farewell, 2008...

"ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
the flying cloud, the frosty light:
the year is dying in the night;
ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

ring out the old, ring in the new,
ring happy bells, across the snow:
the year is going, let him go;
ring out the false, ring in the true.

ring out the grief that saps the mind,
for those that here we see no more;
ring out the feud of rich and poor,
ring in redress to all mankind.

ring out a slowly dying cause,
and ancient forms of party strife;
ring in the nobler modes of life,
with sweeter manners, purer laws.

ring out the want, the care, the sin,
the faithless coldness of the times;
ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
but ring the fuller minstrel in.

ring out false pride in place and blood,
the civic slander and the spite;
ring in the love of truth and right,
ring in the common love of good.

ring out old shapes of foul disease;
ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
ring out the thousand wars of old,
ring in the thousand years of peace.

ring in the valiant man and free,
the larger heart, the kindlier hand;
ring out the darkness of the land,
ring in the Christ that is to be."

-alfred, lord tennyson

image: deadspot.tumblr.com


christmas is my mostest favoritest - a post by lacey

Merry merry Christmas! I feel very lucky to have had two of my posts land on two of my favorite holidays-Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why are they my favorites? Well, it's pretty simple. You get to watch a ginormous parade on one, and you get loads of pressies on the other. Terrible reasons? You're right, there's also turkey and ham.

Plan of Action for Christmas 2008:
*Wake up and get first cup of coffee
*Open stockings
*Get 2nd cup of coffee and put on reindeer antlers
*Start taking pictures of everyone and their bedhead
*Open presents from Santa, extended family and friends, immediate family (In that order. It's very important).
*Lug all of my loot to my room, pile it on my bed, and gaze upon it
*Get dressed and head to my dad and step-family's house for food and more pressies
*Come home and mope around the house because there are no more presents for me under our tree

Wow, that sounds completely self-absorbed...Who cares? I am so excited for Christmas 2008!
P.S. I'm always interested to know what peoples' Christmas traditions are. Everyone does something different-a fun gift game or a certain dish for Christmas dinner. What are yours? Spill, readers, spill! But no matter how you spend today, I hope every one of you have a great Christmas! See you next week!



merry merry christmas!

"the nativity" lithograph by lynn weldon, www.lynnweldon.com
"9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"
- Luke 2:9-14
"22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel'—which means, 'God with us.'"
-Matthew 1:22-23 (Prophecy reference: Isaiah 7:14)
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas celebrating family, friends, the year that has passed, and the birth of a very special baby in Bethlehem - God's fulfillment of his promise to mankind!
Merry Christmas!


the stockings were hung by the chimney with care

this past weekend, sarah and lacey and i celebrated a wonderful christmas together. we were discussing earlier this year how stockings were our favorite part of christmas (to give and to get!) so we decided that instead of regular presents this year, we would stuff stockings for one another. and it was so much fun. here are a few pictures from our own christmas morning (sarah and i drove up early saturday just in time for a delicious festive brunch).
sarah and i pulled over pretty quick when we passed this giant santa on the side of the road.making cranberry mimosas!sarah and lacey modeling their cool slipper socks.coffee and stockings. what could be better!?the girls with their homemade stockings stuffed to the gills!additionally, i got creative this year with their stockings. instead of just getting a generic one, i originally planned to knit cute ones, however that idea was quickly vetoed when i realized i can barely knit a straight scarf successfully. instead, my mom suggested making stockings from an old sweater and i decided to go for it. i bought a large gray cable one for $2.50 at value village and used my own stocking as a guide for the shape. i used the band around the bottom of the sweater as the top of the stockings and got to work. i bought tiny beads and trim at the craft store and beaded the front of the stocking and sewed the trim around the top edge. i was really happy with the way they turned out and they only ended up costing around $10 total! cheap and chic!the aftermath of our wonderful christmas!

deck the halls

i'm loving these creative holiday decorating ideas:
how cool is this "tree"? i love it!another stick tree! starbucks' decorating this year is totally clever - use yarn balls to make topiaries and wreaths! i definitely plan on using this idea in the future.

stick some christmas lights behind a blank canvas (or paint the canvas a light iridescent color!)

