Archive | February, 2017

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Styling Your Home With Vintage Finds

Have you every heard that saying everything old is new again? It can be said for a lot of things including fashion styles, movies, quotes, and music just to name a few. So much of our past seems to come back in fashion after a long absence. So I was thinking, how about finding something old, to make new in your home? Back in the day items weren’t as disposable as they are now. People didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend, they hung on to their things for a longer period of time, plus furniture and accessories were so well made they could practically last forever. I think my appreciation for well aged items came from my childhood. My mom and I were always looking for unique pieces to refinish and use in our home, my grandparents had some lovely pieces that I inherited and love, plus I have picked a few things up at antique stores and consignment shops along the way, and all have added that extra layer of charm to my abode.

I have never decorated my home in one particular decorating style because I love facets of them all including traditional, farmhouse, industrial, British colonial, nautical and of course the playful and sculptural mid-century modern. I feel a house really becomes a home when you blend a few elements of history with today’s styles, those pieces that could tell an amazing story if they were able to talk. For me, there is something so special about taking on an item of furniture or accessory that was loved and cared for by previous generations. Whether it is an early 19th century dresser, a beautiful vase, or a lovely oil painting from the past, these original items add a wonderful balance to some of the newer pieces that you may find online at popular stores such Wayfair, or furniture stores in your area.

I love poking around consignment shops when I travel to find something interesting from that particular region, and I have already found some great shops here in South Carolina, making a few purchases to dress up our new home.

Don’t you love this zebra patterned chair? They came as a pair, and my mom found these mid-century beauties at a garage sale in her neighborhood a few years ago. The sale was just about to close and the owner wanted to get rid of them, and sold them to her for $6.00, for the pair! My very talented friend re-covered them and I am in love. They add so much personality and a touch of sophistication to our space.

This glass top mid-century Baker table also has a story. It was found in a consignment shop in Chicago with a sale price of $50.00. At the time, the bottom was painted green which didn’t work with my mom’s decor, so she had it repainted and for years I admired it in her living room. She wanted to change things up a bit when she moved into her new house, and now this gorgeous piece gets to live with me.

How many of you were fans of the the show Frasier? We loved it and still enjoy the repeats. My husband, Bob, always admired Frasier Crane’s mid-century Eames style chair that adorned his beautiful Seattle apartment. It was something I tucked away in the back of mind, planning to someday surprise him with one that he could relax in after a long day. I came across this great little consignment store that only sells mid-century pieces, and I didn’t even have to walk inside because it was sitting right in the storefront window! Often times I will see something I like, but don’t commit right away because I’m not sure it will look great or if I really need it. I’ve often gone back deciding that yes, I do really need it only to find out that it’s gone. I acted fast on this one which was a good thing, because there was a lot of interest in this particular chair. It looks perfect in the loft, and yes, Bob loved it!!

Cocktails and bar carts go hand in hand and were quite the rage back in the 50’s and early 60’s.  Today, there is a growing trend of serving retro drinks at home on a tableside bar cart. I see bar carts adorning pages of design magazines and catalogs, as well as consignment shops. Last week this one caught my eye. Isn’t it beautiful?

I could go on and on about all the lovely artifacts out there. Here are a few more pictures of some beautiful items I’ve come across. If you do decide to make a purchase in an antique or consignment shop, don’t forget to ask if the prices can be lowered. Almost all of the stores I’ve visited are willing to negotiate.

Beautiful Garden Stool

This dresser from the early 1800’s made its way to our master bedroom

This very old garden statue comes as a set of 4 and called “The Four Seasons”

Have a great week! ~ May

“Old is the new New”.

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February Book Picks

Happy Friday! We hope you all have had a great week (for some of you it was a short one). How about settling in for a new read this weekend?  These books are fairly new, but we feel well worth the wait if you plan to check them out at your local library.

