GIFTS: for your BFF...

Happy Friday, my dear internet cosmos.  Please tell me you all have festive weekend plans.  'Tis the season for partying!  Get after it.

'Tis also the season for gifting, as we established yesterday.  If you missed it, here's my round up of go-to gifts for the foodie in your life.

Today, I give you gift ideas for your trendy, silly, oldest best friend.  I mean the kind of friend who you wouldn't mind giving things to that you really want for yourself.  After all, she's the friend you often find yourself living your life vicariously through.  Here we go:

1- Heirloom seed kit:  She's always wanted to have a green thumb, but just can't seem to get it going on her own.

2- Homemade room spritz:  To make her home smell yummy all year long.

3- Octopus mugs:  She doesn't drink coffee, but who cares?!  These things are genius, and someone has to have them.

4- Taxonomy of rap names:  Because she's design savvy, and appreciates a good flow chart.  Plus, she'll stare at it for hours discovering new totally useful bits of knowledge.

5- Antique kilim coasters:  This is one of those things that you will get to use, too.  And every time you go to her house, you'll wonder why you didn't buy them for yourself.

6- Handwritten stationery set:  So she can write you notes to remind you of what an awesome friend you are.

7- Anthropologie's "Wish it, Win it" giveaway:  Enter every day to win all of Anthropologie's ultimate gifts from their holiday catalog.  That's over $16,000 worth of goodies from the store you and your BFF can't normally afford!  Gift one of your pretty winnings to her, and keep the rest for yourself.  Check out all the prizes here

Have a holly jolly weekend--


At D's Suggestion GIFTS!

Well, my internet cosmos, it's been a doozie of a few weeks.  Thanksgiving brought with it explosions at work, the flu (or it's first cousin...not quite sure which), and sadly enough, family tragedies.  Not exactly the season of thanks we were looking forward to.  Lesson learned:  don't put all your "thanks" eggs in one basket--spread 'em out around the year.  You never know when it may be your last chance to show your gratefulness.

All that being said, I'm so very grateful that I'm on the edge of normalcy again.  There is a light at the end of this tunnel and I can definitely see it.  And now, it's time to spread love and joy around in a new season of gifts!  Which I'm actually pretty stoked about. 

If you're ever in a bad mood, try giving something to someone.  A dollar, a TV, a bite of your sandwich.  Seriously, it makes everything better.

Speaking of sandwiches, here's my first collection of gifts to be given to the foodies in your life!  Here we go:

1.  Memorable spirits:  a delicious bottle of wine, that won't break your bank.

2.  Recipe cards:  Make sure they don't forget that super special ingredient that will make or break the whole dish.   

3 & 7.  Homemade bread:  Nothing says "I love you" like a warm, fresh loaf of whole grain basil bread or rosemary and orange-infused zucchini bread.  

4.  Honey jar:  A way more stylish alternative to the plastic honey bear.

5.  Chef iPad sleeves:  Because we all know how dirty you are in the kitchen.

6.  Cold-brew coffee:  No one has time to brew a hot pot of anything during the holidays.  Pull it out of the fridge and enjoy.

8.  Homemade cookbook:  gather your friends, compile your favorite recipes, call a photographer, pour yourself a hard drink, and strip down and throw on an apron.  Put all your hard work into a hard-bound keepsake for your loved ones.

Stay tuned for more gift ideas!


The French Hostess

So, as anyone who follows me on Pinterest knows, I've become completely slightly obsessed with the unbelievably gorgeous foodie blogger, Mimi Thorisson.  I have been drooling over her dreamy blog, Manger, for months now.  She chronicles her life in the French country with her dreamy photographer husband, precious children, and billions of adorable dogs that always seem to be roaming freely through the magical woods, hunting for mushrooms and fairies.

Oh, and did I mention that this woman is a total boss in the kitchen?  (These chocolate meringues look particularly dangerous.)  How she manages to cook like a bonafide Frenchmen, and still look like an exotic goddess is beyond me.

