To Read / Summer

 

     Hi there! I set a summer goal to read at least five books, and so far it's going well! I've finished The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. All three were excellent, and currently, I'm reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. 

      My interests vary when it comes to books, so if these picks seem like a strange melange of choices, they aren't. I just happen to like multiple kinds of books! American Gods is actually a new TV show, and I haven't checked it out yet, but if it's anything like the book, I'm sure it's good! The Secret Life of Plants is nonfiction, but abstract enough in ideology that some may not view it that way.  

       Plants have always had a connection to humans, since we've been around at least. We couldn't survive without them, and I think that's a relationship worth delving into! 

       Thanks for reading, and let me know what your favorite summer reads are! See you back here on Monday!

To Read / May

 

      Good morning! In April, I had the chance to go hear Salman Rushdie speak at Mizzou, and it was basically a once in a lifetime opportunity. When will such a notorious Booker Prize winner ever come speak at Mizzou in my time spent here again, and for free? The chances of that are slim, so I jumped on the general admission tickets to reserve a seat, and picked a book to read of his. I found The Enchantress of Florence in a second-hand book shop at home in Arkansas, and chose it for this month's book!

      The talk was amazing, and he even read a short story he's working on, that had yet to be heard by the public, anywhere. It was quite good, and I loved that I got to hear his story-telling voice, because now reading this book, I can hear him reading it in my head. I'm almost half-way through, and can't wait to finish it! Let's get to reading!

For Pinning / April

 

     Hi there! It's almost the end of April, if you can believe it, and that means it's time for my favorite pins of this month. Spring has brought a lot of great inspiration, and cultivating it on Pinterest is a blast. So let's get started! Glitter Guide released a gorgeous home tour in Wisconsin yesterday (above), and I couldn't stop pinning all of the details. Like, how do I make that wall hanging happen, and when??

      I've been getting very into all of my plant babies in the last month, and I think everyone aspires to have hanging plants that gorgeous at some point in their lives.

     Ugh, this house! Can you say dream house? Potted shrubs included, s'il vous plait.

       I like to imagine that this is what it looks like every time I stir that lemonade I posted yesterday.

      The weather has been back and forth between 80 degree summery days, and 50 degree spring-ish days, with some downpours thrown in weekly, so you could say I'm still layering like a madwoman over here in Missouri. I have no problem with keeping cute cardigans like this one out year round though, tbh.

       And along with those cute cardigans, I'm also adding to my jewelry collection. This style of gold shapely earrings is becoming very popular, and I found a vintage, smaller version at the thrift store a couple of weekends ago. Score!

     Thanks for reading, and as always, you can find all of these pins and their sources on my Pin board! Have a fun Wednesday!

For Music / Springtime

 

      Good morning! Each new season brings a new music mood for me. During spring, I'm always looking for simple and happy music, so today, I put together a little playlist to accompany this mood. Check it out below!

Spring Mood:

1. Blackbird / The Beatles

2. Love / Lana Del Rey

3. In the Morning I'll Be Better / Tennis

4. Paris / The Chainsmokers

5. 22 (OVER S∞∞N) / Bon Iver

6. Scarborough Fair / Simon + Garfunkel

7. Cranes in the Sky / Solange

8. Honey + I / HAIM

9. Rhiannon / Fleetwood Mac

10. A Case of You / Joni Mitchell

       Thanks for reading! Have a fun Wednesday!

For Reading / April

 

     Good morning and happy April! It's the start of a new month, and with that comes a new book to read. This month's selection is Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. It's an analysis on what makes specific people successful, and brings about the idea that luck, circumstances, and background do contribute to extreme success.

     I've previously read one of Gladwell's other books (David + Goliath) and find his writing style one of the easiest to follow, so this will probably be a short read. He's one of the best at making accurate observations, and I can't wait to jump in! Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

For a Craft with Bailey / Painting

 

     Good morning! For Brett's birthday back in February, Bailey and I made a sign for him!

     I really just wanted her to get to finger paint, but unsurprisingly, she was more interested in creating handprints on anything but paper! We still got a few good ones on the sign though!

     She did love the paint though, so I think we'll have more large scale paint projects in the future. Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

For Design / Rosewater

 

     Good morning! For this months design appreciation, I looked to a pretty bottle of rosewater that I had acquired for a waffle recipe (coming soon!). It's apothecary inspired packaging is so inspiring!  

       The amber glass bottle, combined with the deco fonts, gives off the look of the Great Gatsby era. 

       Also, I must say that the pink color way is spot on for rosewater. I have a thing for themed packaging!  

     Thanks for reading, and have an awesome weekend! 

To Read / March

 

     Good morning! To kick off March, I wanted to announce this month's book du jour: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Controversial but classic, Lolita centers on the story of a man's love for a girl.

