December 28, 2010

A Letters Lesson

There are magnetic letters on the fridge. Most are holding up pictures - but there are extras. I usually spell out 'i love u' or 'u r cute' whenever I walk past because that's how I roll.

I am also working on memorization of letters with Mabel right now so these letters come in handy for those lessons as well.

One evening a while back Bryon was calling Trevor "Punjab" (you know, the cool-ass guy from Annie? The one who crawls up the ladder and unwinds his turbin to rescue her? Oh, I LOVED him when I was little!). Anyway... the fridge was supposed to say 'punjab'.

But Bryon was feeling ornery.

Good thing that Mabel didn't have a letters lesson that evening.

Things I Love Thursday

1. Gorgeous artwork from Carrie Strine.

2. Plaid for a wedding. Yes, please! (photos from GreenWeddingShoes)

3. Generosity. This time in the form of tons of free printable gift tags (which I am bookmarking for next year). Find them at Creature Comforts.

4. The Anthropologie latte bowls.

5. Mismatched dining room chairs. LOVE this. (photo from Apartment Therapy)

6. House tours on ApartmentTherapy. THE BEST inspiration ever, no matter what your style is.

7. This whole outfit from Outofline on Etsy. MAN, I love them!!!

8. Beads from yukidesigns on Etsy. If there was a color chosen for our wedding so far, this is it.

9. The darling fabric streamers at this wedding reception, via OurBlogOfLove.

10. Elsie's hair. Almost always, even when it is pink (though I am not that brave). I have lemmed photos of her hair for almost as long as I've been reading her blog and loving her scrapbook pages on TwoPeasInABucket. Yes, that long. Please - just one time if you never have - go check out her blog. She is so creative, so sweet, and she's getting married, too!

And The Invitations Go Out...

I was inspired by so many things when it came to our invitations, but most of all pine trees - so prevalent here and in The Black Hills of our state. I have never been, but Bryon grew up among them, camping and hunting and fishing with his late father. Seemed so appropriate.

We plan to exchange vows - yes, outside - in the snow. On a bluff covered in snow and overlooking forests full of pine trees. With me in a dress (a dress dress because my heart just had to after all - more on that later) and him in jeans. So perfectly us.

I may be the first ever bride to mail her wedding invitations out before the ring is on her finger (anytime, custom jewelry store...anytime now!), but... we don't ever do things the typical way. I'm 1,000% okay with that.

And Dear B: Thank you x 1,000,000 for the best Christmas ever with the kids and your loving mug in my face. Four kids opening presents was one of the best presents ever. Thanks also for getting gooey and watching a chick flick with me, too. If it's the first one you've watched in a decade, then I feel very lucky; I didn't even have to twist your arm! Kisses forever.

Dear Judy

photo source

hoarfrost (ˈhɔːˌfrɒst) — n
Also called: white frost; a deposit of needle-like ice crystals formed on the ground by direct condensation at temperatures below freezing point

Dear Mommy,

This morning I thought of you while I was driving to work, looking out of my freezing windows and taking in God's glory. Hoarfrost all around. Every single surface was fuzzy and freezy. It was gorgeous. There was fog in the air so thick I could see it hanging there in front of me.

I remembered the time you declared how much you love hoarfrost. And (in true Rachel fashion) I immediately told you that some such word called 'hoarfrost' did not exist. What in the heck was that, I mean, I was an English major. Yeah. An English major with the thickest skull you've ever seen. We looked it up. And it became what Mindy would call a paper-tearing moment [another time, Folks, another time].

Then life moved me to Da Plains without you, Mom. And I had occassion to walk the residential streets in the little town I lived in, to a friend's house or whatnot - and very, very often I walked through fog. It's a Plains thing in the Winter, I'm told. I fell in love with hoarfrost... and every single time I see it, it makes me think of two things:

1) I can be atrociously stubborn, a know-it-all, and competitive... and I'm sorry that I ever doubted your effort to teach me something.
2) I think of YOU. And I miss you until my eyes sting.

Thank you for always putting up with me, for rolling your eyes and loving me anyway. For understanding me. For knowing that I love you beyond all of the miles, beyond being right or being close. You are my mama and I am so grateful that God chose you for that job.

Love you forever.


December 22, 2010

House Update

One of the first things that we did after painting the walls was hang pictures. Bryon never had any on the wall before, so this is something entirely new for him. It is entirely us. And if you know me, you know that it is not possible for me to exist in a room without some kind of photographic evidence someplace.

This is our memorial spot. His dad and my dad, both in their fishing caps. Both in Heaven.

Another thing I did was paint my end table. I found this midcentury modern piece at Goodwill a month after I moved to Da Plains. It was $5, I think. It looks spiffy painted white. I love how it balances the living room (which I will shoot once the Christmas decorations are put away).

The curtains add just the right pop of color.

A favorite artist poster hangs in the kitchen.

And the Pyrex collection starts hovering on top of the kitchen cabinets. I have restacked them since I took this picture, though. Made more room for the collection to grow - because I use them all the time. LOVE it.

