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13 Christmas Date Night Ideas | Girl Talk Tuesday

One of my favorite things about Christmastime is the traditions that Matt & I have.  Over the years, we have created date night traditions that we both look forward to.  There’s something especially romantic about Christmastime.  For today’s Girl Talk Tuesday, I’m sharing some of my favorite Christmas date night ideas.  Several of these aren’t Christmas specific, so they can also be incorporated into the following winter months.  Most of these date nights are either free or fairly reasonable, so anyone on any budget can enjoy!

Christmas Date Night Ideas Girl talk tuesday angela lanter hello gorgeous

Christmas Date Night Ideas Girl talk tuesday angela lanter hello gorgeous

Christmas Date Night Ideas:

  1. Christmas lights tour.  Who doesn’t love looking at Christmas lights?  Most big cities have neighborhoods that deck themselves out for fun every Christmas.  In LA, we have several neighborhoods that we visit each year, such as Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills or Christmas Tree Lane in Alta Dena.  We like to turn on our favorite classic carols and sip hot cocoa while we enjoy the lights.
  2. Bake/Decorate Christmas cut-out cookies.  Matt and I love to decorate cut-out cookies.  I guess it’s the adult version of coloring?  It’s fun to see what creations you can come up with and compete with each other to see who can decorate the best cookie.
  3. Visit Disneyland.  I know not all of you live conveniently close to a Disney park, but chances are that you do live driving distance from some type of park or zoo that decorates for the holidays.  Yes, this is typically a family event…  But I think it’s good to treat your inner child to some fun kid-free (if you’re parents) once in a while.
  4. Build a snowman.  If you live in a snowy area, a fun date idea is to create a “Snowman kit” and take your hubby out to build a snowman together.
  5. Go sledding or tubing.  This one is for our Northerners too.  Matt and I went tubing last winter and had an absolute blast.  You feel like you’re 10 years old flying down the hill with the cold wind in your face.
  6. Christmas movies at home.  Another tradition Matt & I have is to cuddle up on the couch in front of the fire, watching our favorite classic Christmas movies.  We pop popcorn, put on our PJs and break out the cozy blankets.  See this blog post with our favorite Christmas classic movies.
  7. Christmas Eve candlelight church service.  I never grew up going to church on Christmas Eve because that was our big family party night.  Now that I’m in LA, we go to candlelight service every year on Christmas Eve and make a night of it.  We plan dinner out at a festive restaurant and come home and open one present each at midnight.
  8. Go iceskating.  This is one festivity you can partake in regardless of your location.  We have iceskating rinks pop up all over LA each Christmas and had so much fun going one year with our friends.
  9. Make a Christmas craft together.  Decorate Christmas ornaments or stockings to create a fun memory when you pull out that craft for years to come.
  10. See a Christmas show.  Local theaters always have holiday themed plays/ballets, musicals and concerts.  You can count that The Nutcracker will be playing in your town every year.
  11. Pamper your spouse.  After a long day of Christmas shopping, why not spoil yourselves with a spa night at home?  Pick up some holiday scented bath products and candles for a relaxing evening in.  Pamper your spouse with a massage or foot rub.
  12. Game night.  Prep some snacks (I love puppy chow!) and pull out your favorite board games for a cozy night in around the fire.
  13. Read a Christmas book together.  I love when Matt reads to me.  We sometimes choose a book and take turns reading chapters to each other at bedtime for a fun way to spend time together electronics-free.

What are your favorite Christmas or Winter date nights?  I love to hear ideas from you!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year to cozy up to your man.  Love really is in the air at Christmastime.


What I’m Wearing:

Button-up Shirt ($26; 7 different colors)  //  Cardigan  //  Ankle Jeans  //  Boots  //  Boot Socks

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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Review *SPOILERS*

For me, the most anticipated tv moment in my life has been the Gilmore Girls reboot.  I was late to the game on the original series and only began watching it on Netflix the beginning of this year…  But once I entered Stars Hollow, I never wanted to leave.  I fan-girled.  Hard.  Now that I’ve watched the entire reboot and have had a few days to sit on my many, many emotions, I felt it was time to take to the blog and pour out my heart.

*Warning: if you have never seen Gilmore Girls before, don’t read this post because you may want to watch it in the future.  If you have seen the show, but not the reboot, watch all four seasons before reading this post.  After you watched it, come back and let’s chat.

And please, PLEASE don’t watch the reboot before you watch the entire series.  You’ll ruin it for yourself, I promise.

Also, this is just my opinion.  I realize that not everyone will agree with all (or maybe even any) of my thoughts.  That’s the great part about good television, we all get something different out of it.

