classical ballet for the modern day

60 minutes is one of my favorite shows, but thanks to sunday football, i often forget to watch it because it's never on when it's supposed to be. their stories are always riveting, even when you don't think they're going to be, and generally i think they don't sensationalize human suffering or tragedy the way that a large majority the media does. instead, they create in-depth reports across a wide spectrum of subjects and provide thought-provoking stories that leave me wanting to learn more.

last night, however, 60 minutes knocked it out of the park with a report about the new york city ballet, peter martins and the legend that is george balanchine. it is fascinating and i could write for hours about it, but you should just watch the report. you won't regret it, i promise:

the 60 minutes page for this report also features a lot of web extras and lovely photographs of the nycb.

fun fact #1: the north carolina dance theatre is fortunate enough to be able to perform balanchine choreography, as one of its artistic directors, patricia mcbride, danced with balanchine in the new york city ballet. the balanchine trust is exclusive and charlotte is extremely lucky to have access to his legendary choreography.

fun fact #2: peter martins choreographed two of the barbie ballet movies (nutcraker and swan lake). if you haven't seen these, they do not feature real people, but cartoon barbie. i didn't realize that they had actual original choreography. go figure. barbie's got all kinds of people in her corner.

image of nycb via paul kolnik


thanksgiving edition

as i sit on the couch this evening in my stretchy pants, surrounded by my family, black friday flyers, half eaten snack trays on the coffee table, and christmas decoration boxes waiting to be opened, my heart is full of gratitude for the blessings i've been given. sometimes i can't believe how blessed i've been. sometimes it just doesn't seem fair. 

but i am thankful for these blessings every year. the Lord has given to my family freely and while i still wait for particular things that i want to be realized, i am more certain than ever that He is in control and will fulfill my desires in His time. but this holiday, more than others, i think the Lord is teaching me that even if He doesn't, and even if all of the things for which i am so thankful are lost, that He is still good. that He still loves me and is working in my life. it's one thing to be thankful for the things in this world that are fragile and fleeting. it's another to know that the things to which i hold so tightly aren't the most important things and that without them, i still have a pupose, a hope and a future. and for that, i am most thankful.

i hope you all have blessed holiday weekends with your family. and lots of turkey and cranberry sauce.

image via dailycupofcouture



weekend in review

i spent this past weekend in one of my favorite places in the world - southern pines, nc. it's sweet and beautiful and i have only happy memories there. bonus, my friend lacey's parents (the aforementioned laurie) live there and their house is one of the few places in the world where i feel as at home as i do at my own house. they are warm and hospitable and fun to play board games with. their couch is remarkably comfortable and i am always thankful when i get to spend time there. sadly this weekend, i took very few photos of anything of merit, but since it's so lovely there i figured i'd share the few i did find time to take.

when i arrived after what seemed like the longest drive ever on friday evening thanks to charlotte traffic, i was greeted immediately with wine and homemade pumpkin cream cheese bars. (and i did go ahead, in case you were wondering.) we ate dinner after that, which seemed like a great decision. then, lacey and i watched parks and rec reruns, i fell asleep on the couch before 9:00 p.m. and was in bed shortly thereafter. bliss.

the next morning, we woke up with the sun to hit the semi-annual fair barn sale, where i have scored plenty of fabulous flea market finds in the past. i wore my warmest gym clothes, which really just equal comfortable clothes that are not pajamas, and apprently looked sportier and more energetic than i felt, as i was asked by one of the vendors at the sale if i was running the half marathon in pinehurst that morning. because lots of people go to the flea market before they run a half marathon. although. flea marketing is sort of like a half marathon, as it takes a great deal of training, patience and stamina. perhaps i'll keep it in mind as a warm up if i ever do run a half marathon.

we scored a few deals, watched the horses on the track outside the fair barn and then headed back to swank (the best coffee shop in town!) for some lattes, muffins and catch up time with our friend, sarah martin, who is awesome. i have written about her before here, and you should be her friend too.

after coffee, lacey and i headed back to the house where we were greeted with more coffee (a homemade red velvet latte that was spiked, as a matter of fact) and homemade caramel sea salt pie. lacey's mom has got it going on. clearly.

