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This blog will remain here for archival purposes. But  keeping reading my posts over on my website’s journal. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts here and commented. Keep in touch!

I’ve recently discovered Grace Woodward, judge on Britain’s Next Top Model and celebrity stylist. Something about this chick is interesting to me, so I’ve taken to reading up on her and looking into her work. It didn’t surprise me that I’d have an affinity for her when I found out she styled Florence Welch early on.  Check it.

Anyone who uses mustard yellow is a-ok in my book.

Here’s something I liked from an interview with Grace  in The Guardian:

To me, styling is about making fantasies. It’s only recently that people have understood that it’s not about pairing shoes with handbags – rather it’s like painting, using texture, cultural references like Queen Elizabeth I, and movement, not just clothes.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Her personal style is characterized by her oversized, thick-rimmed black glasses, stunning red-painted lips, and hair pulled back in a tight pony or completely down as seen here.

Her website ( has links to her work, list of accomplishments, more photos, and blog. Here’s a look at what she has to say about body image from her latest post:

I think she hits on what we all think about. And it’s nice to hear someone else in the fashion industry talk about it. Thank you, Grace Woodward, (even though I don’t like all her work) you’ve made me a fan.

Came across this on YouTube and thought I’d share it:

I love dancers!

After David and I were married, we only moved once from our initial apartment to the house in Pisgah Forest during the first 4 years. We moved in January 2010, then again in September 2010, and now once more in May of this year. The moving around has been exciting despite the annoyances of packing up all of your stuff, moving it, and unpacking it all at the new place. However good living in Spruce Pine in my parents’ newly bought house for pretty cheap rent was, we really missed the Asheville area. There just really isn’t anything in Spruce Pine! (I mean, I love our library and DT’s coffee house.) Also, Mom and Dad are really wanting to actually move in their home – they are itching to get stuff done that needs to be done around the house, and it’s true, David and I don’t really have a whole lot of desire to do…yard work.

So, we’ve looked at a few apartment complexes in the Arden area, and we are really liking a 1 bedroom at Carson’s Creek. The location is perfect: just down the road from the gym where we still are in our contract, not too far from the library we used to go to, not far from the new Biltmore Park with all the neat shops and the new movie theatre, (and actually, an older turned cool theatre/cafe is just below the complex) which  means we are also quite close to I- 26, the Parkway, I-40, and downtown Asheville as well. We love it.

Our idea is also to get rid of EVERYTHING we don’t need. We did a lot of that when we first moved from the church to Mills River, but we’re planning on doing even more and actually getting rid of several pieces of clunky furniture that we just don’t want anymore. We’re planning to go super minimalistic, which is exciting, because looking online at minimalist interior design is much more contemporary than how I’ve always decorated.

I can’t wait to actually get moved, settle in, and post pictures!

Yesterday, David and I got a call from his youngest sister (aged 19) and her boyfriend to tell us that they are now an…engaged couple! The wedding is set for October 7 of this year, so we are already making plans to return to England this fall. This thrills me beyond words, because going back within a year is probably the happiest thing I’ve found out this week! I don’t know how to explain why I love England so much, but I just do. And now I’ll be thinking not just about England but about a wedding to attend in England! Nothing could be more romantic.

Here’s the lovely couple – Phoebe and Will – outside Westwood Cross, a plaza of shops in David’s hometown, being adorable.

You can tell they are just gaga over each other!

In Brugge, Belgium:

They’ll make a lovely bride and groom!

a random collection of pretty things found online


Lykke Li is a Swedish indie pop artist whose sophomore effort came out February 25. With only 10 tracks that are generally just over 3 minutes long, the 41 minute long record packs in a lot in just a little time.

There’s lots of layering going on on the album, but it makes for an ethereal effect that most current Northern European music gives off. Li has a dark and yet still somehow sort of poppy sound with a voice that is fluent and folksy. Here’s my rundown and review of each song on Wounded Rhymes.

