Screw Prozac, I have my tulips.

One of my most favorite things about springtime: tulips. Purple tulips in particular (Dave if you are reading this, take note).

I had an empty milk bottle and Lucky Buddha beer bottle just waiting to reinvent themselves as vases.

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I love the way tulips are always reaching for the sun, at once twisty and optimistic — I can relate to that.

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I swear with all of this rainy, snowy gray weather and never-ending onslaught of germs, I thought I might break off the top of one of these bottles and use it for a whole other not-so-Pinterest-worthy purpose. So glad spring is here … just in time:)

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In the Weeds

photo-9Today was a yard work day. And being that we had more weeds in our herb garden than actual herbs, I had my work cut out for me. As I detangled the undesirables from my lavender, I thought about the Jane Fonda workout record my sister and I used to do with my mom. That’s right, a workout via vinyl (if that doesn’t date me I don’t know what does). In retrospect, my mom was probably really making an effort to exercise and there were her two little girls underfoot doing their best to keep up. I like to think we were more cute than in the way. We would jog in place, trying not to make the record skip and “pull weeds” to the tune of  “Can You Feel It” by The Jacksons. After today, though, I can safely say that pulling actual weeds is a better calorie burner (no offense, Fonda).

My three-and-a-half year-old son tried his best to assist. He grunted and grimaced as he pulled on a particularly stubborn weed. “Come on,” he said, half to the weed, half to himself.

“Yeah, Jed,” I said, “You tell that weed who’s boss.”

“Who’s boss, weed! Who’s, boss!” he screamed at the weed, repeatedly.

Definitely more cute than in the way.

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Praying on the playground.

An Enchanting Garden

I was on my morning walk in West Asheville today. I had time to kill as the store I needed to go to didn’t open ’til 11 (many retailers here don’t open ’til 11). I was taking pictures of homes, front porches and outdoor decor details that struck my fancy (more on that later), when I saw this:

The hole looks like a heart to you, too, right?

Then, as I rounded the corner, I found an entrance to a garden on the same property. There wasn’t a gate, just a pathway… so I walked in. It was magical — a repurposed rabbit hole. I was sure a stack of playing cards were going to march through the bushes at any moment holding brushes, dripping with red paint.

Click on any image for a closer look:

When the record store finally opened, I asked the woman working as she rang me up about the garden. She told me that all she knew was that it was owned and maintained by a man and that it was private property, but that he welcomed others to enjoy it during the day. How nice! Amazing though that it’s so easily concealed from the street that one could have lived a mile away from here for an entire year, not even aware that it existed. Mere conjecture, of course:)

Mother’s Day Gifts for the Mom Who Wants Nothing

This is not to be confused with the mother who wants for nothing.

I’m talking about the mom who feels guilty getting gifts from her daughter. She only feels comfortable on the giving end of the relationship. She can’t enjoy anything extravagant (read: more than a card) because all she can think of is how much money you’ve spent… even if it’s just $15 for a magazine subscription, forget a bouquet of flowers. This is my mom. And if it’s your mom, and you still want to show her your appreciation beyond Hallmark, try these guilt-free twists on traditional Mother’s Day gifts.

Instead of flowers, try MINT.

Photo by (and “borrowed” from) Nina Eve Zeininger at thingsimakeandfind.blogspot.com. Thanks, Nina:)

If you don’t have some growing in your own yard, ask a gardening gal pal to clip some out of her yard to share with you… trust me, she’s got plenty of this quick-growing herb. Get crafty and pot it in something like a coffee mug (sneaky double gift) or my favorite, a mason jar. Finish off with a ribbon or piece of twine tied in around it in a bow! Unlike a bouquet of flowers, mom can use the mint for cooking, in her tea or to help her headaches. Perfect on a window sill in the kitchen or planted along the sidewalk.

Instead of chocolates, make your own CHOCOLATE-COVERED PRETZELS.

Photo by Elly in Canada.

This super easy recipe over at Food.com got rave reviews:

Serves: 4

Yield: 22 pretzels

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

22 miniature pretzel twists

Directions:

1. Put chocolate in small bowl.

2. Microwave for 35 seconds.

3. The chips will still look whole, DO NOT MICROWAVE ANY LONGER! IT WILL BURN, instead stir for 20 seconds and all lumps will be smooth.

4. Lay out a piece of foil.

5. Dip pretzels with fingers in chocolate scrape off excess and lay on foil.

6. Wait 30 minutes to cool (Better if not put in fridge or freezer, they melt when they come out).

You can go organic with your ingredients, or substitute dark chocolate chips. Lots of room to play with this one!