December 21, 2010

Things I Love Thursday

1. I still haven't seen this movie. I know; I'm ashamed. How can I sleep and breathe the style of Carrie when I haven't even found out what she looks like in Dubai (or wherever it is that they go)? I can't wait to see this! I hope Santa brings it. If not, Target's going to after Christmas!

3. Roxy perfume. LOVE. This is what I was wearing when Bryon couldn't stop pestering me during our office furniture move last December. All he can remember is my scent, he says (it was good, apparently).

4. Vintage granny square afghan, like this one.

5. I love Pyrex and I love green. This avacado piece fits that bill quite nicely. From here.

6. This sugar cookie glaze recipe from This is my new go-to website for great, quick recipes. We've loved everything I've made from here.

7. N.E.E.T Magazine and blog. LOVE. So inspiring.

8. A white petticoat, like this one on Etsy.

9. Nylon magazine. I wanted to love it while liking it online for months... and then I laid my hands on one at Barnes & Noble. I'm pretty sure B thought I'd gone rabid, all foaming at the mouth and stuff, but it was just love. I really need to get a subscription.

10. Skinny Ultra Lounge Pant by JCrew. It's taking all of my will power not to order these.

Decorating For Christmas

I'm really digging the deer antlers shown by Bloesem. And yes, I asked for Bryon to go kill me a pair. [We happily donate the meat; I'm all for hunting as long as it's legal and someone eats it. I just can't handle venison myself.] He said no, though. Poo. Maybe I'll ask my future brother in law instead.

It's natural to think of Christmas memories when you decorate your home for the holidays. Years past, parties, dinners, presents, children... I am so happily content with my Christmas decor this year that I had to post about it. There is a deeper lesson here, I think.

For years I wanted a tree that was perfect. Color-coordinated and showy. My ex and I spent so much money every holiday on decorations and the perfect swags. Ugh. And back then I didn't really understand the handmade tree. When you're tapped into SNOB, it is hard to look up.

As the children were born and grew, they began to come home with little ornaments that they made. I am so incredibly grateful that I've kept them. Now, when that is all I want to see.

Now I am tapped into LOVE. True family. Spirit. God's grace and wisdom. I want a tree with a mess of handmade things hanging on it. It shouldn't match perfectly. Lopsided is okay, too. And pom poms better be somewhere. Merry Christmas!

New Christmas Tradition

The father-in-law that I will never meet had a thing every Christmas. A thing that now Bryon has brought into us every Christmas.

Elvis blaring on the stereo (and this year we listened while I was cooking, which was oh, so content) and Tom & Jerry drinks. His old man wore his favorite scratchy Christmas sweater and had one of these in his hand every Christmas day... so we had to make them. I had to try it. I suppose it was an initiation of sorts.

It's a local thing, I'm told... Tom & Jerry's. It is batter with egg, nutmeg, and sort of "noggish" ingredients. And of course the splash of brandy. You stir with a cinnamon stick and sip until your heart's content. I'm not a fan of the taste myself, but Larry was with us that night for sure.

New Christmas traditions are wonderful when they include love, good music, and memories of loved ones passed.

And So It Was

... that I turned 34.

Bryon whispered a quiet "Happy Birthday" as I awoke and sang "Happy Birthday" as I fell asleep.

Somewhere in the middle of those sentiments, we had a fantastic day. It was a day that I didn't have to create myself. Now, the 2 new tops that I ordered for myself from Outofline showed up in the show, but that was an accidental happiness.

The kids made me cards and - all four of them - hugged me to pieces all day long. They sang to me in the car. So sweet!

And when we couldn't get a sitter to go out, we stayed in.

Oh boy, did we stay in. We had over two of our closest friends, Joe and Jess, and made crablegs, asparagus with lemon, and garlic mashed potatoes. Know what that was? An exact recreation of the first meal we ever cooked together, almost one year ago.

And the boys cleaned up after, which was a present in and of itself.

The kids were good.

It was a wonderful, blessed birthday. I am so grateful. What a year in my life this has been! Thank you, Christ Jesus!

December 17, 2010

This One Is Dedicated To My Pal, J.Crew

Remember when I went on and on and on about my love for the Gap? Yeah. Well J.Crew called and was PISSED. Boy howdy!

Truth is, we don't have a J.Crew store here in Da Plains (which is a damn good thing probably). If we did, Gap wouldn't stand a chance... unless J.Crew didn't have my size in something.

Now I realize that J.Crew is pricey, Folks. And I am not loaded by any means. The trick is that you have to know how and when to shop there. They put almost everything on sale. And they have sales often. But I hunt for coupon codes online like a madwoman. That dress I bought yesterday was almost $300. I got it for $35. Lulu was my witness! I caught a sale, and a discount on top of the sale. If you watch what you love, you'll score - that's my point.

