30 December 2010

new year

With a new year comes reflection on the year gone by. We make lists of things that were memorable and words that sum it up. We make more lists of resolutions for the new one in front of us. I feel pretty sure that when I continue to look back on this year all that will come to mind was how shitty it was. It was a terrible, sad, difficult year, and I am content to see it go. Clearly, not every part of it was terrible, but as a whole you get what I am saying. As far as my expectations for 2011—well, I have none. I literally want nothing to happen. For it to be uneventful and boring. That would be wonderful actually. I wonder sometimes that if I didn't make any big sudden movements, would I slip by unnoticed for a while. I know how ridiculous this sounds, but it is a true thought that I continue to have. I also know it is unrealistic, so am only halfway serious about all of this.

As much as I am not one to make resolutions at the start of a new calendar year, there are a few concepts that have presented themselves to me over the past few months. They have been on my mind enough to feel like a new year is a good time to delve further into them. A month or so ago my therapist told me that I need to learn to "just be". It sounds so simple, yet it is a concept I have been searching to define for years and years. To just BE. To be who I am, where I am in life, when I am, and how I am at all times. Seems simple, yet why is it so hard for most of us? And I KNOW I am not alone in this. So I have been mulling that over for a while now. The other day I decided I would google "How to Be" in my search to have this answered. Let me just note that the first EIGHT entries where focused on some Robert Pattinson movie with this title. I think this is so interesting. I am not sure what I was looking for, maybe a book, or some article of someone else delving into this further, but instead I got a million images of the star from the Twilight series. Chalk it up to my fault for trying to "google" this issue! So, it looks like there are no manuals on this. No easy way to go about it.

I also recently read an article in one of my favorite magazines about a woman who challenged herself to ask her loved ones how she could love them better. This is such a scary concept, what would people actually say?! But it is such an amazing idea. Why would we not want to know this? What a challenging and rewarding shift that could be. I am assuming the age-old theory of one has to love themselves before they can love others comes into play here. It is not that I don't love who I am, but we could all be a little kinder to ourselves. I feel if I can understand how to BE a bit more, I may not have to ask others how to love them better. It may happen naturally.

The one thing that has obviously come from this year was learning to understand death more; which in turn forces you to look at life. I have found myself letting go of things that used to hold more importance in my life, and grasping onto the things that are truth. I can see that in doing so there is more opportunity to actually live. And live well. I may still want to give 2010 "the bird", however, I can't help but give it credit for being the year real transformation began.

Happy New Year to all of you. May you burn your lists of expectations and instead experience life!

29 December 2010

the best little christmas gift

On a Tuesday morning, December 21st, the sweetest little Christmas gift arrived.
6 lbs. 12 oz. 21 inches long. My nephew Hunter.

What a relief that all went well, and what a miracle a new baby is! I may be partial but this baby is so sweet and beautiful, and a rockstar. His entry into the world seemed like it was just another day! He wasn't crying or freaked out, but rather just taking it all in. And my sister and brother-in-law are rockin' it too. I have never really watched this process up close, but am amazed by how naturally humans figure it all out. Of course, there are plenty of books out there to inform the parents, but I am not sure that is it. To see a day old baby figure out how to get food and cry when he needs something, well, there is definitely something built inside of us to be able to do that.

It was a very different Christmas this year, and for that I am grateful. I can't really think of another "distraction" that would be as enjoyable as he is!

19 December 2010

christmas gathering

When I moved to Nashville, I only had about three friends that already lived here. Granted, they were some of my best friends and past roommates, but coming from college and a small town where I had established friendships that had grown over many, many years; it was a leap to get out there and really have to meet so many new people. And start over essentially. It was at my first job that I met some of the key people who have been in my life all of my years in Nashville. Countless birthday parties, holiday gatherings, New Year's Eve's, weddings, and trips. We have all been through so many phases together. Good and bad. And as different as we all are from each other, our time together is still filled with as much laughter and conversation as the days we first met. We have been a family. This year a lot has happened to this family...there was the passing of E, a marriage, and a new baby. And the new year will bring even more change as our little crew is going to be saying goodbye to friends moving to Portland, Oregon and another to New York City. So this year's holiday gathering was kind of bittersweet. We had a new "member" in the form of a tiny 8 month old join us! But, it might also be the last time we all gather like we have all these years for Christmas. Unfortunately, change is inevitable and necessary, so there is no need to dwell on it. It was nice to spend an evening with wonderful friends and food and enjoy the time we do have together.

