Umbrella ella ella

Friday, October 30, 2009

[photo by aaron snow photography]

Since it seems that Mother Nature wanted to force me into bonding with my umbrella, that is exactly what has occurred over the past few weeks/months/years (seems like years, anyway).

Now, I generally like inclement weather. I like cloudy skies, snow, sleet, rain, wind, etc. Not only is it exciting, but bright sun hurts my eyeballs. And (most of us know by now), I do not like to be hot.

I suppose I'm a vampire of sorts.

Thus, I do not mind rain or dreary skies--but must say, all of this is definitely more enjoyable when one can be home with one's cat, a good book, and cup of tea.

I have a theory that good umbrellas are like good sunglasses: if you spend more than $2 on an umbrella (same w/sunglasses), you are probably more likely to take better care of it and not lose it. Sometimes this holds true, agreed?

So, if you've been enduring consistent rainy days as we have in Memphis, here are some umbrella options for ya:

["vanilla skies" from modcloth]

[Jonathan Adler from Barnes & Noble]

[can never go wrong with a solid green umbrella, Target]

[Merimekko cuties, here and here]

[there are also (usually) colorful and fun options at Gap or Old Navy, but couldn't really find any super-cute ones on their respective websites.]

Old Reliable [from Target]:

Bostonian Fauna

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

[sorry if you felt like you took a beating with my post yesterday. it was for educational purposes only.]

Today's final installment about our trip to Boston will highlight the plants and pot arrangements I noticed all around the city. Most of the buildings and parks had already done their fall plant arrangements, and they were beautiful!

Have you ever seen such stunning hostas? I had no idea they got so HUGE and lovely in New England...

Adorable pot with cabbage, mums (?) and trailing ivy.

More cabbage filler and pretty pansies:

Yall know my love for croton:

Have you ever?

[sorry, please ignore the weird lady taking the phone pictures of plants...]

Tiny bit of croton nestled in with some mums:

Charming sunflowers at the Farmers Market on Copley Square, across from our hotel:

Mums, purple fountain grass, and cabbage:

Since my new-ish love for plants developed, one of my favorite parts of traveling is noticing the different varieties that grow in different parts of the country. This trip was no exception!

Once and For All: "stationery" vs. "stationary"

Monday, October 26, 2009

stationery: (n) a wide gamut of materials: paper and office supplies, writing implements, greeting cards, etc.; writing materials

stationary: (adj) standing still; not moving. having a fixed position; not movable. established in one place; not itinerant or migratory. remaining in the same condition or state; not changing:

See how these two are different? One refers to writing/paper materials used in correspondence, and one describes something that is unmoving.

Here's what's sad:
1. I can't compromise and type "stationary" as an alternate description of my etsy items; but I know I'm missing out on sales because of customers' misspellings.

2. google "stationary" and it will yield stationery results. pity. I supposed this is only fair to those who are unclear. But when I see actual etsy shops and other online sites that describe their wares as "stationary," it just gets under my skin.

I don't mind so much when the everyman/not-self-proclaimed-stationery-lover misspells it; but when people who SELL the stuff man.

[Bird & Banner, via oh so beautiful paper]

Boston: deuxieme partie

Friday, October 23, 2009

Whoa Whoa Whoa I love Boston!

The more time I've had to reflect and ruminate since we came home, the more I want to go again!

I'm going to try to do these in chronological order, loosely associated with our itinerary. Settle in and get some popcorn.

[WARNING iphone photos in this post mostly]

First day, we got there around noon. It was pretty chilly already--maybe 42 degrees. We rode a bus [Silver Line] from Logan airport to a subway stop ["the T"], and on to our hotel. Jonny (with help from big bro Chris) found a fantastic deal at the Fairmont Copley Plaza for our first night in town.

There it is. Right in the middle of the action, next door to the John Hancock building.

[Trinity Church on Copley Square, right across from our hotel. John Hancock building in the background.]

So we get checked in and walk around a bit, around the hotel. It is very close to Newbury Street.

Beautiful five-floor Banana Republic, converted from an old art school building.

After meandering a bit, we hopped on the T and went out to Cambridge to see Harvard.

[my cutie at Harvard train station]

Jonny and I both agree this was probably our favorite "attraction," if you will. It's a magical place. We couldn't quit making Hogwarts references/jokes.

Everything's so flippin' old and awesome.

Ate dinner at Mr Bartley's on Harvard Square. The tables there are super-close together, and we couldn't help but overhear some of an incredible sophomore boys' conversation about "Harvard girls." AMAZING.

Mr. Bartley's is famous for the burgers and the milkshakes/"frappes" ...

[some sort of Wall St. Journal Best Burger banner]

[my frappe=mocha Oreo]

[this was on the banks of the Charles River, where we stood for a minute watching Harvard people rowing]

Day 2 was Freedom Trail. It was dadgum COLD. 30ish degrees? I had to acquire another sweater, gloves, and a hat. NERD ALERT:

That's how cold it was. I look like some sort of eager beaver.

We saw a whole bunch of old stuff.

[where Boston Massacre occurred. Try to say that five times fast.]

[Declaration of Independence was first read to Bostonians from that balcony.]

[oh, just another QUIDDITCH game in Boston Common...]

[pretty fall tree in Boston Common + one dork]

We made a new friend...

[former Harvard professor/asst lacrosse coach/professional photographer/author]

After Freedom Trail, we met Erin & Jonathan in the North End for a delicious Italian dinner and some cannoli afterward. I wish I had a picture of that cannoli--it was YUM! Then, they took us to the town where they live on the North Shore, Hamilton, and where Jonathan (not mine) attends seminary.

