Category Archives: design

Memphis in June

Or, at least, the South in June…

I can’t believe how quickly Summer is approaching – it’s been a busy Spring!

Between work (all three jobs, plus smaller side hustles!), my involvement with the Young Democrats of GeorgiaThe Young Democrats of Augusta-Richmond CountyThe Columbia County Democratic PartyRCSAS, school (all As, thank you very much!), and as a contributing writer for Live Your Dream, it’s pretty much non-stop all day, every day. I can’t really complain, though, as it’s all fulfilling, and on top of all of that, I also get to flex my creative muscles with weddings, cake baking, & personal writing, so the balance is starting to fall into place. Since my facebook and twitter feeds are already full of politics, I’ll not bore you here with it and instead share a few of the other things I’ve been up to over the past month and a half.

My mom and I went to the lavender farm in upstate South Carolina and came back with a plentiful supply! Lavender simple syrup was made first, followed by blackberry lavender jam, and I’m still filling jars full of dried lavender buds. The simple syrup was used to soak lemon cakes – one of which was for a Memorial Day low-country boil at a friend’s house and the other for Humanitree House.

 

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lavender infused lemon cake

 

Each cake was iced with a lemon buttercream and sprinkled with fresh lavender on top – all vegan, of course. I was really happy with how this recipe turned out – a nice combination of moist and fluffy, with just a hint of lavender that wasn’t overpowering.

Strawberry season started early this year (looking at you, global warming) and ended this past weekend, but I took as many opportunities as I could to hit up the u-pick. We’ve got jars of strawberry preserves stocking the fridge, which are even more delicious when spread on homemade strawberry loaf!

 

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freshly picked strawberries with honey from Duck Feather Herbs & handmade wooden spoon from The Hermit & Co.  plus mint from the garden

 

In between baking, I was fortunate enough to have two pieces of work published. The first was in WSU’s literary journal, LandEscapes, and the other was in a book produced by Weaver House Co. about textiles. There are still some books at Weaver House available, as well as some really beautiful weavings!

 

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There’s really nothing like fruits and veggies this time of year. We planted artichokes last summer, and they finally produced! I was SO PROUD of these delicious gals! It was *almost* too hard to eat them, but somehow, I managed. 😉

 

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One of my co-workers has backyard chickens and every Friday, she sells the most beautiful eggs. I don’t always eat eggs, but when I do (insert meme here), they are always fresh! Look at these pretty colors!

 

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I’m now salivating because blackberry season has finally started! I had wanted to pick my own, but they won’t let you do that at the farm with the strawberry patch due to snakes! Regardless, I got a bunch that were pre-packed, ready to make jams and cakes! The farm also has rows and rows of gladiola and zinnias and I can never leave without filling my car to the brim. I’ll save those for another post, though!

 

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ready to become blackberry lavender jam

 

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blackberry champagne cake

 

Finally, with the premiere of the new season of ‘Twin Peaks,’ I had no choice but to make a cherry pie. I know I wasn’t the only one enjoying a slice!

 

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I suppose I should have made something for the latest season of ‘House of Cards,’ which gave me LIFE. Also, Robin Wright in ‘Wonder Woman’ is seriously the greatest thing ever. I could wax poetic about her right now, but then I’d end up crying (again) so instead, I’ll just daydream about owning the Antiope Barbie doll.

In other news that will be detailed in the next update, baby Iris turned 1 and we adopted an 11-year-old deaf Boston baby named Spanky, who I like to call Spankmaster Flash. He is just the sweetest and they are getting along swimmingly! All the heart eyes for my babies.

Fingers crossed I can knock out another blog post by the end of the month. I’ve got a wedding this weekend, and am super excited about the flowers we’ve ordered – plus, the site is incredible. Now, if only I could decide what cake flavor to make next…any suggestions?

 

 

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Seaglass & Stardust

Ah, June. It’s the birth month of my best friend, my boyfriend, my pops, AND Summer Solstice! The Spring season has been more than generous this year, with an abundance of Knock-Out roses, fresh banana peppers, and a plentiful supply of lemon balm & mint. I’m eager to see what the Summer will bring, as the temperatures soar and our garden continues to flourish.

