Friday, December 31, 2010

5...4...3...2... Happy Heart a Flutter Friday!!

Holey moley, I am not so great at keeping up my blog whilst traveling - especially when it's family time.  I apologize for my week's absence.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (I will update you on mine this week) and are celebrating tonight!

I like to sparkle on New Years Eve; there's no better time to rock sequins.  In honor of bright and shiny new 2011, here's a bedazzled Heart a Flutter Friday!

Giselle Silk Clutch by Julia Sherry Designs on Etsy
This is beautiful.  Wintery & simple, with just the right amount of bling, and the perfect size for your camera, phone, card and lip gloss - because what else do you need on NYE?

Peacock Pumps by LaPlumeEthere on Etsy
I'm quite sure I would ruin these immediately, but oh lordy it'd be worth it.  Funnest.  Shoes.  Ever.

Lace & Rhinestone Tattoo Tights by Lalilouche on Etsy
I don't know that I have the legs to wear these, but what an unexpected shine these would bring to that perfect LBD.  And what better time for sparkly tights than while you're cheersing bubbly?

Vintage Rhinestone Bracelet by LilahBelleVintage on Etsy
I am diggin' gold lately, and you'd be sure to feel rich with this on your wrist.  Also, if any bar fights break out, this looks pointy and heavy enough to use as a weapon.

Onyx Black Glass & Rhinestone Drop Earrings by AngelPearls on Etsy
Gor-ge-ous.  I would feel like a glamorous international spy at a cocktail party in the 1950's with these on.  I think they'd improve my small talk skills.  Seriously.

LA Woman Upcycled Vintage Cocktail Ring by TheBlackSwanTheory on Etsy
How FUN is this!!?  And I am an LA woman, so it's totally made for me!  It's like a badge of bling for your hand, or a sparkly curtain for your knuckles.  Also, you can use it to blind people with its shine.

Ball Drop - Gold Cascade Headband by deLoop on Etsy
I look like a 12 year old in headbands, but they look fab on my friend Chick & I know she could rock this one out fo sho.  Maybe it's even rad enough to look good on me, too.  It's like golden fireworks in your hair, but a hell of a lot less painful.

Vegas Baby - Vintage dress by Chloezilla on Etsy
OK let's just talk a second about how insane & diva this dress is.  And about how really, the only time most people can get away with wearing it is on NYE.  I would shimmy and shake all over the place like a flapper; I bet it jangles so wonderfully.

I have had an AMAZING 2010 & am looking forward to an even better 2011.  
Happy & healthy & better than you can ever imagine New Year, everyone!!!

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ the awesomeness that was 2010
~ the brilliance that will be 2011
~ holidays with family
~ my big big joyful life!!

xo! n.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Heart a flutter Friday: Silent Night

It's Christmas Eve!
I'm not going to tempt you with images of things you could've gotten, now that it's too late to shop, and besides, what's making my heart flutter today isn't things, it's my family's love and the joy of Christmas.  And peirogies.  Yum.
Wherever you are, whatever your holiday plans, whatever you celebrate,
may your Christmas be merry and bright

...and may you be just SO grateful & happy.
All my love, 

xo! n.

[image from weheartit]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What is love?

Is it heart-pounding, spine-tingling, butterflies & stammering; craving someone like an insatiable hunger in the pit of your stomach?

Is it wanting to curl up inside someone, closer than skin, so deeply that they become a part of you and their actions are an extension of your own?

Is it trusting someone with your only, fragile heart, taking walls down block by block and being honest, no matter how hard or how many times you've been hurt?

Is it comfort, feeling accepted as your real full self, warm fuzzies and a soft feeling of prevailing happiness?

Is it laughing with someone, feeling they enrich every experience & simply just wanting them around?

Does it hit you like a lightning bolt, scorching, or does it creep up and around you like a slow-growing vine?

Is there a right person or just a right time?

...don't go getting your panties in a twist, I'm not in love, I've just been thinking about it a lot.  It's the holidays, there are engagement ring commercials all over the dang place, and I'm remembering the last (and only) time I was in love, how dramatic it was, and wondering if I will ever feel like that again or if the next time will be completely different...

