Wednesday, May 7, 2014

wanderlust wednesday

View of the Sacre Coeur from the Arc de Triomphe; Paris, France. March, 2013. 

Exhilarating. That's the only way to describe this cold, sunsetty evening, the whitewashed light of the setting sun casting a bright line across the Sacre Coeur.
The Arc de Triomphe has the absolute best views in Paris.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

a toast to best friends: homemade scoops and cinnamon rolls

me and my bff: the era of awesome

Let's be honest: there is nothing as wonderful as best friends.

The story of best friendship is epic and everlasting, it's tragic and it's beautiful, it's tormented and resilient. It's full of jokes and memories and victories and confessions.
Best friendship, in many ways, is what a romance should be -- through those trials and tribulations, you have each other's back. It's a relationship that lasts. For life.

Which is probably why I took it so hard when a beautiful little show called (appropriately) Best Friends Forever was cancelled by NBC last year, after a measly 6 episodes. Measly but potent, meaningful, sweet, wonderful, friendly.

I think one of the reasons it resonated with me and my BFF so much was that the show highlighted everything about our lives and our relationship. Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair created this show from deep within their own real-life best friendship, and it totally showed.
It was a show that focused on the love, rather than the cattiness, the mean-girlness, and the backhanded "joking" that comedies so often use when illustrating the friendships of women. It was truly about being there for each other, being honest with one another, loving each other, and going through the best and the worst of times...together. 

If I could have a chance to write a note of goodbye, one last tribute to this show, it would probably go something like this:

Dear BFF,

My Wolverines chair has been deflated ever since you left. 
I've felt like nothing but a baby -- a DUMB DUMB BABY -- without you in my life. Remember the good times? The homemade scoops, the hot cashew breath, the steely mags. 
It all had to end, Fatal Blowout style, because the seats were a bit distant from the stage and people like short bangs cause they're broken in the head and LeRoi LeBaller isn't a real critic. 
I meant what I said, that where you go, I follow.
But ignore the butt dials, and my confessions of wearing swimsuit bottoms (which is unhealthy, those trap moisture), and the day-long baths with my Lilith Fair double disc. 
Because here it is: it's time to get out of these sad khakis. To get back to my fighting weight. To put a pin in the cinnamon rolls, cinch that waist, and move on. 
Maybe to a candle shop in the birkshires, or to a restaurant where I can serve up sweet meats and cougaritas. It's time for me to have a life of razzle-dazzle, to have my moment in the sun. To be the Braveheart of my own story, to tell the sons and daughters of Scotland that they are free!

Thanks for everything, though. Done and done. We're all in the tub now. 
I love you guys.


If you didn't understand a word of that, invest a few hours to watch those treasured 6 episodes and you'll be up to speed.

The bright side and the good news of this entire thing is that Lennon and Jessica are still BFFs, and they're still going strong. And the really good news? After waiting and wishing and hoping, they have created a brand new show for us which just premiered last week!
It's called Playing House, and centers around Maggie (played by Lennon) and Emma (played by Jessica).
Emma leaves her prestigious career in China to move back to her tiny hometown to be with her very-pregnant best friend Maggie, who is going through a devastating separation from her husband.
Along with a host of other fantastic characters (and some gnomes), they will be figuring out how to raise a baby together in this delightful comedy about life and love and facing your hometown demons.

The new episode airs tonight on USA, 10/9c. Give best friendship a chance. 

remix: floral dress

collection of old posts: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 

If I could pick out one dress in my closet that I couldn't live without, it would probably be this one.
By far the most worn item in my wardrobe, it was my first purchase from Ruche and remains my go-to when I want something pretty, comfortable and easy to remix.
I think having a floral dress is one of the best staples! This one is short enough to wear as a tunic (I often pair it with skinny denim or my pineapple yellow jeans), and also works great with tights in the winter. I've worn it in every season. I look forward to finding new ways to wear and remix this favorite.

Monday, May 5, 2014

reign: queens of beaded bodices


Remember that post I wrote about Reign a few months back?

Well, get ready, my friends. This show's style has continued to wow me, and I feel inclined to write another post on it. You can't ever have enough castle intrigue, after all.

