happy weekend!

ugh. as you can probably tell from my lack of posting this week, it's been a crazy one! i feel just like this photo above. thankfully, i accomplished a great deal including filing my taxes, and submitting a big report at work (ahead of schedule!). i have a big birthday weekend planned with lacey including trips to the paper source and ikea, and a very super concert. have a wonderful weekend yourself and i will see you on monday!

image by beach bungalow 8 via coco + kelly


how does your cupcake grow? - a post by lacey

Do you ever start looking at one blog and click on a link to another blog that it features? And then that blog has a link to another blog? And pretty soon you have five new favorite blogs? That happens to me a lot. And that's actually how I came across this sweet flower arrangment. It's a carnation cupcake!
This has to be the cutest, most creative flower arrangment that I've ever seen. The first time I saw it, I really thought it was a huge cupcake with lots of icing. I had to look closer to notice that it had petals! What better way to tell your special someone that they're as sweet as a cupcake? If you want to send it to me you can...

image via 1-800-flowers


parlez-vous français? – oscars edition

haute couture - pronounced "oat co chure" literally translates "high sewing or needlework." haute couture refers to "high fashion; a one-of-a-kind garment created by fashion designers" and is the term for a piece that is both designed and created specifically for one person. "haute couture dates back to charles frederic worth, who founded the first maison de haute couture in 1858...with the purpose of designing original models for individual clients."

usage examples:
1. sarah jessica parker, seen above, wore dior haute couture at the 81st annual academy awards last night. i thought she looked gorgeous!
2. many fashion enthusiasts collect haute couture pieces much like others might collect art work to display in their homes. many people see haute couture as "wearable art".
3. samantha was considering an haute couture wedding gown - an extravagance that costs more than the entirety of most weddings.

note: there is an extremely interesting bbc special airing on pbs called "the secret world of haute couture", which features rare footage of karl lagerfeld creating a piece in his atelier, as well as interviews with many members of european society with closets full of personalized pieces. check local listings for airtimes - it's totally worth an hour of your time!

image via justjared.com; quoted text via "french for le snob: adding panache to your everyday converstaions" by yvette reche, fall river press


happy (fashion) weekend!!

"if i were shabby, none would have me: a woman is asked out as much for her clothes as for herself. the clothes are the background, the frame, if you like: they don't make success, but they are a part of it."
-edith wharton, the house of mirth

happy new york fashion week weekend!

image of jeannie patchett in paris by norman parkinson for 1950 vogue


better than a tiara - a post by lacey

I am loving the head piece trend. Feathery, leathery, beaded, sequined-whatever-I love it. Ok, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I love the Las Vegas showgirl kind of head piece. (How much do those things weigh??) My preference are the understated ones-the ones that look like they should be in a 1950s movie. The tulle coming down over the eye, the flower pinned low in the hair. Oh! And feathers-bring on the feathers! The trend is currently really popular with brides. By the time I get married, the trend will probably be long past, but right now I think they look very glamorous and romantic. What do you think?
On the same note, I love the hippie headbands that I'm seeing splashed all over magazines right now. I could not pull this off, but I think it looks very laid back and cool. I want to be cool.
images 1-6 via etsy.com 7.fash-eccentric.com


winter trees

one of my favorite things about winter are the trees. i know that may sound crazy, given that they are bare and spindly this time of year, as opposed to the lush green and vibrant colors that they showcase during the spring, summer, and autumn months. but for some reason, i love the way that tree branches look now, silhouetted against the sky. they are best described in my opinion, spread bold and black across the landscape, as intricate, graceful, and unique. i am extremely detail-oriented, so perhaps that explains why they often distract me while outdoors. branches, whether standing alone or in a large group, have such an artistic quality to them and i am consistently drawn to similar motifs in design. i have even tried to recreate their beauty in my painting endeavors. (not so successful!)
i think perhaps the reason that i am so enamored with winter branches, aside from their aesthetic qualities, is because they, along with many elements of nature, were created to subtly remind us of our life in christ. the landscape of winter is cold and empty. it is a time of waiting, of quiet patience for new life ahead. but although the trees appear dead on the outside, they are everything but on the inside, and silent preparations are being made to bloom again with beauty and vibrant life.
the seasons of life are the same - we are given new life in christ. sometimes our lives in him are like the spring or summer, lush and alive, and sometimes our lives are like the winter - fruitless and bare. but the best part is this: even when the trees seem lifeless with nothing to give, they remain unique, intricate, and beautiful in the eyes of our creator.
images: 1.melindaschwakhofer.files.wordpress.com 2.chasidi sharp 3.765.blogspot.com 4.sharon clark at smittenphotography 5.syracuse sunset by barbara hock, webshots.