What do you think?  Is love the Aha! moment it's depicted as in movies?  Or is is an ebb and flow of feelings?  Those of you in love, did you just know or did it grow over time?  I'm in a listening mood, tell me your story!

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ a fat soft kitty
~ coooooooold Christmas weather
~ talking about the elephant  ;)

xo! n.

[photo from weheartit]

Monday, December 20, 2010

20SB Blog Swap!

I participated (a little late) in the 20 Something Bloggers 2010 Blog Swap & got paired with the lovely Linda!  Below is her guest post, and mine is on her blog,  I'm a Big Girl, I can Handle It.  Enjoy!

Action: What will you do next year that you’ve been putting off for too long!?!?
Since this is an article for the 20 Something Bloggers (20SB) blog swap, and this post is currently on Nikki's blog, I will introduce myself. 

My name is Linda and I am a 23yr old black African in London. I just finished uni and I am currently searching for a graduate blog is pretty much my online tells a story about my life as it tells a story about me and topics I am passionate about...things that make me happy...and things that don' shows how much of a contradiction I am sometimes!!
So now I’ll stop blabbing about me...and get right on to the topic at hand...what will I do next year that I have been putting off for too long!?!?

Now I hope I don't sound too cliché...but something I have been putting off for too long is losing weight...and keeping it off for good!!!
When I came to the UK for my studies, I was a perfect size 12 and now I am somewhere between 16 and jokes :-(
The weight gain started in my first year of uni...when I became solely responsible for my food...I was the queen of takeaways, fries, pizzas, chocolates, desserts, you name it!
I was in food heaven cause I didn't have anyone hovering over my shoulder...reprimanding me for eating such bad food!
The summer holidays after my first year...I went back home to Nigeria a size 18...and was immediately put on a diet/exercise program by my Dad....I returned for my second year a size 12.
Pity Daddy was not there to count the calories cause by my 3rd year...I was back to size 18...again!
My fourth year of uni was spent working as part of my degree...and I successfully managed to drop to a size 12/14 on my being a gym junkie and calorie counting...
Unfortunately, I still had one year of uni to go...and it all went downhill...yet again!!!!
I finished my first course a size 16...went on to do another masters for one year...and finished that a size 18...and that is where I am at the moment...5years of uni...and 1year working...
i find it funny that whenever I am away from uni I seem to be able to lose weight but reverse is the case when I still have coursework to hand in...I am so sure that being at uni is a major cause of my weight gain because I have lost 10kg since I left in Sept!!!
I used to think it was stress-induced...but the year I spent working was mega-stressful but I lost weight...the life I have at the moment after uni is mega-stressful but I am losing weight...and this is the reason why I am never going back to uni...because it is a danger to my health :-P I am determined to change my ways...and live a healthy lifestyle...I don't just want to lose weight...I want to be able to run up the stairs without panting...I want to be able to "run" the 2011 race for life...and I particularly want to beat one of my friends top scores on my Wii Fit...after all it is mine :-P
I don't want to be a "fattie" anymore...I don't want the love handles anymore...and I certainly don't want the "chicken wing" arms anymore :-(
I mean absolutely no offence to any full bodied women reading this...I believe that one should settle for the body size that they are comfortable with...if a woman feels good being a size 22...then by all means...that is the size that she should be...but I don't want to be a big girl anymore..I want to be slimmer...and most importantly I want to be healthier!!
I know that I can lose weight...that is not my biggest problem...the main issue is keeping the weight off...I don't want to go through the burden of losing weight and then undoing everything I have laboured for...I am not going to do that again...2011 is going to be different!!!
My plan is to get into a healthy routine...although I really want to lose weight...I want to develop a lifestyle that I can stick I am not going to crash diet...or drink slimming tea...or starve myself...I would rather eat healthy...and exercise...
I want to lose weight the healthy way...and although it might not be the quickest way...I would rather do it this way than any other which would lead me to more weight gain eventually!!
So....that's it...that's my main action for next goal is to be a size 12 by my 24th birthday in July...that gives me seven months to drop three dress that unrealistic, do you think!??!
To be honest, I just want to feel better you if I get to a 12...OK :-)...and if goes long as I feel happier and healthier :-D

