Monday, August 30, 2010

finding center

"In Nature, nothing is perfect, and yet everything is perfect."
Alice Walker

Have I mentioned I love flowers? Okay, well, if not, I will tell you right now that yes, I do love them. Smelling them, planting them, receiving them, photographing might be a little obsessive how much I love them.

So the setting for my friend Kristina's wedding ceremony this past weekend had my heart a-flutter: The Athens State Botanical Gardens. As I walked around before the ceremony I couldn't help being inspired by the peaceful vibe of the gardens. It helped calm my mind from the "oh crap I have to go back to work tomorrow" reality that was setting in. So, despite the fact that my hair was frizzing, and I was sweating profusely in the Georgia heat, I managed to snag a few photographs that will hopefully inspire you as well...

Green is probably my favorite color in is unexpectedly vibrant, especially with this magenta heart.

This bright red array made me think of flames in a fire.

Enormous hot-pink blooms added some tropical flair.

I was alone on my stroll...except for the bees!

The meditation garden made me want to sit yoga-style and say om...but my dress and high heels wouldn't allow it.
After my walk through the gardens I felt, albeit sweaty, a lot more centered, and ready to head back to reality after a really fun wedding weekend. Back to working overnights for this girl!
Outrageous amounts of coffee, deathly pallid skin, strange "dinner breakfasts..."

Bring it on.



the details : a georgia wedding

"Caress the detail, the divine detail."
~Vladimir Nabokov

As promised, some glimpses of my friend Kristina's gorgeous weekend wedding through this blogger's blue eyes:

Even though I would/should never be trusted to do anyone's hair, especially not for their wedding, I was allowed to hang out in the bridal suite with the ladies, sip delicious orange-mango mimosas, and watch the bride's hair get curled to perfection.

Weddings are all about the bride. And her shoes. My tall and stylish friend chose bride chose glittery ballet flats. Original and so much fun!

As I mentioned, I am a table decor nut all the way. This wedding had two of my favorite things adorning the 'tops during the luncheon: wildflowers and Mason jars. I was in some level of heaven when I sat down with my sweet tea and grits.

This next one made my husband weak: cupcakes! In not just one flavor, but three: carrot, red velvet, and chocolate!

For those that fall for the stationary/printing details, here is a glimpse of ceremony bulletin -- the invitations {and cupcakes} had the same modern, pale blue leaf design.

Okay, and we must part with a "train shot." I am horrible at taking pictures of actual living beings, and I regret that this does not have her veil in it...but it does the trick. Gorgeous!

So those were my favorite "little things" about the wedding. It was simple and classic, and I enjoyed every moment of our fun weekend down in the beautiful South! How I will miss those Georgia drawls... Hayuppy Muuuuuhndayyyy, ya'll!

{ahem...they made fun of my Minnesota accent too...ya so ya knooow I dohn't feel too bad.}

Thursday, August 26, 2010

going to the chapel

Weddings are the most beautiful days.

Friday my husband and I are driving down to Georgia for my friend's wedding, and I couldn't be more excited. She used to be my roommate, along with another dear friend, and once again we are all three reuniting -- the third and final wedding. Bliss!

A wedding is not only a holy event, but also, let's face it, an excuse to get all gussied up, and revel in the beautiful details of someone's special day. I love weddings even more when they are not my style -- but unique to that person. Your wedding is your most special day to choose things that mean something to you.

My wedding revolved around wine - the cake was adorned with red grapes, the colors were classic black with leaf green and burgundy accents, even the sermon was about "two juicy grapes" {ahem, me and my amazing man!}

Being married, I am even more enraptured at weddings, because it makes me remember my own, and just how amazing I felt that day.

So what do {YOU} love most about weddings?

Is it the adorable, craftsy favors?

The beautiful stationary that makes up the invitation?

Sitting down with friends old and new at the dinner/reception/amazing party?

Or {like my husband} are you a sucker for the dessert?

To me, the table decor is something I remember...especially if a lot of thought was put into it. But there are so many little fabulous details about weddings that I can hardly choose just one.

I look forward to capturing some beautiful details and memories this weekend -- will share Monday! 'Til then, talk to me about your favorite wedding details, ladies!

Monday, August 23, 2010

wine wednesday: creme de la crema

I don't usually rave about white wine.

I am a juicy, room temp, stain your teeth, red wine girl all the way.

Then I tried La Crema 2007 Chardonnay, and I realized that whites aren't all boring.