 Youth Knows No Pain

Not sure what this song really means, but what I take from it is that the younger generation can and will do things that they may not truly believe in even though it may hurt them to do it. In the end, they know no pain.

 I Follow Rivers

It’s the phrases like “dark boom honey” that get you. I guess it’s because she’s Swedish and English is her second language, but you seem to go with it. This is also the first of several songs on the album that have an amazing, almost tribal drum beat that makes you wanna dance. This is probably my favorite track.

 Love Out of Lust

This song has a certain sweetness to it with lyrics like “We will live longer than I will/we will be better than I was.” It’s like a love between two people is a being. I’m not sure Lykke Li realizes that true love doesn’t usually come out of lust, but maybe she’s wishfully thinking.

 Unrequited Love

A flashback to the 50s when songs were simple and heartfelt and even a little “shoo wop, shoo wop” is thrown in.

 Get Some

The worst song on the record. Not because of the music by any means (and I really like the music) but you can’t really sing along to lyrics like “I’m your prostitute, you gon’ get some” without feeling just a little weird.

 Rich Kids Blues

I have no idea what this song is saying. Really.

 Sadness is A Blessing

This song just makes you want to give Lykke Li a big hug! “Sadness is my boyfriend/Oh sadness I’m your girl,” c’mon! It’s also the song we get the title of the album from – “My wounded rhymes make silent cries tonight.” It’s cute.

 I Know Places

The longest song on the album and possibly the simplest with just a guitar and piano and sparse lyrics. There’s a hopeful feel to it – the “place” is one of rest, with no pain, and essentially, a home. Toward the end of the track, the music fades into a spacier, contemplative tone without any other words that blends into the next song nicely.


This is the one song where you want to hear Lykke Li’s voice without all the layers. The music and tune is quite nice, but you start to wonder what her voice would be like on its own, like if it weren’t for all the layers, would you really like it? Drums and rhythm are big on this track, especially at the end.

 Silent My Song

I’m sorry, but the only thing I can think of is how she really should have used the word “silence” instead of “silent.” I mean, she’s saying “you silent my song.” On a more relevant note, the song is a good last track, but leaves you wanting more.

I’m a big Matt Damon fan, so I relished the idea of seeing his new film on opening day with a friend who likes Matt Damon just as much. I also quite like Emily Blunt – her transition from supporting actress in Devil Wears Prada to pulling off the major role of the young Victoria in the same-named film gives her major kudos from me.

With Matt Damon’s recent list of films being almost all political thrillers, this is a story (and a character) slightly off from his usual. The movie became much more fantastical than I had first realized it was going to be, but it does so in a way that allows you to go with the story, creating a sort of belief in what’s going on for the viewer. It’s not just that someone else other than David Norris is controlling his destiny. It’s that the people who are doing it do it in a way beyond the human mind or capabilities. But the Matt Damon character takes his life and will into his own hands (with a little help from a so called “angel”) and manages to prove that he and his love interest in the film (Emily Blunt) can and will be together.

The film is based on the short story “Adjustment Team” by Philip K. Dick  (who also wrote the short stories that films like Blade Runner and Minority Report were based on) and deals with the idea of fate or destiny governed by a higher power vs. free will and making your own destiny. Although not extremely religious, the film’s theme certainly grabbles with the age-old debate on weather God sets our paths for us or if we choose them ourselves. I was pleased with the outcome of that argument that the film ends with, but I’ll leave that for you to see yourself and decide whether or not you agree.

Damon’s acting is just as good as ever, but this definitely seems to be a minor role in comparison to some of his others. He is much more romantic, and we see him making more decisions with his heart and emotions instead of with only his mind and logic. It could be the closest I’ve ever seen Matt Damon to a romantic comedy type role, even though the film doesn’t truly present itself in that format at all.

Blunt is very convincing as a dancer (as her character is a lead dancer in a real life NYC modern dance company called Cedar Lake Ballet), and as it turns out, she did all the dancing bits herself. She trained before filming began, and she looks lovely in the dancing scenes. A magazine I read in December 2010 was right: ballet is all the rage in 2011 (think Black Swan, this film, ballet flats that everyone is wearing, etc).

