Monday, April 30, 2012

jump in

I love this work by photographer Alexandra Valenti, as featured on Design*Sponge last week. It's vibrant, playful, and free -- just like the best moments of summer.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

one track mind: home

For my mom, who loves this song. It's been on my mind lately. (So, for everyone else, can you figure out why? :) :) :) )

gifts for little ones (boys & tomboys)

My family is experiencing a bit of a wedding-and-baby-boom these days. I have a pretty big extended family (my mom was one of eight, and my dad has five siblings), and it's so much fun to watch the next generation grow. Last week we welcomed baby Sam to the family, and over the coming months we'll be celebrating a first communion alongside first, second, and third birthdays! I thought it'd be fun to share a few of the gifts I'd love to give the little ones in my life.

Clockwise from top left: Bold striped tee from Crewcuts (also digging this Out of Print graphic tee) | Slippers that remind me of a beloved children's story (via)| Classic lit board books (via) | Reproduction Wedgewood dishes (via) | Beautiful, clever wooden blocks |

Granted, there's a pretty heavy male influence here, but it makes sense given that our three most recent additions have been boys. (This includes my adorable godson, who is bound to be getting at least one of the above for his second birthday this June.)

I have a couple more items at the ready, but I don't want to reveal them just yet ;)

Friday, April 27, 2012

settled down

Image via

A hot cup of coffee -- cat cuddled next to me under a blanket -- husband breathing steadily, sleeping in the next room -- bathtub filling with hot water and bubbles as we speak -- blue, sandstorm-less skies begging for a trip to the beach . . . Ordinary life is often the most miraculous and wonderful of all, isn't it?


I know I haven't been writing much lately, and I wish I could say it was because of something big and amazing, like, I'm pregnant! or I just signed a book deal! or I'm working on a gallery show! But no, it's just been a whole lot of ordinary, everyday-type stuff around here. Working, resting, contemplating, etc. Which isn't so bad, you know? Not at all.

Happy weekend, folks. x

Friday, April 20, 2012

two things

Over the past few days, two things have really hit me:

1| We're so much more ready to complain and unload problems on people, rather than celebrate our beauty, truth, and joy with them. I think I'm less likely to share the good stuff because I don't want to come across as bragging. Which is probably why I've held off on saying . . .

2| I have such an amazing, colorful, creative classroom! (Which, in my opinion, is also a great way to describe young children.) These past couple weeks, I've been in love with my job, realized that I'm actually pretty good at it, and reaffirmed that it is indeed something I could do forever.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

watch this: ripping paper/laughing baby

How am I not one of the over 40 million people that has already seen this?

I had a bit of a rough day, so I Googled "laugh" when I got home from work, and this video was one of the first things that came up. One of the highlights of my job is lots and lots of laughter, and it helps to remember that in times of . . . well, times like these.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

desert life

Liwa, March 2012

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams . . .” (Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince)

"God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden . . . Desert life sanctifies you. You have no idea you are changing. You simply notice after you've been in the desert awhile that you are different . . ." (Paul Miller, The Praying Life)

"I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs." (Isaiah 41:18)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

what the sell: the wanderlust

Wow. Where do I even begin? The Wanderlust may very well be some sort of online heaven-on-earth. I may or may not have already ordered those amazing treat bags, and I may or may not be coveting every single item in their shop. That mustard twine? Gorgeous. Vintage photo holders? Yes, please! And how awesome is it that they have a section of "curiosities," where you can actually order a box of curiosities?

Be still my heart.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

watch this: caine's arcade

This totally made my day! A whole lot of creativity plus a big dose of human connection makes for one awesome story. Faith in humanity officially restored.

Monday, April 9, 2012

there comes a yes

Banner by Jimmy Marble, available here

Refreshed from spring break, I've really been able to get back to this open-ended approach in my classroom. And you know what? It suits me. It works. It reminds me why I love my job so much.

It's amazing to step back and realize the power we have to create our day. Attitude, people. They're not lying when they say it's everything.

Friday, April 6, 2012

our first kiss

. . . as husband and wife.

This post at Cup of Jo, along with writing about my wedding rings last week, had me combing through photos, thinking about our kiss.

Needless to say, we solidly went for it. I love how happy and satisfied we look. 

(Although, funny story, we almost kissed at the beginning of the ceremony! I entered on the staircase you see in the background. When I reached the bottom, Andy and I -- not having had a sneak peek or anything -- immediately grasped hands and leaned in towards each other . . . until I realized what was happening and blurted, "YOU CAN'T KISS ME YET!" Ah, yes, ever-capable of getting the awkward ball rolling, even on my wedding day. We always said we wanted it to be full of laughter, though; in that sense it set the perfect tone :) )

oh, man (we're back)

There's no doubt about it: We love Oman.

Still have to upload the majority of our pictures from the trip. Although, let's face it, we didn't take that many. Partially because that's just us, but also because activities like underwater cave swimming (!) aren't the most camera friendly. Will try and post a few when I can. In the meantime I'll be prepping for the return to reality on Sunday. (Yep. This Sunday. Ah, well, at least it's not forever!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

tied up with string: goes where i go

Deep down I know that stuff can't describe who we are, but for me, the items below come pretty darn close. To conclude this series, I've gathered together a few of the things you might find in my (metaphorical) tool box; each provides me with a special kind of sustenance. Meet my . . .