parlez-vous français?

en plein air - pronounced "uhn plen ear" refers to paintings that have been created outdoors. translated literally as "in open air", "schools of french impressionist painters during the late 1860's in france engaged mainly in painting the effects of outdoor lights and atmospheres. plein air became central to impressionist painters: edouard manet (1832 - 1883) ("banc")
claude monet (1840 - 1926) ("autumn effect at argenteuil")
and pierre-auguste renoir (1841 - 1919), to name some of the most famous." ("monet painting in his garden")

en plein air can also refer to other outdoor activities such as yoga and theater.

usage examples:
1. are you going to the shakespere en plein air show in the park this weekend?
2. the artist's work en plein air is very apparent due to the extremely realistic portrayal of light in this painting.
3. one of my favorite artists, wolf kahn, paints many pieces en plein air at his summer home in massachusetts. pictured below, "in massachusetts" is a perfect example of his famous landscapes:
first image via artists-atelier.com. quoted text via "french for le snob: adding panache to your everyday converstaions" by yvette reche, fall river press


happy valentine's weekend!

"love sought is good, but given unsought is better."
-william shakespere

have a wonderful weekend and a fabulous valentine's day everyone!

image via etsy.com


breaking the curse - a post by lacey

Hello, Readers! Another week has come and gone. Has anything exciting happened in your lives? Mine has been pretty standard except for one quite exciting happening. I bought a coat. Yes, I know winter is on its way out and spring is right around the corner, but this coat was beautiful and on sale. ON SALE! 1/2 off to be exact. My mom and I went shopping on Saturday, and I didn't find a single cute thing! Not one! The only thing I spent money on was morning coffee for my mom and I. Whoop-dee-do. I don't know how you readers feel about shopping (hate it? love it?), but, to me, there is little worse than going on a planned shopping date with hopes set high and coming home empty handed. Needless to say, I was bummed. My mom tried to coax me out of my funk with homemade pizza for dinner. It worked. For a bit. But the next morning I woke up crying (I'm making this story quite dramatic. I didn't really wake up crying. I'm not that much of a diva). That afternoon, I took a quick trip over to a shopping plaza in our town (actually, the only shopping plaza in our town). I wasn't expecting to find anything, but I just had to take a look and try to break the shopping curse that was hanging over my head. As soon as I walked in I spotted it-a beautiful rosy pink button down coat with 3/4 length sleeves. My heart jumped a little. I steadied myself and walked over to it expecting the worst-a high price tag, missing buttons, a rip in the collar. What I found was nothing but perfect. I slipped it on, and I swear it whispered in my ear that it was coming home with me. How forward of you, little coat. But, ok, I'll take you with me. I purchased the coat with a steady swipe of Mr. VISA and walked out the door with an extra bounce in my step. My shopping curse was broken! I brought it home and proudly hung it up in my closet-right next to an identical coat in fuchsia. Hey, I know what I like.

