best. Technically, it's bad etiquette not to at least sign a photo card, although that seems to be the norm these days. I always enclose a handwritten note - even if it's just a short one - to personalize the correspondence. This may be why the whole Christmas card thing is such a huge undertaking for me each year; but I enjoy doing it, however much time it consumes!

(& of course it never fails that somebody that you elected not to send a Christmas card to, since you hadn't heard anything from them in years, will decide to send a card this year - so it never hurts to have an extra stack of cards on hand!)

4. Of course, choosing the actual Christmas card - & the photo to grace it - can easily take a whole evening for me. I have several favorite places that I order stationery from online, & I can spend (& have spent) hours perusing the new designs each year. I'm also much more impressed with the designs that can be found on Etsy, than the standard fare that is offered from the local printers; so I'll be using a custom design from an Etsy seller for the cards that I'll be printing locally this year.

5. I buy Christmas stamps at the last possible minute every year, & I admit it. Sorry! I put the effort&time into other things (see #3), & I just don't pay a whole lot of attention to what seasonal stamp I get left with by the time I get around to buying them!

6. I wish I could say that like my mama, I start buying Christmas gifts for the following year on the day after Christmas. But I do not. However, I do usually start shopping for My Prince & Pretty Little Bare Feet as early as October.

Most years I have my Christmas shopping list made out well before Thanksgiving. Then, whatever gifts I haven't gotten yet, I keep an eye out for during my annual Black Friday madness. For any gifts I haven't found after that, I start shopping around every day until the list is finished. I'm usually able to avoid last-minute Christmas shopping.

(& if I receive a gift from somebody that I hadn't considered exchanging gifts with, I send a sweet thank you card with an invitation to supper or an offer to babysit or something.)

My card list is long, but my shopping list is pretty short. Of course we exchange gifts with one another at home, & with our closest family. But other than that, we only buy gifts for my best friend & her husband, & My Prince's best friend. I also put together smaller gifts for:

classroom/playgroup exchanges,
My Prince's office staff,
the nursery ladies at church,

(& sometimes those are the hardest to shop for!)

7. Although I do avoid last-minute shopping, I am awful about last-minute wrapping! Last year having a child in the house spurred me to get gifts wrapped much earlier, so they could be around&under the tree for most of the month of December. This year...well, yes, I'm behind on this one, too. =(

8. Last year I was able to decorate the house for Christmas & put trees up over Thanksgiving weekend. This year I didn't get around to it until this past week. But it's done!

What all do you decorate?

Until I got married...

(& really the first year or two that we were married, before we had a child...)

...I didn't put up a tree because I went home to my mama's house for Christmas, & usually several days before&after. So we've only been accumulating our own collection of Christmas decorations for a couple years, but I think we're well on our way to a festively decorated (but, um, not overdone&tacky) home for the Holidays.

This year I was able to hang a beautiful, huge red wreath that my mama bought for me last year after I lamented the sad excuse for a cheap wreath I had hung at the last minute. Now I need to find the perfect doormat!

We haven't really done anything in the way of front lawn decor. It's so easy to go overboard with it, I think, & most of our neighbors are very understated. Traditionally in our neighborhood, you only see ribbons on mailbox posts, & maybe one small tree strung with lights. If there are any decorations beyond that, they are generally just done with white lights, & not much of anybody actually strings lights on the houses in our neighborhood.

(I think that inflatables are banned by our homeowners' association. Thank God, I say.)

I also put up two Christmas trees.

Last year my white one went up in the kitchen. But My Prince bought me a stellar piece of exercise equipment to run to my heart's content on, which has taken up residence in the empty room at the end of the kitchen, formerly known as a "breakfast nook."

(Breakfast nooks, good grief. I am perfectly content eating all of our meals in our dining room! ;))

So now the white tree is in the front entryway. It is my "fun tree." I put

colorful ornaments,
fun ornaments,
& all of my many, many candy-&gingerbread-themed ornaments

on the white tree.

The larger, more traditional green tree goes up in the dining room, by the window. It has more classic ornaments, mostly in golds&reds. It also has My Prince's nicer University of Alabama ornaments, as well as my nicer Raggedy Ann ornaments.

Both trees are strung with solid white lights.

I also have several special Christmas accent pieces that I place throughout the

guest bathroom&bedroom,
& living room.

& I have a pretty great collection of Christmas plush that I add to Pretty Little Bare Feet's "downstairs" toys.

(The ones that get played with the most, & thus get to take up residence in our downstairs main rooms.)

A few Christmas essentials I still really need to get are:

suitable tree toppers,
(I am *so* picky about these!)
& tree skirts;
(Last year I borrowed extras from my mama.)
Christmas dishes;
(I have a few - just not a fine set...)
& Christmas linens.
(Currently it doesn't look seasonal in our master bathroom&bedroom at all.)

