Table Setting Inspiration

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

For the last several years we have hosted Thanksgiving at our house. As a child I had multiple places to go for the holidays which continued when I only had one child, Fisher. But after M+L came on along it felt a lot more enjoyable to be the ones hosting. This way whoever wants to see our smiling faces on this lovely holiday knows where to find us and is welcome. And now that most of us are gluten-free - well, I don't want to have to pass up on stuffing. And I know my kids definitely don't want to miss out on pumpkin pie, or apple pie, or any pie at all. At first it was a little difficult to take over the reigns, not for me (cough cough my mom), but now that I've been hosting for awhile people simply offer to donate money rather than bring a dish! I guess it wasn't so bad letting it go after all. I did enjoy my years of simply 'showing up' and I am sure when Fisher, or my sister is ready to take over I'll be ready to donate some funds to their holiday feasts. Only 6 years into this tradition of hosting and my ambitions have already gotten less and less lofty. I have somewhat mastered the gluten-free Thanksgiving (way easier than you'd think), but my dreams of a beautiful table setting continue to elude me. In fact I think they are getting worse. But it's okay as long as the food is getting better, right? 

I rounded-up these table setting inspirations awhile back, but if I am being perfectly honest if I get all the food I normally do each Thanksgiving on the table this year, I'll be happy (I haven't even made my grocery store list yet! oops). If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this year, what are your plans? Will you be hosting or guesting this year? (please don't tell me you'll be camping in line eating jack in the box for thanksgiving!)

I also found these super duper cute Thanksgiving drawing sets. I so love this idea and I think it would be perfect for groups of all ages. I am totally (maybe, if I don't procrastinate too hard) going to get one of these for next year. Here is Set One Set Two

And if you are feeling like decorating but don't know where to begin: This printable Thanksgiving decor set

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

House Tour | Feeling Moody |

Monday, November 24, 2014

Based on the comments from my last post I would say I am not alone in feeling the pull into a state of hibernation lately. I did check a few things off my list over the weekend, but mostly I stayed happily wrapped up in my little cocoon. Speaking of hibernating and cocooning. This space. 

I am not normally one for an overly dark abode, but this? Oh, this I could get on board with. The variants of charcoal tones, the deep ocean blues, and the rich warm whites are such a striking combination. Pair all of that with the rough and rustic textures with the clean lines and the masculine color palette, this could be the place that converts me. And that tile in the kitchen! The raw looking texture with the slick black surface is just stunning here. I am not convinced come summertime I could see myself in this space, but in the thick of a cold and rainy fall, yes, yes, and yes.

Romain Ricard
 | Found Via Vosgesparis

Tippa Tappa

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Oh people of the internet, my comrades, sometimes I feel so dragged down by doing the same-old, same-old day in and day out. I am not bitter. When I think about trading it in. Well, I wouldn't. I don’t think my days in general are difficult by any stretch of the imagination. In fact the worst part is I know I could be, should be doing more at times like these. I have both some pretty exciting real and potential opportunities on the horizon which I should be giddy about (though i have learned in this line of work the latter can be draining too - lots of work for maybe's), but, right now, I am more like "give me cookie dough." I had all of these grandiose visions of myself in a flurry of checked-off to-do lists, taking 5 mile hikes, and my house blinding me with its sparkle and shine once all my kids were in school.  

However. After getting my children stuffed into their clothes, coats, and the car, pulled at their little arms for two blocks after finding the nearest parking space and dragged them into class with the bell ringing just as I place one foot over the threshold (a minor victory.). I get back into my car alone and I am pumped! I talk to myself in my car about all the things I am so excited to accomplish once I get back home. And then I see the dishes, the scrambled eggs stuck on the stove top, and the dog spinning in circles by the door to go out, but instead of feeling defeated by these never ending tasks, I decide: later (except for the dog). I keep the positive self-talk as I come back in and walk over to my computer, making notes and lists in my head. I am already patting myself on the back because today is the day.