     Nabokov gives insight into obsession, and all of the complicated nuances that go with a love story. I'm already over half way through, and am intrigued as to how such a story will end, as one can assume it won't end well. With that in mind, let's get to reading! Have a fun Wednesday!

To Appreciate / Design

 

      Hi there! While this candle smells amazing, it was really the packaging that got me. The pretty pink triangles and the font are spot on! 

      Not to mention that it's in a pretty lidded jar. All of the heart eyes! 

      Overall, it's the clean lines combined with the scattered shapes that really draw the eye. If you're going to have candles out on display, might as well pick cute ones! Thanks for reading, and have a fun weekend! 

To Discuss / Known + Strange Things

 

       I have a thing for short story/essay collections. I like moving quickly from one idea to the next, but I enjoy it most when there's a cohesive theme running through each idea, linking them all together as a whole. The only thing I can liken this concept to are those particular style of movies where there's a large main cast of characters, whose stories are all somehow linked together through each other. Movies such as Love, Actually, Valentines Day, He's Just Not That Into You, etc. Those are all fairly superficial examples, in comparison to Known + Strange Things by Teju Cole. However, the notion of relating lives and observances is the same (and yes, I thoroughly enjoy these romantic comedies as much as I do essays on political, cultural, and social issues).

     Cole was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Nigerian parents, who shortly returned their family to Lagos after his birth. This conundrum of being born American, but raised Nigerian, sets the premise of one the first essays in the book, and understandably so. It's a very relevant topic for my generation, because so many people struggle between their cultural identities. While he was raised Nigerian, he always felt it was special to be American as well, to have that passport. Once he moved back to Kalamazoo to attend the University of Michigan though, he felt a dispossession of his original feelings towards being a dual-national. Everyone's experience of citizenship in this country varies, and as with most things in life, it's never what you expect it to be. Going from Nigeria to Michigan is one of the most drastic changes I can imagine, environmentally, but humans are still humans, and Cole's observances of the way people live showed that the actual people weren't much different, just the circumstances.

      Almost all of Cole's essays gave me a new insight into others lives that I was aware of, but couldn't exactly sympathize with. This is solely because I don't ever try to pretend that I've been through the same things as those who have had a hard, "abnormal", or marginalized life, out of respect for those that have. My life, in the scope of things, has always been relatively easy, thanks to the life my parents were able to build for me and my sisters. While I am and always will be greatly appreciative of my special life, I have never lived under the impression that this is the norm. Which is why I've always read books, especially ones like this. Fiction, nonfiction, art books, essays, anatomy books, biographies, anything that can show me or tell me something new. I've just consistently tried to understand, and probably will continue that adventure for the rest of my days.

     That being said, one of the largest understandings I gained from this collection is that of a Nigerian Americans knowledge, criticism, and love for Africa. It's been my experience that if you want to know more of the massive continent than just safaris, the Sahara, and third world countries, you have to do that kind of research on your own. I don't remember geography or world history teachers saying much about Africa outside of a small covering of ancient Egypt. Their reasoning for rarely discussing any other continents other than our own or Europe was that it "doesn't apply to you", which is probably one of the most ignorant things someone could say. Maybe 50 or 60 years ago it didn't, but in todays' day and age, when you can travel anywhere, and you live in a country made up of people from every corner of the world, it very much so applies to everyone. Understanding is essential to being stuck on a planet together.

     Through Cole's essays, I learned of African poets, mob lynchings, and a bit on Nelson Mandela. I also learned that the sympathy white people feel for the poverty stricken parts of Africa, while a nice thought, is a bit insulting. I hadn't realized before that even though the intentions behind wanting to help are admirable, the person helping gets more out of it than the people they are trying to help. Cole titles it the White Savior Industrial Complex, which is the idea that white people subconsciously use helping those in need as a "big emotional experience that validates privilege". I get that and can see that, but I don't agree with generalizing white people, just as much as I don't believe in generalizing any other race. I do believe that if you feel the need to help anyone in any way you can, then you should do it; but don't just do it because you think it will make you a better person. Donating and offering aid isn't about you, it's about those that receive that aid, and I think that was part of the message Cole was trying to get across.

       I wouldn't have come to any of these conclusions had the argument not been presented by Cole. When you live in a bubble, it's hard to remember that there are things going on in the world, the country, your back yard that you have never been aware of. Some people prefer it that way, but I like to play the optimist and hope that most do not choose to stay ignorant. I've questioned that a lot in the last year, yet I still come to the same conclusion that even if I'm wrong, there will always be change and evolution whether people want it or not. Just like the weather, humanity is uncontrollable. I see that as a good thing because I'm not afraid of other peoples opinions and ideas, and this book validates that I have no reason to be.

