Category Archives: gardening

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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summer wine

July was wild. It’s my favorite month because we make our annual trip to Hilton Head, the days are rife with summer storms, the gardens are overflowing, and there are many celebrations. This July was particularly full, as we enjoyed the beach, drove into Savannah, toasted a friend’s engagement, and then I flew off to Philadelphia and New York for the DNC and to see two of my best friends. Now that I have a month off from the 2nd of my 4(!) jobs, I will have some time to catch up and actually write! While I get everything in order, here’s a sneak peek through photos of what is to come.

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sunsets at Hilton Head

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sunday morning tea blending

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trespassing through a nearly demolished recording studio in Savannah

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vegan blueberry banana bread

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twilight hour engagement parties

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the shakespeare garden in central park

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celebrating the success of nominating HRC as the first female candidate of a major party

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thrift store finds & birthday surprises

Fingers crossed I can get on a regular schedule here! 😉

 

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

Etsy

What’s a geoduck?

The drive from Portland to Olympia can be a dangerous one, if you go it alone. That’s simply because the views are incredible. I don’t know how I managed to not hit someone or drive off the road while trying to take pictures and drive at the same time! (sorry, mom).

I got up early to drive to Nicole’s house (should I say, Lucille‘s house???), somehow managing to bypass any jet-lag out of eagerness to see my friend and her Bostons. After lots of puppy snuggles, we hopped in the car to explore and grab lunch. On the way into the city, I noticed this cute little  retro-themed burger shack, replete with dinosaurs and large wooden cut outs of cartoon characters, and thought to myself, “ooh, I hope we go there.” Nicole knows me pretty well because the next thing I knew, we were turning into the parking lot! Holy Hell. I don’t know how Olympia residents don’t eat at Eastside Big Tom’s on a daily basis. I was in veg heaven with veggie burger, hot dog, and chik*n sandwich options, plus fries, tots, and best of all, GOOP. The Goop was pretty much the main reason we went there-it’s a secret sauce they put on their burgers and you can order it on the side for your fries or tots, which I highly recommend. I was skeptical at first, being a big ketchup girl, but now I’m always trying to recreate the Goop in my kitchen across the country. It really is a THING out there! I devoured a veggie burger, fries with Goop, and a marshmallow milkshake before we headed to the farmer’s market.

Eastside Big Tom's!

Eastside Big Tom’s!

The Olympia Farmers Market, known as “The Jewel of Olympia,” really is a gem. I wish I could have bought all of the fruits and veggies they had-especially the Eastern European sauerkraut from Olykraut. (Please bring it to the South!) I did go home with the ‘Pineapple Express’ headband from Pieces to Peaces for my penpal, Adrienne, and a longing to shop there every week. The Farmers Market is in downtown Olympia, within walking distance to Budd Inlet.

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Budd Inlet

I debated buying all of these seed packets to grow in my garden, displayed so beautifully in vintage crates! It was hard not to scoop up all of the fresh lavender that many of the nursery vendors were selling…

sowing the seeds of love

sowing the seeds of love

Every now and then, I have to have an oyster or two. If you’ve ever read M.F.K. Fisher’s Consider the Oyster, then you’ll understand! How gorgeous are these?!

fresh oysters

fresh oysters

After the market, we made our way into the downtown shopping district. While Olympia may be a “college town,” it’s definitely got a big-city feel. The delicately curated shops have something for everyone, my favorite being Compass Rose. From Dram Apothecary bitters to vegan bags by Matt and Nat, stationary by the ever fabulous Cavallini & Co., and the best candles ever by Produce, I had to hold myself back from emptying my wallet there. I did, however, pick up a few 45s from Rainy Day Records. Sweet Nicole waited patiently while I sat on the floor, digging through boxes as quickly as possible! I got a couple of James Brown singles, and a copy of “Shake a Tail Feather” by The Five Du-Tones, among others. I fell in love with Psychic Sister, a vintage shop that also had tarot readings! I love getting vintage pieces from around the world, and found the most beautiful butterfly dress from the 70s that I was able to wear to a wedding recently. If you aren’t following these shops on Instagram or Facebook, you should be!

After a little shopping, Nicole drove me over to Evergreen State College, where we walked around the woods and took a little tour of the campus. It was there that I learned what a geoduck is! The mascot of Evergreen, the geoduck is a species of very large, edible saltwater clams in the family Hiatellidae. That said, I suggest you google an image of one, if you aren’t already familiar with it. Evergreen’s motto is Omnia Extares, or “Let it all hang out.” Google the geoduck. Trust me.

lush forest at Evergreen

lush forest at Evergreen

We drove around a little more, with Nicole taking us to the highest point of the city, showing me the best panorama of Olympia. By the time we got back to her house, we were greeted by yet another Boston having arrived! With 3 in her house and another up the street, it was nearly too much for me to handle! It was really hard to leave, even with the fact that there were more adventures awaiting me in Portland. Even better-Nicole drove down on Monday so we could do some pet shopping before I left! Putting us in a dog boutique is just asking for trouble…

Solo cross-country trip, day one, was better than I could have ever imagined. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such amazing friends!

Church Shoes

It’s been a whirlwind of a year since my last post in March, with an abundance of change. As the dust has finally (finally!) settled, I can now get back to posting about our adventures!

