Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas gift for kids

I've already been slacking here! I started a new position at work part-time and it has taken some adjustment and juggling to manage it all. When you add in that this baby will be here in a little more than a month and a half, my mind is blown. Pregnancy brain + blown mind = no blogging.

Phil and I just got back from attending our last baby shower and each person brought a storybook in leiu of a card. I loved it. I wanted to introduce you to a French children's author that you may not know.

Her name is Marie-Helene Delval and I stumbled upon her children's books in a local bookstore in Waynesville, NC and loved them. The illustrations and words are simple and have a magical quality to them that are perfect for adults children.

They make great, meaningul Christmas gifts for any kiddos you may know!

via amazon
image via here
image via here
image via here

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Baking

Nothing says merry, merry like a little holiday treat! Here is a quick and easy recipe for Oreo truffles. Not too many ingredients. Addictive. Easy to pass on as a gift or surprise for a neighbor.


Oreo Truffles

1 package of Oreo cookies (get the real thing, don't try generic. Not as good!)
1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, room temp to slightly softened

2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips or white chocolate chips (do what tastes best to you

*you might want to have some butter or half & half handy to add to the chocolate to make it a little more soupy; you can also use Baker's chocolate blocks that melt a little easier

In a food processor, or by hand in a sealable bag, crush the Oreos to a crumbly consistency. You don't want too many chunks. Stir in the cream cheese to mix it all together. The cream cheese needs to be softened for easy stirring but you don't want it too hot. 

Form into small balls (about the size of quarters or a little bigger) in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes while you melt the chocolate. I set mine on wax paper on baking sheets. It keeps it from falling apart while you dip. 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave according to package instructions or in 45 second intervals, stirring in between. Add the cream or butter if you need it. 

Dip away. Mine never turn out perfectly dipped but I actually like that. You can decorate with sprinkles or Oreo crumbs or whatever else you prefer! 

Store them in the refrigerator until ready to eat or give away!

For a gift, put them on this fun melamine plate from Target (4 for $13.29)

Threshold™ Melamine Tree Dinner Plates Set of 4 - Multicolor
buy here

Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekend Exploring 3

via katie's pencil box

Have a child who is driving you crazy for an iphone? Fake them out with this kinder toy instead. I love that the earbuds are the erasers!

DIY project from A Beautiful Mess: hand stamping your own cloth napkins. Possibilities are endless.

Check out this 20-minute web documentary featuring one of my favorite photographers and a guy who has a massive following on Instagram. It compares pro photography and the Instagram phenomenon. Thought it was interesting!

25 Christmas books for this list for kids. This blogger reads one Christmas book to her kids each night in December until Christmas.

Did you see that Laurel Dawn from Abode Love is now offering mini paintings? Christmas gift anyone?!

Love awkward family photos, especially Christmas ones. You, too could have been born into this family:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bibliophile #2

can buy it here 
If you're feeling...

     like a light-hearted, warm story would hit the spot
     like pulling up a chair to listen to a table full of unique friends banter back and forth
     like getting to live in a part of history that perhaps you knew nothing about
     like cheering for a flawed but witty and kind-hearted heroine that will make you laugh out loud
     like you can relate to a desire for community in a simple place and a wish for meaning in your career and love life

then you need to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Burrows and Mary Ann Shaffer.

It makes you think of these happy things:

Honestly, I dragged my heels in reading this book. It is written as a series of letters and I assumed it would be a stretch to feel like I could really immerse myself in the story. But it wasn't. It was genius. I read the book quite quickly and now I plan on passing it along to my fabulous grandmother. How often can you say about a book that it was charming to you and will also be charming to your grandmother? Good writing makes that possible.

If you're interested, read this 2008 interview with Mary Ann Shaffer about the book. Her aunt, Annie Burrows, began the book but passed away during the process. They have a sweet story to tell.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Advent Season

Advent season is almost upon us! One of the things I am excited about with parenthood is the opportunity to create traditions and carry on old ones. My family had wonderful Christmas traditions but one I am hoping to start with my own kids is an advent calendar every year. Here is a little round-up of store bought or DIY advent calendars for inspiration to start your own tradition.

DIY via A Beautiful Mess

via Pottery Barn
Advent- looooove this idea!
via Most Lovely Things
via Style Files
via Terrain
Easy Advent Calendar
via Martha Stewart

Because I think advent should help us prepare our hearts for recognizing a beautiful event in history, I would tend to shy away from just putting candy or little presents in each day's box because it might communicate a message to a child that I can't fully embrace.  Advent isn't just about a child's fun and enjoyment, although I hope childlike wonder surrounds all of us this season! I like the idea of just putting little encouraging notes or even clues to find something in the house like a story or song. You could also put tasks to do together as a family that include fun things like going ice skating or meaningful things like helping out at the food bank. Why not include a little of all of it!