the rest of the weekend was spent shopping and enjoying a dinner party hosted by lacey's parents on saturday night, where we had a delicious meal including homemade eggnog, and a great deal of chat with the neighbors. the weekend was relaxing and a wonderful way to kick off a short holiday week! laurie and dale, thank you for your hospitality as always, and thank you for packing me a cooler when i left. you're awesome. lacey, i'm glad you share my love for thrift stores, tjmaxx, replacing meals with junk food and not showering. and that you have a cool family and are from an awesome town. you're the greatest and i'm thankful for you.


autumn in new york

a few weekends ago, i took a quick spontaneous trip with my parents to visit upstate new york - where i was born and spent the first five years of my life. my grandma (hi, grandma!) and a large majority of my dad's family still lives there, and it's always one of my favorite places to visit. i haven't visited this time of year in quite a while, and i forgot how truly wonderful it is in the fall. i feel like i can share photos and tell you about it, but experiencing it is really the only way to understand what i'm talking about. it's idyllic. it's like something straight out of a country living magazine or a movie set in new england. the trees everywhere were literally ablaze. it was like they'd been photoshopped. seriously. there were corn mazes and farmers markets and pumpkin patches everywhere. haybales and scarecrows lined all of the streets in each of the small towns we visited and you haven't seen a farmer's market until you've visited one there. the produce is unreal.

we kicked off saturday morning with coffee at grandma's house and then we headed to herman's farm market for homemade doughnuts and nostalgia. i grew up going each fall to pick out a pumpkin at herman's and there's something about the smell there that takes me back to my days as a wee one. they make the most incredbile apple cider on site and have more varieties of apples than i knew existed. their produce makes me wish i could shop there every saturday morning. i was a photo-taking fool during our visit and it was likely very clear to every customer there that i was most definitely not a local. little did they know we have photos from 23 years ago at herman's. once a local, always a local.

after herman's (but not before i downed 1.5 homemade doughnuts before we left the parking lot), we headed to fairport, which is quite possibly the most adorable small town in america. i wish i'd taken more pictures there, but i was too busy shopping at the craft supply consignment store (the greatest idea ever) and roaming the tents at their farmer's market.

finally, we headed up to bristol mountain, which isn't actually a mountain at all, but just one of the really high hills that flank new york's finger lakes. the drive took about an hour and a half one way, but it was through tons of unbelievable farm land. the last time i was at bristol mountain, it was to ski with my family a few christmases ago. this visit was far better than the last, mainly because i didn't spend it tumbling down a green slope in a fit of frustration and persperation. i am pretty not awesome at skiing. instead, we rode the ski lift up a golden slope and enjoyed the lovely view from the top.

i like to think that this is about as close to heaven on earth as it gets. this time of year, i'm ready to relocate here permanently. but then it starts to snow and i generally re-think that plan when it's still snowing in may. and when i remember there are no chick-fil-as there. 


psalm 46

well friends, the election is over. i will save the political commentary for those who feel its necessary to rant via social media platforms, but whether you think another four years with obama is going to save our contry or ruin it, the good news is he's not really the one with the control. i read this pslam a few weeks ago and thought it was quite appropriate for our country's current circumstances. i am thankful that we still live free, are able to elect our leaders, and that we still answer to a God who is more powerful than any politician will ever be.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
He lifts his voice, the earth melts.

the Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.  
He says "Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

the Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

image via thefullerview.tumblr


sunday edition #10

you know those kids you see on corners and in front of shopping plazas with cardboard signs advertising sales? some twirl them. some dance with them. some stand there awkwardly and wave. watch the above clip from the office to see what i'm talking about if you're still not following (although i'd recommend watching it either way because it's hilarious). i maintain that there are probably few jobs in the world worse than this, so for some reason seeing those poor teenagers always makes me happy to know that someone has enough work ethic to make sure i know about a store closing or a mattress sale. they're adorable and i always wave at them.

last night on facebook, i discovered this photo. this is my cousin, mitch. he's a pretty big deal - major sports star at his high school in new york and likely heading to college on a scholarship next year. and this is mitch dressed as a mattress. advertising a mattress sale. perhaps you won't find this as excellent as i do, but i laughed for a full minute straight at this photo last night. mitch just skyrocketed to the top of my people-who-are-really-cool list. i hope this brightened your day almost as much as seeing this in person on the side of the road. and next time you see a poor kid trying to spin a sign and attract attention? wave at him for me. he's somebody's cousin.


they're here

this morning, my coworkers and i deemed it "bagel thursday" and took a walk to panera for a little carbo loading. as overstreet mall crawled with professionals with somewhere far more important to be than in line for some empty calories, i realized something amazing.

