Friday, January 31, 2014

Innocent Window Shopping

You know how when you're shopping online for something specific--a gift for a friend, a dress for a wedding--often it seems like everything you come across is sort of blah, or not your style, or just not in your budget? It can be so frustrating. And then, as luck would have it, when you're just innocently window shopping with nothing in mind, those are the times when you find the most amazing, well-designed, drool-worthy things. Beautiful pieces lurking in every corner, teasing you! You don't need them so you settle for gazing wistfully (and maybe bookmark the page for another day).

Anyway, I've been finding beauties all over the place lately but have resisted the temptation to buy anything I don't need. I decided to share a few recently-found favorites with you because who knows, maybe you are in the market for some salad tongs? (These would make a great wedding gift too.)

These rose gold salad tongs are so sophisticated, don't you think?

I'm really attracted to the earthy texture of this soapstone vase (the same company 
makes lovely bowls too).

This pretty mint tumbler has a perfect vintage vibe.

I love knowing what's in season and hanging this seasonal fruits and vegetables poster 
in the kitchen sure is a gorgeous way to stay informed.

This cashmere sweater has really flattering lines to it, and it looks like it would be loose and comfy too.

What about you? Am I the only one who finds the prettiest things when I least need them?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What Twentysomethings Should Have

You know the trendy list-centric journalistic formula that is everywhere? "37 Things About Kate Middleton You Didn't Know," or something along those lines. I think it's a little bit of a silly trend and I think most posts like this are actually meant to be silly and light-hearted and fun. Sometimes, though, I'll come across one of these list-type-articles and find that it has actually made me think.

This article, "20 Things Every Twentysomething Should Have," which was published in Relevant Magazine, is much more sincere than a lot of other pieces that follow this formula and I think it's really worth reading. Some of my favorite ideas:

A Constantly Growing Library
Yes! We have piles of books around the house and I have big plans for a library with built-ins someday.

A Pastor/Priest Who Knows You By Name
We're still working on this one. I think it is really important and I look forward to the day when we find a church that's right for us.

A Passport
My husband and I renewed our passports (mine with my married name) right after our wedding, mainly because we were tentatively planning to honeymoon in Rome. We chose Napa Valley instead but now our passports are ready to go for some other foreign adventure that has yet to be thought up! (And we actually needed them on our cruise to the Bahamas over Christmas.)

A 5-Year Plan
I've never been too big on making detailed 5-year, or 10-year plans, but I do have a pretty good sense of what I hope and pray my life will look like when I'm 30. I'm mainly just trying to take things one day at a time, to make good and healthy decisions, and to love and pray with all I've got. I think that living well in the present leads to a joyful future.

Subscriptions To A Few Quality Magazines
This is a good one. I know everything is online these days but it's thrilling and such a fun surprise to get a new issue in your mailbox every month. I subscribe to Verily and Cook's Illustrated.

A Hard Copy of A Bible
I have one that I grew up with but this Christmas, I gave my husband a really beautiful hard-cover Bible that is now officially our "Harvey Family Bible." I plan to write our children's names and birth dates in it and everything.

What do you think? Anything to add? I think I might have to add, "A very handsome husband who happily eats waffles with you on the piano bench because your table is occupied by a jigsaw puzzle."

Happy Thursday, friends.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


A few weeks ago, I placed a big order of books on Amazon. I'm definitely a library gal and love getting my books that way, but I'm boycotting one of my local libraries (that's a story for another time--let's just say that several of the women who work there fit the stereotype of the cranky, old librarian and aren't too pleasant to be around) and I didn't think the other library was likely to have the books I was after.

So I hopped on Amazon and a fresh stack of books arrived on my stoop a few days later. Almost immediately I sat down with Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, devoured the first 100 pages in about 30 minutes, and ended up finishing the book the next day. I think my soul must have been thirsting for the wisdom and the stories and the amazing beauty that is packed into this book. I remember I wasn't really having a great day when the box arrived and I think this book was just what I needed, at that precise moment, to get me out of a funk.