I also need to replace Pretty Little Bare Feet's stocking, as a local monogramming place mangled it last year.

(Thank God I found an absolutely wonderful place that has done beautiful work for me all year this year.)

We just love, love, love when our house is decorated for Christmas!

We also love attending local Christmas events&parties. & as Pretty Little Bare Feet is getting older, we enjoy the activities for children so much more than anything else. The delight&wonder in her eyes at every little thing -

the Christmas trees,
& her favorite this year, the Grinch! -

it is just magical! My heart literally fills to the brim every time I see her little eyes twinkle at some new discovery.

Now that I've finally caught back up on the everyday things, & prepared most of the Christmas things...I hope to be able to blog, & catch up on reading blogs, with a bit more regularity...

...but if I disappear for a few days again, just know it's because that precious little girl of mine is taking up every bit of my

& time...

...& I'll be back to blogging as soon as I feel caught up on all of the commitments I have to my beautiful family&friends.

'Tis the season!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What I Want This Weekend, Black Friday Edition 2010

Here are some pretty *bargains* I've come across this week,

from some blog
or catalog
or friend
or magazine
or another;
or just from my own browsing&shopping&surfing,

that are/were worth getting up & going shopping at 6am for...

(I was mostly Black Friday deal-hunting for Christmas&Birthday gifts for Pretty Little Bare Feet, but I did spy some things I desired for myself, too! It's inevitable!)

Barbie Pink Doll Set at Kohl's

Since My Prince's gift to Pretty Little Bare Feet this Christmas is a Grand Balcony dollhouse by Step2, which is suited for Barbie dolls, my goal for Black Friday shopping this year was to find some Barbie dolls at fabulous prices.

(It was super sweet of My Prince to choose this for her, since he redeemed a bazillion credit card points for it...& believe me, he could have easily chosen some pretty cool stuff for himself instead! We sort of started a tradition last year, that each of us gets Pretty Little Bare Feet one gift from "Daddy" & one gift from "Mommy." Then everything else comes from "Santa Claus." Last year I gave her her first pair of shoes - Erin baby sheepskin boots by Ugg! - & My Prince gave her a teddy bear wearing a University of Alabama sweater. This year my gift for her is a My Own Leaptop in purple by LeapFrog - to encourage her to play with her "own laptop" instead of my pink MacBook. ;))

Anyway, I got the very last one of those pink doll sets at the Kohl's my mama & I went to first thing this morning. Kohl's opened at 3am, which is ungodly even for those of us seasoned Black Friday earlybirds. Since we're traveling this year, & Pretty Little Bare Feet is having a hard time adjusting to sleeping in a different place, we didn't make it to Kohl's when the doors opened. We did get out at 6am, though, & we were able to hit about five different places & still get back (with breakfast for My Prince & Pretty Little Bare Feet!) by about 9am.

Some other little Christmas gifts I (Santa) picked up at Kohl's this morning, all at fifty percent off:

Barbie Fashionistas Sweetie Doll

Enchanted Nursery Beach Time Snow White

(These are too cute! Ours has red sunglasses on, though...)

My Little Pony Rainbow Dash

My Little Pony Cheerilee

& there were just a few other Black Friday deals I spotted, at several other stores, that piqued my interest:

My Prince & I discussed recently that as sad as it is to admit, we would play our Wii more often if we had more games that didn't require us to, um, get up & sweat. ;) So after expressing to one another a desire to expand our Wii game collection, as well as letting my mama know about our "need," we are hoping to find a new Wii game or two in the grownups' stockings this year.

(& I *was* a devoted Mario Brothers player back in my youth. ;))

Professional 600 Stand Mixer in Nickle Pearl by KitchenAid at Kohl's

As loyal as my hand mixer has been to me all these years, the last few times I have baked, I have longed for a big, bad stand mixer. The price on these at Kohl's today was unbelievable, but I certainly had not discussed bringing back such a big purchase with My Prince before embarking on my Black Friday mission.

(& my mama & I were in such a state trying to leave quickly&quietly in the dark, without waking anybody else up, neither one of us remembered our cell phones! So there was no calling to plead with him about the great deal either! =()

Logo Pillows by Lauren Ralph Lauren Bedding at Macy's

My very favorite pillows (& sheets, for that matter) are by Lauren Ralph Lauren bedding. I have this big huge body pillow by Lauren Ralph Lauren, that I've had since college, & it was fantastic when I was pregnant with Pretty Little Bare Feet. I still sleep with it most nights. & it's amazing how now that my pillows are all such good quality, I often don't even need more than one!

(I used to be convinced that I needed about five or six just for me!)