This bottle had been sitting on my shelf for a while, given to us by my generous in-laws. Hubby's dad had specifically said it was "very good," but in all the commotion I forgot to open it. Then I kept saving it for the right occasion. {Note: Sometimes the "right occasion" ends up being random Monday nights while cooking dinner.} :D So in honor of a manic Monday, I uncorked my bottle of La Crema and was pleasantly surprised.

The flavor of this white is amazing. If you like light (but not carbonated) crisp, refreshing, and not at all watered-down, then you will love this wine.

Plus, if you are a Pottery Barn catalog junkie like me, you will notice a lot of La Crema bottles in their ads.

PB would only choose good wine, right? They are classy.

I may not be able to afford much of anything in their catalog, including this gorgeous rustic wine trough {drool below}, but I can afford the wine inside at $20 a bottle!

Drink after a hard day of work, eating some simply grilled salmon and green salad, while reading {yes,reading} your Pottery Barn catalog.

unexpected harvest

Any of us that have a lawn, garden or any type of outdoor space have to deal with weeds. Sometimes they even grow through concrete! Resilient little suckers.

So my husband and I go out our back gate to cross the alley to attend our neighbor's annual bratfest, and what do we see growing on the other side of our privacy fence?

A five foot high corn stalk.

With 3 ears of corn on it!

I did not plant this, and it seemed really random. But here we are: urban farmers, with corn to prove it.

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

back to school

Had the pleasure of visiting my friend M's classroom today. M is a first year high school English teacher. We met in grad school because I was also supposed to be a high school English teacher. Which I was, for about four months.

{Then I realized I prefer to admire high school students from afar.}

What I do miss about teaching is having my own classroom! M's is beautiful and clean and organized. Here are some things I loved about her room:

Thought this was so cute! Who doesn't want a BIG eraser...for those mistakes we wish could wipe out? :o)

The reading corner. No bean bag chairs...but these letter signs she painted are fantastic!

Hand-carved pencils and many personal touches gave her desk area a homey feel.

Cute, colorful wooden letters on her lectern. They will never forget her name. (Not that they would.)

Inspirational signs -- LURVE! They were everywhere...and yes, I felt inspired.

Hanging out with M in her bright, shiny, new English classroom, more than making me miss teaching, made me miss being in class. Oh, Master of Arts in English will be mine someday! Until then, I will hang out with my amazing teacher friends, admire their classrooms and listen to their fascinating tales of high school students, both savants and ne'er-do-wells.

I appreciate teachers a million times more now that I have been one and realize how hard they work. These are amazing people with an enormous amount of patience that I personally do not possess. God love teachers for all they do!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Att-ruh-verrrrr-see-AHHHHHmoh....I could say that word all day. It is Italian for "let's cross over." Just one of the many lines/phrases/bits of goodness that make you warm with happiness while watching the movie Eat Pray Love.

This movie will do 3 simple things:

1. Make you crave carbs. Lots.
2. Inspire you to travel someplace completely amazing (oh, like, perhaps Italy, India, or Bali)
3. Convince you that you, too, can find balance in life...and learn Italian, and marry a rich Brazilian...


Anyway, I first read Elizabeth Gilbert's book several years ago, snagged from the "new release" shelf at the local library.

Fell in love.

The movie is just as self-indulgently wonderful as the book. It has everything I adore in a movie. A strong female protagonist - who is independent but still values romance, a fantastic soundtrack, and is set in Europe. Plus, it inspires you to do something amazing with your own life. Who doesn't want to take a year to visit three exotic locations and be completely self-focused? A luxury only a writer/millionaire can afford. The rest of us can dream, live vicariously through our reads...

...and eat lots and lots of pasta!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

on your nightstand

I would never ask what is in your nightstand (oh so private!)
but I will ask, in the spirit of finishing up the accessorizing stage of my bedroom redo:
what is on your nightstand?

Here are some perfectly lovely inspirations:

I've been way to0 tired this week to shop (a first for me!) so the weekend will hopefully be one filled with shopping and finishing touches on our tiny bedroom makeover... flea market here I come! :o)

Monday, August 16, 2010


After agonizing over what cheesy name to give this blog post {chrysanthemum's the word} {keeping mum} {i love my mum}I decided on the simple, but to the point, "mum-tastic." Because that is how I feel about fall.

Yes, I said fall. Yikes.

