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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Many jolly tidings and best wishes!

[my gorgeous parents headed to a New Years Eve party when I was little]

Do not forget to cook your greens and eat your black-eyed peas!



Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year to all!

What are your New Years Resolutions?

Here are mine:

1. Graduate with my Bachelor's Degree in both Environmental Studies and Political Science in May.

2. Start grad school at University of Maryland, starting small, with my Master of Science in Environmental Management or Master of Science in Management (Non-Profit/Associations Management).

3. Study for the LSAT. I have a couple books, I need several more (especially those practice tests) so I can not waste my time the first time I take the exam. I do want to get my law degree, even if I don't become a practicing lawyer, it will certainly help with my long-term goals in non-profit environmental work.

4. Find a job that is just enough to pay what I need, let me put aside some extras, have a life and earn benefits no later than August (when my health insurance goes away). Continue my tutoring job with my current family of three boys. Which means getting a true office job and being done at 5 everyday so I can get to their house for productive work.

5. Really master jewelry-making so my business can really take off. I've been slowly working on it, but hope to increase it as a weekend occupation after graduation.

6. Set up an Etsy store for my jewelry and other small things.

7. Lose another ten pounds and really tighten everything up again... without hurting my heart like I did two years ago.

[hysterical, but so not P.C.]

Please leave a comment and share with me on what you plan on doing in the New Year!!!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Conair infiniti i Series Hairdryer

For Christmas I received a present from Mom and Dad that I have needed for years (literally), a new hairdryer. I had been using for ages the old traveling hairdryer my Grandmama had in the Owners closet at the Beach House, and I had grown up using it on vacation. It was probably one of several things I had been using as a coping mechanism over their selling the house in 2003/2004. It was a dinky hairdryer, with no attachments, and had a horrible habit of sucking my hair into it to burn. Not so good. So, I took matters into my own hands this year, especially with my hair now down to my belly button, and decided that I should have a new one. I did some research at ULTA and read reviews. I decided to go with this hairdryer. And yes, IT IS PINK!!

I cannot wait to use it on my super-thin, baby fine hair and see if it frizzes as much as it used to. Supposedly, it is supposed to not do that. I seriously am hair-dumb stylistically-speaking, so you guys can give me tips on it as you see fit!


(Photo image from

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Black Swan movie trailer

I cannot wait to see the Black Swan once it hits theaters in my area. I danced ballet for about 12-13 years (starting at age 3, when I first began riding and gymnastics as well), and dance was a huge passion for my entire childhood. It was when things got very competitive among my friends (most of whom I don't speak to anymore) and expensive (the costumes, supplies, hours, and classes) that I could no longer handle the pressure, as all the joy of the 'sport' left me. It was at this time that I then started to play field hockey and lacrosse and devoted my time to those things instead. I felt as though ballet was one of few competitive fields where when you stopped "playing" the competition continued outside of the studio. Most field sports stopped when the game ended for me. Ballet was not the case.

It looks to be scary-mental, obviously, as it is a thriller, but thankfully it also looks to be incredible. I would say Oscar contender for sure! I really have to enjoy the plot of a thriller to get into it. I am not a person who goes out and sees all of the scary movies in theaters - I frankly detest most. It is movies like the Black Swan, mental thrillers, that really capture my attention. Are you planning on seeing it?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is there no Aristocracy in America?

I am deeply intrigued by a statement made in the October 2010 issue of Vanity Fair. Within the text of a story about the bitter rivalry of Rupert Murdoch and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. – titled “Two Men and a Newsstand”- author Sarah Ellison writes, “In America, there is no aristocracy or upper class in the British sense of those terms.” To be honest, I do not really agree with her at all.

America is a young country, so you may not necessarily have an established family tradition “in the British sense” (as Ellison puts it) unless your family came to America with wealth. That is just a simple fact. America is a success story in so many ways, if you think about it. We were supposed to be a colonial empire to pad the pockets and provide supplementary income to those ‘across the pond’, however, as a nation we decided to rebel. Obviously, that did not turn out the way the English had intended. We did not put up with it for as long as so many other places have in modern history and that is why we are such an incredible patriotic country. We are a great nation. Clearly, like any other country in the world, there are the haves and the have nots. We occasionally have had to fight to keep our place (wherever we are) due to certain events in history, and there are many people who have become wealthy since America became the United States of America less than 250 years ago. So you do not have to have come to America with wealth. Not obligatory at all.