Hope you all have your actions for next year...I am so excited about mine...I cant wait to lose all this weight...don't worry I'll put "before" and "after" photos for you to see :-)
I have also made my list of resolutions...and although the year is not over...I am already trying to make the much needed changes...
Isn’t it great when a new year is around the corner...I just love it...hope you do too ;-)
OK...I’ll go now...cause I could honestly go on forever...and we don't want that we!?!? :-P 

Happy holidays people...and I hope the new year is all you want it to be!!
Linda xx
I'm a Big Girl I can Handle It

PS....Thank you Nikki for being my first ever blog swap partner :-)
{picture from weheartit}

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reverb10 - Release, create, love

To participate in the Reverb10 prompts, reflect on 2010 and manifest for 2011, check 'em out here.

December 5: Let Go.  What (or whom) did you let go of this year?  Why?

Control.  I've always been an over-achiever and a worrier; I've always had a pretty tight hold on what I expect and how I'm going to get it.  This year taught me that I can't control everything; I've learned I don't even want to control everything because it often turns out SO much better when I just allow things to be what they are.

December 6: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

Besides my writing... :)  the last things I made were banners and signs for an event at work; I designed them in Photoshop & then the company printed them & they looked really good.  But the last things I made without prompting from anyone were the art pieces I made for the last Side Work show.  I sculpted wire hearts and made a lotus out of cardboard, newspaper and watercolors - picking only the positive, celebratory newspaper articles (which are really hard to find).  They all sold, which was such a great feeling.  I would like to do more projects like that; I always have a million crafty ideas, and I'm pretty good at executing them, but I don't put it at the top of my priority list, generally.  I would definitley like to carve out more time for creating physical, beautiful things, because it gives me an instant feeling of achievement.

December 7: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

The Stratejoy community has been THE most amazing, unexpected support group for me this year.  To those of y'all that found me on SJ, thank you, from the bottom of my heart; you've made the experience of writing cathartic, meaningful, and so very joyful for me.  In 2011 I really want to connect more deeply with that community and with similar people; I want to create an inspirational community (plans are in the works & expect something new & shiny to be revealed in January!!!)

Also, my LA "family" of friends has been an amazing, supportive community for me through this year of ups and downs, lefts and rights, confusion and clarity.  Through each step, they've said with a laugh, "we can't keep up with you, but we love you and are so excited for you."  On Thanksgiving, I looked around at a living room full of friends and thought: I love ALL of these people.  So much.  Thanks, y'all.

Today I am so happy & grateful for:
~ catching up  :)
~ Christmas champagne
~ a busy busy week/weekend with friends

xo! n.

[photo: my art display at Side Work]

Friday, December 17, 2010

Heart a-flutter Friday

Happy Happy Happy Friday, Lovlies!  It's only one week til Christmas Eve!
If you still need some last-minute gifts, I hope this inspires you to get out there & get your shopping done; Christmas isn't meant to be stressful!  Finish it up so you can celebrate. 

Recycled Hanging Pendant Lights by BootsNGus on Etsy
I want these in my future home.  They're funky & repurposed & retro & adorable; how fun would a grouping of these be over a dining room table?  Girly nesting sigh.

Feather Earrings by MetalWendler on Etsy
SO FUN.  I know feathers are a hipster trend, but just a little touch like this, in a bright color (and sans pointless forehead headband), could be a really cool addition to any basic outift.

Skinny Leather Bangles by AmyFine on Etsy
These bracelets with the earrings above?  Check.  Instant coolness & Silverlake street cred.

Earthy Cheese Plate by LennyMud on Etsy
I LOVE this.  I know it looks like someone spilled stuff all over it, but there's just something so neat about it.  The colors, textures, and especially the raised sides make a serving plate I'd want to display, even when I'm not slicing up some cheese (but, let's face it, when is that??)

Sweater Bangle Crochet Bracelet by MyGiantStrawberry on Etsy
Adorable.  I want to wear this and a long hippie skirt whilst weaving daises in my hair.  Or, you know, on a Tuesday.  Just bohemian enough to go with everything.

