Sunday, October 28, 2012

A touch of Autumn

"What I mean by the first day of fall is that day when you suddenly understand with your whole body that the season has changed. When the air feels snappier against your skin and the sky's blueness turns wistful, and the humming of insects shifts pitch, and you just know like you know your own name that summer is over."
-- Marisa de los Santos, Belong to Me

Yes, Autumn started quite a while ago. Today is not the first day of fall. And yet, each morning that I awaken to the luscious colors of the changing leaves, the soft pitter-pattering of the rain, and the briskness of a cold morning, I feel like Autumn is starting all over again. And I love it. 

And because I love this season so much, I've been bringing it into my apartment in every way possible. I love using natural elements in the home, and what better time to do so than during the vibrant months of fall? 

The other day I made a sparkly door hanger using acorn caps... 

 For full tutorial, click here

And a table display with pumpkins and gourds (all lined up in an antique drawer I purchased for $1 from an estate sale)...

Notice the gorgeous copper handle?

And of course I had to add a little color to my --otherwise ugly-- apartment deck...

And finally, what fall day would be complete without a warm, soothing, pumpkin spice latte? :-) I hope you are enjoying this fall weather as much as I am. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Image via Better Homes and Gardens

Loving that I get to dress up for work. After being a preschool teacher for three years and wearing nothing but jeans and sneakers, it's nice wearing skirts and slacks and jewelry. No more little ones pulling on my earrings! Bonus: I'm finally learning my way around an ironing board. 

Daydreaming about a potential trip to Europe in the next couple of years. Particularly, walking the narrow streets of York, England with my husband's hand in mine, channeling my parents younger days when they fell in love with the quaint town. 

Reading Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy. I originally went to the bookstore in search of his collection of short stories Love Begins in Winter (which I still intend to read). But a passage on the first page of Everything Beautiful made it hard to resist: 
     "She waits at the wild end of the garden, leaning on a gate in her coat-- the one she wouldn't wear. But now everything about it seems beautiful-- especially the buttons; small tusks discolored by a thousand meals. The mystery of pockets. 
     At the farthest end of the wood, where no one comes, is where her life begins and ends."

Searching for A rustic rake, to create the lovely fall display pictured above. I love how unconventional-- yet brilliant-- it is.  

Missing my college days when good friends were just a doorstep away, instead of hours and cities apart. When plans to walk to the park or bake brownies or throw a picnic together could be made on a whim instead of carefully thought out weeks in advance. Checking schedules was unnecessary. Picking a location in close proximity was easy. Spontaneous decisions were made and carried out and life just happened.

Thinking about a T.S. Elliot quote: "Love is most nearly itself when here and now cease to matter." My husband and I had a date Saturday evening, and while walking the sidewalks of downtown Corvallis I was flipping through a book when I came upon this quote. I instantly loved it and stopped my husband to share it with him. The moment was perfect: the sun was setting, a cool breeze was teasing the hem of my dress and the ends of my hair, and we were standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk sharing a special thought. It literally felt like here and now had ceased. The time had stopped. All that mattered was the way my husband smiled at me and put his hand on my back, the way the book pages felt in my fingertips, the way the words filled my soul. 

Longing for cooler, crisp weather that actually feels like autumn, instead of the 85-90 degrees we've been having all week. Boots, scarves, candles, and blankets are calling my name (while my hot, sticky first grade classroom full of twenty sweaty children is definitely not). I just have to wait and be patient and remember that discontentment springs from a lack of thankfulness for what I have. 

Enjoying mixing pumpkin in with my oatmeal in the mornings. Add a little cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a sprinkling of sugar... maybe even some walnuts or almond slices, and you've created one delicious breakfast. Try it!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

DIY fall wreath

I love fall. Love, love, love. 

Crisp leaves, warm hues, tall boots, and pumpkin-flavored everything. New school supplies, cold mornings, wool jackets, and hayrides. Hot cider, cozy blankets, and beautiful scenery. It's all wonderful.