The idea behind Bittersweet is powerful and encouraging. Niequist writes so convincingly about the trying, sorrowful, heartbreaking seasons of life and the ways they can shape us if we let them. That we can't grow and change and become more than we are if life is only easy, pure sweetness, filled with unmitigated happiness and joy. That we need those trials and difficulties and that if we lean into them, instead of fighting them, we will change in remarkable ways and lead better, more godly lives as a result. Life is bittersweet and that's a blessing.

Here is a little snippet from the book. This is how the book ends, with a plea for all of us to share our own lives, the bitter and the sweet and the bittersweet:

This is what I want you to do: tell your story. Don't allow the story of God, the sacred, transforming story of what God does in a human heart to become flat and lifeless. If we choose silence, if we allow the gospel to be told only on Sundays, only in sanctuaries, only by approved and educated professionals, that life-changing story will lose its ability to change lives.

It always goes back to the beginning, no matter how far we've wandered off course. When Christ walked among us, he entrusted the gospel to plain old regular people who were absolutely not religious professionals. If you have been transformed by the grace of God, then you have within you all you need to write your manifesto, your poem, your song, your battle cry, your love letter to a beautiful and broken world.

Among other things, I think these two paragraphs are such a powerful testament to what we do as bloggers. When we sit at our computers and write about the hills and valleys in our lives and what brings us hope on darker days and how we choose to celebrate our greatest joys. We all have different writing styles and levels of comfort with how much we divulge and we certainly all have unique struggles and triumphs. What matters is that we aren't "choosing silence" and that instead, we have this belief to some degree that what each of us have to say is worthy and meaningful.

The way God works in each of us is wonderful. We shouldn't hide the light that gives us daily courage, and neither should we hide the pain that sometimes feels like it will be too much. Both are beautiful, both have God at the center, and both deserve a voice.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Headaches, Glasses, And Honesty

You might think I'm a little bit wimpy when I tell you this, but I've been getting some pretty unpleasant computer headaches due to eye strain. I've been noticing them more and more and a few weeks ago I felt like my head was pounding for about 4 days straight. I spend a lot of time writing and reading on my computer and my eyes were simply not happy about it! In fact, my brother told me that typing black words on a white screen is just about the worst thing for your eyes because of the stark color contrast. Plus, you're concentrating and often staring at a single area, maybe even squinting. If that isn't a recipe for a headache, right?

Once I connected the headaches to the computer I realized that all of the tall cups of water in the world (my usual headache remedy) wouldn't cut it. And I didn't want to just swallow a few Tylenols if I could potentially fix this problem at the source. So I Googled "computer glasses for eye strain" and after doing some research, I ordered an inexpensive pair on Amazon. I guess the more high-tech computer glasses have yellow lenses but I was too vain to spring for those. I want to be able to blog at Panera without being self-conscious or looking like a gaming nerd! Plus, the clear lens pair I bought got great reviews and several people specifically said that their headaches vanished when they started wearing them at the computer.

I've been using them for almost a full week now and I'm glad to report that I haven't had one headache since. I really couldn't explain how it works (the Amazon link has more information), and my skeptic of a husband not so subtly opined that there might be a hint of a placebo effect involved. Even if there is, I really am happy that my eyes and head are feeling like their old selves again! And of course that makes him happy, so placebo or not, these glasses are here to stay.

I have to say that in addition to being pleased with my recent lack of headaches, I'm having fun with these glasses. I was blessed with my Mom's eyes and fantastic vision and I've escaped the eye-doctor visits and contact lenses and prescription glasses my brothers got stuck with. But I've always liked the idea of wearing glasses and I think they're cute (I know--only someone with good vision would say that--I'm sorry!) and I feel sort of "writerly" when I put these on. It's kind of embarrassing to admit that, but tell me I'm not alone? Any other 20/20s out there who tried on their friend's glasses and were envious for just a minute? (I'm really letting you in on my vanity today!)

