This past weekend, June flew down to Charleston, South Carolina to reunite with May for a few days of much ...
I left home for a few days. It was nothing dramatic. I had scheduled a getaway to visit May in ...
Last week was the one year anniversary of my dad’s death. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that ...
While I was Christmas shopping this past December, I kept coming across items that read “Choose Joy.” I saw it ...
Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays, celebrating the season with plenty of food, drink, fun and ...
Happy Friday! We hope you are all looking forward to the long holiday weekend and perhaps you will be motivated to go out and bring a little spring into your home? We recently took a field trip to Target, and loved seeing so many shelves displaying beautiful spring accents for the home. This is the time of year when we are all craving the rebirth that comes with spring whether it’s brightening up our beds with lighter fabrics, swapping out our flannel throw pillows for cotton, or bringing shades of spring green and yellow into our homes with vases of tulips or daffodils. What we love about Target is they have wonderful seasonal accessories for the home at great prices, so you won’t break the bank bringing a few fresh lovelies into your living space (and we just saw they are having a President’s Day home sale).
We know that when we see forsythia wreaths, spring is just around the corner. This bright yellow flower screams spring and displaying this happy wreath is welcoming on any front door.
We love the bedding at Target. The colors and styles are always in line with current trends, and they hold up well even after going through the wash. We both have those sets of sheets and they are smooth, soft and don’t wrinkle much. If you like to change your bedding with the seasons, Target will most likely have what you are looking for.
We both like to swap out our throw pillows in the fall and spring. We found these cute pillows in spring colors and also loved the brass lamp (which May purchased for her desk) and white ceramic and brass succulent vase.
This is a great time of year to lighten up things in the house. The weather is not quite cooperating quite yet with enjoying the outdoors (although the rumor is Chicago is going to have temperatures in the 60s this upcoming weekend) but we all feel the need for a fairly inexpensive refresh.
Have a good weekend. –May and June
Let spring breathe new life into your home.
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I am not a good gardener but I like to plant things. In the summer, I love to go to the nursery and buy way too many annuals to plant in the flowerbeds and in containers. I love to watch those little plants grow from tiny sprouts to big and tall and flowering, so much that they take over the container they are planted in. I am not the best gardener because I am not good with the upkeep. I do not like to weed and I often forget to water.
Because of my inattention, I have never had many houseplants even though I love them. I have one small lemon tree that I have managed to keep alive for almost 10 years and it even produces lemons. In the summer, it lives on the patio but right now it is enjoying the warmth and sun of my dining room. I also have a Christmas or Easter or whatever season it decides to bloom, cactus. Lately, I have noticed in magazines, Pinterest and blogs, the resurgence of houseplants. They look so pretty in a room. And for someone who loves the outdoor living style but lives in Chicago, it helps bring nature indoors even in the winter months.
Last week, I decided to make a trip to a local nursery to look for houseplants. In particular, I wanted a maidenhair fern. The nursery is a very different place in the winter than in the spring and summer. The outdoor yard is empty. No trees or shrub to walk among. No flats of blooming annuals or perennials to choose. The plant selection is limited to a small indoor area.
I thought these Loco Coco plants were interesting. Apparently, even though I live in Chicago, I can grow a palm tree in my house. If I figure out a place in my house for a large tall houseplant, I may need to go back and get one of these.
The nursery had a display of some flowering plants for Valentine’s Day.
I’m sure I could keep succulents alive, since they thrive on low water intake.
I liked this smiling dragon hidden among the houseplants. In the yard, I often put little statues among my plants. I have never thought about including them indoors.
This display has to mean spring is coming. These whirly-gigs are among my favorites. My grandma always had the yellow plastic sunflower ones in her flower gardens. Because they break, I always buy a new one each year in memory of her.
I decided my lady needed some hair. The last plant died and so she’s been bald for awhile. Here she is sporting a new head of thyme.
And finally my maidenhair fern which I made part of the Valentine’s Day display last week. So far I am keeping very good care of her. She looks so pretty.
If you are craving some green right about now, go buy yourself a houseplant. My next foray into houseplant care may be a fiddle leaf fig. I’m not sure my light green thumb can care for that one too. Decorating with houseplants is a great way to brighten up your room. –June
A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan
like leaves to the light,
and closed them beneath the kisses of night.
