Author Archives: Brittany Joy Cooper

Brittany Joy Cooper

About Brittany Joy Cooper

Brittany Joy Cooper is a freelance writer, editor and consultant who lives in Nashville, Tenn. A native of Indianapolis and a graduate of Samford University, she spent several years editing a music magazine in Nashville before venturing out on her own. Brittany loves all things magazine, especially Real Simple and Whole Living, and now finds that she spends too much of her spare time looking for great recipes on Pinterest.

Four American Legends and Their Fathers

Four American Legends and Their Fathers

Four American Legends and Their Fathers

Mark Twain, Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Father’s Day, we did a little research about four American legends and the men who raised them–for better or worse.

Mark Twain is thought to have once said, ”When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

None of us can relate to this sentiment, right? Well, whether you grew up thinking your own dad was superman or super out of touch, most people come to a point in life when we realize our parents perhaps knew a little more than we originally thought.

To celebrate Father’s Day, we’re highlighting four of America’s most legendary names. But rather than shining the spotlight directly on them, we’re swinging it off to the side and focusing on dear old dad to see what kind of men raised four of the individuals who drastically changed our nation.

1. Mark Twain (Samuel  Langhorne Clemens): Mark Twain’s father, John Marshall Clemens, was born in 1798 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was named after the Chief Justice John Marshall. A licensed attorney, Clemens ended up moving to Tennessee for a time, working as a county commissioner and circuit clerk. He tried his hand at opening a number of stores, but when that proved unsuccessful, he relocated to Missouri, where he worked as a store owner as well as a county judge.

Though Twain is attributed with the above humorous quote about his father, he didn’t actually know his own father by the time he was 14. When Twain was 11 years old, his father died of pneumonia, and Twain had to quit school to work as a typesetter. It was this experience in typesetting, however, that first got him into the literary world and can well be attributed for his future success in short stories and literature.

2. Babe Ruth (George Herman Ruth, Jr.): Babe Ruth’s father, George Herman Ruth, Sr., was born in 1871 in Baltimore. He went into the lightning rod business just like his family had done before him, and he also worked as a bartender at his family’s saloon. During a couple years of Babe’s childhood, his father ran his own saloon, and the family lived above it. When Babe was 7, his father sent him off to a boarding school for the next 12 years. Babe’s mother died, and his father didn’t really maintain a relationship with his son. In August of 1918, George, Sr. died just two months before his son led the Boston Red Sox to a World Series victory against the Chicago Cubs.

3. Amelia Earhart: The pioneering female pilot’s father, Edwin Stanton Earhart, was born in 1872 in Kansas. He was a lawyer at the time of Amelia’s birth, but he failed to impress his wealthy socialite in-laws. Though Amelia and her sister enjoyed many of the comforts of wealth because of their grandparents, their father was never able to provide them with enough to satisfy the high standard maintained by those grandparents.

When his law practice took a nosedive, Edwin began working with the Rock Island Line Railroad in Iowa, moving there with his wife Amy three years before their girls followed from their grandparents’ home in 1908. Though Edwin was promoted in 1909 and the family enjoyed a more comfortable lifestyle, all was temporary as Edwin began to drink and eventually became a public alcoholic. In 1914, Amelia’s mother left her father, moving her girls into the home of a friend in Chicago.

4. Martin Luther King, Jr.: One of the more inspiring stories of father-child relationships, Martin Luther King, Sr. was born in 1899 and went on to become a Baptist missionary with just the type of strong ideals his son became so famous for. King pastored Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, also making a name for himself as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He stood as head of Atlanta’s chapter of the NAACP and spurred his son on toward working for equality for all men.

Writing about his father in his 1950 essay “An Autobiography of Religious Development,” Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I guess the influence of my father also had a great deal to do with my going in the ministry. This is not to say that he ever spoke to me in terms of being a minister, but that my admiration for him was the great moving factor; He set forth a noble example that I didn’t mind following.” King, Sr. outlived his son by 16 years.

More Magazine cover June 2012

A Dermatologist Reveals Tips for Healthy, Beautiful Summer Skin

More Magazine cover June 2012

Magazines like More are Touching on Summer Skin Care this Month.

The summer sun is out in all its brilliance, but don’t let that affect your brilliance as you decide how to best protect your skin against those potentially harmful UV rays.

