Mood Board

It’s strange how much has changed over the last six months. Most of the changes aren’t visible, aside from a few home improvement jobs here and there. But when I think about where I was mentally in February compared to where I am now…it’s shocking and delightful.

After five years at the same company, I’m leaving! I’ve learned everything that I could from the opportunities that I’ve been given, and I’ve met so many incredible women, and have loved teaching them and watching them grow as people. I’ve made some of my most special friendships through this job, and i’m proud of the last five years. But, bring on the 8-5, normal American work week. Bring it on. I’m hungry for it and ready for it and ecstatic for what’s to come.

Jars

IMG_20190421_0090.jpg

This is a picture that my grandmother took ages and ages ago of their canning closet. My Papa was an expert gardener and could grow anything. If he ever struggled, it was only because the deer and rabbits liked his garden as much as he did. I remember sitting in their gazebo, shucking corn, snapping green beans in half and shelling peas with my brother. Once the peas were shelled, we had to spread them out onto a dish towel and comb through them looking for bad ones. We’d rake our hands through them, letting them fall from our hands like tiny pebbles.

I never got to see the canning process, but this photo is a treasure.

Our garden is literally overflowing. We have watermelons, banana peppers, pepperoncini peppers, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, Serrano peppers, Roma tomatoes, Heirloom tomatoes, Black Krim tomatoes, okra, pickle cucumbers, regular cucumbers, broccoli, basil, sage, and rosemary. I hope to plant some pumpkins before it gets much later in the summer, but it may not happen and that’s okay. We spend every morning in our garden, crawling over watermelon vines and hunting for hidden goodies. We lost all but one of our cabbages to caterpillars, and we may lose our broccoli, too. But, gosh I love this garden. I love listening to it and learning from it, and I can’t wait to see how we do next year.

Show and Tell

  1. Yesterday, T and I celebrated the six year anniversary of us dating. We transplanted all of the seedlings that have been taking over our kitchen for the last couple of months and spent the whole day working in the yard. He is still fascinating to me and I think that he is the most fun.

  2. I’ve been researching recipes of all sorts because if all of the fruits and veggies that we’re planting actually take off…we’re going to be swimming in fresh produce. A few that I’m particularly excited for: this fig and prosciutto pizza (since we have a fig tree!), this Mediterranean recipe, and this recipe for chicken thighs in a creamy tomato sauce.

  3. I’m also reading a lot about canning and how to do it properly and safely. I’m excited to be able to give away tomato sauces, jams, pickles, beans, salsas, etc. When I was growing up, my grandparents had a closet in the garage where they stored all of their canned foods. Everything looked so pretty in the jars, it seemed like every shelf was always full of corn, okra, tomatoes, beans, peas, green beans, squash, and so much more. Because Martha Stewart is just…a dream, I’ll use this article as a guide when I start canning.

  4. Gardening dream purchases: this watering can, this hose, this iron sign, this mustard planter, and this wall planter.

  5. I’ve been reading My Life in France by Julia Child, and it just solidifies my love for her. Click the photo at the very top or below for one of the many articles displaying photos that Julia’s husband took of her.

27

51B34678-EB30-4362-8473-43AEB4A3538F.JPG

27 was always my favorite number when I was growing up. When I exaggerated…there were 27 dogs in the car, 27 bug bites, 27 loads of laundry, etc. When I got to pick a number, it was 27. It’s not like I ever noticed that anything great ever really happened on the 27th… but I just liked it. And… if I want to read really, really far into it, Trey’s favorite number is 9. Born on the 9th of July, always picked that number in sports, etc. 2+7=9.

Yesterday was my 27th birthday and it felt like a big one for me. I celebrated it with yacht rock, crepes for breakfast, a trip to the botanical gardens, purchasing a whole lotta plants, and then working in the yard until our dinner reservations. By the end of dinner, my cheeks were rosy from the whisky and I was tired from a day spent in the sun. It was a really, really great birthday.

I have a few goals for this next year, and I feel confident in each of them. I want to start habits this year that will carry over into every facet of my life. Each of them are backed by my need for self care and self preservation, and the realizations that I have had about myself over the last year. Here they are:

  1. I want to build a garden and an outdoor space that I’ll never want to leave. I felt starved creatively and starved for sunshine over the last year. For a long time, I didn’t have the physical space for making art, which was really hard - and I didn’t have enough hours in the day left for it even if there had been enough space. So, we have over an acre of land now - and a garden is in the works. I’m excited to wake up with the sun and spend the first hours of the day in it. And, since this is our very first garden, if everything ends up dying… I’ll still have an outdoor space for my soul to soak up the sun.

  2. I want to learn to cook. Cooking has always been very intimidating to me. Everyone in my family can cook, but it has almost always seemed like every attempt of mine has failed miserably. That kind of thinking just doesn’t come naturally for me. But, I’ve got a pretty perfect cook that can teach me and I’m going to open myself up to it. I’ll start by picking several recipes that excite me, and I’ll go from there. I also know that it can be therapeutic, and I want in on that kind of tasty therapy.

  3. I want to care for my body inside and out. My mom has always stressed the importance of caring for your skin, and I’m sad to admit that I’m getting a late start to the game. But, I want to create a skincare regimen that works for my lifestyle, and a fitness routine that works for my schedule. I’ve noticed just over the last couple of weeks that the mornings spent in the sun seem to give me the boost needed to get some physical activity in. And, if i can work some meditation in there… that would be great. But I’m not going to kick myself if it doesn’t happen.