So of course I'm planning ahead, gearing up for my favorite season-- despite the 90 degree afternoons spent sprawled out in front of the fan eating popsicles. I know autumn is just around the corner-- I can feel it.

The past few evenings a cool breeze has settled in the valley, hinting at the first taste of weather to come. The way it catches in my hair and chills my skin excites me. Watching the grass fields billow ever so slightly warms me to the bone.

Autumn-- I am ready for you.

And to prep my home for the season to come, I have started in on some appropriate decor. Behold the (possibly overdone and somewhat cliche) fall wreath.

10 inch Styrofoam wreath
4 Ply Jute
Fall decor (leaves, flowers, twigs, etc... I found mine at Joann's for 30 % off)
Glue gun and twine (not pictured)

Begin by hot gluing the end of the jute to the wreath form, and then wrapping the entire shape with the jute. Every 5-10 wraps, add another drop of glue to hold everything in place. 

After the entire wreath is wrapped, decide on the placement of your decor, then secure each piece with hot glue. I decided to reinforce my branches with small pieces of twine, but you might be able to get away with just the glue. Make sure you layer the decor on top of each other so the glue is not visible (and trim any excess twine). I was able to find a giant flower to cover up all of the glue in the middle of the leaves and branches. 

And that's it! A beautiful fall wreath in preparation for the lovely months to come. If you want to hang your wreath on the door, simply add a piece of ribbon to the top.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A hidden gem

Image via WeHeartIt

This past weekend, we spent a night at a tiny, easy-to-miss inn right on the harbor of Depoe Bay. And in this eleven-room oasis, in our quant and cozy room, in the top middle drawer of the writer’s desk sat a well-used guest book dating back to 2008.

I was immediately entranced with the 4 x4 square, paisley-covered notebook with its simple lined pages—the type you might find at the local dollar store, or at the end of a Target aisle where the clearance items are located. Despite its commonplace appearance on the outside, it was the writing inside that mattered—that made a lasting impression on me.

What inclined past guests to contribute their thoughts and feelings to a sea of other strangers’ writings, to a book they would likely never see again?

Did they feel expected to do so? Were they so moved by the place, they felt they had to share? Was it a last minute thought as they packed to leave on their next destination? Or was it the idea they were contributing to something greater? Something to be read by people in the future?

I found myself not thumbing half-heartedly through the pages, but rather reading each page with purpose— determination to find something exceptional. A hidden gem in a pile of rocks. A silk scarf amongst a drawer of cotton ones.

As I flipped through the pages, I admired the different handwritings, some scrawled largely across the page, others concise and steady with even spaces. I noticed the different signatures—some full names, some mysterious initials, some with no closure at all. I recognized locations from Idaho, Canada, California—even Michigan and Colorado.

Who were these people that stayed here before me? Were they young couples like my husband and myself, celebrating anniversaries? Were they well-traveled adventurers just passing through? Maybe some were families, taking a yearly vacation. Or artists and writers, finding inspiration in the ocean and slow-paced life at the beach.

I may not have found a specific special entry, written by someone famous or full of beautiful extraordinary thoughts. But I realized something else.

So much can be discovered from a guest book hidden in a desk. So much curiosity and wonder can be provoked. So many stories can be imagined, so many insights into ordinary lives can play out in a few short entries.

And that’s the gem. 

All the entries as a whole make it the treasure it truly is. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Delicious spiced walnuts

As I was browsing the internet for dinner recipes yesterday, I came across a snack I had previously bookmarked from (Sidenote: if you haven't already, you should consider signing up for their Natural Pantry emails-- always full of healthy recipes, without the cost of purchasing the magazine).

Anyway, the recipe was for Spiced Walnuts, which you can view here. And let me tell you, they are delicious! Not only are they spicy but they're also sweet-- a great combination for a simple, crunchy snack. Plus, I'm all for promoting antioxidant-filled walnuts, as you can see from this post. Much better for you than peanuts, and you know exactly what is going into them (unlike store-bought seasoned nuts). Yummy, simple (prepared and cooked in about five minutes!) and healthy. Perfect.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The art of typing

Oh how I would love an old typewriter. The distinguished clicking of the keys. The unparalleled perfection of the font-- so classic and timeless and spaced ever so perfectly. The smell of fresh ink as it comes in contact with crisp, white paper. The heavy weight of each key being pressed down with precision. The sound of returning the carriage to the right-- a repetitive chance to pause and reflect on your writing.

I love how a typewriter holds you accountable for your writing. No spell check, no grammar suggestions, no delete button. Each movement of your fingers is calculated, thought-out, precise. No need for background music-- the keys are your melody. A rhythm that keeps your creativity flowing.

And only one precious copy. No backup files, no photocopies, no shared documents. One individual manuscript to be kept as a personal treasure or given to a particular, predetermined recipient.

I remember when I was a child witnessing my grandpa sit in his office typing letters to faraway friends. Looking down through his glasses, meticulously typing out page after page, holding the paper up to the light to make sure it was just right. As my mom always tells me, he was exceptional at keeping in touch with those from his past-- maintaining a regular correspondence with friends he may not have seen in years and years.

Maybe my grandpa loved his typewriter as much as I love the idea of a typewriter.

More likely, he just loved people.

But there's definitely something captivating about typewriters-- with their round keys, visible mechanisms, musical sounds, and romantic demeanor. I'm simply enamored with them. ♥

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Deux Lux-- Handbag love.

Have you heard of Deux Lux? I'm sure you have. Even though I can't afford pretty much anything they make, I am in love with their line of handbags! Everything they make is gorgeous!

I first fell in love with their line a few years ago, when they were all about the ruffles and pastels:

I wish this sea foam one was still being made!

And now I am loving the bold sparkles, glitter, and bright colors. Along with their structure and added details, they are perfect! Some of my current favorites:

Resort Stripe Beach Tote, $102 found here. LOVE how summery it is!

Cosmic Love Duffle, $85 found here

Twinkle Star Tote, $196 found here

Resort Woven Hand Tote, $137 found here

Felix Satchel, $71 found here (LOVE!)

Love Drops Saddle Bag, $56 found here

Every style comes in an array of colors. They also carry wallets, cosmetic cases, key rings, etc. I simply adore how they are elegant and chic, but also fun. The glitter and bows and bright colors make them so girly and look like a party on your shoulder ;) You should definitely check them out if you can afford the price tag!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DIY sparkly velvet headband

Not a great picture, but you get the idea.

Velvet and sparkles... Could there be any better combination? I think not.

In the March issue of InStyle magazine there was a great How-To for making a studded velvet ribbon belt. However, seeing as how I don't wear belts very often and didn't want to buy that many supplies, I went with a smaller (and cheaper) version-- the headband.

The inspiration

Despite my best effort to buy studs, the local Joann's did not carry them :( Luckily for me, I browsed the button section and instead came up with a somewhat good replacement-- some sparkly findings in black and silver. (Even better, they were buy one bag, get one free!) 

The bling

As you can see, the findings have holes in them for sewing on, but I didn't have the patience for that and instead turned to my trusty glue gun :-) 

The supplies: 

About 1 1/2 feet of velvet ribbon (I chose black, but any color would work)
Sparkly metallic findings (or studs if you can find them!)
Glue gun
About an inch of black, basic elastic (not pictured) 

The instructions are pretty straight forward: Glue findings on ribbon in any pattern you like, and glue elastic to ends of ribbon. Done and done! 

A close-up view.

Simple. Cheap. Sparkly. Love.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Turkey-Chipotle Chili

This evening I decided to try out another new recipe-- Turkey-Chipotle Chili from Self Magazine. You can find the original recipe here.

However, I must admit, my "chipotle" chili actually contained no chipotle! I thought I had some in the cupboard, but alas I did not. Therefore I substituted some Mexican-style chili powder and some crushed red pepper-- and it was delicious! I also think it was rather healthy-- I used low-fat ground turkey, and the other ingredients were simply veggies and beans. Also, it calls for 1/2 teaspoon salt-- I used half that amount. (Why not cut out some salt whenever possible?)

