To M, with love.

The Top 10 Reasons I love M:

1. In my mind, food is complicated. Food is often anxiety, boredom or sadness. But M has taught me that food is sometimes just food. The first time we went to the grocery store together I circled the ice cream aisle three times, all the while filling my cart with food I didn't actually enjoy eating. M saw what I was doing and minutes later, I left with the ice cream. Now I eat vegetables and tofu, tortilla chips and chocolate. And when Grandma Katsy serves sloppy joes and tells you to eat, you eat. Because sometimes food is love too.

2. M shows me how to be a better person, every day. One time M and I witnessed a drunk homeless man at the library fighting with the security guard. M held his door for him on the way out and called him sir. When we went out to eat last week, M offered our seats to an older couple who'd just walked in the door. When we volunteer with people with disabilities at the Humane Society, M is beyond patient, showing them how to hold a leash or pet one of the dogs. To some, it might seem like he's just well-mannered. And he is. But to me, his actions are daily reminders of the person I want to be.

3. M sings to me in the car and hums around the house. It's adorable.

4. He also talks in his sleep. We've been known to have full conversations with me fully awake and him fully asleep! It's a great time to ask for things or to just cheese at him full on. Most of the time he asks me nonsensical questions about beer, Tom and Jerry or a story I had told him earlier. He usually doesn't remember it in the morning, but I never get tired of his late night antics.

5. He's an old man. Dating an older guy is always interesting. There are the movie references I just plain don't get (M, exasperated: "You mean you haven't seen Stripes? What about Christmas Vacation?"). Then there's the argument about what decade of music can be considered "Oldies" (for me it's the 70's and 80's for him it's the 50's). The gray hairs in his beard. The way he stretches when he wakes up in the morning. And the fact that every day M likes to remind me that he'll only get hotter with age.

6. M is forever surprising me. The other day he said I should buy fake bacon for a recipe. Sometimes he'll bring home chocolate (just when I'm about to run out). Another time he asked for a vegan recipe (this from a man who used to eat meat three times a day!). And last week he reminded me that we "really need to go to church. It's been a minute."

7. M comes with a never ending stream of "M-isms". The gas station on the corner? M calls it a "stop-and-rob." When he's flustered during Sunday worship: "I'm sweatin' like a whore in church." His colloquialisms always keep me laughing, even during church.

8. We all know that I'm as uptight as a "long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs" (See #7)... but M is exactly the opposite:

When making social plans: "Just tell me where to be and when to be there."

When discussing future (okay wedding related) details: "It's your show darlin'"

When deciding anything: "You're the boss, Boss"

It's not that I'm ever really in control. M gets as much of a say if not more than I do. But it's the illusion of control that M gives me. And really, that's all I need.

9. M is the common sense I lack. When it's a 100 degrees outside and I'm set on cooking homemade soup for dinner in our un air-conditioned apartment, M convinces me to go out for dinner. When I want to have 10 jobs and lead 3 church groups and work out every day for at least an hour, M reminds me to slow down and figure out what I really want. When I'm anxious about x,y,z M tells me that it will all work out, and it always does.

10. And best of all, M makes me laugh. All day long. Every. Single. Day.



good mojo, please.

I had another doozy of a day today. Work felt so overwhelming that by lunch time I was ready to cry. But then slowly, things turned around. I got a surprise visit from my sister who brought me a diet coke and a ginger cookie. We laughed so loudly I finally had to kick her out so that I could hold it together enough to finish out my work day. After work I went to the gym. I wasn't feeling my normal 5:30pm spinning class so I walked on the treadmill with the latest issue of InStyle magazine. All the while I got to thinking: "I feel fine. I feel good actually. Let's keep this up!"

