Tuesday, September 30, 2014

october awaits

Today is the last day of September!

I could not be more excited for October. I love October. It encompasses a lot of fun things for me -- fall, pumpkin and caramel treats, my birthday, cooler weather, my birthday (it's important). And, of course, Frocktober!

I would love to have you join me this year for a month of wearing dresses. Gather up that resolve and commit to revolutionizing the way you see your wardrobe. Frocktober is a style challenge that's fun and enlightening and will open your eyes to the clothes you have and should love wearing!

October, here we come!


Friday, September 26, 2014

friday pick-me-ups

Feeling the weekend calling your name?
Get started a little early with some online shopping! I know it always cheers me up. It's double the fun, because you get to shop and pick things out, and then you get mail! It's a party that lasts for days.

Ruche is hosting a fabulous Style Steal today, featuring 100 dresses on sale for over 50% off!

Here are some of my personal favorites:

I'm such a sucker for florals. 
I'm daydreaming of fall layering, pairing these lovelies with tights and boots and cozy knit sweaters. I'm really liking the way things are coming together in my head. Too bad that crisp fall weather is still quite elusive here! I'd like to break up with 90 degrees, please. 

I'll just have to keep shopping and daydreaming until that weather drops. 
What are your favorites??

Thursday, September 25, 2014

remix: bright tights

 original posts:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

Now that it's officially Fall, I thought a nice little cool-weather remix was in order. (Despite the 90-degree days we're still living in here in AZ).
Last year I had so much fun during the Fall and Winter months swapping out my tights. The brighter, the better. I haven't really employed any patterned tights at this point, since most of my clothing is pretty pattern-heavy, but I do love playing around with colorful tights!
Tights are my key to making my dresses last all year round. I don't quarantine my skirts or dresses or any particular colors to only one season - I think there are ways to remix and utilize my favorites no matter what the weather is!
At this point I would have to say my favorites are orange and purple. I'm excited to pull them out and start remixing them again - even if I have to wait until Thanksgiving for cooler temps!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

wanderlust wednesday

Killiney Hill. Southern boundary of Dublin Bay, Ireland. March, 2011. 

I have no doubt that I will return to Ireland someday. It has bewitched me, which is why I am sharing, quite fittingly, photos of the "Witches Hat" obelisk atop Killiney Hill.
My husband and I returned to Ireland together a few months after our wedding. We had been once before with my family in the winter, which was all snow and enchantment and exploration. That's where we got engaged, in the stunning, blustery gardens of Powerscourt Estate.
This trip, just he and I, was in the spring of 2011, a little over a year later. It was an entirely different world, and took us to many new places. It was our very first traveling experience without adults. Oh the bravery and the folly and the whimsy! And most especially the gosh darn GPS who (we named her Julie) was intent on our destruction.

Our first day there we took our little rental car and parked at the base of Killiney Hill. We hiked up the wooded walkway, the sunshine streaming in rivulets through the branches, taking our time. Once we reached the top, it was incredibly quiet and the views were cool and hazy. We spent over an hour just sitting in the grass, soaking up the view and allowing the Witches Hat to tell us her many stories.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

fall is for frocktober!

Autumn is...

birthday month pumpkin spice hay rides kettle corn weekend trips sweater weather burnt orange scarves plaid changing leaves crisp mornings harvest festivals the state fair thanksgiving fireside evenings pumpkin patches pumpkin everything s'mores camping apple cider halloween movie nights scented candles couch cuddles tights & boots spices hot drinks cozy socks caramel golden

And most of all, it's Frocktober. 

Happy first day of Autumn, friendlies!
This time of year is especially dear to me since living in Virginia -- now that we're back in Arizona, this season will look quite different. No changing leaves, the weather isn't crisp or cool yet.
Of course, all that really means is we'll have to be more creative in appreciating this season. We'll have to go visit a pumpkin patch, go to a fair, bake some homemade pies, visit Starbucks way more often (done and done). 

And, of course, Frocktober -- which will be in full swing starting next week! 

For those of you who don't know, Frocktober is my month of dress-wearing. An entire month of daily dresses! The collage above is my Frocktober 2013 challenge. This will be my third year embarking on this personal style adventure!
If you'd like to join me, I would be more than happy to induct you into the lovely Frocktober Sisterhood. The Frocktober challenge is mostly just to encourage you to experiment with your wardrobe, stretching your remixing abilities and inviting you to see your closet with brand new eyes. Even if you're active or you normally wear jeans to work, there are plenty of ways to utilize your dresses for more than just fancy-wear. And Frocktober will show you those ways. 

