.favorite toddler toys.

If you’re a longtime reader, you know that we value quality over quantity.  We’d rather have a few really nice things versus lots and lots of cheaper items.  We hope Annabeth will feel the same way one day and we’re trying to instill this value in her by supplying her with only a few toys of nice quality instead of lots of cheap toys.

Too many choices are overwhelming for adults, so I imagine that it can be even more overwhelming for kids (and especially toddlers).  We have Annabeth’s toys on a rotation:  every week or so we swap out the box of toys for a new one.  It keeps things fresh and makes old toys feel new again.  It also keeps her from being overwhelmed.  We do our best to choose toys that foster imaginative play because that skill seems to be so lacking in so many children these days.

With all of that being said, here are our five favorite toys that Annabeth seems to reach for time and time again:

  1.  Melissa & Doug Fold-and-Go Wooden Dollhouse ($30):  My mom is the queen of gift-giving and she knew that Annabeth would be obsessed with this little dollhouse.  Annabeth loves all of the little furniture and being able to carry it around.  We love that it keeps a low-profile and is easily stored away in a basket when it’s not in use.
  2. Melissa & Doug Examine-and-Treat Pet Vet Play Set ($27):  Annabeth received this from her friend Sahana for her birthday and she LOVES it.  She adores Atlas and our cats, so she has fun pretending to care for the kitty and puppy that come with the set.  She also loves all of the lotion/potion and ointment bottles that she can open and close to her heart’s content.  On the website, Melissa and Doug talk about the importance of building empathy in our children and this play set is designed to do just that.
  3. Disney Figure Play Sets ($12-$30):  Annabeth is a tiny little thing.  At two years old, she clocks in at 21.4 pounds.  She has the sweetest, most petite little hands and gets frustrated when toys are too big or bulky for her to grasp.  We discovered these little sets at Disney World and they have tons of options.  Annabeth calls them her “buddies” and she just loves them to death.  I think it’s because they fit in her little hands so nicely.  We like that they can easily be thrown into our diaper bag or Josh’s pockets and I think they’ll be super convenient when football seasons rolls back around.
  4. Bitty Baby ($60):  I realize it’s a little extreme that our two-year old has an American Girl doll, however, we are talking quality over quantity here!  She has a less expensive baby doll that goes in the camper, but Bitty Baby (named Josie) is our main gal.  We picked her up in Manhattan at the American Girl flagship store, but there’s really nothing better than getting an AG catalog in the mail and ordering something fun.  We like Bitty Baby because she makes gift-giving easy for family members–just order an outfit or accessory and you’re good to go!  Annabeth loves Baby Josie and it is the sweetest to watch her play mommy.
  5. Books, Books, Books (varies):  We began reading to Annabeth before she was bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.  In fact, we bought her first books at Barnes & Noble as a pick-me-up after taking a third very disappointing pregnancy test that told us not yet.  On maternity leave, I read Little Women and A Little Princess aloud to her and during her first summer, Josh read Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone to her cover to cover.  She LOVES books and will happily read and be read to over any other activity or toy out there.  Screen time scares us both, so we gladly buy our girl as many books as we can cram into our cozy home and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.

Do you have any toddler toy favorites?  I didn’t put this on the list, but sidewalk chalk is actually her ultimate favorite toy because our girl loves being outside in the sunshine.

XOXO,

Court

PS:  We’re thinking about a toddle bike for Christmas–shoot me an email or DM if you have a good suggestion!

PSS:  We really liked Color Wonder products until Annabeth left some artwork on our dining room wall–I thought they were supposed to be invisible?!?

.january favorites.

Now that January’s 850 days are finally over (why is January so long?), I thought I’d review my favorites for the month.  As always, the categories include food, clothing, product, media, and Annabeth.

Food:

  • Breakfast Bowls.  This is our super simple go-to meal on busy weeknights and it’s a crowd pleaser.  We scramble up eggs, fry some thick-cut bacon, and build a mountain with the breakfast goodies + avocado, cheese, sour cream, and fresh salsa.  Annabeth goes nuts for breakfast bowls and we’ve added this into our weekly rotation (usually on Tuesday nights since those are especially busy).
  • Siete Grain-Free Chips.  We’re about 98% grain-free in our household.  I say 98% because the occasional cheat happens (yesterday we had Bojangles biscuits for breakfast and it was glorious).  This means no chips and salsa which is just kind of sad.  These grain-free chips are so good.  I sneak them in my bag when we go out for Mexican food and we eat them as a guilt-free snack with Daddy’s homemade salsa in the afternoons.  Grain-free life is not easy…in fact, it can be downright inconvenient.  Regardless, I feel and look my best when I don’t have grains in my system (and the patches of eczema that have cropped up thanks to yesterday’s cheat are proof that cheats need to be few and far between!).  These chips are great and make life easier.