With the beginning of summer, we’re all anxious to hit the pool, soak up that glorious sunshine and get that golden goddess glow. And while all of those are great summertime desires, it’s important not to neglect your skin in the process.

Magazines have been addressing the hot topic in their summer issues, with Martha Stewart Living‘s July issue promising “Martha’s Skin-Care Secrets” and More Magazine offering the inside scoop with “Skin Doc Confidential: What They Use Themselves, What They Never Touch.”

To get an insider’s opinion on summer skin care, we spoke with Dr. Michel McDonald of Vanderbilt Dermatology about some of the new trends popping up in skincare, as well as the best ways to enjoy the summer months without facing the potentially serious consequences of damaged skin, and we loved what she had to say.

When going outside in the hot summer months, Dr. McDonald recommends trying to do the majority of your outdoor activity before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to avoid the strongest UVA an UVB rays. She also points out that new lines of sun protection clothing are making it easier to protect your skin while you’re outside.

“I see more and more offerings of sun protective clothing in all price ranges,” she points out. “I also see sunscreens with only physical blockers titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and no chemical blockers. These can be less irritating than chemical sunscreens. I also see better sunless tanning products on the market every year.”

When it comes to protecting children’s skin, Dr. McDonald says time of day is everything.

“I recommend avoiding taking them out for activities in the middle of the day and utilizing at least an SPF 30 sunscreen,” she suggests. “There are some great ones for the face that are ‘no tears’ formulas. There are also good spray formulations available, which children often like better than lotion.”

Even when using the right sunscreen, it’s important to remember to reapply every two hours when out for long periods of time, she advises. To get kids more involved with the process, Dr. McDonald recommends having your child set the timer on your phone so he or she gets into the habit of reapplying. Plus, great sun protective clothing is becoming available for children as well.

If you’re seeking out that glow this summer, consider opting for a good sunless tanner or a lotion with a bit of a shimmer. Though that tan might feel great in the short-run, the long-term consequences make it, well, pale in comparison.

“There is no safe tan from UVA or UVB rays,” Dr. McDonald reminds. “Getting a tan or glow signifies that you have damaged your skin and increases your long-term risk for skin cancer. Also, skin repeatedly tanned from ultraviolet rays shows signs of aging faster than protected skin.  This includes dark spots, increased sagging of tissue due to damage to elastin and irregular pigmentation.”

To prevent these and other undesirable side effects, take care this summer to protect your skin, and remember you can still gain the great benefits of sunlight–like Vitamin D–even when you’re taking care to to get too much exposure.


Pinterest Wedding Trends

This Summer’s Hottest Pinterest Wedding Trends

Pinterest Wedding Trends

Photo by Michael Miles Photography

Pinterest is where it’s at when it comes to wedding ideas. So whether you’re planning ahead or just about to walk down that aisle, here are 10 summer wedding trends popping up on Pinterest.

Have you succumbed to the all-too-addictive social media platform that is Pinterest? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Pinterest is a relatively new and highly interactive website that allows users to grab photos they like from the Internet and “pin” them to “boards” on their Pinterest page.

Pinterest users can also “repin” photos from their friends’ pages. In the end, what you have is one beautiful space in which you can organize things like “Home Decor,” “Must-Try Recipes” and “My Dream Wedding” all in one spot. Who wouldn’t get addicted to that?

More than anything, Pinterest has absolutely revolutionized the way brides plan and carry out their weddings. In an April 2012 article on, the newspaper cited Brides magazine Editor in Chief Anne Fulenwider as saying of the site, “It’s changing the industry,” adding that in the past few months the site “exploded and really changed the conversation.” The magazine had 55 boards of their own at the time of the interview, and one — “Couture-inspired wedding gowns” — had more than 10,000 followers.

That said, here are the Top 10 summer wedding trends we’re spotting on Pinterest for summer 2012. You can check out our Pinterest board for examples of each trend.

1. Bold Banners: Create a personalized “Just Married” banner to hold in photographs or adorn the back of your getaway car. Or, simply stitch together a simple but colorful banner to decorate your cake table or the head table at your reception.

