Friday, February 26, 2010

DOING What I Want This Weekend, February 26th, 2010

I am... the beach...

...with my family...

...drinking frozen margaritas...

...eating fresh seafood...

...& shopping...

...what else could I possibly want this weekend?

Be back for

(& please stay tuned for an *award* I am so excited to have received, a recipe or two I'm dying to share, & more!)

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wishful Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

"I wish..."

I wish I could play a character's role in a book, & it would be...Cornelia Brown, from Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos.

Ooo, I am so excited about this one! It's ambitious of me to even hope to do this, but I'm so excited about this one that I'm going to try to read every linked Wishful Wednesday post for it! So I can read about booksbooksbooks, & add even more to the already overwhelming, ridiculous to-read lists&stacks of books I've already got! Woo hoo!

Cornelia is one of my favorite characters, from one of my favorite books that I've read for my book club. Belong to Me was actually the book club pick, but I just couldn't stand to

read a book,
that I knew was the sequel to another book,
without actually reading the first book first.

(Neurotic? OCD? Maybe a bit of both, & I've never denied it.)

Both are great books, which I highly recommend, even if you think it looks like "chick lit," & you think you don't like chick lit. It's much deeper than that, but if you like chick lit, it's for you, too.

Cornelia is a classic film junkie, & her story's references to so many classic films inspired me to create a list of classic films I need to see.

(Another day, another list.)

Her story is, yep,

a romantic one,
but it's surprisingly not predictable,
even when I thought I had it figured out.

& it's definitely got a much bigger twist than your usual fluffy chick lit's, "Oh, she lost her job," or, "Oh, no, she made a huge mistake...will he ever forgive her?!"

She manages a Philadelphia coffee shop, despite being overeducated&overqualified for it. Because she loves it! I can relate to that,

as my law degree sits upstairs in our "office,"
neither framed nor hung yet,
while I "stay at home" with Pretty Little Bare Feet
(which actually entails leaving home pretty frequently!).

& I think, secretly, one of the dream jobs I have that appeals to me the most, is to own&manage my own little shop full of

gourmet candy,
& beautiful stationery.
& maybe some coffee, too.

(& in the second book, she becomes a stay-at-home mama, which actually doesn't predict the ending to the first book the way you may think it does. & what I really love is that the books don't portray stay-at-home mamas as unfulfilled, or searching for themselves, or any of the usually cliched, post-modernist, feminist crap, that makes ladies think they can't be fulfilled, happy, or themselves if they commit to being full-time mamas&wives. Pish posh, I say.)

Cornelia is

& old-fashioned,

which are all attributes that I think you could use to describe my own character, as well.

& she's a short, tiny blonde (kind of like moi), who I can totally picture Renee Zellweger playing in the film version.

Although I usually get comparisons to Katherine Heigl.

Or Michelle Williams.

OH - & both of these books are just filled with absolutely wonderful character names, & we all know how obsessed I am with

baby names,
character names,

So go read both of these books. & maybe think about me every now&then (like when Cornelia, or another of my favorite characters, Piper, does something adorable or witty, hehe). & then let me know that you loved them as much as I did!

(Even though, yes, they are Yankees. If you're going to really picture me, you're going to have to give her a more colorful style, & a Southern accent. ;))

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Style Monday, February 22nd, 2010

In continuing with the "ohmygoodness, Mr. Groundhog, can't we please just have spring already?" frame of mind, that I've been in since my spring-themed shopping post Friday...'s gardening time on My Style Monday.

Let me just go right ahead & tell y'all...

...I can't garden.

Can't. Black thumb.

This isn't like with sewing,

where I just haven't really given it my all enough yet to really get the hang of it,
but I'm dying to,
& intend to.

This isn't like balancing the checkbook,

where I can do it,
I'm just slow as Christmas,
& so grateful that My Prince does it for us.

I mean I really. Can't. Garden.

I can keep

& toddlers

alive. I can do a lot of other things that other people can't do. So I'm not going to beat myself up for not having one teeny-tiny glimmer of gardening

or inspiration to create an ability that God didn't give me.

What I do a love of all things pretty (as I've mentioned).

What I also a Prince.

& the good Lord created My Prince just for me, because He knows that I can't garden to save my life, & this man loooves

to create,
& tend to the lawn&garden.