Follow along with me starting October 1st! And definitely let me know if you're joining me, and feel free to borrow my Frocktober Sisterhood pin for your blog if you have one!


Monday, September 15, 2014

why we camp

When I was little our family would prepare for "family camp" every spring. All of my aunts and uncles and cousins would pack up their trucks and campers and my grandparents would hop in their RV and we'd all meet somewhere around the border of Arizona and California for a full weekend of endless play. 

The sun was hot, the water was cool, the inner-tube was called Big Bertha and our sunburns were our constant companions. The war wounds of a childhood summer. 
We'd hike and discover and get oh so dirty, we'd stay far away from the grassy bit of marsh that was rumored to house snapping turtles. We'd definitely stay away from strangers (but maybe we'd giggle at the cute ones), and we would build elaborate sandcastles in between begging for our turn on the jet ski. 
Our little group campsite was packed with tents. The boys would absolutely try to sneak up on the girl tents and try to scare us. They needn't bother, though, because generally we were quite talented at scaring ourselves. 

I remember carefully packing my belongings, which included a bathing suit, various comfy clothes and my walkman, the only technology I possessed at the time. It held Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On because obviously that was the ballad of my life. Listen, repeat. Listen, repeat. 
Wait there's a repeat button? My walkman is so fancy!

On Labor Day, my husband and I planned out our very first camping trip together. It brought back a lot of memories. I hadn't been camping since those sweet summer days of childhood.
To our great shock and appall, we couldn't get anyone to come camping with us. Nobody likes camping! Where are all the free spirits? Where is the nostalgia? Is camping something people outgrow?
Luckily we roped in my little brother and a couple from our church who would join us halfway through the weekend, but we still felt pretty discouraged. Camping is an American pastime. It's brilliant and wild and free and unplugged. It's also so easy, right? At least, that's how I remember it. 

Needless to say, it was quite different as an adult. Wait, camping costs money? Why in the sam hill does this tent refuse to function? What is all this stuff? What does "percolator" mean? 

Despite the little challenges and our multiple whoops-es and moments of dear lord we need to write our parents a thank you letter, I am a firm believer in camping and chasing out that wild heart in us. 
This is why we camp, ya'll.


Even as an introvert I absolutely love group gatherings. I prefer smaller ones, of course, but there's something incredibly refreshing about joining together with people you love over a meal. 
Camping is just a string of days connected by meals. How about we wake up and have breakfast? How about we laze around until lunch? How about we eat an entire bag of chips while we dream about dinner? Don't forget to snack on this granola while you collect more firewood. 
It's just a dreamy commune. You cook the baked beans, I'll do the dishes. Togetherness, camping style. Let me spray your back with bug spray! Oh, it's my pleasure!
The entire experience is dappled with groups of other families, too. You can sit around your fire and hear the distant giggling of children (which sounds a bit creepy, but really, it's delightful), and catch wisps of your neighbor's Latin music across the trees. Everyone doing their thang, separate but together in the joys of weekend bliss. 


Holy happy body cradle, hammocks are amazing. My husband is an angel and found this striped hippy hammock for $20 at Walmart. 
I feel as if my years of life have slowly erased the unadulterated joy of hammocks from my memory until this year. We were reunited and it all came rushing back. I want a hammock in every room of my house. Sure, they're hazardous. Sure, the ropes can slip off the tree and you can fall flat on your back (just ask my brother), but I promise you they are doing their darndest to make your life a friggin' fairyland. Lie back in your cocoon, little one, let the sunshine lull you right to sleep. 


Don't try and tell me you don't enjoy fresh air. Nobody walks out their front door on a beautiful day and says, GROSS! AIR! GAH!
I hate when people say "I don't really enjoy the outdoors". Okay, ya hermit, the world doesn't like you either. Go back inside lest you die from blue skies and sunshine.
Camping doesn't have to be hiking and paddle-boating and running around in circles just for the heck of sweating like a barbarian. I like camping best if it involves no exercise. It's totally an option. It's an option I demand, actually. Because hammocks. 