But to claim that we have no upper class or aristocracy is completely false. I recently had a professor (who was born in West Germany mind you) tell my class that “there are no upper class students attending this school because why would they go here when there are all those Ivies up north”. Those who read my blog and Twitter ( know I sat there in class bristling for the remaining hour of the course because I was sincerely pissed off. Most of you agreed with me that he was making an assumption only an individual not born in the U.S. would make. If you arrive in the U.S. when you are 16, you certainly miss out on developing many opinions and perceptions that could be considered more accurate. I wonder if Ms. Ellison has a similar background as this professor. Only someone with that level of education must have a high social naïveté to not get it, as in get why I attend where I am at. Clearly.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines ‘upper class’ as: “The highest socioeconomic class in a society.” This same text defines ‘aristocracy’ as: “1. A hereditary ruling class. 2. Government by the nobility or by a privileged upper class.” Can you really tell me that we have neither of these features in America? We most certainly have an upper class and I think socially and politically there is definitely a level of aristocracy which exists. I find Ms. Ellison’s clearly uninformed opinion “the British sense” to be hysterical. Does she know anyone who is British and is in the upper class? Many long-standing family friends who live in England still have sold off their family manors and priceless antiques due to taxes and expense of land upkeep. A number of others have sold off portions of land to the government as conservation easements and started organic farms on their lands to “make do”. Many other British aristocracy peers have told me stories about allowances being cut short. Are you really going to tell me that we do not have something similar going on in the U.S.? We have plenty of wealthy people in the U.S. who are members of our government or control major corporations that are essential to this nation’s well-being– Kennedy, Bush, Chase, Steves, Bradford, Winthrop, Jones, and at the turn of the 20th century we still had others including the Adams, Paley, Roosevelt, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt families as well. There are those who are FFV and those whose ancestors were sent to Texas to settle those wild lands of America. We most certainly have large manors, incredible antique collections and elite representatives in our government. We have old families with large fortunes controlling the interests in their regions with skill, a high level of education and fantastic networking connections. They may be controlling things, but most all give back in one way or another – regardless of party affiliation.

There are many people in the U.S. with great fortunes and incredible family stories who do not stick out in the public forum. Many have Twitter accounts and blogs you read every day, with the average person assuming they are simply well-travelled and possibly exaggerate a good bit. No readers, while there are many who do falsify information, there are a small number of bloggers who are from old families who have chosen to remain “upper class”… or merely first class in the way they portray themselves in this global forum of blogging. They do not over share, they wish to broaden the perspectives of their readers (educate them a bit, if you will), and they choose to remain relatively anonymous. They have money, but it is not about money, it is about quality. Quality of writing, quality of entries, quality of life. Ironically, Lisa Birnbach touches on the way in which to stay classy in her latest book, True Prep, she writes, “We prefer modest discretion to the outward manifestations of wealth that are the signs of the new hordes. [….] your money has just always been there… if it is a fact of your family’s life… if you take regular vacations but stay in rooms, not in suites [….] We do not engage in stretch limousines. We spend our money in more covert ways” (page 43). She may be writing about “preps” but she could easily be writing of anyone with responsible yet affluent means.

If you subscribe to Town and Country, you know that in the social affairs sections and occasional featured stories you hear several of the same names mentioned. You may see the same family name pop up or see the same two or three faces appear in the photographs next to the dedication of a garden, a new museum wing or a fine arts performance center. I know in a recent issue, I saw a lovely photograph of a specific dowager of an old Texas family, surrounded by her family at an event held in her honor. This “Yellow Rose of Texas” has been incredibly generous and philanthropic throughout her lifetime and fully deserved the red carpet treatment. She is a Texas woman, but she is not a woman out to have a big show or big top trumpeting her achievements. She remains understated and kind to all who cross her path. There are many people like that in America, who may have the upper class means of living, but do not forget who they can help. Her family is of the “highest socioeconomic class in a society” and they certainly rule the opinions of many in Texas.

Ellison states in her contributor’s paragraph at the front of Vanity Fair (page 100) that Murdoch’s mission with the WSJ is, “the culmination of a lifelong grudge against the elites, and he wants to win” – I wonder if she shares the same opinion?

Friday, October 8, 2010

When the WASPs Get Too WASPy: Awkward Family Adventures


Click on photos for larger view.

When my family goes to The Greenbrier, we normally have a celebration occurring. One time it was my birthday, another time my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, my Grandmama’s 75th birthday,

Thanksgivings, Easters, and other holidays. The last time we went to The Greenbrier was in November 2008. Thanksgiving. It is normally seen as a HAPPY TIME for families to get together and share their love with one-another...
Photo of me being happy at The Greenbrier (lets ignore the baby fat and acne and awkwardness, okies? ha!):

because you almost always love each other, right?