Then I sit down. After a few minutes of staring blankly and glancing sideways at my kitchen sink, I click on facebook (which i greatly dislike by the way) just to feel like I have done something. At least I am not doing the dishes or sweeping the floors, however, the list of things I am not doing suddenly becomes like the monster under my bed. It is a serious low point in ones creative and productive existence when you have give in to FB to feel like you accomplished something. So then I go, totally defeated, to the egg grime on the stove. Most of the time this whole one step forward, two steps back doesn't get to me, it's life and all that. No biggy. But sometimes it does. Like the fall. 

Truth be told I prefer to fall lovingly into a mild depressive state in the autumnal season. Not clinically (i know this because one of my other go-to/red flag of unproductiveness sites is webmd). It's more of a comfortable melancholy of which I like. Which feels good and cozy. One that evokes listening to sad tunes and drawing. Digging out memory boxes from the back of your closet. Writing poetry and lighting musky-scented candles. Laying on your bed with headphones on. Reading Jane Eyre under a down comforter. Getting coffees late at night while wrapped up in big chunky scarves and wool coats. And these things are at odds with my to-do lists and the dishes and the laundry and cooking. Damn it. 

With all of that being said I decided to turn to music and make a little playlist of some of my favorite fall tunes that I am listening to as of late. This may not meet the criteria of being productive, buuuut at least feels more like an accomplishment than FB. It's good for a little soul stirring and hopefully in addition to the fresh air from an invigorating walk, the sage waved around the house, the ‘focus’ oil on the temples, and my ten minutes of "inspiration" on pinterest, it might just be the missing puzzle piece for a period of production. Or something like that. Maybe. 

Late Autumn Mix: Listen

1. Tip Tapping
2. Thirteen Thirtyfive
Coeur de Pirate
3. Cap Diamant
4. Comme des Enfants
The Quiet American
5. Fire In The Sky
6. Worth A Million
Lisa Hannigan
7. Sea Song
8. Pistaschio
Slow Club
9. When I go

Side Note: M+L are convinced, no matter how many times I tell them otherwise, that I am singing the first song because whenever we need a little motivation to do something we do a little tap dance to get us going while singing "tippa tippa tappa tippa tippa tappa."

House Tour | Victoria Farmhouse |

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Like many of you who commented on the loft post from last week, I love so many different kinds of homes and dreamed of almost all of them over the years. I have loved classic colonials, victorians, scandinavian modern, mid-century, craftmans, mountain retreats, mediterranean villas, and funky little apartments sitting above a bustling metropolitan street. I still tend to swoon and dream over all of these (and many more), and I can see myself, if even for a split second, living in each one. I agree with what Petra said, it would be fabulous to live in a new place every six months! My tastes and dreaminess for different kinds of homes also tends to be driven by the season and right now in the thick of fall I find myself dreaming of a cozy rustic farmhouse, kind of like this one. Maybe exactly like this one actually. You can read more about his beautiful farmhouse in Victoria, Australia here at The Design Files.

Photo Diary | Chilly |

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Monday! Is it the middle of November already? Time seems to be flying by no matter whether I laze the days away or try to fill them up. Most of this chilly weekend was spent inside relaxing and making to-do lists. And since the oak tree that was threatening to fall on my house was cut down last week I was able to stay inside and still enjoy much of the sunshine we've had (i get so much more light now! though i am sad it's gone, you can see the tree in the 5th photo, it was such a beauty.). We also went to see Big Hero 6 this weekend which was really good. I am hoping this kicks me off going to see more movies - there are several in the theater that I want to see right now. I tried to get out a little bit to enjoy all these clear skies and sun, which I did with a nice walk alone on the waterfront, but I am just not cut out for the piercing cold. I have actually found myself looking with excited anticipation for cloudy skies in the forecast, which for us, translates to much more bearable temperatures. 