I figured I'd be able to keep my obsession a secret until I ran across this interview with Mimi at Sous Style and it sent me over the edge.  She talks about her love for, "Duck fat, butter, cream, crème fraîche, garlic, eggs, and orange blossom water" and says she "once killed a huge furry spider, just by screaming."  I'm convinced she is magic.

Read the rest of the interview here.  And please go read through her blog here.

Have a beautiful, buttery, dreamy weekend--

(All images from here and here.)


A Denver Home...Guest Post!

Emily from A Denver Home Companion (remember her from Denver Week?) asked me to write a guest post for her lovely blog.  Go check it out here.

And if you're in Denver, go check out her Mr.'s new restaurant, The Populist.  They open tonight!  Emily, my Mr. and I will be there on Friday.

Thanks for letting me hang out in your blogosphere today, Emily!



Let's talk.

Happy Friday, my dear internet cosmos!

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about this blogging platform. I think there are a lot of circles where if someone where sitting down to talk to the infinite void of internet every day, that person would be committed. But we do it. And we love it. And even if no one talks back, we keep talking. Tell me, is this normal?

See, I just posed another question to the unending ether without thinking twice about it.

I know there are voices out there on the other end of this thing. I've seen you, heard you, held your hand, drank a cold one with you, lived with you. Hell, I've even read your conversations with the same internet that I write to.

My point is, I'd love to hear from you. I want you to talk at me the way I talk at you in this platform. I'd like to create that old fashioned thing they call "conversation".

So, here are some ways you can engage in "active listening" with me:

*Look to your right-hand side of this page. Now look up a little. Yep, right underneath that mysterious picture of me. Enter your e-mail address and instead of having to remember to come check up on me, I'll come straight to you in your inbox.

*Stay over there on the right-hand side and you can subscribe to this blog. That means I'll show up in your reader when I write a new post.

*I have a lot of opinions on a lot of things. Do you? Let me know by leaving me comments at the end of posts.

And even if you're more the "silent listening" type, it's okay. You're beautiful just the way you are. I'm just glad you stopped by to stand quietly in the corner and observe. You're welcome anytime.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! MEL

(image from here)



Here are some ways for you to get involved today:

*Make some phone calls!  Go here to get started.

*Remind your friends on Facebook to get out and vote!  Here's a super easy way to do it.

*Go vote!  Don't know where to go?  Find out here.

*Spread the word!  Let your friends know that you voted and encourage them to do the same.  Here's how.

*Wanna make sure you're making the right vote?  Read the President's entire plan for the next 4 years here.  Or you can compare President Obama's and Mr. Romney's plans here.

Everyone has an opinion and everyone's voice matters.  Go make it heard.


(Image from here.)


Dream House

My Mr. & I are serious dreamers.  We talk all the time about our dreams for the future and at the risk of sounding disgustingly corny, we will go so far as to rip pages out of magazines and bookmark endless websites to plan for our dream home.  We talk about our dream garden and our dream solar panels, our dream cabinet pulls and our dream house numbers.  Seriously, no topic is too small for us to start planning.

Last month, I came home and pulled my newest Dwell edition out of the mailbox and quickly planted myself on the couch and started dreaming.  Now I will say, it's hard for me to flip through any design magazine and not find some sort of inspiration, however small it may be.  But this time was different.  This time they had our exact dream house featured in the magazine!  Like seriously.  To a tee.  This is THE ONE.

Open floor plan.  Wrap around porch.  Walls of windows.  Central courtyard with a fire pit.  Green construction.  All under a big sky.

I'm completely obsessed.


(All images from my imagination here.)



My best friend is flying to Paris today for her job.

She will be spending a week exploring the famous flea markets, scouting out beautiful textiles, prints, trends, and colors, discovering French design aesthetics to bring back to the US and produce en masse.

Yes, that's right.  That's her job.

Now would be the time to call her any mean and derogatory names you'd like.  I would, but I've already called them to her face and I can't print them here; it's a family friendly blog, after all.