Well, a few of the patriarchs of my family had a bit too much to drink, the kitchen staff was shorthanded (this was right before they declared bankruptcy afterall), and they had overbooked for our meal time. People were getting grouchy, and they were old... and opinionated... and WASPs. Soooo, things got a bit dicey. Let’s just say some older family members lost their cool, yelled at one another across the table and you-know-what hit the fan in front of an entire dining room of people on Thanksgiving night. Ironically, that was right when our dinner arrived. By the time all of the entrees were placed, the table was half empty. Our buddy Donny, former Dining Room Manager, had expedited our Thanksgiving dinner to our table but it was too late, 40% of our table did not have Thanksgiving dinner that year. The pictures that follow (me in Banana Republic forest green silk satin cap sleeve dress, Jimmy Choo sequined stilettos) are mostly me but my cousin as well. Seeing as dinner was cut so short (but not at the same time), the night was young!, so I "borrowed" a bottle of White Star from my Grandpapa


and frolicked all over the hotel with my cousins. These pictures are some of my absolute favorites while having a good dose of bubbly in my system. Thankfully no one was injured in any major way that night (just emotionally from embarrassment), although all of us cousins contracted a severe stomach virus that left us bedridden for the last three days of our stay. Fabulous. The memories I have from this night are some of the most hysterical, age-appropriate without being naughty, moments I have ever had. My "baby sister" cousin Charlotte was the best for putting on a brave face and letting me entertain her with my antics. Obviously, when you are High WASP, you cannot let ANYONE rain on your parade ("Mr. Arnstein, here I am!"):

[yes, I am still obsessing over this song. Still. Go figure.]

And the Glee version if you REALLY need it:

Memories are as follows:


Arriving in elevator before dinner, we realize Charlotte matches the ENTIRE elevator. Her brocade dress, my clutch, and my pashmina (because sisters share everything!) accessorize perfectly with the carpet, wood finish, and brass handles. Natch, my pre-dinner cocktail says this moment needs to be documented with a picture.

Editors note: I just realized Char is wearing a diff outfit here. I think this was the night before Thanksgiving when we all ate at Sam Snead's by the golf course. And my aunt "broke" 3 martini glasses. Uh huh, right. I demand Charlotte to "spin dammit" underneath the chandelier in the ballroom so I can "remember" the pre-Christmas décor that was already up in the pink ballroom. Of course a bellhop walks into the shot and Charlotte covered her face while laughing hysterically. That is what she does when she is embarrassed. Covers her face and keeps going!!

Post-poo-hitting-fan: I decide we are going to the most obscure places in the hotel, including the few floors we have never stayed on. I also decide to carry around a bottle of champagne to hydrate me on my mission, and realize that while Charlotte matched the elevator, I matched the walls and carpet of the entire main level. Go figure. Matching carpet and walls (and Ladies room sign). This was my profile picture on Facebook for eons and eons.

Oh look, so not only did I match the carpet and walls, there is a chair with my fabric on it. Seriously, felt exactly like my dress, it was hard to stay up. Natch I am being weird at this point.

We decided that I needed to have a "Through the Looking Glass" moment in the Victorian Writing Room, only I don’t end up going through the mirror. Disappointment. I don't hold a grudge against the room, where I normally go to "hang out". Can you even hang out at the G'brier? Really? I don't know to be honest.

The man at the bowling alley insisted I get rid of my champagne bottle and gives me a cup to place my beverage in. Wow! Champagne through a straw is bad, as you do not delicately sip it as you natch should. Things get really silly at this point. Here, I decide to get friendly with the barber shop sign. Classy. Why do I look so perplexed you may ask? Because my Dad comes around the corner by Draper's Cafe and the shops asking me if I've seen my boy cousin and his BFF who got to come (because my bro was still in China!!). I was perplexed because Dad almost caught me being "fresh!"

My Mom said when this photo was taken, "oh aren’t you being silly!" Oh yes mother darling, I am being "silly." That is exactly what is going on. Meanwhile, Mother darling, please hold this cup while Charlotte and I have a brief photo shoot of me in this chair. GB is probs the only place in the world where I won't fight you if you ask me to wear hose, too. Because it is just that special.

I then discovered the creepiest hallway ever. You would have expected two twin girls to appear at the end asking Charlotte and I to "come play with us." Did not happen, but we did find the world’s smallest working door, which was immensely amusing to photograph. I do not think my shoulders would fit through honestly. WHAT IS IT FOR??

My champagne was gone at this point, so we then decided to look for a not-2-dollar from-bedroom-minibar-or-bowling-alley soda machine. Where did I find it? In a secret place near some laundry basket. Not the most helpful image. Then again The Greenbrier (G’Brier or GB) is not a Holiday Inn, there aren’t any instructional signs of where you are and what places to not go in. That would not be classy. And See? I STILL match EVERYTHING. Even the service doors. Go figure that this joke still resonates with us kids almost three years later.


I think it was 2AM at this point. So I decided to lay on the pink Ballroom floor and take a picture of the chandelier. Good thing nobody but Char was around.