Take a look at my new beauty! Nice and pink!Peter Pan collar. My sleeves are fancy!


my funny valentine

i love valentine's day. single or as part of a couple (and right now i am very much the former), it just makes me happy. i like the idea of being thoughtful for those you love. i also like chocolate, flowers, and presents. with that said, how cute is this photo series by foto_decadant from community live journal? i want to be them! (this one is my favorite!)in case you're wondering what to get me for v-day, i like tulips, peonies, dove chocolate, hot tamales, and cupcakes. diamonds or other expensive things are also acceptable.


apartment hunters, episode I: a bright beginning

get excited. this blog post starts something big here on blooming branch. not only will it begin my short-and-sweet hunt for an apartment (there aren't too many options here that meet my standards) but will also start all the posts about decorating the apartment once i move in. not only am i excited to finally be getting my own space to fill with the boxes of things sitting in my parents' garage, but i'm excited to have a space to make truly my own (well, as much as you can a rental, anyway). luckily, i'm in a position to rent at a really great time, which gives me options and the ability to negotiate (thanks to my friend blair over at the other sister, i am no longer afraid to ask for reduced prices and free things everywhere).

so here's where you come in: i've been without most cable channels for a while now (an unnecessary luxury) but one of my favorite shows to watch for hours at a time (along with what not to wear and basically any wedding show) is hgtv's house hunters. if you've never watched the show (which you can do online), it follows an individual/couple in the hunt to find the perfect home. each show gives a tour, pros and cons, and prices to each of three properties, and the viewer has the opportunity to guess which property the buyer chooses before their actual decision is revealed. as i have already narrowed my search to three wonderful little places, i figure i would involve you all in my very own apartment hunters and reveal the pros and cons on each one before i choose. input and suggestions would be good as well, especially from those of you that have been through this before!

before i start, all three apartments are in a prime location and are in a few hundred yards of one another. location was one of my non-negotiables as i feel it is as important as the actual apartment. you should also know that i'm kind of a snob about architecture, natural light, and character of a building. i don't like big new-fangled complexes and prefer smaller, older buildings with a new-york-city walk-up feel to them. i'm also a cheap-skate and refuse to pay more than $600/month for an apartment for myself. as i don't live in new york city (thankfully - i don't think i could live in an alleyway for $600 there), this narrowed my search rather quickly.

with that said, here's the deal on apartment #1:
- 2BR, 1BA
- i went expecting less, and was actually extremely impressed.
- the apartment is being renovated at the moment (it's not quite move-in ready), which explains the tools and random paint cans lying around in the pictures that follow.
brand new kitchen! new cabinets, new appliances, new paint job! (the sink is nice too, even though it wasn't installed yet). this window has a great view and even has a cute little flower box on the outside.hi, dad. (the main entrance would be to the left of the fridge. how do i feel about guests entering in my kitchen?)the other side of the kitchen. hellooo new range. the space on the far left is meant to be a pantry, but will most likely be extra closet space. there's so much cabinet space i don't think i'll have to worry as much about where to put my rice and my cans of soup versus where to put my purses, sweaters and shoes. the would-be living room off the kitchen. sorry for the poor photo quality(and the worker guy in the picture)...my camera battery was dying. look at the cute radiators in every room! they really work! love them.
my room! how GORGEOUS are the hardwood floors?
the largest room and by default the guest/storage/crafting room. i love this one...it's so bright! (the door that you see on the far left is the pantry/closet seen in the kitchen.)
bathroom, with all new fixtures. (they're going to be installing cute subway tile in the shower/tub to the left.)
more bathroom and more dad. the room seen here is the living room. though the bathroom is small, there is a decent amount of space beside/across from the toilet. i also just realized that there is no door on the bathroom. perhaps they have been removed for the renovation? i really hope so because that would be weird.one of three tiny closets in the entire apartment (it's a walk-through between the bedroom and the living room). i'm going to have to make like carrie bradshaw and store my manolos in the oven.

so, with the mini tour out of the way, here's my pro/con list:

- lots of natural light
- good windows, nicely insulated, well-kept
- standard blinds on each window (good for privacy behind curtains)
- big, open kitchen
- fantastic hardwood floors
- cute radiators in every room (that really work!)
- new appliances
- nice views out the windows
- utilities included in rent price

- minor security concerns
- very little storage space
- window ac units (ew)
- strange lay-out (it’s kind of a u-shape)
- weird wall colors (not sure if i’m allowed to paint yet? i forgot to ask)
- very little parking
- low door jams - this apartment was not made for tall girls!
- no fireplace or built-in shelves (my two favorite things)
- no dishwasher. boo.