And by intrigue, I mean, look at this dress. 

source 12

If that doesn't make you rethink your wedding dress, I don't know what will.
Did I say wedding? I meant your everyday dress because who says a floor-length all-over lace stunner has to mean wedding? Go to brunch in that thang! It'll go great with your mimosa.

This show has a lot to its charm, aside from fashion -- like the absolutely phenomenal music selection. Check out my Reign spotify playlist here, I update it every week!
But I think it's a combination of several things that really makes it so addicting. And a big part of that winning combo is the eye candy.
Meaning the clothes, of course.

When I wrote before about how they have completely reinvented style for this period drama, I wasn't kidding. They have taken some serious (and much appreciated, by the way) liberties with the fashion of the day, creating a strange world of bohemian renaissance. A place of crystals and fur and headpieces and beaded bodices; a place that, frankly, I want to live. 

source 1, 2, 3

They have taken big risks. And like they say, the bigger the risk, the greater the reward.
They've done things like plaid and tie dye, completely embracing their creative genius. They make a ton of custom pieces for this show, but they also grab everyday ensemble enhancers from real-people stores like Anthropologie and Free People, as well as incredible fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta.
I'm sure as this show goes on they'll continue to get their hands on truly exquisite pieces from all over the fashion world. They're just too good at what they do.

Going back to plaid and tie dye -- I mean, sure, she is the Queen of Scotland. So maybe plaid is part of the many fashionista requirements for a queen like Mary; but this isn't quite the whip-out-the-bagpipes, rock-the-kilt kind of plaid. It actually kind of reminds me of a Prom dress from the 90's, inspired by the kind of rocker fashion of Hot Topic and Paul Frank.


I'm not gonna fight it, though. I love plaid enough to give it a thumbs up, even if it pushes back the borders of appropriate attire for 16th century French court. Push the borders all the way to England, for all I care!

And maybe this isn't really tie dye. Go ahead and tell me it's bohemian, or abstract, or tasteful kaleidoscope. Either way, I love it. It brings back memories of dunking anything and everything white in my closet into big tubs of dye in my backyard. Did any of you used to do that? Rubberbands, buckets, tie dye splashes on your hands and legs?

source 1, 2, 3, 4

Ugh, look at that. Tie dye and crimped hair, it's like a perfect royal throwback to the 80s.
Actually, it's a royal flashforward to the 80s, because that's how queen Mary rolls. She develops her fashion tastes from the future. Legit.

PS: could Francis be any feistier? Gotta love him and his wispy hair and ironclad loyalty to France.

Alright: time for some really good news.
If you're wondering if headpieces are still a thing, they are. They're still happening big time.

source 123

I'm fairly certain the lovely ladies-in-waiting have a Mean Girls-esque rule about head sparkle at court. 
Bling it everyday, or you can't sit with us. 


Anyone remember this pearly beast?


We should have known she was evil, by her obvious over-attempt at fitting in to the court headgear crowd. It was too much.
Like Zac Efron trying to dress hip in 17 Again. What'd you do, mug K-Fed?

But moving on; let's forget headpieces, because they're old news, amiright?

Let's talk about CAPES.


The arrival of wintertime meant a lot of good things for Reign.
Snowy scenes, more fur, more sparkle. Cold weather always means more cuddling.
But the best thing was the appearance of scene-stealing capery.

We've known capes are great since the invention of superman, but this brings them to a whole new level. Velvet, embroidery, bold prints. Warmth and style and riches. The feeling of flying, when a strong wind arises. The element of mystery, because no one knows what your arms are up to.
Honestly, you just can't underestimate the grace of a good winter cape.


Last by not least, this show has brought back my desire to go big or go home in the earring department.

The way of royalty always wins, because they don't do anything half-cocked. If your earlobes aren't drooping with priceless jewels, you aren't living your life right.

source 1, 2, 3


Gosh, I love her. Part of me is thinking what in the sam hill is she wearing in her ear holes? And the other part is just swooning because she's like a dragon goddess wearing crystal weapons in her ears.

When it comes down to it, Mary does what she wants.
And we all love her better for it.