I wonder if a certain blogger (Lindsey) can tell me how to make THESE curtains. Okay, maybe we should call them drapes... as they drape so nicely. No? Don’t think they’ll fit my dining room? Probably not. Darn.

So, GB, you think when I fall asleep this pattern is what I want to see? Really? Upside down tulips in a psycho pattern? Now, why can those babies not be more spread out? Really. I had to buy a spa mask to sleep in this place because those blue china vases would glow in the night. It was eerie WASP-ness.


Munchies are NOT $18.00 peanuts. Lo siento, m’dear. We did do some damage the next day.


The next day. Stomach virus in full swing at the entire resort. White Sulphur Springs, WV got a lot of us sick, natch it spread because of employees. So not anyone’s fault at all. However, room service was busy and didn’t neglect a single detail. I know they felt bad because they probs had HEARD about dinner the night before. And that I missed my skeet shooting and horseback riding lessons that were supposed to work off my dinner from the night before. If you cannot tell, Charlotte and I went all out with the “I’m sick” grub: chicken noodle soup, large pot of hot water for green tea, honey for tea, dry biscuits, orange jello, and lemon wedges. Cheery goodness. L-O-V-E! Remember that vending machine we found? WELL, the hotel ran out of SODA so we sickly kids tried to explain to Aunt Mel where the hell the vending machine was and she totes mcgoats got lost trying to find it. Dad had to “go to town” (where are we, outside London?) and get us some ginger ale there instead. Righteous!


FYI, while other people hated this night, I loved it. Just because of my antics with Charlotte. Best. Night. Ever.

Photos by me unless noted otherwise.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Don't Rain on My Parade

Much love to the fabulous, amazing and talented Ms. Barbra Streisand:


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Here is a post of some of the shoes I own that I love love love. Some are vintage shoes I inherited from my mother, others I purchased when still working for Nordstrom, and others in the past few years since I have acquired more taste and figured out where my fashion spectrum lay.

I am lucky enough to be the same size as my mother, so we can fit into 7s on up to 9 depending on the style. I'm really a legit size 8, which is weird, because I was a legitimate 9, and when I broke things off with one of my exes, I lost about 40 pounds and it was mostly in my fingers, feet, and calves. (not even kidding).

So, here are several of my favorite beautiful shoes that I rely on to make my day a little happier. I think that for someone who is still finishing undergrad, I am already doing pretty well. : )

The shoes below are Guess. However, they look almost exactly like the Coach shoes that were a full-page ad in all of the fashion magazines this summer. I just adore them. They scream sexy lady and make my gams look incredible. Surprisingly easy to maneuver in, although the heel is a bit skinny. It is a khaki leather with wood. I wear them with my Lilly Pulitzer shifts and other summer dresses just to amp up the sexy factor. I also paired it with a short linen skirt and blousy tunic tops. With these heels, it is all about the balance of how much skin is shown.

I love my J.Crew driving moccasins. These are from probably 4 years ago. I adore them because they are sueded and worn perfectly. I use them grocery shopping and running errands on Sundays. They also look effortless with a nice skinny jean (I love Donna Karan's) and a cashmere shell/sweater set. They don't really work with shorts. Then I look like I am loafing around in someone elses shoes and it makes me look ridiculous. Food for thought.

Remember that episode of "Sex and the City" when Carrie saw that pair of shoes and said, "Hello lover" ? Well, that is how I felt the first time my Mom let me try these shoes on, and how I felt when she let me take them with me to boarding school for my Senior year formal. I was wearing probably the second most expensive outfit I will ever wear - after my wedding dress - so it is currently the most expensive outfit I have ever worn. I felt amazing in it and my date was great and my friends amazing. The Jimmy Choo shoes in this photo were my senior formal shoes. I adored them, and still do. I wear them sparingly as they have pearls on them and gorgeous sequins.

Here I am on the night of that formal. One of the funnest nights of my life. With my date Jordan, who is my hometown's minister's son. We went as friends but I'd always thought he was soooo cute. My dress was ridiculously expensive but my Mom didn't bat an eyelash because it fit me perfectly. Awww it was a great moment with Mom. So, insanely expensive dress and insanely expensive shoes. The memories made it though.

Here I am, far left, with my a cappella group Sextet, performing probably "For the Longest Time" or "Hooked on a Feeling."

These shoes are my Banana Republic ostrich embossed leather heels. The heel is wooden and it is a platform. There is a brass band around the heel. It is a gorgeous chocolate brown shoe. I really love these. M bought them for me for a "just because" gift and I adore them. I think he got these early on in our relationship in the early Spring of 2008. I wear these shoes with jeans, I wear them with dresses. They are perfect for my suits which most are brown if they are wool blended - and they are the perfect height!

