Back to the Basics

Shopping

I’m currently watching through Sex and the City. A show, for the most part, about:

  • Sometimes single women in their 30′s living in Manhattan…
  • I got married at 22 and live in the Midbest
  • Who wear fur, smoke cigarettes and lust after heels…
  • I think my grandma owns fur, I smoked in high school (gasp!) and firmly believe that women who wear high heels every day are a rare form of superhero 
  • So obviously I love everything about it but can relate to absolutely nothing.

The show really makes me realize that I hate drinking liquor, avoid most jewelry and was never into complicated clothing or relationships. I tend to gravitate towards the basics. I started thinking about what items I would need day-to-day and how simplified I could really get. This year we traveled to NYC twice, Hawaii, Chicago + more and I never missed anything back at home (besides my pup).

Here’s a quick visual list of the only things I’d really “need” or use daily. If I found out I was boarding a plane in an hour and had to grab everything I think I’d want…this is what I’d choose. Obviously I omitted food and basic clothing because…obviously. Not going for the hungry, naked vibe.

Stuff

  1. MacbookPro (I would forego my external hard drive and rely on Dropbox exclusively)
  2. My Moleskine notebook! Used for sketching, notes, wireframes + handlettering
  3. Prismacolor brush markers. My all time fave. After I’m done with a hand lettering project, I snap a photo on my iPhone, email it to myself and drag it into Photoshop/Illustrator
  4. Our Aeropress. You can find grounds anywhere but you can save some extra cash when you travel when you make it in your hotel room/Airbnb. No more worrying that you’ll be stuck with drip.
  5. Benefit’s Fake Up concealer. It’s moisturizing and covers the dark circles.
  6. Burt’s Bees lip balm. If I don’t have it (or something similar), I spazz.
  7. My glasses! I get mine from Warby Parker. About $130 for the frames and lenses since my eyesight is a bit worse than most.
  8. My Canon 6D and a prime lens. I’m upgrading to the Mark III soon and I’m pumped.
  9. Lush’s Mint Julep lip scrub. My lips are…big. I can’t have them be dry and flakey too.
  10. Good shoes. I just snagged these Sam Edelman booties.
  11. Everlane’s Reverse Denim Tote. SO roomy and comfortable to carry.
  12. A wallet.
  13. My iPhone!

Would you be able to pack just one bag and be okay while traveling? I  figure I could get the basics, get a blowout instead of washing my hair or buy a book if I need something extra.

 

A Post About Being Thankful…

…that I didn’t ruin all the food.

IMG_3495

IMG_3514

IMG_3528

I hosted my first Thanksgiving on Thursday and I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out. I kept imagining the scene from Christmas Vacation where the turkey deflates like a beach ball and everyone sucks it up and “eats” it anyways. Since my sister has many dietary restrictions (no grain, soy, garbanzo, black pepper and low sugar), it was my mission to make it completely edible for her! With that challenge came using recipes that I had never made before! Here’s what I cooked up (thanks to Danielle Walker!!!):

  • A 12 lb turkey
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole (I even made the mushroom soup mixture from scratch)
  • Rosemary and sage biscuits (grain-free)
  • Pumpkin pie (grain-free)
  • Stuffing (grain-free)
  • Homemade chai tea lattes (sugar-free)

collage1

It honestly was really delicious and I’ve never been so happy with anything I’ve made from scratch. The evening of Thanksgiving, we decided to celebrate Christmas too. We won’t be all together again in December so it was the perfect time. I scored a pair of these slippers and haven’t taken them off since.

The rest of our weekend was quiet and relaxing. We spent Saturday night celebrating our friend’s birthday and Sunday was consumed with Sherlock + finalizing my Christmas City Swap.

collage2

Happy December to all you lovelies. How was your weekend?

Connecting

sc0027b114

I found this photobooth shot from my bachelorette party in June 2009. It’s crazy that I’ve almost been married for 5 years or that I love so far away from these beautiful women. We take turns visiting each other but the phone calls and any sort of snail mail just doesn’t seem to happen.

