Attention, Gift Givers Of The Universe

Some of y’all may remember a few years ago when I first told you about a sassy little jewelry case my sister-in-law Janie invented. It’s called the JJ, and it’s the perfect way to store your jewelry when you travel. Nothing gets tangled or knotted, and everything stays in its place once you’ve wrapped up the JJ and put it in your suitcase.

Here’s a little sampling of patterns – there are lots of cute ones!

Janie emailed me earlier today to tell me that she’s ready to close out this round of patterns – and as a result she’s having a big ole sale. The full-size JJ is only $25, and the JJ Junior is $15. The Junior is perfect for a weekend trip OR for a young girl who’s just started to get interested in jewelry. The full-size JJ will hold a TON (okay. not literally.) of jewelry and is my personal favorite when I travel because, well, I like lots of earring options.

SO, if you need a fab Christmas gift – or just a little happy for yourself – click on over and check out all the cute (and affordable!) designs. I have full confidence that Janie will ship out your order right away because she’s a total list-maker and doesn’t like stuff hanging over her head. Her calendar is color-coded, people. She doesn’t mess around in matters of efficiency.

Just wanted to pass along the good word about a great gift – let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer!

20 Teen-Friendly Gifts Under $20 (2011 Edition)

One of the greatest blessings in my life is that every single week I get to hang out with some darlin’ high school girls. They make me laugh and make me think and ensure that I don’t give in to the temptation of wearing a consistent uniform of my husband’s old Oxford shirts with some acid-washed Mom Jeans. Because no kidding: if you need some fashion-related accountability in your life, a group of 17-18 year-old girls will be more than happy to link arms and walk that narrow road with you. THEY DON’T MESS AROUND.

Last year some of the girls were kind enough to share a few Christmas gift ideas that I used in a post, and since I referred back to that list about 46 times when I was Christmas shopping, I decided I’d do another gift guide this year. As I’ve said before, I certainly don’t think that the point of Christmas is to smother America’s youth in LO, EVEN MORE STUFF, but when I do give a gift to a teenager in our family, it surely is nice to know that he or she might just use it and enjoy it.

Anyway, here are this year’s gift ideas for teenage girls (there aren’t any affiliate links, just in case you were wondering). And many, many thanks to “the girls” for their help. They’re the best.

Erin Condren Personalized Notepads – I am crazy about the modern designs, and I think any girl would be thrilled to receive these notepads as a Christmas gift. Also, the Fleur Feliz design may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. EVER.

HUE Tights – The teenagers aren’t afraid of bold patterns or bright colors. And I can sort of relate to their fashion fearlessness considering that I spent a significant portion of the late 80s wearing neon yellow in any form I could find it. EVEN A JUMPSUIT.

French Bull Platter – These are such cute, colorful acrylic pieces to use on a bathroom counter or dresser. They’re practical and stylish – a winning combination.

BDG Cable Convertible Glove – It’s a mitten! But it converts to a fingerless glove! So your hands can stay warm while you’re texting! ISN’T THAT JUST GENIUS?

Custom Monogrammed Acrylic Tumblers – If these had been around when I was in high school, I would have had about five different tumblers in rotation. Depending on which font and color best suited my mood, of course.

Acorn Fleece Socks – I gave Sister a pair of these last year, I think, and she loved them so much that she may have composed some sort of ode that she read aloud while accompanied by the melodious sound of a pan flute. Or maybe she just told me that she really liked them. Regardless, there are tons of cute patterns, and I’m especially partial to Chocolate Dots, Pink Dots and Fun Stripe.

Time Keeps On Ticking Watch in Neon – I may have to get one of these for myself. Even though I’ve tried to put the 80s behind me, I’m still drawn to bright colors like a moth to flame.

Embroidered Penguin Classics – No lie. This particular cover of Emma makes me swoon a little bit. Beautiful.

Staring At Space Dyed Arm Warmer – If I were way younger and way cooler and way more confident about my accessory choices, I would WEAR THESE OUT. They’re perfect for a teenage girl who’s very hip and with it and now.

Women’s Printed Flannel Lounge Pants – Everybody sleeps. And everybody likes to be comfortable. That makes these lounge pants SOLID GOLD, my friends.

Vanilla Bean WoodWick Candle – These candles smell great, and as an added bonus, THEY MAKE A CRACKLING SOUND. Perfection.

Vanilla Bean WoodWick Diffusers – Apparently the vanilla-scented goodness is very popular indeed, and several of the girls mentioned how much they enjoy having diffusers in their rooms. I might be tempted to go with the lavender or linen scents as opposed to vanilla, but that’s just me. I’m wacky like that.

Eddie Bauer Novelty Stripe Boot Socks – I’m a fan of the way “the kids” are wearing high socks with their boots so that the tops of the socks peek out. These Eddie Bauer boot socks will look great with just about anything – and they’ll keep those little tootsies warm, too.

(Did I just say “little tootsies”?)

(Apparently I am now 95 years old.)