Cashmere Crewneck Sweater in Fuchsia Pink by Nicole by Nicole Miller at JCPenney

Because this girl can just never have enough cashmere sweaters. Or pink. ;)

(I may have also picked up the Katy Perry CD for fifty percent off at Borders. What can I say? Y'all know she's a guilty pleasure of mine! =))

T.G.I.F.! What do YOU want this weekend?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dearest Authors

I so enjoyed a recent post about favorite authors by one of my favorite classy bloggers, Bevy at It's a Golden Day... I have been a bookworm for as long as my mama can remember, which is even longer than I can remember. I am always delighted to find new authors or books to read, or just to share opinions about books with like-minded (or not-so-like-minded) friends. That's one reason I often sacrifice perfectly good sleeping hours to finish books for either of the two book clubs I belong to, despite my barely having the time to finish the stacks&stacks of books I've chosen to read in my own "spare" time.


Anyway, you can imagine my delight when I reached the end of this post about favorite authors & saw that I had been tagged to blog about my own favorite authors! Yippee! I can't think of a better topic for a Sunday evening blog post, especially since last night was a meeting with my monthly Saturday night book club.

(It's the less-structured, wine-soaked one. My other monthly book club meets on Friday mornings & welcomes toddlers in tow. ;))

So, as difficult as it is for me to narrow my looong list of favorite authors down to fifteen, here goes...


*List your fifteen most favorite authors.
*Tag fifteen bloggers to list their fifteen most favorite authors.
*Let them know they've been tagged.

(These are *mostly* in alphabetical order, rather than in order of importance.)

1. God

As a Christian, there is no greater, more influential Book than the Holy Bible.

From my childhood beginnings in Sunday School classes at old Southern Baptist churches;
to my hunger to learn more about God & His will for my life, upon graduating high school;
to my reliance today upon what the Bible teaches about marriage, parenting, etc...

He never changes;
He is always the same.

I have a particular fondness for the books of I&II Corinthians, I&II Peter, Psalms, & Ruth.

2. Lisa Birnbach

What can I say? Perhaps this blog would not have its preppy inspiration, & it's possible I would not properly "speak" the preppy language, without The Official Preppy Handbook.

(Or at least not so "authentically," anyway...)

Although I am certain my mama can tell you she spotted my preppy leanings all the way back in elementary school, I think most Southern preps grow up in a somewhat different environment from that which is depicted in The Official Preppy Handbook. The South has its own ways, & that extends to its preppy ways. Without the original Handbook, it could have been years before I knew about playing squash or the Top Ten. ;)

(Well, you know...preppy Southerners are more likely to play tennis, & choose between Birmingham-Southern&Duke.)

& True Prep was absolutely worth the wait, & absolutely lives up to the hype!

3. Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre was the very first novel I can remember reading that left me in tears. No other book had moved me so emotionally before that I literally couldn't put it down & had to find out what happened to characters I had come to love. I read it as a teenager, without its being assigned for anything, after catching snippets of the old black&white film on television. My interest was piqued, so I obtained a copy of the book & immersed myself in the cold British halls of Lowood&Thornfield. Truly one of the finest happy (bittersweet) endings to be found in literature.

4. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Surprisingly enough, my favorite Fitzgerald novel is not The Great Gatsby, although I do love it dearly. My favorite is This Side of Paradise. To me there is something that seems somehow more tragic about it, or at least more deeply felt. & the biographies of Fitzgerald & his wife Zelda are fascinatingly tragic, as well.

5. Fannie Flagg

I couldn't even tell you how old I was when I read my first Fannie Flagg novel, but I can tell you it was probably "too young." My stepmama had read & thoroughly enjoyed Daisy Fay & the Miracle Man, & she had passed it along to my older stepsister.

(Who was probably at least *closer* to an appropriate age.)

My curiosity & voracious appetite for books led me to think I should read it, too. I remember that it took me a looong time to finish - in fact, I think I remember starting it once & giving up, then picking it up the following summer & plodding through it to the end. I was so proud of myself for reading that big ol' adult book. Although I'm certain there were probably some things in there I shouldn't have been reading about, what I remember best about it were

the creatively named characters,
the tales about the pageant circuit,
& the vivid depictions of Southern culture.

I should probably re-read it as an adult...I also enjoyed reading Flagg's classic Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I've selected her latest novel, I Still Dream About You, for one of my December book clubs.

6. John Grisham

Probably one of the foundations for my interest in the law profession, the works of John Grisham were my absolute favorite novels to read during the last couple years of high school, into the first couple years of college. I enjoyed quite a few of the legal page-turners, including:

& I actually thought the film versions of

A Time to Kill,
The Firm,
The Client,
& The Rainmaker

were quite good. The Runaway Jury was a good movie...but it had virtually nothing to do with the book of the same name.