Spring has had me drawn to cooler tones – shades of purple, blue, and deep pinks, reflecting the colorful hydrangea surrounding the neighborhood. They’ve shown up in my floral arrangements as well as in the jewelry I wear. I’ve added to my collection from Seaglass & Stardust with opals and amethysts, ignoring the superstition that one isn’t supposed to wear opals unless her birthday is in October! However, my mother’s birthday is in October, and since Nicole has started a “Trio Thursday,” my mom and I ordered some to share. Nicole was incredibly helpful in finding the right stones for us – I was looking for the blue, relaxing hues while my mom was interested in ones with a fiery, pink flash. Rounding out the combo with a lighter, milky opal, and with three unique shapes, she created pieces that we’ve been wearing constantly.

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opals & eucalyptus

If you follow her Instagram, you’ll notice her chunky amethysts have been selling like hotcakes! As soon as she restocked, I moved quickly and ordered one for my mom for Mother’s Day -as purple is her favorite color – and accompanied the ring with a lavender bush for the yard. I ended up receiving an amethyst ring of my own a couple of weeks later, and have enjoyed mixing and matching with my ever-growing treasure trove.

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fresh lavender for days!

Peter and I spent another afternoon at the Atlanta Botanical Garden recently, admiring the Chihuly exhibit and taking in all of the new blooms. The leafy Philodendrons always catch my eye, and I couldn’t help but take a photo of this icy opal contrasting against the warm red leaves. The Chihuly exhibit was lovely, and I’d be interested in seeing the glass under the lights in the evening. We also spent some time back at the High, checking out the Basquiat exhibit, where they’ve displayed pages of his notebooks and selected works. It was intriguing to try and decipher his thought process, often schizophrenic at times. While the show has ended there, I would encourage everyone to visit it if it arrives in your area.

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As mentioned above, we’ve had a plethora of Knock-Out roses –  and I can’t wait for the next round to bloom! Having worked for a florist many moons ago, I’ve always enjoyed floral arranging & design, and received my own florist’s license this Spring. Weekends have been consumed with a wealth of bouquets – from large baskets full for Beltane to smaller, fragrant nosegays placed in bud vases. As our current garden grows, I’ve been studying up on English herb gardens with the help of some exquisite guides from the 1800’s. The scents are wonderfully intoxicating and the herbs themselves can be used in many remedies and teas.

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amethyst ring from Seaglass & Stardust

With the entrance of June and the hotter weather, it’s time to start putting my hair up – though we don’t sweat in the south – we “glisten.” Seaglass & Stardust has started carrying the sweetest amethyst bobby pins that will do just the trick for keeping my bangs in place as they grow. That is, until I make the stupid decision to cut them again once it reaches 100 degrees with 100% humidity! 😉 Follow Nicole on Instagram to see all of her updates and sales, and take a peek at her website, where she’s been so kind to use one of my photographs!

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Seaglass & Stardust

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Hotline Bling

So, Mercury is about to be Retrograde and I pretty much just want to cover myself in crystals and stay in bed until it subsides. But since I can’t reasonably do that, and have to go out in the world, I’m settling for decking myself out in wearable stones from some of the lady makers who are killing it in the gem world.

Two problems here: 1) I have stupid small fingers and wrists, and it can be challenging to find jewelry that fits. Bracelets are the worst, and I don’t find them very comfortable, anyway, but I do love rings. 2) After working for a high-end jeweler, and receiving perks and knowledge from that job, I find it difficult to shell out the cash for overpriced, mass-produced goods. What to do?

I can be found cruising Etsy most afternoons, searching for vintage goods, original designs, & apothecary elixirs, and it was through here that I stumbled upon Lazuli Handcrafted. Based out of Rhode Island, Erica creates sparkly baubles from raw gemstones to adorn your hair all the way to illuminating your fingers, and they won’t break the bank like all the overpriced commercial designers. These magical, electroformed pieces are just splendid – and better yet, she makes them in an array of sizes! Not all jewelers will make rings smaller than a 5, which can be disappointing, and because of the electroforming process, they cannot be re-sized, or have beads put in them. Finding a 3.75 is hard, so I usually just stick with a 4, giving my fingers some room to swell during these sweltering days. But I digress – the jewelry! I took advantage of her “Trio Tuesday” sale, and with Erica’s suggestions, picked out Herkimer diamond, emerald, and turquoise rings. Herkimer diamonds are great because they are ethical, conflict-free, and an ideal alternative to a real diamond. I’ve loved emeralds since seeing Return to Oz as a child, and who doesn’t relish a strong piece of turquoise?

