Monday, October 16, 2017

Field Trip: Moorea Seal Store Opening

Sam and I were so happy to attend the Opening weekend celebration of Moorea Seal's new flagship storefront at 1012 1st Avenue. We've been longtime fans and it was wonderful to see her vision on a larger scale and see all the details come together! Knowing her and her staff have been working nonstop to make it a reality makes it even better! 

I'm not really sure what to talk about first, the woman or the store. Samantha and I met Moorea when she made an appearance at an Urban Craft Uprising signing her first book. We instantly loved her and were so happy to find her to be a genuine, smart and caring business woman that was interested in lifting others as she made her mark in the Seattle retail scene. 

And she has continued to be that person. A peak at her instagram and you know that she is passionate about mental health, women, equality and supporting small makers. And besides that she is a kick in the pants! She is truly one of our favorite people.

And then there is the store. Sam usually finds herself spending some time goofing off at the sunglasses wall and it's even more gorgeous now that the shelving is made of pink acrylic! The selection is fun and reasonably priced. I always think these would make the perfect gifts for teenagers. Especially if you want to be the cool adult in the know! 

There is a gorgeous selection of leather goods and something on my Christmas list (Steve are you reading?) is a Pine & Boone bag. Pine & Boone is made in Seattle by Jesse Marie Griffith who Moorea went to SPU with. I love all the connections, and being able to carry a piece made in Seattle is really special. 

Another item that I find irresistible is the jewelry. I find she has a great selection of fun everyday items and special keepsake pieces. I have collected both statement earrings and some beautiful rings that Steve has given me for special occasions. 

On this trip we found ourselves drawn to the candles. They have P.F. Candles (along with many others!)  that was burning at the lodge where Steve and I stayed in Palm Springs. And of course we had to bring home her signature candle fragrance by them, a gorgeous Moss, Rose, & Vetiver fragrance. 

And also in our bag is a copy of Moorea's third book Make Yourself at Home, which she finished in addition to her store opening! I can't wait to sit down, light a candle and take some time to look thru all the spaces covered in the book and feel inspired. And it's likely Steve and I will find ourselves back in her place before Christmas doing some shopping for our girls! Having one of my other favorite stores in Seattle, Watson Kennedy Fine Home a couple of doors down makes it a perfect area to visit! Maybe I'll see you there?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Dealing with Grief

Can we talk about grief? Have you found it's a subject that has been coming up in your life like has been showing up in mine? There have been many personal losses in families close to. Then you add the things happening in our world. Grief is becoming a common emotion in my circles and I would love to talk about how we deal with it. 

 We have realized it is important to attend the funeral. We have been to more funerals recently than weddings and have come to terms with it. We know it's important to be there for our friends, to show up, to provide the hug, the shoulder, the help when they might need it. It can also help with understanding the person that your friend has lost. It's painful, but there is a beauty in the stories and the memories that are sometimes revealed. 

When we are at a loss for what to do, we usually go with food. We will either deliver a meal or a bag of treats from Trader Joe's. If we know a friend is dealing with a level of grief that will likely affect their appetite we'll go with the bag of snacks knowing it's sometimes easier. In our home food equals love so this is pretty much our first response! 

If we don't bring food it's likely you will see flowers from us. Along with a visit and a hug. There really isn't a right answer as to what is the best thing. I think we should all follow our intuition. I've had a crazy nudge to make a grieving friend laugh and though it felt crazy we laughed and cried together and it seemed healing. You never know what might be the best thing for a friend dealing with grief until you are there with them in the moment. But don't let fear hold you back from doing something. 

Then there is dealing with loss yourself. (Don't worry, Boston is alive and well!) Again I think you should follow your instinct. Do you need to be with people? Do you need to be alone. Do you need to snuggle up with your dog, watch a couple hours of sad movies on Netflix and cry? I think too often we think we can run from the pain instead of allowing ourselves to just sit with it a bit. 