At our old house, we had a huge yard that needed some serious TLC when we moved in. We moved in right at the start of summer, & we didn't have an infant to care for back then. So My Prince put his

& muscle

into creating a little sliver of paradise in our backyard. We had

a hammock,
a pretty little flower garden,
a sweet little pond that attracted little birds&fish,
a rose bush in the front yard.

It was beautiful!

& I even picked out a lot of the flowers & planned where they should go. I also picked out all of the lawn

& statues,
& things,

so I did feel like I contributed a bit. I even did some digging & getting in the dirt before I got first-trimester nauseated & carried my feeble fanny back inside the house.

So, I have no doubt that My Prince (& I?) will be able to do the same kind of magic in the unloved, overgrown backyard at our new house. We had so much to tend to with

moving in,
new furniture,

- oh, & the whole infant thing - that the most My Prince was really able to do last summer was get into a nasty fight with some poison ivy, that was growing wild on one side of the house.

(He lost the first round, but he came back triumphant.)

So, I present to you, My Style Monday readers, the garden-y, outdoorsy, side of me;
told through photos of pretty things, that I could never create or keep alive;
but could pick out a great spot for...

(& would certainly love to spend the time in...I do love to be outdoors!)

(source: Country Sampler)

Geometric-Patterned Garden Stool from HomeGoods

(Kate Walsh's backyard)

Raised Herb Garden Planter from Simply Rustic Woodworking

(source: Bungalow)

Have a fantastic week! Hope for sunshine, wherever you are!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sips of the South: Southern Etiquette

Well, y'all, I was really, truly about to do my burrito post I've been yammering about for days.

But then I came across an article,
that reminded me of another article,
that just plain makes me roll my eyes,
& shake my head in disgust.

& both of these articles reminded me that I had a Sips of the South post to write that would be just the perfect outlet for expressing my distaste at what has become an all-too-common, serious breach of etiquette & good taste - even here in my beloved South!

So without further adieu...

This week we are discussing a variety of

etiquette tips,
& manners,
specifically "Southern etiquette."

My origins of learning etiquette were sort of like the ones Sweet Tea & Biscuits summarized in her post, about "just growing up knowing." When I was a little girl, the surest way to know I wasn't minding my manners was to hear, "That's not ladylike," from my granny or my mama. This could also sometimes apply to the failure to proper follow etiquette. If it was really rude, I'd hear, "That's ugly," or worse yet, "That's vulgar." Usually, though, those scoldings were reserved for my male cousins.

But, as Sweet Tea & Biscuits also pointed out, etiquette&manners are two different concepts.

Etiquette is a more


way of doing things - there are rules for

& the proper social behaviors at

the table,

An invaluable resource for all things etiquette is the Emily Post Institute, also home to

a blog for parents who want to teach their children good manners;

a blog for the discussion of proper etiquette.

(Note that there are different blogs for etiquette&manners!)

Manners are those rules that you are taught from the time you first start toddling around. You mind them.

You say, "No, ma'am," or "Yes, ma'am."
You say "please" & "thank you."
You share with your friends&siblings.
You don't sass your mama.

You mind your manners to keep from being rude or unkind.

You follow proper etiquette to keep from being

improper, or

Sweet Tea & Biscuits linked us to a fabulous wealth of etiquette information, especially tailored for the Southern crowd, over at Etiquette with Miss Janice.

I was delighted to find, on her great list of important reminders of Southern social graces, this particular gem, which inspired this particular rant post:

"...if you can be ready to leave the house in less than 30 minutes, you probably shouldn’t be leaving the house at all."


Who on earth has declared that it is socially acceptable to appear

at the grocery store,
the nursery school,
or heaven forbid,
the church-house,

in pajamas or sweatpants?

Now, I admit that since having Pretty Little Bare Feet, I have been caught at the grocery store once or twice in a pair of sweatpants or yoga pants. But I promise I'm not exaggerating when I say only once or twice, & I promise you I had at least lipstick&moisturizer on my face.


if it hadn't become such the norm,
& not the exception,
to appear in public dressed this way,

I would have never dreamed of heading out dressed like that at all! I'm fairly certain that, in the South, at least, it is preferable that

you be a few minutes late,
& presentable,
than a few minutes early,
& unkempt.

