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...

Friday, November 12, 2010

What I Want This Weekend, November 12th, 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...

Drapey Sequin Tee in Dark Pewter by J. Crew

During one of my recent closet clean-outs (which I routinely do a couple times a year), I am quite certain I got rid of a pink sequin tank, determining it inappropriate for my vision of a posh mama wardrobe.

(Although I did just hear a week or two ago that I look nineteen! Woohoo!)

However, I think the color&cut on this chic little J. Crew top make it ideal for a number of upcoming occasions this mama may find herself attending. & it looks comfortable!


Diagonal Ribbed Trouser Socks in Black by J. Crew

& when I am in a J. Crew store, I always end up adding at least a pair or two of socks to my purchases.

For years I have been devoted to J. Crew socks. I don't know what it is about them, but they are so comfortable & are of such good quality that they can endure multiple launderings without showing wear. So they always end up being my favorite socks. Aside from a few "around-the-house" fuzzy lounging socks, my sock drawer is almost exclusively filled with J. Crew socks. & if you shop in store, they are almost always on some kind of promotion.

(Buy two pairs & get a third half off, or something to that effect...)

Try them if you haven't - I bet your feet will become loyal, too!


Okay, so technically we already bought this. But how excited am I that I found this before our upcoming road trip over the Thanksgiving holiday? We're going to be in a vehicle for a looong time. Although Pretty Little Bare Feet has been a pretty good traveler on the last few road trips we've taken, they've been relatively short trips in comparison to the next one we're going on.

(I am not a big fan of televisions in vehicles, but I think they bother me most when they are used on those everyday mundane commutes to&from school - you know, when I feel like it would be an ideal time for conversation. Plus I grew up reading books on road trips & generally entertaining myself just fine without a television in our vehicle. However, it has been pointed out to me by an acquaintance of mine that when we were children, we weren't strapped in to carseats for nearly as long, nor were we confined to booster seats for years after that. That being the case, I did relent & allow for a portable DVD player to accompany us on our trip to Orlando last summer, & it was used moderately&successfully enough that I am open to bringing one on longer trips in the future.)

Anyway, I'm all for new ideas to keep a toddler content to ride in a vehicle. I am really excited about this lap desk because Pretty Little Bare Feet seems to prefer coloring (or scribbling with anything, really) to most any other activity right now. & she also seems to prefer blank pages to coloring in coloring books. So I have high hopes that this lap desk will entertain Pretty Little Bare Feet when she's in her carseat for longer periods of time.

Oh, & the most exciting part of all?! Those markers will only write on the special kind of paper that comes in the tablet with the lap desk. So no mess all over everything (& everybody) else in the vehicle!


Last Dance Silver Chains&Pearls Necklace by Alex Keller

Those of you that have been reading my blog for a long time (or that know me) may have noticed that I am pretty particular (one might even say boring) when it comes to jewelry. It's just not an area in which I often follow trends or take risks. I like my jewelry relatively


...& I prefer to have a few pieces of the "real thing" from, say, Tiffany&Co.; rather than an overflowing box of trendy trinkets of fashion jewelry.

(Or at least I *think* that's what they call it these days.)

Not that I have an aversion to fashion jewelry - I am just not as interested in jewelry as I am in other areas of my wardrobe, so I don't pay as much attention to it (or shop for it as often) as I do to other things. But I do have an appreciation for anybody that has a great eye for how to inexpensively accessorize with fun, playful jewelry!

That being said, when I do come across a piece I really like, I usually wear it to death. This is often because the pieces I'm drawn to are very much pieces you can wear with pretty much anything.

This necklace is one of those pieces. I think it would be fabulous with jeans & a simple white crewneck sweater. & equally fabulous with a little black cocktail dress. & the price is unbelievable!

Double-Cloth Salon Coat in Dark Plum by J. Crew

Okay, I really didn't mean to go back to J. Crew again in this post.

But the weather has finally been turning cold, rather than just cooling off.

(At least on some days.)

& this coat may be my favorite that I have come across recently.

Feminine, yet polished. Flattering cut. & that dark plum color is a perfect everyday alternative to black or tan.

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Sniffles

Sorry, y'all, what can I say? It's Wordless Wednesday, so I won't say much...

It's that time of year when it seems like at least one person in our household is sick at any given time...& it's been me more than anybody this year. =(

Between sinus infections & tummy bugs...

(& fall festivals & trick-or-treating)

...I haven't been giving the old blog the attention it deserves.

Looking back, I actually struggled to get going with blogging regularly back when I first started this blog, which was during these crazy months last year. It was at the beginning of this year, & in the springtime, that I really picked up speed & became able to devote the kind of attention to blogging that I aim for.

So thank you for bearing with me while I attempt to balance the many commitments&tasks I've put on my increasingly over-packed schedule. I appreciate you bloggers&readers! =)