Here's how I plan on keeping the good mojo flowin':

1. Focus on the micro, not the macro. This may seem counter intuitive when having a meltdown over an Excel spreadsheet of event attendees or when ridiculously overwhelmed by a three page to-do list. But I tend to be a worrier (M would feign surprise right now) and whenever I'm feeling anxious about one thing my thought process usually goes like this: "Oh my gosh, I can NOT get this printer to work. I'll probably end up having to work in an office for the rest of my life. I want to go freelance but then I won't have money for my kid's college. Man, I really should start investing in a Roth IRA.... ugh, I think I'm getting sick. That bump on my shin is probably NOT from running into the coffee table last night. With my luck, it's probably cancerous. I wonder if I should make a doctor's appointment..." Well, you get the idea! By focusing on the micro, my ONE task, I can be more productive than were I to continue down that rabbit hole of anxiety. By focusing on the micro, the way I feel RIGHT now, instead of worrying about my 10 year career goals I can ensure that I keep feeling well enough to eventually accomplish those goals.

2. Think like you're in college. I must preface this by saying that I was definitely not the life of the party in college. In fact, I didn't drink at all. But when I was in college, I remember feeling like the world really was my oyster. I invested time in researching Latina/o studies and planning events to raise awareness about Violence Against Women. I was bold and motivated and passionate. And it didn't seem like anyone or anything wanted to stop me. So often when we get to the "real world" we forget what it's like to explore our options and believe that anything is possible.

3. On that note, Live like you're in college. In college I took social risks, attended lectures on a myriad of topics, danced salsa at the Canopy Club and took kickboxing classes at the gym, all because I could. While working full time post college, it's easy to overlook hobbies and forgo leisure for all of the "shoulds." That's a dangerous route though, because how else will we determine our life's direction if we don't nurture our life's passions?

4. Embrace your inner single lady. Now that I have a live-in bf I don't have a ton of alone time. Since M is in class on Monday nights and working late Wednesdays, I dedicate one or both of those nights to living it up, single girl style. I eat popcorn or cereal for dinner, watch trashy tv shows, paint my nails over and over again until I decide on a color and sit around with my hair a mess and my face makeup free. It's not that I couldn't do those things around M; in fact, I have. It's just that there's something so luxurious about really letting my hair down on my nights alone.

5. Talk it out, work it out. The first things that usually go when I'm stressed are social time and working out. Well no wonder I'm so stressed out! I went out with one of my best friends last night and came home feeling a million times better. I cooked dinner and nuggsed with M while reading a good book. All was well. The same goes for working out. Afterwards I have this feeling of accomplishment that is totally different from the feeling I get after crossing items off a to-do list at work. I plan on penciling in workouts and social time at the beginning of the week so that they don't get lost under a pile of to-do's.

6. Treat yourself like a free agent. I have a confession. I don't DO regular employment. I have an awfully hard time having a boss (even one as amazing as my boss now) and I struggle daily at sitting at a desk all day when there's so much happening on the outside. And while I appreciate the perks of steady employment: hello consistent paychecks, benefits galore and scheduled raises, a part of me knows deep down it's all temporary. In order to keep my chin up while "working for the man" I treat myself like a free agent. I imagine my work to be contract and the money I receive as fair compensation for the employment of my small business (myself!). By looking at it that way, I'm no longer paid for hours spent at a desk, but compensated for a specific job, or event. I also tell myself daily that this job is enabling me to pay off my car loan and save money for the day when I'm finally ready to open Laura Jean Kathleen Enterprises (in M's words!).

Here's hoping that these little strategies will help me feel better while at work. It can't hurt to try!



red flag, moving on.

I've been feeling a bit OFF lately. It's not a guilty feeling, or an afraid feeling, or an unhappy feeling (although I suppose I would feel those things were this imbalanced feeling to continue). It's just a little voice I've been hearing that says, "Something isn't right here."

And then there's the chocolate. The bag AND A HALF of Dove chocolate that I've gone through in just one week. One week!

I called my little sister today. As in, my personal guru, my life coach, my supplier of good energies. She said, "I'm definitely sensing that something is off. You've definitely been more stressed out since starting your new job." That's an understatement! Still, it calmed me that she could see it too. M keeps telling me, "Give the new job time." It's been a month since I started but something is just plain OFF.