The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

From Amazon: When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

Our Thoughts: This is a mystery about the murder of three women on Halloween night, in 1989. The story is primarily told from the perspective of Callie who was a five year old witness to the murders, which included her mother. This is Brunonia Barry’s third book set in Salem. We both read one of her previous novels, The Lace Reader, and although there are a few recurring characters in this story, you don’t necessarily have to read it to understand this novel. We enjoyed the Salem setting as well as the history of the Salem Witch Trials. Although the book is 432 pages, it was a quick read.

The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

From Amazon:  The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don’t they teach you anything at school?

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who’s been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she’s confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

One Saturday, the boy doesn’t show up. Ona starts to think he’s not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son’s good deed. The boy’s mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that the world can surprise us at any age, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find ourselves again.

Our Thoughts:  This book is lovely, poignant and heartwarming.  Ona is a character that you learn to love her heart and her spunk.  And even at her age she is willing to try new things and change her life.  You learn about her life spanning 104 years.  The boy’s father has suffered an unimaginable loss and because he was not always the best father, he is determined to make amends for past mistakes.  I loved this book.  I first heard about it from the blog site Modern Mrs. Darcy (if you love books I recommend her site and also her podcast What Should I Read Next).

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

From Amazon:  He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel 

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

Our Thoughts:  I was skeptical about this book before starting.  I mean, how much story can there be for a man held prisoner in a hotel?  Actually, a lot happens within the confines of this hotel over the course of several decades.  Due to people that come into his life in the hotel, the Count is challenged and grows.  I would call this a quiet book because it is very character driven without a ton of action.  However, the characters and the setting were so interesting that  I could not put this down.  It also helps that the book is well written.

Have a great weekend!

~May and June

A room without books is like a body without a soul.

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An Unexpected Gift This Winter

This weekend we had a completely unexpected string of days in the 60s and 70 degrees.  For Chicago in February, this is unheard of and records have been being broken right and left.  The unusual weather was a gift to us.  I looked at these days as a gift given to me, an unexpected vacation from the expected.

With a long weekend, it was a gift to get outside and enjoy it a bit.  We also enjoyed running errands quickly without the added weight of parkas, boots, hats and gloves.  I was scrambling to find weather appropriate clothing.  A t-shirt and a lightweight sweatshirt was all that was required which resulted in a gift of feeling weightless.

Gatsby enjoyed his gift by lying in front of the opened storm door to enjoy the rays.  Of course he lays there so long he eventually gets so hot that he is panting, but I guess he likes that feeling?

An organization had a polar plunge this past Saturday in a local lake.  I am sure the participants were planning on raising money through the adversity of freezing themselves in the winter snow and breaking through ice to access the water of the lake.  They had the gift of enjoying a dip in albeit cool water but with the warmth of the sunshine on their back.

The kids in the neighborhood enjoyed the gift by dusting off bicycles and shaking the rust off of the swing sets.

I have mentioned before that I hate winter and I tend to suffer a bit from seasonal affective disorder during the long dark days of winter.  This unexpected spring landing right in the middle of the worst month of the year was truly a gift.  Being a true Chicagoan, I know not to trust that it will last (or if it does last the world must be coming to an end), because I am sure winter is not done with us yet.  I will, however, soak up every minute of it while it is here, knowing that even when it fades, it will be back soon enough. –June

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. – Anne Bradstreet

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Yoga Monday- Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Happy Presidents’ Day! I hope you all are enjoying the final day of your three day weekend, taking some time for a little rest and relaxation. It was definitely a great weekend to enjoy the beautiful weather. As a yoga teacher, I know the value of relaxing the body and quieting the mind, although I have to admit, I don’t always put my words into practice. It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, that often times we put ourselves at the bottom of the list, where sadly we are left.

Reclined Bound Angle Pose, also known as reclined cobblers pose, is a deeply relaxing posture for students of all levels. It is great to do at the end of a yoga practice, or at the end of your day. Often, I’ll spend a little time in this posture in the evening, shortly before going to bed. Here are just a few of the benefits associated with this rejuvenating posture.

Lowers blood pressure

Relaxes muscle tension

Opens tight hips

Decreases anxiety

Relaxes abdominal muscles

Stretches groin and inner thighs

Opens the chest and allows for a deeper breath

This posture simply replenishes energy by creating an openness in the body, relaxing the central nervous system, giving you an overall feeling of wellbeing.