Don't be afraid to reach out to others. I think there is nothing that makes me happier than being called on by a friend telling me that I'm needed by them. And I am learning by watching others dealing with grief that it has it's own time table. That it will catch you off guard months down the road when you think you are "over it." So be prepared to support that friend, or ask for support yourself if you are dealing with a loss of your own. We are all so lucky to have each other. 

Please, tell me what you do to either support a friend or take care of yourself when dealing with grief. I would love to hear from you. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Field Trip: Fall Food Tour

With it being the beginning of Fall, it seemed appropriate to go apple picking. So Steve, Sam and I found a nearby farm and headed out. 

We found Sm'Apples in nearby Ferndale and chose them based on the fact that they were featuring Honeycrisp apples. They are a favorite of our family. A little sweet, a little tart. (a bit like our daughters really!)

One thing I am really starting to enjoy about our family outings is running into friends! This time we ran into friends from when our girls were small (hello Heilborns!) Above is Eric Heilborn showing us their apple haul!

One thing we have to make sure of is not to get competitive when picking! We held ourselves to a bag of Honeycrip, a bag of Jonagolds, and a bag of what they called Fuji/Mystery apples that were a mystery since they had cross-pollinated with another apple variety. 

Another bonus of our apple picking? We are buying local which is helping keep our local community farms healthy. And they are just plain delicious. We ended up with three bags full of apples. Though it drizzled on and off it was a perfect Northwest day for apple picking! And we ended up eating an apple or two the minute we hit the car! Heading home we realized we were very close to Twin Sisters Creamery which is the only cheese producer in the area that produces blue cheese! Hello detour! 

I had been fortunate enough to taste this gorgeous blue cheese about a year ago at the eatery attached to Drizzle Olive oil and Vinegar Tasting Room in Lynden. Let's just say I remembered and knew Steve would be a fan! 

We became more than just fans of their cheese after having a chance to talk to Lindsay, one of the pair behind the brand (her husband Jeff was busy cleaning in the production area behind the glass). She educated us on how the cheese was made while the twins that the cheese is named after entertained us by zooming around the room (one on a pair of inline skates!) Their raw milk Blue Cheese is smooth and zippy at the same time, while their Whatcom White which is made with raw milk is addictive. Needless to say we left with a piece of both! 

They offer so much more than just the shop. You can take them up on cheese or wine pairings, or they create Wedding Cheese stacks which sound like a fun option! We know we will be back to take part in a class! 

Since we were in the area we decided to go and visit Appel Farms to check out some more cheese. This place has something for everyone. We were happy to grab a bite to eat, while Sam was excited to check out the Critter Corner! 

Steve and I shared a huge cheese plate that seemed it would keep a farmer happy for a meal, while Sam was happy with her grilled cheese. We decided to buy a piece of Nokkelost Cheese which has spices and cloves and tastes different from anything we've had before. Then it was off to check out the grounds.

Sam was happy to find they had a yard out back with a large koi pond, three goats and a gorgeous cow.  Though she was a bit surprised to find out how big the cow's tongue was and it's reach! You would have thought she was a city kid! 

This was a really casual day of touring around but we were really happy with how it turned out. We ran into friends, came home with delicious products, and had a ball. If you are looking to take your own tour and you are in the area Sustainable Connections has a great website with information on where to find their print map of their Food & Farm Finder which is helpful in seeing just what is available nearby. We are always impressed and excited with what we can find in our area. This may be just one of many mini-food tours we take this Fall!  Have you come across any surprises in your area? 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Let's Stay Together

This month Steve and I are celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary. We've had people ask us what we've learned from being together that long and while I keep trying to come up with some big, introspective and smart sounding answers it's really the simple things that have worked for us. 

1. Show gratitude.  Steve really responds to this one! I'm joking around a bit, but everyone likes to hear "thank you" don't they? This is something we figured out about the time we started trying to teach our daughters manners and realized we weren't really thanking one another like we should. And now we try to notice when the other goes out of their way for us. 

2. Treat each other like you would a friend. This one was really a lesson for me. I think it came up in a group of friends and we all realized that we treated one another better than we did our husbands some of the time. So, it became a goal to treat Steve the way I should. Like my best friend. Because he is. Most of the time.

