Silly cat

20120228-230209.jpg
I’m in the middle of my going-to-bed routine but I had to stop a moment to share with y’all this picture of my goofy boy this morning. Relaxed in my lap… he loves to lie on his back. Sometimes he does it by himself. Even sleeps. Charlie is a special cat. Special, special cat. And he makes me smile. 🙂
xoxo,
Alanna

Advertisements

Oscar Fashion Recap – My Version!

Gosh, y’all… I rarely get sick beyond a few colds a year. But this flu hit me hard. I spent five straight days in bed or on the couch in my pjs (and I am not a stay in my pjs all day girl). Then it took over a week to recoup. My energy was completely drained (and I actually still don’t have a huge appetite). Even yesterday afternoon I took an almost four hour nap of deep sleep…

…which sadly caused me to miss most of the Academy Awards red carpet. It’s my favorite part, too! However I saw a lot of the prettiest dresses and caught up on the rest during the show itself. Can I just say that I loved Miracle Max Billy Crystal hosting? Usually awards show presenters make me uncomfortable with their caustic, vulgar humor but Mr. Crystal was funny AND nice!

On to my dress favorites. I probably won’t say much that hasn’t been already said by a thousand other bloggers, but, hey, blogging is all about our opinions and thoughts right? I’m not sure I can rank them, so this is just a list of the looks I admired most (all images from CBS’s gallery of arrivals – click thru images for links):

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is no surprise as top of my list (yea, I know I said it wasn’t ranked). I love her style and this was no exception! Her vintage dress was incredibly flattering, gorgeous, simple, and just a little bit fun with the polka dots! A large, sparkly diamond necklace and very understated additional accessories completed her stunning look.

Penelope Cruz

I think I literally got giddy when I saw Penelope Cruz on the red carpet. Everything was so beautiful and glamorous from her vintage ‘do to the stunning dress! I wish that someday I could have a chance to wear a dress as amazingly lovely as that.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow’s minimalist, modern style usually isn’t that interesting to me, but I actually quite liked this dress. I thought it was prettiest without the cape, but even on the red carpet with the cape over her shoulders I found it to be a simple, elegant way to be modern and unique. That’s not easy. She absolutely glowed as always and I love the great cuff bracelet as her main accessory!

Octavia Spencer - Go, Minnie!

I was so pleased to see Octavia Spencer win! It was very deserved – her performance as Minnie, in my opinion, was spot on for what I imagined when I read The Help. Her acceptance was so moving and she looked gorgeous. The dress is simple-elegant and so flattering!

Mila Jovovich

Mila Jovovich rocked the “Old Hollywood” influence as well as Penelope Cruz. I love the finger waves, red lips, and understated jewelry. The perfect icing to an incredible dress. Sexy without revealing… the beading is amazing and the structured one shoulder is beautiful.

Emma Stone

I’ve read a bunch of negativity about Emma Stone’s bow, but I absolutely loved it! I don’t think it was too big or looked like it was eating her alive. It was an elegant gown for her tall figure, but with some youthful fun!

I also really liked the structured rose on Stacy Kiebler‘s hip. Very few figures could pull it off, but I thought it was a gorgeous centerpiece to her look, without detracting from her face. And of course you couldn’t go wrong with her main accessory. 😉 Glenn Close was classy, beautiful, and age-appropriate. Someone who’s aged with grace!

My negatives? I thought Angelina Jolie looked gorgeous except, in my opinion, her look was ruined with a too-high slit. Leaving some to the imagination is not only classy, but sexy. I don’t think she would have lost her signature, slightly edgy look with a little more modesty. The cast of Bridesmaids brought the vulgarity skipped by Billy Crystal. As I tweeted last night, being ladylike is not determined by a pretty dress. I found their behavior incredibly unflattering. Jennifer Lopez was typically busting out of her dress – girl has a great body and could absolutely stun in a lot of silhouettes but she always chooses a tacky, skin-tight look. Can I say it again? Less is more!

Overall, I was so pleased to see a vintage influence and something of a return to classy elegance. The majority of the stars seemed to be eschewing cleavage, slits to the hip, and dangerously backless frocks in favor of classic, stunning ball gowns reminiscent of a Grace Kelly-type style.

xoxo,
Alanna

Once Upon a Time Wednesday: Bang a Drum

Whew. It’s good to feel well. I rarely get sick so this was a reminder to be thankful for my relative good health! Y’all, I was wiped out. Flu = not fun. But I’m back in time for Once Upon a Time. I promise I’ll get with the program soon and post other things than OUaT.

20120222-125853.jpg
When I was about 11 I discovered this book at our local library. I probably read it at least a half dozen times before we moved a few years later. The book is now out of print and I’ve never seen it elsewhere. But I found it on Amazon for $0.01 a couple weeks ago and, of course, purchased it.
It came last week and I’m nearly finished. It’s not a difficult read. Based on a true family, it’s the story of Julian and Edie and how they build their family. After their first son, they commit to adoption. Gradually what was supposed to be four kids total grows to eight. Each chapter chronicles the arrival of a new child.
Of course reading the book now as an adult, there’s things I notice which I didn’t before. The occasionally saccharine ease with which such a diverse family bonds and grows. The huge difference between the adoption process in the 1960s and now. The sometimes hilariously unpolitically correct details of the story – stocking up on broccoli before adopting a Chinese girl because, “I’ve heard the Chinese like broccoli!” *headdesk*
But something remains the same from when I first read this 15 years ago. I didn’t exactly recognize what happened at the time, but when I finished the story the first time, I knew something. I knew that one day I would adopt. I now realize that this wasn’t just a sweet idea, it was a future planted in my heart by God. I’ve dreamed of it ever since. I know it’s part of His plan for my life. To be mommy to children not all born to me biologically, but all born in my heart. So reading the book now, sappy and simplified for children as it is, I laughed and cried and felt the dream grow even stronger. It’ll remain a treasure on my bookshelf and one day, I’ll sit down and read it to my little brood and celebrate how each one of the came to me.