I don’t know why I have the hardest time making those small (yet meaningful) connections with those that I love.

My pal Kellyn and I always joke that the only people we call are our moms. And each other (obviously) since we happened to be chatting about it on the phone. But it’s not as often as I’d like it to be.

When life gets busy, people move, have kids + work crazy hours…how do you stay in touch with those you love? 

 

Connect & Impact

WorkisOnlyImportant

A sneak peek of a fun side project. Also, it’s great to remember.

*handwritten by…my hand

Being A Kid

BeingAKid

The other day on Facebook, a friend posted a cute blurb describing what we were all like as kids. I read it and laughed out loud. They described me perfectly so I thought I’d write some memories from when I was a kid myself. There are times, honestly, that I still feel like a kid. Not because I think that I’m immature but because I still have a lot of the quirks that I had as a child. The other night we watched Elf and I got a little weepy at the end. When all of the adults + children believe in Santa again, random people singing Christmas songs in Central Park and Zooey D’s lovely voice…You get the point.

I see a lot of people my age who stifle excitement. People who are cynical. People who think too many things are stupid. Women hating on women who wear tights for pants. I mean, really?

I think we should all focus a bit more on the things that light us up and remember how goofy we were as kids.

 

Hostess with the…messy house

IMG_0862

If you know me at all – you know that I’m a slob. Currently every space in my house is acting as a shelf and that includes desks, tables, the floor and more. While I’m not proud of this messy trait – I have grown to accept it. HOWEVER, I’ve been a lot more conscious of it lately.

In case you missed it, my friend Erin launched Grandiflora yesterday where she is selling custom home goods! I was so honored to shoot all her photography and see each piece up close (photo above). Okay let’s be honest…I want to buy it all. Between Erin’s blog and my friend Jess‘ blog, I realize that hosting is in my blood. My mom is the queen of hosting. Elaborate dinners. Home cooked goodness. Beautiful china. The best music. Coffee and dessert.

It was a treat growing up in a home where hosting was fun and anyone was invited to the dinner table. 

And at the heart of it all – I love having people over. Adam always comments about how excited I get to have people in our home. I’m excited to embrace the tradition my mom has established and perhaps it will motivate me to move out of this “messy-teenager-but-really-I’m-26″ phase.

I guess I should start by cleaning my dirty dishes and figuring out how all my forks have somehow disappeared… 

Do you host at your home often? Dinners? Wine night? Any favorite tips?

 

A New Week

IMG_6323

It’s Monday, folks. I’m starting the week off with 3 mini goals to keep me semi-accountable.

  1. I’m going to go to bed before 2am all week. Goodbye 4am bedtime.
  2. I’m going to finally hang this huge giraffe print that we just got in the mail.
  3. I’m going to send five letters to various loved ones.

Comment below and commit to 3 mini goals this week! We can do it!

PS- Thinking of our veterans today (past and current) and those affected by the typhoon in the Philippines. A distant family member is raising support through Red Cross. Donate here.

 

Lately

IMG_1351

That’s me. At an event. Drinking champagne and apple cider bourbon at the same time. Wearing heels and rocking a blowout. Also mid-sentence, I’m sure. But let’s be real, pals. It’s really like this:

reallife

OH snap! Check out that lady with crazy hair and her messy house. My life has been pretty consistent lately. I wake up, work all day or have meetings all day, work til 4am, yadda yadda, computer, sit, design, blog, meet, yadda yadda. Then I occasionally shower and get dressed and look like I do in the photo above. It’s just a crazy ass month. Fulfilling…but crazy.

ALSO I’m finally feeling better (no more green snot). Based on some future creative/work plans, I don’t really want to shop anymore (save, save, save!). I am so smitten by all the colors in the trees and on the ground. And I truly love what I do. Hopefully all these crazy weeks will yield relaxing weekends. I can’t believe it’s Friday. More like TGIF.