Do you love Reign? Are you finding yourself obsessed with maxi dresses, wishing they had a beaded bodice and a fuller train? Have you been shopping on Etsy for blinged out headpieces and gargantuan golden ear ornaments? 
Join the club. 

(And by that, I mean, leave a comment or send me an email -- I'm here for you!)

p.s. see all reign posts

Friday, May 2, 2014

be your own book club

A dear friend of mine recently contacted me about book clubs.
She is a new mommy to a darling little boy, and has long wanted to be a part of a great book club -- but she has some questions and reservations. For instance, 

How do I find one?
Where do I look for a book club that reads what I want to read?

Reading a variety is always nice and challenging and interesting, but there's always that ever-present thought that (especially as a new mommy!) my free time is valuable. I want to read things and have discussions about things that are edifying and beneficial and, frankly, my-time-worthy. 

I was extremely fortunate when a good friend from church invited me to her book club. I hadn't even thought of looking for one, but as soon as she asked me about joining it, I was thrilled. I started attending about a year after we moved to Virginia, and the first thing I read with them was The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. It was a novel from 1859, considered to be one of the first mystery novels ever written. 
It was a book I had never heard of, and probably never would have read otherwise -- but this was a group of women who were smart, well-read, interesting, passionate, fun, friendly and thoughtful. Everyone had input and ideas and the discussion was great. 
It was a great group to be in, and I ended up loving the book so much! It really surprised me. It was a great introduction to a group that had been going on for 5 years before I got there. 

The group had developed and grown and changed over those years. Sometimes there were only a few women there, sometimes we had to pull up extra chairs to fit everyone at the table!
It has continued to grow, and the content is ever-changing as well. We have read older literature, from Wilkie Collins to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Jane Austen to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...looking at classics and beloved staples of our reading histories. We have also read young adult fiction, and current popular dystopian novels like Hunger Games and The Bone Season. We've read some mystery, some thriller, some religious, and even one cookbook of sorts -- Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. We met up and brought food from our favorite recipes in the book, and discussed it with biscuits and soup and coffee and cookies. 

We take turns picking the books, relying on a laid-back voting system. Generally a handful of women will have an idea for what we should read next, and we all decide which one we should go with. Occasionally there's only one suggestion, so we go with that. Sometimes one of us will have read something we love and want everyone else to read it, too. Or maybe, through rabbit-hole discussion, we find out that most of us have never read something like Peter Pan or The Great Gatsby, so we all decide to revisit a classic.
We meet once a month, to give us time to read and discuss. 

My advice to my friend, and to you?

Be your own book club.

Tomorrow morning I will have my very last book club here in Virginia. It is going to be extremely bittersweet.
The sweet part? Venturing to start my own book club in Arizona!
I think someone looking for a book club might shy away from starting their own because, as previously mentioned, time is valuable. It may seem like a big responsibility, or too big of an undertaking. 
But all you really need for a book club is 2 or 3 women you know and love, a place to meet each month, and a book to start with. 

Starting it small with women you know (it could even just be your mom, best friend or sister!) will solve that doubt of being comfortable and being able to really speak your mind about what books you all want to read. It will be a small group of women with the same ideals but different perspectives and favorites, who understand you and love you. And they, in turn, will most likely know a few other women here and there, and the club will naturally grow and change over time. 
Finding a place to meet is easy; for a natural hostess personality, having it in someone's home would be ideal. You could switch up who hosts, or have it at the same place every month, potluck style. Everyone can bring snacks, and you can have the coffee pot going. Or, (which is how we do it), find a great Saturday morning place, somewhere semi-quiet like a coffee shop or diner and meet there! Breakfast and coffee for all, no prep or clean-up required. 
Picking the first book is easy. Start small! Pick a book that's only a couple hundred pages, and something that will be fun to discuss. Maybe even something you've read before. Something like Great Gatsby, which is short and iconic and always a great reread, if you read it back in high school like I did and didn't quite appreciate it as much as you might now. 

I hope you give book-clubbing a chance. If you do, I'd love to hear about it!
And if you need any book recommendations, I am here for you!