Anyway, I can't recommend these glasses enough. Headaches are no fun, especially when they take me away from blogging and connecting with all of you. And I feel like I'm doing something good for my eyes when I slip them on. I hate the idea of straining them day in and day out--who knows the damage that could do long term.

(Plus, aren't they kind of cute?! Please humor me.)

This post is not sponsored in any way. Just wanted to share a new discovery and sing the praises of these headache-curing glasses!

Friday, January 24, 2014

DIY Embellished Cards

I have a simple and fun DIY project for you today! In fact, it's so easy that I hesitate to even call it a DIY. But sometimes "easy" is the best kind of project--hard to mess up, not a ton of concentration involved, while totally satisfying that creative bug. And the end result is pretty beautiful, if I do say so!

I love sending handmade cards to family and friends and what I normally do is buy plain note cards and then just dress them up a little bit. I like cards that are simple and clean, so my embellishments tend to add just a tiny hint of personality and life to an otherwise boring card. Just enough to make the card feel special and feel like me.

What I did was buy several different types of note cards at Michaels--indigo blue with matching envelopes, brown Kraft-style cards with tiny raised polka dots, and two sets of blocked letter "Thank You" cards (a set of 8 on sale for a dollar!). Then I bought some "doctoring up" supplies--dainty blush-colored pearl stickers, a gold leaf pen, a stamp and white ink pad, gorgeous finely ground "smoky quartz" glitter, and a glue pen.

I couldn't wait to get home and get to work. I did some experimenting and these are the cards I ended up with.

A happy coincidence is that while I was taking these photos yesterday, I learned that it was National Handwriting Day! So I decided to send one of my newly made cards to a friend who recently got married (subconsciously I think I was most excited to write her new name on the outside of the envelope!). Any excuse to write a good old-fashioned letter on a pretty homemade card, I say.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Far-Flung Friends

I don't know about you, but most of my closest girlfriends are far-flung. On the one hand, it's wonderful to have friends in almost every part of the country. Almost any time we travel--whether it be for a wedding, a family gathering, or a trip back to my hometown--there's an opportunity to plan visits with old friends. I love that!

But it's so hard too. One of my best college friends lives in San Francisco and we constantly complain to each other that once-a-year visits just aren't cutting it. We scheme and daydream about trips we could take together, and she's always plugging San Francisco and telling me I would absolutely love living there (my answer: maybe! for a few years!). We have long-term plans to take family vacations together with husbands and kids in tow and short-term plans to have a girls-only weekend in a fun, exotic place (if the budget ever allows). Basically, we're determined to stay close, to keep up to date on each other's lives, and to be friends to each other even though we live hundreds of miles apart.

So you find ways to keep in touch. This friend and I have a standing Friday phone date. Our schedules don't always align and sometimes we have to cut it short but we try to make it a priority. Another friend of mine is a brilliant text-chatter. No matter what prompted the original text, she always makes a point to also ask me how I'm doing and what I've been up to, or she'll tell me something about her own life. These mini catch-ups keep us in each other's day-to-day lives. I have several other friends who are great emailers. We'll exchange paragraphs-long emails about anything and everything and while we might do this only every few weeks, or every few months even, it's a lovely way to stay connected. It takes time and patience to carefully craft a long email and sometimes it's easier to open up and really share your heart in writing.

I believe that great friends aren't easily come by. This quote about friendship is so true--in friendship there's "no glue but mutual liking," and it is "therefore rare." I'm so grateful to have girlfriends who make an effort to protect our friendship and maintain our connection, despite not being able to see each other regularly in person. My goal is to have friends when I'm 80 that knew me when I was 20!