    

To Pin / January

 

     Hi there! January is almost over, so it's time to share the pins that caught my eye this month. Rosemary and thyme garnishes have turned into my favorite way to add detail to food photography, and the cookies above look 10x more special because of the little dots of herbs strategically placed on top. There's nothing better for improving styling than adding a bit of greenery to an image!

     I've been dreaming of getting a faux shearling or fur rug to add texture to our home. Look at how gorgeous it is thrown on top of a chair! The look is luxurious but well-worn, and I'm always striving for that.

       My biggest reason for choosing this image is the pink chairs. Yes, that shade is still my favorite color, and no, I don't plan to change my mind anytime soon!

       Love the dress and the styling of this look from Anthropologie. The classic black boots and cute socks ground the off-the-wall denim patchwork of the dress.

     Classic black + white packaging will forever have my heart. The look is just so clean!

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      Not only is this shot beautifully photographed and styled, the tacos themselves look amazing! They are cauliflower al pastor tacos, which combines my love of mexican food with the new cauliflower recipes I've been trying that replace meat or carbs with cauliflower. This one is next on my list!

      Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my Pinterest for more pretty pins! Have a great day!

As always, all pins shown here, and their sources, can be found at the link above, on my Pinterest page.

For Design Appreciation

 

     Hi there! I just wanted to share some design love today! I picked up this olive oil awhile ago, and as you may have guessed, I am definitely that person who will pay an extra dollar for the prettier bottle of olive oil or anything that is an everyday essential but is designed well. If I use it all of the time, and have to look at it, that extra dollar is worth it for my visual sanity.

     This bottle was one of the only nice looking bottles of olive oil, that was 100% made from olives. I had recently been informed that most olive oils are made with barely any actual olives, which was disappointing to hear. I was on a mission to find real olive oil that looked nice, and found this gem. Other than their "DCOOP" logo, I fell in love with the clean white packaging and not so offensive font choices.

    Like I said, personally I don't like the logo. It is just very generic looking, and that's not my aesthetic. I let it go though, for the sake of the sleek shaped bottle and doodled illustrations of planting olive trees featured. It fits perfectly on my kitchen counter, and is pleasing to the eye when placed with my other kitchen essentials that I keep out for everyday use.

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

For Design Appreciation

 

       Hi there! Today's Design Appreciation is all about the beautiful packaging of Simply Gum! 

       This gum is the perfect example of clean, modern design. To start, the simple white background set against a contrasting black font and the photo of ginger keeps the focus on the natural flavor you are getting. 

       I also love the square box shape. It sets the gum apart from the usual rectangle packaging of almost any other brand of gum.  

      Lastly, the ingredients and nutrition factors on the backside of the packaging are fairly innovative. The ingredients being so few makes for a fun design challenge. How do you fill space with little to say? Well they do it in the very cool way of having small blocks of the 6 ingredients photographed and presented in a neat line, while listing them below. This way, you can literally see what you are getting, which is so rare nowadays! All that's left is a small nutrition box, and you've got "simply gum". One last cool feature I didn't think to photograph was the gum wrappers they include seperately inside to deposit your used gum in before tossing! So genius! 

      Thanks for reading, and enjoy this snowy (at least here in the Midwest!) Sunday!  

For the Book of the Month / December

 

      Good morning! For Decembers' book of the month, my pick may or may not have been slightly influenced by its beautiful red cover. My mom bought me this collection of Charles Perraults Classic children's stories, and most people already know them. I just can't resist a seasonally appropriate cover though! That, and it's probably a good idea to end this year on a lighthearted note, all things considered. Now fair warning, the original tales of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty were far more grim than the well known Disney versions, so be prepared for things to be a bit more gruesome. Regardless, they are still quick and nostalgic to read. Settle in with some cocoa and a cozy blanket, and get to reading!

For Design Appreciation

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     Hi there! For today's design appreciation, we have my favorite gold heart stickers from Knot & Bow. With the gifting season coming up, it seems appropriate that we look at one of my favorite embellishments to the presents and cards I give. Check out this pretty product below!

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     Knot & Bow's branding appeals to my whimsical side. Much like my taste in clothes, my taste in design, and most things, varies. I'm drawn to a lot of different styles, and the mix of fonts in this design is feminine and fun. 

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     I also love that the design feels handmade, with the use of stamps and hand lettering. The stickers themselves are just too cute. I love using them to seal envelopes, and to decorate gift wrap. They aren't exactly holiday-centric, but the gold is still special and appropriate this time of year. I recommend adding these to the children's gifts in your life! What kid doesn't love heart stickers?? 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Sunday!

For Design Appreciation

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     Hello! For today's design appreciation, we are checking out this pretty bottle of matches from Skeem Designs! Kristen got them for me for my birthday, and part of the reason why is because of the beautiful packaging. 

