Category Archives: gifts

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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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!

 

West or Bust

Where to begin! I got really lucky in February and found an amazing price on tickets into LA, on which I just couldn’t pass. Double that luck when my parents’ best friends said I could stay with them during my visit! They live right around the corner from Mt. Baldy, which is a simply stunning mountain. Passion fruit smoothie in hand (assimilated quickly to the West Coast!), I headed up the mountain with Jim my first morning to take in some views. It’s pretty amazing to go from 70 degree weather to snow in just a matter of minutes. Aside from the natural amenities, the village of Mt. Baldy actually has a lot to offer, including a Zen lodge, a museum, and restaurant. It’s such a great escape that’s a mere 5 minutes away from the rest of civilization. I wouldn’t mind having that in my backyard!

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view from Mt. Baldy

I spent the rest of the afternoon in Sherman Oaks with my friend, Shannon, looking at pups up for adoption at the local animal shelter, and driving into LA. Shannon and I have been friends since our art department days in college, and it was so nice to get to catch up with her and hear about her plans for the future.

I was eager to find a cute little store I follow on Instagram called Pygmy Hippo Shoppe. It really is the most darling, tiniest shop ever! I picked up a few goodies for my pen pals, a Heinz pickle pin for my pickle-hating boyfriend, and found a pink vintage AKC rosette for my Rosie. This is the perfect shop for finding a unique, one-of-a-kind gift, and fortunately, they are online, too! I’m still eyeing their heart printed rain bonnets…

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just look at those adorable bonnets!

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souvenirs from Pygmy Hippo Shoppe

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mural by Chris Uphues

We drove through Beverly Hills and Laurel Canyon on the way back to Sherman Oaks,  hitting up Melrose, Sunset, and Mulholland Drive, among other notable streets. It had rained a bit that afternoon, and California drivers canNOT deal, haha. It’s like when we southerners get snow flurries and the city shuts down. Bree made the joke that instead of locals running to the store for bread and milk like they do here, they rush out for bread and soymilk. Ha! I will say, however, that California drivers are so great. As long as your blinker is on, they will let you over, and move out of the way to help. While rush hour traffic does suck, they just deal with it and are straight up nice about it.

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Shannon and I getting caught in the rain ❤

I closed out the day with dinner at Loving Hut with Beth, Bree, and the kids. Vegan cheeze sticks, steamed dumplings, & chocolate chip “cheese”cake! Yum! I always knew I’d be able to eat in California!

The next day there was to be a meet-up at the dog beach in Newport. Though it sounds like something I would do, I actually did NOT plan my trip around seeing a dozen Boston Terriers, hahaha. I just got lucky that the first meet-up of the year coincided with the weekend of my vacation, and I was absolutely going to take advantage of it to meet some of Rosie’s friends! Plus, I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to go to the beach and stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean! Get ready for an overload of BT photos….

Sweetheart Day, pt. 2

I’m very lucky to have a partner who humors me when I say that we should go to the Korean spa and get naked with a bunch of strangers. Being a nude model, I don’t mind shedding my clothes around people, and this is a far more relaxing (and warmer!) way to do it. Naturally, Jeju has segregated locker and bath areas, so we were only able to go to the large saunas and restaurant together. Even then, I like to be as warm as possible, so while I spent much of my time in the Rock & Salt sauna & the steam rooms, he prefers cooler temperatures and enjoyed the frigid meat locker known as the Ice Room. Off our separate ways we went!

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restoration in the Jewel Sauna

Once most people pulled out their mats to go to bed, we headed back to the hotel. At only $25 for 24 hours, I’d have no qualms about staying overnight! But, it was nice to fall into that big king-sized bed, replete with fluffy pillows and hotel amenities. The hotel in which we stayed was a childhood favorite, full of gardens inside and out – including a little Japanese one! We overslept, but still had plenty of time to get in all of our planned excursions before heading home. We hit up The High first, where we were pleasantly surprised to find free admission due to a big family festival they were having that day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the museum that crowded! It’s nice to be able to go there and the Columbia Museum of Art and experience all the different events both museums have to offer.