Rosie and I have had to endure a great amount of sadness but received so much support through these challenging months. I look forward to sharing with you my trip to the Pacific Northwest, with stops in Portland and Olympia –  including a stay at the most perfect Airbnb, and replete with Boston Terriers! I even got to meet Lucille Marie of The Pawsh Puppy!

The Autumn air is beginning to reach that perfect cooler temperature, and I’m taking advantage of it with lots of walks, foraging for the perfect pieces of moss and mushrooms, creating soul-warming soups (butternut squash and parsnip!), and roller skating in my vintage skates for a little extra exercise, followed by soothing and meditative yoga sessions.

There are lots of surprises in store in the coming months, as well – I can’t wait to share them all with you! Until then, be on the lookout for some new vegan recipes, a tour of Portland & Olympia, and lots of beautiful wares and clothing from my favorite makers and shakers!

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(Vintage saddle shoes by Bass)

Spring Awakening

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve neglected you all for over a month! Fear not, faithful readers-I’ve got lots of updates coming your way! I’ve spent this weekend lusting over all the beautiful specimens at the Gem & Mineral Show that was in town, and filled today with lovely little herbs in preparation for Spring and Summer.

More on the above, as well as updates from Rosie, some #FBF from our trip, and what we did for Valentine’s Day-just a few of the highlights! For now, I’ve got to get ready for Secret Record Night at The Bee’s Knees, where my sweet Matt will be spinning records and celebrating his birthday which is TOMORROW!

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The weather here has been stunning the past few days- Rosie and the kitties have been basking in the sunshine, and I’m not hating having my windows finally open!

Deep Roots

Most Saturdays (and some Fridays during my lunch break!), one can find me perusing my favorite nursery looking for the perfect new plant babies to take home. My apartment is brimming with furry, four-legged children, as well as green, sometimes furry, potted ones! When I was really little, we would visit my grandparents at their office downtown- a space in which they also lived- with an old-fashioned Coke machine in the back room, operas playing on the stereo, and where the scent of oil paint, tobacco, and butterscotch candies filled the air. When I wasn’t sitting atop a filing cabinet playing with a collection of small ceramic mice, gnomes, and other various fairytale creatures, I could be found by my grandmother’s side, watering can in hand, as she let me help her nourish the plants. Because it was it favorite activity to do there, I don’t know how I didn’t end up killing them all, since I begged to water them all the time! I still remember standing on my tippy toes in white stockings and Mary Jane shoes, tipping a pale blue watering can just over the lip of a pot, and pretending that the leaves and flowers were growing before my eyes.

One of the most frustrating things about apartment living is the inability to have a truly magnificent garden. At my old house, I grew strawberries, nasturtiums, every herb you could imagine, snapdragons, hyacinths, gerbera daisies, dahlias, etc. I’ve had to re-imagine how to bring the outside in, and in doing so, sharpened my green thumb. Ten years ago, I killed my first cactus-now, I have several who are thriving! So, for any of you who fear you have a black thumb, you may just not have found a type of plant that works with your sentiments and lifestyle. For example, ferns don’t really flow with me, but orchids are easy. I’m really enjoying finding new varieties of indoor plants that will bring the magical feeling I had as a kid into my home as adult.

When we travel, I always look for greeneries, florists, or any shop that sells plants. In Royal Oak, Michigan, one of my favorite shops has the most adorable collection of succulents. Rail and Anchor is pretty much one of the best home & gift shops ever. From Herbivore Botanicals to Found My Animal, they have something for every aspect of one’s life. They even serve hot tea! Their succulent collection, however, always leaves me wishing they could all fly home with us.
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Another store I like to visit is Nest, in the Cass/Canfield area of Detroit. I usually pick up some sort of stationary or violet candy, but what I really want is all of the air plants! This holiday season, they some really wonderful ceramic air plant containers that I still regret not buying. Those, and the watermelon ornaments!

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How gorgeous is that terrarium?!

My sweet boyfriend and I exchanged one gift apiece while we were on vacation. He’s pretty good at digging through my Pinterest account to see what I’m dreaming about, and finding just the right thing. That item was a pair of vintage, Japanese gardening shears, which he said he thought I would enjoy using for all of my gardening needs, combined with my love for all things vintage and Japanese. *insert heart eyes here*

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Since we didn’t go to the greenhouses this past Saturday, we went on our day off today. He’s a pretty good sport to put up with my indecisiveness, hemming and hawing to find the right plants to join our home. His sister and brother in law gifted me a beautiful terrarium over the holidays and I’d had yet to start to fill it, so I decided that today was the day to do so. I picked up one of my favorite moss varieties, Leucobryum, and a little dark green Peperomia. I’m going to have to take the terrarium with me next weekend, to pick out everything else! I also added a Gasteria carinata, an aloe-like succulent, to my plant family.

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We went to the nursery just as the afternoon light was starting to fade, and had the hothouses all to ourselves. One of the cats who roam the property followed us around, and it was like being transported to a quiet, tropical getaway for the day. Do you have any hobbies that you were interested in as a kid, and cultivated as you became an adult?

Weekend Summary:
New plant babies, gin drinks aptly named “Fortune Teller,” vegan Pad Thai with friends, listening to the boy spinning sweet sounds, and sleeping in until noon- I’d say it was a success! How was yours?