I know it is hard to even think about fall in this sweltering sweatbath of summer heat, but when you start seeing displays of mums at the grocery store, you may as well get out the hay bales, the colorful gourds, and order a spiced apple cider at Starbucks (so, so good!), because fall is just around the corner.

I might have a mum fetish. They are gorgeous, full, mounding perennials that are inexpensive and come in lovely autumn leaf colors: red, gold, orange, and purple. I couldn't resist grabbing these fiery red ones at Lowe's (only $5 each!)

The next time you are at the grocery store, farmer's market or on one of your five trips to Lowe's this weekend, you might want to grab some mums. Refresh your planters. Plant an array of colors in a flower bed en masse. (PS: If you plant them in your flower beds they will come back next year...but not until it is actually you must be patient. My mum plants from last year have been huge, bushy green plants since May... still waiting for them to bloom!)

Wishing you a marvelous Mumday - er, Monday. :D

Friday, August 13, 2010

home again

"Where thou art - that- is Home."
Emily Dickinson

We have arrived home from a week of vacay with my family in Montana. So many memories, such a beautiful time. Still, it is so nice to see my dog, my bed, and the familiar comforts of the home we have created.

As always, I have come back from vacation revived and with a million new ideas for my life and home.

Lots of time on planes and during nap-time to read magazines, write, and dream!

I tend to dream big and then get overwhelmed when I cannot seem to get much of what I have planned done. So I decided to go easy on myself this weekend. My to-do will simply have three manageable tasks. Well, in theory.
  1. Finish one of the three novels I am currently reading: Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett and Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I am excruciatingly ADD when it comes to novels. I always have at least 3 on my nightstand.
  2. Replant my hydrangeas (right now they are dying in their poor little clay pots!)
  3. Complete my bedroom mini-redo (just got my new West Elm duvet in the mail and luuurve it!) This will likely include various trips to my favorite haunts: Pier 1, Home Goods, and Lowe's. Probably Lowe's at least 5 times.

What three things do you plan to accomplish this weekend? And does anyone else go to Lowe's as much as I do? I swear, that place has some sort of addictive agent pumped in through the vents.

Speaking of, I am off to Lowe's right now! :D

Hope everyone is having a relaxing/productive Saturday!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PBR: beer snob no more

Yes, I realize it is "wine wednesday" and this is NOT a wine...but... the spirit of my Montana mountain adventure, I am going to take the time to plug the beer that has gone from the epitome of college cheap party brew, to the beer that is served at every bar that is any bar.


Yes, Pabst Blue Ribbon, the redneck staple, the buy-it-'cause-you're-broke college party necessity, is now chic.

In the past year I started noticing that more and more bars [not dive bars] were serving PBR. My husband all of a sudden was asking for it wherever we went, and lo and behold, every bar had it.

I would stare in wild-eyed awe as he grinned and sipped his ice-cold PBR. I mean, didn't we grow up and get jobs so we didn't have to drink cheap beer anymore? I was a beer snob.

Then recently, while dining at a trendy sushi bar in Big Fork, MT, my husband, brother and I scanned the beer list.

Kirin...Sapporro...trendy local beer...PBR...?!?!?

Yes, for only $1 you could have an ice cold blast back into your past -- served, of course, in a can. After finishing my Sapporo, I couldn't resist. "I'll have one of those," I told our server, pointing to the can in front of my husband, not even able to mutter the initials PBR. He slung the red, white and blue can down in front of me and I popped the top shyly and took a gulp.

Delicious. Crisp. Refreshing. Surprisingly flavorful...and one heck of a deal!

So as we dined on amazing sushi, sake, and edamame, we also sipped our $1 PBR.

Pinkies in the air.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

i hear the {baby} train a'comin

We are not on the baby train.

Repeat: not riding the baby train.


A week with my family in Montana has me completely in love with the kiddos already in our growing fam. This little guy is just one of reasons why the baby train could be coming for me and the mister, full steam. Maybe.

Who can resist when they look at you like this? (could be the shiny camera...)

Or when it's bedtime and they jump on the bed with you in their pjs?

Or when they get spaghetti all over their face? {The hand and the spaghetti taste goooood!}

Or when they pick dirty things up off the ground?

Kids are adorable. When you get to give them back. Only kidding (pun intended.) Maybe. I am unwilling to commit to any definitive answer to the age-old awkward question: "When are you two gonna have a baby?"

Baby? Maybe. Some fine day. Until then, going to thoroughly enjoy every moment just being "Auntie" and "Unk" to four beautiful babies.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

morning in montana

Morning in Montana is... waking up... extra-foamy delicious cappuccino...

