Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's NOT in My Bag!?

This Alexander McQueen De Manta Tote is one of my all time favorite purchases. It's huge!

As I mentioned in Friday's post, autumn has arrived. One of my favorite things to do when the seasons change is to switch out my handbag. This seems like the perfect time to write a "What's in My Bag?" post. 

Shireen actually gave me the idea for this post, when I commented on her "What's in My Bag?" post and joked that if I wrote one, it would be more aptly named "What's NOT in My Bag?". She said she'd love to read that post, so here it is!

As you can see, it's a disorganized jumble, but I love it anyway!
I have a few bags that I'll put on rotation throughout the fall and winter months, but this Alexander McQueen De Manta tote has been one of my all time favorites ever since I purchased it three years ago. It's always the first bag I use in the fall and getting it out feels like greeting an old friend. This bag just makes me happy! 

What's in the Bag?

Makeup Bag

I try to keep my beauty items corralled in their own little bag, otherwise they disappear and I don't see them again until the next time I change out my handbags.
  • Caudalie Hand Cream--very hydrating, not greasy
  • Burberry Brit Sheer--has a very light, feminine, crisp scent
  • BCBGMAXAZRIA Bon Genre--I received this in a subscription box last year. I never would have chosen it for myself, but I love it as a fall scent. 
  • Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment--This balm by Fresh is very hydrating with a pretty hint of color. SPF 15 is great bonus.
  • eos lipbalm--an inexpensive product that is fabulous!
  • Ana Sui butterfly mirror--I have been carrying this for 10 years! 
  • Tokyo Milk Marie Cherie cosmetic bag

The Essentials

  • Phone--I had no sooner purchased this iPhone 5s, than it was announced that the iPhone 6 will be released soon. So typical of my luck! I do love it though, so I will just try to ignore all the fabulous things that will be said about the iPhone 6, until I'm eligible for an upgrade.
  • Keys--Not much interesting there, except for my Julie West Skeleanimals key chain. I collect designer art toys, and Julie West is one of my favorite artists. 
  • Burberry wallet--This was such a great investment piece. I've had it for about 4 years and it still looks brand new. It's big enough to hold my cards, cash, & change, but small enough it doesn't take up a lot of real estate in my bag.
  • Case XX pocket knife--This scrimshaw style knife was designed by Linda Karst. It's such a handy thing to carry. Plus, I'm a Pisces. 
  • Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses--I have quite a collection of sunglasses. I used to change them with every outfit, but for the past couple of years, my Ray-Ban Aviators and Ray-Ban Wayfarers have been my favorites. They look great with everything. 
  • Notebook--I love this little literary notebook by Out of Print. Moby Dick is one of my favorite books. I always carry at least one notebook, as I'm constantly jotting down ideas and making lists. 

Essential Extras 

Because people in my family turn into raging lunatics when they're hungry, I always carry snacks. When I say "people", I mostly mean me.

  • Handsanitizing wipes--Because I'm germaphobic.
  • Organic baby snacks--Baby loves everything by Plum Organics.
  • Organic protein bars--Protein is the best way to prevent becoming "hangry".

Baby Essentials

I try to avoid carrying a diaper bag at all costs, so I usually stuff some essentials into my handbag. However, I won't show all the boring stuff, like diapers, wipes, ointment, etc.
  • Hand made hat--It's chilly in the mornings and evenings and because babies loss a lot heat through their heads, a warm hat is a must.
  • Sterling Silver rattle--Baby has inherited my fascination with shiny things. He loves this little rattle.
  • Organic teething ring--from Burt's Bees. I love that it's made from cornstarch, not plastic.
  • Sophie the Giraffe--made from natural rubber
  • Organic burp cloth--a great multi-purpose item for cleaning up spills & spit up. Can also be used to block the sun or as a little blanket. 

So, that's the abbreviated version of the contents of my handbag. What bag will you be carrying this season?

If you've written a "What's in My Bag?" post, please leave the link in the comments. I'd love to read it! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tag, You're It!

my notebook and pencil
This Moleskine notebook goes everywhere with me. I'm constantly jotting down ideas.