Coffee Clutch & Moleskine Notebook Set by TheWren on Etsy
This recycled clutch is really cute AND it comes with a moleskine notebook!!  Done and done.

Matte Gold Modern Triangle Earrings by AllisonMooney on Etsy
These are simple, lovely and charmingly irregular.  Understated enough to wear everyday and pretty enough for a special event, these are a go-to alternative to tired old hoops.

Original Floral Painting by KarenFieldsGallery on Etsy
This is actually my second cousin's shop!  But I'm not playing favorites; I adore the colors in this bold painting.  How lovely would a room be, decorated in colors from this painting!?

And that's Friday, folks!  I'm off work for two whole weeks for the holidays, so I'm a happy girl!
Have a wonderful, fabulous weekend!

Today I'm so happy and grateful for:
~ the last day of work before a vacation
~ Christmas presents arriving
~ holiday festivities with heaps of friends!

xo! n.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Portrait

I step out of the house in too-big boots that clack on cement and crunch golden leaves as my feet slide inside, skinny jeans (I've succumbed) tucked snugly in.  A woven hat that perches back on my head drooping like a wooly empty pillowcase hides my still-wet hair.  The dark green courdoury blazer and gold pashmina tied as a scarf that've become my winter uniform hide whatever possibly cute, probably bummy shirt I've chosen for the day.  A faded purse weighs my shoulder; I carry my coffee in one hand, keys in the other.  My neighborhood is alive but always quiet; it is sleepy and still as I cross the street to my beat-up car, in which I sit, waiting for the engine and my hands to warm.  It's 50 degrees and I'm pathetically freezing.

This is winter nikki.

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ finding flavored coffee creamer (the little ones from a gas station) in my desk - I'd forgotten about them!
~ fresh, free sushi lunch
~ a yummy-smelling soy candle in my office

xo! n.

[photo source]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reverb10 - Distraction, focus & awe

Totally behind.  Don't care.  Working at my own pace.  Please forgive.  :)

To participate in the Reverb10 prompts, reflect on 2010 and manifest for 2011, check 'em out here.

December 2 - Writing.  What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing - and can you eliminate it?

Facebook, gmail chatting, watching TV.  I could definitely eliminate them but their siren song is so loud...  Actually, facebook isn't that much of a time-suck for me; I don't stalk so once I've seen the most recent stuff on my news feed, I'm good.  Chatting is a huge waste of time, but it's a big part of how I keep in touch with people, so it's easy to justify.  I can certianly either sign out of gmail (or ichat) OR turn my icon to "do not disturb" for at least an hour or so every day while I'm writing; I know that'd be a good idea.  I don't really watch much TV, but I live with 4 other people so when I'm in the living room or kitchen, it's usually on.  Some days I'm sick of sitting in my room and some days I want to be a little more social, but I guess I need to tell myself I can go into the living room when I'm done writing.  It'll be my reward.  :)

December 3 - Moment.  Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year.  Describe it in vivid detail (textures, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I.  Am.  Terrified.  I'm sitting on the floor surrounded by some of my closest friends & most inspiring artists, a half-empty bag of doritos, and my expectant laptop.  I've committed to facing one of my biggest fears, and I know that soon the attention will turn to me and there will be no more excuses.

Someone reminds the group that I brought in a song, and everyone smiles at me, not understanding my anxiety but showering me with love.  My stomach knots.  I play the song on my laptop, not singing along, and everyone listens.  Then: "why didn't you sing?"  "OK now sing it."  "She needs a band."  Instruments are fetched, unexpectedly, and everyone looks at me, tuned and ready.  My stomach double-knots.  I might throw up.  Deep, shaky breath, and...

I sing.

Johnny comes in on guitar, Jamey comes in on trumpet, Mary starts shaking the crumpled dorito bag like a maracca.  Everyone is humming along, swaying, attempting harmony.  My voice rises above them, floating on their beautiful cacaophany like it was meant for this, like it's been waiting it's whole misused life for this expression of joy.

And suddenly... it's not so scary.