I wear a lot of Nine West shoes for "going out" shoes. I don't normally wear them to work or to church, they are just my can-ruin-on-cobblestones-railroad-tracks-etc shoes. However, this pair of Nine West shoes I purchased while still working for the US Government back in 2007. I love these shoes and apparently they are right on trend right now. With my high arches these shoes fit me perfectly. They have a hidden platform of almost an inch, are gray suede, and are the cutest bootie-oxford mix I have ever seen. I wear them with skirts mostly. It is fun to wear them with contrasting tights in the Fall/Winter! For example, I wore them with a J.Crew burnt mustard miniskirt, a plaid button-down "camp shirt", and a chunky grandpa cardigan in navy. I had my one length of faux pearls wrapped around my wrist as a bracelet. It looked great (super awkard, my Mom took a picture of it she liked it so much).

The delish boots featured below are a gorgeous pair of vintage Son Camino boots. [cannot find that brand anywhere online but they are impeccable with great stitching, material, stamping on the interior, etc.] They were my Mom's and she gave them to me when I found them buried in a closet. Gorgeous Made in Spain boots sitting around! I wasn't about to have that. My Dad had the heel replaced and the rest is history. They are a gorgeous almost terra cotta reddish brown sueded leather, and are incredibly broken in and comfortable. I wear them best with bare legs but occasionally will tuck them into a jean or wear them with other pants when visiting a barn and/or farm.

I adore these Sperry Top Siders. They are a men's style which I bought at a surf shop in Atlantic Beach, NC when I was working one summer at Camp Seafarer - so summer of 2004. I adore these shoes so much because they are full of memories. I had campers draw on them, another camper accidentally dumped citronella candle on one of them, which was actually nice because it kept everything below the knees from being bitten for the rest of the summer. I have worn them on yachts, sail boats, Flying Scots, Sunfish, motorboats, everything. So wonderful. They always have sand in them and when I wear them occasionally to class and feel that, it makes me feel all happy inside!

All photos taken by me or with my camera camera camera.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Martha Stewart Show

I am not sure if all of my readers like Martha Stewart, but I really enjoy her as a teacher of food, crafts, and homekeeping. She has taught me a lot over the years, and I really appreciate what she is doing in the world of more eco-friendly home products. Her Homekeeping Handbook has been such an asset since I bought it at the beginning of this summer.

She recently moved networks from NBC (where for many DirecTV customers, among others, we could not watch her show due to local programming and the 5th hour of Today) to the Hallmark Channel. She is on M-F at 10am EST, and helps start off a wonderful series of Home shows that run from the AM to early afternoon hours.

Now that she is on Hallmark, I am really happy, as I haven't been able to watch her show for the past two years. I have missed a lot of great episodes, but yesterday I saw one that was one of the funniest I have ever seen. It was actually a "Bonus Episode" that aired on Monday at 4pm (so during the Oprah show). It had an opening that was hysterical and featured Martha Stewart and Darcy Miller (her Editorial Director of MS Weddings) wearing gorgeous gold outfits for the "Glitter" segment. I cannot believe no one has this on YouTube yet! Anyway, they open the show with a big, black shimmery confetti pinata, and proceed to FAIL at cracking the pinata open for the entire 5 minutes of the opening segment. At this point they are hysterically laughing and out of breath, so Martha's producer comes and has to RIP IT OPEN for the thing to actually work.

To make up for it, I found a few of my favorite clips of Martha Stewart on YouTube that are hysterical:

As a sidenote: I DIE everytime I see the clip with incredible glass maker DALE CHIHULY and she completely ruins a perfect glass orb. And then asks, "is that bad?" [its around 0:32] And her April Fools-ing her set staff. So messed up hahaha. Lastly, Conan O'Brien on the Martha Stewart Show. I mean, really, how did they figure that out? Him looking like Fabio is amazing.

More Bloopers:

Martha's BFF Snoop Dogg comes by to make Mashed Potatoes:

All photos and videos original property of © 2010 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New York Fashion Week, Day 1

Thank you very much,, for filling a void that was sucked away from Labor Day and classes starting. Awesomeface.

And everyone, I think you will ADORE the Christian Siriano collection. It is amazing. I think I found my wedding dress in there... ha!!

You can see it on the far right of the below photo [Matthews/AP]:

Here is a New York Daily News article about his line:

And here is the video of the finale of his show:

Pretty great stuff, huh? I hope to do my next post on Chanel or something more haute, although Mr. Siriano has incredible taste, no? As an aside, all of Christian Sirano's shoes were from his Payless shoe line, which I think is a great way to highlight the diversity of them!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Romantics

I must see this movie! Comes out Sept 10 (i.e. this weekend).

Cast includes:
Adam Brody (adore him)
Dianna Agron (thats Quinn from Glee, y'all)
Joey Potter.... I mean Katie Holmes
Candice Bergman
Anna Paquin

Clearly it cannot suck with this cast, it'll be cheesy yes, but certainly perfect for me to see without M.

