28 September 2012

Lovely Wedding Earrings From BHLDN

images via BHLDN

Over the months now that we have been engaged, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for great wedding jewelry. I have always envisioned that I will wear gorgeous earrings and a sparkly bracelet. Earlier this week I came across these sandals on Pinterest which inspired me to think about shoe embellishments again. I'm thinking grosgrain bow, a pretty flower or broach for the sandals. So I took a few minutes to wander the web.

Instead of finding shoe jewelry, I got totally distracted by the gorgeous earrings I found at BHLDN - Anthropologie's sister wedding site. So unique and pretty. You can find all the details on these beauties here.

I think my very favorites are the center square and bottom right corner. But they are all so gorgeous I can see weddings styles built around each one of them. There is definitely a sparkle for every personality in the lovely collection at the BHLDN site.

So which are your favorites?

27 September 2012

Quick Closet Cleaning Tips

I had the great fortune to have a very effective closet cleaning earlier this week. Was it fun, no not necessarily. It was super hot that day. But the results were fantastic. So I thought I'd share a few things I did this time that made it quick and easy.

1. Start with the most disorganized area. For me it was the shelves. I pulled everything down and put it in several piles: workout wear, sleepwear, thrift store donation and garbage. The garbage pile was mostly ratty tee shirts & torn yoga pants that needed to go. Then I put these things aside.

2. Re-organized things that would go back inside. Closets get messiest when we don't put things back in their place or start adding more things into the closet. I combine three small boxes of toiletries and medicines into two by straightening them up and throwing out anything outdated.

In this part of the closet I also had stored lanterns, candle holders and things I have bought for the wedding. These things stored neatly in their own bags as they were purchased. I also found two surprises in there that I'll tell you about later. By reorganizing everything, I got back a lot of space and combine all the wedding things all down into one small shelf and three large bags. This made a huge difference!

3. Sort through all clothes and shoes. I pulled out everything that doesn't fit or that I haven't worn since the last time I cleaned out my closet. I made three piles here.

  • Items that need repair or could be repurposed. This included a white shirt & jacket that could use a night soaking in OxyClean. I also have two jackets that are still in great condition but the color is damaged. I'm thinking about dying them a darker color. There is a pair of shoes that need repair, and a couple of other items that need a quick fix.
  • Items that I would still love to wear after losing a few pounds. Do I really need to say anything more, no I don't think so. I'm not living in a fantasy land, I'm working on that now.
  • Thrift store donations. Things that absolutely aren't me anymore, that haven't been worn for a year or more. They all went into a bag to deliver to the thrift store. One quick warning: if you clean your closet in the summer be careful not to give away things you'll actually want in winter. Consider the opposite in the winter. It's easy to give away things when they are out of season and seem impractical. Imagine yourself freezing or super hot and ask yourself again if you will want that item.
4. Put it all back in a hopefully updated and smarter way. I changed the way I put everything back and it all fits so much better. I found a way to fit small items into small nooks that are easily accessible and visible, maximizing even more space.

There is actually very little that I took out of the closet when it was all said and done - a couple of shopping bags of stuff. But rearranging and better organizing things created a whole new look and feel. With all the space saving I achieved, it's amazing that I now have about a quarter of my closet in open space. Love it!

Next I started to tackle the rest of my room: sorting, tossing and rearranging. I was on such a roll that it was really hard for me to stop. I'm excited to get my home back to the simple, calm place it was meant to be. Can't wait!

26 September 2012

Deep Cleaning My Life With A Dose Of Reality

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I have been trying to reorganize my closet & deep clean my room. My apartment which once seemed big, roomy, airy and breezy has come to feel heavy, blocked, crowded and tight. I love to be organized so this is not a good feeling for me. I love open space, simplicity and very simple decor. But now I have four bikes parked in the corner of my dining room. This is for two reasons, 1) lliving near the ocean if they are outside, they rust very quickly and 2) we have nowhere outside to park them that is even reasonably safe. So they get half the dining room. It's was my decision, but not a happy one.

I enjoyed the luxury of having a few storage bins down in the garage for a year until the new owners pulled out the city code out and asked us all to clear our garage storage out. So those bins are now sitting in my bedroom until I figure out where they are going. That's depressing.