December 4 - Wonder.  How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

By doing things I've never done, never knew I would or could do, never expected to do.  By keeping myself, however difficult, open - really OPEN - to everything that came into my life this year.  By not allowing myself to get bored or jaded or hold on too tightly to how things are "supposed" to be.  By giving myself a break & allowing myself to sit still with no purpose or plan.

Let me know your answers to the Reverb questions!

xo!  n.

Monday, December 13, 2010

In good company

by the brilliant Spanish illustrator Alex Noriega

Sorry I've been absent this weekend; with the holidays coming up I've been extra busy.  Hope you had a lovely weekend & are starting the week feeling fresh & awesome.  :)

Today I am so happy & grateful for:
~ cookie baking parties (thanks, Brie!)
~ inspiring, motivating friends
~ 2am hot chocolate dates

xo! n.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Heart a-flutter Friday: the Practical Edition

Happy Friday!
I've been featuring lovely things that set my heart fluttering from their sheer beauty, things I may not need (no one really needs) but that give me a feeling of WANT.  But sometimes the practical side of me speaks up and screams WANT and my heart, though not exactly fluttering, has to agree.  So today's selection of lovliness is more useful than yearned-for, but should still give you some great gift ideas...

TuGo Beverage Carrier
This is BRILLIANT.  I usually travel alone, and I cannot tell you how many times I've spilled scalding coffee all over myself while trying to manage my carry-on suitcase, giant purse (let's face it, it's basically a suitcase disguised as a purse), my boarding pass and my 4am (or whatever ungodly hour I'm traveling) coffee.  With this nifty contraption, maybe I can even navigate the airport with a drink AND food!  (or maybe I shouldn't push my luck...)

Lights Out Sleep Mask
Yes, you will look a bit like an alien in this.  But it will be super awesomely useful when you're on a red-eye flight, taking a daytime nap, or just hungover and allergic to light.  The pop-out eyeballs allow for REM sleep so you can get a better rest than traditional eye masks.  I'll be dreaming of sugarplums and candy canes.  Droool...
I haven't had a lap desk since I was a kid, and I really don't know why not.  I do lots of writing in bed & on the couch (so lazy!), usually with a cup of coffee or tea by my side.  This desk not only tilts for my comfort (!) but has a separate tray for my beverage of choice (!!) so I can be sure to not spill peppermint hot chocolate all over my keyboard.

Zinnia Sandwich Sak by WasteNotSaks on Etsy
Beautiful, practical AND earth-friendly!  Ditch the plastic ziplock bags - this is a machine washable snack bag that comes in different sizes & patterns; it looks so stylish no one needs to know you're hoarding food in your purse for that inevitable afternoon slump...

Reusable, foldable bags by Baggu
I try to be green, but I always forget my reusable bags.  These fold up into a purse-sized 5'x5' pouch, expand to hold the contents of 3 plastic bags & you can even get a pack of three!  They're so little, I can keep them with me all the time.  AND they come in lots of beeeautiful colors!

Chrysanthemum Hoop Pinboard by BlissInATeacup on Etsy
This is a lovely, useful idea.  Instead of a traditional jewlery box or corkboard, why not use a sweet fabric pinboard like this one to hang necklaces, earrings, notes, photos, etc - it's a useful piece of art!

Cottage Wall Shelf by ACountryWay on Etsy
Purty and practical, I LOVE that this shelf has a mason jar vase IN it.  I would hang cozy blankets from the hooks and maybe stack some vintage books on top... with fresh flowers in the jar, of course.

And that's it for today!
Do any of you have great practical present ideas?  Please share!
Hope you have a magical winter weekend!

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ Etsy, my go-to present & creative inspiration source
~ yogurt-covered pretzels - yum.
~ the weeeeeeekeeeeend!!!

xo!  n.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reverb 10 - Just one thing a super cool initiative set up by some super cool people for reviewing this past year and creating for the new year.  As per usual, I'm late in hearing about it (I'm pretty dang rad but I tend to be a bit behind when it comes to pop culture & the "in" stuff) by about a week, so although it's meant to be a daily prompt, I'll be playing a little bit of catch up.

If you want to play along, visit them here; the questions can be journaled or blogged or just thought about.  I have had an incredible, strange year in 2010 and would really like to focus my energies in 2011; I'm hoping this gives me a place to start.