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dainty gem trio with viburnum

I wear mine as a stack, but each one is unique and handsome enough worn on its own. I love the juxtaposition in Erica’s jewelry – delicately made bands supporting powerful, energizing stones. As mentioned, she creates more than just stunning rings: hair pins, earrings, necklaces – and she’s just released some Tibetan quartz chokers that this Leo is on the prowl for- you can practically feel the cleansing vibrations! I’m also highly lusting after her Herkimer Diamond 5 Stone Rings. What a great band! Any of you lovely ladies getting looking to get engaged? A single Herkimer diamond with the 5 stone band would be a flawless wedding set! Not into the whole marriage thing? Nbd – celebrate yourself with a few of these beauts!

When I have been able to tuck myself away indoors, I’ve been trying to channel the ominous energy from Mercury Retrograde and turn it into something good. I’m currently working on a Zodiac-inspired moon watercolor series, complete with – what else?- crystals! My muses are the minerals my guy and I brought home from a dig this past weekend, and, with paintbrush in hand, rings on my fingers, rocks by my side – I think I’ll be able to get through the next three weeks with little to no scarring. Even with 5 planets in retrograde this time, I feel like this one won’t be too bad. It’s a good time to slow down, reflect, and evaluate how we communicate with ourselves and the world. Best of luck to you all!

Review: Soft Focus Mask by Wildcare

It’s no surprise by now that I love a good facial product. When Wildcare announced they were introducing a new face mask made from pineapple extract, coconut milk, and pearl powder, I just had to try it! With each purchase of this new release, they were offering a sample of their Wild Melon facial oil, a little potion created from watermelon seed, black currant seed, ylang ylang, and other intoxicating scents – a perfect follow up to lock in the benefits of the face mask. One of the things I love about the face mask is that it contains only FOUR natural ingredients!

The Soft Focus face mask has a fragrance to it that takes you back to bright summer days, lounging by the pool, freshly-squeezed juice in hand. It’s a nice little pick-me-up for a grey, rainy day but also a splendid way to refresh on a hot, sunny afternoon.

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Pearl powder has been used in China for thousands of years as both a dietary and beauty treatment. One of its benefits is that it can prevent the development of melanin, which is what causes freckles and dark patches due to sun exposure and aging. This is particularly helpful to me, as my Eastern European heritage has left me developing some hyper-pigmentation on my face as I age, and while I don’t hate it – it’s a symbol of who I am -, it’s nice to have a product that will help prevent it from getting out of control. I’m also a Leo-a fire sign, and a July baby, so summertime is one of my favorite seasons. This means spending as much time outdoors as possible, especially at the beach, and while I take precautions to protect my skin, one can never do enough. The pearl powder in this mask will help reverse any sun damage from those afternoons at the JCC and Hilton Head! It’s also extremely beneficial in preventative practices now, as I’m constantly out in the sun, tending to my gardens.

Combine this with pineapple extract, organic coconut milk powder (an added plus: it’s dairy-free!), and white kaolin clay, and you’ve got a face mask that will leave your skin feeling porcelain smooth.

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herbal tea, vintage peignoir, a weighty book, & a face mask = perfect evening!

As for the Wild Melon oil: I’ve added that to my morning routine, in between washing my face and smoothing on lotion. There’s always a bit of apprehension when applying an oil – will it leave my face looking greasy? But this one is quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving your face lustrous and soft.

I love that Wildcare is based on the therapeutic qualities of indigenous plants in the PNW, and a dedication to herbalism. That’s just another of the many things I love the most about the Pacific Northwest – everyone out there is so encouraging of their community, and creating & sustaining a beautiful environment. Being able to support brands like this is the best feeling – and now their Golden Hour body oil and Lemon Light hydrosol are next on my list of goodies to try!

 

*Kawaii BB*

As every little girl in the early 80s, I was IN LOVE with Sanrio & Hello Kitty. My dream job was to wear the Hello Kitty costume at Sanrio Surprises in the mall (lofty goals, I know), and I distinctly remember being distraught over the loss of my “sea foam green” (the seven year old artist!) Little Twin Stars pencil. They were my favorite, alongside My Melody and Spottie Dottie, with Tuxedo Sam rounding out the group. Did anyone else watch Furry Tale Theatre on Saturday mornings? Wasn’t it the best?! I may or may not have bought the newer versions on DVD in the 2000s… 🙂

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my sweet mama surprised me with a stuffed Totoro last Valentine’s Day