images: 1.flickr 2.living, etc. 3.lolita.blogg.se 7.blueprint magazine/martha stewart


santa baby

i have to say that one of my favorite christmas television events, mixed in with all the it's a wonderful lifes and santa claus is coming to towns, has to be the victoria's secret fashion show. while it was rather controversial when it first aired a few years ago, i think it is so well done and i just love the way victoria's secret and its designers and artists make underwear so fashionable! there's nothing more feminine and sexy than having pretty undies (every woman should have them!) and this show makes me want to go on an extravagant shopping spree! this year's show featured live music from usher, as well as a full orchestra, a few awesome non-usher songs, lots of beautiful sets, a multi-million dollar bra (that's right - all diamonds and precious gems), and many famous faces lining the runway. enjoy some of my favorite looks:

i love how every year they get super creative with the whole victoria's secret angels theme. this year's wings were made from all sorts of things - including an awesome spiderwebby flowered pair! this look was so romantic and gorgeous. in fact, this whole section was gorgeous. the two purple looks below and the pink one above (my favorite overall, i think) were all featured along with a really awesome chris brown remix. loved it!
the high-waisted panty look was big this year (see below!). it's kind of cool - very retro and dramatic!random fact: before marrying mariah carey, nick cannon was engaged to this girl, selita ebanks. from the PINK! section. tutus are always a good choice.
not sure why i love this one so much - it's gorgeous, though
images: newsday.com/associated press/getty images

oh christmas tree

hello all! happy week of christmas! i have finished all my shopping/wrapping/etc. and get to spend the next few days being lazy and celebrating with friends and family. above is a picture of my christmas tree, which i pulled out of someone's trash on the side of the road earlier this year. i might otherwise be embarrassed to admit that, but it's a gorgeous pre-lit artificial tree and i'm not sure why anyone was throwing it away! i had to re-arrange a bit to fit it in my room, but i've completely loved having it over the past few weeks.
additionally, christmas came a little early for me this year: my friend elizabeth, whom i met during college (her amazing mom was my art professor and elizabeth and her husband were on young life committee), sent me a large box filled with all her great aunt's christmas ornaments! it was like christmas morning unwrapping one beautiful ornament after another and i am so excited to add these heirlooms to my collection! elizabeth, i am so honored that you shared these with me and i will remember mama ruth every year as i decorate for christmas!

here are some photos of my favorites:gorgeous colorful balls (there were so many of these - just a random sampling!)

i'm not terribly into angels but i love love this little guymy three favorite balls - they're so delicate and beautiful!a sparkly clay collection. sorry this one and the next are so dark - i've been having severe problems with my photo editing software!some sequined, beaded wreaths and a really cool bell.a gorgeous star - love this one (it might be finding a home year-round!)a set of really really cute painted ones that i think would be perfect on a kids' tree someday!lots of sparkly beaded snowflakes - so so pretty!

the fun part about these ornaments is that they are all so different, i can feature them with different decorating schemes on different years. i love them all and am so excited to be their new owner!

stay tuned this week for a lot of festive posts - i still have so much about which to blog i'm going to have to cram it all in before the week is over!


happy weekend!!

only a few more days until christmas - can you believe it's here already!? i feel like it was literally just thanksgiving. enjoy your weekend and try to find some time to relax and enjoy the beauty of the season...i'll be celebrating christmas with my grandparents and then my beautiful friends sarah and lacey! yippee! see you monday!!

image via urbannaturegroup.com

a picture is worth a thousand dollars

if you didn't know, i really love photography websites. i'm pretty cheap when it comes to a lot of things, but where photography is concerned i think it's worth forking over the money for beautiful images that will represent a time in your life for years to come. when i get married, i plan on booking sharon over at smitten photography (her images are straight out of an anthro catalog and she's really cool too) and i'm not ashamed to admit that i stalk her blog.
i also waste a lot of hours looking at other photographer's websites and i am completely obsessed with nicole hill's gorgeous snowy photo shoot for new york couple naomi and josh. they are so cute and festive and are probably the most adorabley stylish couple ever (i checked out their blog this morning. it's precious.) i can't post any images from the shoot here without permission but please follow the link and check it out - you won't be sorry!


if the shoe doesn't fit, don't give up (especially if it's a peep toe!) - a post by lacey