 What would you put in your advent calendar?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Road Trip

Husband and I are headed to Florida for Thanksgiving and to be a part of what will be a wonderful, wonderful wedding of a dear friend. The best kind. 

To pass the time on the drive, I will be sipping on a Starbucks holiday drink (can't decide which one yet) and catching up my magazine reading with this:
Image of Volume Two
kinfolk magazine

Please, read Kinfolk if you haven't read it yet. It is a book-type magazine that comes out every few months and features small gatherings. The concept is simple and gorgeous models telling me what to wear, making me feel frumpy. No barrage of colorful ads and pictures of items that make me discontent with what I already have. It has beautiful, clean writing and even more poetic and inspiring pictures about gatherings that we can all re-create. Thanksgiving really is such a gathering anyway.

Since my husband is staunchly against Christmas music before Thanksgiving, I am going to force him to listen to "Thanksgiving" and "The Gladdest Thing" by Deb Talan. She is one half of the folk-pop duo The Weepies and she has a folksy, slow sound that makes me think of this particular holiday. 

Enjoy this happy song by listening to it HERE on YouTube.

Happy travels to friends making it home for Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend Exploring #3

fall and quilt

Phew. Life and work have been busy. I started on the nursery this to come. Until then, enjoy exploring!

A British catalogue that gives Anthropologie's a run for its money! Flip through Toast and just enjoy what you see.

What do you think about this Baskin Robbin's Turkey Cake? I'm voting for disturbing.

Moms out there! Have you heard of Rain for Roots? This CD features Nashville singers (Sandra McCracken, Ellie Holcomb, and more) that sing their hearts out for babies and children. And the best part is that Sally Lloyd-Jones from The Jesus Storybook Bible wrote the lyrics.

I thought this guide to throwing yourself a pity party from an old Wit + Delight post was clever...Casablanca is a great pity party movie!

This article from The New York Times is one of the best I've read in a while. Please, please take the time to read it and I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'm planning on using it for Article Club with two friends hopefully this week! We are starting an article club instead of a book club because it is just plain easier to all read articles together when time is hard to come by. The article club idea came from Cup of Jo.

Have a happy, happy Autumn weekend! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Little Things

photo credit: Brian Hamill/Warner Brothers
Nora Ephron, iconic director and screenwriter of every wonderful chick-flick you have ever seen (think When Harry Met Sally, Julia & Julia, Sleepless in Seattle, Silkwood) knew she was dying in 2010 from leukemia. In her memoir I Remember Nothing, she concluded the book with a list of things she would miss about life:

What I Will Miss

My kids
The concept of waffles
A walk in the park
The idea of a walk in the park
The park
Shakespeare in the Park
The bed
Reading in bed
The view out the window
Twinkle lights
Dinner at home just the two of us
Dinner with friends
Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
Next year in Istanbul
Pride and Prejudice
The Christmas tree
Thanksgiving dinner
One for the table
The dogwood
Taking a bath
Coming over the bridge to Manhattan

Concept of Waffles! I love that. Twinkle lights! I love that, too. There are just so many things to be fascinated by. Grace, grace everywhere.

She had made another list of things she would not miss such as washing her hair and bras. Girl after my own heart.

What would be on your lists?

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Dare You to Try...


Did you know that a fully relaxed person takes 4-6 breaths per minute? Deep breaths, from the very deep-down pit of the stomach.

Did you know that the average person in our culture breathes 16-20 times per minute? Shallow breaths, from the chest.


“The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into 

his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). 

The word ‘breath’ in the beautiful phrase ‘breath of life’ is also another word for spirit in its original language. Breath and spirit are married. God ties in breath with existence as a living being. Could our shallow breath culture be a symptom of shallow being? 

How did we get to a place where we hurry along so quickly that our bodies are no longer breathing deeply and, perhaps, our sense of Spirit is shrinking too?

This week, I dare you to try breath prayers. Breath prayers have been a part of the Christian tradition for hundreds and hundreds of years. Pick a short phrase that resonates authentically with your life and season and literally pray it as you inhale and exhale. 

For one season of my life when I was realizing I wasn’t nearly as awesome or perfect as I thought I was (shocking), my breath prayer was ‘Have mercy on me, a sinner’ adapted straight from Luke 18:13. As I breathed in slowly I would pray the first part (have mercy on me) and as I exhaled slowly, I would pray the second part (a sinner). 