the starbucks red cups are here.

i was so excited in fact, that i forgot all appropriate social behavior, stopped walking and practically shouted "STARBUCKS HAS RED CUPS!" so loudly that people looked. people holding red cups, that is.
some may argue that it's too early. i am not some. call me crazy, but grande americanos are far more delicious when the cup is red. and that is all.

image: biggerinreallife


whom shall i fear?

not much time today, but with the effects of hurricane sandy ravaging much of the eastern seaboard, i can't help but think this new song from chris tomlin was released at just the right time. i heard it again on my way to work this morning and am filled with peace at its truth. i am thankful that my God is bigger than any frankenstorm, and that yet he still cares about and calms the smallest parts of my heart that are under seige daily.

You hear me when i call
You are my morning song
though darkness fills the night
it cannot hide the light
whom shall i fear?

You crush the enemy
underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
though trouble linger still
whom shall i fear?

i know who goes before me
i know who stands behind
the God of angel armies
is always by my side
the One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
the God of angel armies
is always by my side

my strength is in Your name
for You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
whom shall i fear?
whom shall i fear?

and nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
i'm holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful

if you haven't heard this song and you want to listen, you can do it here. you won't be sorry.

image: textsscrawled.tumblr


for laurie

hello! i'm alive! i'm blogging! it's been months and months!

grandma, aunt ginny, laurie, mom... you've been heard. since my readership is clearly out of control and the masses (er, my family) are begging for my return, i've decided to give the people what they want. it's happening. get ready.

in all seriousness, things have been great lately. my lack of blogging really hasn't been a reflection of anything but the fact that i'm busy and enjoying life. and that baby mac has been struggling ever since this summer's extremely traumatic hard drive crash; but three semi-working office laptops later (working for a non-profit sure has its perks), i now have two computers that combined add up to one good one, so we're on track for some non-efficient-but-nonetheless-awesome-posting.

since i've stopped blogging, a lot has happened, in fact. i am awed by the lord's blessings during the past few months and unbelievably thankful for his continued faithfulness. work has gotten quite amazing thanks to an incredible new boss lady who is absolutely wonderful. liam and i moved into a lovely little new house in charlotte in a sweet little neighborhood with families who play basketball in the driveway in their church clothes on sundays. we are happy here. i bought 456968 new articles of clothing at the goodwill to replace all of the ones that i sold/gave away when i moved, and i have attempted, somewhat successfully, to fit them into the only closet in my teeny tiny house. i started freelancing for charlotte style magazine and have written a total of one articles so far. i managed to make it through the hot summer months without having one single temper tantrum. i bought my first set of grown-up furniture (a couch and a loveseat). i joined claire danes and charlotte's elite with a visit to the new 5 church restauant in uptown (i maintain that fancy pretentious food is fun, but overrated). i killed approximately ten cockraoches in my new house with no help from anyone (dad, please don't tell anyone about that one time you had to come over...). i went to raleigh. i went to southern pines. i went to the beach. big things. good thing i'm back just in time for my favorite two months of the year to share lots of inspiration and pretties.

see you soon! tomorrow, in fact... (for real). you're welcome.

as promised, this post has been dedicated to the always lovely laurie. you have taught me how to yard sale like i mean it, use coupons more efficiently than anyone i've ever met, cook without following directions, and fill a house with things that make it home, like vickie the duck. thank you for letting me sleep on your unbelievably comfortable couch with the star wars sheets, drink your wine, eat from every single pint of your front porch ice cream flavors at once, and beat you to good treasures at your local thrift stores. let's do it all again soon?

image: ifreakinglovetaylorswift.tumblr


exciting news - but hurry!

oh my goodness. you guys. i checked my email this morning to find an amazing one - blooming branch has been nominated for a charlotte web award from elevate lifestyle for "best personal blog". my heart is full and i am completely floored.
unfortunately, i've been consumed this weekend with other things and didn't even see the email until now, and voting ends at 10:00 a.m.
if you have a moment, will you please follow this link and vote for blooming branch? it takes about thirty seconds. if you have facebook, twitter, and pinterest you can actually vote THREE times.
i would love you forever if you did. :o) more soon!