And was it filmed on the Hamptons? Certainly looks like it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ocean Boulevard

One of the best places to eat on the Outer Banks is Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk.

My family has loved eating at this restaurant for years, back when it was still owned by the same people who run the Blue Point. We had been dining there since the mid 1980s when it first opened. However, BP expanded and the food has not made us as happy in recent years as it used to. OB also remembers it's longtime customers and goes the extra mile. BP is good but not as great as OB.

So, Ocean Boulevard is our regular place now.

Their busiest night is on Thursdays, but it is worth the wait. The menu is diverse but not expansive and ridiculous [I'm talking to you Cheesecake Factory] and they have wonderful wine pairings and martinis as well.

You can call them to make reservations at (252) 261-2546.

If you can, and your party is 5 people or less, request the chef's tables so you can watch the men at work. During the off-season it is the best, as they can converse with you freely during that time.

Locals love this place, and I know of tons of people who will drive down from the Hampton Roads area just to have dinner there. It is THAT good.

Pictures by me of Ocean Boulevard.

Wedding Website - Questions

So I am tentatively posting M and my wedding website at some point... not on here, just in general... probably after we "at some point" get our engagement photos done. Because it seems like everyone does these ridiculous photo shoots where people either look great or absolutely ridiculous. In some that I've seen, couples have worn blue jeans and JEAN SHORTS, with shades of blue t-shirts on. That isn't my cup of tea. I mean really, who MATCHES their fiancee? Don't you match your elementary school class or your siblings? It basically creeped M and I out to a whole new level. M and I are not a fan of that.

One good friend of mine, with impeccable taste, did an incredible photo shoot with her now-husband. It was in Norfolk, and they posed on bicycles and in the old neighborhoods (maybe even including Ghent) - and it was incredibly retro-chic with a boho vibe that fit her personality. They kind-of coordinated outfits but it didn't look stupid. It looked relaxed and effortless. I really adored their photos, because they were high quality shots that didn't look forced at all. That's what we want to go for.

Soooo back to the wedding website. This opportunity is unknown territory for my family and I, as I am the first child in my extended family to get married in 11 years. Yup, ELEVEN. So, 11 years ago, wedding websites didn't even exist yet. was brand new and even that took some meandering around the internet. Everything was still mostly done in print. I am grateful to have several wedding etiquette books but I still have some questions I would appreciate hearing from you all about.

Registry listing: Many acquaintances and friends have posted their registry links on their wedding website. It is an optional tab on the sidebar, not on the main page. Is this okay? Or is it a no-no?

Engagement Story: How in-depth do you all get about the engagement story? The day we got engaged, M didn't even let me bring a camera, I think he wanted to keep it between us and not broadcast all over the world. My sister and her husband had it done similarly. On a beach in Jamaica, no camera. Then it is something kept between you two, and then you tell who you feel about it because they weren't there. Is the engagement story a tell or not tell feature for a wedding website? As Peggy Post puts it in her book, "Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette," she says, "Don't include overly personal information...such as when you shared your first kiss, what you did on your first date, and so on (pg. 173)."

Ring: Do you show the ring in photos? Or do you only post photos that have the ring subtly displayed in a posed image?

Honeymoon: Do you share information about the honeymoon? M and I are on the fence about this information, as we feel as though it is ostentatious - but if it is the norm, we are certainly open to this option.

I would really love everyone's input on these things, because some tread the line between over-sharing and just letting people know.

As a side note, some people have asked my opinion on another new wedding "tradition" (?? definitely not the right word). I would like to point out that just like Judith Martin's "Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding" you could not [even with a gun to my head] have me consider ever posting anything along the lines of "Create a Gift" or "Contribute to Honeymoon/Mortgage/etc." as I find them tasteless, crass, and inappropriate. Okay, off of my soapbox now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oxfords and Oysters

I cannot wait to go to this event which is hosted by Sky Blue Events! I am busily trying to figure out a way to get up there and possibly stay the night. I love the cause, as my major is doubled in political science and environmental studies, and I have a few aquaintances who are tied to the organization - Oyster Recovery Alliance - that Oxfords & Oysters supports. The VIP gift bags are just fabulous and they are "worth the trip alone" as @GroveGalk ( put it! One major item in the VIP swag bag is the new True Prep book. Recently, the ladies at Sky Blue Events mentioned a portion of the text which had this hilarious quote:

"High-heel rule: You must be able to run in them - on cobblestones, on a dock - in case of a spontaneous footrace."