Gilmore Girls a year in the life review black off the shoulder dress leopard heels outfit angela lanter hello gorgeous

Gilmore Girls a year in the life review black off the shoulder dress leopard heels outfit angela lanter hello gorgeous

Gilmore Girls a year in the life review black off the shoulder dress leopard heels outfit angela lanter hello gorgeous

Gilmore Girls a year in the life review black off the shoulder dress leopard heels outfit angela lanter hello gorgeous

Gilmore Girls a year in the life review black off the shoulder dress leopard heels outfit angela lanter hello gorgeous

Gilmore Girls a year in the life review black off the shoulder dress leopard heels outfit angela lanter hello gorgeous

I’ve tried my best to stay away from the millions of reviews all over the internet.  I wanted to give my own opinion with no outside reviews ringing in my ears.  But as soon as this post is up, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be reading a ton of reviews to hear other thoughts and opinions.

When we started the first episode, “Winter” (literally about 90 seconds after it was available online!) my first reaction was head-to-toe goosebumps.  Those goosebumps lasted a solid 5 minutes.  The black screen with magical wind chimes then audio that walked us down memory lane was almost too much for me to take.  I loved it.  It was everything I could hope for the series opening after almost a decade long break.  My heart basically exploded inside my chest.  Then “I smell snow” turning into SNOWFLAKES on the screen, sleigh bells and my favorite part…  The “La, La, La” track.  All of a sudden, we’re back.  It’s the gazebo in the middle of the town square and there’s Lorelai and her best friend, coffee.  Rory enters the scene and they have the best exchange, Gilmore style.  We’re back in Stars Hollow and everything is right in our tv world.

I could go through and do a play by play through the entire series, which is exactly what I’d love to do.  But, let’s be real, ain’t nobody got time for that.  So I’m going to do a character and scenario breakdown.

I have a lot of happy feelings about the reboot, but more overwhelming, I have A LOT of disappointment.  We’ll dive into my reasons for both, don’t worry.  Let’s take it character by character, shall we?

Lorelai: I really hated that she and Luke weren’t already married.  I think that was a major fail on behalf of the writers.  She declares that it’s “always been Luke” but somehow doesn’t even discuss the idea of marriage after 9 years?  It just never comes up?  I don’t buy it.  I think this was cheap attempt to keep us guessing about will they or won’t they, and I wasn’t pleased.  At all.  On the flip side, one thing I was pleasantly surprised about was Lorelai asking Emily for the money to buy/expand the inn.  I feel like she had gotten to a place with her mother that she could do that, and a great way to honor her father.  There are probably fans out there who felt this was so out of character, but for me, considering the death of Richard, I think this was appropriate.  I always dont’ buy that in the past 9 years, Lorelai’s biological clock didn’t start ticking.  But all of a sudden, she’s hearing fire alarms telling her it’s time to have another kid.  If my calculations are correct, she’s now 48 years old.  I have a hard time believing that she didn’t have these thoughts and feelings one her birthday landmarks of 40 and 45.  Just saying.

Rory:  Biggest let down of them all.  The Rory we grew up with was not the Rory we were re-introduced to.  Her storyline was unbelievable, literally.  Rory was the perfect student at Chilton and Yale.  She was the most organized and well thought-out young woman imaginable.  I don’t see how we leave the series on her choosing her career over her love for Logan…  But that turned into no career at all.  Rory wasn’t the type of person to not have roots, to sleep on couches and to not have a paycheck.  Yet, that is the Rory that we’re presented.  Were the writers proving Mitchum Huntzberger right when he told Rory she had no talent?  I don’t agree.  I think she had the smarts and drive, but we see nothing to prove it now.

The most disappointing of all was the “no strings attached” affair she had with Logan.  Again, not believable.  Yea, Yea, I know some of you are out there saying “Well people change Angela!”…I know, I get it…but really?! Her character did a complete 180, retaining what seems like NONE of her traits, values, characteristics and qualities that made her who she was as a person in the original series. It all felt way too forced and contrived for the sake of the show, while ignoring the character who she once was.  I know, I know…  She had an affair with Dean when he was married to Lindsay in the original, but in Rory’s defense, she believed that their marriage was over.  This Rory not only knows that Logan is engaged, but there is no talk at all of him changing his circumstances to be with Rory.  Rory was never the, “Take him however you can get him” type.  She’s not “the other woman.”  In fact, it makes me angry to characterize an incredibly intelligent woman as a side chick.  I also didn’t believe the light “talk” Lorelai gave her when she found out about Logan.  Lorelai historically didn’t have it in her personality to let something that major go.  She didn’t stand for Rory to be mistreated or used in the past, and instilled those values in her.