image via modelcentric.tumblr.com



today i...
- slept in and woke up to coffee i didn't have to brew or buy
- left my hair curly, went without make-up, wore a white lace caftan as a dress
- rode a giant ferris wheel
- met an nfl star randomly at lunch
- shopped at the goodwill (and spotted some lanvin)

- bought some gorgeous sea anemones for my new mantel
- drank two white wine spritzers before dinner
- laughed over casserole at my grandparents' dinner table
- walked on the beach at sunset
- put on pajamas before 10pm
- ate brownies and ice cream
- watched hgtv for the rest of the night

my kind of weekend


an invitation

hello friends!

it's a big day over at blooming branch. as of two weeks ago, i am officially a charlotte resident! i have a sweet little triplex house with a fireplace and a deck and a closet that comfortably fits all of my clothes. can you believe it!? it all happened rather quickly and while it doesn't feel like home quite yet, i'm so happy to have reduced my commute to work by 45 minutes (seriously. it's bliss.) and live among the cool city people. liam is adjusting well to big city life and i feel that i'm coming along quite nicely as well. i've been pulled between concord and charlotte for quite a while now, and while i'll still be going back and forth fairly often because i like concord and i like my parents, it's nice to feel settled and committed somewhere that i've wanted to be for so long.
the best part about this move has been all the downsizing. my new place isn't really much bigger than my old one, so i've tried to be really cognizant of how much i actually need versus how much i actually want. they are very different.  so, guess what? i want you to have all the things i'm getting rid of. and by have, i mean buy at yard-sale-like prices. so. you're invited to my in-house, invite-only moving sale. it's basically like a yard sale but in the air conditioning, more dignifed and with no aggressive yard sale strangers (you know the ones i'm talking about) and with cupcakes and delicious beverages. how can you pass that up?

also, PLEASE bring your friends or share with anyone who may be interested.
p.s. i had a rather unfortunate hard drive crash last week, so i'm still without a computer at home (boo) but much more to come soon, including blooming branch's first-ever GIVEAWAY.



i think it's safe to say that my twenties haven't quite turned out how i expected they would. looking back, i can't say exactly what i expected, but i've spent the last few years feeling stuck in one place. unsure of what to do next. frustrated. perhaps i've watched too many lighthearted movies featuring kate hudson in the prime of life, living in a beautiful manhattan apartment that would more than likely rent for about $3000 or more a month, working at a chic job doing something glamorous, dating matthew mcconaughey and spending two full hours looking bouncy and glowy and drinking martinis and wearing manolos. apparently in my younger years i thought that was what being twenty-something felt like. (although i'd gladly date ryan gosling over matthew mcconaughey. or zac efron...thoughts wander...but i digress.)

in all honesty, my twenties aren't that unlike kate's. i have a great family and truly excellent friends. i have a cute house. i spend at least a few evenings a month at happy hour. sometimes i eat brownies for dinner. i work in uptown charlotte. my hair is kind of bouncy. i own a pair of kate spade shoes. i'm actually almost like kate hudson. minus the handsome fellow. and the expensive apartment. and the tan. but despite this truth, i often don't feel like i thought i would in my twenties. i start comparing myself. i dwell on what i don't have. i don't have a husband. i don't have a high-paying job. i don't have a retirement plan or stock options. i don't own a house. i don't have any manolos. i don't have a tan. when i compare myself to where so many others are at this age, i freak out a little bit and wonder what i'm doing with my life. why God hasn't opened more doors for me. if i'm going to let my twenties pass me by without ever enjoying them.
i still remember the moment, last august in southern pines. i'd come to visit the lovely lacey and her family in the dead of summer and we did what we do every time we we're together: starbucks. i had just ordered my grande-iced-coffee-with-a-splash-of-soymilk and set my straw tote on one of the leather armchairs. i was wearing this dress and despite the horrible temperatures, feeling kind of fancy. from a few feet away came this voice. "where in the world did you get that dress!?" i responded. we started chatting. within moments, i was having an extremely comfortable conversation with this girl that i'd never met. talking about crafts and blogging and our lives. i was drawn in by her warmth and enthusiasm. we exchanged info. we became virtual friends.