Owl Help You Keychain – It’s adorable. It’s functional. And it’s guaranteed to make its owner smile.

Nations Outfitters Simplicity Scarves – Okay. So technically this one isn’t under $20. It’s actually $20 on the nose. But WE’RE ONLY TALKING ABOUT A PENNY, PEOPLE. This scarf’s length makes it super versatile, and the colors are basic enough that they’ll go with anything and everything.

Gussy Sews Headband – They’re sassy, colorful, handmade and ruffle-y. What’s not to love?

– – Grown-ups put crackle finishes on tables. Teenage girls like to put a crackle finish on their nails. I can’t pretend to understand, but I will support their crackle vision.

Jeremiah 29:11 Bible Verse Hand-drawn Art – This print + a simple frame from World Market or Target = a keepsake that someone can keep forever.

Rubie Pebbles Woven Ring – Lots of girls enjoy a statement ring, and Ruche always has a great assortment at really reasonable prices.

iTunes Gift Card – The girls vow that this particular gift never gets old. And I am prone to agree with them.

Happy gift-giving, everybody!

An Exercise In Nostalgia (And A Giveaway, Too)

Last weekend I was working on something that made me think of Moonlighting, which in turn made me think of the Moonlighting theme song. Which made me think of Al Jarreau. Which made me think of this song (I’d embed it if I could, but I can’t). I hadn’t heard it in YEARS, but as soon as I remembered it, I immediately bought it from iTunes and have listened to it over and over and over. For some reason it makes me so happy.

Anyway, thinking about old Al Jarreau songs reminded me of the artist that I listened to more than any other in the 80s and 90s: James Taylor. I can’t even tell you how much I adored (and currently, presently, at-this-very-moment adore) his music. There’s something about listening to him that makes me stare off into space all dreamy-eyed, only pausing occasionally to wonder if it would be possible to hire someone to come to our house every afternoon and play acoustic guitar (accompanied by soothing vocals, of course) for 6-7 hours.

I know. That’s sort of unrealistic. But considering that I would be willing to pay upwards of $25-$40 American dollars PER MONTH for such a service, I imagine that I’m going to wake up in the morning to an inbox that’s full-to-overflowing with hopeful participants. FINGERS CROSSED.

So all that to say: tonight I’ve pretty much been sitting in a chair and watching James Taylor sing on YouTube and sighing with great contentment.

I mean, there’s this.

And there’s this.

And my all-time favorite – this.

So. Who’s your favorite go-to artist when you just want to hang out and relax and listen to some music that makes you smile? Tell me in the comments, and since it’s Friday and I’ve had a crazy week and there was a slight hint of fall in the morning air for two whole days and IT’S ALMOST FOOTBALL SEASON, I’ll draw from the comments early Monday morning and give away (3) $20 iTunes gift cards. Just for fun and for kicks. And also because I want you to encourage you to heed Al Jarreau’s advice and get your boogie down.

Happy Friday, everybody!

This giveaway is now closed – I’ll send the winners an email later today (Monday)!

They’re Baaaa-ack

Way back in ye olden days of 1993, I discovered something exciting and new at Limited Express. I wasn’t looking for a new fashion crush at the time, you understand; I was just doing a little shopping, and when I walked in the store, I spotted something across the room that instantly appealed to me. And that was it. It was over. It was fashion love at first sight.

The object of my affection?

Palazzo pants. You know, the pants that look a little something like this.


And listen. Once I grabbed hold of palazzo pants, I never wanted to let go. I had them in burgundy. In hunter green. In navy. In a navy and light blue stripe. IN A NONE-TOO-SUBTLE FLORAL PATTERN. Honestly, I was so crazy about them that I continued to wear them for a couple of years after they were no longer welcome in the fashion world, but I LOVED THEM. They were comfy and breezy and flowy and fun. I couldn’t imagine that I’d ever wear straight-leg pants again.

Eventually, however, I decided to turn with the fashion tide. I left my palazzo pants behind and embraced the trends of the late 90s. I bought cargo pants from the Gap. I made sure to have a versatile denim vest. I accumulated a wide array of chiffon scarves. I familiarized myself with capri pants.

It’s the fashion circle of life, people: you love, you grieve, you move on. And I really did move on from palazzo pants. Since I’d already been through a similar break-up experience with acid-washed jeans in the late 80s and Clothes Featuring Horses in the early 90s, I understood the process. It isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary.

Over the last few years I’ve only thought about palazzo pants occasionally. Every once in awhile I’d see a pair of pants with wider legs and think fondly of my palazzo pants from Express, but there was no bitterness there, no sense of unfinished business. There was closure. It even felt healthy to reminisce. Solid. Good.


Early last week I bought a pair of brown wide-legged pants at Steinmart. When I tried them on I thought that the legs seemed a little extra wide, and for a split-second I wondered if they were supposed to be an updated version of palazzo pants. I quickly dismissed the thought, though, because surely someone would’ve told me if palazzo pants were on the fashion horizon again. Surely I would’ve noticed them on websites. Surely I would’ve seen them in stores.