Emily:  I loved her storyline.  I think a lot of people probably have a hard time with the major changes we see in her.  I don’t and here’s why: The story arc when Emily left Richard.  She went absolutely wild.  For instance, almost buying a private jet.  When Emily goes through an emotional experience, she acts out.  She experienced the biggest loss of her life, so I think the major character changes we saw in her were in line historically, and made complete sense.

Luke:  Other than the marriage thing, I felt he was the same Luke we left 9 years ago.  I loved his “declaration” moment with Lorelai.  I loved how bent out of shape he got repeatedly with Taylor and Kirk.  It was the same, rough around the edges but perfect Luke.

Sookie:  We get it, Melissa McCarthy is a major star now.   They could only get her for one scene with her busy schedule, I’m sure.  There’s not much to remark on her except we still don’t know the name of her third baby, unless I missed it?  Davie, Martha and ??

Michele:  How did we never meet his husband?  His zingers were just as great as ever though.  My favorite Michele moment was when Sookie returned, their exchange about the granola.  It was fun, just like the good ole’ days.

Lane:  There’s not much to say because we didn’t really see much of Lane.  But she did look exactly the same!

Mrs. Kim:  There just wasn’t enough.  She was one of my favorite characters and we didn’t see her anywhere near as much as we should have.

Mr. Kim:  WHATTTT!?!?  There’s a Mr. Kim!  I didn’t know what to do with myself when this realization hit me.

Taylor:  He was the same nut as always.

Kirk:  Brilliant.  Every single scene he had was brilliant.  His character is probably my favorite.

Paris:  We didn’t get enough of her in my opinion.  Paris is such a great character.  Her moments in “Spring” made me remember why I loved her all over again.  So much intensity, but so much comedy.  Her character has always been written the best.  I never saw her going into that field professionally, but honestly, it makes sense.  I just wish we’d gotten closure on the marriage fall-out with Doyle.

The Town Crew:  Babette, Miss Patty & Gypsy.  All were wonderful.  Miss Patty looks amazing!

Dean:  I always loved Dean.  There was such an innocence about him.  When we were speculating who Rory would be with for the remake, I never really considered Dean as a possibility.  I always saw him as settled down with kids, no Rory in sight.

Jess:  I held out hope that Rory would be with Jess for the new series.  I love this character.  I love that they always seemed to have this connection.  The moment he was reintroduced, I hope he would be the end result.  I love that they have similar interests and his support for Rory.  I was so disappointed at the lack of development with his story line.

Logan:  I’ve never been a Logan fan.  There were moments where I felt he was promising, but I always preferred Dean or Jess over him.  He was too “All or nothing” and, quite frankly, self absorbed for my taste.  What doesn’t make sense about him, is 9 years ago we see him breaking away from the Huntzberger name.  Becoming his own man.  But it’s very clear in the new series that he’s engaged to an heiress which reeks of his father.  It also appears that he’s back working for the family, but I don’t think that was ever concrete.  I’m basing that assumption off of charging his lunch with Rory to the family account.  Logan seems so crazy in love with Rory, so supportive, so involved with her life…  To the point that he’s risking accepting her phone calls with his fiancé lying asleep next to him.  Yet, he’s going through with the marriage for what?  To please his family?  To keep up appearances?  How did the independent, self sufficient Logan we saw 9 years ago become the clone of his father?  And even more, how stupid was his fiancé to not catch on?

UPDATE:  I just saw a Facebook Live with Logan (Matt Czuchry) and he stated that Amy (the creator) informed him that Logan had spent the past 9 year entrenched in the family business and he has grown to love it.  So after the show ended, we now know, Logan went back to work for his father.  Based on this interview, it sounds as though the writer is saying that Logan went back to work for his father immediately.

Now that I’ve hit all the characters I wanted to, let’s talking about scenes.

The musical:  Or should I say the biggest waste of my life to date?  Holy freaking hot mess.  It was just so unnecessary, drawn out and  SO YAWN FEST!  What in the world were they thinking?  This added absolutely nothing to the show.  It was terrible and it just seemed like fluffy filler.

The wedding:  Another let down.  We get to see the hype, the decor but not the wedding with all of our favorite people in one place.  Such a major disappointment.  And the worst part was who they had at the private wedding ceremony.  Where was Jess?  I don’t believe that Luke wouldn’t have called him.  Why Lane and not Emily?  You know Emily was staying somewhere nearby with the wedding being the next morning.  Plus, if she got wind, her war with Lorelai would ignite all over again.  We had Michele but not her best friend Sookie?  Because she was back by this time right?  I mean, I know, Melissa McCarthy’s scheduling….  But I feel like that was too important to not have her there when technically she is like 4 houses down from the gazebo!