So I am passionately trying to simplify wherever I can. And here is my big question for you -- what do we hold onto that we really don't need.
  • Do I need a collection of cookbooks still?
  • Do I need to hold on to old magazines (please know I have every few of these, maybe 10-15 at the most).
  • Do I really need all the books I have that I haven't looked at for years?
  • How about sheets that I only use maybe once a year or less. 
  • How about these art frames that seem to gather in my spare closet?
  • Do I need 10 gorgeous serving trays?
  • Every kitchen tool known to mankind?
  • What else should I consider that I likely don't I need?
I know there have been times, perhaps quite a few times where I have given away things that I later regretted. Where do I draw the line? Where do you draw the line? Are there things you once wanted or collected that you have cleared out of your life? Help me, will you? I am having a hard time seeing the forest (the apartment) for all the trees (the stuff).

25 September 2012

Owning Up To Life's Little Warning Messages To Us

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I've been trying to take a few minutes to view a variety of blogs lately instead of the same five to ten I view each week. I've gone back to a few that I read in the past that just kind of fell off the radar or I had lost interest in.

It's been very interesting. I was thrilled to find updates to look and feel of several of the blogs. One blog I had really given up on was now bright, shiny, and full of posts that rang out with refreshing honesty, real life and inspiration to just be oneself. I'm going back there! There are a few who've just kind of fallen off the bandwagon, no posts for months or even years now. You are missed, but I understand when real life takes priority. There was another site where the dear blogger sadly seems to need to check into physical/mental health facility to work through some very serious exhaustion related, emotional and bodily health issues.

All the pressure I saw her putting on her self to succeed was the main reason I stopped visiting this blog initially despite all the pretty things she was doing. It's not pretty, no matter how many gorgeous photos and graphics you package it in to watch someone ruin their health eating very unhealthy food, not sleeping and overdoing it. It's heartbreaking. Sadly for years now I have wanted to just take this sweet girl by the shoulders, give her a big hug and then shake her for a minute, like a sassy grandmother, and tell her to stop it and stop it now. I was deeply saddened to find that behind the colorful blogging facade, things had only gotten worse. So, so sad!

This all tied into something else I have been thinking about a lot lately. We have to be responsible for our own lives and we can't hide it when we aren't. It's obvious to everyone: whether it's your immediate family, your neighbors, your coworkers, or your vast global blog following. If you turn to food to comfort you that 20 pounds is going to show, if you avoid your personal responsibilities it will show, if you let yourself go, it shows. When we refuse to grow in the ways life is calling upon us to grow, it shows. We become frustrated, grouchy, mean-spirited, envious, petty, sickly, weak and unattractive.

The fix is to have the courage to face the things in Life's mirror - the stuff that keeps getting reflected back to us with warning signs. You know the signs: I need to sleep more, I am not eating good foods, I am taking on too much, my kids need my attention, my spouse needs less criticism from me. More signs: I need to smile more, I need to exercise, I need to read a book or do something I actually like doing, I need to get out of this house before I lose my mind.

I include myself in this completely when I say we need to face up to these messages we so desperately want to ignore. Why are they so scary? Why are we so afraid to grow up? We need to keep growing up, we're never done. It's so easy to see this in other people, to a fault, but so hard to own up to in ourselves. I am sure more than once people have wanted to shake me by the shoulders. Every one of us is avoiding facing something important in our lives, if it's our well being, our relationships, our work, our spending, our weight, our need to give our kids more space, or more time, our need to take better care of ourselves and other important parts of our lives.

I'm challenging us all today to lift our heads up, quit ignoring the messages in the mirror and make a list of what we really need to do to grow up a little bit more and relieve any spots of self-created friction in our lives. Then it's action time. Acknowledgment with no follow up is the most foolish thing we can do. Sure we can tell everyone what we need to do, but until we do it, it's a fail. At some point, it ultimately becomes too late: our health fails us, our friends or family leave us, we lose our job or lose our lives.

What do you dare face today, this week, this year? What small actions can you take today to move past those barriers you've created for yourself and get to a new place in your life? And remember, everyone will see it and know it and be inspired. If one of us can do it, we can all do it!