3. Surprise one another.  For a while we had a good streak going where we would take turns planning dates. The great part of this was while it was fun surprising one another we also got a bit competitive which led to some really fun outings! 

4. Make room to be surprised by one another. By this I mean don't think you know one another completely. Even after being married all this time Steve can have a reaction or an thought about something that completely surprises me. I think it's good to not think you have one another all figured out. I think this is like not talking over one another. Take a step back and really look at each other...and you know, be amazed. You picked a good one!

5. Miss each other.  We take trips without one another. Some people don't but we think it's okay. And I don't think it's for everyone. But I think it's healthy to at least have time apart so you remember why you like that other person in the first place. Take a morning for some time alone at a coffee shop. Make sure to make time for friends. Then it feels nice to reunite too! 

These are just some of the small things that we have found work for us to keep things going. Some days our marriage feels brand new, and some days not so much. But I realize every day that I chose this guy so I better do things to make this relationship work! 

Please tell me what things you have learned from relationships. We are always happy to get more tips! Please share what you know! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Get Thrifty: Our Thrifty Fall Fashion Week

The arrival of September has my attention turning once again to fashion. It fills my instagram feed, it makes the magazines of the month that much bigger. And much like back to school, I feel like I would like to go clothes shopping! But these days I try and be a little more purposeful about how and where I spend my money. And an easy and fun way I do is by thrifting. 

There are a couple of items that we always seem to be on the lookout for when we go. And some that are especially timely this Fall. I'll break down the things we have been having luck with and what we look for!

1. Denim  This is something we are almost always looking at in one form or another. Sam has found some incredible Levi's that fit in the best way possible. Recently I was pining over a denim duster I found in the Madewell catalog similar to one I had in the 90's. Figuring it didn't make sense to pay close to $200 for something I had been there for the first time around I was happy to see we could copy by taking a denim dress, unbuttoning it and throwing it over like a coat! I think it's a pretty great copy for about $10! 

2. Camo  I have to say I look for this print year round as it's a person favorite. But I find it's a perennial favorite of the fashion crowd and it seems to be cropping up again this year. It's almost a no-brainer to find the coats in the men's section. And Sam found a crazy felt like pair of orange print pants recently that were so much fun! I have a coat that I have considered adding a patch or embroidery, but for now it's great. It's similar to the one in the photo of Sarah Rutson below. And though it wouldn't seem like it, it goes with so much. I really like it paired with stripes. 

3. Handbags  I have found so many fun vintage bags while thrifting I have built a mini collection. The most recent one is a Dooney & Burke one similar to one my sister had when we were growing up. It was less than $25 and is a great little cross-body. A classic leather handbag will never go out of style, go with everything and if taken care of can be passed on. If you like to dress them up you can tie a scarf to them or find the cute little clips with pom-pom on them to give them a little personality! 

4. Shoes I can almost never pass up the shoe racks at any store...can you? And I find the thrift stores to be no exception. I have found two sets of shoes that have been more than surprising. The first is a pair that say they are Hermes. I have no reason to disbelieve them, though I have done no real digging. Either way they are in leopard, a favorite of mine and incredibly comfortable. And as I consider leopard a neutral, they are perfection. 

The other smashing find are a pair of Italian leather J.Crew flats in a crazy sherbet orange that make me all kinds of happy. I had to make it a point to take a photo of them on a festive rug just to do them credit! J. Crew has a hashtag #shinyponies and I think these fit the bill of being a mood-lifting, gorgeous shoe! 

These are some of the usual suspects we look for when we thrift, though we always keep our eyes open for the unusual, never seen before statement pieces. The last time we went we bought Samantha a bright pink prom dress just because we couldn't leave it behind! 

Do you thrift? Is there anything you go looking for? Do you have any questions about it, or anything you want me to keep my eyes open for? I love the hunt! Let me know! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Getting Rid of Stuff

I promise that I will mix some other blog posts in with all these "deep thought" posts soon...I hope to have some fun thrifting, seasonal, and other posts coming. In the meantime I guess I have a lot of things that I want to talk about with you all. Here is the latest. 

