Monthly Archives: December 2014

Lavender Nights

In the past few years, I’ve grown fonder of cooler temperatures. While I still love to bask in the hot, sultry summers, I’ve been finding a sort of symmetry in embracing crisp winters.

I love feeling the brisk air on my face, the bundling up in coats and scarves, and most of all, the coziness that the winter brings. Because my sweet Matt hails from Canada and his immediate family lives in Detroit, I’ve learned the special art of couch and blanket sitting. It involves a lot of staying in, the perfect ratio of blankets to person, and usually a hot beverage, preferably with a little something “extra” added to warm you even more.

These days, the weather has been perfect for cozying up on the sofa and re-watching episodes of Twin Peaks, like we have been doing. It’s also been inspiring me to bake more, as the sweet scents wafting from the kitchen just add to those magical holiday feelings. This week, I decided to try my hand at shortbread, a cookie that I had actually never made before.

I slightly adapted a recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romano, THE ladies when it comes to vegan baking, and hot damn! They’re so good! I chose to make lavender shortbread, as I have a bunch of organic lavender that’s been begging to be used. Lavender can be a tricky flower to bake with, simply because so many people are adversed to the taste. (Or think they are!) What is so great about this recipe is that you can really taste all the layers of flavoring, as well as the textures. The floral, slightly anise-y flavor of the lavender hits your palate first, but then fades away to the familiar sugary vanilla that we all know and love. Combined with a crunchy, then chewy texture that eventually melts in your mouth, you wind up with a childhood favorite that has evolved to an elegant adult. Pair it with a glass of rich chocolate almond milk (hey, I didn’t say you had to ACT like an adult!), and you’re good to go.

And with that, bring on the cold weather, a comfy couch,  and a plate of warm cookies! I’m ready for ya!

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Glitter Bomb!

If you’ve been making your holiday list and checking it once, twice, and thrice, like I have, then you probably have all sorts of treats on it that you’ve been coveting for awhile. Mine wouldn’t be complete without a gorgeous pair of shoes on it!

I follow Alyssa Garrison’s blog, Random Acts of Pastel, as well as her Instagram account of the same name, and Sloane Tea, whose social media accounts she handles. Almost a month ago, Sloane Tea‘s Instagram account shared an image of their lovely tea with a pair of THE most amazing ballet flats with a sparkly toe. I am like a baby when it comes to anything with sparkle; it instantly grabs my attention. And shoes? I’m frequently referred to as “Imelda.” I’ve been lusting for these gems for weeks now!

The shoes in said photograph are by Titabonita Designs, and come in a range of colors and textiles. Their latest collection, with styles named after female world travelers, has me preparing my early 2015 wardrobe around them!

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I’m majorly crushing over this blue metallic slipper, named after investigative reporter Nellie Bly, who traveled the world by boat and train in just 72 days-talk about girl power! The ladies at Titabonita Designs told me that, “the blue represents the sea, rivers, and canals she bravely sailed, and the metallic aspect, as well as the silver toe cap, represent the steel train on whence she traveled.” How inspiring is that?

This icy blue is a color I’ve been feeling a lot this month. To me, it embodies everything about winter- cool & biting, soft & familiar. Though my holiday colors in previous years have had rosy pink as the focus, this glacial blue, along with some crisp white & woodsy lavender, has been at the center of my holiday decorating.

I’m also particularly fond of this stunning green ballerina! She is called Harriet, in honor of Harriet Chalmer Adams, “an american explorer, writer, and photographer, whose life was full of adventure.” The texture of this shoe “represents the stones used for Aztec and Incan temples she explored with her husband, Franklin Pierce Adams.”

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Green is one of my favorite colors, and one that I like to wear often. I feel like you can never go wrong with a vibrantly colored shoe, and how lucky would you be to be stepping about in this one? Another reason I love great shoes so much is that you can always find the right fit. When we struggle with jeans and bathing suits, we can always find comfort and confidence in that perfect shoe.

We still have several weeks before the holiday season ends, so you have ample time to add a pair of these beauties to your “I’ve been good” list! Hell, even if you’ve been naughty, you at least need to do so in style, right? 😉

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(Thanks so much to the gals at Titabonita for the photos and information about the naming process!)

The Beauty of the Canine

Our holiday weekend took a turn on Sunday when one of the family dogs suddenly and unexpectedly took ill. Sweet Dolly awoke with severe intestinal issues from an unknown cancer, and crossed the Rainbow Bridge later that night. With the help of my Vet Tech “sister-from-another-mister,” my mom was able to keep her comfortable throughout the day. Dolly was a half Basset/half English Shepherd mix, whose father, our giant, red-headed Basset, Hubert, had a gone to the Bridge as a result of bloat (very common in the breed), a year and a half prior. Her mama, fluffy blonde Zooey, and her many brothers and sisters, cleaned and loved on her during the day, and said their goodbyes when it was time.

The emotional capacities of dogs are widely discussed and debated, but I think that anyone who has any kind of pet, knows that they all have the ability to feel something. We all know that they can tell the difference between happy and sad, and Rosie knows how to get some “happy” attention from me just by smiling, but do they feel emotions such as grief and loss? Zooey, Dolly’s mother, instinctively ran after us, a look of anger across her face, as we took Dolly outside that night. We can easily question whether it was because of propriety feelings toward her flesh and blood, or was it love for her child who was being taken away? The following day, dirt and grass put back into place, my dad found my Great Pyrenees, Astrid, sitting beside Dolly’s grave, in an area she never sits, gazing off into the distance. The next day she would do the same.

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Dogs have an innate sense of smell, so why shouldn’t they have an innate sense of feeling? While we can track brain activity and test them all day long, I think our pets possess an ability to understand, to emote, to just know, in a way that cannot be measured or qualified by evaluations or trials. It stems simply from their hearts, in a knowledge of unconditional love and understanding that we as humans only wish we had.