Have a Lovely Easter Weekend

I honestly can’t stop looking at the clock. Although it’s only been a four day week (office is closed tomorrow!), it’s honestly felt like six and I’m so eager to head home tonight. Snow, long drive et all!

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Easter egg hunt with Gigi and Nanie, circa 2010.

What are your plans for Easter? B and I are going out with my sis and bro-in-law on Good Friday and celebrating Easter Sunday over at my parents. I can’t remember the last three day weekend I spent at home, so it will be so nice.

I’ve stocked up on Cadbury’s and candies in honor of the big egg hunt on Sunday (I still can’t believe the girls are 6!), but have otherwise kept things really simple. However, it’s not too late to dye and decorate Easter eggs or prepare a special dessert.

Here are some Easter-related links for crafts + activities + desserts…

Darling Peeps cupcakes

The sweetest little Easter bunny cookies

A tasty idea for someone with a bit more time on their hands

The slighter healthier, but still delicious version of Paula Dean’s Gooey Butter Cake

How to dye Easter eggs without the mess

Easy sugar cookie fruit cups

How pretty are these glitterey Easter eggs?

Easter games from Martha Stewart

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” -1 Peter 1:3

No Fuss Fashion

readyI have a confession to make.  Most mornings I’m amazed that Brady even lets me leave the house. Between talking Audrey out (she steps ever so slowly out onto the cool morning grass, softly listening for signs of life before inhaling the scents of fresh dew and leisurely moving across the lawn…), waiting for B to get out of the bathroom (Brady! unlock the door! why do you always lock the door?) and throwing a lunch together, I’m never running fewer than ten minutes late. When I do get into the car, the next battle begins.

Balancing a bowl of Greek yogurt in my lap and hoping my coffee in the cup holder doesn’t spill, I apply my mascara, trying to smudge my bad-aim from under my eyes before moving to the lipstick. Now this really needs to be precise, but lo! I’m already at the office. Okay, quick, before someone sees: line the lips, color ‘em in, now go! Juggle my overflowing purse, packed lunch, coffee cup, bowl of yogurt and, on yoga days, gym bag. Slam the door, somehow manage to open the office door and, as no small miracle, fall gratefully onto my desk. Rinse and repeat Monday through Friday.

Alright, so something has got to change, right? The most logical solution would be setting my alarm a half-hour earlier or, say, packing my lunch the night before. But this raises other issues. The evenings, you see, are an equally blurred scene of taking Audrey out/going to the gym/making dinner/taking Audrey out/doing last night’s dishes and, if time’s in my favor, reading 15 minutes before falling into a coma. Ah, the blissful pace of life in America!

No, you see, no matter how hard I try, I can’t get up earlier.  But! I can keep my outfits simple. This, I’ve discovered, is the magic formula:

Loose crop trousers + tighter fitting shirt + heels

Voilà! kinda of like this:

cropWhat I really like about this combination is that you can mix in prints and mix and match colors, but the overall look is still clean and easy. So! You know now my calm morning routine + office uniform. Now, tell me, what’s yours?

Imagescourtesy of theberry and Asos

Travel Mondays: 9 Ways to Judge Europe by its Cover

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How stunning is Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Stratford-on-Avon? Visited March 2012.

Sometimes I still need to pinch myself over the fact that I survived my MA year at Bristol. So much work, but so many more fantastic travel experiences. Not only was I studying my favorite authors, but I was able to visit many of their former homes and favorite haunts. So of course I had to write about them for DreamPlanGo:

For those who own more dog-eared paperbacks than they’d like to admit, there is no richer travel destination than Europe. Explore the haunts of literature’s most enduring authors and their beloved characters in these nine destinations made for bibliophiles:

Keep reading over here for the full article and let me know which literary destination you’d choose!

Happy Friday

springThe sun is shining here and it’s Friday! Cue spending lots of time outside and drinking in the sunshine.  What are your plans this weekend? My sister and her fiance will also be here–lots of fun wedding shopping to be done!

May you relax well and read this! I promise it will be tremendously worthwhile. And here’s a few fun links from around the web…

Image courtsey of sweetsurrendertumblr

How cool is this sidewalk art idea?

Even though the weather is *finally* nice, I’d love a cozy stove like this one someday.

What a great color combo.

There is something about this sketch which is so captivating.

My little sisters would melt for this Easter cake.

Can’t wait to try out this fresh salad recipe.

Two drinks that will make getting up and going to bed easy.

I love this dress!

I may be starting late, but I’m totally down for this challenge.

Have a great one, everybody!

On the Shelf: Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life

lifeKate Atkinson is as precious to me as my first author-love Charlotte Brontë. Atkinson’s novels, like Brontë‘s, tremble with wit, comfort, and significance. She writes the words at the tip of your tongue with clarity and logic, achieving that incalculable balance of beauty and blood in the process.You become dizzy with the loveliness of her shapely scenes but aren’t allowed to be oblivious to the strong undercurrents of disaster.

I first discovered Kate Atkinson in Bristol–in a “Space and Place” class taught by Professor Ralph Pite. We read Behind the Scenes at the Museum and I was utterly absorbed by the feisty narrator and the novel’s hurtfully honest portrayal of family. Next I discovered Jackson Brodie and the magical combination of Atkinson’s prose in mystery form. Yet none of this reading prepared me for the force of her newest novel.

 Life After Life is spun with gold. If you read anything this year, Life After Life must be it. The story-or stories- of Ursula Todd is utterly compelling and lingers with depth and spirit long after you close the cover. The Todd family is as real as your own flesh and blood and you can’t help but absorb their joy, their loss and their tremendous fragility.

In a nutshell, it’s Ursula’s brother who expresses the hope (purpose/beauty/tragedy) of the novel:

“What if we had a chance to do it again and again until we finally got it right? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

The wholly lovable Ursula Todd is given the chance to do just this. As she dies and returns to us throughout the novel-set before and after the second world war-we become intimately aware of the infinite value of a single life. Not only is the novel a powerful encapsulation of English identity  in the midst of ‘the war to end all wars,’ but it answers the question we so often ask ourselves–”What If?”

If you pay any attention to book awards and bestsellers, you’ve heard about Life After Life, and I don’t need to say much more. But this is, hands down, the sweetest novel I’ve read in years and one which I know will bring you joy.