And then, I went to the doctor today. The nurse weighed me and while normally I turn my back to the scale this time I looked. I'm up three pounds. In one month. And three pounds is a lot on my normally small frame. My first inclination was to blame the aforementioned chocolate. I wanted to chalk it up to PMS or poor eating habits or not making it to the gym as normally as I like to. But having recovered (mostly) from a ten year eating disorder I know any fluctuation from my "happy weight" to be a red flag. So I consulted the Bible. Well, the Bible for recovered disordered eaters, Intuitive Eating. Here's what Evelyn and Elyse had to say (and yes we're on a first name basis. I consider them within my circle of soul friends):

You may go a long time without using food to cope, when all of a sudden emotional eating catches you by surprise. If this occurs, it's not a sign of failure or that you've lost ground; instead it's a strange gift. Overeating [or under-eating!] is simply a sign that stresses in your life at that moment surpass the coping mechanisms that you have developed . . . Overeating can also recur when your lifestyle becomes unbalanced with too many responsibilities and obligations, with too little time for pleasure and relaxation. Consequently, food is used to indulge, escape and relax (albeit briefly). In both of these situations we've described, overeating becomes a red flag that lets you know that something isn't right in your life. Once you truly appreciate this, eating will not feel out of control -- rather it's an early warning system (162).

See! They know their stuff. The truth is, my new job is stressful. As in, sometimes I go to the lesser used stairwell in the museum just to soak up the quiet in a place that is never without commotion. As in, at the end of the day I'm nearly catatonic from being "on" for 10 hours straight. As in, that one time last week when I was running around in a LBD and high heels managing a team of 30 and setting up an event for 500. Yes, that was me, the girl with a walkie talkie stealing a bacon wrapped date off of the server's tray before the VIP's arrived. Don't get me wrong, I love the events, the excitement, the drama. But there's a little TOO much of it. All of it. Last week I worked 45 hours, when I'm only salaried for 30. And while I try to make up for my time by taking long weekends I feel like I can never quite catch up. And then there are the days that I answer emails. All. Morning. Long. I never knew event planning required so much correspondence, even from people who are just two offices over from mine.

All of this is not to say that I regret taking the job. Or that I don't feel grateful every single day for this opportunity. But something's got to give. The chocolate. The three pounds. I don't want them.

I used to think weight was just fat, excess calories, sugar, whatever. Now I think of weight as a metaphysical weight. Those 3 pounds don't just come from chocolate, rather they are the physical representation of worries that aren't addressed, stress that I can't leave at work, feelings of unworthiness and fears that I'm not doing what God put me on this earth to do. (I miss speaking Spanish and reading and cooking and just BEING, for Pete's sake!)

After reading Geneen Roth's book Women, Food and God I practically forced it into my mother's hands. She read the first half and proclaimed, "I don't get it. It's a bunch of women crying into pieces of chocolate cake. Why do they have to be so dramatic about food?"

The thing is, for those of us recovering from disordered eating, food is the manifestation of our feelings about ourselves and the world around us. It's the way I used to measure my daily success or failure rate and it's still the way I can tell when something's off. And what a blessing that is.

I'm still not sure what to do about work, although I do have some ideas. I'd like to maybe go in to work later, "paying" myself first by taking time for my own pursuits in the early morning hours. A part of me isn't ready to sacrifice my personal commitments to work ones, and I don't think I should have to. But something does have to give. Thanks to my early warning signals, the physical and metaphysical weight gain, I'm now prepared to figure it all out, before I reach for the chocolate.



(Late night) Talks w/ M.

I feel like this scene from last night says a lot about my relationship with M.

11:45pm, M crawls into bed. I wake up. We start talking about his night with one of his guy friends.

M: "Yeah, I hope you don't mind, but we used your bathroom so that we wouldn't wake you up."

I live across the hall from M. He can literally touch both of our doors at the same time by stretching out his arms. It's dumb and a waste of my $375 per month and he actually moved in AFTER we started dating, even though it was in the works BEFORE we started dating. Weird, yes. Moving on.

me: "Oh, okay, that's fine, whatever..."

me: "Was my bathroom even clean? Was the toilet flushed?"

M: "Uh yeah. It was fine. Don't worry about it."

.... 10 minutes later .....

me: (jumping up startled) "Is my toilet running?"

My toilet chain is perpetually broken, no matter how many times I reattach it. I live in an old building where nothing ever gets fully fixed. So sometimes I worry that it will run all night long, wasting tons of water and destroying the earth. That's not to say I'm actually one of those people who recycles, or someone who would turn my nose up at aerosol hairspray. But water, that gets me.