2. Outdoor Venues: With the more vintage style taking over the wedding world, a beautiful outdoor venue makes for the perfect locale for your ceremony or reception. Get a bit of the Americana feel by saying your nuptial vows in a field or in a pittoresque old barn.

3. The Perfect Patchwork: Quilts have surely made a comeback. Use the patchwork beauties for extra seating in an outdoor venue, tablecloths or even hanging decorations.

4. Chalkboards: These are becoming increasingly popular since you can use them to send a personal message, label drinks or desserts, creatively display your wedding date or stage great photos in a photo booth.

5. Vests, Suspenders and Bow Ties: The traditional ties are taking a backseat this year as more grooms opt to have their groomsmen look dapper in vests, suspenders and bow ties — sometimes even choosing different colors for each groomsman.

6. Mismatched Maids: Unlike in the past, your bridesmaids don’t have to wear the same dress. In fact, they don’t even have to be wearing the same color. For a fun splash of summer color, let your maids choose their own sundress and just make sure they work together toward your overall theme.

7. Light or Khaki suits: If you go with the trend of an outdoor wedding, skip the tuxedos and let the fathers of the bride and groom wear light khaki suits to complement the summer ambiance. Pair these suits with a white shirt and gray or silver tie for a clean-cut, fatherly summer look.

8. The Program Fan: Not sure how hot your wedding will be? If you’re thinking of hosting it outside, create a program that doubles as a fan and gives your guests a little something extra to help keep cool.

9. Vintage Flair: Stage cake tables, guest tables and food tables with vintage pieces like old books, teacups, Ball jars and wildflowers. You can even work antique furniture into your decor by using old dresser drawers to hold dishes and cutlery.

10. Colors, Colors, Colors: More than anything, Pinterest-inspired weddings this season are full of fun colors, incorporating anything from wildflowers to sundresses to colorful shoes and mismatched dishes. You don’t have to stick with a two-color wedding scheme when there are so many choices!

Bonnaroo 2012 Mixtape

Your Bonnaroo 2012 Mixtape

Bonnaroo 2012 MixtapeBeginning Thursday, June 7, a swarm of more than 70,000 music lovers began descending upon a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn. for one reason and one reason alone: Bonnaroo.

What do you get when you mix tons of stages, tents, music lovers, sunscreen, some of the best bands around and very few showers?

Yep, it’s time for Bonnaroo again, and that means that more than 70,000 diehard music fans are making their way to the 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn. that’s about to be transformed into a giant outdoor, multi-stage venue and campsite all rolled into one.

Maybe you’re dying to be there this year and just can’t make it, or perhaps you’re trying to get as far away from the Woodstock-esque ‘Roo and just thinking about it makes you want to wash your hands. Whether you would describe the four-day fest as glorious or simply germ-ridden, you can’t deny the sheer volume of incredible live music that’s about to be unleashed on its stages.

For this reason, we’re offering up our Summer 2012 Bonnaroo Playlist to get you through the weekend. One of the truest beauties of the Tennessee festival is its role as a platform for the discovery of some of the hottest new bands on the music scene, as well as its place as a time to hear well-established acts.

Even if you’re headed down to Manchester this weekend but are still packing your gear, you can take this playlist as a road trip mixtape to gear you up for Bonnaroo 2012 in all its beautiful (and admittedly filthy) glory.

1. Foster the People – “Helena Beat”

2. Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”

3. The Staves – “Mexico”

4. Bon Iver – “Holocene”

5. Tune-Yards – “Bizness”

6. Ben Howard – “Old Pine”

7. Moon Taxi – “All the Rage”

8. Laura Marling – “My Manic and I”

9. Fitz & The Tantrums – “MoneyGrabber”

10. The Civil Wars – “Barton Hollow”

11. Infamous Stringdusters – “Don’t Mean Nothin’”

12. Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”

Nashville Symphony

Nashville Symphony Hits the Lawn for Outdoor Summer Concert Series

Nashville Symphony

Associate Conductor Kelly Corcoran with the Nashville Symphony; Photo by Harry Butler

Summer is finally here, and for the Nashville Symphony that means taking the show outside for a series of free community concerts.

There’s something magical about seeing the Nashville Symphony in the breathtaking Schermerhorn Symphony Center with its grand staircases, state of the art acoustics and phenomenally detailed architecture. It’s truly a regal experience to dress up and let the symphony serenade you with Handel’s Messiah each December.