Next day, we watched the Texas/OU game (barely pulled that one out, sheesh). After a loooooooong game with lots of penalties, Erin & Jonathan drove us around the North Shore. My, my it was beautiful.

Here's the lady of the hour and me at the beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA.

[it's fun being at the beach when it's 40 degrees. that dude spying on us thinks so, too.]

The next day, it snowed! I have proof!

We couldn't catch a standby flight on Monday, so our trip was extended a day. When we came back to Memphis on Tuesday--a mere five days after the mayoral election--look what greeted us at the Memphis Airport:

Erin & Jonathan, we LOVED visiting with you and seeing where you live! [sorry we don't have a picture of Erin's Jonathan too.] Thanks for your hospitality!

[I am planning a separate post for all of the flora and fauna I noticed/documented on our trip.]

We Went to Boston...and I saw these!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We went to Boston this past weekend and it was glorious. Jonny and I are absolutely smitten with the city and the regional area. We had a fantastic visit with our friends Erin & Jonathan and immensely enjoyed their company and overwhelming hospitality.

I'll post about the trip--photos and such--among several different posts (haven't loaded all the photos yet). But I wanted to post about these beautiful books today, because I got to SEE THEM in person at the gorgeous Anthropologie store we went to! Grace of design*sponge has posted about them twice [here and here] which is when I first fell in love.

Beautiful store (and handsome husband) where I saw and held the lovely books:

[you can kinda see the charming little oval window in this crummy phone picture, top left--I just like its detail]

They're not available online (anywhere I don't think?) until later this month, I think... SO PRETTY!

In true plant-nerd fashion, I took PLENTY of photos of fall plant arrangements around Boston. I think Jonathan was a little embarrassed... tee hee.

This is in front of the Anthro store:

Fret not--more where this came from.

p.s. "the blog break" was great, but I'm glad to be back. and it wasn't entirely b/c of the vacation, but it was nice to be out of town and not feel addicted to my phone (as much as I would've otherwise, that is).

Two Goals on my Horizon

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

[photo by Ree Drummond/Pioneer Woman]

1. Puree my own pumpkin. I adore baking and cooking with pureed pumpkin, and have always been intrigued by making it happen for myself instead of relying on cans of the stuff. I keep hearing rumors that the pumpkin you puree yourself is oh-so-that-much-more tasty. Can anyone attest?

With her step-by-step instructions (and photos), Pioneer Woman once again makes something ostensibly difficult seem feasible. Her instructions for homemade pureed pumpkin here. I like you, Ree Drummond.

2. Take a break from the ole blog.

I've been fairly convicted this week/end of last week reading several (what else?) blog posts about the value of "unplugging" for a while, and I'm going to give it a go.

from Rocks in my Dryer (thanks Erin): this article on detachment from the internet really really spoke to me when a dear friend sent it to me a few months ago.

from Conversion Diary: this article about a week without the internet completely (not what I exactly have in mind, but instructive nonetheless).

from Simple + Pretty [and less heavy]: this blurb about recharging the creative juices. I don't think I'm quite there, because I don't post four times/day like a lot of these blogs I read... but I admire the sentiment of keeping oneself from overload all the same.

We're not talking anything too drastic, people... just a little practice in letting go, I guess [this is way too dramatic?].

But I'll see you mid-week next week, hopefully armed with some evidence of homemade pumpkin puree!

there's a club we joined: lovely design address file

Friday, October 09, 2009

[Martha posted about this earlier in the week, but I couldn't resist posting about it too.]

If you google "lovely design address file," your search results will be myriad glowing reviews, beautiful photos, and odes to its perfect craftsmanship. She's been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings (here), design*sponge (here), Apartment Therapy (here), and beaucoup other online style/gift sources. The ideas for its usage do not stop with containing addresses: wedding guest book, craft ideas, or recipe file are some of the other applications writers have found.

And they're not lying about its loveliness. Sharilyn crafts these herself out of maple or black walnut, and hand-cuts the file inserts using all different patterns and colors of found paper.

[images from here]

After chatting about this for months, how did Sister & me decide that this purchase was worthy of its hefty price tag? My reasons below:

1. To support fine craftsmanship.

2. I really do write letters fairly often (4x/week at least?) so why not have a stunning and charming place to keep correspondents' addresses which is delightful to look at too?

3. It's really really pretty and really really lovely.

4. The Coup: Sharilyn at lovely design (who is very lovely herself) has a waiting list for these suckers. On a whim, Martha and I put our names on the waiting list a few months ago, thinking "maybe Christmas...?" When we received that magic email that said, "Leslie, I have an address file set aside for you!" how could we resist? Sharilyn sure knows how to work supply and demand.

Even the way they're packaged is lovely.

[Sharilyn makes a conscious effort to use no plastic in her packaging. Read more about it here on Apartment Therapy.]

[special tag with your name. the address file has found its new home!]

[the bottom of the address file...these guys are not mass-productions. image from here.]

Next on the docket: Sister & I have been working on some labels for the address file cards, so we don't "mess them up." Inspired by The Small Object, who created her own precious (free!) labels for this very address file.

Rest assured, both Martha and I entered many many blog giveaways for this item before we settled on buying one for ourselves. I know this purchase is easy to misunderstand...but if you want to come over and see mine for yourself, you'll just know it was worth it. Isn't she lovely?

[Lovely Design website, Sharilyn's blog]
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