Here goes...

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

2010 has been Unexpected. 
I started the year in Australia, rang it in with fireworks and boys streaking down a Queensland beach.  I hadn't planned to be there for New Year's, yet there I was, and I was loving it.  A little over a month later, I was in LA, selling my furniture to move to DC when out of the blue I was cast in a movie.  My planned two month cross-country road trip turned into a two-week drive up the California coast with my mom; we kayaked, rode horses, window-shopped and hiked.  I returned to an incredible few days on set, doing what I'd been preparing for my whole life, and knowing I was good at it.  I slept on my friends couch for a month until a perfect month-to-month deal found me & I moved into a room with borrowed furniture.  I found the JetBlue all-you-can-jet pass just in time, had nothing holding me back & a friend who could sublease, so I spent 6 weeks flying from city to city, seeing new places & old friends.  On my way back to LA, a job fell in my lap so I took it.

Everything about this year has been unplanned or anti-my-plan.  It's been wonderful (and looking back on it that succinctly, I can't believe I fit all that in one year!) but it's also been stressful.  At every turn, I've wondered if I'm still on the right path; each new opportunity brought at least as much fear as it did joy.

2011 will be Purposeful.
I don't think life gets much more wander-y and directionless than my 2010.  And it's been lovely.  It's given me a lot of insight as to what I want out of my life and what my ultimate (read: overreaching, big-picture, whole-life) goals are.  I'm not sure of the specifics or how to get there, but I know the life I want - the love, the freedom, the creativity, the exploration, the balance, and the joy that I will have, no matter what the job, the home, the city or the relationship look like.  Now is the time to take those dreams that are starting to come into focus and pursue them, even if that pursuit takes me down a few dead ends; it's time for action.

I will purposefully seek out ways to bring more of the things I want into my life.  I will live with purposeful intention & not just let days pass me by.  I will trust that as long as I'm living with my purpose in mind, "failure" is ok & there are no wrong choices, only avenues that lead to other avenues toward my goals.  It is the year for clarity and purposeful, joyful action.

What are your words for 2010 & 2011?  Feel free to tell me in the comments or link to your Reverb blog post.  I'd really love to hear.

Today I am so grateful & happy for reflection & self-awareness.

xo! n.

[awesome quote source]

Monday, December 6, 2010

Spreading Christmas Cheer!

My weekend was very festive!

Saturday Teeter, Chick and I were elves at Santa's Workshop at the Magic Castle.  We tray passed milk and cookies, helped kids stuff bears & bunnies and decorate wooden cars & trucks, and hung out with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Don't be surprised if you see a Christmas card that looks a lot like this in your mailbox this year...

And do you see those hot elf shoes Teeter's sporting?  I had a first date later that night & on a dare from Chick, totally rocked those shoes to the coffee shop.  Oh yeah.  Luckily, I think he found it more funny than weird...  :)

Meanwhile, my new house underwent a transformation!  The landlord finally pulled up our nasty 20-year old carpet so now we have wood floors upstairs in the living room!!  She's not refinishing them until we move out (fair enough) so they're very stained and scratched, but it still looks two billion times better than the carpet did.  We have a Christmas tree, too, and the TV's been mounted above the fireplace (instead of in front of it), and all these lovely new elements make for a house that really looks like a welcoming home instead of a dirty frat pad.  Yahoo!
 Then, on Sunday, after a gray day sitting in my pjs with football on the TV & a cup of coffee in hand, I headed over to Teeter & Chick's house to help them decorate for Christmas!  We watched old-school Rudolph (Santa's a butthole in that movie!) and sipped hot chocolate.

It's been quite a lovely weekend.  How was yours?

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ Christmas decorating
~ clarity & calm
~ french press coffee

xo!  n.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Heart a-flutter Friday

It's Friday again lovely people!

Ceramic Eco-Friendly Travel Mug by Yevgenia on Etsy
This handpainted mug is perfect for the on-the-go, environmentally friendly person on your list (and it comes in lots of different colors & patterns, most of which remind me of illustrations from children's books!).  My grandma paints porcelin, so I'd probably get her to make one for me, but for those of you with non-artistic grannies, this might add just the right amount of class to your morning coffee.

Love Note Mini's by VicinityStudio on Etsy
If I had a bf, you'd better believe I'd be hiding these all around his house.  Crazy?  I don't care.  They're too dang adorable to not use 'em all!

Mini Goals Chalkboard by MaryKateMcDevitt on Etsy
A beautiful space for your daily To Do list that cheers you on!  Hooray!

The True Romantic Pouch by Aylla on Etsy
So cute and simple.  It looks rugged enough to use everyday (or to survive ME using it - I am rough on things!) but the blue ruffle pocket dresses it up so it could be the perfect clutch for a low-key girls night or date.

Agate Druzy Sterling Silver Ring by DreamsandJewlery on Etsy
Isn't this stone just incredible!!??  It kind of looks like something alien or alive - it's almost a little gross... but gorgeous at the same time.  Maybe for the horror-fan jewlery-wearer on your list?

iPhone case by CoolBeans717 on Etsy
I consider my ipod on shuffle the giantest most awesomest mix tape ever.  For any music-loving child of the '80s with an ipod.
Rustic Stoneware Dinnerware by OneClayBead on Etsy
LOVE these bright colors and the uneven, handmade feel of these dishes; the bottoms of them are unglazed & covered in lovely patterns.  They look like a kid made them - an art-genius, stylish, super-kid.  Like how my future kid will be.  ;)

Charm Bangles by MetalsGirl on Etsy
These bangle bracelets are so neat; not only can you personalize them with a word (like believe or courage or dream), but the other charm is an herb cast in resin & each herb holds a distinct significance (for example, cloves are for love & protection, thyme is for cleansing).  I'm a bit of a hippie so I love this idea & they're super pretty to boot.  I want at least three of them to jingle jangle all up & down my arm!
There you have it!  Hope your heart is as pleasantly a-flutter as mine is.  Have a dreamy weekend.

Today I'm so grateful & happy for:
~ gift-giving season
~ lovely blues &  turquoises (there are a lot of blues catching my eye today!)
~ all the great comments I've been getting all this new series - thank you so much for visiting my blog!

xo!  n.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ten Holiday Faves

It's December!!  Can you believe it?

My ten favorite things about the Holiday season are:

10.  Christmas carols!  You know 'em, you love 'em, you know you love 'em.
9.  Holiday flavored coffee creamer: Sugar and Spice, Gingerbread, Eggnog, mmmm...  drooool...

8.  Scarves.  Even in the SoCal climate, they're a fashionable winter accessory.

7.  Christmas cards!!  I NEVER get snail mail anymore - except during the holidays.

6.  Cookies - gingerbread, sugar, peanut butter chocolate... you're supposed to pig out!

5.  Presents - I love the surprise of unwrapping something mysterious.

4.  Twinkly Christmas lights.  Everywhere.

3.  Everyone says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" - everyone!  To strangers!  Even in LA!!

2.  Presents - I LOVE giving someone that perfect gift & seeing their face light up!

And the #1 thing I love about the Holiday season is... (don't judge)...

1.  Cheesy Lifetme/Hallmark Channel made-for-TV Holiday movies!!!!! *  I know, I know, it sounds so lame, but there is really nothing better than curling up on the sofa on a cold winter night with a hot chocolate (or glass of red wine), snuggled up in a blanket with a you-know-how-it's-gonna-end-but-it-still-warms-your-heart-makes-you-giggle-and-probably-makes-you-cry-a-little movie.  Don't knock it 'til you try it.
I am so grateful & happy that it's Christmastime!!!

*Actually, my real #1 favorite thing is spending time with (or at least connecting with, if I can't physically be there) the people I love the most.  But that's a given.  :)

What's your favorite thing about the Holiday season?

[photos from here here and here]

Monday, November 29, 2010

Out of place, out of time

Today's been an odd day.

All day long, I've been feeling like I'm somewhere else.  Not like I should be somewhere or like my mind is somewhere in daydreams, but actually thinking I'm in a different physical place than I actually am.  On the way to work, my senses told me it was 61 and sunny, California winter, but I caught myself actually believing there was snow on the ground and for a second thought I was driving to my Grandma's house in Virginia.  After work, at the grocery store, I got the very distinct feeling that I was in Tesco's in London, quietly foreign.