17 December 2010

elephant ceramics

When I see work like these pieces from Elephant Ceramics it makes me stop dead in my tracks, sit quietly, and really take a look at what it is I am seeing. There were a million thoughts that were racing through my mind at first glance. "Where can I BUY one of those platters?!", "What a beautiful shape.", "This photography and styling is unbelievable!", "The blue is my favorite, oh wait, no the white. Oh that green!". You get the idea. I come across a lot of inspiring things, this blog is focused on that! But rarely, do I stumble on something that I keep coming back to look at. Over and over. There are so many things done right by the artist Michele, that I will openly admit I am envious and in awe.

I spent a few semesters of college in ceramic classes. I loved everything about it and still do. In fact I decided a long time ago that when my hair begins to turn gray, I will cut it into a chin-length bob, dress only in black and white, and set up a small pottery studio. This is actually the only goal I really have in my life. The only thing I have ever really wanted to works towards. To one day spend all of my days with my hands in clay and glazes, listening to music, stripping everything down to the simplest of needs, and creating beautiful, utilitarian forms. I hardly come across a piece of pottery that I hate, but a lot of it is lost on me. The pieces from this studio however, have reminded me why this medium can be so beautiful.

09 December 2010

knitting and yarn

This is the perfect weather to be sitting at home, cozy in your "knock-arounds" and doing something crafty! Sewing, knitting, making things out of felt. Although I don't know how to knit, all of the following images make me truly wish I did!! I am kind of flipping out over that yellow blanket, and was willing to find someone who did know how to make it for me, but the yarn might be a tad bit out of my current budget! Maybe one day. Maybe one day when I can knit it myself! I would, however, be up for finding someone to make me one of those striped blankets in a full size vs. the baby blanket size!

I have referenced Purl Soho plenty of times while looking for quilting patterns, or books, or fabric. But am taking a second glance at it in relation to all of the yarn and knitting projects. I love to go into fabric stores and browse all of the textures, patterns, and colors; but there is something more appealing about yarn. Maybe because you strip away all of those varieties of textures and patterns, and focus on the subtle variations in color and types of yarn. The palettes in some of these blankets and projects are so inspiring, I cannot seem to pick a favorite! Much less stop looking at them all!

Top L to R: Super Easy Baby Blankets; Last Minute Knitted Gifts book; Pixie Dust Lap Blanket; Pixie Dust yarn; Jade Sapphire Cashmere yarn; Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter yarn; Easy Baby Cardigan; Pixie Dust Lap Blanket

05 December 2010

i always laugh in oxford

I spent the weekend in Oxford, MS with two of my oldest friends. I have had these friends in my life for over 20 years! It is a funny thing to know people that long. All the phases you go through together. What a blessing to still know each other so well. But, I should have gotten more pictures. I guess it is a good sign that I didn't even think to get my camera out though. My main purpose for the trip was to help one of these friends pick out paint colors for his house that is in the process of being rebuilt. I have never had to come up with a palette while the house is still only concrete and frames. But, it pushes you to really use your imagination and think about the final picture. I think we were successful!

The best part though is whenever I leave from a few days spent with these friends I always realize how much I have laughed. The kind of laughing where you are doubled over and crying. I would say that most of my friends are people that I laugh with, but this is different. I suppose that has been a big part of what has made 20 years go by so easily!

24 November 2010


A beautiful little hand-typed poem that I found in our front yard one day. E and I came home to find
paper floating around in the air, as someone nearby was burning stuff, and there it was.

Some years it is hard to really feel the weight of being thankful. Some years go by and while there are many important things that happen, the impact has been lost by the time the holiday comes around. Others it is so heavy it is all you can do to not shout out loud how grateful you are! This year for me is so heavy with events and changes and experiences and tragedy, I would be lying if I said I only felt thankful for it all. Let's just say that it is a bittersweet version of Thanksgiving.