1| Notebooks, notepads, sketchbooks, and journals. I have at least three variations with me at pretty much all times, and I inevitably end up stockpiling many more than that. Somewhere in storage there's a giant Rubbermaid bin filled with all the notebooks from my growing up years; it's a habit I've never broken. I gravitate towards all sorts and am frequently adding new ones to my collection, but Field Notes have been my standard issue for the past few years. They're my version of index cards in the back pocket. The ever-honorable Moleskin can often be found floating around my bag as well.

2| Pens and pencils. A handful of my favorites are, once again, with me at all times. They are: Varsity Fountain Pens, Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner (usually in Turquoise), and Pilot Precise V5 (Extra Fine). More recently I've been digging the neon mechanical pencils from Paperchase.

3| Candles. Wherever I am in the world, you can bet I'm lighting plenty of tealights when the sun goes down, along with a good scented candle.  Lately we've been loving Sacristy from True Grace Candles (we bought ours locally at The One). It smells like home to me.

4| Bone folder, X-Acto knife, and decorative papers. These are my most-used art supplies and some of my favorite possessions. Whether I'm packing for a big move or a week-long getaway, they remain close at hand. When I lived in Berlin, Modular was my favorite place to buy paper. Sometimes I dream of going back to the city for a day, just to shop there again.

5| Diana Mini Lomography Camera. Since buying her on impulse last year, Diana has tagged along on all sorts of adventures. She doesn't take herself too seriously, and I have a great time seeing what she can do.

6| Travel coffee mug. It's no secret that I love coffee, and I bring an embarrassingly large tumbler with me to work each day. (Once a student drew a picture of me with what looked like a giant oven mitt on my right hand. When I asked her about it she simply said, "Coffee.")

7| iPad. Andy gave me one as a wedding present, and I use it so much I wouldn't even know where to begin. As an expat, I especially love having instant access to magazines and the occasional TV show whenever I need a little taste of home.

And of course, let's not forget . . .

iPad or not, my heart belongs to the real thing. But you already knew that, right? ;)

Bottom photo from Kate Spade, via Note To Sarah.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

tied up with string: i sense a pattern

What can I say? I love them. Both of them.

1- Dwell Studio Draper Bedding | 2- Striped skirt via  | 3- Gold dotted "moon" paper from Bartsch  | 4- Drawstring beach bag | 5- Spotted socks | 6- Casey Baudoin blog header | 7- Kate Spade Monogram Note Cards | 8- Polka dot dress via | 9- Duvet cover (our own, available here) | 10- Clothing rack full of stripes (own) | 11- Polka dot blouse closeup (own) | 12- Striped heart garland (tutorial) | 13- Popsicle onesie by bobochoses | 14- Striped sail via | 15- Zara Home Cruise Rug (no longer available; image found here)

Most of the above images can also be found on my Pinterest boards. And speaking of Pinterest, this lady has some excellent collections of both stripes and dots.

Monday, April 2, 2012

tied up with string: like breathing

If you've read my blog before (or ever glanced at my sidebar), you're well aware that I love to read. It's more than that, though: Words generally have this mystical kind of power over me, and I love to get lost in them.

So naturally it's hard (if not impossible) for me to pick an all-time favorite book or poem. But I'm going to try.

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. 

Suffice it to say, this book changed my life. It was given to me by an English teacher my senior year of high school after she found me hiding in the bathroom, crying and doubled over with anxiety. Turns out, Traveling Mercies was exactly what I needed, and it has remained one of the best cures I know in times of confusion and doubt. It's traveled with me to every country I've ever lived in, usually in my carry on, as I don't want to risk losing it. Lamott's voice is funny, wise, and so beautifully human I could burst. She tells the truth about her brokenness; as a result, I end up feeling whole.

I don't really read a lot of adult fiction, so I can't say I have many favorites on that front. I do, however, have an intense love of quality children's books. (No surprise there, given that I'm an elementary school  teacher and my mom is a children's librarian :) )

Here, in no particular order, are three of my favorite picture books (which, like Traveling Mercies, have managed to traverse the globe with me):

So Many Days by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo -- Plenty of adult appeal; there's a deep metaphorical meaning that most kids just won't get.

A River of Words by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet -- I may be a little biased on this one, but I'm certainly not the only fan of this book, which was nominated for a Caldecott in 2009.

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis -- The concept and illustrations are simple, but there's nothing subtle about this book; creativity and imagination practically vibrate from its pages.

I frequently share poems on this blog; they have a tendency to move me like nothing else can. I define poets as "people who string words together in such a way, so as to describe that which is beyond words," and I love them for it. Leaves of Grass holds a special corner of my heart, and this is probably my favorite poem of all time:

Walt Whitman

Allons! The road is before us!
It is safe – I have tried it – my own feet have tried it well – be not detain'd!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the

        shelf unopen'd!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! Let the money remain unearn'd!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! Let the lawyer plead in the
        court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

(I've actually posted it once before, and it was also one of the readings at our wedding.)

Until tomorrow, then! Cheers :)