Sunday, September 18, 2016

Listening is Loving

I love coincidences - references that pop up twice in one day, a song you've been thinking of that comes on the radio,  & themes or thoughts that circle around you so you can really soak them in & learn. They always make me feel like I'm on the right path & that I'm exactly where I need to be.

For instance, today, I heard two Stephen Hawking references. It's not everyday that happens so it makes me pay attention. It makes me stop for a minute & I don't think that's a bad thing. 

Last night my husband & I watched a really amazing film, Hector and the Search for Happiness. You can stream in on Netflix & I loved it. One of the happiness "lessons" Hector learns is that listening is loving; listening is love.  So true. It was my favorite line of the entire film (if you watch have tissues ready!). 

And on a drive to meet up with my Mom today, I listened to one of local NPR station's TED Radio Hour. It was called Extrasensory & one part of the show emphasized listening - Julian Treasure: How Can We All Listen Better? How to pay better attention to the sounds & world around us - especially other people. It turns out, we are not so great at listening to one another & it drove home again that listening is love. It's an act of generosity & one of honor. It's a gift. 

So I'm going to try & be better at listening. Get out of my own way (which is often what happens when we are "listening" - we are trying to think of our reply) & just listen. 

I've also been using the Headspace app for the past 10 days (meditating for 10 days in a row is huge for me!) & it too asks you to listen to the current sounds around you - pay attention, not judge them, but acknowledge them as a part of your space. And those sounds are gifts too - a ceiling fan whirling that keeps me cool, the AC running during a hot summer night, one of my dogs snoring, my husband turning the page of his book. All of the those things are riches beyond belief & if I don't listen for them, pay attention to them - they are lost. 

Listening is not only loving, it's an act of gratitude. 


ps. Did you know you can donate your voice? This was also a part of the show mentioned above (& one of the Stephen Hawking references - the other was The Simpsons :-); I am fascinated & want to register & see if I can maybe do it too - check out VocalID.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fun event coming to Atlanta!

I have nosy dogs... :-)

One of the first blogs I ever started following was Design*Sponge. Not even sure how I heard of it, but once I started reading I was hooked. In 2011, Grace Bonney (the blog's creator) released the book Design*Sponge at Home which I quickly snapped up & still love looking at from time to time.

Check out this shot of her once-upon-a-time NYC closet:

Wallpapered inside with an owl print! So creative & so stinkin' cute!

Her second book, In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, will be released October 4th & she's currently on tour promoting it.  Even better, she, & some of the women featured in the book, will be in Atlanta on October 13th! If you are interested in going (I will be there along with my BF!) click here for more info. I'm super excited & it looks to be an amazing evening. 

For even more info & to check out the blog further, see here.


Amazon affiliate links above.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Home Fri: Vol. 9

I get dressed & ready each morning in a half-bathroom (& shower each night in our full-bath), so not a ton of space. Whenever I can hang items up it's a huge perk & keeps the room looking neater.  

Here's a pretty easy way to stow your flat iron.

Buy an inexpensive potholder (the cheaper & thinner the better because it will be easier to cut through) - like this one:

Then cut off the thumb section making the finger section as wide as you'd like - mine's a bit curved & tapered:

Turn it inside out & sew up the cut side (either by hand or machine). Then flip it back & it will look like this:

You can also cut the other side for a more uniform look & sew it up as well - but this method is a lot faster & it's easy just sewing up one side.

You can then place your warm flat iron inside after using & hang it up!

Viola - it now lives in harmony with my makeup! 

I also usually wrap the cord around the hook too - depending on what kind of morning I'm having (if the thing gets used at all!). There is a bit of room to put the cord into the holder as well, but I usually wait until I know it's cooled down. You could of course leave the pot holder as-is & it would also make a great flat iron holder, but I'm not crazy about the look of a pot holder in the bathroom. To me, this looks a little more streamlined & it was fun to make. 

And for more ideas similar to this, check Pinterest - there are some really cute ones!


Friday, September 9, 2016

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

I lost my grandfather 16 years ago & he would have been 97 today. 

I am so grateful that I got to know him for 28 years. Twenty-eight years is a gift with anyone you love. And again, I'm so grateful that he was a huge part of & influence on my life. I miss him a lot & always will. And it's funny how & when loss hits you - sometimes it comes at you at the oddest moments, but I am happy for my memories.

He was kind & loving to me - kind to me even when it might not have been so easy to be kind to me (or even understand me), was slow to anger (so if he did, you knew he meant business), had a great sense of humor, was smart, & could fix anything - seriously, he was an excellent mechanic & could make magic happen. I don't have one negative thought or memory of him. Was he perfect? Of course not, but when I was kid, he really was.

And that's exactly how a grandfather should be: kind, funny, a fixer of all things broken, reliable, forgiving, & there. He was special in all the best possible ways.

Oh, & the man was handsome & had style too:

He loved cars.