24 September 2012

DIY: Glittered Pumpkins

I picked up a few plastic orange pumpkins at a thrift store while visiting my hometown with the idea to glitter them. I was inspired by this Pinterest pin of glittered pears from my Holiday DIY board.

This is a fairly easy project, but I thought I would give you a quick step-by-step on the process:

1. Spray painted the pumpkins all white. I used a cardboard file box to do this with no mess out on my balcony. I don't have the luxury of much space, a garage, workshop or backyard. I'm still debating if I should've left the stems unpainted but I think they are probably best all one color. I painted them all white as a primer before the next step.

2. Spray painted the pumpkins with Metallic Silver spray paint. Each of these paint phases took some time since I would have to spray one area, let it dry, turn them over, spray the other side, let it dry, etc. So I did this over a 24-hour period.

3. Aged the stems. The stems on plastic pumpkins tend to look a little cheap and plastic-y, shocking information, I realize, haha). So I took a dry brush with black paint and just added a very little patina & dimension to them. The orange you can see in this photo is not from the pumpkins but it actually the ceiling light fixture reflecting in the shiny metallic paint.

4. Glitter Time. This is that time where things began to come unhinged. Unhinged -- I'm not sure whether this is happening to me more often than usual or I'm just more sensitive to it than I have been in the past. It seems like every time I do a crafting project lately there is a moment of certain destruction where I am sure I have a colossal catastrophe on my hands. This was it.

First the glue didn't seem to like the painted surface at all. It would begin bubbling after sitting on the surface for a few seconds. I overcame this by painting very small sections and glittering immediately. So the first two pumpkins turned out okay.

I didn't want to do them all exactly the same so I decided to experiment with the variety of silver glitter options from the different kits I have. My third pumpkin that I covered with Metallic Glass Microbeads, did not turn out as pretty as the first two glittered pumpkins. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. Maybe it will just end up being a little more "rustic" than the others. When it's grouped with others I think it's flaws might be less apparent.

That left me with one pumpkin left and a decision about my options. I had large glitter flakes I could go with or the regular glitter I did on the first two. I went with option two: regular glitter. This was my favorite of all the little pumpkins and I didn't want to do something I wouldn't like. I had a guarantee about how it would look with the basic glitter. It turned out perfectly.

5. Dry Time - The easy part, except for one's impatience to see a final product. I let these dry overnight and here is the finished look. I think these will look good mixed in with these pumpkins I did a few weeks ago. A laugh for you, but I don't know what happened to those other pumpkins I did a few weeks ago. I have spent a few minutes looking for them and I can't figure out where I put them. I'm going to get serious about finding them today.

Here's a peek at last year's Fall Mantle. Do you do seasonal mantle decor? If so, when do you usually switch over to fall?

Sending you best wishes for a glorious day!

21 September 2012

My Grandmother's Call To Be Still

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When we were noisy little girls swirling around our grandmother's house, we would often hear our grandmother's call to order, "Be Still!" I'm not sure what she was hoping to accomplish with that very civilized chastisement but it usually just brought a roll of mad giggling.

But it's a call we might all want to listen to more. Taking time to be quiet, slow down and just breathe are some of the most important things we can do to help us make the best decisions for our lives.

Being still may be a serious challenge to our generation. What? Putting down the phone, the internet, the tablet or laptop? Turning off the radio, the TV, the movies? Take off the headphones? I'm guessing if we took a group of 10 people and put them all in a room without any of these distractions several of them would quickly come unglued.

When do we give ourselves time to think? Time to really see what is going on in our lives? Time to connect with ourselves and others in person? Time to create a schedule, a calendar, a To Do list? Time to not think at all but just sit, look at nature, take a walk and listen to the world around us?

It seems like this is a rare occasion for most people these days. So sad. I'm going to try to take heed of my grandmother's words, and "Be Still" more often. The clearer my head, the better off I am. The more time I spend focusing on breathing and calming my body the more healthy I will be. And all those things will make me much more pleasant to be around, more effective at my tasks and more clear of my path. Such a simple task for such big outcomes.

