Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"...i could've been a great many things."

most often when we fall in love we can look back and recount the exact moment,
when lightning struck and everything else was history from there.
except, i can't ever really recall the exact moment i fell in love with literature.
was it my constant readings of babysitter's club novels in grade school,
or the first time i cried in the end of to kill a mockingbird?
was it when i used to make my mom take me to the library 
to check out the book my 4th grade teacher was reading to the class that week 
just so i could look ahead,
or when i found my literary soulmate in carrie bradshaw?
i don't think i will ever really know the moment it happened,
but i do know it is a love so strong i made a college degree of it,
without ever an ounce of regret.

i remember in 3rd grade my mother took me to see the movie little women.
i also distinctly remember pushing up the theatre chair arm rest and 
grabbing her hand, while resting my head 
{teased bangs and all...i was 7 going on 17, obviously}
on her shoulder and sobbing during the scene where beth & jo talk for the last time.
i also have never, to this day, forgiven josephine for not choosing laurie.
and the cat's not even outta the bag on that spoiler alert, y'all,
because i'm pretty sure that discussion is one of the greatest literary mysteries of all time.

ironically enough,
the story of all sisters has spent a lifetime resonating with the girl who has only brothers.
little women is and always will be one of my favorite novels,
and josephine march is and always will be my favorite literary character ever written.
others can have their elizabeth bennets and natasha rostovas and hermione grangers,
but mine was always this fiesty, but kind hearted, woman before her time.
and apparently, 
the apple doesn't fall far from the bradley tree.
a couple of years ago, my grandmother gifted me the above set of 
FIRST EDITION louisa may alcott novels,
 which quickly became one of my absolute most prized possessions.
in digging through them,
i even found the original owner from my family tree, minnie lewis, 
cut out a review of the first little women film published by the chicago tribune in 1919,
and one of the black grosgrain ribbons she used as a bookmark.
so perhaps my literary love wasn't a moment of falling, but rather destiny,
from minnie to me.

and imagine my excitement when i logged into google this morning,
and discovered that on this day, 183 years ago,
louisa may alcott was born.
which means tonight i'll be curling up with some chicken noodles
to get myself over this rudely aggressive cold,
and my little women dvd.
wishing my sweet kiki-belle {mom} was here to watch it with me,
but grateful she has taught me a love of such things.

"now and then, in this workday world, 
things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion,
and what a comfort that is."
--little women--

happy tuesday, cupcakes!

{ps - if you are a fan of great music, the soundtrack to little women is, without argument, one of the most beautifully composed films of forever & ever.}
{you're welcome.}

Monday, November 21, 2016

with love, moi.

{this song came on my playlist as i was writing this post.
could it be more perfect?
so press play & humor me on being cheesy. 
did you press it? 
okay, now you may proceed with reading}


okay loves, i get it,
y'all feel like we've been celebrating my birthday for about a year now,
but i'm all about the celebrations in life,
so just let a princess be.
the actual day is wednesday,
and then i promise we are done.
well, until next year...of course.

the truth is,
i have this post set to a scheduled release, so once it is published,
i'll be far away from my computer cozying up with my family & friends by the ocean,
with my phone hopefully nowhere near me.
instead working to be ever present in the moment with those i love most.
just one of my many lofty goals i have written down & set forth for this year.

one of the great things about having a birthday with a side of thanksgiving every year,
is the week never passes without reflecting on all i have to be thankful for.
so before i hop away for my 30th vacation,
i wanted to express bunches & bunches of sincerity filled gratitude.
often times when people reach big milestones in life,
graduation, engagement, wedding, babies, birthdays, job promotions, etc...
we tend to believe it's all about us.
i mean, we are the person physically reaching the milestone, right?
but if there is one thing i have learned in my 30 years,
it's that while, yes, i am the person actually crossing that specific finish line,
the race was never ran alone.
it takes a village, people.
and as you can see from above,
nobody does it like my village does it.
if i could send you all a handwritten thank you note in the mail,
i would.
sealed with love & a forever stamp, of course.

i wouldn't be where i am at this point in my life without so many people,
those who have always supported me & even those who have always doubted me.
the former group continuously cheering on my successes,
and the later reminding me to never give in, even if just to prove them all wrong.
to my mother - for raising me to have courage & be kind,
to my father - for never, ever doubting how high i could rise up,
to my brothers - for teaching me to be tough, but always treating me like a princess,
to my best girlfriends - for showing me what loyalty truly is,
 to my teachers, mentors and friends - for opening my eyes to the magnitude of living a beautiful life,
i will never be able to truly express the piece of my heart each of you holds.