Right, ladies?

So...I have to say, I can fully support&understand the recent actions of a couple private businesses&schools in England that have said:

NO pajamas!

(source: ParentDish)

Ladies, where do you draw the line?

Is it okay to wear pajamas during the day,
if you don't leave the house?
Or do you get dressed to shoes,
as those of us who follow FlyLady say?
Is it okay to wear

or velour suits...

...but not okay to wear pajamas?

I think a lot of the confusion about what is, & what is not, okay, comes from the apparent confusion over what are, & what are not, pajamas.

I would never dream of wearing pajamas to drop Pretty Little Bare Feet off at school. Wouldn't it be hypocritical to have her get dressed&ready, but to stay rolled-out-of-bed sloppy myself? I think it would.

I usually work out in running shorts or yoga pants. If I stop at the grocery store after going to the gym, & I am still wearing

my running shorts,
or yoga pants,
& a sweatshirt;

I am not going to

go home,
& then return to the store.

However, I'm also not going to do my weekly shopping in my sweaty, workout state - I'm going to grab the one or two things I need for that evening & leave quickly. But if I've been wearing yoga pants at home, while cleaning or "lounging around," I will certainly change into "real clothes" before going to the grocery store (or anyplace else).

We get dressed every day, the exceptions being

when one of us is sick,
or if Pretty Little Bare Feet has had a (rare) bad night,
which means I'm planning on taking a nap when she does in the afternoon.

"Please Remove Your Shoes" Damask Sign from Girlfriends Children's Decor

We don't get dressed down to shoes if we don't leave the house, as we don't wear our shoes inside the house. However,

we leave the house most days,
& we put on our shoes before we go,
& we take them off,
& put them up first thing,
when we get back.

As I said before, I am a big fan of "throwing on a dress," because it looks so much more put-together than "throwing on jeans." In the colder months, however, my general "go-to" outfit is more like

a sweater,
over a button-up,
with cords,
or slacks,
or a skirt&tights.

My tee shirts are pretty much for

& working out.

Growing up, I played outside a lot. When I played outside with my male cousins, or helped my pawpaw out in the garden, I wore "play clothes." These were usually little mix&match outfits, consisting of little

& tops.

But I have never worn anything but a dress or skirt to church - ever. It's just not how I was raised. I don't judge anybody else who does, as I know Jesus loves me, even in my bathrobe...but I do personally feel that it's inappropriate to wear "casual" clothing like jeans to church. Not wrong - just inappropriate. & that's because I was raised to believe that the proper etiquette for church was to wear a nice dress, & "act like a lady," in God's house. I was not allowed to play with toys during church, & we did not have "children's church" when I was little. I sat in the pew, quietly, & once I reached a certain age (maybe six or so?), I was no longer allowed to "nod off" to take a nap in church either.

(I was allowed to draw&write on the bulletins, thank God, as I was a bit of an A.D.D. kid, & needed something to keep me occupied once the singing was over - I might grasp the general gist of the sermon, but I surely did not pay attention to it for very long.)

You may have seen in one of my Post It Note Tuesdays that one of my favorite quotes is,

I pretty much believe that...

...but please share...

what are your thoughts on "getting ready to go out?"
How much time does it take?
Do you have a weekday routine that gets you out of the house quickly,
but presentably,
& an evening,
or weekend,
that gives you more time for yourself?
Do you do some things the night before?

& do you agree that...

"...if you can be ready to leave the house in less than 30 minutes, you probably shouldn’t be leaving the house at all..."?

Friday, February 19, 2010

What I Want This Weekend, February 19th, 2010

Here are some pretty things 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 I need to convince My Prince to dole out the cash for...

Yes, my lovely liberal followers&friends (bless your hearts), there is also a "Little Democrat." But seriously, whatever your party preference, how stinkin' adorable are these little boogers? & they're inexpensive! How much do I love Target for their consistently awesome efforts to keep us all cute for less! I have not been in the store since I came across this on the website, but I don't think it was listed as an online exclusive, so I am going to keep an eye out for it when I go grocery shopping at Target tomorrow.