...and sunlight on the mountains!

Good morning from big sky country!

{more mountain views to come}


Thursday, August 5, 2010

traveling light

"Never travel with anyone you do not love." Ernest Hemingway

As I grow up I realize that it is not how expensive a trip is, or how exotic the locale, but who you are with {whether family, close friends, or interesting souls you meet along the way.}

My favorite trips are those where things are done simply, and spur-of-the-moment. Finding a comfy coffee shop with my sister and chatting for hours. Road-tripping to the Gulf Shores with my husband and sleeping on the beach every night under the stars. Heading home to Minnesota where the family gathers around the kitchen table, eats, talks, eats, laugh, and eat more. {We do lots and lots of “grazing” on the farm.}
I am hoping this week in Montana will hold the same simple, relaxing moments with those that I love.
Packing my suitcase will involve simplicity as well.
Oversized sunglasses…ribbed cotton tank tops {possibly my favorite item of clothing}…a summer scarf (for the cool mountain air)…hiking boots to carry me to the top of a peak...swimsuit and cute coverup to lounge on the dock in...
...laptop to blog with...
Ahem! Did I write that? Well, the camp does have free WIFI....can't blame a girl...
Anyway, I am wishing you a beautiful week of time spent with those that you love...even if it is just to the local coffee shop with your best friend to chat for hours. :o)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

wine wednesday: cowboy up!

I love wine.

I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrve wine.

So how about every Wednesday I share with you a wine I've tried that is fantastic?

I am not going to lie: I buy wine largely based on how pretty the label is. (I have bought some really horrific wine this way.) However, this week's recommendation was based of a post I read on another blog, The Pioneer Woman. {She is a big-time blogger, famous in the blogosphere, and basically the first blog I started reading. Check her out. You will fall in love!}

Anyway, she plugged Purple Cowboy wine about a year ago, and finally I found a bottle (at Target, no less!) and had to try it. I was hooked by the charming "cowboy legend" on the back label:

"The cowboy met the old man who brought him some cuttings in a damp burlap sack. The old man said plant these in the valley where the fog comes at dusk and the soil in stony and no good for anything else. And someday you'll have some fine dark wine. So dark it turns your teeth purple. So the legend goes."

My teeth didn't turn purple, but the Purple Cowboy 2007 Tenacious Red was absolutely fragrant and delicious from start to finish. Very smooth red, with a spicy kick!

Serve with a slab of beef around the campfire, coyotes [pronounced kaaaaayoates!] howling in the distance.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

afternoon delight

"Keep your true love of nature, for that is the way to understand art more and more."
Vincent van Gogh, painter of many sunflowers

No matter where a person lives, there is beauty.

I live in a rather urban neighborhood that, despite the gorgeous historic brick homes, has a lot of distractions. Sometimes I get a little down when I see the rental houses with the trash-strewn across the front lawn, or the paint faded and bricks crumbling on an old gem in need of major love [and cash.] Sometimes it takes me a while to find a shot worth taking.

Then all of a sudden it is there. A cluster of sunflowers in the afternoon sunlight.

So I guess it doesn't need to be an idyllic setting. You just have to open your heart to see the details of the canvas. Let your mind block out the dogs barking, the unsightly power lines, the car horns, the police sirens, the trash...and just see what God is waiting patiently for you to take the time to notice. :o)

Monday, August 2, 2010

ten reasons I don't need a cell phone...

Day 7 without a cell phone. (sigh)

Nope, I am not on a technofast. I have once again misplaced my cell phone. I do this on a regular basis, although usually I find it within couple days. I find, however, that I do not particularly miss my cell phone. I have gone a week and my world is still turning! Maybe I could go forever???

So...without further ado....

ten reasons I don't need a phone

10. I don't call that many people. I can count on one hand the people I regularly call.
9. Txting makes me feel dmbr. lol.
8. It takes up valuable purse space. (And yet, I can never find it in there. Huh.)
7. I prefer emails to phone calls.
6. Phones just aren't pretty like they used to be!
5. It makes my ear hurt.
4. I forget to shut it off in movies -- embarrassing!
3. I feel guilty cursing the people I see driving while on their cell. Hullo people! Of course, I do it too...
2. I'd rather spend $60/month on lattes.
1. I'll just lose it again! :D

There you have it, folks! I'll probably break down and get another cell, but for today you will only hear from me by blog - Happy Monday! :o)