Clothing:

  • UA Recovery Gear.  Just before Christmas, Josh did a leg workout that was so above and beyond what he normally does that he was complaining about it for days.  I love him, but the man can stub his toe and be incapacitated for a week.  I was annoyed at him hobbling around our home for days on end because of a choice he made, so in a majorly passive aggressive move, I researched recovery sleepwear to put in his stocking.  It’s pricey, but I found some on Amazon on a Deal of the Day and you can also find it at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s pretty readily.  My passive aggressiveness paid off because those doggone things actually work.  I don’t understand the science behind it, but if it keeps man flu symptoms from entering my home, I’ll pay any price.
  • Nalgene Bottles.  Not really clothing, but I always have a Nalgene in my hand, so I’d consider it an accessory.  I try to drink at least two Nalgene bottles of water during my work day and one in the afternoon/evening.  We both have Nalgene bottles that we picked up at our favorite store in the mountains, but you can find them pretty much anywhere.  They have a lifetime warranty–last summer my brother’s lid shattered and Nalgene immediately replaced it (the bottle was at least five or six years old).

Product:

  • Kristin Ess for Target.  The woman behind Lauren Conrad’s amazing hair has a whole line of haircare products at Target and they smell divine.  I’ve been using her purple shampoo for about a month now and I’m truly obsessed with it–I only wash my hair once a week so I need whatever product I use to be with me for the long haul and it does the trick.  I’m hoping to pick up some more of her stuff to try especially since Josh is so in love with the scent.
  • Jade Roller.  I turned thirty last year and have since become a slave to my skin.  I’m all for aging gracefully, but the Lord invented products to make that a little easier.  I drink tons of water, avoid sugar and grains, and use a quality line of skincare products, but this jade roller is so great for working my lotions, potions, and serums into my skin and it feels so good.  I keep mine in the freezer and roll it up my neck towards my hairline and it instantly takes care of any puffiness.  I feel like it would also be great to use for headaches.

Media:

  • Mary Poppins Returns.  I loved it so much I saw it twice in theaters.  I love Emily Blunt and I feel like she did the role justice.  It was super touching and the music was fantastic.
  • Make Something Good Today.  This book was so good.  I cried and laughed and read parts aloud to Josh and then cried some more.  I love watching Hometown because Erin and Ben Napier seem so genuine and this book only solidified that.  If you live in a small town (like me) and want your little corner of the world to be a better place, definitely pick this up.

Annabeth:

  • Castles & Crowns.  If you have known me for more than five seconds, you know I’m 100% traditional and also 100% extra.  Shopping for smocked outfits for Annabeth is one of my favorite things to do.  I discovered Castles & Crowns late last year and I have been so happy with the quality and with the prices of their products.  Seriously, y’all, they have SUCH good sales!  Josh was pretty resistant to smocked clothing until he saw a toddler who was dressed like a teenager, so now he’s all on board.  If you’re in the market for something sweet, give this brand some love!
  • Buddies.  Shocker:  our kid is obsessed with Disney.  Most toddlers are, but Annabeth didn’t really stand a chance.  There will be no Dreamworks or other off brand stuff in our home–it’s Disney or bust.  My mom discovered these Disney play sets at Disney World last fall and they’ve become some of Annabeth’s favorite toys.  I think she likes them because they fit in her little hands and she can hide them all over the place.  She calls them her “buddies” and it’s super sweet.  We pick up a set each time we head down to Disney World, but you can also find them online.

What are your favorites this month?  Did you also feel like January was 1,000 days long?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  I’m still so happy with all of our Grove products.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to use this code for FIVE free products (including lots of Mrs. Meyer’s stuff)!

PSS:  Did you have pretty weather last week where you live?  It was amazing to have 80 degree weather in February!

.what I love: September 2018.

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I literally had to request a new password login for WordPress.  It’s a little depressing because writing is so life-giving and I genuinely enjoy planning content and writing, but graduate school is a demanding mistress.  One day when I’m totally finished, I hope to blog at least once or twice a week–we’ve even thrown around the idea of starting our own YouTube channel just for the heck of it, but until I’m done with research, data, research, data, APA, and more data, I’ll have to settle for little pockets of time when my coursework is turned in, my husband is busy, and my toddler is sleeping.