Here are links to a few other posts about the blessings of Being Still.

20 September 2012

Holiday Preparations You Can Get Done Now

Here's a task that takes up lots of time during the holiday season. Christmas card preparations. How many times have you gotten started only to send out your cards a few days after Christmas, in mid-January or retitled as Valentine's Day Cards? I will confess that more often than I like I have mailed cards between Christmas and New Years.

I may not want to choose my card design yet, but I can get ready to do my cards. Two things I'm ready to work on that will make life much easier come the holidays are compiling and updating my address list and starting a rough draft of our simple little family letter. I can also go ahead and buy stamps now to avoid those horrible holiday post office lines.

Last year I created an Excel spreadsheet with addresses that I would need for Christmas cards and at some point wedding invitations. I keep a word doc where I keep a very rough list of addresses that have changed over year which I use as a quick access list and later to update my spreadsheet once or twice a year. It will only take a few minutes to add to and update my list each year now that I have a master list to work from.

I've started thinking this week that it's a good time to whip up a rough draft of our brief family letter we include with the personal messages I write in cards. Fingers crossed we don't have any more big events coming up this year. I've had enough already, haahaa (but not haahaa.) I can start compiling a few photos now, to create our little family photo collage and even have it all ready to print once it gets closer to the holidays. No need to wait, especially since we won't have any more photos taken all together until after Christmas.

It's projects like these that when done early seem easy and quick that can later become a big headache once you're tired, worn out and under the gun to get ready for the holidays. I frequently forget that the more tired and busy I am the slower I get things done, the more jumbled and unfocused my brain is and the more easily frustrated I get. Here's hoping we can all avoid a lot of that this holiday season. Any projects you are working on early this year?

You can find this pretty holiday card in the Etsy shop Crafting Tiger. The shop is full of charming, witty and sometimes geeky or irreverent greetings for all occasions.

19 September 2012

Fix Its Are Great Once Completed

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I am sure I am not the only one who always seems to have a list of things that need to go out to be fixed: shoes, clothing, broken electronics, furniture that needs reupholstering, car repairs and more. Then there's always dry cleaning and mending that needs to be done. It's always a joy and a relief once they are done. I often ask myself why I didn't do it sooner.

Right now I have two fairly critical fix-its on my list and I know they are going to be painful. But not in cost, rather in inconvenience. One is my laptop. It's overheating and shutting down and it's under warranty so needs to go in ASAP. The other is my new cell phone which seems to ring when on silent and worse, the headphones jack does not work - and I just got this phone a couple of months ago. If I'm without those two items at the same time, I am, in our modern world, basically cut off from the world. (Dramatic gasp!)

But I think it's time to bite the bullet and get this misery over with. It's not going to get any better if I keep putting it off, in fact it's just prolonging the pain. But I will be so happy to get these two things taken care of. What a relief it will be and how much less frustrated I will be. I'll spare you the details of putting my laptop in front of a large fan and with ice packs underneath it to try to keep it from overheating. So it's time to just do it. Luckily I have The Man's old laptop (from circa 2005) that I can use until I get my computer back. Fingers crossed it's not too long. And hopefully the phone will be fixed with just one visit to that big fruit computer giant's all white store.

So while I'm making a confession about my fix-it list, what's on your fix it list that you should just get taken care of already? I'll look forward to reading your comments from Mr. Laptop 2005, haa-haa. But it will probably take me 10 minutes to get the internet open first, sigh.

18 September 2012

Needs vs Wants

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I'm a little spooked by a conversation I've been having with myself a lot lately. It consists of one sentence, "Is it a NEED or is it just a WANT?" When you really start applying this question to your life, it can play havoc with just about everything. Most important to me are how I spend money and how I spend my time. Very interestingly the two are very intimately connected.

I've been looking around my life, trying to analyze my belongings and my purchases and asking myself if things are needs or wants. Sadly, and I think it would be this way for most of us, the answer is 80-90% wants and 10-20% needs. But how often we mistaken the two. It reminds me of the saying, "this is a first world problem."

For instance, how often will we make a clothing impulse buy: shoes, a bag, or jacket. When what we really needed was a skirt or pair of pants. So we have more of what we didn't NEED and still have a gaping hole in our wardrobe.