Last week I was sick. It started innocently enough, with that annoying tickle you get at the back of your throat, which quickly turned into a full blown sore throat accompanied by a headache and fever. Needless to say, I felt terrible, but after a few days I thought I was getting better. I was wrong. More symptoms attacked my body with a vengeance, and it wasn’t long before I realized, I had the flu.I rarely get sick, and when I do, I usually drink a lot of tea, control my symptoms, and get on with my life. I have always been a high energy person, but the fatigue and malaise that came on with this bug really knocked me out. I couldn’t keep my eyes open past 8pm, and could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning.Nobody likes being sick. It interferes with everything. I have been busy with projects for the house, our blog, I joined a great book club and found a wonderful yoga studio where I hope to eventually teach a few classes, but I haven’t been able to attend or work on anything for a week because I have been down and out. Every morning I told myself, “This is the last day you are going to be sick”, only to wake up the next morning feeling just as bad as the day before. About mid-week, I finally gave up on forcing myself to feel better and instead focused on taking care of my sick self.I came to the conclusion that it is ok if I miss a week of yoga and my regular exercise routine and go easy on myself.It is ok to let go of my to-do list until I am feeling better. It will still be there when I am in a better place to get back to work.It is ok to curl up on the couch and watch Netflix in the middle of the day.It is ok to ask for help, if you need it.I also discovered that we are never too old for our moms to bring us chicken soup and give us a hug when we are sick.On Saturday, I woke up and finally started to feel like I was back in the land of the living. It was a beautiful day, and my body, mind, and spirit craved the warm sun and the sea. I took a stroll on the beach and spent a little time sitting and soaking up some much needed vitamin D. Although I was feeling better, I took it easy and relaxed.Today, I feel like myself again and am getting back to business. If you are suffering from a cold or flu do yourself a favor and listen to your body, take care of yourself, and feel better.Enjoy your week. ~ MayI have come to believe that taking care of myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival. -Audre Lorde
February is here, and not only is it the shortest month of the year, but it is also the month we celebrate all things LOVE! It is the season of cards, chocolate in heart shaped boxes, giant teddy bears, roses, champagne, diamonds, and romantic dinners for two. Although we both enjoy celebrating this special day of cupid, we tend to keep the evening with our significant others a little more low key. May loves to bake, and June loves to craft, and together, we are embracing a Valentine’s Day that not only comes from our hearts, but also our hands!
May took a simple peanut butter cookie recipe that she uses at Christmas, and swapped out the chocolate Hershey’s Kiss (which you can still use since it is a “kiss”, after all) for a Dove chocolate heart. She found a large bag of Dove mixed chocolate hearts at Target. You can make the dough a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake. Put them in a pretty tin with red tissue, and you have a sweet, festive treat that your valentine will love.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Hearts
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Sugar (to coat)
Dove chocolate hearts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with electric mixer on medium speed about 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar, beaut until fluffy.
Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, beating well. If necessary, cover and chill about 1 hour for easier handling.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in additional sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are firm. Immediately press a chocolate heart atop each cookie. With a spatula, lift cookies onto cooking rack and allow to cool until chocolate hearts are firm. Makes about 60 cookies.
June created a simple Valentine’s Day table centerpiece. You probably have a lot of the items at home to create this centerpiece, but if not they can easily be found at Target.
All you need are the following:
Clear candle holders
Candy conversation hearts (2 bags)
A green plant
A table runner or placemat in Valentine’s Day colors (you could even reuse a red one you have from Christmas)
I simply put the pillar candles in the holders and poured the conversation hearts around the gap between the candle and the holder.
I treated myself to the maidenhair fern. I was craving some more green in the house and as long as I keep it alive, it can continue to be decorative.
To give my centerpiece a bit of height, I put the fern on a small cake stand I had in the house. I also added the paper arrow straws that I found in the dollar section at Target.
The centerpiece probably took me fifteen minutes to pull together. And it gives my dining room table a nice pink cheer on these often grey days.
Have a good weekend. –May and June
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. Charles M. Schulz
Have you heard about bullet journaling? I saw it referenced on various websites but had no idea what it was so I looked into it. Basically, it is a planning system to organize your life. Instead of using a commercially developed planner, you simply use any notebook or journal you choose. The key is the Table of Contents on the first few pages of your bullet journal. The Table of Contents lets you later find what and where you wrote something down.
The video on bulletjournal.com does a great job of explaining how to set up a bullet journal. This seems pretty basic and a good way to keep track of all the random lists and tasks that float in your head. I am terrible at writing things down. I have a really good memory so I often find that if I put an appointment on my calendar, I just remember it and never look at my calendar. As I have gotten older and I have more things to juggle sometimes my memory is not as reliable. While I have not missed anything important, I do often need to call to confirm an appointment.
The other problem with not writing things down is that I then suffer from monkey mind. There is a constant loop in my head of things I need to do and appointments to be kept during the week. So I decided to try this method of planning.
Bullet journaling can be somewhat intimidating. In this day of Pinterest people make their bullet journals very artistic and fancy. People draw pretty pages, color in printables and add washi tape. I have a board on Pinterest here, but here are some examples of some beautiful pages.