But every summer the symphony offers one experience that’s totally unlike the rest of their performances for one reason: They take the music outside of the Schermerhorn and perform a series of free concerts in parks around Middle Tennessee. It’s the perfect chance to grab a blanket, pack a picnic, load the family in the car and hear fun music like John Williams’ Star Wars Suite for Orchestra or Shakespeare at the Symphony.

“I look forward to the community concert series each season!” Associate Director Kelly Corcoran says. Corcoran will be directing each of the summer shows. “It is such fun to visit different neighborhoods, spend some time outside and share great orchestral music with audiences. I love seeing families, pets and friends gathering for free to share some company, have a picnic and hear live symphonic music! As conductor for these concerts, I aim to create programs that are diverse–including popular tunes, film music and great classical symphonic music.”

The first in the series of free concerts kicks off tonight (June 7) at 8 p.m. at East Park. The free concerts are just one piece of the Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement programs, which have served more than 200,000 people around Nashville.

“Whether you are a card-carrying classical music lover, or you have never heard a symphony perform before, these concerts offer something for everyone,” explains Blair Bodine, the symphony’s director of education and community engagement.

Bodine perhaps sums it up best when she says, “When else are you going to get to see the Grammy-award winning Nashville Symphony, fresh off the heels of playing Carnegie Hall, perform in your local park? To me, this is what the Nashville Symphony is all about: bringing communities together through the shared experience of music.  We hope you’ll join us!”

Schedule of Free Concerts around Middle Tennessee

June 7 at 8 p.m. — East Park (Program: Celebrating the Film Music of John Williams)

June 8 at 8 p.m. — Bicentennial Mall State Park (Program: Celebrating the Film Music of John Williams)

June 10 at 7 p.m. — Crockett Park, Brentwood (Program: Celebrating the Film Music of John Williams)

June 19 at 7:30 p.m. — Centennial Park (Program: Shakespeare at the Symphony)


Vintage Anthropologie Swimsuits

Vintage Styles Offer Alternatives to the Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Bikini

Vintage Anthropologie Swimsuits

These select styles from Anthropologie showcase the retro/vintage take on this year's swimwear.

It’s bikini season! Not thrilled? Well, rest assured because this season’s bathing suit styles pull from vintage themes that actually flatter. 

Bikini season is here at last! If you found yourself jumping for joy at that statement (or even doing an air high five to yourself or otherwise showing visible excitement) then this blog post may not be for you. For the remaining 95 percent of women, get ready to do an air five of your own because I have great news: When it comes to beachwear, our year has finally come!

Gone are the days when all you had to cover yourself was a mess of triangular, string-laden fabric. Past are the moments of weighing the skimpy bikini against the full-coverage but oh-so-matronly one piece. No, this is our year because this season’s bathing suits pull from fun and funky vintage and retro themes, finally making peace between the one piece and the string bikini and giving us a happy medium. Tankinis attempted to do as much, but let’s face it: They just didn’t flatter every shape.

This season, bathing suits are cut from an entirely different cloth. Many suits are going high-waisted, hugging the hips and showing off the slimmest part of the womanly figure at the natural waist. And if that’s not your style, you can still opt for a bathing suit bottom that offers a thicker swath of fabric around the hips — and no jumble of spaghetti strings to try to keep tied. Some suits are even flaunting the boy short look, really bringing it back to a vintage milieu.

Likewise, many bathing suit tops are trading out their geometrically triangular predecessors for a more rounded, full-coverage look. Accented with vintage fabrics boasting bold stripes or delicate florals, these can’t-miss new styles allow you to express yourself without overly expressing yourself (if you know what I mean).

Even one-piece suits have gotten a youthful facelift this year, with ties around the waist, ruffles at the top and all kinds of new and interesting cuts that make them anything but boring.

If you’re not even sure where to start this season, take a glance at this article on Real Simple magazine’s website, which will give you some great tips on what types of suits flatter different body types. It’s time you felt cute and confident on the beach, and with help from these flattering vintage styles, you can. Now when you hear someone joyously proclaim the onset of bikini season, you just might find yourself pumping your fist in the air with excitement (even if just to yourself).