The weekend was fairly uneventful until Sunday evening when my oldest, Fisher, called me and said "hi, um, we were attacked." There is always that moment when you hear something you aren't expecting where your brain is trying to make sure the words you think you heard are actually the words you heard. And then you go through 8 million scenarios in your head to make sense of said words (aliens? people? dogs? oh my gawd what are you saying?!). Some words just send the brain into overdrive and your find yourself in a world that makes no sense at all. But before I go on any further let me say, he is okay.

The story goes that him and two of his friends were attacked while waiting for the bus. Apparently they were waiting at the bus stop (around 5:30pm) and there was a loose bike tire laying on the ground at the bus stop that one of Fisher's friends picked up. Soon after some guy came up from around the corner and punched his friend in the face saying he stole this discarded bike tire from the bushes. He then went on to punch his other friend three times in the face when he tried to help his fallen friend up. Again, they are all ok, and Fisher (maybe from having seen me break up many a fights over the years - from my days of working in social services (it's a hat you can't just take off at the end of the day)) helped to deescalate the situation so they could get away and call the police. I am just so glad that they are all okay. And maybe this might motivate Fisher to finally work on getting his drivers license. Ironically I just talked to him about him being safe and aware of his surroundings being as he is a teenager and taking the bus at night now that it is getting dark so early. And he said 'nothing is going to happen mom, geez, don't be all paranoid!' mmm hmmm.


Friday, November 14, 2014

My love of houses didn't start with this blog. As a kid I would cut out house ads from real estate booklets and Sunday newspapers and paste them into my diaries. I laid in bed at night thinking of what it might like to live in them. And I may have even sneaked into a few empty houses to nose around a time or two (note: i was born in the second half of the 70's and things just weren't so locked up as they are today). When I was young, maybe 11 or 12 years old, I was obsessed with the idea of having a loft apartment. I remember sitting down at the table with the Sunday newspaper, a local real estate booklet, a notepad, and pencil looking at prices and taking notes trying to plot out my future life around my ability to live a downtown loft. I had all kinds of numbers crunched trying to figure out how much rent would cost, sorting out living expenses, how much spending money I'd need (i think i penciled in yearly vacations to Hawaii too). And, beyond that, I tried to figure out what kind of job a person who lived in a loft might have (I think I came up with private investigator at the time - obviously I wasn't very good at number crunching). Well, I failed to follow my strict adolescent life plan probably somewhere around the following week but I still have a serious affection for lofts. Did you have any visions of where you might live when you grew up? 

+ Look : See more photos of this lovely and eclectic loft at apartment therapy.

+ Food for thought : mental illness and the media.

+ Photography : The death of conversations.

+ Lists : Bruce Springsteen's favorite books that shaped his mind and music.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Minimal Screensavers Round-up

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holy panic attack batman. I spent the last couple days in a cold sweat after I attempted to update my operating system. I am not computer savvy. And in my mind this would be simple, but as the update slowed and then came to a complete halt, the apple phone support person told me that "worst case scenario" I might need to erase my disk and start over (losing everything on my computer). I saw the last few years of my life flash before my eyes. Because, no, of course I hadn't backed-up my hard-drive before I pressed that damn 'install' button. This was all happening at the same time that high winds and a cold snap decided to make its way through Portland with the power flickering and tree branches falling outside my window. I am pretty sure my blood pressure has been a bit on the high side. Luckily it didn't come to the worst case scenario in the end because I went with the knock-on-wood and wait it out method. Many, many hours later I finally saw my desktop again, my beautiful, beautiful desktop. The only thing I lost was my screensaver so after I spent the next several hours moving important files over to my external hard-drive I reinstalled a couple of my favorites (and found a couple more in the process). 