Fast forward a few years to the English release of My Neighbor Totoro & life would be forever changed. I was fortunate enough to have a friend whose uncle designed stickers in Korea, and he would send us tons of Japanese and Korean stickers, with lots of Miyazaki ones included. Practically wearing out my VHS, all I dreamed of was living in a giant Camphor tree and eating bento boxes with that fluffy giant! I settled for collecting Bonsai trees and gobbling up noodles, though, and to this day, think of Totoro every time I pick up an acorn or see a soot sprite. A couple of years ago, Cine in Athens had a Miyazaki fest, and I finally got to see my beloved film on the big screen (although it was the newer, Disney dub which I do not love quite as much). It was hard not to cry, being able to experience a childhood favorite the way it’s supposed to be seen. One of my best friends, Karen, is also a huge Japanese/anime fan, and I recently lent her a copy of the film so she and her kids could watch it.  It’s been so rewarding to hear how much her little sprites love it as much as we do!

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special birthday presents!

Karen gifted me some Totoro items from Japan for my birthday two years ago, and we shared some snacks from Okinawa just recently. Making the food from all of our favorite Miyazaki films and a day full of Studio Ghibli screenings is next on the list!

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treats from Okinawa

Another one of my besties, Savanna, and I joke about “finding our people.” Thus, she is also a lover of all things Kawaii! When we went to see one of our most treasured bands, Eisley, back in October, we made sure to dress up in our “Lolita” best – braids, bun-buns, swan socks, gold shoes, ruffles, & pink! In our excitement, we neglected to get full photos of ourselves, but we did get a little one with Christie Dupree, so that’s what counts, right?! Savanna and I hit up our favorite local Asian markets last weekend to stock up on snacks and other necessities for making pho, rice bowls, and the like. My mom and I have always loved the strawberry & chocolate wafer sticks, but I picked up some ube flavored ones this time – and boy, are they are delicious!!! I did get some more strawberry ones, but the tin is not as cute as the one they’ve been in in the past. First world problems!

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strawberry wafer sticks and lychee candy from last year. also, these Sucre shop utensils!

Yesterday, I received one of the best things ever – my first Kawaii Box! This adorable company sends you 10-12 Japanese and Korean items each month from their shop, Blippo, ranging from brands such as SanrioPockyAlpacassoPony Brown, and, of course, Totoro! I was squealing with delight as I opened each item – the package arrived in perfect time, too, as I am getting ready to hop a plane to Philly and NYC to see my loves, Crystal & Zach, and now I will have a new coin purse, notebook, & stickers to take with me! At under $20/month plus free shipping, you just can’t beat receiving a pink and purple wrapped box in the mail each month full of the cutest treasures. Alongside these boxes, the company also has Japan Candy Box, a similar box full of sweets and treats – also under $20/month! Splendid gifts for the Kawaii lover in your life….or for spoiling yo’ self! Thanks so much, Kawaii Box!

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Kawaii Box + blush pink Kanken + Rosehound pins

It’s safe to say I am ready to visit PurolandHarmony Land, the Ghibli Museum, wander the luscious Biei lavender fields, hunt for Morizo & Kiccoro, and look for my very own Camphor tree. I also wouldn’t mind taking home a capybara! Rosie even has some friends in Japan – George & Mimi Shugasuki, to whom we would love to say hello!

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Marvelous Things

Y’all! I’m about to get all twee on you for a minute as I received the CUTEST package this week from Hello Heartbreak! Amanda was hosting an Instagram giveaway a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited to find out I had won! I picked out the “Meow” tote bag by FIELDGUIDED, a rose-gold enamel “Kitty” pin by Hello Harriet, and an awesome risographed “Deep Space House Plant” zine by the talented Ashley Ronning.

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kawaii dreams!

Included with the items I chose was a mint-haired “Shy Girl” brooch by Auf Wiedersehen. Totes adorbs, right?!

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(photo from helloheartbreak.com)

My gal pal and I are going to see Eisley tomorrow night and now I will be all set with a new tote bag to carry my camera & souvenirs in and pins to wear on my denim jacket!

Seriously, though – Amanda has the BEST collection at Hello Heartbreak. She’s carefully selected items from my personal favorites, Rosehound ApparelJenni’s PrintsFIELDGUIDED, & Cat People Magazine, and introduced me to new obsessions by Cat RabbitHello Harriet, & Maison Balzac. I currently have my eye on the Kitty Tape and the Imaginary Fronds zine, and I think the “Myself” banner would look lovely in my office! Go give her shop a peek and if you’re in Melbourne (where she’s based), I hear all orders will come with an All Day Donut gift voucher – for a limited time, only. Mmm, donuts…..