Well, if you have ever been to Baltimore, you know many sections are cobblestoned. Do I need to tell you how many times I have almost DIED from my heels getting stuck in cobblestones while taxis raced toward me? Or running down the street with an ex at 3am from the old Wharf Rat off of Ann Street, in the pouring down rain, for whatever reason at the time it seemed logical but because the rain was freezing cold in February I was screaming and people thought I was being mugged? Or in one instance, the Light Rail train looming towards me as my brand new heels were stuck by Pratt Street. If I hadn't been with a certain gentleman who pulled my shoe loose while I remained on the phone WITH my FATHER, who knows if I would even be around today? HA! I had to get my shoes re-cobbled while living in Baltimore about 3x a year. I wore them out from working at Nordstrom on the floor as well as being a rambunxious early 20-something. What a fun time. That quote really made my day...

Anyway, back to the fundraiser.

Included in the swag bag is:

Boatman Geller

Knot Belt Co.

Miller Ribbons

Nico and LaLa

Obagi Medical Products


Peter Blair


Preppy Monogrammed Gifts

Red Door Spa of Cross Keys


Southern Point Co.

Southern Proper

Stephen Bonanno Sandals

True Prep

Vineyard Vines

More to come!

It seems like every week as the event gets closer another piece of swag is added!
The event is Saturday, September 18, 2010 in Baltimore, MD (my 2nd hometown as I call it). From 3-7pm there will be an open bar, live band, oysters, and food to enjoy. In advance, VIP bags are $125 and general admission are $75 per person. It is sure to be a gorgeous evening and event, as September in Baltimore is beautiful and temperate. It'll be waterfront at Little Havana at 1325 Key Highway. Check it out!:

Again, it's for a great cause, the sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay Oyster population!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Anniversary

Some of the family with Grandmama and Grandpapa in the Victorian Writing Room at the Greenbrier during Thanksgiving 2008. For those who care, the floral pattern is called "Fudge Apron" by Dorothy Draper, and not even Carleton Varney can tell you how she came up with that name. Kappa Prep aka Hopsy has a great photo of herself in the room as well (yes, I do need to do a Greenbrier post).

Grandmama and Grandpapa posing with my parents as Mom and Dad were about to leave on their honeymoon, July 1979.

Today is the 59th wedding anniversary of my Dad's parents, Mr. and Mrs. JAJ, III. They were married in Panama City, Florida at 8:00pm. She wore a dress seven or eight girls in Panama City society wore, which was in the height of fashion at the time: heavy white satin with a fitted bodice, maquisette yoke (which I think is nylon), and sweetheart neckline which was traced with pearls. Her long sleeves were outlined in pearls at the points (at the wrists) and skirt, gathered from a tapered waistline. She wore a fingertip-length veil which was borrowed from my great-aunt Boots, as she and her husband couldn't attend the wedding due to her due date for my second cousin Stephen. The veil was attached by a coronet of seed pearls and she carried an arm bouquet of white roses.

Some of the family gathered at Grandmama and Grandpapa's house in Christmas 2004.

The song below was performed by a family friend, Leonard Geiger (who sadly died last month), at their wedding. This version is Mario Lanza doing "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life":

Other songs performed on that day were:

"Oh, Promise Me":

"At Dawning":


The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi:

Romberg's Serenade:

"Liebestraum" by Liszt:

"I Love Thee":

While they exchanged vows during the ceremony, "Clair de Lune" was performed.

Aren't all of these songs beautiful? They pull at my heart strings for sure! Happy Anniversary Grandmama and Grandpapa, I love you both very much!

This photo was taken at Boar's Head Club with Grandmama and Grandpapa earlier on this year:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quick Grilled Pizza from Cook's Country magazine

My blogging colleague, Hopsy @ Kappa Prep, and a new friend, Wears With Heels saw me post my dinner on Twitter and wanted the recipe, so here is my information on it!

Tonight, M and I each got to have our own 12-ish" pizzas, based off of recipes for dough and sauce, from Cook's Country magazine (the same people who do America's Test Kitchen on PBS on Saturdays). The issue is their August/September 2010 edition, which may still be on newsstands (I always see it most prominently displayed at Whole Foods), but we subscribe to it.

This recipe says the dough makes 4 nine-inch pizzas... but we like our dough a little on the thick side so keep that in mind.

2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes. We like the brand San Marzano, or Cento if we are in a bind.
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons of EVOO
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt (not sea-salt, unless ground up finely)

about 2.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of water, at 110 degrees
1 tablespoon of EVOO, plus extra set aside to brush dough on the grill (we use a silicone brush when brushing dough since it is so sticky at first)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 envelope of rapid-rise, or instant, yeast (1 envelope = 2 1/4 teaspoons). We tend to use Fleischmanns. Also, make sure the date on it is good, otherwise it is a waste!
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of salt (not sea-salt, unless ground up finely)
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Make sauce: combine tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, and salt in medium bowl. We like to place it in a small saucepan on the lowest setting to warm it up.