I often laugh when I hear on a TV show that a family NEEDS a new home with more bedrooms because they are having a second child. My grandparents lived in a very small two-bedroom house with four children until they could afford to build a larger house. Many people live in very small homes and do just fine. Every child does not need their own palatial bedroom. This, my friends, would be a WANT. We rarely NEED a bigger and bigger home.

I have also been thinking about how I spend my time. Will I play around on the computer for a useless, waste of an hour, rather than doing something I really want to do that would make me super happy? Yes, I am guilty of this. Must change that immediately. I think we all have plenty of time to live the lives we want if we cut out wasted time and less important activities that we may have ourselves convinced are MUSTS or NEEDS. I often catch myself saying "I need _____." When really what I am saying is "I want ____." There is a massive difference but it's amazing how we can in our minds, language and expectations seriously distort the two. 

There are other things we NEED but often go without. I am now realizing that this is often because we've used up our precious resources on things we WANT. For instance, (this is a purely made up example) if a person were to stop the $50-100 weekly browsing trips to their favorite department stores, bookstores or sporting good stores what kind of awesome vacation could they take every year using that money? What home improvement projects could they do? How many less hours per week could they work and still live within their budget? What else could they be doing that would feed a need for quiet, peace and recharging of one's batteries, an opportunity to see the world or learn new things and have adventures that so many people crave?

How many of our NEEDS could we satisfy and easily afford for if we simply said no more often to our WANTS? It's a little spooky. Have you asked yourself that question? How did that conversation go? Do you feel sick just thinking about this question or have you reaped the rewards of focusing more on NEEDS than WANTS? Please share in the comments below.

Here are links to a few archive posts on this topic:
How Little Do We Really Need To Be Happy?
Simplifying: Safe, Sane and Happy
Finding & Maintaining A Happy Life
Mexico: Living Simply

17 September 2012

Dreaming of a White Christmas

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The heatwave here in SoCal has been so bad the past three days that yesterday morning I was really and truly fantasizing about snow. Mountains of snow, tons of layers of clothing, gosh I think I would've been okay with biting winds and sleet. Anything to get cool.

So as a means of complete escapism yesterday I started looking at Christmas boards on Pinterest. I'm a big supporter of planning for the holidays well in advance to relieve stress and make the holidays more enjoyable. Now that the summer has quieted down, it's a great time to take a few minutes for holiday plans and projects.

I thought I would share a few favorite holiday inspirations from around the online world. Just looking at these gets me excited to start focusing on decor ideas and coming up with a few projects. The first are these glittered fruits. Dollar store easy! Especially when you have all of Martha Stewart's glitter packs which I won from a Martha Stewart Twitter giveaway a while back. Just need a few plastic fruits from the dollar store and some glue.

I love this simple, perfect sign by Barn Owl Primitives. You can buy this sweet wall art on Etsy. Here's a link. There are so many sweet signs in this shop and I appreciate the workmanship and style that goes into these.

Restoration Hardware's rustic look is so appealing to me right now. A walk through their store is just dreamy with the most beautiful tables, chairs and home accessories. I love the simplicity of this holiday garland.

A simple Christmas sign. I love this from Miss Mustard Seed. I'm thinking a lot this year about simplicity of decor. I don't want to over do it and have things too gunked up. We don't have to use every decoration, just because we have them. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, simple is best and can be most appreciated.

image via Charonel Designs

How gorgeous are these holiday tags. So pretty. You can find these at Charonel Designs store on Etsy. There are so many pretty paper creations in the shop for all sorts of holidays and events. Take a peek.

For a little more inspiration here are a few links to all things Christmas.

Have a gorgeous day! Thanks for spending a few minutes together. The day is starting to warm up, so it's time to face summer again while visions of sugar plums dance in my head.

14 September 2012

The Centering Powers Of A Hometown Visit

I had the privilege to spend this past week in my beautiful hometown. It was awesome. Most of the time I head there for one or another holiday, which makes the time frenetic and busy. But this week I had the opportunity to just take it all in and saw a lot of people I love who I don't get to see that often.