Here are my favorites from September (PS, can y’all believe it’s October already?  And that it’s still 95 degrees everyday?):

Food:

  • Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips.  These are perfect when I throw them into grain-free pancake mix.  Josh and I are both dark chocolate lovers, but the milk chocolate chips are great, too.  I like that these don’t have that sugar alcohol aftertaste that you run into so often with sugar-free products.  And seriously, nothing is cuter than Annabeth Shealy when her face is covered in butter, melted dark chocolate, and bits of pancake.
  • Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers.  I’ll be honest, I miss the convenience of grains.  My favorite lunch is a tapas-style snack plate (cheese, a little fruit, some olives, cured meats, and some crispy, delicious crackers).  Sometimes you just need some crunch that doesn’t come from a pork rind!  These crackers are SO good–we love all the flavors.  I usually pack a handful of these to have with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge.

Clothing:

  • THML Tops.  I’m a boutique kind of gal.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll totally shop at J. Crew and Old Navy and Belk, but I love finding unique pieces at boutiques.  My recent favorite transitional pieces (because it’s still miserably hot here in Georgia) include lots of THML tops paired with white jeans and boots.  I love the intricate embroidery, rich colors, and the fact that most of them don’t require any ironing.  They also look great paired with a cardigan or green army jacket.
  • Tieks.  It’s usually around this time a year that I start wearing my Tieks on a daily basis.  In February we spent a week in New York City and I wore my Tieks nearly everyday and felt totally comfortable (walking 25,000 plus steps a day while pushing a stroller).  I sized up when I bought mine and have been super pleased with them.  They’re pricey–like, made my stomach hurt when I clicked “Purchase” pricey, but I have literally lived in them.  When you try to run a Google search for negative Tieks reviews, you won’t find many.  They’re a high quality product and the company has great customer service.

Product:

  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation.  Seriously the best foundation I’ve ever used.  It’s definitely a heavier foundation…if you’re looking for something lighter, the Water Fresh Double Wear is great, too.  I’ve been using Double Wear since May and I don’t foresee myself swapping out for anything else.  Bonus:  Estee Lauder counters will color match you and whip up a 10-day sample to try for free!
  • Clinique Moister Surge Intense Moisturizer.  My friend Cassie brought me a jar of this moisturizer when I was hospital after delivering Annabeth.  I hadn’t used Clinique in years, but this stuff is the best.  It’s so moisturizing that it makes my skin feel full, but it isn’t greasy.  I have super dry skin so I like the “intense” version of this moisturizer.  I also love that a little bit goes a long way–last year I only went through three jars.

Media:

  • Jack Ryan.  We’re huge fans of The Office and this show (featuring Jim Halpert 2.0) was fantastic.  Josh has started reading the Jack Ryan/Tom Clancy novels in order because this show was so intense and amazing.  It felt like they literally ripped the plot from the headlines.  Bonus:  it’s only eight episodes, so you can totally binge it in one weekend.
  • Audible.  Audible is an audiobook subscription available through Amazon.  For $15 a month, you get one credit to use towards any audiobook in the Audible library (there are thousands). We’ve actually had it a long time and forgot about it, so we had a ton of credits built up that we’ve been putting to good use!  We each have about a 20 minute commute, so we listen as we drive and we also listen while we run.  Sometimes I listen to whatever I’m “reading” while I get ready in the morning or while I’m cooking dinner.  So far I’ve “read” The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (FIVE STARS), The Coincidence of Coconut Cake (FOUR STARS), America’s First Daughter (FOUR STARS), and I’m currently listening to Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.  Josh has been listening to Patriot Games and I noticed just yesterday that he’s already downloaded the next Tom Clancy book in the lineup.
  • The Greatest Showman Soundtrack.  Amazing.  I literally cry every time This is Me comes on.  We haven’t even finished the movie yet (I KNOW), but we listen to the soundtrack almost every day.  We especially love listening and dancing around before bathtime and Annabeth’s bedtime routine.