M: "Really? Do you want me to go check? Okay, okay, I'm getting up. I'll go check."

me: (sheepishly) "Thank you!"

M gets up, goes across the hall in his boxers and then walks back to his apartment. As he enters the bedroom I yell:


M: (sigh) "I don't know! Okay, let me check."

M goes back over to my apartment to see that yes, my oven is in fact off. Which is rational seeing as I haven't used it since June. As in, before it got too hot to turn it on in my air conditioning-less apartment. But it's not like anyone can accuse me of being overly rational.

M: "It's off. And your straightener is put away. And everything is fine."

me: "Oh gosh, thank you so much! You know how crazy I am about these things."

I know he gets it because he has his own little quirks, like touching his car door handle to see if it's REALLY locked, even though he's just pressed the locked button and heard it beep.

M comes back to bed and starts nuggsing me.

M: "You know why I love being with you? I know that I'll never die of a fire from a stove left on or drown in my apartment because the toilet's been running all night."

.... 10 minutes go by ....

me: "Oh my gosh, can you really die from a toilet running all night???" (cue internal freak out)

M: "No Laura...this second story apartment is hardly the Titanic."

me: "Oh. Okay, right."

M: "Goodnight Laura"

me: "Goodnight."



white inspiration.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about getting the most bang for your buck while planning a wedding. I used to want a wedding built out of tons of tiny details, hand crafted paper supplies, and DIY everything. Now that I'm a full fledged event planner by trade (hooray for my new job!) I'm beginning to learn how much events actually cost. For example, when ordering food for a ONE HOUR VIP reception for say, 125 people, passed hors d'oeuvres and an open bar of one white wine and one red wine will run you about $1500. Holy Moses. With a guest list the size my parents prepared for my older sisters wedding.. well, the cost goes up substantially. For one. hour. of entertainment. So instead of thinking of millions of minuscule details now I'm looking for low-cost big-impact design ideas. Such as long tables with clean white linens and grey table runners (no centerpieces needed -- just bottles for water and lemonade and a few votives will do). Or a bouquet of baby's breath or white carnations, all bunched together with lambs ear leaves as a way to give former filler flowers more weight. After all, I'd hate for the little things to get in the way of what's most important: spending the day with the people we love. xoxo.


talks w/ M.

Yesterday M and I were driving in the car, talking about our relationship as we often do while driving. (For some reason it's always easier to talk freely when we're not facing each other. And there's something about driving that makes us calm and well, talkative). We were talking about how much the direction of our lives have changed:

M: "I feel like someday I'm just going to wake up and be a husband and father."

me: "Uh huh."

M: "And just the other day, I was sitting there thinking about the last time I ate meat. I haven't had meat yet this week..."

me: "That's great baby... "

M: "It's like someday I'm going to wake up and be a vegetarian."

me: "Uh huh..."

M: "...and honestly, that scares me the most of all."

me (bewildered): "More than the whole husband and father thing?"

M (really seriously): "Definitely."


lived in spaces.

I adore the grey-brown walls in this home's living room, shot by Andrea Hubbell as part of her Living Space tour. This home is warm and welcoming, organized and yet a little lived in too. I also appreciate the low bookshelves in the library area -- it keeps the quantity from being overwhelming, while still showcasing the owner's book collection.


celebration rings.

I love the idea of an evolving engagement or wedding ring. These celebration rings allow you to change your style as you age and can be purchased for any number of milestones throughout life. I also love the mix of gold and silver, antique and modern in both stacks... it's definitely a look I'd like to create for myself.


peace and love. (or listening to your soul).

I recently read an article in September's O magazine by Martha Beck, life coach extraordinaire. The article, "How to Tune In to the Voice Within" talks about the two voices that most commonly represent our inner dialogue:
This very day, two individuals are vying to be your personal adviser. The first, whose name is Fang, dresses in immaculate business attire, carries a briefcase full of neatly organized folders, and answers all e-mails instantly, via BlackBerry. In a loud, clear, authoritative voice, Fang delivers strong opinions about how you should manage your time. Fang's résumé is impressive: fantastic education, experience to burn.