When I got home from Steinmart I thought I’d do a quick search on Google just to check the lay of the palazzo pants land. I didn’t expect to find anything, really – I just wanted to settle the issue once and for all in my mind. So I entered the search term. Clicked enter.

And y’all?

I haven’t seen that many palazzo pants in one place since I went to Mississippi State Homecoming in 1994. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

I slowly started clicking on links to make sure that I wasn’t looking at vintage clothing. And I wasn’t. There was link after link after link to all sorts of current palazzo pants offerings. It was overwhelming. It was thrilling. It was confusing. It was sensory overload.


Free People




Forever 21
(Auburn fans, I’d be ALL OVER these if I were you.)

I immediately called Melanie after I checked out the links, of course. The news was too big not to share it. Plus, I needed to process the recent fashion development. Think it through. Decide if I’m a strong enough person to walk down the palazzo pants path again.

In the end, I’ve decided that I’m absolutely delighted about the resurgence of palazzo pants. I may have to guard my heart a little bit better this time around, mainly so I don’t hold on too long once they fall out of favor again. But I’m definitely going to welcome them with open fashion arms. They’re too flattering and too comfortable to ignore. But I think it goes without saying that if we were talking about stirrup pants, it would be an entirely different story.

What about y’all? Are you a fan of palazzo pants? Happily indifferent? Not going anywhere near a pants leg that’s so flouncy and wide?

Tackling the tough issues,

This Is The Awesome

Every single weekend we DVR the CMT Top 20 Countdown. Normally D fast forwards through the whole thing, stopping only to listen to a new song or a song he really likes. And normally I sit on the couch and say things like “Who’s that?” or “What else do they sing?” or “Did he REALLY just say ‘Shake it for the catfish swimming down deep in the creek?'”

(He really did.)

Anyway, tonight D was blazing through the Top 20 when he saw that there was a special video featuring Martina McBride and Pat Monahan, the lead singer of Train. It was from an episode of Crossroads, and as soon as I heard those two singing together I said, “HOLD ON – I think this may be a good ‘un!”

And oh. Is it ever.

I love it when people who could be totally threatened by each other – in this case, two super-talented singers – make the choice to truly appreciate the other person’s gifts. It’s a great reminder that beautiful things happen when we’re not afraid to step back and let someone else shine.

Happy Wednesday, y’all.

Please To Let Me Tell You

So yes, I sort of dropped off the face of the earth at the end of last week. Melanie and I went to Nashville to do some stuff for .MOM, and while I thought that I might get a chance to write a post or two while we were there, I was wrong. Which is nothing new, really.

Anyway, at some point I’ll recap all of our shenanigans and fun (oh, there were indeed some wacky shenanigans), but before I forget I want to share three or four things that have changed my life forever over the course of the last few days. Or maybe they’ve just changed my life for a few days. But still. IT’S ALL SO VERY EXCITING.

1. Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Body Wash – I can’t seem to find this BONA FIDE TREASURE online, but oh my word it’s refreshing. Mel and I went to Trader Joe’s with our friend Paige last Thursday night, and I bought the body wash for two reasons: 1) I love anything made with tea tree oil and 2) it cost about $3.50. My expectations were low, but sweet mercy this stuff is good. It’s also the perfect way to treat yourself after you’ve spent the day running errands in 106 degree heat. Because just in case you were wondering? IT’S HOTTER THAN IT’S EVER BEEN.

2. Trader Joe’s Moisturizing Cream Shave Honey Mango – Paige recommended this shaving cream, and I was a little skeptical because it was only $4.00 and I’ve never really had luck with a shaving cream that’s more like a lotion. UNTIL NOW, that is. It works beautifully and leaves your skin so soft that you’ll vow to use it FOREVER. I know that re-stocking is going to be a challenge for me since there’s no Trader Joe’s in Alabama, so I guess that just means that I’ll have to buy embarrassing amounts whenever I go to Nashville. I’m totally fine with that option.

3. Nadeau – I’m typically a big fan of finding furniture at a thrift store or estate sale or whathaveyou and then re-purposing it, mainly because I think that there’s something a little more interesting about a piece of furniture that’s had a little bit of a life before it finds its way to my house. BUT. Sister has been telling me about Nadeau for months (we even have one right here in B’ham), and this past weekend we went to Nadeau in Nashville. They have great-looking chests and occasional tables and benches and chairs – sometimes in the most fun, bold colors – and their prices are great, too.

So there you have it. Just needed to share.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to watch the last ten minutes of the final episode of Friday Night Lights again. D and I saw season 5 on Netflix a couple of months ago, but I recorded the final episode on the DVR Friday night, and OH MY WORD that’s a fine 70-ish minutes of television. Nearly perfect. And I don’t even know why I said “nearly,” because I can’t think of a single thing that I’d change.

Except for that whole season-5-is-the-last-season-and-you’ll-never-see-Buddy-Garrity-in-a-golf-cart-again thing.

Let us all sigh deeply. And, lo, with feeling.

Texas Forever.