so there's apartment #1 for you. let me know what you think and stay tuned for #2 and 3 in the next few weeks!
image via rodney smith photography


parlez-vous français?

rapport - pronounced rap-pore, refers to "agreement; harmony; relationship; connection with people as to have a good rapport (not to confuse report) with other people or nations."

usage examples:
1. it is important that we maintain a good rapport with the McColls, as they have been very generous in their support over the years.
2. his negligent actions damaged both his own and his company's rapport with many clients.
3. janelle felt it was important that she pursue a rapport with the museum's curator, as she hoped to work with him someday.

image via flickr, quoted text via "french for le snob: adding panache to your everyday converstaions" by yvette reche, fall river press


happy weekend!

relax and enjoy the weekend for me, lucky readers. i just took a wonderful looooong bath and am off to bed as i have to work tomorrow! see you next week...

image by cig harvey via absolutely beautiful things


the latest and greatest - a post by lacey

Before I begin rambling on about myself, let me first say "CONGRATULATIONS!" to Chelsea on her new job! I am so, so excited and happy for you. And by the sound of it, you are very excited and happy yourself. I knew you would find the right job in time. Happy employment! (Now go cash your paycheck, and let's go shopping!)
I thought I would share a few of my latest paper creations with you guys. The girls who own SWANK coffee shop asked me to create recipe and note booklets for the store. They had seen them on esty.com and thought I could make something similar. For the recipe booklets, I used plain index cards hand stamped with the word "RECIPES" for the pages. I made cardstock dividers for appetizers, entrees, desserts, etc. For the note books I used the same concept except I stamped the word "NOTES" on the index cards. The idea was to make the booklets small enough to fit in a pocket or purse so they would be easy to access for a quick recipe or idea jot down. (You'd hate to be caught without one of these booklets when your Aunt Mable divulges the secret ingredient in her famous 12 layer chocolate cake). Here is what I came up with:
What do you think? Does it make you want to start jotting? I thought it might.
Have a great rest of your week!


a little announcement

hello readers!
i am alive and well and have not fallen off the face of the earth! and i have an announcement to make:
i have a job!
(which explains why i have fallen off the blogging train this week. work has meant a lot of extra hours lately!) after nine months of searching, i am totally thrilled to be working with habitat for humanity providing homes for deserving families in my community.

there were a lot of things i wanted out of a job while i was searching and clearly god had good plans in mind when he blessed me with this position. in actuality, working with habitat fits me better than i could have imagined. as you can probably guess from the entries on this blog, i firmly believe a home should be a sanctuary. everyone should have a space, large or small, in which they feel safe, inspired, and comfortable. and in addition, my love of homes and decorating has cultivated an interest in structures and architechture, about which i am learning every week! i spend four days a week in the office and one on the build site and my position is a great one, as i am able to build relationships with many volunteers, community leaders, and potential and existing homeowners. in the past couple of weeks, i have spoken with many of the women who are working hard every saturday to earn the sweat equity hours necessary to obtain an interest-free mortgage from habitat, and no one should have to live in the conditions they experience. and it's not just a problem here:
it is impossible, anywhere in america, to work a full-time job at minimum wage and afford an apartment at the fair market rent.
i am so excited that amidst all my meetings and conference calls that constitute a regular office job, i am partnering with those extraordinary men and women who not only need a safe place for their families, but work extremely hard to earn it. when i go home after work at night, i am happy to know that there are others living in a warm, dry, safe home in part because of my time at the office that day. there is so much on which i could elaborate...the more i learn about habitat, the more i am impressed with the organization's purpose, structure, and commitment; however, i will close with this: after nine months of waiting for the right job, god has placed me exactly where i belong and i couldn't be happier about being there!

oh and p.s. a new job means the search for a fabulous apartment is ON. if you love hgtv's house hunters, stay tuned for my own version of apartment hunters!

image via rodney smith photography