A few of my faves with my grandmother:

And one with me! :-)

It's a pic of a pic unfortunately, but I love it & him. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!


ps. last year on his birthday I was driving to work & noticed these cutouts on a construction site fence/barrier. They looked like hearts to me (pretty sure that was not the original intention, but who knows? :-) - I thought it was beautiful. I'll take whatever signs of love & loved ones I can get!


Home Fri: Vol. 8's been awhile since I've done a "Home Fri" (Home Fridays) - which bums me out because I love playing around with DIY crafts & making messes!  Such is a busy life, but here's a really inexpensive one that I hope you'll like.

Last month I hit up a Dollar Tree store for the 1st time in ages. I found these cute nautical-looking buckets & decided to use them as outdoor planters. If you haven't noticed, planters can be really pricey! Why!?!

Not bad for $1 a piece, right? They are also 2.5 gallons, so they can hold a decent-sized plant.

My husband then drilled some holes into the bottoms for drainage:

Another fascinating view: :-)

The drilled holes are totally optional. You could also use rocks or broken terracotta pots on the inside for drainage.

I then filled one of them up with another Dollar Store find (which I could not find on their website) - these spinning-wind-flower-pinwheels:

Talk about low maintenance flowers! :-) They would also look great with decorative rocks on top, but I don't have any right now.  I put them on the little, far backyard table that I painted back in June:

Better, more colorful view out to the yard:

And, they will last all seasons. Or, until they fade or the demon-squirrels in my yard drag them away (highly possible, ya'll!).  I also found these on the Dollar Tree website (I have no affiliation with Dollar Tree - just like cheap stuff sometimes!) - how cute would they be to put into the buckets for Halloween?  The possibility to change out these buckets/planters each season or holiday are endless (& inexpensive!).  

I might actually put real plants or flowers into them next spring/summer too. :-)


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Make this: Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Update: This original post had photos, but they weren't great (food photography is not my forte), so they've been removed.  

Years later though, we still love this recipe and make it often!

Again, cleaning out the saved blog posts (I love you, Feedly) came across this post from 71 Toes.  It's not often you find a recipe that's easy to make, super quick, & healthy.  

Since I read this, we've made these dozens of times.  The ingredients are super easy to find too.  If you are a paleo-type or Whole30-er person, you can use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. I usually use a gluten-free tamari. I like coconut aminos, but my husband is not impressed with it/prefers soy, tamari is our compromise & makes everyone happy.

I love these too because you can change them up to suit your tastes - ground chicken, steak, ground beef, chickpeas or beans instead of meat, green onions, other veggies, nix the water chestnuts if you don't like, extra garlic, collard wraps instead of lettuce? Yes, please!

For this version (made last night) - we used ground turkey, onion, garlic, powdered ginger, fresh cauliflower rice (thank you, Trader Joe's!), & I couldn't find full-on broccoli slaw, so I bought a bag of stir fry mix that had some broccoli slaw in it, tamari, & a tiny bit of sesame oil - it turned out great.

Wrap them up in lettuce (we usually use Romaine) & add some hot sauce if you are so inclined. :-)

Full of great veggies - only uses one pan, & we have leftovers for tonight!

Hope you enjoy & cheers,

Monday, September 5, 2016

Farewell summer/Watermelon love

If I had a dime for every watermelon I've cubed up this summer I'd be living pretty large!

Before these lovey sweet things say adios - enjoy them as much as you can.  My husband loves to eat watermelon with a spritz of lime - & I agree, it's delicious!  But, my favorite way is with salt. Always has been, always will be. Pretty much any salt will do, but over the past couple of years I've been loving this combo:

I was given a set of the Maldon Triple Gift Pack & never really knew how to best use the smoked salt.  But, eventually, it hit me it would be awesome with melon & it is! 

Think prosciutto with honeydew melon - it's a little like that delish combo. 

Really, give it a try. If you don't want to go through the hassle of ordering salt online (but, honestly, Maldon is so worth it) or finding it in a local shop, try some plain or kosher salt if you've never tried salted melon. 

Salt makes everything taste better.

It's probably possible to make a DIY version of smoked salt (Pinterest?) using liquid smoke which is available at most grocery stores - I've never tried it, but maybe I will when this box runs out. Salt can be flavored with almost anything so I am thinking maybe some salt with lime zest would be delicious with melon too. 

Do you have a favorite way to eat watermelon?


ps. smoked salt is great on popcorn too!

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Farewell summer/Hummingbird love

As much as I love fall & the cooler temps, I miss the hummingbirds when they head south. They are still active in our backyard & every spring/summer we are on constant lookout.  This evening I caught a few snapshots (which then Google/my phone kindly turned into gifs - love that!) - at one point there were four buzzing around me! Happy Labor Day weekend!

They are so amazing (can you tell I am a little obsessed?)!

I love this one's red band: