My Love Affair with Ella

Ella Fitzgerald, birthday

It was on this day, in 1917, that the First Lady of Song graced the earth with her presence, and so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you 2 stories about how Ella Fitzgerald has made my life more beautiful.


It starts in the mid-1990s when my parents and I moved to East Tennessee and the next couple years proved to be those weird, awkward ones between elementary kid-dom and the unmistakable hormonal rage all middle-school girls possess. On top of that, I was a pretty quiet (to those who didn’t know me), sheltered kid who spent a lot of time reading and not so much time listening to the Backstreet Boys. I had several friends in the neighborhood I liked to play with, but I really loved just hanging out with my parents. And I was pretty sure (as I still am) that I was born in the wrong era.

So one summer, while vacationing in Ocean Isle, my parents got me this cd that changed the entire course of my life forever; it was a compilation of the best of Ella Fitzgerald. Suddenly, I’d found a music that was mine. I carried my disc man everywhere listening to the songs play over and over until I could recite all the words to “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” and every bit of skatting in It Don’t Mean a Thing. I listened to that cd when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was moody–anytime I didn’t know what I wanted to listen to, I put on Ella.

There’s something about her voice that I can feel in my bones, do you have any musicians like that?

Fast forward, almost 9 years. I was finishing up my junior in high school, still pretty awkward, still listening to music none of my friends knew, when a *handsome* curly-headed boy that had started coming to our church and playing piano with me in our worship band. People had been trying to set us up for months and, both being quite stubborn, we’d respectfully declined and instead opted to pester one another in what was, I’m sure, a very annoying display for everyone around us.


Finally, one night after church, when the parents were out of town so there was no one to ask us questions, we decided to go out to dinner. The evening went off without a hitch: no dead air, not too many awkward pauses. Finally, on the ride home, the conversation turned to music.

“What music do you listen to?”

“Probably nothing you’ve ever heard of.”

“I know a lot of music. Tell me, what is it?”

“Don’t worry about it. You wouldn’t know any of it.”

“Seriously, you’re being ridiculous. What’s in your cd player right now?”

“Ella Fitzgerald.”



“Yep. Do you know who that is?”

“I named my dog after her.”

I am happy to report that next Saturday will make 10 years since that night, we have an adorable pup namaed after another jazz great (Dexter Gordon), and we still dance in the kitchen to Ella on a regular basis. So on this, her birthday, I gift you with this little mix I made of some of my favorites from the Queen of Jazz in hopes that they brighten your iPod and your week…

Click here to listen on Spotify.

Are there any musicians that you connect to like this? Anyone I should add to my playlist this week?

In Honor of Princess Grace, a Little Style File…

On her birthday, I just couldn’t resist sharing a little Style File from my *very* favorite of Princess Grace’s films: High Society. Two random facts before we start: It was Grace’s last film before becoming princess consort of Monaco. Also, High Society, released in 1956, was a musical remake of 1940’s A Philadelphia Story, which also had a crazy amazing line-up of stars, but we’ll have to get into that another time.

1.) Stripes are essential, flowers are abundant and a *lovely* accent (plus a little crazy) are essential in Newport…

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2.) The staple of every home is hidden bar. This one pictured happens to pop out from among the library books… that is, if you know which one to choose!

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3.) One never just walks from the dressing room to the pool in their swimsuit. Instead, one glides in a robe that makes them seem like a goddess and disrobes to reveal a suit that is just revealing enough to make  one seem untouchable.

Also of note: Bing’s 2-tone brogues with matching tie and pocket square. That reminds me, if you haven’t seen Mr. Crosby’s dressing room in this movie, you should…

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4.) If you are going to get drunk at your engagement party with your ex-husband, be sure to wear something fabulous and act so charming that no one can resist you. After all, you’re “sensational, everybody says so…”

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5.) Eventually you will have to go home and sober up. This is best done while wearing a yellow silk kimono and lounging in your impeccably decorated boudoir.

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6.) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when you do get married the next morning. Be sure you pick the Mr. Right. (*The wedding march jazzed up by Louis at the end of this video never fails to make me smile!)