(Have y'all noticed that the Target website doesn't do the same markdowns as your local Target? Sometimes they don't discount the same merchandise at all, even after it's been clearanced at the store.)

I bought this long-sleeve stripe sweater in angus pink, at our local Target, for Pretty Little Bare Feet. I paid something like $6.49, but it is still $12.99 on the website. Just something to be aware of!

I have also recently come across some deliciously cute new spring&summer clothes for Spoiled Pretty Little Bare Feet at the always reliable Gap.

(Yes, you remember what I said about how I worked for Banana Republic & Gap all through college, right? It's true...for whatever reason, I still maintain a degree of loyalty to them today. They were a great company to work for, their clothes are usually classic - but still trendy enough to merit looking at the new merchandise, I pretty much never have to try anything on because their sizing is so consistent, & they always run fabulous sales - & I have to admit I really, really miss the awesome employee discount.)

Remember the search for Pretty Little Bare Feet's new bathing suit? It continues. Unless I end up picking this one up next time I'm at the Gap. Which may be in the next few days, depending on where we decide to stay during our little almost-spontaneous, delayed-again jaunt to the beach. It's obviously too cold to actually get in the ocean, but most

beach houses,
& cottages

are limited to outdoor pools. We had a less-than-stellar experience with our pet-friendly hotel last year, though, & we don't like to travel without the White Dog.

(She gets depressed, has separation anxiety, & usually starves herself. & I can't relax when anybody other than my mama or My Prince is taking care of her instead of me.)

Side note...have any of you ever used Vacation Rentals by Owner? We had friends use them for trips to California & Vancouver, & they suggested it. We've rented through agencies that put us in direct contact with the owners, for the rental, but we've never used this exact kind of company. I'm interested in reviews?

This is another bathing suit option I've found that I really, really love. In fact, I love pretty much every single item in the Tropical Sea collection at Janie&Jack. This is such a cute shop for baby&children's clothing,

& it feels like it's almost undiscovered in my area,
although I used to live amongst more mommies that were hip to it,
& I do see it pop up in a blog or magazine every now&then.

& they have such cute little boys' clothes, too. My friends that have sons always lament to me how hard it is to find cute little boys' clothes, but I think they're everywhere if you just make an effort to look beyond the convenient, local places to shop. I admit it's nice that I sometimes find cute little things for Pretty Little Bare Feet when I'm grocery shopping at Target. But if I'm ever the mommy of a little boy, & am unimpressed with everything I find at the "usual" shops, you can bet I'll be scouring

& every other little boutique or designer shop I've got bookmarked.

I know you'll be so surprised that I'm closing out this post with two items at the top of my neverending Lilly Pulitzer list...

I'm coveting this particular dress right now because it was finally

& warm enough

out today that My Prince & I took Pretty Little Bare Feet & the White Dog for a relaxing walk around the neighborhood this afternoon. It's not quite feeling like spring yet, but after a ridiculously bitter&long winter, a couple days of sunshine have got me in the mood for spring.

& I know I'm going to need a go-to dress for the day-to-day

book clubs,
grocery runs,
lunch dates,
shopping trips,

I hear great things about the comfort&fit of this pretty little dress, & mygoodness, it's so colorful&cute!

I love dresses, especially when the weather's warm. I find them so much more comfortable than jeans or pants, & they're an effortless way to look chic&put-together. I feel like if I'm in a cute dress, it might not be quite as noticeable if I didn't have the time to do anything other than put my hair up, or if the only makeup I've applied is moisturizer&lipstick.


...if I do end up in

a crewneck,
or tee,
or shorts,

I'm pretty sure the quick addition of this gorgeous little necklace will style up my basics. & it's only $48! That is a steal!!!

I am also soinlove with a magnificent little bracelet I found at my closest Lilly Via is a multistrand pearl bracelet, with a pink gem turtle charm. There were several different colorful charms, on similar bracelets, as well. The associate I spoke with that night claimed the bracelet was "a Lilly," but I'm fairly certain that she was incorrect. I think I keep up with Lilly pretty well, & I haven't seen any mentions of anything like it anywhere. Nor was I able to find anything like it when I looked it up online at home, to show My Prince. Any ideas? I'm going to drag him in there to see it with me anyway, as I don't who care who makes them - they're beautiful. & I want one!!!

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