Playlist: Best of 2014

We are over and out until 2015! As is tradition, I leave y'all with a playlist of 14's finest tunes. It's always fun to run back through the year's tracks. From the songs of summer to the bluesiest winter ballad, music sinks its claws into our memories and takes us right back to the moment we attached it to. So what better way to review the year behind us?

 I hope your holidays treat you well, Ill see you guys next year. 

Past years: Best of 2013 / Best of 2012

Gift Guide: For the Guys

Ahhh! It's the last minute scramble! Sometimes, the guys on my list are the hardest to shop for. I don't know about y'all, but if the men in my family want or need something, they just go out and buy it themselves. So you have to go those extra few steps to find something cool and useful that they most likely haven't already procured right under your nose. Enter the fellas at Huckberry, who (praise be) are still shipping with guaranteed Christmas delivery (with discounted expedited shipping) through the weekend. Yes, all of the stuff above will safely be delivered in time for Dad, bro, uncle or beau to rip it open on the 25th - as long as you slide into home by Sunday. Go forth! Be merry!

1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9. 10.  11.  12.  13.  14.

Georgia Stocking Stuffers

It was fun teaming up with a few other blogs based below the Mason-Dixon to share some stocking stuffers that hail from each of our home states. Here are my favorite small items from Georgia-based makers and shops, hung by the chimney with care in hopes that you'll also consider giving to those less fortunate this holiday season. Atlanta-based Empty Stocking Fund helps provide presents to kids whose parents may not have the means. If your heart isn't three sizes too small, please consider giving as you enjoy your roast beast and add these pretty things to your shopping cart - $20.00 gets one child out there in Whoville four gifts to tear open on Christmas day. Merry merry!

Check out the other state stocking stuffer posts from Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina!

1. Doux South pickles (love their Little Rock caviar too) 2. Victorinox pocket knife, from Ann Mashburn 3. Wonder Woman action figure, from Baby Braithwaite 4. Inflatable globe, from Baby Braithwaite 5. Plaque Charm Liberty wrap bracelet, from Ann Mashburn 6. Purple elephant scarf, from A.Barclay 7. Norcross Yo Yo, from Oakleaf & Acorn 8. Original Goo Goo Cluster 9. Ombre collar, from Waiting on Martha 10. Animal head shot glass set, from Waiting on Martha

Gift Guide: Taigan

Oyster salt and pepper cellars from Lettered Olive

It just wouldn't be Christmas time if The Love List and Taigan didn't team up for a gift guide, amirite? We always come up with cool stuff for other folks - past categories include "for letting the wild rumpus begin" and "for the bro who just won't stop fretting so, so hard" - but selfishly, this year I wondered "what about my wish list?"

Gifts via La Matera, Molly Jane Designs, Glamourpuss, Peter Nappi and more

Various knickknackery, like a paddle set and cocktail napkins, sit amongst more highfalutin' fur and feather fare, all dunked in the delicious well-edited luxe of Taigan's house sauce. In the spirit of "one for you, two for me" here are the things I'm asking Santa for. Okay, and maybe a couple of things I selfishly wouldn't mind seeing my guy in, either. If only in my dreams... shop the full list here.

Gift Guide: For Kids

1. A Family for Franny, by Amelia Beck, the story of a chic French bulldog living the good life in Paris - until baby makes four. 2. Emerald August Willow Holiday Romper 3. 10 two-tipped felt pens, pink set, from Little Citizen's boutique 4. The Magic Sausage, a story left blank for the kids to illustrate, from Virginia Dunn 5. Surprise Ride, each month a surprise themed box with supplies, instructions, a snack, fun facts and more for ages 6-11. Pictured: Green Thumb box 6. Emerald August fabric knot necklace 7. Pirate Sword, from Baby Braithwaite 8. Aden & Anais bamboo swaddle blankets, from Seed Factory 9.  Bla Bla Pierre Doll, from Baby Braithwaite 

Around year five or so of The Love List, I was 23-4ish, and still living in Gainesville, Florida post-college.  The "blogging" thing was starting to hit and I wanted to expand my lens a little, but I was holding down other responsibilities, so I needed some help to do it. I decided to make use of the abundance of eager minds around me, so I put word out on a few sorority listservs and got myself some interns. 