This is not going to be a pretty, aspirational post. It was something I didn't even think I wanted to take part in. A garage sale. Steve is the child of a life-long garage sale veteran and while I love going to them I HATE  having them. It just seems to be so awkward having people go thru your stuff, judging you and paying you for the things you want to get rid of. Surprisingly, this day turned out so much better than that. 

Steve talked me into taking part by helping me clean out our storage. This house is small, but has two storage areas down the length of both sides of our upstairs. We were married in the 90's which seems to be the time when it was important to acquire. And we were good at it. And while we stopped using these things, we kept them in storage waiting until we found the time to use them again. But that time never seemed to come.

So we finally decided to get rid of the stuff that no longer has a hold on us. And it feels so freeing. We seemed to change our priorities a while back about how and what we buy, but we never addressed the things we already had. And the way we feel about our "stuff" has changed a lot over the years. We now feel like if we don't use something more that once a year it should probably go. And if it doesn't give us joy, it should probably go. Even if it was a gift, and we don't love it, it should probably go.

And it leaves us feeling less burdened by our stuff. And the stuff we sold will work for us by going toward a trip (like the one we are on above to Arizona from last year). We will continue to pare down and give to Value Village or Goodwill. I hope we will be able to find the point where we have the perfect balance of things. Until then we will keep working at it. I have been keeping the following quote in mind until we get there. 

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

William Morris

Monday, September 4, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Perspective & Connection

Labor Day weekend may seem like a weird time to be sitting down to some deep thoughts. But there is so much going on in the world, both good and bad that I wanted to sit down and talk about perspective and connection. Once of the reasons I started this blog was to have a connection and conversation with others. Hopefully this would hopefully lead to bigger understanding for me and maybe others. 

Years back when I was talking about this new thing I was all into reading called blogs a friend asked why I would read something written by people I don't even know. I didn't have the quick answer at the time but now I do. If I stay in my little group of people that think like me, have experiences like me, where will the change and challenges come from? Since then I have been purposely looking for challenges to my perspective. Following are a few of those steps. 

Read. I have learned so much about our shameful history and have a much bigger understanding of what is going on in our present thanks to reading. There is so much to be said about reading someones firsthand account of what it felt like to walk in their shoes. Or a well written fictional account of a horrific time in our not so distant past. 

Travel. If you have the opportunity to travel I would take it. Steve and I took a trip some time ago and I found it to be an eye opener. It was to Georgia for a peanut tour (funny, right? He worked in peanut butter manufacturing at the time!). We occasionally found ourselves in areas where we were the minority which was a discomfiting feeling at best. It felt like something that was important to experience.

Talk. My girls have educated me so much on the gender changes that have taken place. I still struggle with pronouns but find myself much more sensitive to it with people.  I find my husband to sweetly be trying his best as well. I grew up with guy friends wearing make up and nail polish so it doesn't feel shocking in any way. It's just a change that we are learning to navigate. 

Experience. I love a good trip to a museum. I am alway surprised how changed I can feel when I come a way from a visit. From experiencing sculpture and interactive exhibits to photography, I love experiencing the world thru another persons eyes. And art is one way that comes the closest for me to doing so. Reading what their viewpoint or reasons were, and then seeing it in person is pretty much a charge for me. And then talking about it with almost makes me wish I was back in my college art classes! 

Connect. I have been so incredibly happy at the connections I have made both in real life and thru social media. I have had meaningful conversations thru snapchat with people like Moorea Seal that I admire. I have been gifted with smart words on Brandi Kincaid's instagram just when they were needed. And I have found hazel + scouts blog post full of important steps to take in the war on racism. Most recently I found a list of helpful places to give in the wake of the disaster in Texas on Stephanie Howell's blog

My world feels bigger because of this. And I hope I am a different person because of conversations I am having in real life and because of the things I am reading, experiencing, hearing about and doing. How do you feel about perspective? How do you build a connection to the world at large? I am always working on making mine bigger and would love more pointers!