To practice relaxed cobblers pose, begin by sitting on the floor or your mat with legs extended out in front of you.

Pull your knees into your body then gently let your thighs fall open, keeping the bottoms of your feet together.

Lie onto your back with arms alongside your body, palms up. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, gently release tightness in the shoulders and soften the hips.

Once I establish my breath, I like to rest my hands on my ribcage, feeling my breath as it moves into and out of my palms.

You can rest in this posture for five to twenty minutes, and for a little extra support you can slide a pillow or bolster behind your head and upper back, and yoga blocks or a few books beneath your thighs. Before coming out of the pose, bring your knees to your chest and rock from side to side a few times.

Relax and enjoy your day.

~May

Inner peace comes when you relax your body, quiet your mind, and open your heart.

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It’s Spring at Target!

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.

The links in this post may contain affiliate links and we will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link.

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Houseplants

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.

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Self-Care When You Are Sick

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. ~ May
 
I have come to believe that taking care of myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival. -Audre Lorde
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DIY Valentine’s Day

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

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

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

Directions:

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

Pillar candles

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

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Bullet Journaling

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

 

 

 

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Signs of Spring

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

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Styling Different Outfits With the Same Pieces

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 shopping trip which included two of our favorite stores, Anthropologie and Target.  We went home with some identical pieces, then pulled things out of our own closets to put our own styling stamp on them.  And for a little added twist, June knows that for the next few months she is going to be in the tundra that is Chicago, while May enjoys the spring-like temperatures of Charleston.  So, these outfit choices also show how you can transition the same piece from winter to spring.

Long-Sleeve Twist Front Top

When we were at Anthropologie we found this long sleeve twist front top that is super flattering.  It comes in multiple colors but we both chose the basic white.

May styled hers with a pair of red pants she had purchased last year from Loft and it looks like they still sell them.  She then added a black and white lightweight scarf and a pair of Ugg driving moccasins.

June styled hers with with a little pink cashmere poncho, grey jeans and some comfortable neutral sneakers.

Short Sleeve Sweatshirt

Also at Anthropologie we both found a short sleeve sweatshirt in in the sale room.  On the hanger it doesn’t look like much, but the fit is super cute with a slight a-line.

May styled hers with white jeans and sandals.

June styled hers with a long sleeve white tshirt underneath, blue jeans and black booties.

Knit T-Shirt Dress

We found a great discovery at Target of all places.  We came across this adorable knit t-shirt dress.  Because sizes at Target can run a little small on less expensive items, we both decided to try it on to check the size.  The fitting room was like a meat locker, so when we both came out of our adjoining fitting rooms to show the other, we were both still wearing our jeans  under the dress and burst out laughing. Great minds…

May has styled her dress with a neutral necklace and black ballet flats.

June has styled hers with a black t-shirt underneath so it can be worn now, leggings, black booties and a colorful long necklace.

Striped Short Sleeved T-Shirt

Finally, our last look is a short sleeved black and white striped t-shirt.

May styled hers with army green tailored pants, brown moccasins and a long multi-metal arrow style necklace.

June styled hers with a black open cardigan, jeans and sneakers.

It is a fun expression of style to take a piece and put your own spin on it.  Hope these give you some ideas on how to style some outfits for yourself.  Have a good weekend.  –May and June

Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. — Rachel Zoe

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What's Awesome Today?

What’s Awesome Today?

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 hosts that are entertaining.  During the lead-up to the election, the hosts started a weekly segment called “What’s Awesome Wednesday” to put some positivity in the world.  Listeners call in with what is awesome in their life at the moment.  The awesomeness does not have to be anything momentous but can be a witnessed random act of kindness or something that brought a small smile.  It has met with such success that they have found that teachers are using it in their classrooms to help their students feel more positive and less anxious and have now made it an almost daily segment.

So in my personal quest to spread some positivity, joy, love and peace in the world, here is my list of What’s Awesome Today.