Anyway, in honor of her gruesome work trip--full of stressful board meetings, stale coffee, and conference rooms with no windows (insert childish put-downs and jealousy-induced name calling here)--I decided to put together a little Parisian inspiration board to help get us all in the mood.

Bonne journée!

1.  A modern-day Versailles
2.  Parisian Icon
3.  Potato Salad a la France
4.  Lauren Moffatt does Parisian stripes
5.  Diane Kruger in Chanel = The Definition of French
6.  Paris street style
7.  The epitome of French food


Get Outside!

Well folks, I'm about to say something to you that I have not been able to say for the past 5 years.  This is a pretty momentous occasion so pay attention.


Here goes:

IT'S FALL!!!!!!!

That's right, like actual, real, cool, leaves-changing, windy, rainy, crisp, fall!

See look, I have proof:

See all that yellow business?  No, those aren't rocks.  No, it's not gold.  No, they aren't layers upon layers of pollen from a giant bee.  They are trees!  And they are turning colors other than green!  And it is amazing!

I told you it was a momentous occasion.

So with all this glory happening outside, it's been really hard for me to think of much else.  Driving to work and actually ending up at work is a really difficult task--the mountains have been coaxing me off the interstate and into their arms in a serious way (DISCLAIMER:  I fear this could become a regular theme on the blog.  I apologize in advance.).

This list of the World's Best Hikes isn't making things much easier either.  I mean, can you really believe that places like this actually exist?  And better yet, you can WALK to them!  Here are some of the trails that are really calling my name:

Mount Kailash Pilgrimage, Tibet

Shipwreck Coast/Shi Shi Beach, Olympic Peninsula, Washtington

Santa Cruz Trek, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

I hope you all are enjoying the nature around you as much as I am.  And if you're not, you can always hope a plane to Iceland or Bhutan.

(First three images of fall taken by yours truly.  Last three images of hikes from this awesome article.)


Emerson Fry

Holy Moly.  The fall line from Emerson Fry is completely perfect.  I want need everything.

I mean, there's just nothing more to say.  The clothes speak for themselves.

Oh one more thing--I'm a medium/size 8 in clothing, size 7 in shoes.


(All images from here.)


Gap Fall 2012

Have you seen the new promos for Gap?  As if there weren't already enough reasons to love the more sophisticated big brother of Old Navy and hipper little sister of Banana Republic, Gap brings us the most rad promos I've ever seen.

Of course, I really should not be so surprised.  After all, they were responsible for this iconic ad.  And this unbelievably adorable one.  And let's not forget, my all time favorite.

Like I said, as if there weren't already enough reasons.

Check 'em out:

Okay, I'm going shopping now.


Big Easy Express

Lately, I've had a bit of wanderlust and I have no idea why.  When this happened in FL it was because I wanted so badly to get out of the choking swampy humidity that was suppressing my joy.  When I was in TX it was simply because I wanted to be anywhere but TX.  But now, I'm exactly where I want to be, and there's not a smidgen of humidity squashing anything, and yet I still have the urge for some wind in my hair.

I think it probably has something to do with the fact that the possibility of escape and exploration is way more tangible here than it's ever been anywhere else that I have lived.  Everyday, I see the great Rocky Mountains looming to my west and calling for me to get off of the freeway and go to them.  And so this wanderlust I feel has nothing to do with unhappiness or feeling stifled.  Instead, I think it's a direct effect of being inspired every single day that I wake up in this new majestic home of mine.  It's a wander that keeps me hopeful and joyous.

Big Easy Express Official Trailer from S2BN Films on Vimeo.
Another thing that doesn't help with this urge to get out into the wilderness is watching the above trailer for the new documentary Big Easy Express.  Emmett Malloy's film follows Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes as they hop on a train in California and ride across the country toward New Orleans on a musical tour like no other.  Besides being full of amazing music, it looks like it was a tour full of magic and mystery and wonder.  Just the kind of trip that seems so close and so appealing to me.  
If the trailer is enough to make me go nuts with the urge to fly, I can't imagine what watching the entire documentary will do to me. 
Tell me my dear internet cosmos, have any of you seen it? 
Hope you all have a dreamy Wednesday--



So, I have found a new-to-me online shop called Catbird and I am completely obsessed.

