Category Archives: plants

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! 😉

 

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!

 

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!

 

 

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?