How do you keep up with friends who live far away? I'd love to know.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kitchen Habits

I thought this post on the Kitchn was so fascinating. Their editors shared some favorite, everyday cooking and kitchen habits, ones that keep their kitchens clean and organized and keep them motivated to cook. I loved reading these tips! Did you ever hear about that photographer who, in wanting to capture a truly intimate and telling piece of a person's life, took photos of the inside of their refrigerator? As it turns out, there's something incredibly personal about looking into someone else's fridge. Another seemingly little thing that can say a lot about who you are.

Anyway, as I read the Kitchn post I felt similarly intrigued and fascinated, like I was peeking into a lit kitchen window, spying on regular people as they went about the most basic of everyday tasks--feeding themselves and their families. After reading it I felt inspired to share some of my own tips, as a person who cooks almost every meal at home, and who (most of the time) enjoys it very much.

I clean up as I go. My mom taught me this and I'll always thank her for it. Cooking is much less stressful if you stay on top of the dishes and keep spaces cleared, especially in a small kitchen.

I save glass jars for storing leftovers, and I transfer things like nuts and chocolate chips to jars in order to keep the pantry more organized. It makes a huge difference.

I wash and re-use ziplock bags. Another thing I picked up from my mom. The gallon-sized freezer bags are really durable and they're expensive to keep buying regularly. It just makes sense to be thrifty and re-use them.

I keep a "we need" list on our kitchen chalkboard. It's easy to lose a piece of paper, so we keep lists on our chalkboard. I just snap a photo of the grocery list on my phone before heading to the store.

I really use my freezer. I buy all of our bread at a local German bakery. I only go about once every 2-3 weeks, but I'll stock up on a bunch of loaves and keep them double-bagged in the freezer. It's nice to always have fresh bread on hand. I also love to freeze things like homemade soup. I'll forget I put it in there, discover it on a day I had nothing planned for dinner, and rejoice!

We never go to bed with a messy kitchen. It's just not worth it to wake up to a big disaster. My husband and I tag-team the after-dinner clean-up (how's that for hyphenation?) and we have it down to a science at this point. It really doesn't take long and I'm much more inspired to cook the next day if the counters and sink are cleared and the dishwasher is full of clean dishes.

I keep my tea kettle and my cast iron skillet on the backburners of the stove. I use the tea kettle daily and the skillet very regularly, and I find it makes sense for me to leave these two particular things out and ready to use (plus the cast iron is very heavy and not easily stored). Also, they both look nice so I don't mind!

I'm really careful about which produce stays out and which should be kept in the fridge. Apples, fridge. Onions, out. Potatoes, out. Lemons, fridge. Tomatoes, out. It might seem simple but I've had roommates who kept everything in the fridge and you'd be surprised at how much an onion's taste is affected by storing it in the vegetable drawer. Being careful about this protects the flavor of the food and prevents food from being wasted in the long run.

Keeping pretty things in the kitchen keeps me inspired. A beautiful rattan tray, a colorful Dutch oven, or a pretty tea towel can go a long way in making your kitchen a place you want to be. At least that's what I have found!

So there you have it--some tips and tricks that I've developed over the course of the last few years of cooking and feeding myself and the people I love!

What about you? How do you keep your kitchen clean, organized, and functional, while keeping yourself sane and inspired and as good a cook as you can be?

Friday, January 17, 2014

I'm A Morning Person, What Are You?

A morning person too? Or a night owl?

Our windowsill capturing the glowy, morning light

I always think this is an interesting topic and maybe I'm wrong, but I think your answer to this question tends to say a lot about who you are.

I am most certainly a morning person. I set my alarm for 6:30 every day (even weekends) and sleeping in always makes me feel a little guilty, like I've shortened my day and wasted the best hours of it, to boot. (Although going back to bed with a cup of tea and a book is just about the greatest guilty pleasure I have.) I love the morning quiet and witnessing light come into the world, watching it change from grey to pink to yellow. The routines of morning are comforting to me. Making tea and grabbing my computer to write, often talking to my mom on the phone, eating a healthy breakfast. Even when my first few waking hours were more hectic--up at 6, out the door by 7 armed with music books, my lunch, a travel mug, and a metro card--I still liked my mornings best. There's such a freshness and energy about the hours before noon.