For another season when I was wanting to truly experience instead of just simply know in my head about God’s love, my breath prayer became ‘Let me experience Your Love.’ 

The ways to adapt this are endless. I know of a woman who wasn’t a Christian and found that she was more confused than anything. Her prayer became ‘Show me what Truth is.’ I love how real that is.

Pick your own and make yourself breathe deeper this week. I promise it isn’t just refreshing for your body but also for your soul. I believe God somehow connected these two things with great purpose and what a simple way to become more aware of Him in curious, ordinary, or unexpected places.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekend Exploring #2

I got a duck
please tell me you look at Maddie on Things regularly

An encouraging and validating article on motherhood as a vocation.

Buy a coffee subscription to have hand-batched, fresh-roasted beans shipped right to your door from the coolest coffee shop in the South - Swift & Finch - out of Rome, Georgia. Or give it as a gift! Coming guides just for fun!

Listen to C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series for free here.

Unleash your inner nerd or Gilmore Girls wannabe by following in Rory's literary footsteps.

An ode to the color blue from the New York Times.

Jessica Mischner, a senior editor for Garden & Gun, wrote a post for Etsy's blog about a vintage, southern tablescape for Thanksgiving. I

Out-of-the-box and funny job advertisements that appeal to the more creative type. Here's one of my favorites, but it may take you a second to get it if you haven't had your coffee yet:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Barnwood - Do or Don't?

Phil and I have been remodeling our kitchen slowly but surely over the last several months. Let's be honest. I've been more moral support.  We are going to be using old barnwood for a few open shelves to soften the industrial feel of the rest of the kitchen.  I like the idea of reusing old wood because its an inexpensive option and it is easy to get. I think others would argue it is overdone. What do you think? Would you or have you put salvaged wood in your house?
salvaged wood table tops via Brooklyn to West

reclaimed wood walls - headboard idea
via pinterest
barnwood headboard
via pinterest

abode love: a man's home is his wife's castle
kitchen island via abode love
Barnwood Coffee Table - Industrial Furniture - Rustic Barnwood Coffee Table with Box Top and Steel Box Frame
coffee table $425 via etsy
via style files

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bibliophile #1

If you're feeling....
             like you want to remember what it was like to be a school-aged girl facing your own insecurities and still are
             like it's cold outside and you want to hunker down with a light but meaningful novel
             like you want a book that stories a coming-of-age and friendship-turned-to-first-love
             like it would be nice to imagine what boarding school in the Swiss Alps would be like
             like an innocent, young adult book with overtones of mystery and serious subject matters
             like reading aloud to your pre-teen daughter but secretly you enjoy it more

then you need to read a lesser-known book by Madeleine L'Engle titled And Both Were Young.

image via

If I had to create an image board around this novel to capture a feeling or mood about this book, it would look something like this:

12345678910; 11

I hope you get a chance to read it and enjoy one of my favorite authors!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Farm Wedding

I just returned from a refreshing wedding. It was beautifully simple, unfettered by over planning and too many details, and a pure reflection of the couple. It was the type of wedding that makes you look back over your own and ask the question, 'Did I make it as authentic as it should have been?'

It took place on their 8-acre farm that they recently purchased. Kids had an incredible time chasing chickens while adults sipped on lemonade and tapped their toes to a bluegrass band. Spanish moss hung everywhere...who needs a florist when God created spanish moss?

I love the groom and his nephew riding the tractor after most of the guests had gone!  And don't you love all the children gathered around for the cake cutting? I couldn't help but think of Anne of Green Gables during the entire wedding. It made my heart very happy!

The bride wore a vintage wedding dress from La France in the Ybor City/Tampa area. Would you ever wear a vintage dress or did you? They make me think of literary heroines, wisdom from past generations, and whimsy. I love these vintage dresses (although the first one is only vintage-inspired).

image from here
Vintage Wedding Dress
image from pinterest
image from here
image via snippet & ink

Have a happy Monday!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekend Exploring #1

I will be headed down to Tampa to watch my good friend get married on farmland that she and her soon-to-be husband just purchased. There is a theme going around my life about taking risks, just doing what you love instead of just talking about it, and the fear/vulnerability that comes from such big leaps. How can you relate? Enjoy exploring the web with what is below and have a great weekend!

image via pinterest

I want to go on a Job Journey to Norway. What an idea!? Can the United States do this with...Scotland? Fiji? Italy? Belize? Please!