Instead of a spa certificate, try this DIY SUGAR SCRUB.

Source: letbirdzfly.blogspot.com via Dawn on Pinterest

We found this amazing sugar scrub recipe via Dawn at Indigo + Canary’s Reader Pinterest Board (Thanks, Dawn!). Created by Bailey at Let Birds Fly, it’s quite simple to concoct. While all the ingredients might not be in your cupboard, once you gather them, you’ll be able to whip up this gift for birthdays and holidays in a snap. The perfect healthy indulgence, all natural, and SO pretty!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tbsp sea salt, finely ground

3 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted (refined = no coconut aroma)

1/4 cup refined safflower oil (or other mild flavored oil, NOT olive oil)

20-35 drops of essential oil of choice OR a few drops of extract of choice

a few drops of non-toxic food coloring

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients, then add coconut and safflower oil. Add in essential oil (or extract), and mix well. Scrub should be wet and thick. Add more safflower oil by the teaspoon if needed. Add food coloring, mix well.

Makes a little over 2 cups.

Tips:

– Do NOT used unrefined coconut oil. The aroma is too strong and will not go well with the scent you choose, unless you choose coconut, of course!

– Do NOT use olive oil. The flavor and aroma are too strong and will not go well with the scent you choose.

– Try not to use vegetable oil or canola oil. This is a healthy scrub, meant to add good oils to your skin. If you cannot find safflower oil, try grape seed oil or flaxseed oil.

– You might need even more essential oil than recipe calls for. I used about 35 drops (big drops), but I wanted the scrub’s aroma to be very strong.

What scents could you add?

Try these essential oils: almond, juniper, cinnamon, ginger, guava, peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, lavender, rose, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, or tangerine.

Or try these extracts: vanilla, pineapple, strawberry, coconut, banana, cherry, lemon, lime, orange, almond, mint, or root beer (hehe)!

LL NOTE: I do not have all the links in Bailey’s recipe that she has on her blog. To learn more about essential oils, etc, go to the full post on her website.

What are you giving mom for Mother’s Day?

Overgrown Kale: Greens Gone Wild

It’s almost mid-April and we’ve yet to prep our garden for spring and summer. We planted a few veggies and herbs this past winter on a whim, and by luck (and some insanely unseasonable weather) a few of them made it to harvest. And then there’s our green monster:

Yes, that “bush” with yellow flowers sprouting two feet out the top of it is our kale. We cut a bunch of it a few months ago for kale chips, but then assumed the frost got the better of our crops and kind of forgot about them. Then the warm weather hit and our kale went crazy. There’s so much of it, but I’m wondering if it’s even good anymore or if it’s past its prime? If any of you green thumbs out there have an idea, please let me know. We need to start planting soon and I don’t know if we should attempt to harvest this behemoth bounty of kale or chalk it up to compost.

Model Behavior, (Possibly) Planting Sunflowers, and Purple Peekaboo Highlights

A bad migraine cycle has kept me from my blog as of recent, so I’m using this post to catch you up to speed on what’s been going on in between burdensome headaches and, let’s face it,  a lot of self-pity.

First, the Diva Night Fashion Show. The first headache of my cycle hit me hard and fast right before I was supposed to walk the runway. The good news: my head hurt so much that the pain did not leave room for being nervous. The bad news: I had to wear this hat:

There weren’t any casualties, although there was an incident before the show when I practiced one of my “moves”, slinging a bag over my shoulder and hit another model in the face. The best news: We raised $1,300 for Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina!

Over the weekend, Jed and I planted sunflower seeds in a garden box on our back deck. We chose sunflowers because of their short germination period and apparently they are hard to mess up so kids don’t get disappointed. (Mind you, hard doesn’t mean impossible.) We got him his own gardening tools from Lowes:

Ours came with a kneel pad and did not include a bucket or rake.

I made the mistake of leaving him alone for 30 seconds while I filled the watering can. I don’t think he dug up all the seeds, but only time will tell. We might just be watering soil everyday. But he loves his gloves and shovel (kneel pad was sacrificed off the side of the deck as an offering to the poison ivy gods) and can’t wait to help us start the vegetable and herb gardens out front.

The other night, I came to the conclusion that whole wheat rotini is to pasta what sorbet is to dessert. You can wrap it up in pretty, recyclable, biodegradable packaging, put it on sale at Whole Foods, twirl it on a fork toward my mouth like an airplane. I don’t care how healthy it is, I’m not biting. Literally.