Looking back on the past week, two things really stick out to me. The first is that no matter how much time passes it is always fantastic to connect with people we love and who love us back. Almost every day while I was there I got to visit with a family member or old friend. Sometimes planned, sometimes by miraculous happenchance. It is so good to be able to pick up right where you left off no matter how many years it has been.

(Momentary laughing break here to say that I typed the word happenchance, then wondered if that was even a real word. I looked it up and it is a word and does mean exactly what I wanted it to mean. Then the bigger questions came, how do I even know that word? When have I ever heard it used, seen it in writing or adopted it into my vocabulary?! Weird.)

The second is how the power of connecting with our pasts and with our home base can regulate us and help us to feel deeply happy and centered. The past few months have been dizzyingly full of new and interesting challenges, new worries and unknown, uncontrollable realities. And I've been on my own to deal with all of that. Being around my people gave me a breath of fresh air, renewed my strength and helped me feel like myself again. What a fantastic gift. Thank you to my people, especially to my sisters who I have been able to spend three of the past 10 weeks with. Hooray for that!

And now I feel ready to get home and reconnect with my life there. There are some big projects to deal with but I am better prepared to face them now. I am craving a visit to the beach. Looking forward to connecting with friends there and spending the weekend with The Bug. Maybe a Dodgers game on tap. Also on my list of To Dos is to plan another visit home. I fall in love with the beauty of that place every time I visit. Looking forward to seeing some snow on the mountains the next time.

How do you feel after a visit home? Are you rushed like I usually am or do you take time to drink it all in? Do you have your must visit food spots, shops, sights and people?

Wishing you a very, very happy weekend!

12 September 2012

You Never Know Who You Might Run Into

How darling is this ring?! I had to share it, because it just captured the sense of this post so well...sweet, tender feelings of the heart. This Heart Knot Sterling Silver Ring is made by Amy Madden in Brooklyn, NY.  You can check out all her jewelry at her Etsy Shop Sweet Olive Jewelry.

Yesterday was such an interesting day. Back in my hometown with my sisters, I had the chance to run into three amazing friends by complete coincidence. But the thing is, I don't think it was coincidence at all.

Mid-afternoon, my sister and I were coming back to the home base and saw two of our favorite neighbor ladies standing in front of one's house. We pulled right over and hopped out and right there on the lawn had the most fantastic chat with them. We laughed, we cried, we philosophized. It was great. What a joy!

Then many hours later the sisters and I were at the store and across the large checkout area I somehow recognized the face of another dear friend. The interesting part is that I had called her, stopped by and knocked on her door, and sent her a Facebook message but hadn't had been able to catch her.

Then at 11 p.m. there she was at the store and in a flash she turned her face towards my direction and I somehow caught sight of her from a long way away. I knew it was meant to be that. I was supposed to see her and I beelined it in her direction. We had such a sweet chat with her and we parted grabbing each other hand and saying how very much we loved each other. Good stuff!

This week has been such a sweet blessing. Great, great time with the sisters with few distractions. Got a great haircut today. Have seen so many wonderful family members and friends who I really rarely ever get to see, unless it's at some big event where you just get a chance to briefly say hello. I have loved it and it has been such a blessing to my soul. So grateful for the blessings of a good family and having grown up around good, loving people who have been such amazing examples to me.

P.S. Utah continually stuns me, every visit, with its beauty. The mountains, the green fields, the red rocks - just gorgeous and so diverse from top to bottom! There is no finer, more amazing sunset in the world than from my parent's backyard.

11 September 2012

10 Beautiful Wedding Boards

My Pinterest wedding board was getting so big it was impossible to make logical sense of. So I dismantled the big board and broke it up into categories. Now I have 10 pretty Pinterest boards with the most lovely wedding things. There is a lot of beach inspiration, many gorgeous dresses and lots of yummy jewelry. Plus you will find lots of good ideas for favors, guest bags, and invites.

Here's a quick rundown of the boards:

Wedding Dresses
Bouquets & Flowers
Rings & Jewelry
Invitations & Printed Goods
Guest Bags
Wedding Sandals

Lastly there is a board called Wedding Look & Feel that has a lot of planning suggestions, DIY projects ideas and a bit of a theme for our wedding running through it. If you love all things wedding you'll have fun looking through these boards. And there are a lot of DIY ideas that can be adapted to any kind of celebration or event.