Bourbon chocolate milkshake, anyone? It would be nice by a fire. And Ben Johnson from West Egg Cafe in Atlanta came up with this little idea. So I trust it.

For a dose of reality of what is happening in our world from American Photo Mag. These images are powerful. The fifth one really got me. 

Did you see these wedding flowers from Once Wed yesterday? Proof that beauty doesn't have to be expensive. God made us to create it with what He already created. 

Have you watched this yet? Oh, the awkwardness of middle school. Warning: it is literally almost painful to watch. But it is too funny.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Exciting news!

Guess what?

Laurel Dawn from Abode Love launched her exciting new project that she has been working feverishly on for months and months. You do not want to miss this! Do you know her yet?

She is married to my cousin, which automatically shows her good taste.

She is a talented graphic designer and interior designer.

Thousands follow her blog.

 I get giddy when I see her in magazines.

Now, she is officially venturing into the world of art. She has always been an artist but she is now sharing her talent with us (JOY!) and that takes guts. I admire it.

Below is a little Q&A with Laurel-Dawn. I love the theme of returning to creativity that was fostered in childhood. It seems that a great deal of adulthood is spent figuring out how to get back to the basic things that make us unique. Things that, if we were lucky enough, we discovered naively as children.

Today, don't miss out on her art for sale at her on-line store. I've seen this art in person and it is stunning. And if you don't already, follow her blog at Abode Love.

buy them here

Q. When did you start painting? 
I started painting when I was in preschool, seriously. My mom is a professional artist for the military and she has always worked from home-- so when she was in her studio working, I was too! My mom even attempted to teach my sister and I calligraphy when I was about 6 years old. (Calligraphy didn't stick, but painting and drawing did!) My sister and I took art classes when we were very young and I continued to take classes throughout my high school career and then majored in Graphic Design in college where I took more fine art courses than design courses.

Q. What motivated you to start your blog, your design services, and your artwork?
Upon graduating from college and entering into my design career in design and ad agencies (and now as an in-house designer)-- I realized that it's work. It's not necessarily a personal creative outlet. There are definitely boundaries and a lot more cracking of the whip, if you know what I mean. There are days that I feel I have nothing to offer creatively, and there are days that I just plain disagree with the work that I am putting out there-- but since it's a JOB, I have learned I have to put my head down and push forward! This was a frustrating process for me as a creative person-- so I took to my computer to release my creative energy! That's where Abode Love started... my Mister and I had purchased a home outside of Birmingham, AL and I was obsessed with home interiors-- so I started blogging.

Q. What has been the hardest part about blogging? About launching your artwork?
The hardest thing about blogging is staying inspired, as I mentioned above, some days, there's not a lot going on with my creative mojo! And as far as my artwork is concerned... I'm scared to death to share my artwork! Sharing personal work and putting yourself out there is hard in general, but I love my readers and I they've been so encouraging that I'm prepared to bite the bullet and just do it. At the end of the day, artwork has always been a comfortable constant in my life, so it seems natural for this progression of design and artwork to collide. I just hope my readers are pleased with my work, after all, I see so much of myself in my readers and I do put stock in what they say and the opinions they hold!

Q. How do you feel your creativity has evolved since starting Abode Love?
Abode Love has really pushed me to stay on top of the trends and most importantly, to challenge myself and keep my readers guessing! I feel like I take a LOT more risks with my home now just to add a little shock value to my blog and to my little abode! I love to hear, "oh wow, I would never do that in my home, but somehow-- it works!" It's the biggest compliment in my opinion. I also find myself being a little less uptight in my writing... I am silly and often times ridiculous in my posts-- but for anyone who knows me, it's just who I am! I will ramble on about Britney Spears or make plans to have a beautiful wedding for a pair of new chairs... I try not to take myself too seriously and I think my readers have seen a progression in my posts over the years. Unexpectedly for me, writing has become a new creative outlet!

Q. What or who inspires you?
Blogs. Blogs have inspired me for YEARS- they're what made me want to start blogging and they continue to inspire me beyond any other source!

Q. What do you do when you feel uninspired or stuck in a rut?
I browse around on Pinterest, and when nothing strikes me right off the bat.... I stroll through my old pins. I also roll over to Michelle Armas' blog-- she's hilarious and a beautiful, inspired artist. I get color combination ideas from her artwork and giggle away at her off color remarks. She's inspiring, and she also encourages her readers to "get off your butt and just do it!" Love that. Sometimes I need a swift kick to the behind to get me going!