in my 30 years i have loved and i have lost,
i have laughed and i have cried,
i have gone big and won and 
i have gone even bigger and crashed.
i have had days that i imagined couldn't get any greater,
and i have had nights that seemed so lonely i might disappear.
i have traveled and i have met people and i have truly come to know that living is meant for loving.
i have wanted for things that never came,
i have worked for achievements that i'm proud to call mine,
and i have learned what really matters thus far.

and what really matters, you might ask?
the shoes and the purses and the pretty clothes and "olivia pope inspired" apartment 
and fun job and vacations are great and all,
but life should be measured in the amount of love you are not only willing to give,
but that you hold yourself worthy enough to receive.
it has taken me years to allow myself to be vulnerable enough to let people love me.
and perhaps that's the gift i'm truly giving myself this year.
letting it in and then, hopefully to the best of my ability, giving it back in kind.
well that...and maybe a pair of new stilettos.

so hello 30,
i've been waiting for you.

{photo taken from these etsy invites}

Sunday, November 20, 2016

thee easy bake gal's guide to book clubbing.

listen up, ladies!
while i was cleaning out my email inbox this afternoon,
i came across an email from a store i had purchased book club supplies from 
back when i was leading a book club for my church sissys.
which reminded me that so many of you have emailed in over time about 
potentially starting a book club here in this little space.
so guess what?
today is THAT day!
y'all are invited to our official start of thee easy bake gal's book club.
{you can thank the gross cold i woke up with this morning for me finally having nothing but the time to make it happen}

membership fees may be paid in diet coke & glitter.

if you have always wanted to join a book club, 
but don't especially have the time to go sit at someone's house once a week and chat about it,
or maybe you don't have a group of ladies to lunch with,
this is gonna be your thing, girl!
hence why we're calling it an "easy bake gal's guide to book clubbing".
no need to slave away in the kitchen all day when you can go buy the pre-made dough,
cut it up,
clap it onto that cookie sheet,
and get the same amount of yummy after 15 minutes of baking, right?
meaning, this is a sorta at your own pace, during your own time, 
in your own space kinda girl gang.
but a solid & fabulous virtual girl gang, nonetheless.

i picked our kick-off book,
first comes love by emily giffin,
mainly because she is my favorite of favorite authors and
i feel like everyone needs to get on this train with me.
you'll have no regrets.
i promise.

as you can see in the photos above,
i literally have a shrine dedicated to her novels sitting above the book case in my front entry,
complete with a painting by my favorite artist, inslee haynes,
portraying each of giffin's main characters reading her own novel.
the girl crush of adoration & admiration is so, so real.

i was introduced to giffin years ago through her breakout hit,
something borrowed,
the story of a girl who has an affair with her best friend's fiance weeks before their wedding.
it seems a story that's been oversold & overtold by so many authors,
but that's where giffin's specific talent comes in.
she takes lovable characters and places them in, what most of the world would judge as, 
unlovable situations.
no, her books are not brain surgery, people,
but they bring up a lot of questions about humanity,
and that's the sorta stuff i could sit around my heart shaped foot rest 
and talk girl talk about all day long.
what i love almost even more is,
while her books are not sequels of each other
{except something borrowed and something blue}
the characters all exist in the same world.
meaning, you never know who is going to show up again in another book.
giffin threads the needle to her universe so perfectly.

first comes love, giffin's newest novel, is the story of of two sisters,
josie, the single first grade teacher who has sworn off dating for good,
and meredith, the poster child with a successful husband, adorable daughter and perfect home,
who grew apart after a family tragedy and, upon its anniversary,
are being forced to confront the choices they made that have lead them to where they are now.

are you ready?
{i'm only 79 pages in, so i'm right here with y'all}
okay, let's do this.
go pick up your copy
{it's sold at target, any major book store, or (here) on amazon}
and get going!
feel free to post comments on this post along the way as you read, 
or don't,
and then we will gather back in a few to discuss.

happy reading loves!

ps - if you haven't watched the movie, something borrowed,
go out and rent it right now!
especially because the sequel, something blue, is going into production soon.
here is the trailer to double convince you:

{pps - photos via pinterest & inslee haynes & moi}