The other candidate, Buddy, wears shorts, a tank top, and a rose tattoo. If you question the professionalism of this attire, Buddy just smiles. When you ask advice on a pressing matter, Buddy hugs you. There are almost no words on Buddy's résumé (the few that do appear are jokes and song lyrics), and in the margins, Buddy has doodled pictures of chipmunks.

Who will you hire to advise you?
Beck goes on to explain that FANG represents one's social conscious and echoes the voices of those around us. I call my own FANG my "should". As in, "I should work out every day," "I should get up early and be productive, even on my day off" or "I should go out to lunch with this person even though he/she is an energy drain." FANG could also be my eating disorder mindset. (A quick background: I had long suffered from the starvation/binge eating cycle, my weight fluctuating from 104-130 until in 2009 I wizened up, sought therapy with an eating disorder specialist and have embraced intuitive eating. Since then my weight has settled in at a very happy 120. Moving on.) My FANG often says stuff like, "If you don't hate your body or are constantly working to change it you are slowly turning into a 1,000 pound marshmallow." FANG has also been known to talk me into new and ridiculously challenging work out programs, especially when I'm changing jobs or relationships. FANG tends to tell me I should eat a 100% vegan/vegetarian/Paleo/South Beach/Weight Watchers diet or I'm definitely not healthy/beautiful/thin/attractive. You get the idea. FANG, while the seemingly perfect voice of reason, the compliment of my already Type A personality can get ugly.

And then there's my Buddy. My Buddy is my 4-yr-old self, the wild, curly haired and little pink glasses wearing me. The girl who loves animals and art and could sit for hours coloring without fear of being unproductive. My 4-yr-old self also offers advice as to what I should eat. She tells me to be curious about my food. To examine each bite for it's texture and flavor and to decide whether or not I really love something before eating more of it. Four year old Laura is excited about seasons and the different foods they bring. She is more excited about how her body feels than how it looks, about what her body can do than how others respond to it.

Beck's article talks about discerning between FANG and Buddy. She writes that Buddy doesn't speak in words, but that his/her true wisdom is sensory. Whereas FANG has A LOT to say about a myriad of subjects (Can't you hear her when you look in the mirror? Or when you compare yourself to other people?), Buddy communicates through feelings of peace and moments of calm.

Beck advises us to feel our decisions, rather than waiting for a loud, verbal answer. I've found that the right decision is always a feeling, one of pleasant submission, of either saying, "Okay, I give up. Let's try a new route" or "I don't need to try anymore, I've done everything I need to do."

The other day I found a letter that I'd written in January 2010, and it perfectly describes this feeling of letting go and saying yes to the Buddy way of things. For months I was hemming and hawing over the difficult decision to end a relationship. All signs were pointing to a breakup: sleepless nights, ulcer like stomach aches and an awful feeling of "this is not right". The letter reads:


I hereby surrender myself to you. I'm tired of fighting your will - only to feel completely anxious with no peace. I know that there were a LOT of stubborn characters in the Bible, and look what happened to them. I don't want to turn into a pillar of salt. And I don't want to be swallowed up by a whale (as big as this anxious feeling). If this anxious feeling isn't a burning bush, I'm not sure how else you'll ever get through to me. So here goes: I GIVE UP. I SURRENDER. I'm renewing my commitment to YOU and to MYSELF. You are my God. Yoke me to you and to all the good, loving, encouraging people in this world. I have no idea where you'll lead me, but I do know this: I'm willing to go.

Always faithful,

The thing about giving in, about accepting the wisdom of your soul, is that once you do, everything falls into place. FANG settles down until the next big scuffle, and you're finally able to catch a glimpse of your 4-yr-old self, or rather, your best future self. xoxo.


No. 2 desk

I'm in love with the color blocking technique used on this desk makeover. While the "before" is serene and simple, the "after" boasts classic lines and reminds me of sharpened No. 2 pencils. The hint of wood left on the desk's legs is both surprising and eye-catching.


truth be told.

Today as I was cleaning out my giant box of keepsakes, throwing out old letters and pictures that I no longer needed to hold onto, I came upon this letter that I'd written well over a year ago. It's funny how true it is... how the things I never believed possible then, after going through a rough breakup have come true today.