In college and grad school, I always made a point to do most of my practicing in the early part of the day and was amazed by friends of mine who would stay in the practice rooms until midnight or later. My mind--not to mention my fingers--just weren't up for late-night workouts. And in my opinion, "pulling an all-nighter" (which I've never done) is just about the worst thing anyone could possibly put themselves through. The mere idea of no sleep for 24 hours or more makes me ill. Not only am I a morning person, but I don't do well on little sleep.

It's a good thing I'm not embarrassed to admit that I'm an old soul because, once again, this particular trait of mine pegs me as just that. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that most 25-year-olds are not morning people. And I think most of them are much more fun in the hours after 9 pm than I am, too!

So here's my theory: I think that "night owls," by and large, tend to be energized by interacting with other people and being in an environment that is awake and active, whereas "morning people" seek the quietness of a world that is still a bit sleepy and use this time to recharge.

Is this obvious? Or way off base? Or just a completely boring topic??

I guess this post is stemming from my belief that there's something to be discovered in seemingly mundane human tendencies and preferences--winter or summer? white or red? Apple or PC? milk or dark?--and that we can learn a lot about ourselves by paying attention to even our smallest, simplest quirks and choices.

Psychologist Kate, signing off now.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Future Is A Phantom

Photo taken a few years ago--2010? 2011?--by the one and only Noah Zinsmeister. It seemed fitting for today's post!

"The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future! Stay close to Me."

Isn't this quote absolutely great? It came from today's Jesus Calling devotional, a new app of mine that I'm seriously loving. Rarely do I spend a dime--let alone a full $9.99--on apps, but this one was well worth it and more. The daily devotions always feel eerily suited to my life and my "worry of the moment," as I like to call them. (I've mentioned before that my brain has to have something to fret over at all times. I'm working on it.) 

I love this quote because it can apply to almost every anxiety that you and I might feel on any given day. No matter what the worry, whether it is big or small, realistic or completely irrational, worry is about the future. In fact, I just read a beautiful essay in the latest issue of Notre Dame Magazine in which the author writes, "...anxiety is merely the ability to project fear into the future." Exactly. Though I'd never thought of it quite in this way before.

The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you.

Isn't this the perfect way to phrase it? All of our anxieties and worries and fears live in a world that hasn't happened yet, a day that hasn't yet been lived. We concern ourselves over fates yet to be decided and difficulties not yet real. The future, for something that doesn't actually exist yet, sure is skilled at spooking us, consuming us.

Laugh at the future!

One of the best things about my husband is that he is lighthearted, in the truest sense of the word. His heart is almost always free and unburdened. Partly this is the way God made him and partly it comes from life experience and a perspective he's chosen to develop. I so admire this quality in him because it's a little bit foreign to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a very happy person. I smile constantly. I'm just not very lighthearted. I don't brush away fears very well or very easily, and I tend to be quite serious. Laugh at the future. That's something I'm going to try the next time I'm feeling spooked.

Stay close to Me.

Yes. Yes yes yes. I've often thought to myself that people without faith must have such a harder time in life. I truly feel sorry for those who can't or don't or won't believe. The strength I draw from prayer is enormous, a sense of stillness and comfort completely envelops me as I direct my worried thoughts to God. 

I see that girl in the photo above and think, "She sure does look carefree." I'm sure I wasn't completely worry-free--who is ever 100% worry-free?--but I'm going to fight for that feeling as much as I possibly can. Strive to make my heart just an ounce or two lighter. Laugh at my silly worries. Speak my fears to God. Take a deep breath, look heavenward, and smile.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Favorite Pairing: Black Tea and Cream

As much as I love coffee, black tea is my morning drink of choice. I think tea is a bit healthier than coffee and I appreciate that it has much less caffeine in it. Plus it never gives me an upset stomach like coffee sometimes does (I think because it's so acidic? Does this happen to anyone else?). 

