creative spaces

do you ever think how many wonderfully beautiful things you could create if you only had the space to create them? these gorgeous pictures make me long for a place to paint, sew, cut, paste, and nail! love the collage on the wall here. i think it's totally important to surround yourself with things that inspire you in a creative space. (while i don't have a gorgeous studio, the giant bulletin board above my desk takes care of that for me.)this one is just so cute i can't stand it. love the chair, the turquoise wall, and the lantern! (and of course those shelves! oh the organizational possibilities!)
the windows are amazing here. i would definitely be inspired with all that natural light and what i'm assuming can only be an incredible view.
(first three images via weheartit.com)

love the ribbon spools. much more accessible than my messy box-o-ribbon.
artist pat king's studio, a converted garage. love the skirted shelves. i could hide all my junk under there!
artist amy butler's studio. what pretty fabric swatches!

bittersweet owner laurie lenfestey's studio. love this one.
(images via country living magazine)

and finally, my favorite painter wolf kahn in his studio in vermont. this room isn't as beautiful as the others, but the incredible pieces that come out of here totally make up for it!

(image via wolfkahn.com)

note: you can click on any of these photographs for a closer look!


don't be an ass - be an educated voter!

image via mhmonline.com

it's friday! how about celebrating the weekend by watching the presidential debate this evening? i've been frustrated lately with the general public's lack of knowledge regarding the election. i was listening to the radio a few months ago regarding the north carolina primary and people were calling in to discuss which candidates for whom they were voting and why. 95% of the people responded with completely absurd reasons for voting the way they did. responses such as "i'm voting for mccain because obama is a muslim" or "i'm voting for obama because he was raised by a single mother and so was i" or, worse yet, "i'm not voting because when you register to vote they make you do jury duty." seriously, these were real people. kind of scary, right?
i'm sure everyone has a candidate that they think they like due to the things the media has shown us but i would encourage you to make up your own mind. watch the debates tonight, watch/read other things, and make sure what you're hearing and reading has not been taken out of context. if you're going to watch an interview, watch the entire interview and not just the small part they show on entertainment tonight. don't watch excerpts on youtube, don't believe everything political ads have to say, and don't listen to your friends' opinions. decide what is important to you on national and global issues, find out what each candidate has to say about those issues and then vote with the confidence that you have done your research and are choosing the candidate you personally feel will do the best job.
and if you're not registered to vote, don't be ridiculous! your vote does count and it is a responsibility that we have as free americans to choose those that lead our country. if we choose not to vote, we lose our right to have a say on every political issue and the ways they affect us directly. remember those that live in communist countries and dictatorships and remember how privileged we are to get to choose those that make our laws and policies. so, that being said, watch the debate tonight at 9:00pm and vote with confidence! an educated voter is a happy one.
have a great weekend!

(for a great informational interview, watch this. christian or not, the interview breaks down a lot of the political frills and really gets down to the things that are important to voters.)


a vase with a face

not a lot of time to blog today - but how cute is this little vase? my friend lacey sent me this photo and i totally want her in my bedroom, full of fresh lavendar. i'm not usually a huge fan of head vases but this one totally wins my approval! so sweet!


i'm hot for this chili

image via wholefoodsmarket.com
i made one of my favorite chili recipes for dinner tonight. i'm not big on red meat so i'm more of a chicken/turkey/veggie chili eater and this one is just delicious and fairly easy to make. in keeping with my "eat healthy" post earlier today, i thought i'd share the recipie with you. it's not very spicy, so if you like your chili hot i would kick the chili powder up a little bit but it is so yum, and beans pack tons of protein, too!
veggie chili
(cook in large dutch oven)
Saute in 1 tablespoon of oil : 1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
add: 1/2 cup of water
2 medium carrots, chunked
(cook covered over medium heat, 5 minutes)
add: 2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth or bouillion
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
(cook 10 minutes)
add: 1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup ketchup
(bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 mintues)
stir in: 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, drained
1 can (16 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) black-eyed peas, drained
(simmer 10 minutes, serve!)

who doesn't love a free cookie?

image via weheartit.com

i know i love free anything...especially cookies! i'm semi-ashamed to admit this but i still take advantage of the free harris teeter cookies for kids when i shop there. on a less embarassing and more adult note, however, kashi (one of my favorite food brands!) is giving away free samples of their new oatmeal dark chocolate cookies online. click here to go to their website and sign up for a very exciting cookie-gram in your mailbox. if you're a nerd like me and actually like reading food labels, you can even play the uber cute "steal the cookie" game and learn all about kashi's healthy, all natural ingredients.

if you're too busy to play the game or don't feel like reading the labels - here's the dish: the kashi company, a branch of kellogg, started in 1984 and has been striving to make healthy foods taste delicious ever since. while i'm not psycho about eating healthy (i have far too many doritos and fugde brownie binges to fall into the "health nut" category), i have been raised to eat a well-balanced diet with lots of protein and whole grains. the older i get, the more i realize the things i eat directly correlate to how i feel so i have become very conscious of the decisions i make while shopping at the supermarket. even a small change toward fresher, more natural foods makes a difference and i absolutely love kashi for that reason! their products are so yum and i feel great about eating them. everything kashi manufactures has no hydrogenated oils, no tras-fats and is all natural, and most are sweetened with honey instead of sugar. the cookie discussed above only has 130 tiny calories - goodbye lame 100 calorie packs, hell-ooo kashi cookies!

for an entertaining read on food and how it affects your body, try the book skinny bitch, by rory freedman and kim barnouin. while the ideas presented are a little extreme (i'm not ready to go totally organic or give up eating chicken and turkey burgers), and the writing a little choppy and crass, it's still really interesting to read how food affects your system. enjoy and happy eating!