It's the feeling you get when you're drifting off to sleep, not knowing yet that you're asleep, and you feel the unmistakable sensation of falling, just for a fraction of a second, just enough to set your heart pounding, before you jerk awake, suddenly, strangely, fully aware of your mattress and sheets and very alive body.

Maybe it's a premonition or its less frightening and more stubborn father, a memory.  Maybe it's a wrinkle in time and I'm feeling the lives of my other selves.  Maybe it's just early onset dementia.

Whatever it is, it's made for an oddly dreamlike day.  Have you ever felt inexplicably out-of-reality?

I am so happy and grateful for:
~ homemade vegan cookies (thanks, Sally!)
~ phone calls with momma
~ imagination

xo!  n.

[photo source]

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Shenanigans!

I woke up at 8am Thanksgiving day & drove over to Teeter & Chick's house in my PJs to watch the parade.  I had coffee & peanut-butter-chocolate cake for breakfast, just warming my body up for the gluttony that was to ensue.

I talked to my dad on the phone and texted my brother (we had just talked), and I skyped with my mom and got to see and say hi to my cousins, aunt and grandma, who are all enjoying a rented mountain cabin for the holiday.  It's the first time mom & I have video chatted, besides on Christmas last year when I was in Australia, and the fact that we can do that, and feel like we're in the same room, still blows my mind.

Then we all got dressed, me in a vintage inspired brown dress with the most adorable little half-apron AB sent me from Australia a couple years ago, looking like I just stepped out of the 1950s.  We made ourselves pumpkin-juice cocktails (with the pumpkin juice from Harry Potter!!) as we snacked on appetizers and watched football.

People slowly started to arrive - we ended up with about 15 people for dinner, with another 5 or so showing up after for desserts and games - and we started cooking.  Chick and I made the turkey (which, despite looking frightfully crispy early on, ended up perfect!) with a burbon-orange marinade, and I also made a fresh, from scratch, cranberry relish, cran-orange pecan stuffing, and ginger glazed carrots & sugar snap peas.  I felt very domestic and they all turned out happily deeeeelish.
We found the most awesome (and by "most awesome" I mean "absolute worst" and by "absolute worst" I mean "so very bad that it's so very good") Thanksgiving horror - you heard right, horror movie - ThanksKilling.  Oh yeah.  It was a deranged turkey killing people & stealing their identities and actually fooling people, despite the fact that it's 2 feet tall and feathered, into thinking it's a person.  It was hilarious and got us through our food comas.

Then it was game time.  Of course we played catchphrase, our go-to game, and then we played truth or dare on a friend's iphone, which sent us all into fits of giggles.  I had to look just slightly to the left of people when they spoke to me and melt an ice cube in my armpit, and all the dares were goofy like that.

Then we played Apples to Apples, and just when I thought people were going to start leaving, we got a whole second wind, second wave of people and ended up staying up til 4am (!!) playing Mafia.

It's ridiculous, really, who do we think we are, a bunch of late-20s early-30s jokers staying up all night?  Three of us crashed on the couch (luckily they have quite a large couch) and woke up around noon Friday, hungover and ready for Teeter's blueberry pancakes and a day of movie-watching.

We had a P-jammer jammie party; Teeter, Sean & I stayed in our PJs all day (a few other people joined us but we were the only ones in PJs), laying on the couch, eating leftovers and watching movie after movie.  It was a complete waste of the day, indulgent and wonderful.  Even Chick & Todd's two kittens joined us in the laziness.
It was a really fantastic Thanksgiving, full of friendship, laughter, ridiculousness and great food.  I hope you all had a lovely, thanks-filled Thanksgiving, and are enjoying a relaxing long weekend!

Today I am so grateful and happy for:
~ being able to spend Thanksgiving with these great friends (I wasn't supposed to still be living here!)
~ Skype
~ silly games & friends that are silly enough to play
~ a day where it's ok to be a lazy lump

xo!  n.
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