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the best kinds of presents


I love receiving a gift that I didn’t even know I wanted but was absolutely positively perfect for me. In Christmas of 2010, I received a full set of Anthropologie china from my then-fiance’s mom and grandmother and couldn’t stop talking about it for months. Seriously. Months. For one of my wedding presents, my grandmother gave me a gorgeous watch, the kind I’d always admired but never thought I would ever own. (I also thought it was way too beautiful to wear, but I’ve gotten over that!) Most recently, for one of my birthday gifts, husband presented me with the most useful little thing ever: the fitbit ultra.

Keep in mind, I’m not a very active girl. My dream gifts include china and watches after all. But this little baby is amazing. Not only does it track how many steps I take, floors I climb, and miles I travel, but it also gauges how much effort I’ve exerted and how well I sleep. Already, it’s motivated me to be more active so that I match the daily numbers that the program has set for me as a goal. It was the perfect gift to give someone who is not very techie and is adamant about being healthier in 2012. Now the only problem is that his birthday is in March, and I need to top his presents… Must start shopping! Any suggestions?


taylor swift gets vogued


As a newly transplanted Nashvillian new to the country scene, I have no problem proclaiming that I love Taylor Swift. Yes, there is something to be said about the overdone OMG face that she makes whenever she wins an award (I have to admit that I think it is fake), and she is just a little bit too controlled for my liking; however, how can you not admire someone with such self-posession and talent who has not slipped up yet? She always makes beautiful fashion decisions and never has a hair out of place, and it was fun to see an edgier side of her in the Vogue photo spread for February 2012. The interview that is published on the website makes for good reading too. She sounds as sweet and enthusiastic as ever, but just a little more human. A more grown-up, T-Swift? Well, I am positively enchanted to meet you.


The Lady of the Rivers (Philippa Gregory)

I have been a fan of Philippa Gregory's work (minus the Wideacre series which I just could not get into) for years and years. Gregory, in my personal opinion, is the undisputed queen of historical fiction, and she most certainly did not disappoint with this novel. The heart of the novel is the Cousins' War (also known as the War of the Roses), but it begins with Jacquetta, its protagonist, as a child, interacting with none other than Joan of Arc. (Seriously, if that part doesn't hook you, I don't know what will.) Through Jacquetta, you experience one of the most fascinating and tumultuous periods of English history. Even better, Jacquetta herself is not just a major player in the period but also births numerous children who also become important figures including Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort and mother of the lost princes. (Elizabeth is the main character in Gregory's The White Queen.) 

I loved The Lady of the Rivers in part because it ended on a happier note than Gregory's usual fare.  There is only so much fiction that Gregory can weave into historical facts, and Jacquetta's life eventually does end with much more tragedy than is fully depicted in this book, but that is excusable because that material is eventually handled in The White Queen. (I thoroughly enjoyed that book as well but remember feeling so incredibly sad at the end of it.) Here, we see Jacquetta in her prime, married to a man she loves passionately, raising children with motherly care and concern. She is a strong and pragmatic protagonist, and one that is easy to root for. Gregory gives us a soft and forgiving depiction of her--one can only imagine how she would have been described if Gregory had chosen to write about her from the perspective of one of her many detractors--and in my case, a comforting read after the book about her daughter. This book, like any of Gregory's others, is a must-read.


the golden globes and a green carpet


Like most girls, I would say my very favorite part about award season is the clothes. First thing this morning (since I was too busy celebrating my birthday last night to actually watch the Globes--oops!), I went on my favorite websites to see who wore what. Oh, they did not disappoint. I have my favorites but was most fascinated by Livia Firth's gown. Livia blogs for Vogue UK's Green Carpet Challenge, and the Armani that she wore last night was made out of recycled bottles. Lucky girl is married to Colin Firth (for those who don't already know, I have a huge, HUGE crush), gets dolled up for the red carpet, and has a conscience while doing it.


Goodbye, 25

Farewell, my friend, you were an excellent year when I…

Married my college sweetheart and gained a new family,
Went wine tasting in three different states,
Had countless adventures with friends in apartments, houses, San Francisco, restaurants, and even a houseboat,
Drove cross-country in a trip that resulted in crazy stories the husband and I will be laughing about for the rest of our lives,
(Also hit more states than I have in any previous year),
Spent time with my brother who lives oodles of miles away,
Made fabulous new like-minded grad student BFFs,
Learned more about higher ed than I ever thought possible in one semester,
Gained a new niece (I love you already, Mikayla!),
Drove five hours to Cincinnati to spend a day with my favorite college classmates,
Toasted to a new year in style.

You’ve been the best year a girl could ask for.


a toast to wine night

While I enjoyed my winter break immensely (so much, in fact, that I have to ask... Can I have it again pretty please? Right now, pretty please?), the one thing I wish I could have kept with me are the wildly hilarious and innapropriate people above. To celebrate our safe return to Nashville, we had a "cheap wine night." The mission: Find a delicious bottle of wine for under $10. The plan: Bring a bottle each + snacks and spend the evening downing...err...classily sipping wine and rating them. The goal: Find the perfect cheap bottle to take to parties and have with dinner.

We succeeded on bringing wine (two whites, four reds) and snacks (K had yummy Swiss chocolate to share from her recent sojourn to Switzerland that I just realized I forgot to include in my collage...oops.) We succeeded on catching up and making each other laugh uproariously. We succeeded on highly inappropriate discussions. But we forgot to rate the wine.

Do you know what that means? That's right. We need another wine night.


on boredom



"She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring."

- Zelda Fitzgerald