The winds, however, are still blowing and the temps here are unseasonably chilly - we even have the chance of snow and freezing rain in our forecast for the next couple days. There is a huge old oak tree outside my house that has caution tape blocking off about 2000 square feet because apparently it looks like it could come down. Crossing my fingers that if it does the wind is strong enough to blow it away from my house. And with that it seems I may be trading in my netflix marathons for breaking news weather coverage (for some reason i find "breaking news" being a frozen-over mud puddle  in the middle of parking lot immensely entertaining).

Image | Image screensaver | screensaver 1 | screensaver 2 | screensaver 3 | screensaver 4  Disclaimer: hopefully you are are smarter than me in the workings of computers and you will make sure anything you download from the internet will work with your system such as these screensavers. And, yes, in case you are wondering, I definitely learned my lesson to back-up everything. Frequently. 

House Tour | For One |

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hello! Writing this post I feel like I am re-entering the world on a bright summer day after having been in the a dark theater for several hours. We have been in lazy mode around here - have I been saying that a lot lately? I think maybe I have. But this long weekend was of the extreme variety of which I spent more hours in front of the tv than I'd like to admit publicly. Let's leave it at the fact I watched two entire seasons of a show and worked my way through the third season a bit too and I am likely to spend the next few weeks finding rogue bits of popcorn in and under my couch. It started out innocently enough when we found a show on Netflix that we all could watch together (no small feat for an adult, a teenager and 6 year olds). And, well, we just kept going for hours, which then turned into days. But you know what? It was really fun. However, now I feel like I need to jump into an icy cold lake to snap myself back into reality. Or maybe get inspired by places such as this sweet little apartment where there isn't a couch to melt into. Though, that loft bed does look very inviting. 

Images via Fantastic Frank


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Last week we celebrated our first marlaversary! It's been a whole year since our sweet and saucy pup came into our lives and hearts. Truth be told I had been looking forward to this milestone. Having a rescue puppy involves a lot of stuff. There is so much to learn. I will compare this to having a new baby, because now I've done both and I must say for me the dog was much more nerve wracking. The first few months were the hardest not knowing her. Her not knowing us. Not knowing if we were doing what she needed. Not knowing if she'd grow out of some of her quirks. Not knowing I'd know anything ever. I feel like we know the answer to many of those questions now. We know she loves to roll around in grass and run really really fast and lick everything (and no that habit doesn't seem to be one she's going to grow out of). She loves to be held like a baby with her head up on your shoulder - if you sing while doing this she pretty much melts. When she spins and stomps her feet she needs to outside. When she just looks at you and stomps her feet she wants to play. She loves afternoon naps. She hates the sun, rain, and wind and completely forgets how to walk under these conditions. Overcast grey skies are her favorite (lucky for her she was moved from an L.A. shelter to Portland). She doesn't bite our hands off anymore when we play with her. She gets super depressed after being groomed and won't "talk" to us for exactly 5 days afterward. She loves to have the top of her head scratched and her ears rubbed (but leave her tail alone!). She is not a barker or a chewer. But she does have a few quirks that seemingly are here to stay. And after a year I am totally okay with that. In fact they make me love her more. Sweet stuff that Marla is. 

This week was the elections and, for Oregon, I have to say the bleeding heart liberal in me is pretty proud of the passing of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. What I am happy about is the complete decriminalization of it (for certain amounts that is). So many resource/dollars/lives are wasted on this war on drugs and I feel like this is a move in the right direction (4 states and DC - times are a'changin'). Hopefully they will put the dollars to good use once they start collecting on the revenue. I'd love to see it go to mental health care, drug addiction programs, free health care, and schools. Disappointed in the failure of our measure to label GMO foods. But it was close. Next time. How did your state do? I know Washington and California had big wins too.

Last week Apartment Therapy featured M+L's bedroom make-over reveal. You can see it here

This photography series between a mother and adopted daughter that proved to be a bonding experience for them both. 

This video. No regrets. 

I am signing off here for the week. I hope you all have a fabulous and long weekend ahead! 
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