But, there are a few things I would like to share that I am thankful for this year. The first would be my time with E. I have mentioned that on here before, but on those days when it is really hard to believe he is gone, I can only feel thankful that I even knew him at all. That he changed my life the way he did and that he loved me. It is hard to focus anymore on the hard stuff when someone gets further away from you. I am sure that is just part of the grief process but I also am beginning to believe it has as much to do with our loved one still being present in some way, helping us let all of that go. The loss is still too much some days, and I can't say I am necessarily thankful for that. Maybe one day I will be far enough away from the loss to be able to understand how necessary the grief process is in order to grasp what living really is. Which leads me to the next thing I am thankful for, the strength to move through all of this. This strength that I have had has not come from me, it has clearly been a gift from above. There is no way I possessed that on my own. There is no way any of us do. It has also been given to me through little prayers and thoughts and well wishes that are sent out to me. The outpouring of people who showed up during the week of his death still astounds me. There is something to be said for how we live our life on earth and how it effects those around you. E truly did effect those around him, in a way that most of us only wish we could do. To look around and see the variety and the number of people that were not only there to celebrate him, but who have continued to show up speaks loudly about who he was. I am so grateful for all of these people in my life. To be held up in times when you can't do it by yourself is such a humbling feeling. I cannot express the love I have for all of these people in my life. I have been stitched closer to my friends and family that were already there, and can now also call those that have known him all of these years, dear friends of mine too. It is a very large group of amazing people.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to face really hard roads and to be forced to dig deep and really look at who I am. Who I really am going to choose to be. Honestly, there are more days than I am comfortable admitting where I ask the "why me? why did all of this happen?" questions. And on those days I am absolutely NOT thankful for all of these hard roads and opportunities to face who I am becoming. But the bigger part of me realizes we all have to at some point or another, and I guess while I wish I had been given a little more time before experiencing this, I am thankful to be where I am in my journey. Mainly because I am having to learn how to just "be." How to forgive myself and to take care of myself and to live in each moment. To be okay with where I am in every step of life. This has been/is a hard lesson for me to learn. But I believe this is a lesson we continue to learn and refine all of our lives. This crash course has been difficult to swallow and be okay with, but when we don't have a choice in making it different, we have to surrender. As I am surrendering, I am seeing the beauty of how life can unfold. It is a hard thing to forgive yourself or to truly, truly love yourself; but it is necessary and I am thankful to be at a place of understanding that now.

Grief is an unbelievable process. And it is a process. I can't speak much to it as I am still in the depths of it, hopefully one day, but there are moments of absolute peace and clarity, and then two hours later you can be so lost and angry you want to throw your hands in the air and just step out for a while. At least that has been my experience. Which brings me to the last two things I am thankful for right now. The first is my home. When I say home I am referring to not only the house, but my dogs and all that is contained there. There are many days when it is just me and the dogs. I absolutely know they miss E and they understand it is different. The beauty of dogs is that they sense when you are sad or need love, and they give it freely. It sounds crazy, but the three of us have clung pretty tight through this. If I didn't have them there when I got home to greet me and lay next to me it would be a much lonelier space. Some mornings it has been strictly the fact that I needed to get up, let them out and feed them that I have been able to get going into my day. And the house itself is the ultimate comfort. I know what it is to live out of suitcases, and have friends and family graciously open up rooms to you. I have experienced this a few times in my life and as thankful as I am to them, it is still not "home." Settled. This "home" may be the thing I am most thankful for. As alone as I may feel most days, I don't when I am in the house or the yard with the dogs. I feel like I have some place to be, that not everything has been uprooted and taken from me. E loved that house so much and as crazy as it may sound, he left such great energy here. I can paint the walls and rearrange furniture but it still feels like the house we both loved and I am happy to still call it home.

And the last thing I am thankful for is a new baby coming into the world and into my life. Into my family. The timing of it all is a reminder of why we need to have faith. It was a struggle for my sister and brother-in-law, but had this baby come at any other time it wouldn't have been perfect timing. There is a bigger picture happening here and the reminder is a blessing. Besides how can one continue to want to throw in the towel when a baby is on the way. This kid doesn't have a clue what he has already done for his aunt.

Happy Thanksgiving to any and all that read this blog.

12 November 2010

rose perfume

This is a "trend" that I completely support! I bought my first bottle of Rose perfume when I was in college. It was called "Paris Rose" and it was the perfect scent. Light, fresh, classic. Not overpowering or old lady! They stopped making it a few years later, so I bought a few bottles before it would no longer be available. I am down to my last bottle of it and only use that one for special occasions. Last year I ventured out to Stella as an everyday perfume (which for me means once in a while); so I am really interested in checking out this Stella Sheer! I imagine all of these scents would go perfectly with a crisp white shirt, a strand of pearls, and some classic ballet flats!

Seen in the December 2010 issue of Real Simple magazine

11 November 2010

Lonny magazine

The day I received my last issue of Domino magazine was a sad day indeed. If you read my post back in January of 2009 you might remember. But today is a really GREAT day! Thanks to my mother who reads my blog and recognized the magazine being discussed on Oprah, I have found THIS! Lonny magazine!! It is basically the online version of Domino. However, it may be a little more genius. Started in October of 2009, by the former market assistant and photographer for Domino magazine, it is a bi-monthly online magazine that reads like a rag, but the unique features of the web allow for being able to click on items and be redirected to where you can buy. There is also a different level of interiors being photographed—not as staged, instead, actual real living spaces. Anyway, for those of you who have been missing this magazine like I have, this site may fill that void for you! Now that is one less thing to be sad about, right?! Happy browsing!