High heels. Love them. What other fashion accessory instantly makes a woman feel sexier? As a bonus, even when you are having a "fat day", trying on shoes does not require much effort, and you only have to look at yourself from the ankle down. As much as I love heels, I have only recently learned to walk in them. Correction-I have only recently learned how to walk stiff-legged and not fall when walking up/down stairs. I'm making progress! How exciting! I can stand still with no problem. I mean, I'm the bomb at standing still in heels. I make it look easy. The problem begins when I start walking. My heels slip out of the backs of my shoes thus making me stumble and look like a complete doof. There's nothing sexy about stumbling around in heels. (That's an instant indication of a newbie.)
Believe me, I have practiced and practiced and practiced waling in heels. In college, I would walk up and down the halls of my dorm in my pajamas with heels on. I would do laundry with heels on. Even now, I putz around my house with heels on. Determination and patience have helped me gain a little confidence and slightly better footing (pun so intended), but what has recently helped me in a big way are a little invention by my close friend, Dr. Scholl.
I was whining about my pathetic walking in heels skills to a bunch of ladies at work, and one kind lady suggested that I try gel insoles. My ears perked up. Gel insoles? They sounded comfy. After work, I went to a shoe store and immediately inside the door was a whole rack of them. How had I not noticed them before? Oh yeah, probably because the three inch black peep toes in aisle two had always distracted me. I bought two pairs. I got home and stuck the gel pads on the inside heels of a pair of my highest pumps. I stepped into them, stuck my hands out to brace myself if I fell, and took a step forward. So far so good. I took another step. Glorious! Soon I was strutting up and down my hallway in, you guessed it, pajamas. Now that I had gel insoles, I had a reason to shoe shop again! I started looking for heels online. Check out these sexy pairs that I found. (Even if you are a pro at walking in heels like our friend Chelsea is, I suggest getting some of these gel insoles for pure comfort! They come in all different sizes so you can place them wherever you want cushioning-heels, toes, balls of your feet, arches, etc.). There's just something about a peep toe pump that gets me every time. Check out the cone heel, how cool.

This shoe will get you an instant promotion. Helloooooo corner office with a view.
What did I tell you? I'm a sucker for peep toes.

(I wear size 7 just in case you and Santa are BFFs or something...)

images: 1.elizabethmessinaphotography, via snippetandink 2.seychellesfootwear.com 3.piperlime.com 4.macys.com


let's play dress up

image via women's wear daily

so how much do you l-o-v-e this dress from monique lhuillier's brand new pre-fall 09 line? i don't usually even love strapless dresses on my broad shouldered frame but if i were a celebrity i would totally be phoning monique herself so i could rock this dress on the red carpet. hellooooo fabulous.


christmas around the world

do you have those people on your christmas gift list that don't need anything, and whatever they want they can buy themselves? since it's the christmas season, a.k.a. the season of goodwill and charity, your problem is solved: the world vision gift catalog allows you to buy a gift for someone in need in honor of someone you love. world vision is a christian organization providing various relief and aid to nations in need across the globe. the gift catalog has tons of options in every price range ($10 and up) and instead of a generic donation, actually provides a specific material item to needy families around the world.
here are a few of my favorite options:

a goat for a family in haiti or kenya. ($75) this animal provides nourishment and welfare through its milk (which can be made into yogurt, butter, cheese, etc.) and its offspring (which can be sold for a price at the local market.) and let's face it, goats are just cute.
a chicken for a family. ($13) again, this animal's eggs can be both eaten and sold. i suggest giving it in tandem with the duck below for a friends fan's very own version of "a chick and a duck."
two ducks for a family. ($12) eggs and offspring can be sold for tuition and school supplies, medicine, and other necessities.
education for a child. ($32) this gift provides funds for uniforms, school supplies, necessary school fees, etc. everyone deserves an education, so why not give it as a gift this christmas?
malaria prevention for one family. ($20) many families cannot afford basic protection against this disease. this gift provides bed nets for a family as well as a basic education about ways to prevent and treat malaria.
this gift is my personal choice: hope for sexually exploited girls. ($25) i recently watched a dateline report on this growing problem in the world and was moved to tears about the horrific lives many young girls (as early as age five!) experience. this gift provides life-giving rehabilitation, counseling, and vocational training for girls rescued from their lives as child prostitutes.

i am really excited about this gift opportunity and encourage you to consider giving a gift to someone who really needs one - instead of another sweater vest to uncle david. the catalog online offers waaaay more gifts than i mentioned above, including many other categories such as healthcare, joy for kids, emergency aid, clothing and shelter, girls and women, and clean water. each gift comes with a beautiful card describing the details and your own personal message, to be passed on to a loved one. i can't imagine giving (or receiving) a better present. just think: you'll be making two people happy on christmas: your loved one, and a needy child/family/person halfway around the world!
images: 1. billfrymire.com 2-7.world vision


happy weekend!

it's the weekend! why don't you...

...go ice skating?

...go see a ballet?

...spend a lazy, self indulgent saturday morning/afternoon in?

incidentally, i am planning to do all of these things, and i am very excited about it! see you monday!

images: 1.allposters.com 2.cinemagypsy.wordpress.com 3.starbucksandjane.blogspot.com