Annabeth:

  • Squeaker Shoes.  They’re super obnoxious, but they make Annabeth so happy (and it’s easy to keep up with her in a crowd).  I tend to stick to the classics when it comes to dressing Annabeth, so we’re not really into Converse or super trendy items.  These little Mary Jane shoes are cute and she loves wearing them.  When Josh took them off of her last night, she cried and demanded, “Shoes ON, Daddy!”
  • Dohm White Noise Machine.  Annabeth is a fantastic sleeper, but she’s pretty particular about her sleeping arrangements.  She’s a creature of consistency so she likes her blackout curtains, her Owlet (she can now request it by name), her Halo Sleep Sack, and most importantly, her Dohm.  I’m not quite sure how it works, but it sounds like a really loud fan, but it doesn’t blow any air out of it.  I actually don’t mind when we stay in a hotel room with her because I like sleeping with it, too.  It’s adjustable and has an on/off switch (most white noise machines that have timed options only run for ten hours and she sleeps for twelve hours each night).

Is it still super hot where you live, or do you actually get to enjoy some autumn weather this time of year?  We’re heading to the mountains next week and it’s supposed to be much cooler–I can’t wait!

XOXO,

Court

PS-Football season has been both wonderful and exhausting.  I’m dreading the end of it, but I’m also really looking forward to it.

 

.jolly old st. nick.

There are so many decisions young families face, especially when welcoming a new baby into the fold.  Breast or bottle?  And if you choose to do the bottle, what type?  What about pacifiers?  Nursery school or nanny?  Sleep training (YES, please) or co-sleeping (no thanks)?  And on the other side of every single decision is harsh judgement from everyone from close relatives to the nosy lady you always run into at the market (you know the type…The Sock Dictator).

One decision that was easy for us was Santa Claus.  In my pre-parenting days, I was wholly against the idea of Santa Claus.  I’m not really even sure why because per my Mother’s rules, I still technically have to believe in old St. Nick in order to receive any gifts at her house.  I think I perhaps wanted all the credit for the massive amount of work that a great Christmas requires, but now that I am a mother in my own right, I’m all for it (the IT being all things magical and festive).

I’m the mother who made my two-month old leave out carrots for the Easter Bunny, so  of course we’re not only leaving out cookies for Santa on a special plate, but we’re also making reindeer feed to sprinkle in our yard and leaving out carrots for Rudolph.  And of course, I have a Burl Ives vinyl to play on our vintage record player that sits beneath our mammoth tree.  And of course we all have matching Christmas pajamas.  Childhood only happens once and it’s only for a few years, so it may as well be magical.

Another thing that was easy for us to decide was how we wanted to go about giving presents from Santa.  Annabeth is spoiled absolutely rotten by her Darling and Pop (especially her Darling).  My Mother buys her shoes, clothing, toys, books, and puzzles constantly and has been squirreling away Christmas gifts since before she was born.  My Mother is the Queen of Christmas and of Giving (and my Daddy is the lovable Clark Griswold type who often asks, “What did I get you?” on Christmas morning when we’re unwrapping gifts).  Since I’m directly related to the Queen of Christmas and of Giving, I knew it would probably be smart to limit what Santa brings to Annabeth by dividing her gifts into four categories:  something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.

I’m hoping that by limiting myself to four gifts, I’ll be able to find the most special and significant gifts and create a heart of gratefulness in Annabeth.  I also know myself enough to know that I would literally go broke if I got her everything I wanted to purchase her.  If all else fails, Baby Jesus only got three gifts and if it was good enough for the Savior of All Mankind, then four gifts will be good enough for Annabeth Shealy (nothing like a Southern Baptist mother to lay it on thick!).

This year Annabeth’s something you want is a Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair.  In October PBKids had a massive sale and I got her chair at a great price.  I chose the Light Pink option because it matches her bedding and Boppy cover.  She has a small chair at my Mother and Daddy’s house that she loves, so I thought this would be a sweet addition to our living room.

Annabeth’s something you need is a sweet little riding toy I found at Target called a Buggly Wuggly.  My petite girl is just too tiny for most riding or pushing toys, so this was a perfect choice for her.  I’m also kind of a witch when it comes to toys (not in the living room) and baby paraphernalia (why the primary colors????), so the muted tones help soften the blow a bit.

The something to wear portion of this list is kind of a joke because Annabeth Shealy is never without something sweet to wear.  Between my Mother and myself, she’s got all the lace and frills and smocks and monograms she’ll ever need.  I opted to go with a sweet dress from Cecil and Lou and got our sweet new nephew Asher the matching romper for our Christmas day festivities.  I didn’t care for the fonts offered for these particular outfits, so I had them monogrammed with this one instead.

The something you read part was simple.  Over the summer, Josh read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Annabeth.  He took great delight in this pastime and did all sorts of accents and voices.  My sweet cousin Lauren gave me this beautifully illustrated copy for Christmas last year.  Josh can’t wait to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to her!  And if you’re wondering, we absolutely read chapter books to our baby.