since that time, i've read sarah's blog pretty regularly. she is completely passionate about ministering to twenty-something women. never in my life have i had such a random encounter with a complete stranger that i have been so certain was ordained by the Lord. while we haven't seen one another since, she has ministered to me in more ways than one, and i'm so grateful that i was able to meet her that day. we keep in touch every so often through facebook or twitter, and as of about a month ago, she published a book! a legit book. a sold-at-barnes-and-noble-and-on-amazon-book. i remember her telling me that day we met that she was writing a book (in fact, she was working on it at the time). i remember thinking i'd be interested to read it. and i finally got my copy tonight and am so excited to join the online study that she is hosting on her website. while i don't often get excited about books that can be bought at the christian bookstore (and feel terrible for even admitting that, but it's true), i feel certain that God has selected this book for me during this time and i can't wait to see what i learn through it. sarah is extremely genuine and extremely passionate and i have a tremendous amount of respect for her. if you're a twenty-something girl, you should join us for the study! you can buy the book here and you can sign-up for the online study here. hooray!

i'll be twenty-seven in a month. this makes me want to throw-up and cry and eat a lot of cake all at the same time. i am thankful for people like sarah who remind me that slowly approaching thirty is okay. that i'm right where i'm supposed to be, in the hands of the One who created me.

images 1.zap2it 2.eloranicole


well, hello, friday!

would anyone else like to agree with me when i say this has been the longest week? oh my goodness it is about time friday rolled around. today i took a half day at work despite the unbelievable list of to-do's and deadlines looming because my pretty friend lacey (of the famed humming right along) is in town to play! hooray! we went to the gavin degraw/colbie caillat concert last night thanks to some free tickets i won on the radio and we plan to spend the weekend hanging out and eating loads of junk food, which is essentially the best part of our friendship, we are great at doing nothing together and still having fun. we both very much like pajamas, swedish fish, wine, wine coolers, boxed wine (don't knock it til you try it), pizza, ice cream and chai lattes from dilworth coffee. since i have nothing of consequence to share today, here are a few links that you might enjoy:

the colorful jen ramos is making me want to paint.

the glitter guide turned one this week. if you don't read it you should. one of its founders, taylor sterling is my ultimate style inspiration/girl crush.

in the celebration of father's day, watch jimmy fallon dance like a dad. guaranteed to make you laugh.

concert with gavin degraw renewed my love for him last night. he is so great live. check out my favorite gavin song, a lesser-known one.

finally, for those of you that took the time to call, email or message me after my rather melodramatic post on wednesday, thank you. your encouragement is such a blessing to me. ♥

happy weekend! 

image via laurel from iiiinspired


growing pains

so there's this cursed disease in baseball, named after former pittsburgh pirates pitcher steve blass. eight years into his major league career, blass suddenly and inexplicably lost his ability to pitch. he struggled through a season walking batters left and right, spent another season in the minor leagues trying to find his mojo, and then retired. doctors and psychologists could find no reason for it, no solution for it.

now i know what you're thinking. self-professed-girly-girl-who-couldn't-give-a-flying-rip-about-baseball returns suddenly to blogging with a useless sports story, but bear with me.

i think i have steve blass disease. in blogging. in life. lately i feel like things that i used to enjoy, things that used to come easily to me have suddenly become stressful and difficult. i hate all my clothes. my house is a mess. my blog is, quite obviously, neglected. i think i'm over-thinking things. i think i'm putting a lot of pressure on myself. but try as i might, i can't find my mojo. it's missing somewhere. i want to blog, i loved to blog, but lately i think about my blog a lot but can't seem to find the words or inspiration to translate those thoughts into actual posts. i read a lot of other blogs, most of which have a massive following and endless creative posts and i just feel like 'what's the point?'. i know i shouldn't blog for the readership, and i can definitely say that i never have, but i have been having trouble finding the joy in just doing it for myself lately. the same goes for shopping and getting dressed every day, decorating my house, cooking, crafting. i can't find the the joy in doing any of it. i spend each friday making ambitious plans and eagerly anticipating the free time i'll have to do things over the weekend, and spend each sunday evening frustrated and depressed that i haven't made the time to do any of it. it's not that i don't have the time, it's that i'm not making the time. and that's the worst part. i feel like my funk is about 90% my fault.