Here is a bit of recent work/collaborations:

080617_k29_pf_ow 008

grandiflora-holiday-shoot-behind-the-scenes

Thread

IMG_1054

Hither and Thither‘s re-design, a photoshoot for Grandiflora (it launches Monday), Thread‘s holiday lookbook, our great friends’ anniversary shoot. 

More to share next month!

Second Annual Christmas City Swap

Last year I hosted my first Christmas City Swap here on my blog and had 90 participants. Ever since last years’ swap I’ve had readers asking about one this year! For those who didn’t participate last year, here’s the concept:

  • If you want to participate – you’ll be required to come up with a gift or card to send to someone else in another city. All the contents of your basket/package must be local products from YOUR city. For example: I might send someone a bottle of Brother’s Drake honey mead, a special something from HOMAGE, or a Candle Lab candle with a few trinkets and a postcard!
  • You sign up to participate in the swap by filling out the form below. It will require you to give me your full name, mailing address, email, dietary restrictions and spending budget.
  • I will then match up the participants to the best of my ability and email you all with the person that you’ll be gifting! I will do my best to make sure your spending budgets are the same.
  • Last year I had about 5 people who never received a gift. I felt really awful about it and will try my best to make sure this doesn’t happen again this year. I will be sending reminder emails but if you aren’t sure you want to participate – then don’t!

The entire point of this concept is to GIVE (while sharing a bit of our town/city). We all hold so tightly to our stuff and stress about money so much that we forget what it’s like to just do something special for someone else. Don’t feel like you need to give your recipient something “perfect.” Let the gift share a little bit about who YOU are instead. I hope we all make a friend!

Here are a few guidelines, however, to ensure this all works out smoothly:

  1. You must sign up by Friday, November 22nd!
  2. You will receive your gift recipient’s information by Sunday, December 1st. Feel free to start shopping or planning before you get this information!
  3. Due to the many dietary restrictions these days, please refrain from sending perishable food. Candies or spices are fine.
  4. You must mail your package by Friday, December 20th! 
  5. Unfortunately – this swap is really only intended for those located in the US since most of my readers are from here. I didn’t want to burden anyone with the cost of shipping. If you DO live in another country, feel free to sign up and if someone else in your area signs up too – I’ll match you! If there’s not a match, I’ll notify you via email.
  6. Lastly, if you bail and just flake out – you’re kind of a meanie. Don’t sign up for this if you don’t think you won’t be able to follow through.

UPDATE: SIGN-UPS ARE NOW CLOSED!

New Habits

Aristotle

I’m so thankful to see November. Lately I am shifting between feeling motivated, lazy, energized, bummed out, optimistic, overwhelmed and then just plain tired. Adam and I drove 8 hours yesterday back to my home state of Illinois and were able to talk about everything. Car rides are good for that. Especially when you can’t connect your iPhone or play CDs.

I need to change some habits. I need to catch my breath. Come up for air. I need these next 4 days (away from home, meetings, the same environment) to do just that. October was a tough month. I was sick for most of it. I was always playing catch up. I was always running late. I was always going to bed late and waking up early.

November looks much better. Here are a few reasons why I’m excited:

  • Adam and I are buckling down and finally have some financial goals to work towards. When I’m overworked – I overspend to make myself feel better. It’s a horrible habit. I want saving to become a habit.
  • I’m hosting Thanksgiving for my family. I’ll be cooking my first turkey!
  • In order to practice, I think I’m going to host a Friendsgiving.
  • Besides this weekend, we aren’t traveling at all!
  • We have many new projects lined up and I’m ready to be better about tracking my time, creating a better workflow with Adam and working ahead of schedule.
  • Death to the Stock Photo is really growing. We were featured on Wired yesterday!
  • My friend Erin is going to be launching her new shop this month! Check out shots from our photoshoot last week.

And to kick off November? I’m going to visit my favorite hometown coffeeshop, SLEEP, watch You’ve Got Mail with my sister (she’s never seen it!), and eat all my mom’s home cooked food. I hope you all have a restful weekend.

How do you form new habits? How do you refresh?