Yay, it's my first tagged post! Thank you Shireen, Reflection of Sanity, for tagging me in The Secrets of Blogging tag. If you haven't already visited Shireen's beauty blog, head on over for a great read. You'll love her content and conversational writing style. 

I was excited to write this post, as I don't have proper "About Me" page up yet. Hopefully you'll get to know me a little better through these questions.

1.  When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging almost 3 months ago. I recently moved to a very small town where I don't know many people. I've really been missing my fashion friends, so I thought a blog would give me the opportunity to talk about fashion and meet other people who are as passionate about it as I am. But once I started blogging, I realized there are A LOT of bloggers who are much better at writing fashion posts. Now I'm thinking I need to try to bring something different to the blogging community. So, my blog is still evolving. 

2.  How many people in your real life know about your blog?

Probably most of them, only because I've been promoting it on Facebook. However, I think just a handful have actually read it. It took me a while to get up the courage to share it with everyone. I had no problem with strangers reading it and possibly hating it. But the thought of my friends and family reading it and hating it or worse, not reading it at all was very anxiety inducing.

3.  What are your favorite posts to read?

I enjoy reading about anything, if it's a well written post. But I always love the "What's in My Bag?" posts. It's fun to see what handbag other bloggers carry and what items they favor. In fact, I may write one of my own soon!

4.  List a blog you've recently discovered.

This is a tough one! I've followed so many blogs recently and there are countless really great ones. Studio Waterstone by Lori Plyler is really beautiful.  

5.  What post are you most proud of?

The one that came together quite well, from the planning, to the execution, to the finished post, was Lovely, Lacey Jars. It's my most popular post. But, I don't know that I'm really proud of any of them yet. I'm still so new at this and feel like there is infinite room for improvement.  

6.  What advice would you give to future bloggers?

Building a support network of blogger friends has been really beneficial for me. As a new blogger, it sometimes feels like you are investing a lot of yourself in something that no one else notices or cares about. The friendships you build with fellow bloggers will help keep your morale up and make you feel like you're part of a community. Just like you need camaraderie in your "real life", you need friends in the blog-o-sphere. It takes time to find bloggers you click with, but when you do, blogging will become much more fun and rewarding.  

Tag, you're it! 

I'm going to "borrow" an idea from my friend Ray's post and not tag other bloggers. Instead, I invite anyone who'd like to pick up the tag to write a post about your Secrets of Blogging. If you decided to write on this topic, please do leave your link below. I'd love to read your answers!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Farewell Summer, Hello Autumn

A few summer favorites

Just a brief post today. My oldest son is going back to school on Monday, so I want to spend every minute of these last 3 days with him. 

I thought I could sense autumn in the air yesterday, but today it has obviously arrived. It's my favorite time of year. I love the back-to-school atmosphere, the crispness in the air, the autumn traditions--harvesting pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, apple cider and mulled wine, cozy sweaters, bonfires, watching the leaves change color and the birds fly south. 

My mother and I on a long ago fall day.

Autumn is also full of nostalgia. As the air changes and the sun casts it's long shadows, my mind races back to many wonderful memories of autumns past. Childhood memories of raking leaves into the biggest pile possible and diving into them, walks with my grandmother to gather the most color leaves, Fall Festivals, carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating. My husband and I met and fell in love in the autumn of 2000 and were married almost exactly two years later.

On my deck, the first snow last year. I loved that the sparrow was sheltering on St. Francis's (patron saint of animals) head. You can tell by the flowers still in bloom that winter arrives early and suddenly here!

But, autumn also has a bittersweet feel that tugs at my heart. It signals the end of the carefree days of summer. Autumn is a brief, idyllic interlude before the long, hard Wyoming winter sets in. My friends and I joke that winter lasts 9 months out of the year, but really, that isn't too far from the truth!

I'll be back next week with my regular posts. I hope you all have wonderful weekend. 