Watch out bank account.

Here are my absolute favorites:

D.S. & Durga

The above scent from D.S. & Durga, all dirty and sexy and spicy with Indonesian patchouli, jasmine, and mace.  I think it may be intended for men.  And I completely do not care.

And just in case the overtly-masculine scent is making people question, I think it is necessary for me to be wearing the most precious gold and turquoise ring ever created:

Claire Kinder Pip Ring

Now that I live in CO, a place where everyone and their mom loves to camp and decides to do so in every state park within four hours of me every single weekend, therefore prohibiting me and my Mr. and our pups and our friends to enjoy the wonders of camping in this majestic wilderness...ahem...sorry...the ranting mechanism in my head sometimes goes a little berserk.

Anyway, here's my point:  for when there is not a real campfire to drink whiskey and roast marshmallows beside, there is this candle:

Catbird Campfire Candle

And when there are no stars to gaze at, there are these matches to light aforementioned campfire candle with:

Constellation Matches

So seriously, if any of you, my dear internet cosmos, wishes to help prevent my marriage from ending due to me sending us into an oblivion of debt from this store, please feel free to send me as many of these items as you see fit.

Thank you in advance--



Okay, so I've finally found a way to explain to you why I inadvertently spend so much time away from you when I really don't mean to and I certainly don't want to.

I am a creator.

This is the reason why I leave you for so long and then come back frantically wanting to catch up and fall madly in love again.

I know it sounds a little crazy but bear with me and I'll prove to you that it's true.

My life consists of many MANY hobbies and interests.  I am obsessed with glossy fashion and design magazines, not because I want to be rail thin and 7 feet tall or live in a pristine mansion, but because I am so drawn to things that are just plain pretty.  I'm in love with being outside as much as I can, and anytime I'm enjoying nature, it swallows me whole and next thing I notice, I look up and the whole day has passed.  I obviously love music, not only because it is my own personal paradise, but because it is a utopia I get to share with others every day through my work (and by work I mean, job that I get paid for).  I love cooking, eating, drinking, cutting out, gluing, knitting, knotting, painting, drawing, writing, blogging.  These are the things I fill my life with.  And all of these things are creative things.

And therefore:

*I am always doing more than I'm asked.
*I'm obsessed with trying new things.
*I'm passionate about teaching others about the things I love.
*I have a uncanny ability to turn things that I love into my work.
*I take LONG breaks.
*I work when others are resting and rest when all the rest of the world is working.
*My brain is constantly in rotation around new and beautiful things to create.
*I am always searching for my next bit of inspiration.
*And last but not least, I am completely in love with life.

See, like I said, I'm a creator and my life is a twisted-up tangled mix of a million different inspirations.  And more often than not, I'm off on a tangent, getting caught up in a new part of life that engulfs me and carries me out into it's sea.  And then I float back to shore and write a new blog post to you, my dear internet cosmos.

So, please forgive me for my time away.  And thanks so much for reading.

More inspiration to come--


Major Art Movements

I'm really loving these pared down prints by Outmane Amahou that cleverly and succinctly describe major art movements in history.

Of course I know these prints don't even come close to explaining the magnitude of the different major art movements they portray, but they're a hell of a lot easier than the art history courses I slummed through in college.

Keepin' it classy--

(All images from here.  Found via here.)


Znak Wallpaper

How rad is this completely customizable tear-off wallpaper from Znak?  I'm particularly obsessed with the thought of putting this in a kids room and letting a child go wild.  Just tear off random sections and the wall goes from "paint bomb explosion" to "graphic art masterpiece".  Like this:

(Found via Design Milk.  Images from here.)

Hope you're having an inspiring Monday.