The sunshine.  On Monday, we saw the sun in Chicago for the first time in 8 days.  It has been a dreary month and the sun was such a welcome sight.  The warmth and the light improved everyone’s mood and made me smile.

The start of a new month.  January, the wickedest of winter months, is now in our rearview mirrors.  While February is no walk in the park (and in fact is my least favorite month of the year), we are that much closer to March, when spring officially begins.

New paint colors.  We have lived in our house almost ten years.  That means the last time we had the interior of our house painted was almost ten years ago.   We have decided it is time to freshen up the house and get rid of the dingy marks from handprints and dog slobber.  So I am having fun picking out lighter fresher paint colors and envisioning what our house will look like with a new coat.  If you have any favorite paint colors, let me know, I’m still in the browsing phase.

New niece.  My husband and I are an uncle and aunt again.  Tom’s sister had a baby girl who surprised everyone 5 weeks early.  Because she was early she can use some prayers that she will be able to go home soon.  We cannot wait to meet her and enjoy some of that sweet baby smell and cuddles.

Spring catalogs.  The spring catalogs have been arriving in my mailbox.  I am far from buying anything because it will be months before it feels like spring in Chicago, but they are nice to look through and admire the warmer weather clothes.

The Bachelor.  I admit this show is ridiculous and I probably kill brain cells while watching it, but it is a perfect Monday night guilty winter pleasure when all you need is silly entertainment.  There is not one redeeming cultural thing about this show and it so far from real life, which is why we watch it every week.

Books.  In the last week, I have read 2 great books that I cannot get out of my head.  It has almost ruined me from starting another book (not really because if you know me, you know I always have to be reading something).  The first was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  It gets off to a slow start and the Russian names are a little confusing, but it is so worth it.  After the Bolshevik revolution, the Count is sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest.  Luckily, for the Count he lives in a hotel.  While he is captive, his life changes in ways he could never imagine through the people that come into his life.  The story is full of humor, spectacularly written scenes, interesting and delightful characters and an ending that, a bit unexpected, but so satisfying that I smiled through tears at the end.

The second book I just finished and cannot stop thinking about was All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.  I cannot describe this book because a lot of what happens to the main character, Wavy, is absolutely horrible.  This story could have taken such a different turn but it ends up being a hard-fought love story.  A love story that could very easily been extraordinarily ugly but ends up being so beautiful that you cannot put it down.  And I can doubly attest to that because this book is so overdue at the library right now that I must pay many overdue fines.

Pink.  My neutral winter wardrobe of blacks and greys seems to fit the weather but often make my mood similar to the weather outside.  So lately I have been trying to add a pop of color to my wardrobe which usually means my favorite, pink.  I got a great bright pink little cashmere poncho when I was visiting May a few weeks ago.  I can add that over a long sleeve neutral tunic and legging and add a little fun to my outfit and warmth to my face.  I also have this fun necklace in pink that adds that same pop.  I have worn both several times, and am surprised how many times I get complimented.  Maybe everyone needs a little pink in their life too.

Remembering the beach.  When I visited Charleston 2 weeks ago, we went to the beach for a short time before the storms moved in.  I am remembering the feel of the sand between my toes and the treasures from the sea.

Comfort Dogs.   I fell in love with the LCC Comfort Dogs several years ago.  The Comfort Dogs are a ministry of the Lutheran Church Charities.  The dogs are all golden retrievers who are trained as therapy dogs with the sole purpose of giving comfort to people.  The dogs and their handlers provide local services at schools and nursing homes but also often travel to disaster areas such as Newtown after the shootings, Orlando this past summer and Joplin, Missouri after the tornadoes there several years ago.  The organization has a presence on Facebook and Instagram but even better each of the dogs have their own social media accounts as well.  It brings me much joy and peace to open my social media accounts and find amid all of the bad news, posts and pictures from various Comfort Dogs providing comfort to others.  Also, they have some Comfort Dogs in Training right now, so there is a lot of puppy cuteness going on.  If you need a little joy and comfort of your own search for LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and like some of their pages.

So what’s awesome today for you?  Help spread some good cheer and joy in the world. –June

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Buddha

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