And here are some examples of my pages. Not so artistic at all. More like chicken scratch.
I realized if I want to use this system, I cannot be concerned about how other people use their bullet journals. No one else is going to see it. If being artistic inspires you and helps you stick to planning, by all means do it. For me though, using a bullet journal is more like a brain dump. I’m using it to take notes for webinars or podcasts. I’m using it jot down ideas for writing. I’m using it to make a list of books I’d like to read or movies or television shows to watch. I also use it to make to do lists. The beauty of this system is you can use it the best way for you.
I have not perfected this system at all. Part of it is that I have to train myself to write things down. I also don’t find it helpful to keep appointments in it, but would rather do those on my outlook calendar. I still take notes in my phone’s note app too. When I am out of the house, such as when I catch up on all of the “news” in People or Us magazine during my hair appointment, I do not have my bullet journal with me. So if there is an interesting new novel coming out or a pretty shade of nail polish I want to try, it ends up in my notes app instead.
The one thing that the bullet journal does help me with is I do know where all of my random handwritten notes are located. I do not have to search through multiple notebooks, scraps of paper, the back of envelopes, to find something I know I wrote down.
If you are a person that struggles with post-it notes, forgotten appointments and losing your mind, you may want to try bullet journaling. I am finding it helpful for the most part. –June
[Journaling] is like whispering to oneself and listening at the same time. – Mina Murray, Dracula
Happy February! Here in the South we are already witnessing the first signs of spring. The days are slowly getting longer, and as it grows lighter a little earlier every morning, I am waking to the cheerful sounds of birds, particularly cardinals outside my bedroom window.
February seems to be that bridge between winter and spring and although the weather can be rather turbulent this time of year, it is generally short lived. February is the shortest winter month after all, and it lets us know that spring is on the horizon, bringing with it stirrings of life and warmer temperatures. I know once February is here, a new season isn’t far behind.
It has been a particularly mild winter here in South Carolina, and although we have experienced a few cold snaps, we have generally enjoyed sunny skies and temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s. Will there be a price to pay for this lovely weather? Absolutely. I have heard from reliable sources that a mild winter is often followed by a hotter than usual summer, plus we can expect a larger population of mosquitos, snakes, and the very large and crunchy palmetto bug. This happens because there hasn’t been a hard enough freeze to kill the eggs of all the afore mentioned creepy crawlers. I will be in Chicago preparing for our move most of the summer, so not being here for a few months won’t be a terrible thing. I don’t like snakes. Right now, however, the sun is shining, there is a warm breeze, and all is right with the world.
Of course the first signs of spring are always obvious in nature. The landscape begins to green up a bit and we start to see buds preparing to open. I have made a point of observing the many trees and shrubs around me on my morning walks, enjoying foliage that is very different from the landscape in the midwest.
The stores in the area are also preparing for the coming season, and while I was at Target, I noticed several aisles overflowing with backyard twinkle lights, grills, beach towels and patio furniture. I know even in the midwest stores are preparing for spring, selling off heavy jackets, bulky sweaters, and boots at a much reduced price, letting go of one season to welcome in a new, lighter one. Many of my favorite catalogues are waiting in my mailbox filled with pages of new spring styles for myself, as well as my home and garden, and I enjoy daydreaming about warm summer nights. A lot of supermarkets are selling bouquets of spring flowers such as daffodils and tulips, which I always enjoy on my kitchen counter this time of year, letting winter know its time with us is limited.
No matter where we live, spring is a season of renewal. Officially, it is still six weeks away and while we don’t have control over the weather, bringing a little spring into our homes, wearing a little pop of pink or yellow, or taking a brisk walk and enjoying the sun are all great ways to get rid of the winter blahs, welcoming a little spring into our lives.