dress(er) up

this weekend, my friend blair and i were discussing that we don't get spring fever as much as we get fall fever. there's something about cool, crisp, blue skied saturdays that make us want to redecorate, clean out closets, go shopping, or in this case, refinish an old dresser! blair picked this one up at an old thrift store on saturday morning for $30 and took the rest of the weekend to paint it black, then this perfect autumn red, and to distress the edges so the black shows through. she even installed the drawer pulls herself! how cute is this? although red matches none of my decor, i'm completely in love! the shape is fantastic (it was just the color that needed some help!) and i think the tapered legs on the bottom are so quirky! i love that ugly old furniture pieces can be cute again - and for less than $50! how cheap and chic!! yay blair!


the down vest

image via uniqlo (fall 07 collection)

although quite different from most items in my closet (clothes that can usually be purchased at outdoor stores do not strike a chord with me), i am completely obsessed with down vests. i bought my first one sophomore year of high school and haven't stopped wearing them since. i still have my first white, fleece lined one from the gap, and i don't really care how in or out of style they are, i will continue to wear them. they're washable, warm and perfect for layering. i can wear them on freezing days or over short sleeves on a mildly chilly day. i found a new one for my collection today - a pink jcrew puffer with giant pink tab buttons, which i picked up for $3.50 at the goodwill (score!). while i don't intend to wear them with my pencil skirts jcrew style, they are absolutely perfect for a weekend run to the market or over my workout clothes on the way to the gym (somehow putting a vest on to go out into the cold seems better than a coat post-workout when i'm still sweaty and gross).
usually wearing an item that dates me or my wardrobe is something of which i am terribly afraid, but when everyone is stocking vests from jcrew to REI, ralph lauren to lands end, and burberry to patagonia, i wonder whether the vest has become a timeless favorite (in my closet, at least!). i have an exboyfriend with excellent taste that wore one consistently from patagonia and bought me a patagonia one of my own (a kids one, actually) that is still my favorite. i used to love to snuggle up against the soft squishyness of his vest when he was wearing it. it was warm and comfortable. furthermore, one of my favorite photographs from my childhood (circa 1986) features my dad wearing a down vest with me on a cool new york afternoon in the park. perhaps it's the nostalgia that keeps me coming back for more down vests. either way, fashionable or faux pas, i'm going to keep warm with them again this season!


twenty little things...

image via weheartit.com

i was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning at the inspired room and i just completely love melissa's challenge to create our own list of twenty little things to treasure in autumn. being as how this is my absolute favorite time of the year, and that we've been having wonderfully crisp weather (very unseasonal for nc!) the past few days, i was completely inspired to join the fun so here goes...
twenty little things to treasure in autumn:
  1. small-town high school football games
  2. soups and chili with homemade bread
  3. sweaters, scarves, tights, and peacoats - fall is my favorite time to get dressed!
  4. starbucks pumpkin spice lattes (wish they sold these year-round!)
  5. baked and mashed butternut squash with butter and brown sugar
  6. pumpkin, cinnamon, apple scented candles
  7. daylight savings time (love the bright early mornings!)
  8. snuggling up with a cozy blanket and autumn issues of all my favorite magazines
  9. following the runway shows at fashion week
  10. making popcorn balls
  11. new episodes of all my favorite shows
  12. eating handfulls of candy corn
  13. showers of leaves in the path of my car
  14. seeing my breath for the first time of the season
  15. carving pumpkins
  16. drinking red wine with friends in front of a fire
  17. smashing crunchy leaves on a long walk
  18. corn mazes and hayrides
  19. golden light as the sun sets
  20. visiting the farmers market to pick pumpkins, buy apples, cider, and fresh doughnuts

tomorrow is the autumnal equinox so pick something from the list and celebrate fall! :o)


kitty city

meet gloria. actually, her name is not gloria and she's not really mine but that's what i've been calling her since i picked her up from the adoption shelter yesterday. this afternoon she will be roadtripping with me to her new home, where my oldest friend, jean (we've been having play dates since infancy!), just moved with her husband. jean came to visit the other day and fell in love with this little cutie at the rescue shelter downtown, who will be keeping her company as her husband, blair, is in the service and is away a lot. gloria's been hanging out with me today and is just the sweetest thing. and she has good taste! she just loved snuggling up in my crate of dominos!

welcome to blooming branch!

welcome to my blog! i've been reading several design blogs lately and was so inspired i decided to start one myself! elegance, style, and aesthetics are extremely important to me, as well as my faith, and i hope to incorporate all of these things into my posts.
i've been thinking for a while what i should title my page, a way to pull everything together, if you will. i've been throwing around words and phrases and nothing seemed to be fitting. then i started thinking about how in addition to posting about the things that i love, i want to share about my faith and my journey in christ as i continue to grow into adulthood. i pondered verses that encompass how i want to live out my life and my faith and centered on john 15:5: "i am the vine and you are the branches. if a man remains in me and i in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing". while this is a rather basic verse, i continued to research the theme of branches and vines in the bible and found my way to ezekiel 17 in which the prophet uses an allegory about a branch to describe the lord's work in the tribe of israel. he talks about how the lord will break a cedar branch from an adult cedar tree and plant it in good soil where it can grow and thrive. (ezekiel 17:8 "it had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.") while the prophesy is a little tough to follow at times, the above verse was perfect! as i grow into a new life and adulthood, i am also being broken off from my parents, my childhood, my old life. thanks to my fantastic family, friends and mentors in my life i have been blessed with many tools to use as i grow and i feel i've been planted in "good soil by abundant water". i want to become splendid and bear much fruit for my lord!
so, there's the inspiration for "blooming branch". i am a branch of christ, and want to continue to bloom! thanks for joining me in my journey!