For a somewhat impulsive decision, it turned out to be one of the best ones I ever made for the blog. Not only did I learn what kind of teacher and manager I was, I met the best group of amazing (then) freshman and sophomore girls whose careers I've been thrilled to continue to be a part of as they've moved up in life. For a little blog, did I really need like, four girls? No. Hell no. I needed like, one. Maybe. I remember one tweet from someone who asked me if I was assembling an "all girl army". But so many amazing ladies applied, I didn't have the heart to turn any of them down. So we had big sushi dinners and fellowship and gossiped about boys and oh yeah, worked.

The girls learned how to pitch stories, write with a voice, edit copy, some basic photoshop skills, and about this newfangled thing called twitter. We had a list of "NO" words on the wall; you know, crutch-y words that young girls love to use like "fun" and "awesome". I felt a sincere responsibility towards them. If they were willing to give me their time, then I was damn well going to make sure they learned something useful. Whenever I was conducting an interview, I gave "the spiel" about what The Love List was, what it did, and what it didn't do. Two things I always said we very much didn't do were 1. brides and 2. kids. Not that I had anything against either, but they were each their own huge realm out in blogland that I didn't want to F with. 

So here I am today, my girls long moved onto bigger, better jobs, out there conquering the world, and what am I here publishing? A children's gift guide.

But that's kind of the way it is when you've been writing your way through your formative years online. You start out interested in one thing, and then you age, and your interests veer in another direction entirely. When I was 23, I wasn't thinking about kids or know anyone that had one. I loved them, sure, but they just weren't a part of my periphery. At (almost) 29, that tune has changed. I have tons of friends with young children, who are pregnant or who are proceeding with the process of adopting. Kids are a blast. I'm excited about the idea of one day being a Mom. And all the cute stuff that's out there for them makes me squee! 

To be perfectly honest, the primary thing that inspired this gift guide is that the smart and funny Amelia Beck, who I went to high school with, published her first children's book last week! It makes me wish I knew a little girl to gift it to, but all of my friends have boys! I may just buy it anyway.  Here are a few other suggestions for the child (or child at heart).

Gift Guide: For the Homebody

Thanks Sheyda for the pretty Housewarming flowers! 

'Tis the season to be... overrun with gift guides from blogs, magazines, and the ilk! As if you aren't sick enough of me telling you what to do and buy in print this year, I figured I'd keep the machine churning ever so dutifully (dubiously?) along with some recommendations here on the blog. Worth noting: most of the gifts I've pulled maintain some kind of tie to the South or the fair city of Atlanta and are from companies, shops and people I genuinely like -- in the offline sense. So I'd like to think The Love List's are gift guides with a little (Southern) soul, and not just a bunch of same-color mishmash I pulled off of affiliate sites to spin a quick buck. Happy shopping! More cheery holiday content to come - and I promise to pepper in more presents (like this one) for you guys, too. 'Tis also the season to be grateful for all the nice people (like you!) who read this here blog, after all.

1. Talley-Ho round jewel box, at Gramercy Home, Buckhead (404) 846-9244 2. Kiehl's Norman Rockwell special edition Creme de Corps moisturizer, 18.00 at Nordstrom  3. Diptyque 'winter' candle, 68.00 at Nordstrom or Diptyque of Buckhead (404) 939-9290 4. Elizabeth McKay camel cashmere September tunic, 275.00 at Elizabeth McKay 5. Bottle opener and wine key, 22.00 and 24.00, at Pieces (404) 869-2476 6. Linens: For Every Room and Occasion by Jane Scott Hodges 7. One Man's Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood by Julia Reed (photo) 8. Proud Mary Antigua Navajo Loafer, 158.00 9. True & Co. 'uniform' pajama set in navy, 68.00 at (available Dec 1) 10. Soma water carafe and filter, 48.98 at Huckberry 11. Pierrepont Hicks Backgammon set, 275.00 at 12. Mazama mug/tumbler, 31.98 at Huckberry 13. Corallina sleep mask, 75.00, at Branca (photo) 14. Izola oyster quote catch-all tray, 36.98, at Huckberry (photo)

The tree in question.