The fight between Emily & Lorelai:  I know Lorelai has foot-in-mouth-syndrome when it comes to her mother.  The story she told after her father’s funeral was unbelievable, even for Lorelai.  It made her out to be a truly insensitive person, which we well know isn’t the case.  This was the writer’s attempt to spark a feud, but that was badly done.  Lorelai loved her father, I don’t believe it was characteristic to tell those two stories, even for her.

Return of Life & Death Brigade:  So unrealistic.  We spent the first several minutes believing we were watching a dream sequence.  Stars Hollow would never have fog machines or weird lighting.  It was so fake, so unbelievably mystical.  It didn’t make sense.  So out of place.  So overwhelming unreal.  I hated it.  It was shot horribly in my opinion.  Not to mention, the last we saw of these three dudes, Rory was not a fan of them…  Unless I’m remembering that incorrectly.  But, I’m pretty sure I’m not.

The last four words:  Going into this, I believed the last four words were either, “It’s another Gilmore Girl” or “Will You Marry Me?”  Instead, we got the biggest cliffhanger possible.  I get it, I get it…  The story has come full circle.  But what a horrible way to get it there.  With no mention of who the father was.  Again, totally unlike Rory to be irresponsible even in a moment of passion.  She’s too level headed.

As for who the father is, it’s not the Wookie one night stand, that was too long ago.  I don’t believe it to be Peter, Paul, or whatever her forgettable boyfriend’s name was.  I also don’t think it was Logan.  Isn’t that too obvious?  It’s so very clearly not Dean.  I think that the longing last look we see from Jess, staring at Rory through the window, was strategic.  I feel like there’s more to that look, and definitely more to that story.  I know we never had proof that they were ever together, but we also don’t have proof that they weren’t.  Maybe I’m being hopeful, but in my head, the Jess scenario makes the most sense.

Honorable Mentions:  I loved the cameos from Lauren Graham’s Parenthood co-stars, especially the scene that included both of her on screen daughters…  So cool!  Carole King’s appearance and her moment playing the piano was great.  I also loved the throwback moments that only true fans would get, like the Cornstarch moment.  Be still my heart.

Look, I’m very happy to have had the chance to visit Stars Hollow and our favorite tv characters.  What I’m not happy about is how let down I feel by it.  I woke up the morning after finishing the series and had this icky feeling I couldn’t shake.  It was just the disappointment of it all.

I identify with Rory so much because of the high school dating experiences.  So much of what she experienced, is what we’ve all experienced.  Although I’ve grown so much as a person the past 9 years, I’m still the same person with the same core values.  I think that’s why I’m so critical of the changes we see in her.

Alright, it’s your turn.  Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts and theories.  I’m dying to hear from y’all on this!

Photos by Kara Coleen Photography.


What I’m Wearing:

Off the Shoulder Midi Dress (UNDER $50!)  //  Similar Leopard Heels  //  Strapless Bra  //  Similar Foldover Clutch  //  Earrings  //  Essie Nail Polish in “Angora Cardi”

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1024 683 Hello Gorgeous by Angela Lanter

How to Stop Comparison from Stealing Your Joy | Girl Talk Tuesday

It’s my favorite day of the week: Girl Talk Tuesday.  I love diving in and talking about topics that we girls struggle with.  I’ve been wanting to tackle today’s topic for some time because it’s something I see most every woman in my life deal with: Comparison.

Girl Talk Tuesday Comparison is the thief of joy || Fashion styles for women || angela lanter hello gorgeous

Com·par·i·son (kəmˈperəsən):  The act of representing as similar; to examine the character or qualities of especially in order to discover resemblances or differences; to view in relation to.

We all compare.  We do it when we shop, when we make decisions, when we have conversations…  Heck, when even do it when we date, although we swear we don’t.  Women treat comparison like it’s an olympic sport.  And some of us could medal in it a thousand times over.

There are situations when comparison is appropriate, sometimes even necessary.  But there are also many times when it’s harmful.  Theodore Roosevelt very famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Oh Teddy, right you are.  I would venture to take it one step further to say that comparison is the thief of much more than joy.  Comparison can also rob you of a healthy body image, security, friendships, self worth…  The list goes on and on.