Read the New York Times article that explains much better than I have!

10 November 2010

david stark holiday from west elm

I opened my email this morning to find one from West Elm advertising their David Stark holiday collection. It is focused on recycled materials and everyday objects that have been given new life as holiday decor! Anyway, this prompted me to continue to look and see what else is out there this season. Lots of neutrals and clever materials being used. I have been hesitant about how much decorating I will do this year, and definitely haven't felt the need to buy anything new; so it is inspiring to think about reusing what I might already have and to MAKE a few new decorations and gifts.

Season's Fleeting Wreath; Leaf ornaments; Snowflake Doilies; Metallic Leaves; Screen Printed Wrapping Paper; Yarn Skein ornament; Recycled Paper garland and Red & White twine; Card Garland; Winter Ice Canape Plate

07 November 2010

smell good stuff

It definitely turned Fall/with a touch of Winter this week! Time to pull out coats and scarves, and make soups, ciders, and all foods that are cozy! My friend Faith came over the other night bearing a wonderful gift that is perfect for this time of year. A satchel filled with spices that once put on the stove to simmer will make your house smell so festive! It reminds me of home because my mom does this too. It is so simple, but packaged the way Faith did makes for a great little gift. So here is the scoop:

Throw the following into a swatch of fabric and tie off with a ribbon:
2 cinnamon sticks
2-3 whole nutmeg
Palm full of whole cloves
Palm full of whole All Spice

Attach a handmade tag with the following directions:
Cover with water all contents of package and sliced oranges. Boil then simmer. Lasts one week.

Pair the package of spice with 2 oranges and you are set! Happy Holidays!

05 November 2010

auntie em goes shopping

My only sister is having her first baby at the end of December. I will officially be "Auntie Em"! I could not be more excited about this baby, and as the date gets closer, I find myself constantly searching for the cutest baby stuff I can find!

I am obsessed with all of these items. I mean, those Rainbow Blocks are SO beautiful I want a set just for myself! And, I have been eyeing the Eames elephant stool for years now. And that little red fox onesie paired with those moccasins will make for the coolest baby on the block! Oh, and no worries, sis, I have already gotten the "My Aunt Rocks" shirt! ;)

Wooden Rainbow Blocks; Cord-Roy Elephant; Wooden mobile; T-shirt; Gray striped sleep sack; Wooden Nesting Cave; Fox Onesie; Moccasins; Eames elephant

29 October 2010


I am not sure how I came across this site, but I absolutely love everything on it! They have such beautiful everyday objects. I have found that if you surround yourself with the simplest of beauty, any normal task can become more enjoyable. Such as making homemade pickles and placing them in an etched jar, or using medication out of a cobalt blue bottle. It doesn't take much.

21 October 2010

an anniversary remembered

Four years ago E and I were married. October 21st, 2006. I can honestly say that day was one of my favorite. Top 3 for sure. I know it is cliche to say things like that, but it is true. To be gathered with all of your favorite people, with good food, atmosphere, and energy; and to marry someone that you love so much — well it is hard to beat a day like that. Alot has happened since that day, and to not have E here anymore is so hard to believe. I have been nervous about this date coming up for a few months now. But I decided that instead of feeling lost and sad and wishing things had turned out differently; I would find a way to make this day great. The 21st of October has been such a wonderful day in my life for the past few years and I don't want that to change. That seems like a better way to remember E and our time together. Seems like the next best thing to him actually still being here and being well.

I have been looking through our wedding album today. I was asked to send them to another girl who is having her wedding at Carnton Plantation too, and wanted some inspiration. But of course, it was poetic that it coincides with our anniversary. It is definitely hard to see them and to see how beautiful E was, how in love we were. But it is so nice to be on this side of it all and to not regret a day of it. I am thankful for every bit of time with E — all the good, all the bad, all the sick and the healthy days, and the life we stitched together. I am thankful for how he loved me unconditionally, and for the things I learned from him. I am also thankful to have had such an amazing day in my life and beautiful photographs to remember it by.

more photos here

all photographs by Micheal Howard

26 August 2010

yellow owl pendants

I have been working really hard this afternoon to avoid doing any actual work! So of course I began to peruse my favorite blogs and websites—which in one sense is "work" because it provides LOTS of inspiration that I am able to use in my projects. Anyway, I have always loved what is coming out of Yellow Owl Workshop, but these pendants are too cool. I definitely want to get the Color Wheel, but am not sure I can pass up the Earth/Fire and Air/Water ones. I am a fire sign; E was air. 