Last Tuesday evening, I had a little help decorating my Christmas tree. As I pulled out the lights and plugged them in, they illuminated white and he smiled smugly. "So you're a white lights person." "Yeah, so?" I said, suddenly anxious about what I'd just stepped into. 

"I'm a colored lights person" He said. "Christmas should be tacky. It should be big gaudy lights and tinsel everywhere." "Oh my God, no!" I said, physically recoiling at the idea. He laughed. "White lights people are control freaks, the holidays shouldn't be 'just so'. People forget that Christmas is first and foremost for kids. And kids love colored lights." 

Sitting on the floor in my living room, surrounded by strings of white lights, handmade garland and fresh-cut magnolia branches, I suddenly felt like a big, child-hating Christmas jackass. 

In defense of him coming off erstwhile and grumpy, it stands to be said he also hauled the tree home in his pickup truck and put it in the stand for me. When my dyslexia sent me cross-eyed trying to wrap lights around said tree, he took over there, too. So we aren't talking about a Scrooge or a Grinch here, just a sweet, if not imperviously staunch, "colored lighter". And let me tell y'all, he ain't alone.

After our, ah, colorful conversation, I couldn't help but be bothered by the idea that I'd spent my entire (short) adult life accidentally letting my taste in holiday lighting make some kind of dismal statement about my personality. Am I a control freak? Selfish? Destined to be a terrible mother one day? Why do colored lights bother me so much, anyway?

I came to the conclusion most of us do when a supposedly ugly part of our personality is pointed out; the parents are to blame.

Maggie on the porch underneath my door's humble Boxwood wreath. Boxwood, apparently also a  total #whitelightsmove.

My upbringing was, like a lot of Southerners, a mixed bag of white privilege and white trash. As I mentioned in my oyster essay earlier this year, there was one, more elegant part of my family whose arms I rushed into, and one I had to be dragged to visit and reminded to hug. They, of course, were colored lights people. 

Okay, so they weren't exactly wrapping colored lights around their mailboxes with twenty feet of extension cord and leaving them up all year*, but when you're a teenager, you'll find just about anything to be embarrassed about.

In my teens and early twenties, I tried to play up the fancy parts of my blood and play down the muddy ones, but come a few years ago, I realized it was a pointless pursuit, and it was making me come off like a phony baloney - or, for the sake of this argument, a typical white light-lovin', hoity toity bitch.

In truth, I was raised on colored lights. Hell, I remember driving out to my Mom's best girlfriend's house in the early 90's to exchange presents. I must have been around eight. Without a trace of irony, she had mammoth colored orbs keeping company on nearby branches with even bigger ol' candelabra-looking things that had bubbles (bubbles!) moving inside them, like a hundred little lava lamps. They were atrocious! I loved them. I begged my Mom for the same lights on our tree. She said no. She's a white lighter, too.  

When and why did I become a white lighter? Hard to say. Is it because somewhere along the line, I let somebody make me feel like me or my family weren't up to snuff? In that case, shame on me. Or maybe it's just because I haven't yet acquired popsicle stick creations and glitter-framed first-grade pictures like my Mom has, whose white-lights tree sags with a lifetime's collection of ornaments. Because of that, I use bows and fresh greenery to fill mine, and I happen to think it looks prettier lit up white. 

How it happened, why it became ingrained, I still couldn't say with any honesty I actually like colored lights. So whatever statement it may make, (who knew it had such gravity) I'm still a white lights kind of gal. As I stuck fresh magnolia branches in my tree the other night, he laughed and rolled his eyes. "Total white lights person move." He said. I just shrugged. "Yup."

*thank you Rick Bragg for this colorful anecdote.

Terrible photos by me. I'm not Caroline, okay?