About the top photos, clockwise:
1.  My youngest son and I at a mountain lake. I'm wearing--

  • T-shirt I reviewed in this post
  • Leather cap, no brand
  • Bracelets--Tiffany & Co.--snake, atlas, bow

2.  Mushroom peeking out from the pine needles.
3.  Mountain meadow
4.  One of the gorgeous sunsets from my front porch.
5.  Observation point...I thought all the stickers were interesting.
6.  Hens and Chicks blooming in my flower bed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My 'Drawing August' Contributions

Day 19

Hi there! Hope you're having a great week. Today I thought you might like to see what I've been up to for #DrawingAugust since last week's post

Even though I started about half way through the month, making the commitment to draw every day has been a great exercise for me. This week I've been sketching with pens. 

The limitations of pens (permanence, inability to blend) used to intimidate me, but now I find it strangely liberating. Knowing I can't erase, I don't worry so much about it being perfect. I just figure out how to make the mistakes work in my favor. I love the challenge of creating shadow variations and contouring using line work and texturing.  

Day 18

Several reader's have expressed the desire to draw, but feel they wouldn't be successful with it. I say, do it anyway. No matter what field you're in, it's important to step out of your comfort zone from time to time. Sometimes when I'm sharing my work on social media, I have to fight the urge to type, "So sorry! I know this piece is terrible"! But you know what? Those are the pieces that people seem to like the most! I guess that proves the adage--we are our own worst critics! 

Day 17

Speaking with other artists and reading their blogs, I've discovered that even professional artists aren't immune to self doubt. The "fear of ruining it moment" seems to be a universal experience. Midway through a piece I'll think, "This is beautiful! If I keep going, I'm afraid I'll ruin it!". But, I take a deep breath, mentally push aside the inner critic, and complete the piece. Even if I'm not totally satisfied with the finished product, it feels great to have completed it. Each piece you create, good or bad, helps you grow as an artist. 

If you try drawing and it just isn't for you, next month is "Painting September"!

This post was inspired by conversations I've had this month with two of my BBFs (Best Blogger Friends), Shireen, from Reflection of Sanity, and Ray, from The Complete Works of TGR Worzel. Thank you, you two! You always brighten my blogging day!

Day 16

Monday, August 18, 2014

Love Letters to Our Children

Today I would like to share a simple project that is guaranteed to delight your children and maybe even become a special family tradition. (If you don't have children, this would make a great gift, or you could make it for your spouse or significant other.)

Last fall I purchased a stationary set for my little son, so he could write his own holiday cards to family.The set consisted of cards, pen, stickers, and a mailbox. The cards turned out to be too small to send in the actual mail, so every couple days, he'd write one to me and leave it in the little mailbox. Then, I would write one back to him. When the flag was up, we knew to check the mail. When the cards ran out, we started making our own. 

This has become a special ritual for the two of us. I try to leave a note for him at least 2 or 3 times a week, especially during the school year when it feels like we don't see each other enough. I'll draw a picture and tell him that I missed him while he was at school. 

Someday these letters will be sweet reminders of his childhood that he can share with his own children. He'll always have these tiny proofs of my love for him, even long after I'm gone.

  • small mailbox--Amazon offers several affordable child-size mailboxes.
    A real, wall mounted mailbox would work great too and doesn't take up a lot of space. An eco-friendly, unique option would a vintage one that could found at a second hand shop or antique store.
  • cardstock--if you want to make your own cards, you can use any kind of paper product; printer paper, index cards, or watercolor paper. You can even purchase blank card sets from your local craft store.
  • stationary--if you don't feel like you can make your own cards, there are countless stationary options.
  • writing utensil--pencil or pen
  • coloring tools--markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • stickers (optional)
  • glitter glue (optional)
  • stamps (optional)


  1. Create a card by folding the cardstock in half. 
  2. Decorate the cover in anyway you like. It can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Sometimes I just add stickers and a caption or sometimes create a little painting. 
  3. Write a note inside. 
  4. Mail it in the mailbox for your child to discover.

These little notes are such an easy way to make your child feel special and loved. Do you remember how much fun it was to receive a letter when you were a child?