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      I'm all for modern fonts and design, but I also have a love for classic, vintage design, like these matches. The mix of fonts and gold fillagree are the real standouts.

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       The overall design alludes to Victorian-era pharmacy products, and if these had been made back then, this is probably how the packaging and branding would look. Modern design is great and all, but I'm a firm believer in "if it isn't broken, don't fix it"! Thanks for reading, and have a fun weekend! 

Book of the Month / November

 

     Hi there! For Novembers book of the month, we've got a fairly simple read. Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) is technically a children's book, but it's themes and nuances can be appreciated by all ages. I received the book in its original language from my parents for my birthday (thanks again mom and dad!) because I've been taking French lessons since January, and wanted to test my skills. Obviously, if you are reading along this month, feel free to read the English version. It's a short read, which is perfect for the busy season we are about to enter. I hope you like the story as much as I do! Let get reading! 

Book of the Month / Discussion

 

     Hi there! For today's discussion, we are looking at the latest installment in the Harry Potter saga. I'm a big fan of most books, regardless of the genre, and that includes "YA" or "Young Adult" series. They are still good stories, usually, even though they are intended for a slightly younger audience. The Harry Potter series is no exception, as I think most adults would agree. The general public has at least seen the movies, and we all know how much of a success they were/are. The vast consensus is that the tales are some of the best of our time, and that these stories will be considered classics for long after the stories themselves have come to an end. We had all accepted that the books were done, series complete, with even the movies being finished. That is, until last year when the world found out that there would be a Harry Potter play in London, and that yes, of course they would be printing the script as a book. I think this move was, in part, to be inclusive for the large fan base that Harry Potter claims, so that they too could have this new story to devour without having to travel to London to see the play. I also think this new book was meant to create new Harry Potter fans out of the children of the aughts, who either weren't alive yet or were too young to be around for the Harry Potter craze of my youth.

     In this way, I think the screenplay was a little forced. I think the play itself was an obvious idea, a decent way to carry on the Potter world, but the way they present the actual story to the rest of the world, in screenplay form as opposed to a classic novel structure, is what turned off old fans of the old story to this new story. These books have such a large following, that fans don't want to read it in a different format. It's a subconscious divide that most readers won't even realize, that it's the way they are reading the story, not the actual story itself, that they don't like. It's an OK storyline, and it is fun to see how Harry's children and his friends children turned out, along with the classic main characters themselves. With the storyline, some thought bringing back Voldemort, even if only in the past, was unnecessary, that they didn't need to go back to that plot point. Personally, I think it was fine to keep the story revolving around Harry and Voldemort, just like it always has, but I can see why people would want a fresh idea.

    That being said, I still liked it. It was an easy read that carried on our beloved heroes story in an easy way. It gave us an update on their lives, which I think most people wanted, and it also gave new insight that past scenarios alluded to. Rowling revisited those scenarios, like the night Harry's parents are killed, and we see a new side. As a person always interested in seemingly everything, it was exciting to learn new things about this world through this new addition. I doubt they'll ever add another new development to Harry's story, but it will be interesting to see how the spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them plays out. Hopefully, people can get their Wizarding World fix that way. Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

For Design Appreciation

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     Hi there! Today's Art Appreciation has a little twist, in that we are going to start looking at packaging and design for a little bit. Pinterest has opened my eyes to how interesting and beautiful product branding and packaging can be. To start, we have a gorgeously designed chocolate bar from Mast Brothers.  

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      If you aren't into minimalistic design, then it probably doesn't look like much, but to those who are, the clean lines, black + white color pallete, and choice of font all jump out at you.  

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      Mast Brothers are well known for their candy bar design. All cater to the minimalistic aesthetic, and only vary in color ways each season. They are constantly coming out with new collections, all of which are as beautiful as the previous ones. Take a minute today, and search "packaging" + "branding" on Pinterest. You'll find endless inspiration! Thanks for reading, and haves great day! 

For Art Appreciation

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      Good morning! For today's art appreciation, we are going to look at two little drawing I did a couple of years ago. They are so old in fact, that the sharpie I used on one has faded to red from lift exposure. So weird! Anyways, they are titles "Les Etoiles" which is French for the stars, and "La Lune" which is French for the moon.  

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      I used pen for the first one, and love the daintiness of the stars. I had thought about doing a particular constellation, but just ended up doing a random pattern instead. 

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     See the red! That was all black at first, but I guess the sharpie faded so much that it brought it down to the red tones in the ink. I still love it though, mostly because I've always loved crescent moons. It reminds me of the Cheshire Cats smile from Alice in Wonderland.  

      Thanks for reading, and have a great Sunday!