I’m a big fan of the American and Folk Art wings, and had to take the opportunity to snap photos of work by some of my favorite artists – Bill Traylor, Joseph Stella, and Howard Finster, just to name a few. I’ve got my eye on a Bill Traylor anthology, as well as a Walker Evans one they have for sale in the museum shop. They may have to come home with me on our trip to see the Basquiat exhibit!

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“The Lion and the Bear”

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close-up of “Purissima,” Joseph Stella

After the museum, we grabbed a quick lunch from the food carts positioned outside of the Woodruff Arts Center (a veggie burger & plaintains for me, pasta and spicy meatballs for him!) and skipped down the road to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The Tropical Rotunda is just full of the most perfect plant species, especially all of the varietals of Philodendrons.

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I’ve never been one who favors photographing flora, but I have to admit that I do enjoy taking portraits of strange plants and curious leaves.

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a close-up from the High Elevation House

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your cliche “hand on plant/#liveauthentic” photo

During our visit, we delighted in the Nepenthes, or Asian Pitcher Plant, exhibit. I love love love carnivorous plants, and these were a sight to see!

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sweet nectar

 

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next painting subject?

I’m working on a couple of photo series’ right now, as well as some smaller watercolors for another project, and trying to decide which one I want to go with for an upcoming show in the Fall. Plant portraits are weighing heavily on my mind, and I certainly have more than enough photos from which to choose now!

Speaking of photography, my boyfriend is also a talented photo-maker, and he surprised me with an image of a really special moment. We went to a Clinton rally a couple of weeks ago, where we got to hear former President Bill Clinton speak, and I even managed to take a selfie with him! While taking said selfie, my sweet beau jumped on the risers and snapped a photo of us, and gifted me a print of it for the holiday. I ran around the station with it, proudly sharing it with everyone and anyone, and now have it hanging up behind my desk. It was such an honor to meet him, and to have that second captured in time truly is a treasure. #endgushing!

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You’re due for a Rosie post, so look for one soon highlighting the her souvenir from Philadelphia and her Valentine’s present. She’s also highly in need of a bath, so I may give you a glimpse into what a spa day looks like for her!

 

Sweetheart Day, pt. 1

This Valentine’s Day, we decided to get away from it all and headed to Atlanta for a quick, but relaxing, overnight trip. About a month ago, I had booked an appointment with Radiant Human at Young Blood Boutique to have my aura photographed, and couldn’t decide if I should just drive up for the day solo and then have a quiet Valentine’s Day at home or if the boy and I should go together and explore. We like a challenge, so we decided to go for it and pack in as much as we could in those 24 hours!

Our first stop was at Argosy so I could get my cards read by my friend, Katie, of Psychic Joy. She was eerily accurate in December, and I was curious as to what she and the cards had to say a couple of months later. She was right on the money again! You should definitely check her out during one of the Argosy Swaps, and take a look at her goods at Psychic Joy Shop.

Surprisingly, I had overlooked Young Blood each time I was in the Highlands, always spending the afternoon in Highland Row Antiques digging for records, jade dishware, & vintage adornments. Nutmeg Vintage is without a doubt my favorite booth, so give her some love next time you’re there! As for Young Blood, they carry almost all of my favorite brands – Mudpuppy CeramicsNative Bear, Portland favorites Betsy and Iya & Imaginary Authors, & Group Partner, just to name a few. I managed to get away without causing too much damage, with a long-coveted tee from Otherwild, some chocolate from Compartes, and the most adorable plum-flavored lolly from A Secret Forest.

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also shown: a lovely labradorite I picked up for some extra good energy

I’ve been dying for one of Michael’s All-Seeing Eye Hand Amulets, and now I’m obsessed with his decal adorned skulls, particularly the boob one! Seems like it would be pretty perfect for my desk at work, no?