so in short, i haven't felt like myself for the past few months at all. i don't like my job and can't seem to focus on tasks, i'm exhausted all the time, i miss blogging, i need to move but haven't found any apartment that is worth the effort, and most days i dislike what i'm wearing and feel quite frumpy and unattractive. i know none of these things are a huge deal. that they shouldn't necessarily impact my overall happiness, but put together they do. and quite honestly, i don't know how to snap out of it. i often feel lately that i see others living full lives while it's just passing me by. i feel like i'm in a holding pattern for something, but i don't know what. one thing that i've found in talking with friends and reading blogs is that most of our insecurities and frustrations are shared - that generally when we feel alone in them we aren't, and i'm hoping that's the case here as well. that i'm just in a completely normal my-little-brother-just-got-married-and-is-blissfully-happy-and-all-my-friends-are-having-babies-and-getting-married-and-buying-new-houses funk. so i'm forcing myself to be honest with myself by writing about it and hopefully pushing through it by doing so. one thing i know for sure is that i haven't been seeking the Lord in this nearly as much as i should be. i plan to focus on that pretty heavily over the next few weeks, individually and through an online bible study in conjunction with my friend sarah martin's new book stress point (more on that soon, but you should join us!). i am excited to see the way the Lord uses this time to make me stronger, draw me closer to Him and help me find my mojo again.

the reason i know about steve blass disease is because this american life did a story on it recently. i was fascinated with the concept and the interviews discussing how and why it occurs and how to overcome it. throughout the years, many players have suffered from it. some have overcome it, some haven't. one of the primary psychologists interviewed in the story recommends that instead of examining and trying to improve the elements of one's ability to play (stance, movement, angles, etc.) to focus the mind on something else while playing, something completely unrelated to the game itself. he suggested that the brain and the body already inherently know how to execute the steps and that players are essentially over-thinking the process. he felt that at some point, when a player doesn't expect it, things will suddenly click into place again. i gathered from this that the best way to overcome a funk is not to stop the things that are difficult, but move forward regardless of whether we feel they are as good as they once were. and try not to over-analyze them in the process. so my blog posts might be uninspired for a while. my clothes may look less than cool and my house might be a disorganized mess, but i'm hoping that even though steve blass didn't overcome his own funk, that i'll find myself again on the other side. i'm pretty eager to be back in the game and back on the mound again.

image of crystal meers via closet visit


wedding recap...still to come

so i had every intention of pulling together this awesome blog post tonight about this past weekend's wedding. instead, i got home from work, went for a run, took a shower and then passed out cold on my sofa for three hours. whoops. apparently i haven't quite recovered from all of the fun.
and it was so much fun. it was such a blessing being able to stand up beside gracie and aaron as they said their vows and support them in the promises they made to one another, and so much fun celebrating with them after the fact. almost everyone i loved was there, and we had a super time. i can't wait to share more photos, but in the meantime, i'll leave you with this one from their super cute, i'd-be-lying-if-i-didn't-admit-i-had-a-little-crush-on-him wedding photographer, zack hamby. enjoy and check back for more when i am able to manage staying awake like a normal person.

photo: zack hamby photography


here comes the bride(smaid)

tonight i did some serious searching for a dress for next week's impending nuptials. i haven't blogged much lately (sad), so in case you don't interact with me on a regular basis and haven't heard me talking incessantly about next week's wedding-of-the-decade, let me brief you. aaron is my brother. he is cool and stylish and has a swank job at one of charlotte's best architecture firms. he is marrying gracie, a girl he met while in college. she is beautiful, sweet, so smart and creative, and has the best manners of anyone i know. i get a thank you note for something almost every time i see her. and they're always the really pretty, fancy kind. the ones you get at paper source and want to frame. a + g are getting married in wilmington and it's going to be a big fancypants affair with lots of events.

first, let me say how MUCH i love gracie for choosing this dress for her bridesmaids:

isn't it gorgeous? (although the model is terrifying me.) it's lilly pulitzer (go figure) and the stripes are actually little golden threads woven into the fabric. it's one of those dresses i would see in the store and wish i had a reason to buy. now i have a reason and it's going to be mine forever after. i can't wait to wear it. seriously. i LOVE it.

i'd like to say i'm just completely amped about next weekend (because i am), but there's been a little sadness too. i would be lying if i said watching aaron and gracie walk through this process together hasn't made me jealous about the fact that i'm not getting married anytime soon. and insecure. no one wants to be the groom's-single-older-sister. ew. so naturally i've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to have some fab frocks for all of the festivities. combine that with the fact that i'm ridiculously cheap, and i've been having a time finding anything i like. i hit nearly every store at southpark mall tonight. first, a few thoughts:

1. what is with all the one-shoulder dresses? they were cool last year and aside from an occasional re-wear, i'm seriously over them.
2. never in my life have i found so many beautiful white/ivory lacy dresses. why does that happen the one time that it's inappropriate to wear such a dress?