But any old cup of tea just won't do! I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a tea snob and I rarely drink anything but loose tea. You just cannot beat the freshness and depth of flavor that a pot of freshly brewed loose tea will give you. (In case you're in the market for tea, I suggest ordering from Harney & Sons or Culinary Teas. Their tea blends are interesting, fresh, and delicious.)

But the real secret in making the most delectable cup 'o tea, in my opinion anyway, is the addition of cream. A few years ago I would have said cream and sugar, which is the Irish way, the way my parents taught me to drink it (my Dad picked this up in college when he was studying in Ireland). I still love it like this but when I got married, I started making tea for two and my husband doesn't like adding sugar to his. I tried skipping the sugar myself and at first found it to be pretty bitter, but I kept trying it and gradually my tastes changed. Now I really prefer tea with just the simple addition of cream. My husband says that when the tea is really good you don't need sugar, and I think he's right (although it took some getting used to!). 

It's amazing how much comfort and goodness I find in these two simple things that, together, make for the best of mornings. It really is the only way to start the day! A favorite pairing indeed.

And just in case you missed some of my other Favorite Pairings....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What Are You Reading?

Inspired by Heather's post of a few days ago (thanks Heather!), I decided to share a list of some of my favorite books of 2013. Lest you think that bloggers ever tire of words, I've found that my reading has actually become more voracious ever since I became a blogger. That probably has a lot to do with other life changes as well (no grad school consuming my days) but I really do think that writing on a regular basis has made me crave reading even more than before.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some but these are the ones that really made an impression. Happy reading!

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. This book made the nurturing/mothering part of me hurt inside, and I ended up sobbing through the ending. A beautiful, soulful read.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. My mom and I read this together and I was so glad to be able to talk through it with her. This is an epic tale, beautifully written, incredibly sad and full of human rawness. In some reviews it was compared to a Dickens novel. Very much worth reading.

Becoming Who You Are by James Martin. This is a non-fiction book and a quick, uplifting read. James Martin writes about how the 20th century Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, inspired him to be his true self. A lovely little book.

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I can't believe it took me so long to pick up this American classic. I started it when I got my wisdom teeth out and it kept me nice and distracted! I'm so glad I read this while living in the South--it helped me to see things from a slightly new perspective.

Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner. I blogged about this poignant book here and here as I was reading it. Wonderfully bittersweet. I highly recommend it.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. This is another one I read with my mom. It's a classic that everyone should get to! Especially if you love New York, as I do.

The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins. Oh, this is mystery at its finest. I sped through this thick tome in a matter of days.

I thought I'd also share the books that are in my queue. I've got some really great ones lined up for the first few weeks of 2014!

How The West Really Lost God by Mary Eberstadt. This book was a birthday gift from my Dad but I've been a bad daughter and am just getting to it now! I'm really enjoying it so far. It's non-fiction, obviously, and I'm fascinated by the way she has linked the decline of family and the decline of Christianity. This is a subject that interests me very much.

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. After finishing Becoming Who You Are I knew I had to read this Thomas Merton classic. My mom read it and loved it, and I also remember talking about Merton in a college class I took my sophomore year. I'm excited to learn more about this admirable man.

Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton. More of a picture book than anything, but a book nonetheless. I actually pre-ordered this for my little brother as a Christmas present but he beat me to it and got one for himself! So I kept this copy for me. I love the HONY blog and Brandon's photographic census of my favorite city is fascinating.

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. My husband has a weakness for any fantasy series so I got him these for Christmas. On our car trip, I ended up reading some of the first book aloud to him while he drove and I got hooked. So now we're both reading them and passing the books back and forth (I dog-ear on the bottom and he dog-ears on the top).

What are you reading these days? I'd love to know.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Dressing Room-Inspired Bedroom

I've been daydreaming about bedroom designs lately (you know me--I really have the decorating fever these days!) and I've decided I love the look of bedrooms that have a dressing room sort of feel. I think this style looks incredibly elegant and sophisticated yet also so inviting and cozy. I've come across several ways to achieve this look and I thought I'd share some of my ideas with you!