I'm off to the stylist today for a hair refresh. Very excited about that. Thinking about doing a little more cutting tomorrow. Nothing shorter really, just more shapely. It's a big toss up to leave it in it's normal super thick state or thin it out a lot. Both have their pluses and drawbacks. I'll probably make my decision about the moment he takes the towel off my head and asks the always terrifying question, "So what are we doing with your hair today?"

You always know that within an hour you'll be saying something in the range of "Oh yes, this is perfect." or silently to yourself saying, "Oh dear, this is not what I was asking for." Either way it always grows back in the end.

Oh, if you have any great wedding board suggestions for me to follow, leave me a note in the comments section. I love browsing the wedding boards and am always looking for something new and fresh. Have a fantastic day! Thanks for coming by. 

10 September 2012

Park City & A 50th Wedding Anniversary

I was the luckiest girl in the world to get to spend Saturday in Park City, Utah. One of the prettiest places anywhere from the gorgeous mountains, architecture, history and shops. I went with my photographer sister who was taking family photos for our parents next door neighbors' 50th Anniversary.

I had to share some of these gorgeous fall flowers that were in bloom around Park City city park and the Old Miner's Hospital which is now the city library. I have thought a lot about our dear friends and the 50 years of marriage. What an amazing accomplishment. It certainly says something about their commitment and endurance and the joy they have had in their lives.

The sweet wife said, "It's been a LONG time. But it's been a GOOD long time." I thought that captured it perfectly. I'm sure it wasn't easy but the rewards are gifts that can only come with a long commitment to something good.

In a world where marriage is usually considered so much more disposable than it has in generations past, it's amazing to think about the joy and rewards to be found in a long, happy marriage. It can't be easy, it can't be fun every minute of the day. But it seems the joyful memories stand out so strongly over the years.

As I look back on life with The Man over the past few years, the days that most poignantly stand out to me are times when we found joy in the midst of the most stressful situations. The pain of those stresses has dulled but the deep, heartfelt connection I shared with The Man and The Bug on those days is so deep and abiding that I really do cherish those times.

I am sure someone who has been married 50 years can speak to those blessing much more profoundly than I. I think we have a lot to learn from these good folks and I always appreciate learning from the generations before.

all images by kalanicut

Another Attempt At Wedding Sandals

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For a good 14 months now I have been on the lookout for a pair of sandals that would be suitable for a tall girl and her beach wedding. There have been a lot of hits and misses. For me, finding comfortable flat sandals means finding soles that are soft and cushy, quality leather and workmanship, feminine and a style I like. Not as easy as I would've thought. I first found this pair.

Then I realized these were a bust. So I tried to find something else that I could embellish. But couldn't find my size in this pair. It seemed easy, find a similar pair I like, then look on Etsy or other places for fun accessories to embellish them up a bit and making them pretty wedding perfect.

Then I found this silver pair and ordered them. I got them, tried them on and just wasn't in love with them. So I returned them. So over the months I have had zero success even though every time I'm in a shop that carries shoes I take a couple of minutes to zip through the sandal selection to see what's available. I have also checked online often enough to know what's out there. If I liked something it wouldn't be in my size or was super uncomfortable or didn't fit right.

So earlier this week I popped into DSW with my sister and found the pair you see above in silver, in my size. I had actually tried these sandals on in orange a few weeks ago at another DSW and didn't feel like they fit. But I found them in silver this week, tried them on and found they fit really well. The leather is lovely, the sole is cushy and I like the braid detail.

It was great to have my sister there with me for advice and a second opinion. Being able to shop with my sisters is a very rare occurrence. I love having someone along who really knows me and understands what I am looking for and why. I love it when a sister says, "Oooh, those are totally you."

We both gave these Rock & Candy "Mexicali" sandals a thumbs up and I hope I will stick with these. Fingers crossed. Now I can start looking for some fun embellishments. Here I come Etsy! Another great spot to look will be local fabric stores and some of the costume jewelry stores who carry a wide variety of brooches and silk flowers.