Sunday, April 4, 2010
Dear Laura,

Someday when you're holding your husband's hand, or strolling alone through a farmer's market in a new city or in a job where you feel passionate about the work you do every single day, someday all of this will make sense to you. All of the pain of breaking up (over and over again) will seem like the rain that helped the new flowers of your life grow. Just as you've found career direction after wandering in the proverbial desert, you'll figure out all of this relationship stuff in time and appreciate it all the more. Then you won't seek any approval other than God's, you'll trust your gut completely and you'll surround yourself with people who'll make you feel the most YOU you've ever felt. So be done with doubting, with the people who make you feel unsteady and uncertain. Learn the Grey on your own terms instead of being pulled into it by someone else. And above all else, BE GENTLE with yourself. Allow yourself to grieve and cry and feel. Refuse to be numb to pain, to your life. Know that I love you and will never, ever leave you. You are mine and I have called you by name.

I feel so grateful to have made it through that difficult time in my life and appreciate the relationship I have today one million times more than had I not gone through that time. I'm still slowly plodding through all of the grey in life but I'm having a grand old time doing just that. xo.


changes (for the best).

Things are changing. And I so totally do not do change. Lord help everyone around me when I'm going through a transition! I'm starting a new job on Monday. A consistent, fancy, comes with benefits job at the Children's Discovery Museum. I'll be planning all of their community and fundraising events and trying to maintain my sanity all the while. I'm terribly excited. I worked my last day as an interpreter yesterday and nothing felt better then walking out of the health department for the last time. I've been hoping for a career change for some time and things are finally falling into place! I'm so happy to have four days off before I start -- to have time to digest the change before jumping in, the Devil Wears Prada style. Here are some things I'm looking forward to in the next few months:

Power Suit (metallic)

The planner I ordered last week. I'm praying it'll arrive before I start. I love crisp white pages, just waiting to be filled in. Office supplies remind me of the feeling I used to get when going back to school: full of hope and potential.

The vacation M and I have planned for our anniversary. M makes me laugh every. single. day. and nugs me all night long. I love our life together and am excited to get away for a while.

The fact that my new job will allow me to save more money and yet still have extra funds for my growing shoe collection.

That the dog days of summer are upon us ... meaning fall is just around the corner. I can't wait for skinny jeans tucked into boots, chai lattes and cool nights.

Here's to new jobs, to change (even when it's scary) and to all of the things that make life worth living. xoxo.


for tommy.

This is Tommy. Tommy is M's youngest brother. He has down syndrome and is non-verbal. He is also one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He is always smiling, especially with his eyes and he always takes my side over M's. The first day I met Tommy, M was teasing me about something or another and Tommy wagged his finger at M and said, "NO!" Tommy takes care of his pets, Spot (a super energetic English Springer Spaniel) and Norah (a striped grey cat). He lent me a sweatshirt last night when I was cold. Tommy bought me some homemade chex mix from the cafe that he goes to with his parents, then gave me a wide-eyed surprised expression when I showed him how fast I'd downed the bag. Tommy is the best person to go grocery shopping with (besides M that is). He pushes the cart, picks out good cantaloupes and lets out an exasperated sigh when he finally finds the peanut butter aisle. Tommy loves pictures; his bedroom walls are covered with pictures of his favorite people. Tommy loves NCIS and has the same Kermit stuffed animal I did when I was little. Tommy loves pizza and chicken nuggets. He thinks his big brothers are the coolest people on earth, but he's just as welcoming to new friends like me. Tommy is visiting us this week and I couldn't be happier about it. xoxo.


(more) short dress love.