2. Prepare dough: Whisk water, 1 tablespoon of EVOO, sugar, yeast in large liquid measuring cup. Let it sit 5 minutes (this prevents the need to use baking powder, lightens the crust and prevents dough from being gritty). Pulse flour, Parmesan, and salt in food processor until combined. With machine running, slowly pour in the water mixture and process until dough starts to pull away from the sides and forms a shaggy/hairy ball (normally takes us about 1.5 minutes). If your dough is coming off sticky, gradually add flour in. Flour a clean work surface and take out the dough, kneading it 3-4 times until it becomes cohesive.

3. Shape pizza: Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Wax paper is okay, but know that the dough will stick to it if not floured enough!!! Divide dough into 4 equal pieces (M and I did, again, two pieces). Work with one dough piece at a time, using a rolling pin, pressing dough into a small circle, and stretch out. Transfer to a baking sheet and dust with flour. Repeat with each dough piece, and you can just stack them on top of each other, divided by the floured paper.

4. Heat grill: Meanwhile, heat your coals. Or turn on your gas grill. We use a classic charcoal Weber dome grill. Just be sure to set your grate in place, and heat your grill -covered- with lid vent open completely for 5 minutes. You want there to be a cool spot on the grill and a hot spot for cooking. Also, be sure to scrape and oil cooking grate so dough doesn't develop burn marks too charred, and prevent sticking.

5. Grill pizza: Brush tops of dough lightly with EVOO. Peel off of parchment and place, oiled side down, onto the cool side of the grill. Grill pizza covered until sides are spotted with a golden brown, which may be easily found by lifting the sides and finding firmness with your tongs. The tops may develop bubbles, which is normal, but be sure to poke the larger bubbles (but not enough to tear all the way through the dough!!). Brush the uncooked side facing up with EVOO and flip with tongs. Top each with sauce to taste, and the mozzarella cheese. If you want additional garlic like I do, this is where I added it. I added the sauce, then the crushed garlic, then the cheese. Cook for at least 1.5-2 minutes. At this point, feel free to move pizza over to the cool side while adding your toppings. Then you can move it to the hot side to crisp up to taste.


Tips from our experience:

*It is better to have a thicker pizza than a thin pizza when grilling. You can completely destroy a pizza in less than a minute if it was too thin when placed on the grill. Likewise with fire temperature. If cooking with coals, feel free to cook down the coals to a fine gray ash on the tops of them.

*M likes Boar's Head pepperoni, which comes in 6-ounce containers. He got about 3 ounces on his pizza, because he likes to layer the edges together.

*Don't move the dough until it starts to firm up on the grill, or it will tear, and then you have to deal with charring.

*I kept my pizza dough warm in the microwave. But for a crisp crust, a warmed oven may be a better bet.

*Make sure you have a plate, platter, or cookie sheet to set a finished pizza on while outside grilling, otherwise you may burn it just by running in to grab something!

*I enjoy my pizza with prosciutto, pineapple, crushed garlic, bacon leftover from this morning's brunch, oregano and heirloom tomatoes.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Working on my fitness

{Frisbee Dog is fun because it makes you twist your waist - a lot - I am sore today!}

So earlier this summer when M and I first got engaged, he asked me how I felt about us getting 2 flat screen HDTVs for Christmas instead of our normal gifts. Natch, I have no probs with that as they would be great and are much-needed additions for our home, satellite dish, stereo system, etc. etc. We are trying to upgrade our homes look and while we have perfectly nice, functional televisions, the price and benefits are great. We will likely move the TVs into the other rooms of our house as we only have DirecTV in the living room and our MBR at this time.

ANYWAY, so M wanted to do that. I decided to go ahead and do something I have been wanting for a while, the Wii. I didn't get it when it was brand new for 2 reasons: 1. the price would have to drop at some point, and 2. our stereo system is black so I wanted a black Wii. Well, I got my wish, so I this week went to Target and got the Wii, Wii fit plus, and a couple games for M and I to share (not including Wii Sports, Sports Resort, and the fit programs) so we can hang out with friends and have another option when we socialize.

Let me tell you, after buying that stuff and using it for a few days - it is way more impressive than I thought. I am very happy with the Wii, and the people at Target who helped me out. The products really do give you a workout, and I monitor it on there which is incredibly convenient! I have already dropped 2 pounds in just 3 days use! Because we live in such a rural area, a gym is not convenient for me. The ones in the 30-mile radius (yes, we are 22-30 miles from any kind of civilization with a gym) start at $40-50/mo which is dumb if I can't use it anytime I want between work and school. So, the Wii is cost-effective, too.

I am very happy with it, and if anyone has been holding out, spend the extra $99 and get the Wii Fit Plus! Right now, Target gives you a $20 gift card for buying the Wii Fit Plus or two regular games. Fabulous!

Photos: Nintendo, digitaltrends