Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The other big apple

sweater: thrifted | dress & belt: vintage | shoes: Charlotte Russe

You'd never know it from the gloomy, blustery weather we're having right now, but the weekend before last was - for an autumn lover like me - paradise. We were treated to a couple days of Indian summer (and broke some records, if I'm not mistaken. But more importantly than that, I finally made it to an orchard! My sweet little niece and nephew were visiting for a few days, so we decided to take advantage of the glorious Sunday and head over to Robinette's Apple Haus & Winery. According to their Facebook page, it was opened in 1911 by Barzilla Robinette. Quite the moniker, eh?

Anyway, it was insanely crowded (apparently we weren't the only ones who wanted to take advantage of the perfect weather - who knew?) but we had such a wonderful time. I had been wanting to have a day that was full of unabashedly autumn-themed activities - and my wish was definitely granted. We went on a hay ride, drank cider, and checked out the pumpkins, and Chris and I did our first-ever wine tasting! I'd been wanting to do one for ages, but I assumed they would be extremely expensive. Not so at Robinette's, though - and you can get a free wine tasting whenever you want if you come back and use the wine glasses they give you! Chris ended up buying a cherry wine (we made short work of that) and I bought blueberry. We couldn't help but feel very classy.

I had to stop for pictures by the big red apple. How could I not? Red was certainly the color of the day...even my nephew was wearing it. And no, Chris and I did not match on purpose.

While we were waiting for the hay ride to start, I noticed that the window across from us was making distorted reflections like a fun-house mirror...so of course I took a picture of Chris and me and our giant foreheads!

I always hate seeing these two cuties go, but we had such a great time. In our short visit, we took them to Robinette's, brought them to a local trick-or-treat event (he wore my brother's old Cookie Monster outfit and she was Cinderella), and took them bowling for their first time ever. They were much more interested in the ball return than the actual game itself, but we all enjoyed ourselves!

Yes, it's a real-live picture of the two of us together. We have so few that's sort of ridiculous, considering we've been together two years next month...but that just means that each one is precious.

There's much more I could say about this perfect day, but I'll leave it here and just hold on to the memories. I'm extra glad we went then because now, with the weather the way it is, winter seems closer than ever. If only fall weren't so fleeting...

My thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by Hurricane Sandy; the images I'm seeing on the news are just unreal. I hope all of you East-Coasters are staying safe!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Three: Animal Print Edition (10.25.12)

I love animal prints. And when I say animal print, I don't mean leopard spots or tiger stripes or anything like that at all. (My sister has always loved that sort of thing; I could never get into it.) No, friends, I mean prints that have an actual animal on them. There's an element of kitsch to them that I just adore. So here's my roundup of my favorite animal-print sweaters! Without further ado:

Everything about this sweater is perfect: the cut, the color, and yes, those sweet little puppy paw prints. I would have worn this to death in my dog-crazy stage when I was 8. Oh, who am I kidding - I'm still dog crazy. And I would still wear this to death today.

I have adored this sweater ever since it first came out in gray ages ago. There's just something about the absurdity of a bunny wearing glasses juxtaposed with the seriousness of said bunny's expression, I suppose. This is the type of statement piece that I would completely build outfits around. It's too perfect! Now that it has come out in the loveliest shade of green...well, I'm not sure I'll be able to resist much longer. And speaking of not being able to resist:

I am happy to say that this sweater is on its way to my closet! Lily of Love Charles Vintage alerted me last week to the fact that Rachel was selling this in her shop, Fawn on a Lawn, and...well, do I need to explain?

Okay, kitschy-animal-print-clothing aficionados...am I missing any gems? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Such great heights

dress: Forever 21 | cardigan: ModCloth | belt: estate sale | shoes: Francesca's

I have seldom been so happy to be so exhausted. I was lucky enough to have an extended weekend - I got out early on Friday and had today off so I could spend time with my visiting niece and nephew - and I made sure to make the most of it, though it did get off to a discouraging start. After a long time of being pain-free, on Friday it seemed my headaches were making a comeback. Three straight days of an annoying lingering, off-and-on ache...yeah, that's no fun. 

However, I kicked that pain in its metaphorical backside on Saturday by joining some friends for rock climbing. It was my first time (I don't really count the time I went when my age hadn't even reached double digits yet) and I might as well tell the truth: though I was excited, I was nervous for sure. I'm not athletic, and heights and me don't get along. My palms get sweaty even thinking about it...charming, I know. The thoroughness of the safety training made me even more nervous - so much to remember!