Happy #CyberMonday, fine folks. How was your Thanksgiving? How was your rivalry week? It was a good weekend to be a Seminole or a fan of the Crimson Tide. Everyone else, not so much. But I digress, because now, it is officially Christmas time! I promised some presents for you guys, so here's the first of those holiday giveaways. You might have seen me (or not, it's whatevs) in the December issue of Southern Living talking about holiday entertaining - I mentioned there that one of my favorite drinks this time of year (and a staple at my Christmas party) is a Hot Toddy. I really like to use a Tervis Tumbler to serve it, because if the drink isn't piping hot, it kind of defeats the purpose, you know? Here's the recipe for a crowd:

Keep the bottle nearby in case folks want to top their drink of with another nip. I put my name on these. Because they warm the bones and get you drunk.

The free stuff part: the nice folks at Southern Living and Tervis are offering up an awesome prize pack of tumblers from the new Entertaining Collection by Tervis® (pictured above in color Crystal Clear) for one lucky Love List reader. We could all use that, right? The winner will get two four packs (one in a small and large size) in the color of their choice: Clear, Cherry Fizz, Mint Sprig, Blue Infusion, or Plum Twist. To enter, follow me on Instagram and "like" my hot toddy photo. Bonus entry if you leave a comment!

If you don't luck out and win here, fret not, because you can still visit every day through December 24 to enter the Great Big Christmas Giveaway for a chance to win great prizes, including a set of tumblers from the Entertaining Collection by Tervis®

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals: The Only List You Need

The Chrome Yellow Trading Co. + Brick & Mortar Pop-Up Shop on Atlanta's Westside
Photo: Bethany Legg

Happy Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year - namely that I get to be with family on this fine holiday soaking up South Florida sunshine in Wellington. Know what else I'm thankful for? The internet. While there are many, many days I loathe and detest her, today is a day to celebrate our saucy e-maiden, because she bestows upon us the gift of online shopping.

Long gone are the days of having to jones in line at the butt crack of dawn for a post-tryptophan retail fix. Instead, we pull on our slippers, fire up our iPads, and browse by fingertip as our Dads nap in front of the football game. It is a glorious modern tradition, one which my family has embraced wholly, along with gluten-free stuffing, the Ina Garten drinking game, and laying by the pool on the day in question (a "chilly" fall day in Palm Beach County is in the high 70's). I thought I'd round up all my favorite online deals for y'all in one place this year to make browsing the sales that much easier. Feel free to leave anything I've missed in the comments. And remember: if you shop Black Friday with your pants on, you're doing it wrong.

**this list is being updated as new deals arrive***
Alice + Olivia: 25% off site wide + free shipping

Anthropologie: huge sale site wide Black Friday, free shipping Cyber Monday

ASOS: 30% off site wide Black Friday w/ code TGIBF, same deal Cyber Monday w/ code ILOVEMONDAYS

Banana Republic: 50% off one full-price item Black Friday w/ code BRFIFTY, 40% off site wide Cyber Monday w/ code BRFORTY

Billy Reid: Additional 20% off sale items in-store and online w/ code FRIDAY

Blank NYC: $50.00 off $100.00 w/ code BLANK50

Bloomingdales: 50% off a selection site wide Black Friday

Boast: 50% off site wide and 50$ gift card with purchases over $200.00 w/ code TOUCHDOWN


Club Monaco: 30% off cashmere Black Friday, biggest sale of the year Cyber Monday

DvF: 15% off site wide Black Friday w/ code FRIDAY15, same deal Cyber Monday w/ code CYBER15

Emerson Fry: 20% off all full-priced merchandise Cyber Monday w/ code EFMONDAY14

Ernest Alexander: 25% off + free shipping w/ code HOLIDAY25

Equipment: 25% off site wide w/ code THANKS

Filson: Spend $300.00, get a $50.00 promo code for future purchase + complimentary embossing for any bag or strap.