  4. I want to visit home more. I hear myself say this from time to time, but then life gets in the way and it doesn’t happen. I love going home. I love my family. I love being back in my little town. I’m grateful to have the family that I have, and I’m going to go home more even if just for the day.

  5. I want to stop sweating the small stuff and focus on what really matters. I’m a carer. I care about everything…a lot. Even the things that I shouldn’t care about. I consciously make mountains out of molehills and then I crawl under those self-made mountains and get lost under their weight. It’s a bad, bad habit. In doing this, I lose the energy that should be being devoted to the people and things that really do matter. In all of this caring, I do a lot of worrying. I worry about big things and small things and everything in between. My hope is that I can retrain my mind to focus on the positive so that the worries won’t have as much space to make themselves at home. In all of the “stop sweating the small stuff” biz, I’m also going to stop caring as much about what people think. Instagram is the worst, and it’s easy to get sucked into some negative self talk because of it. So, I’m releasing myself from that self talk and going to focus on living my actual life with the people around me and not the people in my Instagram feed.

I’m extremely excited for my 27th year. These goals won’t be easy but they’ll be worth it, and I know that I’m worth it.

SW x Blackbolt

SW1.jpg

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! Eden and Ben of Blackbolt brought my dream to life and I just want to squeeze them both. I’ve always wanted this space of mine to have a handmade element and more personal touches added here and there. These two listened to my vision, and put something together that feels so uniquely me.

SW10.jpg

One of the core elements of my brand is the image of a maternal figure holding a flower, and the other is a seasonal image that I can change throughout the year. It’s no news to anyone that I celebrate the seasons and what each of them bring - and these two created beautiful imagery that shows just that. And, as the cherry on top, they created my dream stationary that I absolutely cannot wait to use. They’re a dream team and I couldn’t sing their praises more.

SW8.jpg

Stream of Consciousness

Recently, I read a friend’s blogpost that has stuck with me for weeks. She wrote about the things that she had learned and relearned about herself last year. She shared a side of herself that I really had never seen before, and it made me feel heard and seen. I used to use this place to let the feelings flow - but as more and more people started reading it (hi, dad), I stopped sharing more and more of myself. Well… not today. Letting the thoughts and feelings flow. Maybe you (whoever you are) will feel heard and seen. I’m titling this season or chapter of my life “Survival Mode”.

Where I’m At Currently:

Adulthood is a struggle. This is something that everyone knows, and I’m not at all under the impression that this is as hard as it will ever get. I’m well aware that I’m on the early side of adulthood and that there are many more mountains to summit. However, that doesn’t mean that this still can’t be really damn hard. Scratching the surface… My work doesn’t fulfill me anymore. I live farther away from my family than I would like, and phone calls are exhausting and triggering when my energy levels seem to live beneath rock bottom at the moment. The relationships that I have with family are the ones that I prize the most, and nurturing them is hard when you’re far away and “in your feelings” as the kids say these days.

There’s a pressure to be present on social media so that people “know who you are”. I don’t love this, and it just reminds me of Andy Warhol’s famous quote, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” It turns out that he was right and that social media made that possible.

I need sunshine and warmth to be a pleasant person. I don’t know where my cold-loving, sweater maven self went - but she is gone and her hands are cold and she is sick of soup and longs to run and play and swing and watch birds and get her hands dirty. Maybe I need a sun lamp for lizards…but for myself.

Yacht Rock has been the sound of my soul for the last year, and I find that it can always bring me back to a solid place - even just temporarily. If you don’t know what Yacht Rock is, think Robbie Dupree, Ambrosia, Eagles, Toto, Hall & Oates, Little River Band.

Thinking back on that post that I mentioned previously and quoting it directly here because she said it better than I ever could: “…we must not sit in anger. Anger has to be moved through. It is never meant to be a permanent state, but a catalyst for some sort of change that works itself out and into a state of compassion, or resolve, or determination. If you are angry, do not stop there. That emotion is a signal of a recognized injustice of some kind: identify it, lean into it, and transform it.” Words to live by.

I’ve felt creatively stifled for quite some time. I have a studio space now, and it’s pretty much complete and ready for me to get to work. But, nothing. I haven’t sketched. My embroidery floss has dust on it. I feel choked and tamped down and stalled.

The thought of being unreachable sounds like a dream vacation.

I need to understand that not everyone wants their problems fixed - and even if they do, they may not want me to try to fix them. They may not want a solution. They may not want insight. They may just want a sounding board.

I’ve felt less and less like myself over the last year and I’m the only one that can fix this. I know the cause of it, but it’s scary to realize that it’s not just a funk or an off day… it’s real. Knowing the cause doesn’t make it easier to shake. It was a gradual shift in thinking that took place over a long span of time, making it to where negativity is always on my tongue, ready to be shared with anyone that will listen. It’s not going to be a quick and easy fix to undo. But, I’m working on it. It’s devastating to see a change happen in yourself for the worse.

One time, someone asked me how I can possibly be filled with so much joy and light and still have some extra to give away. This was maybe one of the nicest things that I had ever heard, and the skeptic in me wonders if they really meant it. I’d like to get back to that place.