But you know what? I did it anyway - and I made it to the top! Only once, but I still think it's something to be proud of. My muscles ache today, and my shin is still smarting from a slip I took about halfway up, but the other pains I had are now gone and I instead feel a sense of accomplishment. I wouldn't be surprised at all if I end up catching the rock climbing bug. I had a blast, and I feel awesome.

I've been trying to have a somewhat productive night, but I keep getting distracted by the storm outside and my niece and nephew (ages 4 and 3). Earlier tonight, my mom and I were watching the storm with them, and their reactions were just precious. My nephew, for example, thought that we would be able to see the lightning better if he used his flashlight! They come up with the sweetest things. Next time they visit, I really need to carry around a notebook so I can write down all these cute stories - I always think I'll remember them, and I almost never do!

Is there anything more peaceful than listening to the sound of rain - especially at night? I'm inclined to think not. It's pouring at the moment, and part of me just wants to pile on the blankets and fall asleep immediately, but still another part of me wants to stay awake just so I can listen to the rain. I just hope that the skies clear up by morning; I hate getting up for work on tranquil rainy mornings just as much as I love falling asleep to stormy nights...

I think I just talked myself into falling asleep sooner rather than later. I hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Three: 10.18.12

As I may or may not have mentioned before, I sometimes feel like a bit of an anomaly in the blogosphere because I'm not a cat person. Cats are okay, and I'll grant you that they can be downright adorable, but I'd prefer a dog any day of the week. But this? Is a perfect outfit. I'm pretty sure I gasped a little bit when I saw it. I'm now trying to imagine how I could replicate this look...I know the dress isn't DIY, but it sure does inspire me to try DIYing a printed dress of my own. A fox print, perhaps?

When I was five years old, my mom took me to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto. It's safe to say that my life was never the same - and neither were my parents' eardrums. I played that soundtrack to death, and used to stand on top of our kitchen chairs and try to sing like Christine Daae. To date, I've now seen this show live six times (yes, six; I figure I might as well come clean about my nerdiness). I credit Phantom for my undying love of all things musical theatre.

All of that is to say - you can imagine my sheer excitement when I saw that the 25th anniversary performance is now on Netflix! I watched it in its entirety on Friday night and it is absolutely stunning. If your only exposure to the show was the 2004 movie and you can't make it to Broadway, I urge you to please check out this 25th anniversary video. (A little bird told me that if you don't have Netflix, you might just be able to find the performance in its entirety on YouTube...) Nothing can ever quite capture what it's like to see a Broadway show, but this comes darn close.

I could ramble on about Phantom for hours...now you know my nerdy little secret! I'll make up for my long-windedness by keeping this last item brief:

3. Calvin and Hobbes

Last but far from least, some wisdom and perspective from the greatest comic in history.

Well, that wraps up this week's Thursday Three. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Out of the darkness

coat: Forever 21 | dress: ModCloth | belt, bag, gloves: thrifted | cardigan: Target | boots: gift from my sister

Last Saturday, in the freezing rain, Chris and I went to the Out of the Darkness walk in a gorgeous park outside Grand Rapids. The park was one of the most beautiful I've seen in this area, but that wasn't the point.  I left my camera in my car on purpose. Out of the Darkness walks are 3-5 mile walks taking place in over 250 locations around the country to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Chris and I were walking in memory of his friend Erika, who, sadly, passed away last November from suicide. It's been almost a year and it still doesn't feel real.

Depression is one of those topics that our society would like to sweep under the rug. The goal of Out of the Darkness is to counteract that, by bringing the topic - well, out of the darkness. It's a wonderful event, and I encourage you to get involved if you can! There are still plenty of walks going on yet this year. It sounds so cliche, but I honestly mean this: you never know the difference you might make in someone's life.

Chris and I have been cooking up a storm lately. Well, to be more accurate, Chris has been cooking up a storm while I help him in the small ways I can. I got into kind of a cooking rut during the summer...I mean, who wants to slave over a hot stove when it's 90+ degrees outside? But it's finally soup weather now and I'm happy to assist him. I'm telling you, Chris makes the best soup on the planet. So far he's made black bean, which was out of this world, and butternut squash, which he spoiled me with tonight.  Yes, I'm well aware that I am one lucky lady!