We women learn to compare at a very young age.  I remember in grade school seeing girls with beautiful, curly hair and thinking, “If only my hair was curly like hers.”  Maybe you didn’t have stick-straight hair like I did, but I can guarantee there are things you can remember your much younger self saying “If only” about.  Maybe it was, “If only I was thin/smart/pretty/funny/outgoing…”

The comparing little girl grows up to become the comparing young woman in most cases.  “If only” my marriage was better, I had a different job, drove a nicer car, my kids were better behaved, I lost this extra 10 lbs…  The “If only’s” get more plentiful with age it seems.  We watched Anne of Green Gables last week and the constant theme was Anne wishing to be beautiful, without her famous red hair.  She wanted to be something, anything, that she wasn’t.

We were all created equal in God’s eyes, but here’s where things get interesting…  God didn’t create all of us the same.  We all are different and unique in our own way.  But we each have our own idea of what “perfect” looks like, and it almost never looks like the person who is doing the defining.  How boring would this world be if we were all looked, thought and acted the same?  There would be no variety, no special gifts or talents.  Holy Stepford Wives.

I’m so guilty of playing the comparison game.  I did it in elementary school and I still do it today.  I have an unrealistic expectations about who I am supposed to be as a person, wife and blogger.  The funny part is, the only person who puts those unrealistic expectations on me, is me.  I see what my peers are accomplishing and it makes me think that I’m slacking.  That’s where I’m wrong.  As Beth Moore (loosely) put it, we can think she (another woman) is beautiful without thinking that we’re ugly.  We can be happy for her successes without feeling like a total failure.  But yet we do.

We see the perfectly photoshopped figures of gorgeous women on the magazine covers and think to ourselves how terrible we look.  Instead, we should realize that no one really looks that way, without the help of a team of professional editors.  We see the perfectly decorated home on Pinterest and feel like an absolute failure because our home will never look that way.  We read about perfect marriages and think there is something wrong with us when we have yet another fight with our husbands.  Do you know the problem with all of this?  It’s that we would’ve never thought we had a problem at all if we hadn’t seen someone else doing things “better.”  That’s the problem with the internet and media in general.  They portray that you’re living this way, but you really should be living that way.  And we take the bait.  We let those images penetrate our thoughts and hearts.  We begin to see the way that others live/look/do things as the right way, and ours as the wrong.  That’s how we fall into the comparison trap.

Before social media, we had to be more intentional in seeking out ways to make ourselves feel constantly inferior.  Yes, we’ve always had the women at work or the gym who have the great figures.  But we didn’t know what every incredible interior designer’s home looked like at the click of a button.  We didn’t have the ability to see these perfect internet moms with their perfectly dressed kids.

So how do you stop it?  How do you get off the wild comparison ride that makes you crazy?  I’m still on it, personally, but I wanted to share some thoughts and practical tips that have helped me in some of my darker moments.

  1. Check yourself.  When the words “If only” (or similar) creep into your mind, stop yourself and think about it for a moment.  When I start on the downward comparing spiral, I try to stop it immediately and change gears.  I don’t want to waste valuable time and energy doing something that only leaves me feeling inadequate.
  2. Stay positive.  If I do find myself comparing and unable to shake it, I try to take control of my thoughts by considering the positive things about me or the situation.  We’re all unique and unique is a great thing.
  3. Do something about it.  There are times when we compare and it’s damaging.  But there are also time when we compare and it should be a wake up call.  If you’re feeling bad about your weight, get up and do something to get in better shape.  Feeling down about your career, take the necessary steps to do something to change that circumstance.  Instead of spending time and energy dwelling on what others have, spend it on achieving the goals you have for yourself.  Dwell on the negatives and they’ll consume you.  Get active and work towards the positives, and you’ll see results.
  4. Remember that comparing reaps no benefits.  You always lose by comparing.
  5. It can destroy relationships, and I’m not having that.  Have a friend or colleague that you secretly compete with?  Guess what…  There’s a good chance you’ll end up resenting that person, if you don’t already.  We see someone consistently doing better than us, compare ourselves and then we begin to resent that person.  We seem to forget regularly that we’re not all given the same gifts, traits or characteristics.  I wasn’t blessed with a beautiful singing voice.  Does that mean I should hate all my friends who can sing?  Of course not.  What we need to remind ourselves in these situations is that there is something we have been gifted with that others don’t have.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the moments when we’re feeling inadequate and insecure (read this post for more on that subject).  It’s so stinkin’ easy to think that the grass really is greener.  But as the saying goes, the grass is only greener where you water it.  So next time you start to compare, stop and think about why you’re doing it.  Is it something you can or should change about yourself?  Or is this a total waste of time and energy.  Don’t allow yourself to travel down the path of unrealistic expectations any longer.  A positive mindset is a choice.  Choose to see yourself for your positives, not for her (whoever she may be) positives.


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