Finite

Do you ever have one of those moments where you just feel what it is to be finite? I had one this morning driving around a lake that I’ve passed at least once a week every single week of my life. It hit me that I spent years sitting in the back seat, tracing the outline of the lake on the car window as we maintained the gentle curve around it. And now I’m sitting here, still a kid with that same breeze on my face, following the same path. And it hit me that one day (hopefully) I’ll be 40, 60, 75 and the lake will still be right there and I’ll still have that same breeze on my face as a trace the lake and I’ll remember today and the way that I felt so small and so

finite.

Happy Birthday, Mom

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I don’t like to talk about my family too much online. They’re private people and I try to respect that (sometimes). But today is a special day and so even if it makes her a little bit antsy, I want to take this chance to call my mom out on being the wonderful lady she is. She was one of nine kids in a poor family. She grew up in the South with loving, progressive parents. Her childhood was full of playing sports and Catholic education. She was raised to work for justice and to strive for equality. She dealt with heartache and with challenge. She was (and is) the life of the party, the hardest worker I’ve ever seen, and the most moral person you’ll ever meet. She’s someone I’m lucky to know.

So on this day of days, happy birthday, Mom. I hope it’s a great one and I hope most of all that there are many many more still to come.

Work Outfits

I’m noticing that I need to get some more jewelry, that seems to be where my creativity is most lacking. And maybe a pair of booties. It’s getting chilly and my open toes are feeling it.

Here’s what I wore:

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Malve from Anthropologie dress, Anthropologie jacket (similar here), Isola from Nordstrom shoes (similar here)

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Banana Republic Safari collection top (similar here), Banana Republic Sloan pants, Steve Madden oxfords

 

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Same Anthropologie jacket as above (similar here), Anthropologie top, Banana Republic lace skirt (similar here), Ugg booties (similar here)

Things I’m Looking Forward To

This is my first truly busy week in awhile and it feels good to be getting back into the swing of things. I’m an introvert by nature so after a weekend of hiding out with a book and taking some me time, I’m ready to get back out there. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this week:

-Mom’s birthday is tomorrow. I like having a chance to celebrate a lady who doesn’t let us celebrate her very often. She works too hard and too often to ever take a break and as such depends on other people to help her step back and relax a bit.

-Shovels and Rope on Wednesday. Nick got me tickets for Christmas because he’s the best. I’ve listened to the album on repeat off and on for months and still actually only know the words to 3 songs but I’ll sway around like a champ to the rest of them.

-Date night. Have you ever had a scheduled date night? It’s one of our couple new years resolutions. In theory I think we’re trying to build up the suspense and the anticipation that we used to get from setting up a date for a few days away and then having to wait a few days to see each other. Only without the waiting a few days to see each other since we’re together all of the time.

Decorating with a budget

The other day I heard someone say that they were an expert with having “champagne style on a beer budget.” I like that idea of making the most of what you have. Of not being limited by your budget so much as forced to get creative with how you use it.

I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I do have quite a bit of experience with budget decorating. My biggest tips for creating a beautiful space on a smaller budget are simple:

Paint it

In college I inherited a ton of furniture from relatives. The only similarity in all of it was that it was used. So I painted it. Everything in my bedroom was teal or white. Everything in my living room was green or brown. (It also helps that I have an uncle who was a professional painter for years and was willing to help me out a bit.) The painting took an afternoon and was well worth the investment. I’ve already lugged those pieces through three moves and have no plan on stopping.

Clean it

The easiest thing you can do to make your space look more livable is to clean it. Put things away, wipe down the counters, vacuum, open the windows and let some fresh air come inside. It doesn’t matter how expensive your furniture is if your place is a mess.

Toss it

I try to live by the William Morris motto: “Have nothing in your houses you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” It’s not always feasible to exclusively have items that you adore, but it is important to be aware of the things that you love and the things that you actually use so that you can separate them from the things that you’d like to replace. Don’t be afraid to get rid of something. Donate it, give it to a friend, see if you actually needed it, and if you do then wait until you can buy a version that you would like to live with daily.

Put a painting on it

This is probably my favorite way to decorate. As long as there is space on your wall (or floor, or dresser, or table top) there is room for more art. I invested in a piece of art by myself the first time when I was 20 years old. Since then, I’ve made a few other art purchases-some for myself but mostly helping others get started with their own collections.

Nothing livens up a space like a piece that you love. It’ll make you happy with every glance. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to match. It just has to be something that you like. And if you can’t find anything or can’t afford anything you want, you can always make it yourself or ask a friend to try.

I have a few pieces of art in my room right now: a drawing by my Aunt Sue (Luke Weiss’s mom) in the 70’s, a photograph from India found at the Gainesville Art Festival, a beautiful silk painting from the Maitland Art Festival, and a hand painted (and self-designed) movie poster for Paperman I made for an Illustration class. Nothing cost more than $40 (except the framing…see the upcoming how to frame your own paintings) and none of it was bought or chosen with the intent of being put together but it all works when you are buying pieces that you truly love.

How do you pick what goes in your space? Are you a less is more kind of person or a more is more?

 

Homemade Protein Bars

My schedule is pretty hectic (that’s the way I like it!) and that requires me to be on top of things when it comes to fitting meals into my day. One of my tricks for doing so is to always have one of these bad boys on hand.

The original recipe is good on its own but I like to use natural peanut butter which means that mine come out drier. To compensate, I like to add about a teaspoon of non-hydrogenated coconut oil, milk, and honey (if you use sweetened milks like vanilla soy or rice milk then I would omit the honey) to make the bars a little softer.

Once they’ve cooled for a few hours and have formed a solid bar I like to cut them into 1″x 4″ pieces. Then I wrap each bar diagonally in a 5″x5″ square of wax paper. You can store the whole batch in the fridge for up to 2 weeks although they start to dry out again after about 5 days.

You can also add more things to them if you want to mix it up a bit: raisins, dried fruit, different chocolate chips, flavored extracts, or chopped up nuts.

 

Music Minute

I happen to be fortunate enough to spend my days with the nicest guy I know. He’s also an incredibly talented musician with great taste and a knack for finding and sharing bands I’ve never heard of before. He’s agreed to do an occasional post sharing a band or two that he thinks are worth having a listen. 

I recently discovered a band called “Gem Club” on Spotify. They’ve been around for almost 5 years now, with 2 albums and an EP under their belt, but only recently did they blossom into being a “national act” with their 2014 release, In Roses.
Their sound has an immediate familiarity to it – repetitive pianos and beautiful string arrangements lay the foundation for most of their tracks. Singer Christopher Barnes lays (sometimes incomprehensible) vocal melodies over the patient soundscapes and songs on the album flow together with ease.
This is an album to unwind or study with on a rainy evening. Fans of the bands “Other Lives,” “Eluvium,” and “S. Carey” should take a listen to “Gem Club.”