All in all, the recipe took about half an hour (but 15 minutes of that was simmering on the stove). It was very simple and the hubby approved, which makes it A+ in my book! I hope you try it and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

14 Days of Valentines

I'm not sure what it is about Valentine's Day, but I simply love it. And I'm not just saying that because I have a sweet husband ;) There's just something so lovely and happy in all of the pink and red decorations, cards and treats... And the thought that everyone is spreading love all on the same day just seems magical.

However, because I love my husband so much, I decided instead of showing love on one day... why not fourteen? Yes, I spent the last fourteen days giving Valentines to my husband each night-- he's so spoiled. ;)

Here are a few of the Valentines he received:

 Chinese take-out container filled with homemade fortune "cookies". 
Idea via Martha Stewart, found here

A "Sweets for my Sweetie" canister. Obviously, this was one of his favorites. 

 A simple homemade Valentine using an old map. 

 Coupon book with things like "Ice cream date!" and 
"Home-cooked meal of your choice". 
Idea/printable via Mommy by Day, found here

 Handwritten note inside of a cute air mail card... 
Printable via Wonder Forest, found here.

A picture of us turned into a puzzle. 
Simply printed the picture, glued to card stock and cut into puzzle-shaped pieces. 

I hope you had a cheerful, love-filled day and wore lots of pink and red! ♥

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spicy Red Lentil Soup w/ Lemon

A while ago I tried this new soup recipe, and let me tell you-- it was love at first bite. (Although, I had already assumed it must be good considering it was published in the New York Times...)

It's healthy, spicy, super easy to make, and delicious; it's also vegetarian if you use veggie broth instead of chicken. I even gave some to my parents to try, and my dad has now requested I make it every time I come to visit!

The picture doesn't nearly do it justice!

You can find the original recipe here. I follow all of the original steps, except I don't puree or blend half of the soup-- I think the consistency of the soup is fine, and really, why make the process any longer? I also add more cilantro and chili powder than it calls for, but that's personal choice. 

Try it-- I promise you'll love it! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


image via here.

In honor of Charles Dickens 200th Birthday, I give you a few favorite quotes:

"The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists."

"Whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do it well; whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself completely; in great aims and in small I have always thoroughly been in earnest."

"A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."

Happy Birthday, Dickens.

Monday, February 6, 2012

On my mind.

Hello friends.

It's been a long time. Too long. I'm not even completely sure why I haven't written in such a long time. Many days I've thought about writing; about sitting down and starting the blog up again. But every time I went to do so, I hesitated-- and then held back altogether. And of course, the more time that passes, the harder it is to go back to something.

I want to write-- I LOVE to write-- but I guess I just don't have anything specific to write about. I need a direction, but instead my mind wanders all over the place. The problem isn't a lack of inspiration-- in fact, quite the opposite. EVERYTHING inspires me. But I feel like if I talk about everything, my blog will just become a muddled, disorienting place.

I know I'm not a fashion blog. Or a photography blog. Or a book blog, craft blog, home and garden blog... I started out wanting this to be a place of inspiration-- things that inspire me, get me excited, make me want to celebrate life and dance in the rain. But since I find inspiration everywhere-- literally, everywhere-- it gets a little overwhelming.

Sometimes I want to write about a DIY project I completed, or a recipe I tried and loved. Other times I want to discuss how the wind blowing on my face made me spend twenty minutes reminiscing of summers past. Sometimes I want to share articles I've found encouraging, or pictures of outfits I enjoy. Once in a while I like to discuss the books I'm reading, my plans for the future, or how a crack in the sidewalk looks like a heart and makes me happy. Truly happy. Does that make sense?

Image via here

Anyway, I digress. Although I haven't quite found a flow for this blog, a reoccurring theme or what-have-you, I shall continue. Even as I lay here in bed writing this, I'm still not sure what suddenly inspired me to jump right back in. Why today, February 6th? Why not a few months ago? What's taken me so long?

If you are still around after all of this time-- thank you. And hello again.