Anyway, once I got to law school, all fictional liberties Grisham had taken in his depiction of the legal profession became abundantly clear. ;) I have yet to come across any portrayal of law school, or the legal profession, that can adequately prepare you for its reality!

7. Joshilyn Jackson

Although her most recent work, Backseat Saints, didn't feel up to her usual standards (in my, uh, humble opinion); Jackson's previous three novels are all stellar works of modern Southern literature. I highly recommend Between, Georgia; The Girl Who Stopped Swimming; & Gods in Alabama.

8. Madeleine L'Engle

As a child I loved the most famous of L'Engle's works, A Wrinkle in Time. I look forward to reading it again with my own daughter one day; & I think My Prince will also enjoy it, with its many scientific concepts. But years later, as a young adult in college, I realized that there are sequels to this book, so I re-read it & then proceeded to read all of its sequels. I found it all every bit as captivating as an adult, perhaps even more so. I also went on to read some of L'Engle's other fictional works, including:

L'Engle was an immensely talented writer, & I think many young readers today could benefit from a revival of her works. Her characters could certainly hold their own amongst the Harry Potters & Lemony Snickets of this generation.

9. Ayn Rand

Although many great authors have written works that have been inspirational & thought-provoking to me, I can think of no other author of fiction that has been so influential to my life. I was introduced to Rand during my freshman year of college, by a professor that also proved to be a great influence on my life. Unlike many readers of Rand's works, I actually began with Atlas Shrugged & read The Fountainhead afterward. During my college years, I read most (if not all) of Rand's works, both fiction&non-fiction. In fact, I absorbed myself in her works, sometimes obsessively.

There are many who dismiss Rand's philosophy because of her lack of religious belief. Certainly there is no one single philosophy I can honestly say I apply to all areas of my life. & because I do try to live a life guided by Christian principles, I obviously dismiss Rand's atheism as incongruent with my own beliefs.

However, when it comes to concepts of individual rights & political theory, I think Rand's philosophy is mostly spot-on.

(I am also a big fan of Aristotle, Edmund Burke, Friedrich Hayek, & John Locke. But no single work of theirs ever actually *changed* my life in the way that Atlas Shrugged did.)

10. Francine Rivers

At the end of my first full semester of law school, I was painfully aware that my Christmas break was going to be my last hope for getting any "reading for pleasure" done before the insane spring semester got underway. Since three of my regular law school lunch pals had insisted I had to read Rivers, especially Redeeming Love, I spent that Christmas break doing just that. & they were right! You have to read Redeeming Love, as well as the Mark of the Lion trilogy. All are fantastic.

My mama just finished the first two novels in Rivers' newest series, Marta's Legacy, & now those are also on my to-read list.

11. Dr. Laura Schlessinger

You may have been wondering if Dr. Laura would make the list. After all, I have blogged about her before. Quite frankly, I think she's fab.

(I think it's a shame that she's ending her radio show over a controversy that even a number of outspoken liberal &/or minority personalities were able to see was taken out of context. & it's a shame that the mainstream media only seems to encourage free speech for certain platforms...)

Anyway, I suppose her directness can be off-putting.

(But really, if you don't want to change anything about yourself, don't call a therapist on nationally syndicated radio, right?)

But her philosophy on family&marriage is fantastic...Analogously, I suppose Dr. Laura is to my domestic life, as Rand is to my civil life. ;)

12. Curtis Sittenfeld

American Wife is one of the best books I've read this year. Sittenfeld writes in a way that makes private people&places seem accessible&familiar - without feeling exploitative or really taking away from what makes them special. I suppose it's hard to explain, so I recommend you just read American Wife or Prep. I only wish Sittenfeld had a blog for us to follow!

13. Kathryn Stockett

I know, I know. She's only written one far! But The Help is that good. I anxiously await more works from this talented author. & I admit it, I'm kind of anxiously awaiting the film adaptation...I hope it doesn't disappoint!

(Though the book *is* always better, film adaptations can be good, too. ;))

14. Leo Tolstoy

War&Peace really is a masterpiece work of literature. Yes, it is colossal in length. But it is worth every page! So is Anna Karenina. & don't ask me to choose which one is my favorite. They are both exquisite for the same attention to detail in the creation of such flawed, lovable characters & the dramatic stages upon which their lives are set.

15. Edith Wharton

My favorites by Wharton are The Custom of the Country & The Age of Innocence. I love all of the depictions of early twentieth-century high society in the city. I am vaguely aware that there was a film adaptation of The Age of Innocence a number of years ago. I haven't sought it out because I tend to fall into the "the book was better" camp when it comes to these things, & it often seems to be even harder to skillfully adapt classic literary period pieces.

(Although there are, of course, film adaptations I love...when pressed, I usually still have to admit the book was better!)

Blogs I tag, by bloggers whose bookshelves I want to take a peek at...