We decided to let stocking stuffers be from Mommy and Daddy.  We did a handful of bath toys (our little mermaid baby loves the water) and this bracelet for when she gets older.

How do you do Christmas in your home?  Santa or Belsnickel or no Santa at all?

XOXO,

Court

PS, I got this for Josh for Christmas.  I know nothing about these types of things, but I also know he’s been dying to open it since it arrived.

PSS, I’m dreaming of a Tory Burch Christmas (don’t let me down, Santa).

My Favorite Things: Cookbooks

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a great cookbook.  I keep them in stacks on my nightstand and read through them like my favorite novels.  The best recipes are like love stories, full of both richness and sweetness and hints of bitter.  Here are my top favorite cookbooks:

1.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking by:  Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, & Simone Beck

As a worshiper at the throne of the Great Julia, this was an easy investment.  The recipes are detailed and methodical and Julia is just so terribly charming.  I’ve read both volumes from cover to cover several times over.  Order here.

Favorite recipes:  Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic, Chicken with Mushrooms, Port, & Cream

2.  Foolproof by:  Ina Garten

The Barefoot Contessa is my favorite after school program {no, really}.  Ina is one of my top role models {a political analyst turned home chef!} and when my brother-in-law gifted me Foolproof for Christmas, I instantly ignored all my other presents to read through this gorgeously detailed book.  Purchase here.

Favorite recipes:  Perfect Poundcake, Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and Straw & Hay Pasta

3.  Nigella Kitchen:  Recipes from the Heart of the Home by:  Nigella Lawson

All cocaine charges notwithstanding, Nigella Lawson is an awesome home cook.  Every recipe is equal parts comforting, accessible, and sexy.  She’s delightfully entertaining to watch and she’s equally as entertaining in writing.  Many of the recipes in this book are quick and tasty.  Order here.

Favorite recipes:  Curly Pasta with Feta, Spinach, & Pine Nuts, Indian Roasted Potatoes, & Slut’s Spaghetti {no, really}

4.  It’s All Good by:  Gwyneth Paltrow

Set aside any preconceived notions about Gwyneth Paltrow & her goop lifestyle before reading this book and you’ll adore it.  The salad section alone is enough to feed us for the entire summer and the Captain goes nuts for the different dressing recipes.  This cookbook is especially helpful to anyone with Celiac disease or food allergies {like me}.

Favorite recipes:  The Best Chicken Soup Ever, Mexican Green Goddess Dressing, and Brown Rice Pasta with Tuna, Olives, Capers, & Parsley

5.  The Pioneer Woman by:  Ree Drummond

Technically I don’t own any of Ree Drummond’s cookbooks because I frequent her blog so often.  What’s more shocking than how comforting and simple her recipes are is the fact that so many people hate The Pioneer Woman.  Like, I’ve had other women harass me online because I’ve pinned her recipes before.  I think it’s because she’s not a trained chef and she sometimes takes shortcuts or maybe it’s because she’s built a profitable empire.  Either way, women tearing down other women online is not cool.  Ree is personable and her recipes are easy to follow.  You can access her recipes by clicking here.

Favorite Recipes:  Cajun Chicken Pasta, Salisbury Steak {no, really}, and Sunday Night Stew

What about you?  What are your favorite cookbooks?  Do you have shelves full of them like me or do you download ebooks on your iPad?

XOXO,

Court

10 Books That Changed My Life

DSC_0138white

1.  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

When I First Read It:  Fourth Grade {no kidding}

Why I Love It:  I can be just as cold and calculating and manipulative as Scarlett O’Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Thankfully, I have a one thousand page manifesto on how to get stuff done without throwing away happiness with both hands.  Plus, Rhett Butler is my spirit animal.

How It Changed My Life:  Scarlett had everything and she gave it up for a washed-up, weak excuse for a man.  From the tender age of nine, I vowed that the same would never happen to me.

Hashtag:  #TomorrowIsAnotherDay #FiddleDeeDee #GreatBallsOfFire

First Line:

Gone With the Wind

2.  Animal Farm by George Orwell.

When I First Read It:  8th Grade

Why I Love It:  It proves my favorite talking point—Communism is a gorgeous concept on paper but the human {or animal, rather} element will always guarantee its ultimate failure.

How It Changed My Life:  At the age of thirteen, it provided a vivid depiction of the destructive nature of Communism.

Hashtag:  #FourLegsGoodTwoLegsBetter #SomeAreMoreEqualThanOthers #IWillWorkHarder

First Line:

Animal Farm

3.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

When I First Read It:  Third Grade

Why I Love It:  My middle name is Anne.