Overall, I loved the film. It was a nice change of pace for Damon and an interesting dive into the do-you-believe-in-fate question.


Today, my husband treated me to something every girl loves – shopping! The necessity was new trainers for running, and since I got those on sale for only $40 (I was going to spend up to $100), I asked if I could spend the other bit of money on clothes! After hearing the loveliest word I could (yes!) I ran downstairs to one of my favorite shops Charlotte Russe. I’ve always thought Charlotte Russe had a sort of European influence even though the company is based out of San Diego, California.

I was delighted to find all the new Spring trends on the racks. Lots of romantic dresses – I always find the cutest dresses at Charlotte Russe. Here are some of the new clothes I got (and outfit I put together):


Black cardigan – $10, Dress – $16 (Leggings from Target & ankle boots from Citi Trends)

Also got this cute $5 tee shirt. I love bright colors and this aqua especially goes nice with red hair.

Not pictured is a pair of jeans I got for $14 on clearance. I love it when stores have sizes in petite or small for those short-legged people like me! I’m sure you long-legged girls like the fact that they make tall or large sizes, too.

Speaking of Charlotte Russe, I’d like to take the time to mention a few other shops I love. These two are based in the UK, but you can always shop online! The first is Topshop. Check out a few of their Spring dresses, which by the way, are totally floral for the season. How romantically chic!

Topshop have great accessories, too. Rings are all the rage right now (and I’m very much into them as well) especially oversized ones of animals or random objects. These are from Topshop, too.

While in England, my husband bought me a little bag (from another cool English store called NEXT) which I use for my most popular pieces of jewelry.

The last shot is of the chunky rose earrings and a leaf ring I got from Topshop.

The next shop is Dorothy Perkins, and I hold a special place in my heart for this store since I found my dress and complete outfit for my 5th wedding anniversary celebration there.

Dress, tights, flats, necklace, and hair piece all from Dorothy Perkins perfectly matched and my best friend, Robin’s, outfit all from NEXT, except for the shoes, which were from Matalan.

Dorothy Perkins has such cute things for Spring, too.

Spring trends for this year are still tunics…

(these are from Topshop) which are fabulously worn with leggings and flats. Also, I’ve seen the “boyfriend shirt” making an early appearance this Spring. I bought this one recently from Wal-mart.

It’s so comfortable and equally as cute.

I’m so excited about the weather that Spring brings, but just as delighting as that is the fun clothes to wear. It’s the time when we can shed those bundled up winter coats and let our skin breathe a little! Keep in mind that too much skin showing too soon is totally NOT cool, so pace yourselves, ladies! Scarves are a perfectly acceptable accessory for even Spring, so don’t pack those away just yet! And the best fashion advice for any season is to wear whatever you decide to wear with confidence and passion. In doing so, you really can’t go wrong.

My desperation to remind myself of anything to do with England (since I am still very much missing my time spent there in December) has me downloading as much English music as I can with my Rhapsody account. That being said, I’ve noticed a music trend coming out of England that seems to have started somewhere in the last decade. Trends that last that long are usually referred to as movements. And in this case, the female English soul singers certainly make you move. They make you want to belt out a song about love or love lost from the top of your lungs!

There are the quite well-known ladies the likes of Leona Lewis, Joss Stone, Natasha Bedingfield (did you know she got started recording with Hillsong London – she and her brother, Daniel Bedingfield?), and Amy Whinehouse. All of those I’ve heard some of their stuff as it has been made popular, and I’ve liked it well enough, but I suppose I’ve never felt inclined to really dive into what they have to offer. The female English singers I have recently been listening to a lot, though, I’d like to outline here for your enjoyment. Perhaps you will already know them and so here’s to sharing our interest in their music together! But if not, maybe, and my hope is, you’ll find something you really like.

Here we go. First up (because I’m going in alphabetical order) is Adele, whose album, 19 (because it seems she was only 19 at the time) I only recently downloaded though it came out in 2008. Remember “Chasing Pavements”? This is the girl.

