sharp dressed man

i'm not much of a loyal glee-watcher anymore, but darren criss (aka blaine) can sing to me any day. i also really appreciate a man in a good suit and this gq feature from this past summer was passed along to me today by my friend mary. i am totally smitten and just had to share.

i would appreciate such a well-dressed date to my brother's wedding in may. heck, i'd appreciate a man this well-dressed every day.

view entire feature here


sunday edition #11

from president lincoln's 1863 thanksgiving proclamation...

"the year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. to these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God...

...no human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. they are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

it has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole american people. i do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the united states, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last thursday of november next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

and i recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union."

what a beautiful picture of thanksgiving's purpose and a somewhat disheartening reminder of our current government's decline from acknowledging the values upon which we were founded. this address is as relevant today as it ever was 148 years ago. 

image via deviantart


haul out the holly

welcome to christmas here on the blog (and everywhere else)! it's finally here! i've been listening to christmas music, making lists, checking them twice, and clicking through endless pinterest posts since august getting ready for the next month, and i couldn't be more thrilled it's that time of year again. liam and i will be decking/wrecking (in liam's case) the halls at my house today and tomorrow and likely listening to the new christmas playlist i've added to the right... what's that you ask? is that justin bieber right next to sufjan stevens? why yes, yes it is. christmas music is pretty fantastic across the board - cheesy to traditional - and i've had fun combining a number of my most recent favorites and a few oldies but goodies. (yes, i also think "last christmas" by wham! is an absolute jam. the end.) i will admit on my blog loudly, clearly and for all to hear (because that's the best way to spread christmas cheer, after all) that i also really want the new justin bieber christmas album. there's just something festive about that kid. there, i said it.

so, turn on some christmas tunes, bake a batch of gingerbread, haul out the holly and hang up the stockings. because we need a little christmas now. it's going to be a goooooood month.

image via stylemepretty


so thankful

driving home last night to have pre-thanksgiving pizza with my family, i reflected on how much things change and how important it is to live in the present with a thankful heart. our jobs and activities often focus on the future - organizing events, creating strategic plans and projections, preparing for presentations. i catch myself often jotting down goals and endless to-do lists for the rest of the day/week/month and thinking ahead to how great things will be when (insert task/item/need/want here) has come to fruition or been completed. thanksgiving is beautiful because it is the holiday that allows us to stop thinking about the future, stop planning and working and coordinating, and just enjoy being with those we love and reflecting on what we actually do have in that present moment.

i have quite a number of things on my to-do list this weekend, all of which, put together, are making me feel a bit overwhelmed. but tomorrow i am going to ignore that list and just enjoy the day for what it is. i'm going to be thankful for my family, my home, my friends, my job, my tiny mac laptop and the happiness that blogging brings me, my faith, my health, my seat warmers in my car, my cat, bargain shopping, $1 cinnamon rolls at ikea, and the One who has blessed me with all of this and more.

as i drove through town tonight on the last few minutes of my drive, most of the big historic houses in town were lit up and alive with celebration. two in particular caught my attention. in the first, a family was putting up a christmas tree in their front window. someone was on a ladder to reach a top branch. in the second, a large group congregated together with drinks in the front room. both of these glimpses filled me with warmth and perfectly captured the spirit of the holiday season and the intentional pauses that we need to take to reflect, be joyful and enjoy the present.

this year, more than others, my heart is full. i have been blessed beyond measure and i am truly thankful.

image via houzz


shop local, be sexy

in the wake of black friday's no-holds-barred commercial shopping frenzy, november 26th is small business saturday. meaning, don't go back to target for those last-few-things-on-your-list-that-wal-mart-sold-out-of-before-you-even-made-it-in-the-door-because-the-crazy-women-with-the-matching-sweatshirts-have-been-camped-out-since-wednesday-and-bitch-slapped-everyone-in-their way-en-route-to-the-doorbuster-deals. (yes, i've seen all all of these things happen on black friday. minus the bitch-slap. but i have seen plenty of pushing/shoving/yelling/cart-ramming/threatening/shoplifting/shoplifters busted. it's so sad/entertaining.) consider supporting local business by making at least one purchase that is privately/locally owned on saturday after you save lots of dollars on black friday. they may not have doorbuster deals, a flyer in the thanksgiving paper, festive ads on television or lines of eager shoppers out the door, but chances are your local businesses work harder and provide unique, quality gifts that say "merry christmas" a lot more effectively than the same scarf from gap that you're planning to give to four other people. i'm all for some serious bargain shopping and presents under the tree from target and anthro, but let's also be sure to support our local businesses together!

a few of my local (and not-so-nearby-local) favorites are listed/linked below. if i could shop at all of these places on saturday, i'd be a happy girl (and a broke one)...

paper skyscraper - charlotte, nc

the village store - davidson, nc

avalilly's - cornelius, nc

bless your heart/take heart - blowing rock, nc

swank coffee shop - southern pines, nc

mockingbird on broad, southern pines, nc

chocolatier barrucand - concord, nc

oak street mill - cornelius, nc

the depot at gibson mill - concord, nc

images: 1.allmoviephoto 2.hoodiecharlotte 3.jennifer mac 4.vipcitycard 5.wildflowersandcountryroads 6.swank 7.mockingbird 8.barrucandflickr 9.junkwild 10.depotgibsonmill


the best $2.50 i've spent all week...