These sandals have a loop at the top of the t-strap that would make pinning on a pretty floral pin or rhinestone brooch very easy to do. That could be a sweet way to go. Look forward to a future post on embellishment options.

Thanks for coming by today. Hope you are well and life is good! Sending my warmest wishes!

07 September 2012

Fall & Winter Boot Review

Boots are always near and dear to my heart so every fall I can't help taking a look at all the new styles for the coming season. I don't get many chances to wear boots due to the climate here, but a girl can fantasize about cold winter days and trudging in snow. That lasts for about 10 seconds then it's back to my happy, warm reality.

So here are some of my favorites from the Fall 2012 Nordstrom collection.

1. DV by Dolce Vita "Lujan" Boot
2. Sorel "Tivoli High" Waterproof Boot
3. Enzo Angiolini "Saylem" Riding Boot
4. Le Chameau "Chasseur" Rainboot
5. Jimmy Choo "Corinna" Embroidered Boot
6. Timberland "Wellie" Waterproof Boot
7. Valentino "Ascot" Boot
8. Frye "Veronica Slouch" Boot
9. Steve Madden "Camarro" Boot 

There is a little something for every one, every climate and every price range. Do you have a favorite boot this season?

all images via Nordstrom.com

06 September 2012

Scandinavian Inspired Lighting

Visiting with my sister in Las Vegas I came across this gorgeous light fixture in a bar that was under construction. The building had a gorgeous industrial style interior with broad concrete floors and a beautiful, sturdy metal and concrete staircase. The Scandinavian inspiration here is so strong I can practically hear this fixture saying, "Davs!" (Hello) every time it would be turned on.

When the Scandinavian winter is dark all but about 4 or 5 hours a day, good indoor lighting is crucial just to be able to see  -- and it's very important for the well-being of the soul. Maybe that's why Scandinavians are so talented and inspired to create great lighting fixtures and to keep cozy candles always burning in the window.

I love the mix of wood and metal, curves and hard lines. It was positioned over a long farm table with the two big pot lights on each end. When I see a dining environment like this I get swept away by visions of good meals, good friends and good chats. The best conversations always seem to happen around the table.

There are so many gorgeous wood table and hanging lamps around just now. Here are links to a few other delights.

Etsy - Chartruese Ceramic Lamp With Birch Shade
Lamps Plus - Wood Pendant Chandelier
Design*Sponge - DIY Woven Wood Lampshade
Perforated Pattern Lamp Shades

Do you have any favorite wood lamp or lampshade inspirations these days? Would love to hear about them in the comments below. Sending you best wishes for a great day!

05 September 2012

Let's Laugh, Shall We?

Aren't these last few weeks of summer dreamy! The clouds seem extra billowy, the sunsets seems happy and relaxed, everywhere you go people seem to be staying out later, trying to make the most of every delicious bit of the last few balmy nights.

The past few days have been a whirlwind and I've spent an inordinate amount of time in the car. But it's been great to be with family and friends. Being with people you love makes this whole life experience so much more sane. They just seem to help you make sense of everything, worry less about things that you have no control over and remind you to laugh.

We have been telling a lot of jokes in our little clan lately. The Bug is old enough to start getting the humor and it's so much fun to see her dad totally bust up when she's telling kid jokes. Here are a few of our favorites.

Why did the toilet paper run down the hill?
To get to the bottom!

Where do horses live?
In the NEIGH-borhood!

Where do fish keep their money?
In the river banks!

Why did the chicken cross the playground?
To get to the other SLIDE!

Are you laughing? I hope so. I realized that I do not laugh nearly as much as I used to and I want to remedy that. So I'm doing everything I can to laugh more. I even bought two joke books for kids yesterday so between the online sites and books we will never be too far away from a good laugh.

I love seeing how a joke and the following laughter can brighten a mood in seconds. I'm challenging you today to see if you can laugh a little more and to look for ways to bring more laughter into the world.

I'll leave you with one last joke:

What kind of critters do secret agents like?

Hope you leave laughing today and have several more good laughs yet to come. Sending you my cheeriest, good wishes.

image by kalanicut
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