How It Changed My Life:  More than anything else, Anne Shirley taught me that have an overactive imagination is a blessing, not an affliction.  Plus, Gilbert Blythe.

Hashtag:  #KindredSpirits #RaspberryCordial #BosomFriends #DressesWithPuffySleeves

First Line:

Anne

4.  Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

When I First Read It:  Third Grade

Why I Love It:  The idea that Wendy Darling got to lord over a dozen or so little boys was terribly captivating {and still kinda is}.

How It Changed My Life:  Wendy taught me that change is necessary, so it may as well be embraced.  Peter taught me that dating a man-child is a waste of time.

Hashtag:  #HookOrMeThisTime #Wendybird #ToDieWillBeAnAwfullyBigAdventure

First Line:

Peter Pan

5.  Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

When I First Read It:  Last year {and it took an abysmally long time}

Why I Love It:  Finishing and comprehending this book made me feel like I finally deserved to vote.

How It Changed My Life:  I finally realized without a shadow of a doubt that {like it or not} I am a cold-hearted Libertarian.

Hashtag:  #WhoIsJohnGalt #ReardenSteel #GaltsGulch

First Line:

Atlas Shrugged

6.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

When I First Read It:  Third Grade

Why I Love It:  Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy gave me the chance to know what it would be like to have sisters.

How It Changed My Life:  At the ripe old age of nine, Louisa May Alcott taught me that sometimes life doesn’t go as planned.  People may die, the jelly won’t always jell, and your sister might marry the love of your life.  Regardless, you have to put on your big girl panties {pantaloons?} and deal with it.

Hashtag:  #ThereWereNeverSuchDevotedSisters #PickledLimes

First Line:

Little Women

7.  Mugged:  Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama by Ann Coulter 

When I First Read It:  Last summer

Why I Loved It:  It’s well-researched and quite tart in tone.

How It Changed My Life:  I never realized how far politicians will go insure votes.  I also didn’t know where the phrase “drank the Kool-Aid,” came from until reading this book.

Hashtag:  #OJVerdict #DrankTheKoolAid #AlGoresDadWasSuperRacist

First Line:

Mugged

8.  Emma by Jane Austen

When I First Read It:  10th Grade

Why I Love It:  I identify with Emma Woodhouse in a way that is both terribly frightening and enlightening.

How It Changed My Life:  Giving others very good advice while seldom following it oneself is a horrific habit.

Hashtag:  #AllTheSingleLadies #DearEmma

First Line:

Emma

9.  Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

When I First Read It:  Sixth Grade

Why I Loved It:  After years of being teased, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named finally made an actual appearance.  I also love the idea of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons spending the year at Hogwarts.

How It Changed My Life:  A year or so after reading about Harry’s fourth year at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I lost several people in quick succession.  It may sound lame to adult me, but thirteen year old me realized that if Harry could watch Cedric Diggory die at the hands of Voldemort, I could process scary real-life things like cancer.

Hashtag:  #SPEW #TriWizardTournament #QuidditchWorldCup

First Line:

Harry

10.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 

When I First Read It:  Freshman year of college

Why I Loved It:  I have a {slightly unhealthy} thing for self-loathing jerks and Mr. Rochester takes the cake.  {I could fix that man, really I could}.

How It Changed My Life:  Jane taught me to not be a doormat.

Hashtag:  #AlwaysMakeSureTheDeadWifeIsReallyDead

First Line:

Jane

Calling All Bookworms!

My beloved friend Jamie and I both tend to be big dreamers.  In fact, we discovered three years ago that we’re almost exactly the same.  Sometimes this won’t work in a relationship, but luckily for us, it does.  Jamie’s moving back to good ol’ FCHS with me this year and I’m ecstatic.  Yesterday we briefly discussed starting a monthly book club and in typical Courtney fashion, I ran with the idea.  If you live in the area and might be interested in meeting one night each month for a structured discussion on a previously selected text, please contact me via Twitter, Facebook, or email {courtneycallicutt@gmail.com}.

I’m a great believer in structure, but I’m also a great believer in the need for human interaction and fellowship.  I want Book Club {we don’t have a name yet!} to be a place of intellectual discussion, but I also crave intimate conversation, support, and a hot cup of tea.  

I crave inspiration…

And whimsy…

And maybe a touch of Old World elegance…

I honestly see this as an opportunity for women with shared interests to pour into the lives of others both intellectually and emotionally.  Would you care to join us?