And finally, I was totally bummed that I missed Girl Scout cookie season. I only saw one card table set up with 3rd graders in green berets peddling their wares and I was out of cash. But yesterday in the frozen food section, I discovered this:

Only 3 grams of fat per serving!

I don’t know what I’m more excited about — Edy’s Girl Scouts Thin Mint Cookie ice cream, or my new purple peekaboo highlights!

The purple is way more subtle than the blue peekaboo highlights I had before, but still brings the funk. I’m lovin’ it!

Spring’s here!

On the first day of spring, I feel a lot like The Singing Man from Friends:

"Spring's here! The spring is here!"

Only rather than sing about the morning, I’m singing about spring!

It's like our tulip poplar has an internal clock. It just started budding yesterday!
  • Turn off the heat and turn on the ceiling fans.
  • Give your boots the boot and bust out those flip flops.
  • Goodbye icy sidewalks, hello sidewalk chalk.
  • Drop off old sweaters at Goodwill, pick up new-to-me sundresses.
  • Happy, not SAD.

What do you love about spring?

 

 

 

 

Vintage Finds From ScreenDoor in Asheville

There’s a store in Asheville that’s been on my “must” list to check out for some time now called ScreenDoor. With more than 25,000 square-feet of furnishings, decor, hardware, clothing and accessories for you, your home and garden, it’s not the most kid-friendly shopping locale. So I waited until my parents were visiting and Jed was in school. That way I had someone along with me to elbow and scream, “Oh my God! Look at this!” but not someone at which to yell, “Don’t touch that!”

I’m definitely putting it on my list of places to take friends and visitors. Even if you’re not in the market to buy something, the store is full of decorating ideas for repurposing, reusing and upcycling. And you never know what you might leave with. I didn’t walk in there looking for a metal roller skate to go on a shelf in our upstairs alcove, and yet…

I also got this jacket for $18! I just LOVE the color and the stitching.

No, Dad, it’s not real leather. (He asked. Thrice.) It’s vinyl and it’s from KMart with a circa 1970s “Satisfaction Always” on the tag. Upon seeing and touching it, Dave remarked he always wanted to know what it was like to hug the seat of a Gran Torino. I say he’s lucky to have a wife who gets stoked by a new-to-her plastic coat!

I wish I’d taken a picture of my most favorite thing I saw. Right when we walked in, there was a pair of ambulance stretchers repurposed as chaise lounges with a matching stretcher repurposed as a coffee table. (For the table, they had used the base of the stretcher and topped it with glass… SO clever). They were all sold and the price tags were torn off so I have no idea what they went for, but not only were they great conversation pieces, they actually looked chic!

I also found some wooden textile spools that I’m going to go back and buy this weekend. I plan on turning them into a coat rack. If it goes well, I might start making them and selling them as a side business! I came up with the idea myself, but upon Googling, it turns out I’m not original. However, I do have the resources and know-how to do it well and for less than I’ve seen them on other websites. So when I do it and if you like what you see, let me know! I will happily take your order:)

 

 

Springing Forward: Natural Nail Polish for Spring 2012

If the weather’s warm enough to keep my feet from turning blue this late in the groundhog game, chances are I’m busting out my flippity flops. And nothing goes better with the first day of Flip Flop Season than a new shade of nail polish!

I refuse to jinx this burst of milder weather with a pedicure, so I used this hue given to me by the amazing Aleigh Acerni over at Indigo + Canary to give my toes a little TLC.

Vapour Vernissage 3-Free Nail Lacquer in Captive, $12

I’m not usually a red gal when it comes to my nails, but this new Spring 2012 shade of Vernissage Nail Lacquer from Vapour Organic Beauty called Captive is a stirring rendition of rouge — both dark and deep — perfect for early spring. (Although I imagine it will stay on well into the season until the chips fall where they may.)

Vapour has a very healthy, “free” belief system that I can get behind: DHB-free, toluene-free, formaldehyde-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, nano particle-free and cruelty-free… all leaving your conscience free. Their greenness runs the gamut from recycling and certified organic ingredients to wind power and sustainable packaging.

This photo was intentionally taken at mid-range. There’s a reason (other than sheer relaxation) that I pay someone else to do this. But unless you’re one of my dogs or that poor soul assigned to do my pedicure, you should not be in close range of my toes:

Vapour claims this line of polish is:

  • Super glossy. Check!
  • Smooth to the touch. Check!
  • Long wearing and chip resistant? Stay tuned…

What’s your current go-to hue?