3. why did this supremely perfect dress (alice + olivia) have to cost so much? if it had been up to me, i would have bought it and been done.
4. why do dresses cost so much and still fit so badly? i'm a size 6-8 here, people. pretty standard. most of what i put on was horribly unflattering and just fit poorly.

i had all but given up when i stopped in ann taylor on my way out of the mall. um. when did ann taylor become awesome? i think i might have found a new favorite store. i liked nearly everything in the place. color, neutrals, work wear, weekend wear. everything. i went a little crazy and tried on much more than dresses. look at all those goodies! that blazer was the best thing ever and if anyone wants to buy it for me, i'll take a size 6.

i ended up surprising myself by falling in love with the bright pink deconstructed sheath dress. (even before i realized it was 50% off). let me say that these images above from the site do no do it justice. it is gorgeous and modern and so flattering. and totally unfussy. it has that oh-i-just-threw-this-on-and-look-fabulous air. after wearing it around the dressing room for a while soliciting compliments from anyone who wanted to give them, i walked out of the store with a fantastic rehearsal dinner dress. 

in a perfect world, i would style it up like this. given that i own nothing even remotely similar to these items, the likelihood that i'm going to pull it together in less than a week is probably not great. i may have to get creative with what i've got. the good news is the sock bun is always cool and won't require any planning or effort.

in other wedding weekend fashion news, i plan on picking this little number up on monday at ivy & leo by my office. that is, if no one has bought it yet. i've been stalking it for a couple of weeks now and the verdict is in. i need it.

much more wedding goodness to come. for real.

photo credit: 1.brightyoungthoughts 2.lillypulitzer 3.nordstrom
 4. @cdcote on instagram 5/6.anntaylor 7.polyvore 8.designerbagsanddirtydiapers 


pink kisser

to be quite honest, when i started hearing talk of the onslaught of color this season, i got a little bit scared. i live in neutrals. nearly all of my closet is made up of olives, navies, blacks, browns and grays. i like to take risks by layering them together. unless you count the red on my fingernails and lips, i don't do color. (well, not since my elle woods phase my freshman year of college, anyway, which may have created my current fear of color. there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. my freshman dorm room is a key example.) the spring 2012 runways reminded me of skipper's spandexed teen-girl wardrobe back in the day. too much neon. something about it seemed so eighties. so third grade. so unsophisticated. but then, on my way home from a spring trends lecture at neiman marcus in february, i bought a hot pink and orange cropped top (not at neiman marcus, mind you). i wore it the next day, and i felt kind of awesome. then i got a mint green manicure. then i bought a neon yellow button down. slowly but surely, color started to find its way into my wardrobe. and i have to admit, while i still generally prefer to mix it with a tamer piece, i really like it. i don't feel young or unsophisticated. in fact, i feel fresh and feminine and cool.

all of this color has certainly inspired my make-up routine as well. i've always been stumped on how to make my beloved bold lipstick work for the spring and summer months. until about two weeks ago when i was suddenly wildly inspired by bold, pink lips. i bought a couple of cheap tubes last weekend just to try out the look, and i have to say, it's kind of fabulous. i generally gravitate toward more orange-toned hues, but the pink was actually surprisingly flattering on my fair skin. i totally love it.

so the moral of the story here? sometimes trends that are intimidating are actually really fun to ease into. lipstick is probably about the most non-committal way to ease into color, but, hey. i'm trying here, people.

1.kate spade image credit via emily 2.image credit 3.image credit


happy easter

 "He planted His cross in the midst of the mad and roaring current of selfishness, aggravated to malignity, and uttered from it the mighty cry of expiring love. and the waters heard Him, and from that moment, they began to be refluent about His cross. from that moment, a current deeper and broader and mightier began to set heavenward; and it will continue to be deeper and  broader and mightier till its glad waters shall encompass the earth, and toss themselves as the ocean. and not alone did earth hear the cry, it pierced the regions of immensity. heaven heard it, and hell heard it, and the remotest star shall hear it, testifying to the love of God in His unspeakable gift, and to the supremacy of that blessedness of giving which could be reached only through death - the death of the cross."  - mark hopkins

what kind of love tells me i'm the reason He can't stay inside the grave?

image via epm