15 August 2010

uniter, not a divider

The Tomato Arts Festival was this weekend. I have been asked by many people what this festival actually is, and really, I am not sure the best way to explain it. I think you just have to experience it. But, basically, it is a festival of art exhibits, live music, food, Bloody Mary contests, crafts, costume contests and a weekend where the entire neighborhood of East Nashville focuses on the tomato! The idea is that the tomato is a "uniter", not a "divider" in the sense that people think it is a vegetable, when really it is a fruit! Strange, I know, but this is sort of a glimpse into what East Nashville is all about anyway. The best part is that the whole neighborhood has a reason to come together. This festival holds a pretty dear place in my heart, not only because I love living in East Nashville, but because I have been going to this festival since the early stages that it started. It has grown so much, and continues to get bigger. Which is very good for our little quirky neighborhood. However, the one thing that hasn't changed is the blazing HOT weather! Man, it takes commitment to get out in 98 degree heat in the middle of August, but the end of the day Bloody Mary makes it okay I suppose!

10 August 2010

the big 3-0

I turned 30 this past week. I definitely can say it is not what I expected it to look like. As hard as the past handful of time has been, I guess I am very thankful for it all. I have experienced many things most people don't get to experience, and at the end of the day it has made me what I am. And I finally like who I am as I move into my 30s. My time with E has alot to do with that.

People are right when they say holidays and birthdays are difficult when you have lost someone in your life. I missed E alot—had many memories of past birthdays flooding my thoughts. But, I had so many beautiful friends around me all week as well, and I feel blessed with the wealth of love that I have in my life right now. Good food and drinks, great music, and lots of laughter walked me into this new decade.

self-portrait at 30

28 July 2010

paint can change a room, but that is all it changes

I had a friend help me repaint a lot of the rooms in the house these past two weeks. It was time, and it was necessary to really feel like I could settle back into the house in a healthy way. E would have probably resisted the color palette I picked out at first, only to then love it! His taste was a lot more bold and bright...much like his energy. But I felt strongly about shifting the energy to a more quiet palette this time around. I have a bit more work to do to put the rooms back together, so will wait to post pictures in the next week or two. But I did keep some spots of his original color palette, and must say it makes me smile to see them.

Also, notice the red pepper—the first from my pepper plant; and the sandwich with the homemade herb mayo, made with herbs I had picked that morning! nice...oh, and my paint "tattoo"..i thought that was pretty cool..

19 July 2010

container garden

E and I had planned to start a garden this year. It didn't necessarily happen the way I had hoped—for many reasons—but one afternoon I decided I still really wanted to have some form of a garden, even if it meant in pots. So I got two tomato plants and a pepper plant. That was two weeks before E passed away. They were fairly small then and I wasn't sure how well they would really do since it was later in the season than most people get started. I also found an old box at the flea market that I converted into a planter for herbs. I haven't had the best of luck with herbs in the past, and have never grown fruits or vegetables, but they have all been doing pretty well! To watch them change size and start producing is so neat. It has been a healthy focus for me—in the mornings over coffee, or in the afternoons when I get home from work. What could easily be a time where all I want to do is shut down and grieve, I instead spend time outside with the dogs and with myself while taking care of the plants. I suppose it isn't hard to understand why having gardens can be a healing task for people—the symbolism of growth and caring for something each day. As I have slowly been transitioning back into some form of a life for myself, I have been working to keep these plants going. I am thankful that at least something in my life is thriving...it is a reminder of where I need to be when I am ready.    

06 July 2010


I suffered the biggest loss of my life three weeks ago.

There was about a week that was such a blur, I wonder how I actually managed to get up and make it through the most basic of daily activities. How I got through all of the REST had nothing to do with me. It was all of the prayers and thoughts that were being sent up for me, no doubt. Not sure I will ever be able to post on all of it, but hope to at some point. In the meantime, I have been collecting little snippets from life. It is strange that days keep moving when you feel as if your own life is at a complete halt. When you sometimes wish things would come to a halt so that you don't get so far away from the person you have lost. Life doesn't stop for anything though. We either jump back in or we watch it race by from afar. We are not promised tomorrow, so I suppose it is better to find a way to jump back in. I am not quite there yet, but I guess I can keep documenting what is going on around me until I catch up.

10 June 2010


I kept hearing about the iPhone app called Hipstamatic, and FINALLY decided to get it. Now I can't stop taking pictures with it!

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