My other trick is to use it for ideas and then go find the item somewhere else, like Target. Yes, really. I might buy one nice piece from J.Crew (cardigan or a skirt) and then find the tee and the tights at Target. Who can tell once it's all put together?!

J.Crew started for me in 1992. I remember because that was the year I met my best friend in my new school. 10th grade. She had a J.Crew catalog and her dad bought her one or two things by mail every Christmas. I lemmed big time. Then my dad asked me what *I* wanted for Christmas. So I had a J.Crew catalog sent to his house, and he bought me one or two things by mail for Christmas that year. And every year for a few years. Well, until I got old enough to do it myself.

Then a J.Crew store was built in our local mall and after I fainted every day for a week, J.Crew became my favorite habit. (I did stop at Gap while on the way, I can't lie.)

I had their classic rugby. Their rollneck sweater in several colors. Their red, one-piece trapdoor pajamas (those were a hit in highschool on pajama day, let me tell you). I realized they made talls in every pant, which was a dream come true for me. Then I bought my first J.Crew suit. Wow. Tremendous.

Now I love it because it's classic and timeless. The things that I bought in 2003 both fit and flatter me still. So the investment - however much it is - is worth it. J.Crew is workweek and weekend. (Part of that is because I like to mix and match sweats and tees and business wear.) I feel like myself most when I'm wearing it. My favorite thing about J.Crew's style is that it is so diverse. You can make it your own so easily and not conform to anyone else.

I have to do things differently. I am confident in my style at this point in my life; I love to mess things up on purpose. The JUXTAPOSITION of classic and sport - soft with rugged - pearls with jeans. Handmade with coutoure. THAT is me.

Solid colors, usually black or gray. A hint of sparkle is nice, too.
Must look fantastic with both sweatpants and dress pants.

I love you, J.Crew. I mean, not as much as my Hunky Dunky or my mama. And definitely not even close to the other, most important J.C. - but you're right up there.

And yes, I am doing everything I possibly can to not order these most darling skinny loungepants for Christmas. Must.... have.... willpower.

Or not.

December 16, 2010


Know what I just realized? I posted my Things I Love Thursday on Wednesday. What confuses me even more is that I tried purposefully to spend the week building the list and then - voila - publish on Thursday.

What a dumbass I am sometimes. Geesh.

So here I am on the actual Thursday. With nothing to tell you other than I BOUGHT SOMETHING FOR THE WEDDING TODAY AND I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED! There. Bettah.

Did you know that Bryon and I are still not officially engaged? Not. We do have a date and an officiant, and a venue, and are planning the invitations and the reception. And I am going to wear a dress afterall (just not a traditional one) - SQUEE to that! We aren't officially engaged yet because he's refused to act outside of the just the right circumstances. So, I'm in suspense still! It's nervewracking, but fun! You know, he always does something for the truest of reasons. Love him so.

Also, it is with sad eyes that I remind myself that my birthday is indeed in two days. Wish I was turning 29. Though, it promises to be perhaps the best birthday I've ever had this year... I can't wait. Bryon took the boys shopping last night for me (after spending a confessed 30 minutes on this very blog, he said - so maybe my Things I Love trigger finger wasn't so bad afterall!). Now that's a foreign concept to me. I literally feel like a kid in a candy store.

Lulu and I talked wedding all day today. [What, you can't keep up with the subject switch and tangents? Sorry. My brain does this routinely. I'm just typing in thought order for once.] We talked about the schedule and when she's coming in, about my mom and the invitations. We aren't having a large ceremony. Most everyone will only be invited to the reception. I wanted the wording to feel just right. I promise to share eventually.

But that purchase. Oh sweet honey, that purchase. Did you know that J. Crew is offering an additional 30% off of their sale items? I'm just saying one could definitely find the casual dress of one's dreams by accident on there, you know. If you were looking, that is. And for a price that would make anyone excited. J. Crew on my wedding day. Yeah, I'm not surprised.

Accidental dress + jeans + boots and snow and snowhats = MAGIC

December 14, 2010

Things I Love Thursday

1. The Happy Sack by Dottie Angel. LOVE.

2. Vintage schoolbags (and bowling bags!) from Samsonite, like this one from adVintageous in hot pink!

3. Darling vintage plate sets like this Norleans set on Etsy.

4. Gorgeous handmade cake plate from vesselsandwares on Etsy.

5. Glass Cake Plate/Punchbowl from Williams Sonoma.

6. Kendra by Kate Spade New York. (In black...I wish!)

7. Rocha by Nine West. Love the nude.

8. Felted ball garland from MadeMary on Etsy.

9. Handmade journals from Seattle Coffee on Etsy.

10. DIY ornaments from Bloesem.

And Dear B: It wouldn't be Things I Love if I didn't mention you, walking through the kitchen last night singing the lyrics to "The Right Stuff." I'm not sure what you were thinking, I only know that this glimpse of your freak flag [seriously, New Kids? HOW COOL ARE YOU?!?!] made me fall in love with you x5. And this morning you tried to spell Snoop speak in an email. You are so cool, Babe. I love you.