What are your favorite fall recipes? I'm eager to try new things! Also, I think it may be time for a dressipe soon...

I feel like this post wouldn't be complete without a shout-out to my dear friend Alec, who is the one who convinced me to buy this dress. I mean, it's yellow, so she didn't exactly have to twist my arm...but nevertheless, I'm glad she talked me into it. Yes, it's the same color as half my wardrobe, but the details - the gold buttons, the cut-out back - really make it something special. So thanks, Alec!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Three: 10.11.12

I've been wanting for a long time to have some sort of feature on this blog where I can share random things I'm loving around the interwebs - but keep it brief and to the point. So, welcome to the Thursday Three! Let's get started:

Someone really needs to do me a favor and buy this dress from Ruche before I can, because I am irresistibly tempted to buy it myself, and I shouldn't! But can you blame me? It's the perfect rust color, with just enough detail to keep it interesting  and it's classic and easy to remix...okay, I'm tempting myself again. As of last time I checked, there are only three left, so if you want it, you better hurry!

Today has been a really hard day for me, mentally and emotionally, but looking at this ridiculously adorable corgi puppy from Emergency Cute Stuff, I can feel my spirits lift a little. I don't use Twitter, but you better believe I'll be following their tweets! The noise I made when I saw this picture...well, let's just say it wasn't very attractive. Someday I'll get a corgi of my own...mark my words!

I love Sufjan Stevens, but I have to admit, I was prepared to be totally weirded out by his latest offering - the track "Christmas Unicorn" from his massive upcoming 58-track Christmas box set, Silver and Gold. I mean, it's called "Christmas Unicorn," for goodness sake. But you know what? It's really catchy, and I actually...kind of love it. It starts out a slowly, but it grows to a Sufjan-esque explosion of sound by the end. There's a big part of me that thinks we're watching his slow descent into utter insanity, but I'm sure enjoying the ride. For those who absolutely refuse to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, have no fear - this song sounds nothing like your average Christmas song. Listen to the track (be warned: it's 12 minutes long) and let me know what you think! 

That's what I'm loving this week! What about you?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Memory hoarders

dress & shoes: Francesca's | belt: estate sale

Last weekend, Chris and I went to an estate sale - my first one in a long time, since they always seem to be scheduled during working hours. This sale was a little bit unusual. It was not an estate sale for someone who has passed away, but rather someone who was still alive...in this case, a hoarder. A literal hoarder, as in Hoarders, like you would see on TV. Her children had finally convinced her to get rid of her stuff, on the one condition (her condition) that she wouldn't have to be there while it was taken away. 

I've never seen so much stuff jammed into a small space in all my life: rooms of clothing, more dishes than you can imagine, random trinkets and eyeglasses...a one-person antique shop, really. It was spread throughout all the rooms, the garage, the basement, and even an extra tent to make room for it all. I walked away with this belt (25 cents), three vintage wool skirts ($1.50 each), and a wooden box with a Gibson-girl-esque design (a splurge at $10). As we walked away, I couldn't help imagining what it must be like to live that way. How do you let it get that far?

And yet, in a way, I understand. I've only started to break out of my packrat tendencies in the last year or so. I've gotten rid of enormous bags of junk, and it feels wonderful. But there are still things I can't part with: books, shoes, and the huge wooden box under my desk table - the one that holds all of my scrapbooks and photographs. And you know what? If it turns out that I can never part with that box full of mementos, then so be it. I don't mind being a hoarder of memories. 

These are the memories I'd like to hoard right here. Autumn, this year. (It's honestly the most colorful one I can remember.) Going to see the outdoor ArtPrize entries with Chris, in the rain, on a cool October night when hardly anybody else was out and about. Learning to make black bean soup and then eating it for just about every meal except breakfast. Taking walks in Grand River Park and having my breath taken away by the stillness and beauty.

I wish autumn lasted longer, but I'm grateful for the wonderful memories I am blessed enough to have time to create.

You know, I'm glad I have this blog. It makes it easier to hoard memories without them taking up physical space! I'm planning to get an iPod touch (I'm still too cheap for an iPhone) so I can take photographs more easily. More hoarding. Is that a bad thing? I tend to think not, in this case.

What about you? Have you been known to hoard anything?