...and that's including my bag of utz sour-cream-and-onion potato chips. for less than a red cup of starbucks peppermint mocha, my entire house smells like a delicious christmas tree. i love expensive anthro candles as much as the next girl, but i'm floored at how excellent glade's holiday collection scents smell (i prefer spruce it up, but apple cinnamon is also lovely) and yet how inexpensive they actually are. these are not generic drugstore candles, friends. and on top of everything, they burn for 22 hours strong. i may not have my christmas tree up yet (i still prefer to wait until after thanksgiving), and it's not like my artificial tree really smells like anything anyway, but you could easily be fooled in my living room currently. it smells like christmas!

image via persephonesunset


happy thursday!

hey remember that time i had a blog!?
life is so busy lately and i'm exhausted, but happy. i don't mind a little busy but unfortunately my energy for creating blog posts has diminished significantly.  this post isn't very inspired, i'm afraid, but i just had to share a few things that are making me very happy these days...

1. all the little yellow leaves lining the sidewalks on tryon street and that bluster up in the air when the buses drive by. they're also quite slippery when it's raining, in case you didn't know.

2. the free orange spice tea at my office. my grandma used to drink it when i was little (she may, still, actually) and the smell reminds me of her and fall/christmas. and it still has enough caffeine to give me a kick in the morning as the office coffee may be the worst i've ever tasted.

3. trader joe's candy cane joe joes are back! i'm about ten minutes away from breaking open the first box of the season.

4. this story that my mom emailed me today that a kid at her school told her: "you know how rocks are really hard and pointy sometimes? this one time i fell asleep, and when i woke up, it was dinnertime."
no joke. our education system at its finest, people. if you understand this story, please message me.

5. driving past johnson & wales university when it's dark out and seeing all the chefs inside wearing their hats and coats working/studying. they remind me of the keebler elves. in a good, non-creepy way.

6. my two computer monitors at the office. our tech guy installed an extra computer monitor for me a few days after i started. apparently it can increase productivity up to 30%. i had no idea what i was missing with just one lousy monitor. and it definitely makes projects a lot easier. now i want one for my laptop at home.

7. the crazy target lady. how can she not make you happy? i personally love the ad where she's looking at the two-day sale ad and screaming from pure, unadulterated joy. glad i'm not the only one who gets seriously amped about a big sale. and who wears pearls with tracksuits. (just kidding. sort of.)

8. the inside of caribou coffee. it's like christmas exploded with argyle, white lights and delicious coffee smells. get yourself to one quick.

happy thursday! what's making you happy today?

images: 1.believewishes 2.theglamouri 3.trackingtj 4.thestate 5.fabdarling


just an update

so this one time i got a job and my life went from about 60mph to 150mph. holy mack.
i am so happy, however, to have a job that i like, to be a valuable part of team, to be able to use my skills and do what i love on behalf of a noble cause. i'm also happy that it's fall, that the red cups at starbucks are back, that there are christmas commercials on television again, that i currently have a coupon for a free chick-fil-a sandwich and that i get to see my best friends this weekend. life (and God) is good.

image via kellymccaleb


working girl

there are so many things i need to be doing right about now, but guess what? i have a job! i'm officially employed! i have an office and a computer (with two monitors) and business cards and an IT guy at my beck and call! and guess what else? i work in uptown! freaking finally! i love being somewhere where there's hustle and bustle and more than two restaurant options. and people, it's awesome. i keep grinning randomly at strangers while walking down the street on my lunch hour because it's just all so wonderful. i'm not sure why the Lord asked me to wait so long for this particular position, but i am so thankful for His provision and for putting me right where He wants me. and for giving me a paycheck and four major coffee shops within walking distance. and for all the beautiful men i get to see in suits every day.
this first week of working and commuting and dodging major I-85 closings has been really taxing. liam has separation anxiety. i'm exhausted. tomorrow i have to drive to south carolina for a fundraiser event. so it's really important that i stop blogging and get serious about packing my lunch, but at some point soon i will adjust to my new schedule and stop being a zombie.
halloween is over and the holidays are finally on the way. and i am so very thankful.

image via shannoneileen and ruche