Q. What is one of your favorite books and/or songs?
Well, I'll just go ahead and say it. I'm a twihard.... the Twilight series kind of owns me.... and The Hunger Games is a close second. I know, I know, I'm a 12 year old girl, I can't help it! As for music, I'm a bit sappy and I love a good cry, so my favorite song is Dave Matthews, "Grey Street" and Mumford & Sons, "Holland Road."

Q. If you had to choose three words to describe your style, which ones would you choose?
Eclectic, Feminine and Bold.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Recipe & Song

Hi friends! I only have time for a quick post today. I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Atlanta where I got to go to the Country Living Fair and, even better, hang out with my family for the weekend to celebrate this baby boy.  I wanted to share a recipe that I made this weekend as my 'hostess' gifts for the wonderful women who put on such an incredible baby shower.

I won't repost the recipe because I completely copied it from my favorite food blog: Smitten Kitchen.

I made these Whole Wheat Apple Muffins and click the link above for the recipe. They were a success!

image from smitten kitchen

While I bake or cook, I've been trying to listen to music. Why haven't I always done this? It makes it so much more enjoyable! Enjoy this music clip of Zooey Deschanel singing "Hello Dolly- such a happy song to sift flour to! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Yesterday was, as Alexander said, a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day. (Did you read that book too?) Just one of those days. I know we all have them. So, it was time for some comfort.  

I ate my mom's recipe for vegetable soup for dinner.

I read Jesus Calling and read from What Women Fear by Angie Smith and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Borrows.

I drank salted caramel hot chocolate and prayed.

I lit some candles.

I took a long shower and didn't blow-dry my hair (my most favorite thing).

I looked at photographers' websites that I loved.  

I made my dog stay in my lap because it makes me happy.

I let myself be sad and angry for as long as I needed.

And the day ended, never to be repeated. Over and done with, thank heavens. I got to start a new one today. I'm thankful for that. 

What do you do for comfort?

I came across this little nifty product in Real Simple and thought it was an adorable idea, especially for use on comfort days. Enjoy!

Soup & Cracker Mugs

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Movies that Make You Feel Like Fall

Who says that only Christmas movies can spark warm & fuzzy feelings for the season? Here is a list of 12 movies that give me the warm and fuzzies about fall's arrival. I hope you curl up and enjoy one of them this week!

images from wikipedia

I would like to say that Ernest Scared Stupid was my husband's addition. He is rather proud of his contribution. Did I miss any that you love? Happy watching!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Maternity Photos - Do or Don't?

Now that I'm pregnant, one of the questions people ask me often is if I'm going to get maternity photos. I have mixed feelings.

One of my favorite things growing up was to go through my baby book with my mom once every few years. She'd bring it down from the highest shelf in the closet and I'd fidget impatiently until we would sit on the bed together to flip slowly through the pages. She would share stories and memories about her pregnancy and my birth. It was magical to hear her tell me about what my own life was like before I could remember it.

What made it particularly special was that there still was an aura of mystery surrounding my earliest days. There were just enough mementos and pictures to piece together the events and tell the story, but not every detail was laid out in front of me. I had to rely on my mom to tell me. I loved that sense of mystery. I still do.

Maternity photographs have become increasingly popular and, I admit, I find them adorable. I worry, however, that we 'over-document' our lives. Would I feel the same sense of mystery if my mom had a million pictures of her pregnancy? I'm not so sure.

What do you think? Would you get maternity photographs or have you already gotten them? Did you have any rituals with your mom or dad about the story of your earliest days? Here are a few maternity pictures that I have found to be beautiful and inspiring.

1; 23; 4 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


via This Isn't Happiness

Change is coming. I have a baby due February 1st and my hope is to be a stay-at-home mom while this sweet baby boy is an infant. I am stepping away from a private therapy practice with the hope of focusing on writing, blogging, and other creative pursuits I can do from home to support my family. Or just have an outlet. I've always had a nagging yearning to do something creative once this season in my life begins.

Writing is not too different from therapy, really. Words hold power whether they are spoken or written. Images have the undefinable ability to leave impressions on us for days or even years. I've always used symbols and pictures in therapy to help women connect with deeper parts of themselves. Therapy is an art that balances times of lightness and times of heaviness. Likewise, my favorite blogs and authors mix humor and light-hearted topics with deeper issues and authenticity. I hope to do the same. 

I will be featuring posts on real life issues that we all face (and sometimes are afraid to talk about), healthy and whole living, book reviews, giveaways, inspiring links from around the web, art & images, design & products, interviews with women living out their dreams, and travel guides. I welcome ideas, suggestions, & guest post submissions at

I always invite my clients to pull up a chair and sit a while with me. I'm inviting you to do the same.