Have a great week! ~May
No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. -Proverb
One of the many fun things we like to do is shop together. However, that often means that we go home with the exact same items in our respective shopping bags. And while we are close, we by no means want to look like twins. What we have found, though, is that we each take those pieces and style them a little differently. May’s style tends to be more classic. June’s style tends to be a bit boho and because she works in a professional environment, she likes pieces that can go from work to casual. We had a recent […]
I am feeling weary and exhausted lately. The world in the last few weeks has become noisier, harsher and less kind. And in the quest to have opinions heard, the media and people are making themselves louder and more extreme. At the end of the day I come home feeling wrecked and tired. Are you feeling this way too? A few months ago I switched the radio station I listen to in the morning. My previous station hired new morning hosts that grate on me and I was fortunate to find a new station with the music I enjoy and […]
When our family came to Charleston over the holiday, we decided to bring our pup Sawyer along. With me staying here a few months to work on the house and oversee projects, and my husband traveling, we thought it would be best for him to stay with me. Sawyer has never done a road trip with us before, especially a long one, and I have to say I was a little apprehensive about how he would handle such a long drive. However, I’m happy to report that he did great!! He usually gets a little nervous when he sees our […]
This past weekend, June flew down to Charleston, South Carolina to reunite with May for a few days of much needed R&R. It was to be a weekend filled with the sites and sounds of the city, great food, shopping, girl time and of course we had to walk the beautiful beach on Kiawah Island. May had the weekend planned and we were all set, with the exception of the one thing we could not control, Mother Nature. Our day started off beautiful with sunny skies and warm temperatures, and with a very wet weekend on the horizon, we decided […]
I left home for a few days. It was nothing dramatic. I had scheduled a getaway to visit May in Charleston, South Carolina for four days. I realized upon arrival to the airport that I rarely go somewhere by myself just for fun. Usually when I travel solo it is for work or a conference. Vacation time tends to be sacred so I usually spend that time traveling with my husband. Because this was going to be a weekend of frivolity and I wanted to travel light, I left my laptop at home. That meant no work unless it was […]
Last week was the one year anniversary of my dad’s death. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that he and I were out for a walk enjoying an unseasonably warm day, and other times it feels like he’s been away for a long, long time. The days leading up to the one year mark were a little melancholy, I must admit. My brother and I had a wonderful conversation on the phone, reliving childhood moments that only the two of us share. I found myself thinking back to those last few days sitting with my dad in hospice, […]
We always think it is a good season for reading, however, it seems like the colder months call for meatier more complex novels compared with the light beach reads we enjoy on lazy summer evenings. So, here are some January book picks for you. Two are from of our favorite authors, Ann Patchett and Alice Hoffman, and also a thriller set in the cold North Sea. We hope you find something that you can get lost in reading on these cold January nights. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett From Amazon: The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange […]
This is the time of year for rest. The days are long and dark. All of nature is resting. The grass is dormant, the tree branches lie bare and many animals are sleeping. The outside world spends much of its time being still and quiet. The world is rejuvenating and saving its energy for its time of renewal in a few short months. As humans, we should take our cues from the natural world and use this time to rest our bodies and our spirits. We have just finished one of the hardest and most stressful times of the year. […]
Although a good part of our 2017 is going to be filled with more transition for our family, with a move and our last child going off to college, I’m looking forward to settling in later this year. These last several months I’ve felt like I’ve been straddling one foot in each house, but now that I have been here in Charleston a number of times and will be spending a few months working on our new home this winter, I am a little less frazzled about our passage. I see now that I don’t have to bring everything to […]
January is the month when we can all get stuck in the doldrums. The weather is cold, cold, cold. It is grey and slippery outside and there are no events to look forward to. So, we thought this would be the perfect time to share some things we are loving this month. Maybe you’ll find a new love too! The Crown by Netflix If you have not seen the series The Crown on Netflix yet, you absolutely must! It is worth the price of a Netflix subscription to watch it. June is a huge English history buff and in fact […]
The holidays are now officially behind us. We went to our last holiday party on Friday. The Christmas trees were put on the curb for the yard recycling man to pick up and the decorations have been stored again in the attic. This past Monday was a work day, unlike the previous two Mondays, which was especially jarring after having some long weekends. Yep, we are back to the regular routine. While the regular routine can become ho hum, boring and stale, the regular routine is refreshing in January. We have overindulged, overcommitted and slept too little the last […]
I’m often on the lookout for homes with great curb appeal. There is always that one house that has it all – great character, an inviting front porch, amazing landscape and lighting. It’s a home that makes you want to curl up on the front porch swing with a good book and a glass of sweet tea on a warm summer night, and watch the world go by. Immediately, when I saw our house in Charleston, I knew it had so much potential and charm. We have since enjoyed the process of making it our own these past few months. […]
Have you noticed that athletic footwear has become insanely popular the past few years? They definitely aren’t just for working out anymore and with so many wonderful styles and colors, choosing the perfect pair can be a little challenging, especially if you love shoes as much as we do. We’ll take one of everything!! (Ha!) Women are wearing sneakers with leggings, skirts, dresses, capris- just about everything. And it is so much more stylish then the 1980s when only commuting women wore sneakers with nylons and their business suits. We love this because it means we don’t have to walk […]
While I was Christmas shopping this past December, I kept coming across items that read “Choose Joy.” I saw it printed on a small wood sign, and a set of hand stamped stacking rings and a t-shirt. Every time I saw these words, I would stop because it struck a chord in my heart. The past few days, every media outlet (social or not) has been full of advice and declaratives about resolutions. Most resolutions are about deprivation and discipline. I will go to the gym. I will eat healthy. I will lose weight. I will clean my house and […]