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Getting my aura photographed was all that I hoped it would be. Christina is so kind, and she took the time to explain what the colors of each person’s aura meant. The purple/violet color at the top represents my consciousness – being a visionary who is  unconventional, non-judgmental, playful, loves to be inspired and delight others. The red right represents the exterior, the energy pushing out, or how the world sees me – strong with great will power, someone who looks to new beginnings, leadership, action, and practicality. It is encouraged to get plenty of exercise and get into nature to achieve balance. As for the lower left-hand, that represents how I see the energy coming in, or the lens in which I view the world – a blue color stands for depth of feeling, trust, devotion, loyalty, nurture, personal relationships, supportive, intuitive, and sensitive, and it is recommended to pursue creative endeavors. I’d say that’s me in a nutshell!

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Christina is based out of Portland, but is constantly on tour photographing auras. I urge you to check her dates and see if she will be in a city near you so you can do this, too! It is an experience I will always treasure – and definitely not a bad start to a lovely Valentine’s Day weekend! Next up, Jeju, the High, and the Botanical Gardens!

Self Care

A lover of natural, herbal, & holistic remedies, I stumbled upon PDX apothecary, Duck Feather Herbs, a couple of months ago, and have had my eye on their Lavender lip balm, Sleeping Beauty tea, and an array of herbal tinctures ever since. Just after the new year, they hosted a giveaway with fellow herbalists, Tumbleweed Apothecary & Monarch Apothecary, offering a dreamy assortment of health and beauty goods. With a package full of soaking salts, perfume, incense, facial products and more, how could I resist entering?! I was fortunate enough to be chosen as their winner and I couldn’t be more enamored with all of their products. Even their packaging was perfect in its rustic simplicity!

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The Love Manifest perfume from Monarch Apothecary is altogether divine – a consummate marriage of various rose petal essences, rose geranium, bergamot, and ginger lily essential oils, & topped with their own farm harvested roses, it’s a delightfully feminine and romantic bouquet. After a hot bath with their Turmeric & Calendula Soaking Salts, enhanced by the air of Lavender & Sage incense cones, roll on some love-filled perfume and be prepared for an amorous evening!

Keeping my face dewy and lips soft is super easy thanks to Tumbleweed Apothecary’s oil-based facial serum, Stunner. With thirteen different oils, including rose hips, argan, frankincense, & jojoba (“you’ll love it – it has jojoba.” s/o to my theatre “sister,” Lauren!), I apply it after cleansing my face and before adding their ‘Spellbound’ Face Cream. Topping my lips with some Lavender & Mint ‘Peck’ lip balm, my skin is supple & kissable.

I stay busy between my full-time job at a local tv station, part time job at an art gallery, helping run a volunteer-based community art gallery, traveling, & my own artistic endeavors – painting, writing, baking, acting, & photography – so I’m always looking for new ways to relax and unwind. Sleep has never come easier with a cup of Good Belly Tea combined with some Have a Good Rest Tincture, care of Duck Feather Herbs. Adding a couple of drops of this chamomile, catnip, lavender, & bergamot mint tincture to an already quieting cup of mint & lemon balm herbal tea is a foolproof way to end a satiated day.

I’ve added some Elderberry Syrup to my wish list from Duck Feather Herbs, as well as some tinted lip balm called ‘Smooch’ and the ‘Siren’ facial steam from Tumbleweed Apothecary, and a tin of Cacao, Rose, & Rooibos (decaf!) Chai & Herkimer diamond gemstone essence from Monarch Apothecary. My ever-growing Etsy cart is taunting my bank account!

While I’ve linked to each apothecary’s individual shops, they’ve all got Instagram accounts that are equally as tantalizing as their products. Take a peek for yourself at @DuckFeatherHerbs@tumbleweed_apothecary, & @monarchapothecary!

 

 

*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!

幸せな一日、友人