xoxo,
Alanna

Flu :(

Hi friends – sadly I’m stuck in bed with the flu. Thank God, not the stomach flu, but just the achey, fever, chills flu. 3rd day of misery. My brain is fairly fried so no real posts from me most likely until I feel better. Hope y’all had a fabulous Valentine’s Day!
xoxo,
Alanna

Once Upon a Time Wednesday: Prairie Dress

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve posted. And I was doing better, too. Sorry y’all. But didn’t I tell you that having at least one scheduled theme post would help me? If it weren’t for today been Wednesday and Imustpostonceuponatime, maybe it would be another week before I posted. I can’t believe I almost forgot, too, because I got the photos for today’s post from my mom last week…

Annnnd… enter The Prairie Dress. I have always had a thing for Fashion. Always. When I was a bitty baby, not yet walking, we were visiting my grandparents and I disappeared. My mom found me in my grandma’s closet, sucking my thumb and cooing as I stroked her long dresses hanging down.

I have also always loved history. Maybe it’s my love of people and maybe it’s having grown up the daughter of a history major. Maybe it’s the opportunity I had of being taught in such a way that it came alive (thank you Mom!). Most likely a combo of all three. But anyway… my connection with history has always included a special fascination with what people wore during each time period.

When I was five-and-a-half, I got my first (of four) American Girls dolls, Kirsten (way back when there were only 3 dolls – and, hey, why is the Kirsten doll retired?). I loved being read the Little House books over and over. I was pretty sure I wanted to travel west in a covered wagon. Only problem was we lived in Oregon, so we actually ended up traveling east. In a minivan. But that’s another story.

I’m not sure how it came about, but when I was six my mom made me a prairie dress, complete with bonnet, pinafore, and eyelet-trimmed pantaloons. It was like my dream dress. I wanted to wear it EVERWHERE. And, honestly, I did. I probably wore it to church. The picture above was taken at the historical Carter plantation in Virginia. I do remember being a little worried about wearing it there. Not for the attention factor, but simply because I knew that it dated a good 80-90 years later than the time period of the plantation. I didn’t want people to think that I was ignorant of my historical inaccuracy. I think my mom convinced me that it wasn’t a travesty and lightening wouldn’t strike if I wore a late 1800s outfit to a colonial plantation.

I have one more photo to share of me in the The Prairie Dress. And oh, is it a good one!

This, my friends is a genuine, photographic specimen of what is known as The Princess Smile. I was convinced that princesses (and all other noteworthy females) smiled with this cheesy, lethargic-eyed, lip-pursed half-smile. It seemed elegant and somewhat tragic. Certainly dreamy. I’m sure Anne Shirley would understand.

The truth is… I would gladly wear historical costumes most days. Unfortunately, though, I’m now 26 and aware of social conventions. But I do let vintage wear take a place in my wardrobe, mixed with more modern pieces (er, or not). And give me any opportunity to dress up… I’ll be there. Perhaps one of my next posts should be about my Regency ball gown… (speaking of which, mom – will you send it to me?)

xoxo,
Alanna

Once Upon a Time Wednesday: Ballerina

Today’s Once Upon a Time is not exactly a story… I was scrolling through old photos on Facebook for inspiration and saw this one my mom posted; it’s too cute not to share! The serious little ballerina in the pink tutu is me and the pig-tailed, missing-teeth dancer is my big sister Katharine (we are 5.5 years apart).

My guess is that I’m around age 3 in this photo. At this point I was not yet in dance lessons myself, but the ballerina dream was already entrenched in my heart. I was pretty opinionated even at that age, so I’m sure I insisted accompanying Katharine to her lessons in my own dance-wear.

I was five when I began lessons, shortly before we left Oregon for Virginia, where we both studied at the Richmond Ballet School. Oh how I loved dancing and how I longed for the day when I’d be big enough to wear toe shoes. I used to try Katharine’s on and stagger around the house. We moved again when I was 8 and I didn’t take lessons again until I was 11, stopping just before we moved again when I was almost 13. I never got to the point of toe-shoes, sadly, but I loved to dance.

I still do. On occasion I accompany my friends to the Rumba Room downtown for their swing dancing nights on Fridays. One of my favorite workouts is a Dancing with the Stars DVD. A long time ago I realized I wouldn’t become a ballerina. But I think in my heart the little girl in my heart still dreams… of the grace and beauty, the glittery tutus (yes, I know they are pretty shabby up-close – I went backstage at the Nutcracker once), the amazing physical feats.

via Ballet Memphis

Pictures like this one still make my heart skip a beat. What is it about ballet that so captivates and enthralls so many of us girls?

xoxo,
Alanna

P.S. I have a friend who actually IS a ballerina! I get a vicarious sort of excitement about that…