Adding a freestanding clothes rack to the corner of your bedroom really gives off that gorgeous "dressing room" vibe. Of course, most of your clothes would be tucked away in dresser drawers or on closet shelves and this rack would be saved for everyday basics, or seasonal items, or perhaps a collection of scarves and handbags. An added bonus is that a rack can stretch your closet space if you happen to have a small one. In my apartment in New York my bedroom didn't have a closet at all, so I used the closet in the living room and supplemented with a freestanding rack in my room. I rotated in clothes based on the season and kept a lot of my favorite pieces, like my cropped wool blazer, hanging year round. Clothes can really be beautiful, so why not display them and keep them handy?

To add even more glamour to a clothes stand you can rest an oversized mirror right next to it on the floor. I've had this idea for a while. My parents gave us a huge, antique gold mirror when they downsized (it looks a lot like the one below) and when we retrieve it from storage I plan to use it in our bedroom as a full-length mirror. Because why not? Hanging it in a place like the dining room is lovely and classic, of course, but using it to get dressed each morning sounds even better. Who wouldn't feel beautiful gazing into this mirror?

When I saw this next photo, I ooh-ed and aah-ed for a minute over the combination of mirror and clothes rack. How chic! I love the white walls too, but would probably swap in a rich-colored oriental rug for some warmth and earthy coziness.

Here's another take on the same idea. What a perfect place to get dressed in the morning!

Finally, to really achieve that "dressing room" flavor in your bedroom you will need a vanity table. This one below really strikes my fancy because it's just a long console table with a mirror propped on top. Simple and beautiful and functional.

So what do you think? Do you like the idea of a dressing room-inspired bedroom? One thing I should add is that this is a bit of a feminine look, so I'll have to check in with the man of the house and see what his take is. Perhaps half of the freestanding rack could be for his clothes, which would add a masculine touch to the room? Vanity tables can also tend to look overly "girly" but that's not my style anyway. So we'll see. I'm very excited to try some of these ideas in our next bedroom!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Traveling And Coming Home

Phew! It's been a while since I sat down to write and I've really missed this blog and all of my sweet readers!

We've been quite the travelers this fall and winter. We had a delightful visit to Boston and Newport in September, two awesome Charlottesville, Virginia trips in November and December, one wonderful weekend with my parents in D.C., and we're just back from the second of two exhilarating back-to-back Florida vacations with each of our families. My little black suitcase is significantly more battered now than it was back in the summer and I've become an expert at the pre-vacation to-do list. Deep-clean the house, make sure the rent and bills are paid, finish off the fruits and vegetables and any leftovers in the fridge. Despite my thoroughness, though, we still had to come back once or twice after pulling out of the driveway to check the stove or make sure I unplugged the hair dryer (thanks Mom, for passing on your worry gene!).

We have a few more trips on the horizon that are tentatively planned but I must say that I'm looking forward to a low-key January. When we got home last night I took a hot bath with lavender salts, read a good book in my own bed, and had the most restful night of sleep. A heavenly welcome for this girl who loves her routines and the calming comforts of home.

Of course I'm missing family like crazy. My Mom and Dad and brothers, my grandparents on my Dad's side who I haven't seen in far too long. My in-laws and my amazing sisters-in-law (one of the major perks of marrying my husband was that I gained not one, not two, but three sisters in the process). But I think that a few months of no traveling will really do me good. I'd like to spend a lot of time writing and practicing and eventually, hopefully, I can begin to plan our impending move.

Traveling and coming home. You can't have one without the other. I'm so thankful for these amazing vacations we've had, and mostly for the time spent with our favorite people in the whole world. I'm also so thankful for the sweet and simple familiarity of this little house I share with my husband. Traveling and coming home. They're perfect partners, don't you think?

Designed by Jackie's Design Studio