I knew the song a little when it came out, and now I’m very glad I’ve heard the whole album before Adele comes out with her Feb 22, 2011 release of “21.” (Interesting that she seems to be naming her albums by the age she is when she writes them.)  Adele will also be on VH1’s Unplugged with a mini-concert to promote the album on March 4. One of my favorite songs from her debut album is “Cold Shoulder,” with its gotta-dance-when-I-listen-to-this sound.

2. Ellie Goulding: she only has an EP out right now (in the US), which released in 2010. Her full length Lights debuted in England also in 2010, but won’t be released in the US until March 8. (I’ll certainly be signing into Rhapsody that day.)

My bestie had apparently already heard of her (kudos, Robin), but while in England, I asked my family for some good new English music to get into. (Another one of those suggestions is next on the list.) My sister-in-law’s husband told me about this young singer with what he called an amazing voice, and I have to be a little more descriptive here, because her voice is just plain enchanting. I don’t know if I would say she has a particularly soulful voice, but I think she deserves recognition in this list either way.  I really love the song “The Writer” as its a dainty acoustic version on the EP.  Looking forward to more from Ellie this year – I read she has another album coming out in 2011 as well. Let’s hope its UK release date is the same over here!

3. Florence + the Machine. I was a little flabbergasted to know that I hadn’t been keeping up with music enough to not realize this awesome band’s 2009 appearance with Lungs.

Florence Welch, whose looks remind me of a cross between Blake Lively and Jenny Lewis, makes amazing music that brought me to tears when I got home because I missed England so much as I was listening to it.  Okay, so I experienced the album for the first time up close and loud on my mp3 player one foggy and cold morning in England when I went for a jog in my sister in law’s neighborhood by the ocean. It’s going to  flood back the memories like a “train on a track coming towards her, stuck still, no turning back” to quote the first and hugely successful song from the album, Dog Days are Over. On a funny note, I was talking to my husband and others about what song I would be if I had to choose one to represent myself at the moment, and I chose this one, saying “I don’t even know what dog days are, but I know mine are over,” from which my husband got a big laugh out of and decided to use the quote as a facebook status shortly after that. And I’ll add here, a bit randomly, that her version of “You’ve Got the Love,” is currently my ringtone for my incoming text messages. I sing every time. At any rate, the entire album is simply amazing (aside only from the lyrics on the track Kiss With a Fist, which too closely borderlines on promoting domestic abuse for me. [I feel the same way about that Rihanna and Eminem song.]) Anyway, I hope Florence comes out with a new album soon. I would gush over it.

4. Imogen Heap isn’t really soul. But she’s definitely funky in the best way possible. Her electro beats and noise combinations give her a unique sound that still hasn’t been matched since she achieved her biggest popularity with 2005’s release of Speak for Yourself with the song “Hide and Seek”.

Her 2009 album Ellipse was just as magical, and my favorite song would have to be “Aha!” because it is every bit as quirky as her earlier stuff. Imogen Heap is  haute couture.

5. Kate Nash is a little more indie pop than soul, but I’ve added her here, because I just can’t mention female English artists without mentioning her.

Even though she got her start because of Lily Allen, I’ve taken more to Kate than Lily for some reason. I’d say her 2010 release of My Best Friend is You is every bit as good as 2007’s Made of Bricks. Kate Nash’s style inspired one of my own original songs I wrote and recorded for my myspace music page, Yellow Ivy. And I don’t think I’ll ever get over her lyric “You said I must eat so many lemons / ’cause I am so bitter / I said “I’d rather be with your friends mate / cause they are much fitter” said with a London accent of course and just dripping with sarcasm. Love it.

I’m going to end the list there, but perhaps I’ll revisit it later. After all, I hope I keep finding out about new female English soul sisters! Do tell, if you like! And can I just say that 3 of the above ladies I’ve mentioned have ravishing red hair like myself. No wonder I’m drawn to them, right? I just need everyone to know that being a redhead is way cool. K, thanks.