Spun Sugar Shift
Carnaby Crochet Mini

Okay so I STILL have wedding on the brain (oh wait, when I do not?) . . . but when I stumbled upon these dresses from BHLDN, Anthropologie's amazing wedding line, I knew I had to do a post about them. I would eagerly walk down the aisle in either one of these dresses (and M's face when I showed him these pictures said all I needed to hear about them). Pair either one of these dresses with a pair of these fabulous shoes and you're good to go:


Or bold and colorful:

Done and done. xo.


from M, with love.

by genevieve bjargardottir

On Friday night M and I had friends over for dinner (chicken and shrimp on the grill, sweet corn, roasted red potatoes & onions and a spinach salad) and for whatever reason the men got to talking about what it takes to woo a girl. Katie asked me if M had ever brought me flowers (no) or had taken care of me when hungover (definitely no). The thing is, I may never get flowers from M or over-the-top date nights or rides in a fancy car. But M will always rub my feet after a day in 3-inch heels. M will always tell me I'm beautiful, even when I look a hott mess. M will always brag about my cooking to his coworkers. M will always help me calm down after a rough day at work and give me perspective when I can't seem to find it. M may not think to buy me random presents, but M will always call me to ask me what I need from the store before coming home and he'll always murmur "i love you's" when he's half asleep. And really, I'll take that over flowers any day. xo.


swimsuits w/class.

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I love these modest swimsuit options from Shabby Apple. They offer more coverage than the average triangle bikini, but are still super sexy.


a country wedding.

Yesterday I ate dinner at a friend's house out in the country and then watched fireworks with friends downtown. Everything from the cornfields I passed on my way into town to the lemon shake-up I drank while watching fireworks made me dream about a good ol' fashioned country wedding. Clearly I have wedding on the brain. But that's beside the point.

I love how messy this bouquet is. It makes it look like it was just plucked out of the garden and tied up with twine.

The most perfect centerpiece. I love the varied textures and shapes, colors and patterns.

A sweet (and edible) centerpiece idea.

This cheerful display of colored glasses is a great example of diy style. This same (homemade) white stand would work for dessert, candies, or favors.

And last but not least, I love the idea of having pie instead of cake. I'm not a big cake person to begin with but I can bake a mean peach pie. There's also something really sweet about asking your grandma, aunt or mother-in-law to bring her signature pie. xo.


open me up.

I love the light and airy look of this Swedish apartment. Even though it's an open floor plan, there are designated areas for each "room" and the design elements flow easily from space to space. xo.


a vintage update.

Mid Century Modern Wood & Green Upholstery Arm Chair | Furnish Me...

I currently have a chair just like this one sitting in my apartment. I bought it at a very over-priced mid-century furniture store in downtown Champaign, IL. I still love it just as much as the day I bought it . . . but I'm getting ready to do a little diy makeover, so that I can continue to love it even in my next place, you know, that apartment that will include my vintage chic accessories and items from m's ikea filled bachelor pad.

I stumbled upon this chair re-do over on Little Green Notebook and am smitten:

From classic lines and faded white fabric to fresh and modern:

I'm definitely feeling inspired. And with Jenny's helpful step-by-step instructions I'm now fully educated on how to do it to my own.

Here are some of the combinations I'm considering:

Quadrille's Island Ikat in Navy w/ Sherwin William's High Reflectance White

Schumacher/Decorator's walk's chevron w/Sherwin William's Cheerful

Victoria Hagan's early spring in Chocolate Brown and White w/ Sherwin William's Offbeat Green

or . . . Windsor Smith's Pelagos in Lime w/ Sherwin William's Naval or Needlepoint Navy

I can't wait to get started. Happy fourth. xo.


quilts and home.

I stumbled upon these quilts through the blog Make It Do, a collection of craft ideas, easy home fixes and of course, quilting ideas. On Monday I interviewed for a position I really wanted. Monday night I went to happy hour with m, his brother and his friend and then cooked them dinner at home (taco pizza on pitas, easy peasy). Even though they'd all reassured me about my interview and told me I'd be great for the job, what made me most happy was to hear the guys compliment me on dinner and thank me for my hospitality. These quilts remind me of the delicate art of homemaking. I grew up in a home where convenience foods were the norm and my mom worked just as much if not more than my dad. I used to dream of a wearing fancy suits to a high powered job . . . but lately I've been dreaming of taking my kids on summery walks at dusk, cooking for twenty at weekend dinner parties and maintaining a home that is welcoming to all. It doesn't mean that I can't have both, the job and the homemaker lifestyle. . . it just means that I'm starting to understand the meaning of home and wanting to give that warmth to others. xo.