For Your Party: 25% off entire order BLA25

Gigi New York + Graphic Image: free shipping and free gift with purchase

Helmut Lang: 40% off

Huckberry: HUGE warehouse sale

Imogene + Willie: take 20% off all items w/ code WTHBF

J.Brand: 30% off site wide

J.Crew30% off select full-price styles and additional 40% off sale + free shipping, no mimimum w/ code HOLIDAY

Joie: 25% off site wide w/ code THANKS

Krewe Du Optic: 25% off + additional 20% off select items

Kotur: 65% off select Club Kotur items

Ledbury: 35% off all shirts Black Friday, 25% off all shirts 11/30

Madewell: 25% off your purchase w/ code GIFTON

Miansai: 15% off site-wide Black Friday

MiH Jeans: 30% off everything through Nov 29

Need Supply Co.: 30% off sale Black Friday, 20% off site wide Cyber Monday

Nordstrom: up to 40% off select items

Otte New York: extra 40% off sale w/ code BLACKFRIDAYEA

Orvis: Extra 20% off sale items

Pendleton: Save 20% on outerwear

Peter Nappi: 30% off select Fall-Winter '14 merchandise and free shipping

Piperlime: 20% off site wide w/ code THANKFUL25

Rebecca Taylor: 30% off sale items + dresses

Saks: up to 60% off select styles

Southern Proper: Uncle Rudy's sale

ShopBop: tiered promotion: 15% off $250, 20% off $500, 25% off $1000 w/ code GOBIG14

Tibi: additional 20% off sale items through Black Friday w/ code BLACKFRIDAY14

Tretorn: 25% off regular priced items through the weekend

Woolrich: 25% off site wide and free shipping

The Waiting on Martha Pop-Up at Shops Around Lenox
photo: Kathryn McCrary

Be sure to put your pants on the following day for Small Business Saturday - lots of Atlanta businesses are breaking out the good deals and fun incentives to walk in. A few of my locally-owned favorites for  404 holiday stock-ups by 'hood:

Gramercy - for great linens
Tulipano - pop in and see the remodel
W.Port - all your fave elegant basics
Waiting on Martha Pop-Up Shop - gobs of home goodies
H&F Bottle Shop - great small batch and craft selection
Huff Harrington Home - beautiful jewelry and small gifts
B.D. Jeffries - the best gift shop in Atlanta
Greg Irby Fine Art - affordable work from emerging artists
Ona Atlanta - luxe bath and body, candles galore
Lucy's Market - gorgeous garlands, wreaths and ornaments
Pieces - lots of great small gifts are in for holiday
London Trading Company - for your Barbour

Virginia Highlands:
Young Blood Boutique - killer jewelry and art print selection
Pie Shop - pie. 'Buff said.
Stanton Home - great books
William Wren - shoes and accessories
Henry & June - have a cup of coffee while you browse emerging designers

Sid & Ann Mashburn - no intro needed
Brick + Mortar/Chrome Yellow Pop-Up Shop - the hippest holiday pop-up in town
Star Provisions - gifts for the cook and collector

Old Fourth Ward:
Paris on Ponce - antiques, vintage finds, one-of-a-kinds

Little 5 Points:
Criminal Records - for the music nerd

Happy shopping and happy Turkey Day! xx jg

Old Fourth Distillery's fermentor. I felt the metaphor was appropriate. 
Photo: Caroline Fontenot

Hello fine people! For anyone who cares, here's a catch-up of what's been going on behind the scenes lately: since leaving my post at Shops Around Lenox (which by the way, if you need to get in touch over there, my friend Meghan Murphy is at the helm now and killing it), I did what I set out to do once I gave notice and threw myself into writing full-time. Since print work = loads of lead time, stories are only just now starting to trickle onto stands. While lots of write-ups are still in the works for Southern Living and Eide, among others, the big news today is that The Love List found a print home in Atlanta Magazine.

Basically, this is how I feel about it.

Once a month, at the front of the magazine's lifestyle section, I'll be writing through some of my favorite things. The first edition dropped this week in the newly redesigned mag's December issue. A big, big thank you is owed to Atlanta's art department and my awesome friend/editor (freditor? tbd, ML), Mary Logan Bikoff, to whom I essentially owe the entire thing.

Another hat tip to the mag's Food Editor Evan Mah for giving Caroline and I the green light to go play at the new Old Fourth Distillery a few weeks ago. You can find that story here. Last but not least, a big smooch to Town & Country for naming The Love List one of their 7 Favorite Blogs last week. It was included in the great company of some of my favorite cohorts, like Van & Lauren!

I came to win, to fly...


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required