Perhaps the best part of camping is that it's rather rewarding. There are so many opportunities for creativity and innovation. Like my husband's hand-washing station (a family ingenuity), which was constructed using a gallon jug of water, a golf tee, some hosiery, and a bar of soap. You poke a hole in the front of the jug using the golf tee as a plug, then plop the bar of soap in the hose and hang it from the jug handle. Then you tie the entire jug at face-height around a tree. Unplug, rinse, lather, rinse, plug. 
Cleanliness is the most exquisite of camping accomplishments. 

When you finally do get that tent up, it is the best darn tent in the universe. Camping is just like creating an awesome blanket fort in your living room, but it's outside and actually habitable for daysYour amateur 5-year-old self is so jealous. All those homey touches and hard-earned adjustments have swelled you with pride. That tarp ceiling perfectly shades the card table. That clan of spiders plotting your demise under the stone benches didn't stand a chance against that flaming stick.
When you sit down to eat that fire-cooked meal, you are king. When you close your eyes and can smell nothing but earthy smoke and roasting marshmallows, life has never been sweeter. 
In the cool evenings your sweatshirt is your best friend, your makeshift bed is a cozy hideaway of s'more-filled dreams, and your campsite is a place of ragged victory. 


There is no dress code. You forego makeup (if you want to), you don a weathered baseball cap, you unplug, sticking the phone in your suitcase and replacing it with a great book. No pressures, no deadlines, no expectations. You chat and laugh and play board games. You brush your teeth because this isn't prison, guys, it's just a woodsy weekend.
Lookout because I'm gonna drop some knowledge. Unplugging is one of the most incredible gifts we can give to ourselves, our friends and our family. I'll refrain from saying "in this day and age" but you know what I'm sayin' up in here. Put the phones away, make it up as you go along, tear yourself away from Google for a sec and try to answer a few questions by yourself.
Bring out your inner caveman and throw the corn straight on the fire. Eat 517 s'mores because it's good for your heart (not true) and soul (definitely true). Don't let s'mores become obsolete, youngins.
Go on a journey to find the stars and think of stories you haven't told in a really, really long time. Reconnect and recharge and be wild and free and fire.

It's why we camp.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

grand budapest hotel

Oh, how I adore a good movie.

A good movie can mean many things. Heartbreaking, stunning, clever, fun, brutal, enlightening, deep, light, sweet, somber.
In the case of Grand Budapest Hotel, "good" encompasses a great many traits. Beauty and memory, creativity and nostalgia. Dark humor and endless quirkiness, the kind that only Wes Anderson can accomplish. A current of intrigue lined with friendship and loyalty. Intricate melancholy.

Overall there's a kind of sweet, creeping sadness to it that stays with you for days. Exactly where it comes from could be a fascinating discussion, I imagine. I tend to think it comes from a thought that's perfectly summarized in one of the very last lines in the film:

To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it. But, I will say, he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace. 

I must say, I find that girl utterly delightful. Flat as a board, enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half her face, sweating for hours on end in that sweltering kitchen, while Mendl, genius though he is, looms over her like a hulking gorilla. Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably, she's exceedingly lovely. 

There's a little knowledge tucked away in my mind that this movie is not for everyone, which makes me inexplicably sad. Of course I can't fault anyone for it not being their type. Everyone has a type, of course, a set of rules that decides whether or not they'll enjoy watching something. Perhaps that's part of what makes this movie so special to me, the acknowledgement that this secret treasure can only be shared with a certain type of person.

Art is so personal, and this particular embodiment of it really moved me. It unfolds like a pop-up book, colorful and strange, almost cartoonish in its storytelling. It makes me love Wes Anderson even more, because he's so brave and inventive with his style. From the moment I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes and I have been kindred spirits.

Grand Budapest is silly and dark and occasionally crude, completely absurd at times and overwhelmingly delightful at others. It's brilliantly acted. Ralph Fiennes is a superjoy, a word I made up especially for him. The dialogue is quick and poetic and fascinating, the whole film full of wonderful little hints and trinkets at the corner of each artistic shot that will take you many viewings to find. I adore it, in all its absurdities.

I will recommend it to you with cautionary enthusiasm. Be ready to love it, or else you'll be baffled by it. If you hate it, our friendship may suffer, but only for a second. I'll forgive you, if only because I know that for every person that rejects it my love for it grows that much more.